“Dear children,” said Miss Rose, “you are only little and young, to be sure, but you may as well learn that God never wants you to try to be miserable. He means you to be as merry and happy as you can be. Consider a minute. Have you ever been very unhappy when you have been good?”
“No,” said Edith.
“I have,” said Mabel, “when I’ve had the teethache.”
Miss Rose laughed.
“Well, that was a pretty good cause; but generally, when children are not naughty, they are happy. You would only vex your dear mamma, and make her feel badly, if you were moping and fretting here, where she sent you to be with your auntie. Then you would spoil auntie’s pleasure if, instead of laughing and singing, you were crying and sitting in the corner. She would say, ’O dear, what queer children these are! I’ll be glad when they’re gone away.’”
“That would be dreadful! to have Aunt Maria think that,” said Edith. “But tell us your opinion about it.”
“My opinion is, that it is every one’s duty to be as cheerful as he can be all the time. If things vex us and trouble us, let us say, ’Never mind.’ If it rains to-day, it will be clear to-morrow. If we pray to our Father, about everything, we will never need to be sorrowful long.”
Then Miss Rose taught them a pretty little verse:
“Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you.”
Kneeling that night by her little white bed, Edith said her prayers as usual, and then added another petition:
“Dear Lord Jesus, make me happy every night and day, so that I shall love everybody, and everybody love me.”
Edith was already one of those children whose lives are like “a little light, within the world to shine.”
Cherries are ripe.
Faster and faster flew the May days by, and all the world was beautiful. The strawberries grew red and sweet upon the vines, and the children went out with the pickers to gather them, but they didn’t work very steadily at this, for the sun was hot, and picking berries is apt to make the back ache. But the cherries most delighted them, and when Aunt Maria told them that they could have just as many cherries to eat as they wanted, and gave them one tree all to themselves, they hardly knew how to express their joy. It was not only in eating the cherries, that they had pleasure, for Aunt Maria let them have a tea-party, and said they might choose their guests.
“They don’t know anybody but the Lesters and the Randolphs,” she said complacently to Miss Rose.
“I shouldn’t be a bit surprised if Edith and Johnnie invited a lot of little ragamuffins from Wood’s Alley,” replied Miss Rose.