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Children–A Family Scene
by [?]


“As I was saying”–


“Miss Jones wore a white figured satin”–

“Oh! mother!”

“With short sleeves”–

“Mother! mother!”

“Looped up with a small rosebud”–

“I say! mother! mother!”

The child now caught hold of her mother’s arm, and shook it violently, in her effort to gain the attention she desired, while her voice, which at first was low, had become loud and impatient. Mrs. Elder, no longer able to continue her account of the manner in which Miss Jones appeared at a recent ball, turned angrily toward little Mary, whose importunities had sadly annoyed her, and, seizing her by the arm, took her to the door and thrust her roughly from the room, without any inquiry as to what she wanted. The child screamed for a while at the door, and then went crying up-stairs.

“Do what you will,” said Mrs. Elder, fretfully, “you cannot teach children manners. I’ve talked to Mary a hundred times about interrupting me when I’m engaged in conversation with any one.”

“It’s line upon line and precept upon precept,” remarked the (sic) visiter. “Children are children, and we mustn’t expect too much from them.”

“But I see other people’s children sit down quietly and behave themselves when there is company.”

“All children are not alike,” said the (sic) visiter. Some are more restless and impetuous than others. We have to consult their dispositions and pay regard thereto, or it will be impossible to manage them rightly. I find a great difference among my own children. Some are orderly, and others disorderly. Some have a strong sense of propriety, and others no sense of propriety at all.”

“It’s a great responsibility; is it not, Mrs. Peters?”

“Very great.”

“It makes me really unhappy. I am sometimes tempted to wish them all in heaven; and then I would be sure they were well off and well taken care of. Some people appear to get along with their children so easy. I don’t know how it is. I can’t.”

Mrs. Peters could have given her friend a useful hint or two on the subject of managing children, if she had felt that she dared to do so. But she knew Mrs. Elder to be exceedingly sensitive, and therefore she thought it best not to say any thing that might offend her.

There was a quiet-looking old gentleman in the room where the two ladies sat conversing. He had a book in his hand, and seemed to be reading; though, in fact, he was observing all that was said and done. He had not designed to do this, but the interruption of little Mary threw his mind off his book, and his thoughts entered a new element. This person was a brother of Mrs. Elder, and had recently become domesticated in her family. He was a bachelor.

After the (sic) visiter had retired, Mrs. Elder sat down to her work-table in the same room where she had received her company, and resumed her sewing operations, which the call had suspended. She had not been thus engaged long, before Mary came back into the room, looking sad enough. Instead of going to her mother; she went up to the old gentleman, and looking into his face with her yet tearful eyes, said–

“Uncle William?”

“What, dear?” was returned in a kind voice.

“Something sticks my neck. Won’t you see what it is?”

Uncle William laid down his book, and, turning down the neck of Mary’s frock, found that the point of a pin was fretting her body. There was at least a dozen little scratches, and an inflamed spot the size of a dollar.

“Poor child!” he said, tenderly, as he removed the pin. “There now! It feels better, doesn’t it?”

“Yes, it feels better; thank you, dear uncle!” and Mary put up her sweet lips and kissed him. The old gentleman was doubly repaid for his trouble. Mary ran lightly away, and he resumed his book.

In about ten minutes, the child opened the door and came in pulling the dredging-box, to which she had tied a string, along the floor, and marking the progress she made by a track of white meal.