"Sarah Brown, Miss Stanley has chosen your sample as equally well done with Anne's," said Mrs. Stanley; "and I am very much pleased that it should be so, for it shows that you try to make the best use of the instruction which has been given you."
"Yes, indeed," said Mr. Stanley, "it does; and I am very glad to see a quiet, industrious girl rewarded." He then read a verse which I have already gien my readers from Sarah's sampler; and, as Miss Stanley gave a her a handsome workbox, well filled with needles, cotton, thimble, scissors, and everything a complete workwoman could want, he said: "This will be a useful present to you, Sarah, as you have a great deal of work to do at home. While you use it your thoughts may be employed; and if you ever feel inclined to murmur at being kept in doors when your companions are at play, let the thought that you are helping your mother, who works so early and late for you all, encourage you. By cheerful good temper you may try to set a good example to the little children who depend so much on you. Above all, do not neglect morning and evening to offer up your prayers to God, begging him to forgive you where you have thought or done wrong, and asking him for grace to enable you to fulfill your duty in that state of life to which it hath pleased him to call you. And now," continued Mr. Stanley, "for my present. I shall have each of these samplers framed; and I hope that the little girls to whom they belong will hang them in their bedrooms, and every day repeat the verses marked on them."
Poor Ellen Jones felt mortified; her vanity had received a severe blow; and she whispered to Margaret Long, "I am sure I ought to have had a prize long before that stupid Sarah."
Mrs. Stanley heard the whisper, and, calling Ellen aside, she talked to her for some minutes about her fault of vanity. "Look at your sampler," said she; "you know that you can mark very nicely; how is it, then, that threads are missed, stitches wanting, and words crooked? Is it not because you were so vain as to think that you, without giving any trouble to your work, could do it as well as others who bestowed time and labor upon it?"
Ellen could not deny what was so true. "I am very sorry for you," said Mrs. Stanley; "and very sorry, too, for your mother, who will feel the disappointment. But, my child, if this day's sorrrow should help you to cure yourself of the sin of vanity, you will never have reason to regret that you lost the prize. I shall give you the sampler, in the hopes that the sight of it may sometimes check you when you are inclined to be vain. But now, go and play with your companions, and we will talk more of this another day."
The afternoon was a very happy one; and when the games were over the children all sang a hymn; after which kind Mr. and Mrs. Stanley divided the remains of the feast among those children who had little brothers and sisters at home, that those who were too young to be present might still have some pleasure by which to remember Miss Lucy's birthday.
Sarah's little twin sisters, who were only three years old, were delighted to see her, and thought her very kind to bring them home cake. Her joy, too, was very great in being able to show the prize; and she felt more than usually happy when her parents kissed her, and said it was a comfort for them to have such a daughter. When she went to her bedroom that night she prayed to God to make her contented, and to enable her to keep the good resolutions she had formed of trying to do as Mr. Stanley had advised her. She thought of her cousin, and felt for her; and she made up her mind to go and see her the next morning before breakfast, and tell her that she heard both the young ladies say that Ellen's sampler had the prettiest border round it of any.
Ellen had a sad tale to take home after all her boasting. Mrs. Jones, of course, was sorry and disappointed; but she hoped that Ellen might now see how wrong she had been in many little things of late. Poor Ellen cried very much; but, happily, the events of this day had a better effect than mere crying, for the first thing she did the next morning was to take off the gay ribbon from her bonnet, and put in its place the plain one she had despised before. In many other ways Mrs. Jones found that her dear child was trying to overcome her fault; and whenever Ellen was inclined to be vain, if her mother did but mention the sampler, she would check herself.
Perhaps, at some future time, we may hear how Ellen and Sarah went on as they grew older; for the present we will take leave of them. And may all who read this little story remember, that "God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the lowly!"