"I WISH I was dead! I'm poor, and ugly, and deformed, and unhappy, and friendless, and—" 

"Alice!" a gentle hand was placed on her shoulder, but Alice, absorbed in her gloomy thoughts, gazed vacantly out of the window. 

"Alice," repeated the soft voice, "Alice, why will you persist in making yourself so miserable?" 

The young girl turned, and said, almost fiercely, 

"We read today in our class, 'A thing of beauty is a joy forever.' The girls looked at me,—you need not shake your head, Miss Evans, I know they did. How could they help it I put it to you, yourself, Am I a thing of beauty, that I should be a joy, either to myself or others?" 

"Come into my room a few minutes, Alice; I have something to show you," was the only answer her teacher gave, as she opened the door, near her. 

Alice slowly limped after, thinking bitterly:— 

"Yes, that is always the way,—evading the question. She knows that I am unlovable as well as unlovely." 

Miss Evans was standing by her desk, on which was a small, rough box. 

"I have just received a letter and a package, from a friend who lives in a far-off land. This is her picture, taken years ago." 

The simple morocco case she handed Alice was old and faded; the corners were rubbed, the hinges broken, and the velvet lining dingy. The face that looked forth from it was not beautiful, but so gentle and loving that you were attracted to it at once. Alice gazed in silence, then said:— 

"How you must value it! I wonder, Miss Evans, you don't have it put in a new case. I should think you would get a handsome gold medallion for it." 

"I can't afford to, but would not if I could. I like it best as it is. This is the case she gave it to me in. No gold-Or jewels or coloring could make me care more for the precious face within. It is that, not the outside case, I value. See, here is her letter." 

Alice laughed; for the letter had been weeks, and even months, on its way; and had traveled in all sorts of conveyances, from a camel's back to steamer and railroad car. The envelope was an indescribable color, covered with odd-looking stamps; and bore numerous marks of the dirty fingers of various mail carriers, and had evidently even made the acquaintance of a gutter, or some such place. 

"Pretty well soiled, isn't it?" said Miss Evans; "but never mind, the contents are clean; we won't care for the outside. I'll read you what she says." 

Alice sat spellbound, as her teacher read sparkling descriptions of what were to her unknown lands.

"I suppose," said she, when it closed, "you wilt keep that letter always. Who would suppose so much was hidden under that dirty envelope?" 

"Appearances are deceitful.  What would you suppose was in that rough box?" 

If you had not told me that it had come from foreign parts, I should have said slate-pencils, or chalk, or something equally valuable." 

"What do you think of this?" and Miss Evans held up what looked like a piece of rough stone. 

"I shouldn't think that was worth sending so far." 

"It is a valuable specimen for our geological cabinet. Look here." 

She turned it over, and lo! The other side was exquisitely polished. 

"You would not suppose it was capable of so much beauty, would you? And here is a specimen of wood, the same way." 

"Look at this piece of moss; it must have fallen in; it was never intended to travel so far," cried Alice, taking up what looked like a dried weed, about an inch square. 

"Lay it in that basin of water, while we examine the rest." 

"An odd pebble! What a queer thing to send! Why, Miss Evans, I'll pick you up a basketful on the beach in five minutes." 

"I should be happy to accept them, if they are like this. That is a diamond. I did not read you 

that part of the letter where she says, 'I send you a diamond in the rough. It costs less to transport, there is less danger of its being stolen, as few would suspect its value, and you can have it cut to suit your own fancy.' Ah! Alice, under the unsightly outside lies a jewel fit to sparkle in a king's crown. Now hand me the basin." 

Alice turned to do so, but instantly uttered a cry of surprise. 

"O Miss Evans, look at the bit of weed! It has expanded, and filled the whole basin with a beautiful green plant!" 

"Yes; that is the rose of Jericho, or resurrection plant. When 'you take it out of the water, 

it will contract as stiffly as ever." 

"Will wonders ever cease!" said Alice. 

"No, my dear; not till this mortal shall put on immortality. God has hidden many of his best treasures under a rough outside. But he seeth not as man seeth, and he knoweth his own jewels." 

There was a long silence, then Alice said, softly, 

"Dear Miss Evans, I see what you would teach me by all this. I will try and profit by it." 

Do all who read this, read the lesson also?

Young Reaper.