Frank felt a little sorry when the carriage came, without grandma to fetch him. He fairly jumped about within it, as though to make it carry him the faster to her. He bounded from it when it reached the door, and ran with outstretched arms into the drawing-room, where she was waiting to embrace him, and to listen fondly to all he had to tell. She gazed with tears of pleasure in her eyes, upon the handsome volume he presented, as a proof of his good conduct and improvement; and wiped her spectacles with care, to read the nice inscription on the title-page, and told him, “in return for his attention and obedience, it would give her pleasure to grant him many treats throughout the holidays.”
Frank thought at once about the Crystal Palace: but looking up, he saw his grandmother was pale and delicate, and therefore would not name it, until she should seem to him a little better; for already had he learnt, in some degree, to follow Him “who pleased not himself.”
George Grant was rather glad to learn, that he was to go home by railway, for having an indifferent character, and no prize whatever, he did not long to see his mother’s face, at least at school, lest painful questions should be asked as to his conduct. Still he was happy when he saw her, and made more noise about it, far, than Frank.
When asked, “if he had gained a prize,” he looked a little sheepish; and speaking in a sullen tone, began to make complaints about “unfairness in the teachers,” and said his “schoolmistress had favorites, he was very sure,” with many other things, equally untrue.
His mother listened to his list of troubles, and told him, that she feared the fault lay nearer home, and that he had not taken all the pains he ought, nor sought to profit by her kind instructions.
George strove to justify himself, but failed in his endeavors to convince his mother that he had been dutiful and diligent; but as her strength was small, she gave up the debate, and listened languidly, whilst he talked on unceasingly about “The Crystal Palace,” and wondered whether Frank would ever think about his promise, and listened for the sound of every carriage wheel that rumbled in the distance and rushed up to the window, whenever any vehicle came down the quiet street, and wearied both himself and all around him, by his useless lamentations.
Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday too, thus passed away. But on Wednesday he had grown quite insupportable, and his mother was compelled to banish him from her own bedroom, and giving him a puzzle she had purchased, requested him to go into the dining-room, and put them all together. But George rejected all amusements but the very one he wanted, and went instead into the nursery, where he plagued the younger children, took away their little toys, played with them so roughly, that he threw them on the floor, made them all fretful, and the maid so vexed, that she told him he had grown quite tiresome, and “that she panted for the time when he would be packed off to school again.” Whereupon he flew into a passion, which ended in a fit of sobbing and crying: the noise awoke the baby, nurse grew very angry, and pushed him out into the dining-room, bidding him stay there alone, and come no more near her.