’That is what I was going to tell you about, mother. You know how much Deacon Brown, gives—he heads all the subscription papers, and I heard father say the other day that he was a great help to the church; but Mr Otis says that he is never willing to pay people that work for him their full price, and then they have to wait, and dun, and dun, before they can get anything.’
‘I am sorry to hear this, my son, very sorry.’
‘Isn’t it true mother?’
’It is true that Deacon Brown in some instances has seemed more generous than just, and this case is very good to illustrate what I before said; but Mr Otis makes it appear much worse than it is.’
‘Then he don’t cheat his workmen, mother?’
’No; but, by procrastination, thoughtlessness, or even perhaps the desire which business men may have to make a good bargain, he may do wrong, and so lay himself open to all these remarks. Bad qualities, you know, shew much plainer in a good man than a bad one, and are almost always made to appear worse than they really are. But let this be a warning to you, my boy—remember that good (not great) actions seldom cover faults, but faults obscure the lustre of many good actions, and destroy the usefulness of thousands of really good and pious people.’
THE NEW BOOK.
‘A present for you, Effie,’ said Mr Maurice, a few days after the foregoing conversation, ’a present from your uncle William! it is in this nice little packet, now guess what it is.’
‘No, but you must guess.’
‘Why it’s a book—say a book, Effie,’ interposed Harry, ’with sights of pictures, I dare say, and may be pretty gilt letters on the back, too.’
‘Is it a book?’ inquired Effie, her little eyes dancing with pleasure, ’and from uncle William, too? Oh how good he is to remember a little girl like me!’
By this time Mr Maurice had unwound the cord and unfolded the paper, and displayed a neat little book—what think you it was? ’Peter Parley’s Stories,’ says one, ‘The Love Token,’ says another. No, you are both wrong. Effie Maurice was almost a woman before these books were written. Mrs Sherwood was then the children’s friend, and some beautiful stories she told them, too. The book had neither pictures, nor gilt letters, but this did not spoil it for Effie, and she was soon so busily engaged in reading that she forgot that there was anything in the world but herself and the delightful book—more still, she forgot even her own existence, and thought only of the people about whom she was reading. A half-hour passed away and then Mrs Maurice reminded Effie of her room, and told her it had better be put in order.
‘Yes, mother, in a few minutes.’ The few minutes passed away, and Mrs Maurice spoke again.
‘I will, mother.’ Mrs Maurice saw that Effie forgot these words almost as soon as spoken, but instead of telling her at once to put up the book, and do as she was bidden, she allowed her to pursue her own course for this once, hoping by this means to cure her of a very bad habit.