After closing the school, the teacher paid no attention to Bessie for some time; but when she had finished her evening duties and all the pupils except Nora, Anna, and Bessie had left the building, she turned to Bessie, fell upon her knees, and threw both arms around her. Bessie sobbed, “Oh, please forgive me! please forgive me!” For some time the teacher made no reply, and Nora muttered, “Catch me asking her forgiveness!” At last the teacher, looking up through tearful eyes, said, “Bessie dear, it is you who must forgive me. I should have been a better example to you this afternoon. Let us pray.” Then two sad hearts were lifted to God in humble, earnest prayer that he would forgive them for Jesus’ sake. God heard their prayers, gave back the sweet peace that they had lost out of their souls, and bound their hearts together in Christian love and fellowship.
Nora went her way, provoked with her seatmate and angry because the joke had not worked quite as she had expected. Anna, slipping her arm through Bessie’s walked home with her and told her all that Nora had done. Bessie was surprised. She understood why things had taken the course they had; but, knowing it was really Satan, who had been trying to overthrow her own soul, she did not censure her seatmate.
Her only thought now was of how sad her mother would feel. Bessie decided that the occurrence was too dreadful to tell her about and that she would keep it a secret. This was her decision until she saw her mother coming down the walk to meet her. Having always told her mother everything, Bessie did not know how it would seem to keep a secret from her; so when they met, she forgot all about her decision and began at once to tell her mother all that had happened.
Mrs. Worthington listened very carefully to Bessie’s story and then said: “Bessie, I am so glad you have told me all this yourself, and have held nothing back nor blamed Nora. God will take care of the matter, and I believe that your lesson is a lasting one. And now, my child; you can see your great need of sanctification. Had that ugliness and stubbornness been taken out of your heart, you would have been spared much suffering. I trust that you will earnestly seek and obtain this grace.”
It was well that Bessie told her mother everything, for Nora did all in her power to circulate the story and to make it as bad as possible. Nora’s mother, thinking it best to tell Mrs. Worthington about Bessie’s misbehavior, made a special call at the Worthington home for that purpose. Bessie’s mother listened to what her neighbor’s story was and then smilingly replied, “Yes, I know all about it; Bessie told me before she reached home. I am so glad that I have the confidence of my child. We are companions; I love her company, and she loves mine.” These words sounded strange to the visitor. She could not understand. “It seems strange,” said she, “that Bessie loves to stay at home and to be with you so much. Doesn’t she ever get lonesome? Nora is restless and tired when she has to stay at home, and says I am too old for her.”