‘WHAT in the world has that child got now?" Mrs. Foster glanced from the window with such a look of horror that Aunt Mary, sitting quietly in a corner on the other side of the room, rose and crossed over to see a chubby-faced child, with rosy cheeks, blue eyes, and wind-blown curls, rushing by, dragging behind her two large toads with strings tied to their legs. "That child will be the death of me yet, I do believe, Mary, continued Mrs. Foster. If she were a boy, I should be afraid she would be a second Nero; as it is, I fear that before womanhood she will commit some terrible crime.” "Why?" said Aunt Mary in her placid way.

"Why? Because she is so horribly cruel; Mary, I can't make her out; she seems loving, and wants pets, she is obedient and trusting; but I often catch her pulling wings off from flies, just to hear them buzz; and last week she plunged her pet cat, with both her little kittens, into a tub of water, just to see them scramble and scratch to get out; and the terror of the poor creatures did not seem to affect her in the least, for she laughed and screamed with delight. And now here she comes with two toads; and look, she has tied them to that post, and is poking a stick at them to see them jump. 

Aunt Mary smiled. "Do you think, Annie, that Mamie realizes that she is hurting them?"

"I don't know why she shouldn't." 

Just at that minute Mamie came running in, all flushed and laughing.

Aunt Mary caught her namesake and pet in her arms, and carried her over to her vacated seat, and holding the struggling, laughing child on her knee, looked her seriously in the face, saying the while, "I hear you did something naughty to your pets last week, Mamie. Mamma tells me you dumped your kittens into a tub of water for fun. "Now, mamma," she said, looking up to Mamie's mother," the next time you find Mamie doing this trick with these little dumb animals, just dump her in after them, and see how she likes this kind of fun. Suppose we tie her to the chair now by her legs, and poke sticks at her for fun."

Mamie began to look serious. 

"Now, Mamie, let me tell you a story of a little girl who did so many things for fun. One day she nearly frightened her grandmother into a fit by putting some of her father's gunpowder into the snuffers. The poor old lady went to snuff her candle, when such an explosion followed as to almost blind, her and made her fall in a faint. The little girl felt very sorry; she had not intended the joke for her grandma, but for her "big ugly brother Jack" as she called him, who was always teasing her for fun. 

But she soon forgot this mishap, and one day, being alone in the sitting room with the cat, her desire for fun caused her to play another foolish prank with her pet kitten. Seizing it by the tail, she began to whirl round and round, as you have seen little girls do when playing "cheese." Of course the cat squalled and threw out her front feet in a vain endeavor to reach the floor, and get away from her tormentor; but the more poor pussy cried and scrambled in her terror, the more Miss Jennie (we will call her) whirled round and round. But fortunately for the cat and unfortunately for Jennie, who in her mad dance could not see anything but the cat's four legs sprawling out, her mother appeared at the open door and looked on for a moment in sheer astonishment and anger, then suddenly catching the child by the skirts, she brought her busy young daughter to a sudden halt, released the cat from her uncomfortable position; and before Jennie could regain her senses, she found herself being whirled round and round by her dress skirt, while her mother danced round and round on her feet, in a whirl that Jennie thought would never end. Poor Jennie screamed and cried, clutching at the air with her two hands exactly as poor kitty had done with her paws. Finally her mother let her down, and looking at her sternly, she said, "Now, Jennie, how do you like this kind of fun?"

Jennie hung her head. "O mamma, I did not know it hurt so," she said, sadly looking at her pet cat bristling in the corner from fright. "I will never do it again, kitty," she said, taking the cat in her arms and kissing it. 

"Now, Mamie," continued Aunt Mary, "I was that little girl, and I shall never forget my fright and experience at fun of this kind. I did not know until it was shown me this way, that I was so cruel. Do you want us to teach you by experience, or will you learn from your Aunt Mary's experience to do even unto dumb animals as you would be done unto?  Mamie looked up at her aunt with tears in her blue eyes. "I'll try, auntie; I never thought of it in that way. I did not think it would hurt, and thought that they enjoyed the fun too; and scrambling from her aunt's arms, the five-year-old hurried out and released the poor tormented toads, and latching pussy up in her arms, began bugging and squeezing and kissing her in such a way that the horrified cat thought it only another form of her young mistress's plans for fun, and darted out of her arms, and out of the house to a safe distance, where she eyed sorrowful-faced Mamie askance until she came to the conclusion that it wasn't fun, but a real desire for pardon of the many tricks played on her in the past. And so pussy, who was a wonderfully wise and good-natured cat, came back, and looking up in Mamie's face, purred softly, as she saw the tears roll down the little girl's face, as much as to say, "I'll forgive you, and I will play with you, but don't tease me for fun."


TRUTHFULNESS is a cornerstone in character, and if it be not firmly laid in youth, there will ever after be a weak spot in the foundation.