THERE were four boys and four girls in the party, and each one had a nice round hoop.

"Now for a race and a game," said Ned Lewis, as he seized his hoop; "there is just time before the bell rings. The one who gets to the corner the fourth time ahead has won the game. Come on!"

Away they went all together, spinning their hoops before them, Charlie Thomas, who had been sick and could not run, being the one appointed to keep count and see which beat. It was wonderful how each one of them wanted to win! To see their little legs flying through the square, and the eager light in their eyes, you would have thought, "Surely there must be an apple made of silver to win in the end," so eager were they.

Effie Brown was the swiftest runner of them all, unless it was Ned Lewis. The rest were never quite certain which was really the very swiftest, for sometimes Effie beat and sometimes Ned; but they certainly were ahead of all the others.

A shout went up from two or three of the party as the third run was made.

"Jolly!" said Fred Wilson, " that little Miller girl is going to beat, I do believe! Who knew she could run so? She has got there right along with Effie every time. Ned's a little mite behind this time, and I believe that those girls are both going to beat him."

Effie heard, and she didn't like it. The little Miller girl was a year younger than she, and a shy little girl. She didn't want to be beat by her--!  That would be worse than to have Ned beat. She didn't even want to be equal with her. It would soon be settled. She ran with all her might; her hoop fairly skimmed over the ground, and she kept her eye all the time on the little patched shoes that clipped along right by her side. A loud shout, a clapping of hands, and the cries of " Hurrah for Effie!" told that the race was won.

“She was a trifle ahead," Charlie said, "just a trifle—it wasn't more than half an inch; but that makes it a beat."

The little Miller girl looked up with a quick, eager glance. She knew her own little patched shoe touched the goal before Effie's did. Didn't Effie know it? If Mamie Miller had been any other girl among them, she would have shouted it loudly, and insisted on having her rights. But dear me! Mamie wasn't quite sure she had any rights in this world. Didn't she wear faded calico dresses, and a sunbonnet, and patched shoes?

The racers walked back very slowly, wiping their faces and saying it was fun, but that it made them very warm. Only Effie kept still. Yes; she knew all about it. She was certain that Mamie Miller's foot reached the corner before hers —hardly a second; so short a time that Charlie, who was watching, did not see it. But she did.

"I can't help it," she said. "I am not to decide the game. It was Charlie's business, not mine. If I had been ahead, and he had decided that I wasn't, I wouldn't have said a word.

What difference does it make anyway? It's real babyish to care so much about a race."

There's no use, Effie; your heart doesn't feel good about it, and you can't talk it into beating quietly, as if it made no difference. If it is such a little matter, you know it troubles you.

She kept on thinking about it after they had reached the schoolroom, and stood waiting for the bell.

"No use to begin anything new," Ned said;

"there wouldn't be time before the bells." Nellie Howell came up gaily with a tuft of spring blossoms from the woods. "There is just time to crown the victor," she said, laughing.

"Bend your head, Queen Effie, and I'll put these blossoms in your hair, in honor of your beating us once more. We're getting used to it, so we don't mind it at all."

Effie drew her head back quickly, and looked around for Mamie Miller. "Put them in Mamie's

hair," she said. "She won the race; her foot touched the corner just half a second before mine did."

"Oh! Oh!" chorused all the voices but Mamie's.

"Are you sure? Why, Charlie Thomas, couldn't you see?"

"I did see. Effie got there first. I saw her"

"No, you didn't," said Effie, shaking back her brown hair. She could laugh now; she felt very happy." If your eyes had been sharp, you would have seen that her foot got there ahead of mine.

I saw it, anyhow; and I was nearest to her.

Come here, Mamie Miller, and I'll fix the flowers in your hair."

It was such a little bit of a thing, but you don't know how happy it made Mamie Miller. She felt more as if she was "one of them" than she ever had before.

"I wonder you didn't let it go," Ned Lewis said to Effie after school, still talking about the race; "you came so near winning, and the umpire thought you did. What did it matter, anyhow?

I'd have let it go."

"I almost did," Effie said;" then I thought it was surely big enough to make a speck on the snow."

"What are you talking about—snow in April Effie laughed. "It is my verse," she said,—

"the golden text, you know, Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.' The snow gets all specked, you know; and mamma says that the specks are like little bits of sins. I don't want specks all over the snow."

"Humph!" said Ned. It was a new thought to him, and he went home thinking about it.