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habits and ways are not easily got rid of; and then, Susie was very imperfect herself, and often provoked them to speak crossly.
But she was learning day by day, and little by little, to control herself. She watched over her temper and her words, and was more upon her guard than she used to be.
One half-holiday Harry was in a quarrelsome mood. He wanted Susie to play a game of ball with him ; but she could not very well, for she was busy finishing a little doll's frock for Bessy Wilson, who was to call for it in the evening. Perhaps she did not answer quite so politely as she should have done. Politely? Yes, dear reader, brothers and sisters, no less than strangers, should be polite to each other. Kindness of manner, and gentleness of tone, befit alike rich and poor, old
But however Susie spoke to her brother, that was no excuse for his ill-temper. He called her some rude names; and as he went out at the door, he caught up a small fancy-box with a glass lid, that Susie had bought with her last sixpence, and threw it right across the room. It fell with some force; the lid came off, and the glass was broken. He ran off when he saw the mischief he had done; and Susie burst into tears. Her mother came in while Susie was crying, and she was obliged to tell her what had happened. Mrs. Morris was very angry with Harry, and said that when he returned she should punish him in some way for his bad conduct.
Susie stitched away at her doll's frock, giving a sad look, every now and tlien, to her poor little box. “It
was such a shame of Harry to break it,” she said to herself. “He knew how much I liked it, and what care I took of it. And I shall not get another sixpence for a long time. He ought to be made to give me the money it cost. I shall not play with him all day to-morrow; he is a tiresome, disagreeable boy. I do not like him a bit!”
At that moment it seemed as if some one whispered in Susie's ear, “Susie, love your enemies : do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you.? How often this text came into her mind! But it was not very welcome there just now. It seemed to expect more from her than she could really manage. Some things she could forgive and forget. Harry pinched her arm one day, and she had neither screamed out nor pinched him in return. But to look over this affair of the box-to see her pretty little treasure spoiled, and to bear it patiently-oh, this she could not do. No," said Susie, “I cannot forgive him this time."
But another text forced itself into Susie's thoughts. It was one which aunt Mary had pointed out to her, and had begged her to learn by heart. “If ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses,” Mark ii. 26. Susie tried to forget these words : she did not like the message which they brought her ; but she could not get them out of her mind.
Susie went on with her work until it was neatly finished. It was nearly tea-time; so she got up and put away her needle and thread, and carried her dressmaking into the next room, to show it to her
mother. The little frock was praised, and a piece of blue ribbon promised for a sash; and then Susie said, “ Mother, don't say anything to Harry about my little box, please; I would so much rather you did not.”
“But he had no right to break your box, Susie; it was very wrong of him; and I cannot allow him to do such things.”
“I don't think he will again, mother; and perhaps, after all, he did not mean to break it ; he might not know how easily it would break. Any way, mother, I don't want him to be scolded for it now. Please not to tell him of it."
“ You are kinder to him than he deserves, Susie. But it shall be as you wish this time. Perhaps he only did it in fun."
Harry came in to tea, looking a little less bold than usual. He was rather uncertain what treatment he should meet with. But when he found that nothing was said about his misdeeds, and that Susie was the same as she always was, only rather graver, he regained his courage, and talked even more than the others.
Aftea tea, he went with John to spend the evening with one of their schoolfellows; and it was Susie's bed-time before they returned. She happened to run into the back garden after it was dark, to fetch in a little pet kitten ; and as she did so, she saw a flowerpot there belonging to Harry. It contained a young myrtle which he had put out in the afternoon, that it might be washed and refreshed by a shower of rain. But he had not intended to leave it out so long, and certainly not all night, on account of the frost; he had
forgotten it, and he would not be likely to remember it when he came home late, as the shutters were up and fastened.
Susie could of course carry it in-doors, and thus save it from harm. But why should she trouble herself about Harry's plant? If he had not broken her glass box, she might have cared for his myrtle; but now it should take its chance. It would serve him quite right if it were killed by the frost. So the little kitten was taken in to the warm fireside, and Harry's property was left out in the cold.
But it did not remain there. Susie could not rest until she had been out again and fetched the flowerpot in. She put it in its place, and then went comfortably to bed.
A sharp frost came on in the night. Harry's first thought in the morning was about his plant. He had come home the night before too full of his visit to recollect having left it out, and now he was afraid it would be much injured, if not quite killed, by the severe weather. He hastened into the garden, but it was not there. How glad he was to find it all safe and sound in the sitting-room! He asked his mother whether she had brought it in last night.
“No,” she said ; “Susie fetched it in. for you."
Harry did not say anything, but he was touched by his little sister's kindness. He wished he had not broken her pretty box. How could he have been so unkind, and so mean? He was ashamed of himself. It was Susie's forbearance that made him so.
The same afternoon Susie came home from school rather later than usual. It was Jane's week for keep
ing the room tidy, and Susie had waited for her that they might return together ; so that her brother Harry was at home before them. He was in the shop with his father as they passed through. You may imagine Susie's surprise, on going into the parlour, to see upon the table a glass-box like her own, only larger and prettier, with a piece of white paper laid upon it. On the paper was written, “For his dear little sister. From Harry Morris."
Susie was very much pleased ; not only because she was glad to have a whole box again, but also be. cause it was so kind of Harry to repair the mischief he had done, so quickly and so generously. He had bought the box with a shilling which he had saved towards a new paint-box. His self-denial showed that he was really sorry. But if Susie had been cross and revengeful he would not have cared about his unkindness to her, nor have spent his shilling upon her. How bright Susie looked as she ran and thanked him!
But you must not suppose that Susie always won the victory either over herself or others. She found, as every one will find who tries to overcome some fault, and to struggle against some besetting sin, that it is uphill work. It is not easy to get on. We make maný stumbles. We often slip backwards instead of going forwards.
Susie fancied that, as she had begun to put her text into practice, she should not have much trouble in continuing to do so. But there were times still when her good purposes failed, and when her hasty temper caused her both shame and sorrow. She felt some. times as if she never could love her enemies.