Lynde Palmer.

Helps over hard places : stories for boys online

. (page 4 of 10)
Online LibraryLynde PalmerHelps over hard places : stories for boys → online text (page 4 of 10)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

the corner of the house, felt a sharp little sting
in her heart, and ran home to cry all the
pleasant summer evening."

"I know what you mean, cousin Will,"
cried Kate, coloring violently, "but I don't
think it was at all right for you to stand
around listening?

" Oh ! do you mean our mouths are the
doors," exclaimed Harry, "and the little
crimson lady is Miss Tongue ? "

" Even so," said cousin Will,


" Well, who is the guard, and where do
they come from ? " asked Bob.

"Why, you have to ask the great King;
and this is what you must say : ' Set a watch,
O Lord, upon my lips, keep the door of my
mouth: Then he will send Patience and
Love to stand on one side of the door, and
Truth and. Humility on the other, and the
sharp, bitter, stinging little words won't dare
to come out,"

"I shall ask the great King," said little
Peace, thoughtfully. Cousin Will kissed her,
and repeated the verse till each one could say-
it. "Nov/ run to school," cried he, cheerily,
" and when you come home, I will tell you, the
minute I look at the four little doors, whether
the King's guard has been there all day."

So the children trooped away with their
dinner-baskets and books, and Love certainly
guarded the doors all the way to the school-
house. Even impulsive Kate thought deeply
on cousin Will's gentle reproof, and made
great resolutions for the future. During the
morning great peace and harmony reigned
throughout the school, but as the day ad-
vanced it became very warm. Every round
cheek became flushed, and the restless little


figures seemed examples of perpetual mo-

"Oh, I. never did see such flies!" said
Jenny Wood, fretfully, waving her hand
around her head.

" Why, Jenny Wood," cried Susy Waters,
almost aloud, " you've knocked my elbow,
and shook ink all over my copy! You're a
careless, hateful girl ! "

"Susan," said Miss Saunders, the teacher,
"are you whispering?"

"No, ma'am," replied Susy, promptly.

Peace looked up with such surprise in her
innocent eyes, that Miss Saunders turned to
her, asking, "Lucy, who was whispering in
your part of the room?"

Susy and Jenny both turned upon her with
a very threatening look, and little Peace, col-
oring painfully, burst into tears.

"Never mind," said Miss Saunders, kindly ;
"I did not think it was you, but Susy may
sit a while upon the recitation bench."

Susy looked black, and as she passed little
Peace she gave the child such a violent pinch
that she could scarcely keep from screaming.

"You're a cruel, wicked girl!" began Miss
Tongue * but Love and Patience kept the lit*


tie red door tight shut, and Susy did notheai
a word. Little Peace cried quietly to herself
a long time, but nobody seemed to notice it
till school was out, when sister Kate flew up
to Susy Waters.

" Wei], Susy, you certainly are the ugliest
girl — and, more than that, you're a coward^
for I've heard father say that only cowards
hurt people who are smaller and weaker than

Now Love, Humility and Patience had all
tried to keep guard, and to whisper, "Poor
Susy ; she was very tired and warm, and no-
body speaks kindly to her. Try and forgive
her." But no ! the door Hew open, and lit-
tle Miss Tongue threw all those hard stones
at Susy's heart.

Now Susy was very passionate, and she
stamped her feet, and grew crimson with rage,
and said such very hard things, that Jenny
Wood and most of the other girls took sides
with Kate, and there was soon such a Babel
of tongues, that the boys left their game of
ball and came to see what was the matter.

" What is it, Peace ? " cried Harry Graham,
taking his little frightened sister from Kate's
neck. " Why, Katy, you look as mad as poor


puss when Towser has chased her for an hour.
I wonder what cousin Will would say to that

Katy looked a little ashamed, and Fred
Waters, taking his sister by the arm, led her
away home, bitterly telling over wrongs in
his sympathizing ear. So the little party sep-
arated, and Kate, too, ran home with her
flushing cheeks, taking good care to keep out
of cousin Will's way.

Immediately after tea, Jenny Wood came
into the garden. "Oh, Kate," she cried, "I
must tell you what John is going to do. You
know he despises that hateful Susy Waters as
much as we do, and he says he will pay her
to-night for all her ugliness."

" What will he do ? " cried Kate, eagerly.

" Why, he, with one of the other boys, is
going there after dark to get that white kit-
ten she thinks so much of, and cut off its ears
and tail. Oh ! won't she be furious when
she sees it in the morning ? "

Kate looked a little doubtful, and said,
"Oh ! Fni afraid that won't be just right."

