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mother just now,
but they remembered their good resolution, and walked quietly out of the room.
On a sultry evening, in the month of August, while on a visit to the south of England, I wandered forth to take the fresh air, as I knew I could find but little in the crowded town. I had not proceeded far before I came to a clear bubbling spring ; on the root of a tree by its bank sat a little girl with a brown pitcher in her hand, which she was going to fill. She was leaning her elbows on her knees, and her head on her hands, and seemed to be deep in thought.
I stood behind a bush and watched her for a moment, but I found that though she loved the spot, she knew it was her duty, when she was sent on an errand, to be as quick as possible, and therefore I saw that she rose, filled her pitcher, and was going away, when I called to her.
Here I would put in a word. My dear child, mind this; whenever you are sent on an errand, make haste, never loiter on the way, never idly stop to talk with your playmates, never engage in any game, nor stop to look at any thing in the shops, but be attentive to get what is wanted, and then return straight home.
“Stop, little girl,” said I. She instantly turned round, and dropping a modest curtsey, said, “ Yes, Ma'am.” 6 And what is your name ?” asked I. “My name,” said she, “is Mary Barker.” “ How old are you?” “ Just thirteen.” “Can you read?” “Yes, Ma'am, I attend a Sunday School.” “Well,” said I, “as you are sent on an errand, let us walk on, and then I shall not detain you. Are your father and mother living ?” “Yes, Ma'am, both of them, and I have three brothers and two sisters, and I am the eldest.” “I hope you endeavor to make yourself useful ?” Mary blushed, and looking on the ground, said, "I try, Ma'am.”
After some conversation in respect to her school, and what she learned there, we at length nearly reached her cottage, and our conversation ceased; but I was pleased, exceedingly pleased, to hear how seriously and correctly she answered my questions in scripture language, which clearly proved to me that she had profited by the instructions she had received, and that her Teacher's labor had not been in vain.
There is one thing more I have to notice before I proceed, which is, that Mary was a pattern for neatness in her dress; she was dressed as Sunday School girls ought to be; there was none of that ridiculous finery about her, which, I am sorry to say, some children so much love.
There were no rings in her ears, there were no paltry beads round her neck, but she had on a neat straw bonnet, a white tippet, and a blue cotton frock, and as she was busy, I saw also that she wore a coarse apron. Now all this was very well, but I really am sometimes ashamed to see the untidy and silly dress of some of our Sunday scholars. Now in Mary, there were no ruffles round her sleeves, no sash round her waist, but to sum up all in a few words, she was clean, neat, and tidy.
And how much more we respect those, in the lower ranks of life, whose dress is becoming and modest, for, though girls dress ever so fine, we never think they are ladies any the more for that. You will remember these hints.
When we arrived at the cottage, Mary said, “Will you walk in, Ma'am ?" I agreed, and we both entered. Mary's mother, who was rocking a cradle, rose to receive me; and indeed after my walk I was glad of rest. The wooden chairs looked so white and clean, and the floor was so nicely sanded, that it was a pleasure to look at it.
“I trust,” said I, to Mrs. Barker, “that I am no intruder."
“I am sure I am very glad to see you, Ma'am," said she.
Finding I was cordially received, I approached the cradle, in which lay a nice boy, about six months old, fast asleep; I could not refrain from kissing him. But I soon found that my kisses disturbed the rosy babe, and he began to stir about, as though he thought of waking; I covered him up, for I thought I should be indeed an intruder if I roused him; and he soon sunk again into his quiet repose. I took my seat once more, and began to inquire for the other parts of the family.
“ And so you have six children, Mrs. Barker," said I. Yes, Ma'am, Mary is the eldest, and a useful girl she