At ten years of age, Ellen was an industrious little girl, very fond of her mother, clean, active, and desirous to do what was right. But her fault was vanity; and it caused Widow Jones many an anxious hour. Ellen tried to read well, that Mr. and Mrs. Stanley might tell her she read better than anybody else; in work, writing, everything the same; she looked for nothing but praise; the praise of her neighbors; and unless there were somebody present to praise her, she did not care how she did things. She looked down upon her cousin Sarah, and would sometimes even tease her by making her confess, before her playfellows, how little she knew. How careful children should be to check the first feelings of vanity! It will make the most good-natured do and say unkind things, and even make a naturally sincere child deceitful.
Poor Sarah Brown felt very much the difference between herself and Ellen; and more than ever one afternoon, when the youngest Miss Stanley came to the school with her mamma, and told the children that she had brought some samplers with her, and that whoever could mark one the best should have a prize.
"I wish to have the alphabet and a verse of a hymn on each," added the young lady; "But remember, no girl must help another, either to spell the words or to mark them. Mamma has given me leave to say that you are all to come up to the parsonage on my birthday, which will be on the 30th of next month; and I shall give a present to the girl who has finished her sampler the most neatly by that time."
Miss Lucy Stanley then opened the samplers, and asked her mamma to choose which girls were to have them. Several of the children had only lately begun to learn to mark, so it was settled that, of course, they must wait before beginning to mark a white sampler. At last, with the assistance of the schoolmistress, ten girls were chosen; the only ten who could mark well; and to them Miss Lucy gave the samplers, with the silks to mark each. Ellen Jones and Sarah Brown were among the number.
to be continued