For an answer, Dr. Van Anden turned the Bible leaves again, and pointed with his finger to this verse, which Sadie read:
“But as he which has called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation.”
After that he went out of the room.
And Sadie, reading the verse over again, could not but understand that she might have a perfect pattern, if she would.
THE POOR LITTLE FISH.
“Mother,” said Sadie, appearing in the dining-room one morning, holding Julia by the hand, “did you ever hear of the fish who fell out of the frying-pan into the fire?” Which question her mother answered by asking, without turning her eyes from the great batch of bread which she was molding: “What mischief are you up to now, Sadie?” “Why, nothing,” said Sadie; “only here is the very fish so renowned in ancient history, and I’ve brought her for your inspection.”
This answer brought Mrs. Ried’s eyes around from the dough, and fixed them upon Julia; and she said, as soon as she caught a glimpse of the forlorn little maiden: “O, my patience!”
A specimen requiring great patience from any one coming in contact with her, was this same Julia. The pretty blue dress and white apron were covered with great patches of mud; morocco boots and neat white stockings were in the same direful plight; and down her face the salt and muddy tears were running, for her handkerchief was also streaked with mud.
“I should think so!” laughed Sadie, in answer to her mother’s exclamation. “The history of the poor little fish, in brief, is this: She started, immaculate in white apron, white stockings, and the like, for the post-office, with Ester’s letter. She met with temptation in the shape of a little girl with paper dolls; and, while admiring them, the letter had the meanness to slip out of her hand into the mud! That, you understand, was the frying-pan. Much horrified with this state of things, the two wise young heads were put together, and the brilliant idea conceived of giving the muddy letter a thorough washing in the creek! So to the creek they went; and, while they stood ankle deep in the mud, vigorously carrying their idea into effect, the vicious little thing hopped out of Julia’s hand, and sailed merrily away, down stream! So there she was, ’Out of the frying-pan into the fire,’ sure enough! And the letter has sailed for Uncle Ralph’s by a different route than that which is usually taken.”
Sadie’s nonsense was interrupted at this point by Ester, who had listened with darkening face to the rapidly told story:
“She ought to be thoroughly whipped, the careless little goose! Mother, if you don’t punish her now, I never would again.”
Then Julia’s tearful sorrow blazed into sudden anger: “I oughtn’t to be whipped; you’re an ugly, mean sister to say so. I tumbled down and hurt my arm dreadfully, trying to catch your old hateful letter; and you’re just as mean as you can be!”