ELLA was comfortably seated in a great armchair, reading of heroic deeds, and wishing, oh, so much, that she might accomplish something to make her famous, something to be talked about and win praise from all who knew her, as well as from an admiring public, far and wide.

"Now, if I were only old enough to be a Florence Nightingale, go to the seat of war and nurse the soldiers, wouldn't that be splendid? Or, like Grace Darling, rescue some one from a watery grave. Dear me, what can I, or what shall I, ever do?"

And foolish Ella, forgetting that her room needed righting, that she had not practiced her music lesson, or that her mother might need some assistance this busy morning, with nurse sick and Willie fretting over not receiving his usual attention, went on idly dreaming or planning what she would do at some future day, when old enough to accomplish some thing worth while.

"Ella, dear," called out a sweet, gentle voice from the parlor room, "won't you please run up into the nursery and help amuse Willie? Jennie's face is aching so she cannot pay much attention to the baby."

"Oh dear, it is always just so; I no sooner get comfortably seated reading, than I must go and amuse Willie. He's a perfect bother!" mentally said Ella, as she slowly closed her book, and still more slowly rose out of the armchair into which she had curled herself for a good indulgence in reading and castle building.

"Come, Ella, Willie will get to fretting real hard, and then it will be much harder to amuse him."

"But, mother, this is a holiday, and I think I might have a little rest and pleasure of my own, without having to amuse baby whenever he is cross and fretful."

"Very true, dear, it is your holiday, but cannot you find pleasure in making others happy? I would not have my little girl grow up cold and selfish, thinking only of her own enjoyment."

"Grow up cold and selfish!" repeated Ella, as she ascended the stairs. 

"Why, mamma don't know what neat things I mean to accomplish one of these days. How I do wish I was big enough now to go away to China or Africa to teach the heathen, or do something of the kind."  "O Miss Ella, I'm so glad you have come. I have a distracting toothache, and the neuralgia all down the one side of my face, and I can't amuse Willie no way."

"You took cold talking for so long a time over the fence last evening," replied Ella, in no very gracious tone. 

"There, Willie, stop your crying, or I'll not play with you. Just see, you have upset the soap-suds, and broken your soap-bubble pipe."

Willie had stopped crying upon his sister's entrance into the room, but now he stood with quivering lips, scarcely knowing whether to confess he was sorry, or to rebel and again set up that defiant yell.

What has become of Ella's wish to care for wounded soldiers, or teach the heathen? Has she poured oil upon the troubled waters? Helped to ease Jennie of the torturing pain she is so patiently trying to endure, or seen what gentle words may do to comfort Willie? Alas, no. The work just before her does not seem grand enough to claim her attention. It is not one that will win praise from her fellow-creatures, and so Ella sets about amusing her little brother in a preoccupied, listless manner. Jennie is not sent to lie down, nor Willie put into a thoroughly good humor, until mamma, disengaged, enters the room, and by her bright, sunny face and manner, sets things to rights. Jennie has something given her for her toothache, and a soothing lotion to bathe her face, and is then sent off to lie down and rest. Willie is taken upon her lap, and quieted with a pretty picture book.  Ella watched the proceedings, wondering why she had not thought of them, and with regretful feelings, tells her mother so.

"Well, Puss, it is not so easy to put old heads on young shoulders."

"But, mamma, only this very morning I was planning what great deeds I meant to do, and was wishing to begin them right straight off."

"And forgot that the work directly before you was the only one God required of you. I'm afraid my little girl indulges in castle building. Like bright bubbles, they only fall to pieces, unless you first lay a firm foundation."

"And how can I do that, mamma? I do not quite understand your meaning." "It is this: Day-dreaming, or castle building, as I call it, for future time, to the neglect of present duties, is apt to weaken the character instead of strengthening it; so when the time comes for some great and heroic deed, such ones are unnerved or incapacitated to act in the way they had dreamed they should; while another who forgets self, and daily strives to make others happy, unconsciously per- forms brave deeds all the time. This is the firm foundation of which I spoke. 

And you see, Ella, when a time comes for what you consider great and heroic deeds, they are performed as naturally, and with as little thought of self, as the simple ones have long been transacted, and, dear child, let me add, without a thought of this world's applause, such as castle builders expect to follow their great deeds."

Ella looked very thoughtful. Had mamma so clearly read her thoughts? 

Or was this really the way with all dreamy castle builders? If so, she would not be one of them. And forming a good resolution, she no longer found the care of little Willie a bother, or present duties distasteful. But in the strength of Him who ever helps his trusting children to do right, Ella at once set about building a firm foundation, against the time when she might be called upon to make greater sacrifices for others. 

Christian Weekly