But Jenny talked so fast, and recalled so
many ugly things that she had said and done,
that Kate's scruples were soon orercome.


But Teace, who had stood by, with sad,
troubled eyes, immediately resolved in her
generous little heart to try and give Susy
warning. Finding Bob, she hastily told him
the whole story, and that she must go to
Susy's, but she'd run all the way, and be
back before dark.

It was a long walk for the tired little girl,
but the patient feet started bravely on their
errand of love. The sun set — the shadows
lengthened — all the little birds sang their
sweet good-night and put their heads under
their wings, but no little Peace came back.
Soon there were inquiries on every side, and
great shouting and calling, but no sweet echo-
ing voice returned. Servants were dispatched
in every direction, but all in vain. Soon the
family became much alarmed, and little Bob
was awakened to be asked if he knew any-
thing of his sister. He told all the story,
and Kate, coloring under cousin Will's re-
proachful gaze, burst into bitter weeping.
But no one had time to comfort her, for
father, mother, cousin Will, and all, started
forth with lanterns to find the pet of the

" I suppose she is blessed wherever she is,"


said little Bob, confidently, " because eho's a

" Ob, perhaps," groaned Kate, " she's gone
away from us all to be one of the children ol

All night long they searched for little
Peace, but she had not been at Susy's, nor
could she any where be found. When the
morning dawned, all the little schoolmates
with solemn faces joined in the search.

Susy Waters, who had heard the whole
story of the dear heart of little Peace, came
up to Kate, with a pale, tear-stained face.
"Oh, Kate, I shall never be happy again.
How cruel I was to your sweet little sister.
Can you ever forgive me ? "

Humility opened the door, and Kate said
softly, "I am just as bad as you. If I had
only been as kind as Peace, you would have
been different. I shall never forgive my-

Just then Bob cried, " Here's part of hot
dress on the fence." Cousin Will sprang for-
ward, and, climbing over, looked eagerly

Suddenly Farmer Waters cried, "There's
an old, half-chokod well by the fence in fho


next field. Could the little one have lost her
way, and fallen in that?"

Cousin Will rushed forward, followed by
the whole company. Yes, the rotten old
boards which had covered it for years were
broken, and there was another piece of the
little blue dress.

Cousin Will shuddered, and threw himself
down to look over the brink. Then came a
wild, triumphant cry ! The old well was
nearly filled up with rubbish. She had only
fallen a little way, and there, bathed in the
rosy morning light, the eager eyes, looking
over, saw the fair hair, and the sweet, calm
eyes of little Peace. Every boy's cap took a
turn in the air, and a clear, ringing " hurrah ! "
carried the good news to every house in the

Then followed warm embraces, and happy
tears, as the child was passed from friend to
friend. Then, while Susy, Jenny, and Kate
knelt hand in hand, the good old minister,
with his hand on the head of little Peace,
offered up a fervent thanksgiving. And after
praying that the little lambs might never for-
get the lesson of the night, but that God would
teach them that life and death were in the


power of the tongue, and that he would al-
ways keep the doors of all those tender
mouths, he added, reverently, —

"O Lord, open Thou our lips, and our
mouths shall show forth thy praise." And all
the children said, "Amen."



TnEKE could not have been a more beauti-
ful day. To be sure, there had been a few
clouds early in the morning, but, as ISTelly
"Warren declared, there was only enough water
in them for the sun to wash his face, and give
his little flower-children each a drink. And
now every thing was so bright and beautiful,
and every little drop dancing on the grass-
blades was shaking and twinkling io think
what a fright it had given the boys and girls,
when it was only " playing rain."

For you must know it was a holiday in the
little village Academy, and all the scholars
were going to take their dinners and spend
the happy day in the woods.

It was a very pleasant sight when the chil-
dren started in company from the Academy
gate. There were such sunny smiles playing
"hide and seek" in the merry dimples — such
bright eyes — blue, black, and gray — such


nimble, dancing feet, and oh ! such a chatter,
it would have utterly discouraged a full con-
vention of magpies and mocking-birds, if they
had been within hearing distance.

Bob Patterson would walk with pretty
Belle Hamilton, and very politely carried the
basket with the nice sandwiches and cake
packed cosily within. Charley Graham was
looking for Nelly Warren, who was not really
so very pretty, but was so good, that all hei
little mates would have been quite offended
with any one who did not think her beautiful.
Her face was quite sunburned and freckled .
and her eyes were certainly gray, but she hac
a kind and loving heart, was always ready tc
do any thing to make others happy, — in short,
the whole secret of little Nelly's beauty was,
that she tried to "iccdJc in love."

