His mother watched him from time to time, and when she saw that he was good-humored again, she said to his father,
“Rollo seems to be picking his berries very pleasantly. I rather think he is sorry for his conduct.”
“Yes, I see he is getting good-humored again, but I am afraid he is not truly penitent. It is easier forget a sin, than to be sorry for it. It is very easy, however, for us to ascertain.”
“How can we ascertain?” asked his mother.
“Why, if you should go and ask him about it, if he is really penitent, he will be troubled most to think of his disobedience in going; into the bad company; but if he is not penitent, he will not think of that, but only go to scolding about the bad boys.”
“That is true,” said she. “I have a great mind to go and try him.”
Rollo’s father thought it would be a good plan, and she, accordingly, walked along towards Rollo slowly, gathering berries as she went.
Rollo saw her coming, and said, “Here is mother, Lucy; let us go and give her our berries.”
So saying, he carried his basket up to her very pleasantly, and said, “Here, mother; see, here are all these berries I have been picking for you.”
“Ah,” said she, “did you pick all these for me?”
“E—h—no,” said he; “not all; Lucy gave me some.”
“Well, Lucy, I am very much obliged to you, and I am glad to see that you, Rollo, are pleasant again; I am sorry you went and got into difficulty with those boys.”
“They came and took away my berries,” said he, “and struck me—that great ugly Jim.”
The feelings of vexation and anger against the bad boys began to rise again in Rollo’s mind, the moment he began to talk about them, and he was just going to cry. His mother stopped him, saying,
“You need not tell me about him any more. I see how it is.”
“How what is?” said Rollo.
“How it is about your being sorry. Your father told me that, if you were truly penitent for what happened about those boys, I should find you, when I came to talk with you about it, grieved for your own fault, and if you were not penitent, you would only be angry at theirs. I see which it is.”
Rollo was silent a moment. He felt the truth and justice of the distinction; but, like all boys who are not sorry for the wrong they have done, he could not resist the temptation to try to justify himself by throwing the blame on others. So he began to tell her something more about “that cross old Jim,” but she interrupted him, and told him she did not wish to hear any thing about that “cross old Jim.” He was not her boy, she said, and she had nothing to do with him or his faults.
She then went to talking about other things, and helped Rollo begin to fill his basket again. He showed her where the berries were thickest, and led her round behind a rock to show her a beautiful wild flower that he had found; he said he did not bring it to her, for his father had told him not to touch any flowers or berries that they did not know, for fear they might be poisonous.