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The Children's Hour.
LESSONS IN PATIENCE.
BY MARIANNE FARNINGHAM.
CHAPTER XV.-PATIENCE IN STITCHES. AFTER the episode of the difficult sum and the violets, Alice and Miss Reynolds became excellent friends. They understood each other better, and the consequence was that an affection sprang up between the two which lasted for a long time. Every day Alice tried to please the lady, who saw the efforts which her scholar made, and appreciated them, even when Alice thought herself unsuccessful. Miss Reynolds knew that Alice was a Christian girl, and that she was trying to live so as to serve the Sa viour, and she resolved to do all that she could to help her. This made it much more easy for Alice during school hours. She was able to bear patiently many things which she did not like, because she had the sympathy of her governess. And so well did she behave, and so conscientiously did she perform her school duties, that when at last the time came for her to leave school, the departure of no pupil was more regretted than was the departure of Alice. Before that time came, however, she had learned many lessons in patience which were useful to her in after life. She did not yet find it quite easy to be patient. Sometimes a hard battle had to be fought with hersell before she could be kept quiet under provocation. But every fresh victory made her more strong, and increased the beauty and firmness of her character.
I will only tell you of two other incidents in the childhood of Alice, and must then pass on to her after-life, and the conclusion of this story.
Perhaps you are a little interested in Alice's friend Harry, and wish to know what became of him.
Soon after the missing money had been found, Alice and Mrs. Russell called again to see Harry and his mother. They found the poor woman so ill that she could scarcely speak; but she managed to say a few words with difficulty.
“I fear that I am dying,” she said. " And I am so anxious about my boy. I wish some kind friends would try to get him into an orphan asylum, where he will be well cared for, and taught to be a good boy."
“Mamma, could not we do this ? " said Alice, in a whisper.
“ If you will trust your little boy to us, we will try to do as you wish with him," said Mrs. Russell to the woman.
“Will you, indeed ? Oh! how kind you are! I have not strength even to thank you; but God will bless you and reward you for your goodness."
Very little more could be done for the dying woman; but Mrs. Russell said a word or two to her about the Saviour.
“ Those who trust in Him need not be afraid to die," she said ; “for He is the resurrection and the life.”
“Yes; I know Him. I am not afraid. My only anxiety has been about my boy."
“ You need not fear for him. Alice will write to kind friends whom we know, and I have no doubt but that he will be received into one of the excellent institutions of our land. My daughter will write to all our friends who have influence. You will be glad to do so, will you not, Alice ? "
Very glad, mother," said Alice, quietly. “ But I have heard that there is great difficulty about it. It may be months before you succeed ; and what is to become of him in the meantime?" 6. I will have him at
house." “Oh! God bless you, dear lady, for you have taken a heavy load from me.”
The woman did not speak after that. She lay very still until the next morning, and then died. Poor little Harry, whose father had died before, and who was now an orphan, did not know what a loss he had sustained in the death of his mother, for he was too young to miss her very much. At first, when the neighbours brought him to Mrs. Russell, he was rather quiet and sad; but he soon became more cheerful, and, as he was already much attached to Alice, he was not long before he felt quite at home with the family. Two months passed before a vacant place was found for him. Then he was transferred from Mrs. Russell's house to a home where kind friends would watch over him, and teach him to love and serve the Saviour. Alice was quite sorry to part from him, and Harry did not wish to go. But he soon became comforted and happy in his new abode, and he was so good and merry that the matron was quite fond of him.
“I miss Harry so much," said Alice to Edith one morning, " that I must find something new in which to occupy my mind.”
"It is almost a pity that Harry has gone."
“Oh, no; I am glad he is in the orphan's home, because I know it is right that he should be there; and it will be the better for him in his future life. But I have been thinking that I should like to make a satin quilt for mamma. I can buy the pieces, and
it will be quite pleasant to have to put in a good number of stitches.” “Do you mean that you will make a patch-work quilt ?"
I shall cut the pieces into box-patterns, and then sew them together. I intend to do every stitch as neatly and regularly as possible, so that mother will see that I have taken pains.”
“But, Alice, do you know what work there is in a quilt of the kind ?”
“I know there will be many thousands of stitches needed.”
“Yes; but sewing the pieces together will be only a small part of the work."
"I know that the cutting out and arranging will be the most difficult part."
“ Yes; it will require great patience and skill." “Well, I shall do my best. It will be a good discipline for me."
Edith could not help thinking that, unless Alice had been greatly altered, she would not have thought of undertaking so great a work.
"I am sure mamma will be delighted if you sbould succeed,” said Edith.
“I quite intend to succeed,” said Alice, firmly.
And she did succeed very well. She began at once, and kept steadily on. Every half-hour which she could possibly spare was devoted to this work. She knew that her mother would not be pleased if she neglected any of her regular duties for it, so she only took it up in her leisure time. But she worked at it so industriously that the quilt was nearly finished in a much shorter time than she expected it to occupy.
