“Sometimes people become deranged simply from the indulgence of their tempers. Do you think I should be a good and kind father if I allowed you to go on in a path that leads to such dreadful ends here and hereafter?”
“No, sir,” she said in an awed tone; “and I will try to control my temper.”
“I am glad to hear that resolve,” he replied. “The Bible tells us, ’He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.’”
They were silent for a little while, then hanging her head and blushing, “Papa,” she asked, “what did you do with those notes you made me write?”
“Sent them to those to whom they were addressed. And they were very kind, Lulu; much kinder than you deserved they should be; both your Grandma Elsie and your Uncle Edward expressed regret that you had been made to apologize, and spoke of you in affectionate terms.”
“I’m glad,’” she said with a sigh of relief; “and I don’t mean ever to be at all impertinent to them again.”
“I trust you will not indeed,” he said.
“Papa, I think this is about where I was the other evening when I first noticed that the storm was coming.”
“A long way from home for a child of your age; especially alone and at night. You must not indulge your propensity for wandering to a distance from home by yourself. You are too young to understand the danger of it; too young to be a guide to yourself, and must therefore be content to be guided by older and wiser people.
“You said, a while ago, ‘I just can’t be good;’ did you mean to assert that you could not help being disobedient to me that evening?”
She hung her head and colored deeply. “It was so pleasant to walk along looking at the beautiful, changing sea, papa,” she said, “that I couldn’t bear to stop, and wouldn’t let myself think how far I was going.”
“Ah, just as I suspected; your could not was really would not; the difficulty all in your will. You must learn to conquer your will when it would take you in the wrong direction.
“We will turn and go back now, as it is not far from tea-time.”
Lulu shrank from meeting the rest of their party, particularly Grandma Elsie and Edward; but they all treated her so kindly that she was soon at her ease among them again.
“I am rapt, and cannot
Cover the monstrous bulk of this ingratitude
With any size of words.”
The next day they all set out soon after breakfast for a long drive, taking the direction of the camping-ground of the lads, where they called and greatly astonished Max with a sight of his father, whom he supposed to be far out on the ocean.
The boy’s delight fully equalled his surprise, and he was inclined to return immediately to ’Sconset; but the captain advised him to stay a little longer where he was; and he accordingly decided to do so; though regretting the loss of even an hour of the society of the father who was to him the best man in the world and the most gallant and capable officer of the navy; in short, the impersonation of all that was good, wise, and brave.