" Come, Nelly," cried Charley, " let me have
your basket, and I'll hold your little brother's
hand, too. Come, they will get ahead of us ! "

" Charley," whispered Nelly, " no one will
walk with poor Phil Barton."

" Well, Zdon't want to," said Susy Gifford,
pouting; "he walks so slow, and is so awk-
ward, and then he isn't full of fun, like the
rest of us."

84 Relps o v e it hard places.

"1 don't see why he wanted to come," said
Fanny Smythe. "If I were such a scare-a-crow
as lie, I'd go and live with the owls, and never
show myself in day-light."

" Oh, Fanny," exclaimed Nelly, "how could
yon? I'm almost sure he heard you;" and
she looked anxiously after a little deformed
boy, who limped slowly away from the group.

Fanny looked a little uneasy, and turned
away, arm-in-arm with Susy.

"Now, do come, Nelly," said Charley.
"Never mind Phil — he's used to walking

" Oh," said Nelly, almost crying, "he's been
talking of this walk all the week, and he
thought he was going to be so happy. iVbw,
I'm afraid he won't enjoy it at all. I believe
I must walk with him, Charley," she said, half

> "Well, Nelly Warren, you're a perfect
goose ! " cried Charley, angrily, " and always
do the queerest, most provoking things in the
world ; " and he, too, turned quickly away, and
hastened after the rest.

What a change a few angry words can
make. Nelly thought, for a moment, it was
growing dark and was going to rain, but it


was only a little mistiness in her own eyes,
and hastily passing the back of her little
brown hand across them, she ran on to Phil.

The poor boy was standing quite alone,
with a most pitiful look of patient sadness in .
his great brown eyes.

"Will you walk with me, Phil?" asked
Nelly, in her most cheerful tone.

The boy started, and said, with a sad but
grateful smile, "No, Nelly, thank you just the
same, but I think I won't go. I don't feel
quite well."

The tears overflowed Nelly's eyes, as she
took his poor, thin hand. " I know all about
it, Phil. You must not mind what the girls
oaid. They did not mean it — they didn't
think, — that's all. Now don't be angry,

" I am not angry," said the boy, very quiet-
ly, " but I suppose I must be a perfect fright ;
and Pll spoil all the fun for the rest."

"Not at all," cried Nelly, emphatically.
"Why, Phil, you have a very pleasant face.
You know all the boys and girls like you just
as soon as they really know you ; but some-
times you're proud] ust a little, and turn away
from them, and that provokes them, and hurts


their feelings, so they won't try to go tvith
you any more. Don't you know it, Phil? "

"Perhaps it is so," said Phil, very humbly;
"but I always think they're kind, because
they're so sorry for me, and all the time they
are longing to be somewhere else. Oh!
Nelly, you don't know how hard" — Phil
burst into tears.

Nelly tried to say something, but could
only cry too ; and it was just the best thing she
could do. There is no sympathy so sweet
and consoling as just to "weep with those
that weep." So, after the little outburst was
over, Phil felt much better, and was easily
persuaded to go on with Nelly. Indeed, the
whole aspect of things seemed changed, for
any way seems pleasant if we are only " walk-
ing in love."

The party, who were some distance in ad-
vance, waited at the entrance of the wood
for Nelly and her friend. " Isn't she a curious
girl?" said Susy Gilford. "I wouldn't be so
odd for all the world," said Fanny Smythe.
" She is just the best girl in the Academy,"
said Charley Graham, who began to be thor-
oughly sorry for his rude speech.

"Yes, that she is," echoed Belle Hamilton,


with an affectionate generosity, which made
her look prettier than ever.

Now they all went into the cool, green
woods, fragrant with wild-flowers and the
odorous pine trees. As they danced along
with singing and laughter, Phil quietly gath-
ered the sweetest and freshest blossoms, and
made them into a wreath for Nelly. But she
noticed that, in the little bouquet he carried
in his own hand, although the floicers were
beautiful, every stem was crooked, and a great
many had strange, misshapen leaves.

"Why do you pick flowers with such
crooked stems and leaves ? " asked Nelly.

"They are like me," replied poor, patient
Phil, with a smile that made Nelly feel like
bursting into tears.

