19. “Yes,” said Jenny, “she would think I was drowned.”
20. Time pressed, and Jenny’s countenance became more and more overcast, but Andrew could think of no way in which he could take the little girl home without being late and losing his standing in the school.
21. It was impossible to get her across the stream at any place nearer than the “big bridge;” he would not take her that way, and make up a false story to account for his lateness at school, and he could not leave her alone or take her with him.
22. What was to be done? While several absurd and impracticable plans were passing through his brain, the school bell began to ring, and he must start immediately to reach the schoolhouse in time.
23. And now his anxiety and perplexity became more intense than ever; and Jenny, looking up into his troubled countenance, began to cry.
24. Andrew, who had never before failed to be at the school door before the first tap of the bell, began to despair. Was there nothing to be done?
25. Yes! a happy thought passed through his mind. How strange that he should not have thought of it before! He would ask Dominie Black to let him take Jenny home. What could be more sensible and straightforward than such a plan?
26. Of course, the good old schoolmaster gave Andrew the desired permission, and everything ended happily. But the best thing about the whole affair was the lesson that the young Scotch boy learned that day.
27. The lesson was this: when we are puzzling our brains with plans to help ourselves out of trouble, let us always stop a moment in our planning, and try to think if there is not some simple way out of the difficulty, which shall be in every respect perfectly right. If we do this, we shall probably find a way more easy and satisfactory than any which we can devise.
Definitions.—8. Par-tic’u-lar, not ordinary, worthy of partic-ular attention, chief. 13. Dom’i-nie, the Scotch name for school-master. 18. Re-flect’ing, thinking earnestly. 20 Over-cast’, cov-ered with gloom. 21. Ac-count’, to state the reasons. 22. Im—prac’ti-ca-ble, not possible. 23. Anx-i’e-ty, care, trouble of mind. 27. De-vise’, plan, contrive.
Exercises.—Why could not Jenny cross the stream? Whom did she ask to help her? What can you tell about Andrew? Who was Jenny Murdock? What did Jenny wish Andrew to do? Why could he not go with her? Would it have been right for Andrew to have told an untruth even to help Jenny out of trouble? What did he finally do? What does this lesson teach us to do in case of trouble?
LI. THE GOLDEN RULE. (139)
1. To act with integrity and good faith was such a habit with Susan that she had never before thought of examining the Golden Rule: “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” But the longer she reflected upon it, the stronger was her conviction that she did not always obey the precept; at length, she appealed to her mother for its meaning.