"This, I think, looks best done, Lucy," said Miss Stanley, showing one to her sister.
"So I thought, Jane," replied Miss Lucy; "but look, here is another quite as nicely done."
"Whose is this?" asked Mr. Stanley, holding one up.
"That belongs to Ellen Jones," was the answer.
Ellen looked round at her companions. Now, who would have the prize? Who was right?
At last Miss Stanley said to her sister, "Well, Lucy, I have a prize that will do for one; so suppose we give presents for the two best samplers, for really it is not possible to decide between these two."
The young ladies then said something in a low voice to their father and mother, after which Miss Stanley went in doors. In a few minutes she returned, followed by a servant carrying two parcels.
Every eye was fixed on the parcels, as Miss Stanley and Miss Lucy untied them; and each girl longed to find that one prize was for her.
"I shall put aside," said Mrs. Stanley, "those samplers which are marked by the girls of the second class, as, excepting one, they are not well done; and the little girls who marked them shall have another trial among themselves."
Four samplers were given back, and the children were told that they should try again at Christmas. Six were left.
"Anne Roberts," said Mrs. Stanley to a very delicate-looking girl, "your sampler is one of the two best, and Miss Lucy wishes to give her present to you."
"I will read the verse marked on it before Anne takes it back," said Mr. Stanley, "and a very pretty verse it is. It begins:
" 'Thou, God, seest me.'
Abide with me from morn till eve,
For without thee I cannot live;
Abide with me when night is nigh,
For without thee I dare not die."
Miss Lucy then gave Anne a very nice, strongly bound Bible and Hymn Book; and the clergyman said: "May this holy word be a light to your feet, and a lamp to your paths, and God grant, that by dayly study of his word, with prayer for his Spirit to help you, you may be enabled to walk in his ways. May the holy Scripture be your comfort in sickness, and your guide in health; and may you ever live according to its rules."
Anne thanked Miss Lucy and the kind clergyman; and, dropping a courtesy, she went back to her place.
to be continued