"I wonder what the prize will be, mother," said Ellen; "one thing I am sure of, that I shall get it, whatever it may be."
"Why?" asked the widow.
"Because I do not think any of the girls mark half as well as I do; and then, as they are to mark the verse of a hymn, I do not believe they will be able to spell it right."
"Who are the other girls?" inquired her mother.
"Sarah is the one, and you know she cannot read at all well; then there is Anne Roberts, she perhaps may go near to get the prize; and Martha Phillips works pretty well, but her sister can mark but very little; no more can Jane and Mary Price, nor the three Longs."
"I thought," answered Mrs. Jones, "that Margaret Long could work very neatly and read very well. It is not long ago that her aunt, who keeps the dry-goods store, said that she would take her to live with her, to help keep her accounts and look after the store, only she wished her to write a little better first."
"Yes, so she did," said Ellen; "but still I think I shall get the prize."
"I am afraid, Ellen," said her mother, "that you have too high thoughts of what you can do. By what you say of yourself, one would think you could do everything better than any one else, instead of being a little girl who has much to learn, and who cannot yet to anything well. Ellen, your vanity will lead you into trouble."
"But indeed, mother, I am not vain."
"What is it but vanity, when I see you every day looking in the glass first this way, then that? What but vanity makes you ask continually for gay ribbons and fine dresses, which are quite unsuited to your station? What but vanity makes you think yourself so much above Sarah? And what but vanity now makes you feel so sure of doing better than anybody else? Ellen, Ellen, look at your action, and you will soon see that there is a great deal of vanity in your heart."
Ellen was vexed. She did not like to be told of her faults, even by her mother; but she could not help feeling that there was truth in what her mother had said; and that evening, when, after reading a chapter of the Bible, Mrs. Jones talked to her of the sin of vanity, and how hateful it is in the sight of God, the little girl resolved to try and overcome this great fault. Alas! She forgot her own weakness, and forgot, also to ask God, for Jesus Christ's sake, to help her; therefore, as we shall see, she failed; and her vanity led her into more sorrow than it had yet done.
to be continued