“Because of the cruelty it would encourage. And now, Lucilla, I want you to reflect how very kind it is in Grandpa Dinsmore and Grandma Elsie to be willing to take my children in and share with them their own delightful home. You have not the slightest claim upon their kindness, and very few people in their case would have made such an offer. I really feel almost ashamed to accept so much without being able to make some return, even if I knew my children would all behave as dutifully and gratefully as possible. And knowing how likely your conduct is to be the exact reverse of that, I can hardly reconcile it to my conscience to let you go with them to Ion. I am afraid I ought to place you in a boarding-school at once, before I am ordered away.”
“O papa, don’t!” she begged. “I’ll try to behave better.”
“You must promise more than that,” he said; “promise me that you will yield to the authority of your mamma and her mother and grandfather as if it were mine; obeying their orders and submitting to any punishment they may see fit to inflict, just as if it were my act.”
“Papa, have you said they might punish me?” she asked, with a look of wounded pride.
“Yes; I have full confidence in their wisdom and kindness. I know they will not abuse the authority I give them, and I have told them they may use any measures with my children that they would with their own in the same circumstances. Are you ready to give the promise I require?”
“Papa, it is too hard!”
“The choice is between that and being sent to boarding-school.”
“Oh, it’s so hard!” she sobbed.
“Not hard at all if you choose to be good,” her father said. “In that case you will have a delightful life at Ion. Do you make the promise?”
“Yes, sir,” she said, as if the words were wrung from her, then hid her face on his breast again and cried bitterly.
“My little daughter, these are tears of pride and stubbornness,” sighed her father, passing his hand caressingly over her hair, “and you will never be happy until those evil passions are cast out of your heart. They are foes which you must fight and conquer by the help of Him who is mighty to save, or they will cost you the loss of your soul. Any sin unrepented of and unforsaken will drag you down to eternal death; for the Bible says, ‘Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.’”
“Papa,” she said, “you are the only person God commands me to obey, and I’m willing to do that.”
“No, it seems not, when my command is that you obey some one else. My little girl, you need something that I cannot give you; and that is a change of heart. Go to Jesus for it, daughter; ask Him to wash away all your sins in His precious blood and to create in you a clean heart and renew a right spirit within you. He is able and willing to do it, for He says, ‘Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out.’ We will kneel down and ask Him now.”