"MAMMA, there is one thing I am sure of, and that is, that I can never be good as long as I have to live with Sandy."

"O, Edna, think a moment, do not speak so; you are blaming your brother for your own naughtiness!"

"Well, he makes me naughty. I 'm always worse when he's in the house. 

Doesn't that show that I'm not really so bad? I want to be good and keep my temper, but as soon as Sandy comes where I am, he is sure to do something to vex me, and I can't help getting cross and saying something hateful!"

"Come here, my dear;" and the mother laid down her work with that pleasant way which mothers have of showing that they are willing to give their whole attention to the case in hand. Drawing Edna close to her side, she said: "I will tell you what it shows; it shows simply that you are not strong enough to resist strong temptations. Nothing is easier for us all than to think ourselves angelic because we happen to live with people of easy tempers, or who smooth our way for us with kindness and love. 

And I think it shows something else, too, that you have not that true sisterly feeling toward Sandy which should make you bear with him in spite of his faults and annoyances."

"I don't think he's got a very brotherly feeling toward me, or he wouldn't treat me so!" muttered Edna.

"I don't defend his conduct," replied her mother. "You know that I have reproved and punished him for irritating you; but I want you to see plainly that what he brings out is really in you, else he could not bring it out. It might be possible for a person to live for years without doing anything flagrantly bad: he might, on the whole, seem to be quite good enough; and yet this same person might in the end do some very dreadful things, thus showing himself to have been full of the possibilities of wickedness all the time."

"I don't think I quite understand you, mamma."

"Well, I will try and make it plainer. You remember the poor little girl with spine disease whom I took you to see last winter, and you remember that her mother also was humpbacked. When Emma was born, though she was then straight and well formed, the doctors said it was not unlikely that she would inherit her mother's disease that is, the germ or seed of the disease was probably in the baby's blood and would develop some day, sooner or later. Yet for twelve years there was no sign of such a thing happening. Emma grew tall, and seemed well and strong. But the day came at length when she had a fall, bruising her back; and then the dreadful disease, which had been lying quiet for years, just waiting for a chance to show itself, made its appearance, and poor Emma is helpless for life. 

Now, you know that many people get very bad falls without serious injury. 

They can even hurt their backs without having spinal complaint as a necessary consequence; but this case of Emma's shows that the bad seed was in her all the time. The fall did not put it there, but only brought it out. 

Some other fall, a bruise, some illness, would have been almost sure to have brought the same result. And now must I apply my illustration, or does it explain itself?"

Edna looked up with a very knowing expression, and said:" I see what you mean, mamma. I know now that the badness is in me, and that if Sandy did not start it, somebody else would, some day. I cannot be sure I am good until I have resisted the hardest temptations."

"Yes; trials are not sent to make us bad, but good, or rather, they are to show us how much good and how much bad we have in us, how weak we are and how strong. Remember Jesus in the wilderness. If temptations had power in themselves alone to corrupt, surely it would seem he might almost have fallen. The devil tried him hard and long, but he found him unconquerable incorruptible. 

Thomas A. Kempis once wrote certain words, which I will repeat to you, hoping you will think of them the very next time Sandy comes in your way. They are true, are they not? 

"'Occasions do not make a man frail, but they show what he is.'" 

E. B.,

 in New York Observer.