“Yes, mother,” and “Yes, aunt,” said Rollo and Lucy together.
“You have both done wrong; not very wrong, but a little wrong; and I think neither ought to have the whole of the pear. So I shall divide the pear and the apple both between you; and I will tell you how you have done wrong.
“You, Rollo, by asking her which she would have, implied that you would leave it to chance to decide, and that you would let her have her fair chance. Then you ought to have submitted to the result. If she had chosen the left hand, she ought to have been content. If she had got the apple, you would have had the credit of giving her an equal chance with you, and she ought therefore to have had the full benefit of the chance.
“And then you, Lucy, did wrong, for, although Rollo asked you to choose, he did not actually promise you your choice, and as he was under no obligation to give you either, you ought not to have insisted upon his fulfilling his implied promise. Is it not so?”
The children both saw and admitted that it was.
“The best way, I think,” she continued, “would have been for you, Rollo, to have given the pear to Lucy, as she was your visitor, and a young lady too. Then she would have given you half in eating it. However, you were not very much in the wrong, either of you. It was a sort of a doubtful case. But I hope you see from it, Rollo, what I wanted to teach you, that you are no more inclined to prefer other persons’ pleasure to your own, than other children are. Remember Jonas’s couplet hereafter. I think it is a very good one. Now go and get a knife, and cut the fruit; and see, it does not rain but little; you can go and get your pea-pods now.”
Away went the children out into the kitchen after a knife. Rollo wanted to cut the apple and the pear himself, and Lucy made no objection; and we must do him the justice to say that he gave rather the largest half of each to Lucy. They then went out into the shed, Rollo taking with him a dipper of water to wash his feet when he came back from the garden. Rollo then took off his shoes, and gave Lucy his share of the fruit, to keep for him, and then sallied forth into the yard, holding the umbrella over his head, as a few drops of rain were still falling.
He waded into the little pond at the garden gate, and then turned round to look at Lucy and laugh. He began, too, to caper about in the water, but Lucy told him to take care, or he would fall down, and they could not wash his clothes, as they could his feet, with their dipper of water.
So he went carefully forward till he came to the peas, and gathered as many as he wanted, and then returned.
As he was coming back, he saw Jonas in the barn. Jonas called out to him to ask what he had got.
“I have been to get some pea-pods,” said he, “to make boats with.”
“Where are you going to sail them?” said Jonas.