Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!

Have Patience
by [?]

IT was Saturday evening, about eight o clock. Mary Gray had finished mangling, and had sent home the last basket of clothes. She had swept up her little room, stirred the fire, and placed upon it a saucepan of water. She had brought out the bag of oatmeal, a basin, and a spoon, and laid them upon the round deal table. The place, though very scantily furnished, looked altogether neat and comfortable. Mary now sat idle by the fire. She was not often idle.’ She was a pale, delicate-looking woman, of about five-and-thirty. She looked like ones who had worked beyond her strength, and her thin face had a very anxious, careworn expression. Her dress showed signs of poverty, but it was scrupulously clean and neat. As it grew later, she seemed to be listening attentively for the approach of some one; she was ready to start up every time a step came near her door. At length a light step approached, and did not go by it; it stopped, and there was a gentle tap at the door. Mary’s pallid face brightened, and in a moment she had let in a fine, intelligent-looking lad, about thirteen years of age, whom she welcomed with evident delight.

“You are later than usual to-night, Stephen,” she said.

Stephen did not reply; but he threw off his cap, and placed himself in the seat Mary had quitted.

“You do not look well to-night, dear,” said Mary anxiously; “is anything the matter?”

“I am quite well, mother,” replied the boy. “Let me have my supper. I am quite ready for it.”

As he spoke, he turned away his eyes from Mary’s inquiring look. Mary, without another word, set herself about preparing the supper, of oatmeal porridge. She saw that something was wrong with Stephen, and that he did not wish to be questioned, so she remained silent. In the mean time Stephen had placed his feet on the fender, rested his elbows on his knees, and his head on his hands. His hands covered his face; and, by and by, a few large tears began to trickle down his fingers. Then suddenly dashing off his tears, as though he were ashamed of them, he showed his pale, agitated face, and said, in a tone of indignation and resolve,

“Mother, I am determined I will bear it no longer.”

Mary was not surprised. She finished pouring out the porridge; then, taking a stool, she seated herself beside him.

“Why, Stephen,” she said, trying to speak cheerfully, “how many hundred times before have you made that resolution! But what’s the matter now? Have you any new trouble to tell me of?”

Stephen answered by silently removing with his hand some of his thick curly hair, and showing beneath it an ear bearing the too evident marks of cruel usage.

“My poor boy!” exclaimed Mary, her tears starting forth. “Could he be so cruel?”

“It is nothing, mother,” replied the boy, sorry to have called forth his mother’s tears. “I don’t care for it. It was done in a passion, and he was sorry for it after.”

“But what could you have done, Stephen, to make him so angry with you?”

“I was selling half a quire of writing paper to a lady: he counted the sheets after me, and found thirteen instead of only twelve; they had stuck together so that I took two for one. I tried to explain, but he was in a passion, and gave me a blow. The lady said something to him about his improper conduct, and he said that I was such a careless little rascal, that he lost all patience with me. That hurt me a great deal more than the blow. It was a falsehood, and he knew it; but he wanted to excuse himself. I felt that I was going into a passion, too, but I thought of what you are always telling me about patience and forbearance, and I kept down my passion; I know he was sorry for it after, from the way he spoke to me, though he didn’t say so.”