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SUSIE MORRIS was standing one afternoon at the door of her father's shop, waiting there a few minutes until her sister came to go out with her. Susie was dressed for her walk, all but her gloves, and they were in her hand, ready to be put on directly Jane appeared. It was a cold day; but the weather was very fine, and the sun shone so brightly that the quiet street, and the fields behind the houses, looked pleasant and cheerful.
As Susie stood, a boy, who was passing by, stopt to
speak to her. Susie had not seen him coming along, for her eyes were turned the other way, or else I think she would have run in doors; for she did not like Jem Horton at all, and always tried to avoid him if she could.
Jem was a strong, active, sly-looking boy, who had never been taught the golden rule" of doing to others as he would be done by. At all events, he had not yet begun to put it in practice. He thought it "fun" to tease anybody, and he would say things on purpose to make other people vexed, and to get them to answer crossly.
'Well, Susie," he said, in a brisk tone, "why havę you got your best bonnet on to-day? Are you going out to a grand party ?"
Jem did not really know whether it was Susie's best bonnet or not, but he chose to suppose so.
Susie made no reply; she only drew herself a little further inside the shop.
"What! no answer, Susie ? Now, that is too bad of you. I am afraid you have not learned your text the right way yet. There are no signs of your loving your enemies' at present; at least, not if you reckon me for one though I don't see why you should, for I am disposed to be as friendly as possible."
"You are a rude, disagreeable boy!" said Susie, who certainly looked anything but friendly at that moment. She would not stay to hear a word more, but ran through the shop, where her father was grinding some coffee, into the little parlour, while Jem went on his way laughing at her. Jane was there, lacing her boots. She looked up, and, secing her sister's
flushed and angry face, she said, "What is the matter, Susie? was some one talking to you ?"
'Yes, that tiresome Jem Horton," said Susie; "he will speak to me whenever he sees me, though he knows that I cannot bear him. And he is always teasing me about that text in your copybook." "Well, you need not mind him," answered Jane. "I know you would not like it if you were me," said Susie.
"I might not like it," added Jane, "but I should not care a bit for what Jem said. It is because he finds it makes you cross that he keeps on teasing you about it. Besides, Susie, if you will make such quecr mistakes, you must not wonder if you get laughed at sometimes."
"It was not queer!" retorted Susie, angrily. “I am sure you and the other girls often say things that are twice as foolish as that."
"When ?" asked Jane, quietly.
"I am not going to tell you when," said Susie ; don't choose."
"No, because you cannot," replied Jane. "But come, we need not quarrel about it," she added, getting up and tying her bonnet strings; "only, if you do not wish to be laughed at, Susie, you must think twice before you speak once, and then you won't be likely to make so many blunders."
I do not think the two sisters had a very pleasant walk together, for Susie was offended with Jane's remarks. She was silent, and rather sullen; hardly answered Jane when she spoke to her; and soon said she was tired and wanted to go home. Jane thought
to herself that Susie was a very tiresome child; she did not consider whether she herself was at all to blame for it.
Susie, certainly, was often getting into little disputes through her hasty temper, and her readiness to take offence. But she had not been well trained, and was not much used to the society of other children; so that she had not learned to suit herself to their different ways.
When Susan was a very little girl, almost a baby, her mother had a long illness. During that time she was kindly taken care of by her grandmother, who lived in a distant part of the country. She had come to see Susie's mother when it was feared that she would die, but she could not stay long with her; so, as soon as she was able to leave, she went home again, taking her little granddaughter with her. It was a great relief to the family to have Susie out of the way; for, being three or four years younger than either of the other children, she needed more attention than they did.
When Susie's mother got better she sent for her little girl; but the grandmother had become so fond of her, that she was not willing to part with her. So it was agreed that Susie should remain a few months longer. But the months grew into years; for, as time passed away, the old lady could still less bear the thought of losing her little companion; and, although Susie's mother would rather have had her child home, she did not like to take her away from her grandmother. And this separation would, perhaps, always have continued, had it not been for the
death of Susie's grandmother, about eight or ten months before the commencement of our story.
Susie was almost a stranger to her brothers and sisters. They had not often met; for the distance between them was great, and it cost a good deal of money to travel so many miles. At first it was quite a treat to have a new little sister amongst them, and they were disposed to do all they could to amuse her. And Susie, when her shyness wore off, was pleased with her fresh playmates, and behaved herself very well. But when the children became more used to each other they did not always agree so well.
Susie was not an unamiable child. She had a warm heart and strong feelings, and would gladly help any one who was in trouble. But her temper was quick, and she generally said just what she thought at the time, without stopping to consider whether it was right or kind. While with her grandmother she had her own way in most things, for there was no other child but herself to be considered; and so long as she was lively and in a good humour, the old lady did not mind about much else. She did not think how bad it would be for Susie, as she grew older, to have been thus indulged when a child. It is real kindness to children to check their self-will, and to accustom them to habits of obedience and self-denial.
Susie found it hard to yield to the wishes of those around her. She expected them to try and suit her, but she was not so ready to suit them. She could be pleasant and obliging enough if she chose to be so of her own accord, but she did not like to be forced to give up to others in anything.