“How would you like to hear a story while you sit here sewing by my side?”
“Oh, ever so much, mamma! A story! a story!” And all the little flock clustered about mamma’s chair, for they dearly loved her stories.
This was an old favorite, but the narrator added some new characters and new scenes, spinning it out, yet keeping up the interest, till it and the hour came to an end very nearly together.
Then the children, finding that was to be all for the present, scattered to their play.
Mrs. Ross had come in a few minutes before, and signing to her friend to proceed, had joined the group of listeners.
“Dear me, Elsie, how can you take so much trouble with your children?” she said. “You seem to be always training and teaching them in the sweetest, gentlest way; and of course they’re good and obedient. I’m sure I love mine dearly, but I could never have the patience to do all you do.”
“My dear friend, how can I do less, when so much of their future welfare, for time and for eternity, depends upon my faithfulness?”
“Yes,” said Lucy slowly, “but the mystery to me is, how you can keep that in mind all the time, and how you can contrive always to do the right thing?”
“I wish I did, but it is not so; I make many mistakes.”
“I don’t see it. You do wonderfully well anyhow, and I want to know how you manage it.”
“I devote most of my time and thoughts to it; I try to study the character of each child, and above all, I pray a great deal for wisdom and for God’s blessing on my efforts; not always on my knees, for it is a blessed truth, that we may lift our hearts to him at any time and in any place. Oh, Lucy,” she exclaimed with tearful earnestness, “if I can but train my children for God and heaven, what a happy woman shall I be I the longing desire of my heart for them is that expressed in the stanza of Watts’s Cradle Hymn:
’Mayst them live to
know and fear him,
Trust and love him all thy days,
Then go dwell forever near him,
See his face and sing his praise!’”
“Beware the bowl! though rich and bright,
Its rubies flash upon the sight,
An adder coils its depths beneath,
Whose lure is woe, whose sting is death.”
Mrs. Ross had found a nurse for Mrs. Gibson and a seamstress to help with the sewing; a good many of the needed garments were ordered from New York ready made, and in a few days the invalid was comfortably established in the seaside cottage recommended by Dr. Morton.
In another week, Sally found herself in possession of a wardrobe that more than satisfied her modest desires. She called at the Crags in her new traveling dress, to say good-bye, looking very neat and lady-like; happy too, in spite of anxiety in regard to her sight.