14. Half a dozen claimants will appear directly, and perhaps get into a serious quarrel; whereas, had the reply been, in the first instance, “Very well, let it be your seat,” there would have been an end to the matter.
15. But to return to Louisa. She magnified a thousand little things, of every day occurrence, in such a manner as proved a very serious inconvenience to herself.
16. She wished to have her potato sliced, but never mashed. She could not bear to see a door open a single moment; and, even if she were at her meals, and the closet door happened to stand ajar, she would jump up and fly to shut it, with the speed of lightning.
17. She could not endure the feeling of gloves; nor could she any better endure to have her hat tied. Her aunt bore with all these follies a while, and then deliberately resolved to counteract them.
18. Louisa at first thought this was very hard and unreasonable. “Why can’t I have my potato sliced, Aunt Cleaveland?” said she; “what hurt can it do? And why can’t I shut the door when it is open? is there any harm in that?”
19. “Not at all, my dear, in the thing itself,” Mrs. Cleaveland replied; “but there is a great deal of evil in having your tranquillity disturbed by things of such small moment.
20. “If you allow yourself to be distressed by trifles now, how will you bear the real trials of life, which you must inevitably sustain, sooner or later?
21. “By and by, you will find out that your suffering from these sources is all imaginary, and then you will thank me for having restrained you.
22. “Now, here is this nice dish of mashed potatoes, which we have every day. If such a little hungry girl as you are, since you have breathed our healthy mountain air, cannot eat it, and with relish too, I am greatly mistaken; and, in process of time, I have no doubt you will cease to observe whether the door is open or shut.”
23. On the first day of trial, Louisa just tasted the potato, and left the whole of it upon her plate. Her aunt took no notice of this. The next day, Louisa came in to dinner after a long walk, and was very hungry.
24. There was but one dish of meat upon the table, and it was of a kind which she did not much like; so, forgetting all her repugnance to mashed potato, she ate it very heartily.
25. Mrs. Cleaveland, however, forbore to take any notice of this change; and it was not until after several weeks had elapsed, and Louisa had ceased to think of the distinction between sliced potato and mashed potato, that her aunt reminded her of the importance which she had formerly attached to the former.
26. “Now, my dear Louisa,” said Mrs. Cleaveland, “since you find the task is not so very difficult as you apprehended, promise me that you will try to cure yourself of all these little infirmities; for such I must term them.
27. “There is so much real suffering in life, that it is a pity to have any which is merely imaginary; and though, while you are a little girl, living with indulgent friends, your whims might all be gratified, a constant and uniform regard to them will be impossible by and by, when you are old enough to mingle with the world.”