When she was thinking how delightful it would be to present it to her mother, and receive a loving kiss as thanks, a sad catastrophe happened to it.
may I come into your room for a little while ?" asked her brother one day.
“Why do you want to come, Charlie ?”
“I am making some pen-and-ink sketches, and my table is not firm."
"Oh, yes ; you can do them on my table if “ Thank you."
“I shall be at work; but I suppose we shall not hinder each other."
“No, I think not.”
So Charlie brought his work and did it, while Alice diligently sewed the pieces of satin together.
"I must go and find another needle. The point of this one has become blunt,” said Alice, when the brother and sister had worked together for some time.
"Come back as soon as you can, then,” said Charlie.
But afterwards he wished she would remain away a little longer, for he felt so afraid to meet her.
She laid the precious quilt upon a chair near the table ; and she had scarcely left the room before Charlie, endeavouring to reach something from the other side of the table, overthrew his inkstand. It happened to have been just filled ; and before he could prevent it a stream of black ink ran across the table, and fell upon
the quilt. “Oh! what shall I do ?” cried Charles, when he saw the mischief he had done, for a large space in the centre of the quilt was quite stained, and drops of ink were lying on almost every part. The delicate colours seemed to be especially injured, and Charles looked upon it as a most hopeless case.
He quite trembled when he heard Alice singing as she walked along the hall towards the door ; not that he was really afraid of his sister, but because he was so sorry for the misfo rtune, which he knew would greatly grieve her.
“How shall I ever tell herp” he thought. But there was no need of words. Alice saw by a glance at her brother's face that something was wrong, and when she looked at the quilt she quite understood the extent of the disaster.
At first she felt too bad to speak. She turned so pale that Charlie thought she was going to faint. But in a moment or two tears came into her eyes, and she sat on the rug, and had a quiet cry.
"Alice,” said Charlie, almost crying too, “I would not have done it for the world, if I could have helped it. I am so sorry.”
“I know, dear. Never mind. I am disappointed, that is all. I shall be better directly,” said she, through her tears.
She was soon able to control herself, and then she went over to her brother, and put her arms around his neck, and kissed him.
"I am quite as sorry for you, Charlie, as I am for myself," she said, “but neither of us need be miserable about it. It was an accident, that is all; and accidents will happen, you know.”
“But what will you do, Alice. I am afraid the quilt is spoiled.”
“Yes, I think it is. But I shall at once begin to take out all the soiled pieces and put new ones in. It only means a little more money and a little more work.”
“ Alice, I hope you will let me pay for all that has to be bought in consequence of my carelessness. It is only right that I should do so.”
“Oh, no, thank you ; it is not at all necessary." “But indeed I shall be quite miserable if you do not let me. I shall feel as if you have not forgiven me."
“Then you may buy the new satin, as a sign that I have; but
I am half-inclined to increase your penance by compelling you to go to the draper's yourself and select the pieces.”
“No, Alice, that would be too bad. It would be more, indeed, than I could possibly do or bear,” said Charlie, laughing; “ but if you like I will go with you, and carry home the parcel, so that there shall be no delay.”
“Very well, so you shall."
No, I do not think you could, Charlie. I am afraid you might do greater damage."
“No; I promise to be very, very careful."
“ Well, you may try; but I think we will first go and match the colours.”
That evening saw Alice working as diligently and patiently as at first, and speaking just as pleasantly to her brother as if no:hing had happened.
“ It is wonderful,” said Charlie to his sister Edith, "I never saw such a change in any one before as there is in our Alie. It seems impossible now to put her into a passion. I am sure there must be something in her religion, for none but Jesus could make her so good. And, Edith, I mean to seek Him too.
“Oh, Charlie, I am so glad; and so will Alice be when she knows. Let me tell her.”
That night when Alice knelt down to thank her Father in heaven for His mercies she felt more happy than she had ever felt before. And the joy was lasting, for she saw her brother fearing and serving the Lord all his life afterward.
The quilt was finished in time, and Mrs. Russell felt more proud of it than of anything which she possessed,
CHAPTER XVI.-CONCLUSION.-SIXTY YEARS AFTER. Is not that a long time ?
To you who look forward it must seem as if sixty years would be almost unending.
But sixty years have passed since Alice Russell made the satin quilt for her mother, and she is still living in this world, and has even more friends to love her than she had when she was a girl
, and was first beginning to learn her lessons in patience. Her name, however, is no longer Russell, but Mortimer. More than forty years ago she changed her name, and I think she likes her present name even better than that which belonged to the days of her girlhood.
I suppose you can guess how it was that her name was altered. Alice had a lover when she was twenty. He was a good man, and