18. One day, as she sat propped up by pillows, she told her mother all that had passed during her absence, and awaited her decision respecting the use she had made of her time.
19. “My dear child,” said Mrs. Elinore, “I trust the past will afford a lesson you will never forget. So far from having made good use of your time, you have done harm in everything you have undertaken.
20. “Your attempts at study, instead of affording you any real instruction, have only given you habits of inattention, which you will find very difficult to overcome; for your eyes have wandered over the page, while your thoughts have been with the fool’s, to the ends of the earth.
21. “Your irregular care of my plants, which you thought would serve instead of habitual attention, has been the means of destroying them as effectually as if you had allowed them to perish from total neglect.
22. “Your injudicious benevolence to the Wilsons served only to make the children envious of each other, without giving them habits of neatness, which are essential to the well-being of such a family; while it had a worse effect upon yourself, because it not only wasted your precious time, but excited in you a feeling of vanity, on account of what you considered a good action.
23. “If, instead of trusting so boldly to your good resolutions, you had entered upon your duties with an humble mind, and resolved to try to do right,—if you had apportioned your time with some degree of regularity,—you might have performed all that was required of you, enjoyed all your amusements, and gratified every kindly feeling, without a single self-reproach.
24. “As it is, you feel sensible of having failed in everything,—of having exposed yourself to great peril, and subjected your mother to great anxiety, simply from your disposition to loiter, when you should labor.
25. “I trust that, in the solitude of your sick chamber, ’the still small voice’ of your many wasted hours has made itself heard, and that hereafter you will not so utterly fail to make good use of your time.”
Verse, or Poetry.
1. All the lessons in this book which you have thus far read have been in prose. I intend to give you some lessons in verse, or, as it is sometimes, but improperly called, poetry.
2. There is a great deal of difference between verse and poetry; but as this book is intended for those who are not quite old enough to understand all these differences, I shall not attempt at present to point them out to you.
3. But I wish you first to understand the difference, which you can see with your eye, between prose and verse. The lines of verse often end in what are called rhymes. Thus, if one line ends with the word found, the next line ends with a word which sounds very much like it, as ground, round, bound, sound, hound, wound.