"Don't feel bad, Nelly," he added, quickly.
"I like just such flowers. I like to look at
them, and think that, perhaps, if I try very
hard, I may have a beautiful soul, which will
some time come out, and make me pleasant
and lovely, just like these sweet flowers ol.
their crooked steins. All of this kind of plants,
Nelly, always make me think of very homely
persons who have beautiful thoughts."

Nelly looked sympathizing, and was glad


Phil was pleased, though she did not exactly
understand the odd fancies of the boy, who
had never known what it was to be careless
and happy, and who was thoughtful far be-
yond his years.

The rest of the morning passed very hap-
pily. The boys and girls were very good-
natured after all, and, following Nelly's exam-
ple, were all so kind to Phil, that it was by
far the happiest day he had known in weeks.

And Phil himself was never more anxious
to please. He knew just where the prettiest
flowers grew, and gathered them for the girls.
He made little bridges across the damp places,
that they might not wet their feet, and was
ready to carry all shawls and baskets that
were imposed on his good-nature. In fact,
since Nelly had told him lie was apt to be
cold and proud, he had been trying to over-
come it; and to judge from the kind looks
and pleasant words showered upon him, he
was already reaping his reward.

Only once, as they were looking for a pleas-
ant encampment, where they might eat din-
ner, Belle Hamilton exclaimed, "Who gave
Phil so much to carry ? It is too bad."

" Oh," said Fanny Smythe, in a whisper,


which was a little too loud, '.' that's all he's
good for. Don't the camels always carry
something?" and the thoughtless girl glanced
at the hump on poor Phil's back.

"Oh, Fanny!" exclaimed Nelly, as she
looked at the changing color in Phil's face,
and saw how his lip trembled when he
bravely attempted his old patient smile.
Fanny was really much abashed for a few
minutes, *and Phil was taken into extra favor
by the rest of the kind-hearted company.

I should make my story too long if I should
tell you all that was done throughout that
happy day — the merry games that were
played — the wonderful stories that were
told — the fairy bowers that were made, and
the sweet, wild strawberries that were picked
for tea. Neither have I time to tell you of
all the kind acts and words of the boys and
girls who, like Nelly, were trying to " walk
in love." There is only one thing more which
you may like to hear about Phil.

When they were on the way home, a very
merry but very tired party, Fanny Smythe
suddenly exclaimed, "Oh, I have lost my
coral pin that my aunt gave me on my birth


day. What shall I do?" and she buist into

All the boys and girls gathered around, fall
of sympathy. But they were all so tired, and
it was so late, no one offered to go hack.
Even little Nelly looked wistfully at the vil-
lage roofs, just visible through the trees, and
could not find courage to volunteer for the

" I'll tell you what, Fanny," said Charley
Graham, "I'll get up very early to-morrow
morning, and look all over wherever we've
been. I'm sure I'll find it, for no one goes in
the woods but just us boys and girls, and I'll
have it for you to-morrow, by school-time."

" Oh ! I'm sure it won't be found," sobbed
Fanny, "or it will be all broken in pieces. I
shan't sleep a wink to-night."

"Well," said Bob Patterson, "it is getting
so dark in the woods now, we certainly could
not find it. It is just nonsense to think of it ;
but if you'll only wait till to-morrow, I'll go
up with Charley."

"And I, and I," said one or two other

There was no other way, and Fanny, with
some very ungracious words about disobliging


people, went sobbing homeward, making
every one around her miserable.

No one noticed that Phil was missing from
the group, but as they slowly entered the vil-
lage street, Fanny still loudly lamenting,
an eager voice was heard, crying, "Fanny,
Fanny ; " and looking around, poor Phil was
discovered, limping as fast as he could, hold-
ing up the lost pin.

"Why, Phil Barton," cried a chorus of
voices, " did you go back ? Where did you
find it?"

" By the brook," panted Phil.

" Way back to the brook ! " cried they in
sympathizing surprise, while Fanny blushed

"Poor, dear Phil !" said Nelly, softly; and
she thought of the lovely flowers on the
crooked stems.

" Phil, you're splendid ! " cried Charley Gra-
ham, impulsively, — " let's be friends ; " and he
shook hands warmly with the pale, tired boy,
and insisted on walking home with nim.

