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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 44 pages of information about Effie Maurice.

’Oh, mother!  I know it is not small, though I never thought it was so very wicked before.’

‘And what makes you think it is wicked now?’

’Because it has led me to do so many wicked things.  In the first place, it was wrong to read immediately after breakfast, for then is the time that you desire me to work.’

’Well, do you see any bad effect that the neglect of this rule may have on your future life?’

’I suppose I should make a very useless woman, if I should grow up in ignorance of work.’

’Yes, certainly you would; when I insist upon your attending to your few duties at a particular time—­can you imagine the reason of this?  Why not read the book this morning, and make up the lost time this evening?’ Effie could not tell, and Mrs Maurice went on to explain the necessity of order in the distribution of time, and shewed her little daughter, that it was as necessary in the government of a house as in the government of a nation.  ‘But that is not the only bad effect,’ she added, ‘of your self-indulgence.’

’Oh no, mother, it made me disobedient to you, though I am sure I didn’t think of being so at the time.’

’I dare say not, but you see when we once go wrong, we are like a traveller who has lost his path, and can be certain of nothing.’

’Then I forgot my duty to poor Mrs Gilman—­I even made myself believe that there was no need of going to see her; and I was cross to Harry, and so selfish, that if I had not been ashamed to own it, I would have had him give up his ride and go with the medicine.’

‘And he would rather have gone ten times than—­’

‘I know it, mother, rather a hundred times than have the baby die.’

‘Or see you do so very wrong.’

’Oh, Harry has been crying about it, I know, though he can’t feel half so badly as I do.  But that was not all, mother—­last of all, I broke my promise.  I told Harry I would go as soon as I finished the chapter.’

‘And all this,’ said Mrs Maurice, ’is the result of what, under other circumstances, would be a mere innocent gratification, a pleasant pastime, and a useful exercise.’

‘But, mother, when I once begun, I thought I could not stop.’

’Then that was the very moment when you should have stopped, and this one victory would have made others easier.  Now I am not afraid, my dear, of your being led astray (at least at present) by things which you know to be wrong; your danger lies on the unguarded side, and yet it is as likely to prove fatal to your peace of mind, your piety, and your usefulness.’

’It never seemed to me before, that so much evil could come from such a small thing.’

’Then you have learned an all-important lesson, which I trust will not be soon forgotten.’

’But, mother, I shall always be afraid of doing wrong now—­I don’t even know what is right.’

’That shews me, Effie, that you begin to look upon yourself as you really are.  If you are left to yourself, you will do wrong; but if you distrust self, and place all your confidence in God, and at the same time study to do right, you will not, for any long time, be left in darkness.’

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