ROB stood by the window, in the moonlight. "I hope that it will not rain tomorrow," he cried.

"Does it look like rain? Are there clouds in the west?" asked Harry.

"Oh, I hope not?" exclaimed Alice. "I would cry my eyes out if it should rain."

"And go without eyes the rest of your life?" asked nurse. "Why, Miss Alice, who sends the rain?"

"But just think how rain would spoil our picnic," muttered Rob. "I wish that I could hold the clouds in my hands." He turned quickly from the window just then, and saw his mother standing in the doorway.

There was such a look of surprise on her face, that Rob was sure she heard his speech.

“I came to say good-night to my darlings," she said, "and-"

"To tell us a story," interrupted Alice.

"Yes, a little story that I read in poetry.  I will put it into prose for you:-

"A long while ago, far from here, in a beautiful home by the sea-side, lived four little sisters.

They were as merry as the day was long, and as happy as any other little girls in the land, perhaps.

"One sweet morning in June, they sat together under the trees, and made plans to spend a day in the woods. They were to fill their baskets with all kinds of nice things, and they were to carry games, and books, and whatever else they liked for entertainment. Father and mother and Uncle George would go with them; Uncle George who had his head just brimful of funny stories,' Laura said.

"If brother Maurice could only be here to go!' exclaimed Cecelia.

"But Maurice was a young midshipman, away at sea; they could not hope to have him at their picnic. How long it seemed before the day would come! Many were the anxious thoughts about the weather!  It did not seem possible that it could rain, when they wanted to go so very much!

"The baskets were filled the night before. Ring-toss and lawn-tennis were in the hall, waiting to be carried to the mountain. Five o'clock came. Minnie was up to catch the first glimpse of sunrise! There were thick clouds in the east, though, and no prospect of a clear sunrise.

"Maybe it will be bright by ten o'clock,' said Cecelia, hopefully.

"Laura shook her head, declaring, Father thinks that it is almost sure to rain.'

“They counted the hours to breakfast time.

'We will know then,' Cecelia said. Minnie fell asleep, meanwhile. She dreamed that the clouds had all passed away, and that the merry party was far up the mountain, with baskets and games. She woke up soon, to hear the great drops of rain pattering against the window-panes!

"There were four sorrowful faces at the breakfast table that morning; for, of course, the kind mother and father were troubled by their children's disappointment, though they were sure that it was for the best. I am sorry to say that the children fretted about the rain all day, so that no one fell asleep that night feeling very happy.

"A week passed. The rainy day was forgotten, when, one evening, just before tea, there was a knock at the hall door, and then a cry of delight! Elsie peeped over the baluster, and saw her brother Maurice, with his arms around his mother's neck, crying and laughing at the same time! A moment more and every one was in the hall to welcome him, and to hear how such a delightful event as this homecoming had happened!

"The story was soon told. His ship had been wrecked ten days before. He, with two or three sailors, had escaped. They were at sea three days, in a small open boat, with no fresh water, and with the sun pouring its hot rays upon their uncovered heads!

"O dear mother, how hard we prayed for rain! Just for one little shower, even!' said Maurice.

"Did it rain?' asked Cecelia, eagerly.

"Yes, it rained for a whole day-Wednesday, just a week ago. We should all have died if it had not been for that rainy day!'

"The sisters looked at one another. Their mother exclaimed, O my dears, do you hear that?

Do you remember, it was the very same rain that made you all so unhappy?'

" 'Tell me all about it,' said Maurice.

How could the rain that saved me make you miserable?'

"'But we didn't know that it was going to save you, Maurice,' they said.

"No, that is just the point,' said their mother.

We do not, any of us, know, what good things we should prevent, nor what terrible things would happen, if we could always have our own way.

Think how it would have been in this case.'"

"They might never have seen Maurice again," said Rob, solemnly, when his mother had finished the story." We have no brother to be lost at sea, though," he added.

"But perhaps some one may have," said Alice.

"Or the rain may be intended for some one else, in some other way," said Harry.

"You may be sure that it is for the very best," said their mother. "He who holds the clouds in his hand knows the right moment to let them come down in showers upon the earth." Rob looked ashamed. He saw what a foolish speech he had made, and how well it is that the clouds are under the control of the one, wise heavenly Father!




New York Observer.