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The Mother’s Promise
by [?]

A LADY, handsomely dressed, was about leaving her house to make a few calls, when a little boy ran out from the nursery, and clasping one of her gloved hands in both of his, looked up into her face with a glance of winning entreaty, saying, as he did so:

“Mamma! dear mamma! Won’t you buy me a picture-book, just like cousin Edie’s?”

“Yes, love,” was the unhesitating reply; and the lady stooped to kiss the sweet lips of her child.

“Eddy must be a good boy, and mind nurse while mamma is away,” she added.

“I’ll be so good,” replied Eddy, with all the earnestness of a childish purpose. “You may ask nurse when you come home, if I have not been the goodest little boy that ever was.”

Mrs. Herbert kissed her darling boy again, and then went forth to make her morning round of calls. Eddy returned to the nursery, strong in his purpose, to be a good boy, as he had promised.

“Such a dear little picture-book as mamma is going to bring me home,” he said to nurse, as he leaned his arms against her, and looked up into her face. “Oh! won’t I be so glad. It’s to be just like cousin Edie’s. Mamma said so; and cousin Edie’s book is so beautiful. I ‘ve wanted one ever since I was there. Is’nt mamma good?”

“Yes, Eddy,” replied the nurse, “your mamma is very good; and you should love her so much, and do everything she tells you to do.”

“I do love her,” said the child. “Oh, I love her more than all the world; and I’m going to mind every thing she says.”

Then the child went to his play, and was happy with his toys. But his thoughts were on the picture-book, and pleasantly his young imagination lingered amid its attractive pages.

“Is’nt it ‘most time for mother to be home?” he asked, at the end of half an hour, coming to the side of his nurse, and gazing up into her face.

“Why no, child,” replied the nurse, “not for a long while yet.”

Eddy looked disappointed. But that instant the door bell rung.

“There’s mamma!” exclaimed the child, clapping his hands; and before nurse could restrain him, he had bounded from the room, and his little feet were heard pattering down the stairs. Slowly he came back, after a little while, and with a look of disappointment on his sweet young face, entered the nursery, saying, as he did so:

“It was only a man with brooms to sell.”

“Your mamma won’t be home for a long time yet, Eddy,” said his nurse, “so it is of no use for you to expect her. Go and build block houses again.”

“I’m tired of block houses,” replied the little boy, “and now that mamma has promised me a picture-book like cousin Edie’s I can’t think of anything else.”

“Oh, well,” said nurse, a little impatiently, “she’ll be home in good time. Try and not think of the book. It won’t do any good–it won’t bring her home a minute sooner.”

“I can’t help thinking of it,” persisted the child, in whom the imaginative faculty was unusually, strong for one of his age.

In a little while, however, something occurred to interest him, and a full hour elapsed before he again recurred to his mother and the expected picture book. As best she could, his nurse diverted his mind, and kept him, in a measure, occupied with what was around him. At length it was full time for Mrs. Herbert to return. Eddy had ceased to find interest in anything appertaining to the nursery. He went down into the parlor, and seating himself at the window, watched, with childish eagerness, for the form of his mother.

Strange as it may seem to the reader, Mrs. Herbert had scarcely passed into the street, ere her promise was forgotten. Not that she was indifferent to the happiness of her child–not that she was a heartless mother. Far very far from this. Purely and truly did she love this sweet boy. But, so much were her thoughts interested in other things, that she did not, at the time, comprehend the earnestness of his childish wishes; nor think of her promise as a sacred thing. The request for a picture book seemed to her but the expression of a sudden thought, that passed from his mind as soon as uttered. And yet, she had not promised without intending to meet the wishes of her child, for she was an indulgent mother, and rarely said “No,” to any request that might reasonably be gratified. She had noticed Cousin Edie’s pretty book, and thought that she would, some time or other, get one like it for Eddy. The child’s request but seconded this thought. There was will, therefore, in her promise. She meant to do as she had said.