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she heard Emma Perkins trying to borrow a slatepencil ; she had left her own at home, and now she wanted to write her exercise. Nobody appeared to have any to lend, and Emma was lamenting her want, when Susie held out her pencil; it was a new one, and nicely pointed. “You can have mine if you like, Emma; I have done my sums; I shall not want it at present."
Emma was rather astonished. She had not er. pected any help from Susie. She took the pencil, and thanked her; and her thanks sounded very pleasant in Susie's ear, for she so seldom got them from her.
Susie had made a great effort in offering Emma her pencil, but she felt well repaid for it. She felt that she had acted rightly, and there is always comfort in knowing that. She had also been of some service to Emma, and to be useful is one way to be happy. Susie learned her tables very quickly afterwards; she thought nine times was easier than eight times; but the truth was, that she learned with more spirit because she had been less selfish than usual.
Before the school broke up for the morning, Susie was trying to reach from a high shelf a book, which she was going to take home with her. She could not manage it, and was about to fetch a stool for that purpose, when some one behind her stretched out a longer arm, and brought down the book for her. It was Emma Perkins. “One good turn deserres an. other, little Susie,” she said: "and here is your pencil back again, not much the worse for wear. Tell Jane, when you go home, that I am coming in to see her this evening."
Susie hardly noticed this time that she was called “little” Susie, because Emma's attention was so pleasant to her. She began to think it was possible that she might be almost like Emma some day, if she went on changing for the better. She should not want to have her for a friend, but she might be able to give up looking upon her as a foe; and that was much more than she would yesterday have thought likely. Susie fancied that the chavge was all on Emma's side; she forgot that she had made the beginning by lending Emma her pencil.
Susie ran home with a light step, and a bright little face. Jane's cold was much worse, and she was rather fretful. She generally was so when she was unwell. She was naturally of an active turn, and did not like being obliged to sit still, and do nothing about the house.
“I wish you would shut the door after you, Susie," she said, peevishly, as Susie ran into the room, leaving the door ajar ; “there is such a draught; but, of course, as you don't feel it, you don't think about it.”
“What a fuss you make about a little draught, Jane !” said Susie, going out again, and slamming the door after her, with a noise sufficient to make anybody's head ache.
Was that right of Susie? She knew it was not; and she wished the next minute that she had not been so touchy. But she excused herself by laying most of the blame on her sister.
When she came downstairs again, she heard Jane talking to her mother about a book which Miss Deane--a young lady who sometimes came to see
them-had offered to lend her if she would send for it. It was a new story-book, and, from what Jane knew about it, just the sort of book that she liked. She wanted it very much now that she had a cold, and could do little else but read: but she could not go out herself, and the boys were not at home. They had taken their dinners with them to school that day, and would not return till tea-time. And Ruth, the little servant girl, was out for a holiday.
“You must wait till evening, Jane,” said her mother. “ John will be going out then for your father, and he will bring it back with him.”
“I could have read it so nicely this afternoon," said Jane; " and I am so tired sitting here with nothing to amuse me; it makes my cold seem even worse than it is."
Now I dare say you are thinking just what was in Susie's mind at that moment—that she ought to go and fetch the book for Jane. It would be only kind and sisterly to do so. But then Susie was not very fond of walking, and she had one or two little things that she meant to do for herself until school time. It often happens in our daily life that duty and inclination point in exactly opposite directions. Which ought to give way? Why, you will say, inclination ought to give way to duty. Yes, it should; but does it always ? Will it do so now in Susie's case ?
Susie felt disposed to be quiet, and not say any. thing about the book. She had not been asked to go, and therefore it was not expected of her. Why need she offer herself? Jane did not deserve it either, because she had been so cross about the door being left
These thoughts passed quickly through Susie's mind, but better thoughts followed them. Susie laid down the collar she was working, and, looking at her sister, said, “ Shall I run to Miss Deane's and get you the book, Jane? There will be time before dinner is ready."
Oh, thank you, Susie. I shall be so glad if you will. I did not like to ask you, because you have such a long walk to school. But if you think it won't tire you too much
Oh, no,” said Susie, springing up, “it is not so very far, and I shall rest while I am having my dinner."
The day was fine and clear, and an extra walk did Susie good rather than harm. It did her good also by the happy feeling which it gave her, on account of her having conquered her selfish will, and thus pleased her sister.
Susie brought a nice-looking book from Miss Deane's, and Jane began directly to read it. But she kissed Susie first, and told her that she was much obliged to her for being so kind : and she made her take a pear which John had given her that morning.
When Susie went back to school after dinner, she left Jane sitting comfortably by the fire, with her book open before her. She bore her cold much more patiently now that she was so well employed. Susie knew it was through her help that Jane had this pleasure so soon; for if she had not fetched the book, Jane must have been without it all the afternoon. And this thought was like a bright gleam of sunshine to Susie the rest of the day.