“On the whole, Anna, it is a happier, more comfortable thing, for the relations even of this life, to be a Christian; not a half-way disciple, but a whole-heart-and-soul believer, who keeps no reserves to sting conscience with. He will not feel a thousand things that sting others; and the real troubles that he must bear are shared by Him who has promised to carry our human sorrows.
“Be at peace with God, dear child, and let the love which that peace brings, speak in the very tones of your voice, in your manners, and in your ways. Then you need not be embarrassed if duty calls you either to a palace or to a hovel.”
“I shall get my lessons better to-day for that thought, mother. I shall not feel half so vexed if I fail when I have done the best I can.”
“That is the intention of religion always, my child, to keep the possessor calm, assured, and quite aside from the little jostlings and vexations of a self-seeking life.”
* * * * *
“The past is written, the future is beyond our control, but to-day is ours, and is an opportunity to bestow a gift which will be more welcome than any that money can purchase. There should be no guesswork concerning affection; ‘make it plain,’ ‘write it large.’ ’Silence is golden’ when it represses bitter words or ignorant comment, but it sinks like lead into the heart which has a right to expect tender and trustful utterances.”
* * * * *
“Well,” said Bessie, very emphatically, “I think Russel Morton is the best boy there is, anyhow.”
“Why so, pet?” I asked, settling myself in the midst of the busy group gathered around in the firelight.
“I can tell,” interrupted Wilfred, “Bessie likes Russ because he is so polite.”
“I don’t care, you may laugh,” said frank little Bess; “that is the reason—at least, one of them. He’s nice; he don’t stamp and hoot in the house, and he never says, ‘Halloo Bess,’ or laughs when I fall on the ice.”
“Bessie wants company manners all of the time,” said Wilfred. And Bell added: “We should all act grown up, if we wanted to suit her.”
Dauntless Bessie made haste to retort. “Well, if growing up would make some folks more agreeable, it’s a pity we can’t hurry about it.”
“Wilfred, what are company manners?” I questioned from the depths of my easy chair.
“Why—why—they’re—it’s behaving, you know, when folks are here, or we go a visiting.”
“Company manners are good manners;” said Horace.
“O yes,” answered I, meditating on it. “I see; manners that are too good—for mamma—but just right for Mrs. Jones.”
“That’s it,” cried Bess.
“But let us talk it over a bit. Seriously, why should you be more polite to Mrs. Jones than to mamma? Do you love her better?”