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tage furniture, just the size for a little girl, and nice white sheets, a pretty white quilt, and a soft, warm carpet. Mamma lets me have it arranged just as I like best, if I keep it neat. My dresses all hang in the wardrobe, and I have a little bookcase for my own books.”
“How happy you must be !” said Patty. “Don't you love your mother dearly? Don't you wait upon her, and kiss and thank her every day, because she is so good to you ? "
Bessie did not answer. Conscience was very busy whispering to Bessie's heart, and reminding her of how she did repay this loving mother's care. All her old, fretful speeches seemed singing in the little girl's ears, as she sat considering Patty's remark. The tea-bell interrupted her, and she went down to eat a bowl of bread and milk, which her aunt considered exactly the right breakfast and tea for little girls.
The visit lasted a week. Every morning Bessie was called up at daylight, and through the day she was kept busy sewing long seams, shelling the dried winter beans, sorting piles of apples, and helping Patty in the house-work. Every day Patty's bright face and cheerful voice were a new reproach to her, as she contrasted Patty's toilsome life of rigid self-denial with her own comforts and pleasures,
A penitent letter was written to Mrs. Grantly, telling her that her little girl realized, at last, the folly and ingratitude of her fretfulness, and begging to be recalled to her own pleasant home. She drew a picture of Patty's home that proved how much good the intercourse with that bright little companion had done her.
Mrs. Grantly could scarcely believe it was Bessie's voice that greeted her, as her little girl ran into the room 10 kiss her. All the drawling, whining tone was gone, and Patty herself could not have spoken more cheerfully.
O mamma! how glad I am to come home! How pleasant everything looks! I had a nice time too, mamma, but not like home. You should have seen how delighted Patty
was with the clothes you wrote to me to give her. They all fitted her, and the hat just suited her. Her mother says she can't thank you enough for the money you sent, and Nannie for the clothes for the baby. They are all so cheerful, mamma, and all work as if it was play. O mamma' I'll never, never whine again or say a fretful word, when God has been so good to me. If I ever do, you say. Patty' to me, and see how quick I will stop.”
ILL you come here, mamma?" said
a very weak little voice, in a pretty
I am mixing you some cool lemonade."
“ How kind you are to me!" said the little feeble voice again, as Maggie's
head was gently lifted, that she might taste the pleasant drink. “I wanted you to come in to ask you if I might have my birthday party to-night?"
“ Your party, dear! You are too sick for that.”
“ But to-morrow is my birthday, and you know the doctor said Jesus might take me to heaven now very soon. I don't think I shall lie here to-morrow, for I feel so much weaker.
Don't you remember, before I was sick, you promised me that on my tenth birthday, you would let the school-girls come and see me?"
" I remember, Maggie.”
“ Won't you let them come ?-and, mamma, won't you let me give each one something to keep? Tell them not to bring me presents—I want to make those.”
But, Maggie, I am afraid it would tire you too much?” “ It will be only for a little while,” said the child gently. “ I thought perhaps I could say a word or two that would make them think of the day when they must lie where I am. Not preaching, mamma, only to remind them of Jesus. If you had not taught me to love Him, mamma, how could I bear to leave you and my father, dear Kate and the boys?"
Mrs. Huntingdon kissed the sweet little pale face looking lovingly into her own, and said :
If you will try to sleep now, dear, I will send Frankie to the school, and let Miss Markham know your
wish." “I will try," said the patient little girl, closing her eyes. “The pain in my knee is all gone
now." The mother's eyes filled with tears, but she moved gently from the room, and sent her eldest son to summon Maggie's playmates to say farewell to their little companion.
It was just after dusk, on the same pleasant summer evening, when Maggie sat waiting for her guests. She was dressed in a cool muslin wrapper over her snowy white night-dress ; her fair, soft curls smoothly brushed, and her wasted little figure propped up by pillows. While she waited, her mother spoke to the sorrowful little group in the drawing room, each of whom had brought an offering of sweet flowers for the dying girl.
“ You all know,” she said to them, “ of the terrible accident that occurred to our dear Maggie. She was thrown from a carriage and one limb was badly crushed.
We hoped, by amputating it, to spare our dear little girl's life, but the operation was not successful. Mortification has set in, the pain is all gone, and Maggie has but little time to live. She was anxious to bid you all farewell, but I must warn you all to be very quiet and gentle, as she is too weak to bear much excitement. You can come up now."
Silently, and very gravely, the little girls followed Mrs. Huntingdon to the room where Maggie sat waiting for them. By her side was a little table, upon which were placed all the little treasures and trinkets Maggie possessed.
She looked up with a sweet smile as the schoolmates of her healthy, happy days came in. Her chosen friend came first to kiss her, and put a cluster of snow-white roses in her hands.
“ Dear Hannah," said the sweet, feeble voice, “thank you. They are so fragrant. I want you to wear my little gold cross and chain, Hannah, and think of me; and won't you try to remember you must lie here too, come day? I want you to think every day that when Jesus calls you, you want to be ready to obey him. I love you, dear Hannah, so much. Kiss me, and good-bye.”
Every one received a little token. Some were reminded of the sudden call Maggie had received ; some were very gently asked to forsake a fault that was marring their dispositions; some were fervently besought to careless disregard of the loving Saviour, and all received a kiss and a word of farewell. Quick, sobbing breaths filled the room, as at the last words, Maggie lay back, white and faint, but smiling lovingly upon them all. They stole away, leaving the child almost covered with the beautiful flowers they had brought. Each one grasped the keepsake that was to remind them of their little playmate, who so short a time before had been as rosy, gay, and healthy as they were.
When they were gone, Mrs. Huntingdon went again to Maggie's room. She was lying very still, but her fingers touched the flowers lovingly, and her face was peaceful and happy.
“Do the flowers make the air close, Maggie?" she asked.
No, indeed. Please let them lie where the girls put them until bed-time. Mamma, will you soon be in to read prayers ?”
“ It is not ten o'clock yet. Shall the others come in too ?” “ Yes, mamma, now. I am tired.” It had become a family custom, since the little girl's ac
- No, papa.
cident, to read the morning and evening chapter in the
my hand while you read ? Kate, Frankie, Will, kiss me. Now, mamma, hold my other hand.”
Are you too tired for me to read, Maggie?” asked her father, feeling how cold the little hand in his own was growing.
may fall asleep, but I have kissed you ail for good-night.”
The holy words of comfort were read in solemn tones, and the prayer came from low, choked voices.
When the family rose from their knees, Mrs. Huntingdon bent with a white face over her child. The feeble breath had ceased to flutter over the pale lips, the gentle voice was silent, the soft eyes were closed in the last sleep of earth.
Maggie had gone to Jesus. The birthday she would never waken to greet on earth would be passed in heaven.
But Maggie's influence did not die. The little girls who gathered round her dying-bed are women now. One of them, who told me this story, said to me :
“I wear upon my little finger the ring Maggie Huntingdon gave me at her solemn birthday party. Whenever I am tempted to utter an angry word, to indulge in laziness, or to forget my religious duties, I look at the little gold band. I seem to see again the pale, sweet face of my little schoolmate, as she lay upon her white bed, half buried in flowers, and asked us all to try to meet her in heaven. She was a good girl always, and I do not think one of us can ever wholly forget the loving farewell and dying kiss she gave us. I think, whenever any one of us is tempted to do wrong, she remembers Maggie's birthday.”