Little Libbie Denny then related the whole story of the conspiracy, and when she told the part that Mary Paine had taken, Miss Capron put her arm about Mary, and kissing her, said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”
“Well, my dears,” she added, “which was best, looking for frowns or for smiles?”
“O, the smiles,” said they all together.
“I wish you might learn a lesson from this, to remember all through your lives. Overlook the bad and seek for what is good in everybody; and so you will help to make both yourselves and others happier and better. What is the lesson, girls?”
And each voice responded, “We will overlook the bad, and seek only for what is good in those around us.”
It was winter twilight. Shadows played about the room, while the ruddy light flickered pleasantly between the ancient andirons.
A venerable old lady, whose hair time had silvered, but whose heart he had left fresh and young, sat musing in an armchair, drawn up closely by the fireside. Suddenly the door opened, and a little girl hurried to her side.
“Well, Bessie,” said the old lady, laying her hand lovingly on the child’s sunny ringlets, “have you had a good slide?”
“Beautiful, Aunt Ruth; and now won’t you tell me one of your nice stories?”
Bessie was an only child, whose mother had just died. The little girl had come to visit her aunt, who had learned to love her dearly because of her winning ways and affectionate disposition.
But Aunt Ruth’s eyes were of the clear sort, and she soon discovered that Bessie was not only careless about telling the truth, but that she displayed little sensitiveness when detected in a falsehood.
[Illustration: The Spelling Class]
Now, if there was any one trait for which Aunt Ruth was particularly distinguished, it was her unswerving truthfulness; and if there was any one thing that annoyed her more than all others, it was anything like falsehood.
“A liar shall not stand in my sight,” was the language of her heart, and so she determined, with the help of God, to root out from her darling’s character the noxious weed, whatever effort it might cost her. Of this she had been musing, and her resolve was formed.
“Get your rocking-chair, dear, and come close beside me;” and in a moment the child’s blue eyes were upturned to hers.
“I am old now, Bessie,” and she tenderly stroked that fair brow, “and my memory is failing. But I can recall the time when I was a little dancing, sunny-haired girl, like you. You open your eyes wonderingly, but, if your life is spared, before you know it, child, you will be an old lady like Aunt Ruth.
“In those young days I was in a spelling-class, at school, with a little girl named Amy, a sweet-tempered, sensitive child, and a very good scholar. She seemed disposed to cling to me, and I could not well resist her loving friendship. Yet I did not quite like her, because she often went above me in the class, when, but for her, I should have stood at the head.