But first Fanny must speak with him; and,
from her painful blushes and his embarrass-
ment, they knew she was asking his forgive-


ness; but no one liked Fanny the less foi

None of the boys and girls forgot the les-
son of that day, nor how very sweet it was
"to walk in love." Especially had every one
a new liking for Phil ; and the next Sabbath,
as in the chapter for the day were read the
sweet words of the coming of Christ — " who
shall change our vile body that it may be
fashioned like unto his glorious body" —
many a glance of tenderness was directed to
the pew where sat little Phil. His hands
were clasped tightly together, his large eyes
were dreaming of something far away, and
on his pale lips rested such a sweet, peaceful
smile, that Nelly knew the flower was blos-
soming, and that when Phil had a little
longer "walked in love," God would make
him beautiful forever.



Some little friends, when they read the words
"Dreaming Susy," — will be sure to imagine,
all in a minute, a pretty little girl — blue
eyes, dimples and roses mixed in just the right
proportions — who has been playing all day,
and, very tired, has at last fallen asleep out in
the hay-field, or under the apple tree.

But no : you are not quite right, Tom and
Kitty, for the little girl that I am going to
tell you about used to dream with her eyes
wide open. All day long, from sunrise to sun-
set, little Susy dreamed and dreamed, till you
hardly knew whether to say she was ever
awake or not.

Perhaps you will understand me better if
I give an account of one of the days of
Susy's life.

In the morning would come a loud call —
" Susy ! Susy ! it is time to get up ! " and
Susy, rubbing her eyes, would answer, " Yes,



mother," and sit up in bed. Then she would
think, — " What a trouble to put on my stock-
ings and shoes and comb my hair. How nice
it would be" — and here Susy would begin
to dream — "if I had a little black slave to
come in and wait on me. She would wash me
with sweet perfumed soap, and curl my hair in
[ong ringlets, and dress me in a blue silk dress,
and put a little thin handkerchief, all em-
broidery, in my hand, and then, if I felt lazy,
I would say, 'You may bring my breakfast
up stairs, this morning, Jette, — a little broiled
chicken and some toast; and — let me see —
yes, some preserves and cake, and'" —

" Susy, Susy ! " her mother's voice would
break in, " breakfast is all ready ; " and Susy,
with a great start, would find she had been
dreaming half an hour, and the end of
it all would be that she would either lose
her breakfast altogether, or come down very
ill-naturedly, with her hair hastily twisted in
a little knot, and make a meal of cold cakes
and potatoes, in such very different plight
from what she had imagined in that pleasant
dream, that tears of vexation were continually
coming in her eyes.

Then after breakfast her brother would


say, " Susy, do you know your arithmetic
lesson? It's all fractions, and I've been up
studying for more than an hour."

" Oh, Joe, please let me take the book,"
cried Susy; "I don't know one word ; " and
sitting down in the door-way, she opens at
the place. Oh dear, how could she ever un-
derstand it ? What a regiment of figures —
$ off of 3}! How could she ever bring
them into line, and find out just what they
were worth? Susy scowled and fretted, and
then, staring up into the big tree before the
door, a vacant, absent look came in her eyes,
and in a minute she was off dreaming.

" How nice it would be," thought Susy, " if
I lived in a palace, and had a fairy god-mother.
There was once a princess whose cruel step-
mother put her in a room where there was a
great heap of feathers. ' These,' said she,
' are the feathers of a hundred different birds,
and you must pick them all out by night, and
have each kind by itself in a hundred differ-
ent heaps, or I'll kill you.' So the poor prin-
cess cried and cried," —

" Susy, Susy," cried Joe, " you're way off
in the clouds. You're not studying at all."


" I will in a minute," cried Susy, emphati-
cally, and then she went on:

" So the poor princess cried, and cried, till
at last her fairy god-mother came, and waved
her wand three times, and every little blue
and red feather flew into its place in a minute.
jSTow," thought Susy, " if a fairy could only
come and wave over this lesson, and make
every figure fly just where it ought, and make
all the sense of it run into my brain, how
splendid it would be ! Then, when I recited,
Miss Brown would say, 'You have an ad-
mirable lesson, Miss Susan ; go to the head of
the class,' and " —

Ding-dong, ding-dong ! " Why, that can't
be the school bell," cried Susy, jumping up
hastily. " It is, though," said Joe ; " and your
wits have been on a goose-chase for almost
three-quarters of an hour. I took your Arith-
metic away ten minutes ago, and you never
knew it at all."

Susy rose with flushed cheeks and tearful
eyes, and held out her hand for the book.

1 2 4 6 7 8 9 10

Online LibraryLynde PalmerHelps over hard places : stories for boys → online text (page 4 of 10)