“Just the same as before, my child; because I believe you are truly sorry for your sin against God and against me.”
“Thank you, dear, dear mamma! oh I hope God will help me to keep from ever being naughty any more.”
“Conscience makes cowards of us all.”
Meta was not in a cheerful or companionable mood during the walk that afternoon; the stings of conscience goaded her and she was haunted by the fear that Violet, so young and innocent, so utterly unused to concealments, would betray her share in the mischief done, even without intending to do so.
“Meta, what’s the matter with you?” Herbert asked at length; “you haven’t spoken a pleasant word since we came out.”
“I’m not ill,” was the laconic reply.
“Then you must be in the sulks, and ought to have staid at home,” returned the plain-spoken brother.
“Oh don’t tease her,” said little Elsie. “Perhaps she has a headache, and I know by myself that that makes one feel dull, and sometimes even cross.”
“You cross! I don’t believe you ever were in your life,” said Herbert. “I’ve never seen you any thing but pleasant as a May morning.”
“Don’t quarrel, children, but help me to gather some of these lovely flowers to scatter over the graves up there on the hill,” said Rosie Dinsmore.
“Our graves,” said Eddie, softly. “Yes I’d like to; but, Aunt Rosie, I don’t believe we can get in.”
“Yes, we can,” she answered. “Uncle Joe’s up there at work, weeding and trimming the rosebushes.”
“Then I’ll gather plenty of these beauties,” said Eddie, stooping to pluck the lovely, many-hued blossoms that spangled the velvety grass at their feet in every direction.
“How beautiful! how beautiful they are! and some of them so fragrant!” exclaimed Elsie, rapidly filling a pretty basket she carried in her hand. “How good God is to give us so many lovely things!”
“Yes,” returned Rosie, “it seems a pity to pluck them from their stems and make them wither and die; but there is such a profusion that what we take can hardly be missed.”
“And it’s honoring our graves to scatter flowers over them: isn’t it, Aunt Rosie?” Eddie asked.
“Why do you say our graves? just as if you were already buried there,” laughed Herbert.
“Come,” said Rosie, “I think we have enough now.”
“O Aunt Rosie, down in that little dell yonder they are still thicker than here, and more beautiful, I think,” exclaimed Elsie.
“But we have enough now; your basket is full. We’ll go to that dell as we come back, and gather some to take home to our mammas.”
“Oh yes, that will be best,” Elsie said, with cheerful acquiescence.
“I shall go now and get some worthy to honor the dead,” said Meta, starting off in the direction of the dell.