* * * * *
She was a tiny girl, playing by herself in a wide, grassy yard. The older children had gone to school, but she, too young for that, was busying herself with putting in order a playhouse in an arbor—arranging it as nearly as possible as it had been the day before, when she and two or three little mates had enjoyed such a merry time there. To and fro trudged the tireless feet, patiently the small hands worked, and at last all was complete. Then the young worker looked about her, and slowly a shadow of disappointment crept over the face that had been so eager. Something was lacking. Everything was in the remembered order, but it did not seem the same. She studied it for a minute or two, then walked away and sat down on a sunny doorstep. The mother found her there a little later, a listless, quiet little figure.
“Are you tired of your playhouse already, dear?” she asked.
The childish eyes were uplifted with a look of wistful wonder in them, and the answer came slowly.
“I can’t do it—I can’t make yesterday over again.”
[Illustration: "I can’t make yesterday over again."]
It was the hopeless task that in one form or another we all undertake, and with which many darken their whole lives because they will not learn that it is an impossible one. Yesterday’s roses died with the day, yesterday’s manna was only for yesterday’s need, but there are new flowers and new food for to-day from the same gracious hand that bestowed the other, if only we will go cheerfully and trustingly forward. The treasures and pleasures we have had are for memory and thanksgiving, but the moment we sit down beside them to grieve or to try to reconstruct them out of their ruins we have changed them from a blessing to a hindrance. We cannot make yesterday over again.
* * * * *
Meg had been playing in the garden all the morning, and when mama called her in she had earth on her hands, and smuts on her face, and she looked such a grubby little thing.
Mama smiled. “You have been having a good time, Meg,” she said.
And she put a tin bason with some soap and warm water in it on a chair where Meg could reach.
“Now, then, wash your hands and face, dear. Dada will soon be in for dinner.”
But Meg pouted. “I don’t want to wash,” she said. “I am not dirty.”
Mama waited a little, but when she saw that Meg did not begin to wash, she said, quite gravely:
“You cannot sit at the table, as you are, dear. If you do not wash, then you must go without your dinner.”
Meg stood a minute, then, as she saw that mama was quite firm, she put her hands into the water and began to wash and scrub them.