BERTIE! B-e-r-t-i-e! Get up right away! Are you awake?"

That is what Bertie Martin heard his mother calling to him from the foot of the stairs one cold morning lately, and he answered, as he cuddled down still further into the warm bed,—

"Yes'm, in a minute." And that was what Bertie always said, no matter what you asked him—"In a minute." So this morning, when breakfast was ready, there was, as usual, no Bertie; and as he did not come, one of his sisters was sent to call him again. And when his mother was ready to clear the table, she must wait till the lazy boy had eaten his breakfast.

"Bertie," said grandma, "please run up to my room, and bring me the ball of red yarn that is on the table."

"In a minute," answered Bertie. But his minutes were so long that grandma, who was waiting for the yarn, had to toil up stairs herself, and get it.

"Come, Bertie!" called Jennie, who was tying on her hood, "it's nearly school time."

"I'll be ready in a minute." And Bertie began to fly around for books and cap.

"I'm not going to wait for any of your old minutes," replied Jennie, marching off to school, while Bertie nearly ran his legs off to reach the door in time.

"Bertie," said his father, "I want you to mail this letter for me immediately."

"In a minute, papa," said Bertie, but his father saw to it that he started right off. But before he reached the post-office, he stopped at Willie Dean's house to invite him to spend the next afternoon with him, and by the time he had looked at Willie's rabbits, and climbed up to the pigeon' loft, it was four o'clock, and too late for the important letter to go that afternoon.

That was the way all Bertie's days were spent, in putting each thing off till the wrong time, to the trouble and annoyance of everyone around him. But one morning things were turned round.

"Bertie! Bertie! Get up," called his mother that morning.

"Yes’m in a minute." But in exactly a minute his big brother Tom came into the room.

"What! Not up! You're not keeping your word to mamma! "And Tom tugged away at the bed-clothes.

"Oh! Ow! Let me a-l-o-n-e! Oh, I say, it's cold!" and Bertie clung with all his might to the covers.

"O-o-o-w!" he squealed, as Tom with a jerk landed him, covers and all, in the middle of the floor.

"Now," said Tom, "if you don't get dressed, it will be the worse for you."

And Bertie was too wretched and surprised at such treatment to say, "In a minute." He only shivered.

"Bertie, come to breakfast," called Sue presently.

"In a minute," answered Bertie, who was in bed again by this time. When he came loitering down after breakfast was over, what was his surprise to find everything cleared away, and Sue washing the dishes.

"I want my breakfast," he said.

"Then you must come in time for it," replied his mother. "Boys who never do anything at the right time may expect people to grow tired of their ways, and today I am going to let you see for yourself just how this bad habit of yours seems to others." An hour later Bertie came running in.

"O mamma, may I go coasting on Fire-hill with the boys?" Mrs. Martin was running a noisy machine.

"Wait a minute," she answered, "I want to finish this seam." And she rattled away, while Bertie screamed in vain that the boys were going right away. His mother finished her seam, smoothed it out, looked at the stitches, and at last she said, "What is it?" Bertie told her again.

"I'm afraid it's too cold," answered Mrs. Martin,

"But I will look at the thermometer in a minute, and if it is above 20° you may go."  So in about a quarter of an hour, when Mrs. Martin had finished her sewing, she looked at the thermometer, and gave Bertie the promised permission; but by that time the other boys had gone, and Bertie had to trudge through the snow alone. At dinner time he rushed in hungry as a hawk, and in a great hurry to eat and be off.

"Dinner will be ready in a minute," said Sue. But it wasn't for nearly an hour. And so it was all day long, whatever he asked, the answer was, "In a minute." Whatever he wanted, he must wait a very long minute, just as he had kept other people waiting. I think Bertie learned a lesson of prompt obedience from that uncomfortable day; and I never heard him say, "In a minute," afterward.


The Household.