"DID you sweep the corners?"

"Now, mother, what is the use of being so particular? The room looks just as nice as it can look. Who's going to move etageres and table, and poke behind the piano to see if there's a few grains of dust there?"

"Have you never swept the corners since you volunteered to take entire charge of the parlor, Amy? You know I have been shut up in my room and have trusted entirely to you."

"Not exactly; Mrs. Strongmore, who lectured so delightfully, you know, says women waste so much time in puttering. She says it's a great thing to learn just how much housework and sewing is necessary to enable one to get along, and then we shall save the rest of the time for higher pursuits; and that is so much gain."

"Perhaps, if it really saves time; let us see how it is in this case. Move that stand, dear, and put your broom into that corner."

"Why, mother, there are myriads of black, fuzzy little things, crawling away, and why it's too bad, they have eaten all the pattern off of that corner of our pretty carpet!"

"That is what I feared! It is the Buffalo moth, or carpet bug, and having once made a lodgment, they will run along every seam of the carpet; nothing can save it but taking it all up and having it thoroughly cleansed. 

It is too bad, but it never would have happened if you had swept the corner faithfully. Which way do you think would have saved the most time?"

"Mother, I was so disgraced today. 

I wore my new cambric to the Sunday school picnic, and when I was swinging one of the children, the whole sleeve ripped right down and left my arm bare. It was especially mortifying because I had just been telling the girls how I had made it all myself on my new machine."

"Softly, my daughter; did you take a needle and fasten all the threads as I suggested?"

"Why, no; that would have taken so much time, and I wanted to make the whole dress in two days, which I did."

"Did you save much time by that proceeding?"

"No, mother, of course not; I see what you mean. It's another case of not sweeping the corners, I suppose?"

"My dear, I wish I could impress upon you now the importance of doing things thoroughly, and not slighting the parts of work that do not show at first sight; duty and policy are alike concerned in faithfulness to the corners. My gardener made me a flowerbed on the lawn once, but I hardly got it filled with beautiful flowers when the quick-grass came up so thickly between them that it took more time than I had to spare to pull it out, and when I at last had recourse to him, he acknowledged that he had only turned the sod over, not taking the time to pick it out.

"Last spring there was a terrible accident in New York; part of a great building filled with people gave way, destroying much valuable life and property. Why? Because somebody had not been careful of the corners, the unseen parts of the building, where the strain came; and this want of faithfulness rendered the whole thing unsafe. Only two months before that, occurred the destruction of the Tay bridge in Scotland, which thrilled the public with indignation; a whole train of cars, with their crowd of living freight, precipitated at once into the raging flood and disappeared, because of the unfaithfulness of contractors, workmen, every one concerned in those parts of the work whose un-soundness could not be detected except by actual experiment.

"And when we come to things not tangible, the principle is just the same; carelessness about the corners, the out-of-the-way trivialities of schoolboy lessons have sometimes cost a man his standing and success in life. 

Have you forgotten a certain girl graduate, whose percentage was woefully lowered by the absence of capitals and commas in an examination in meta-physics? There are young men and young women today who are deliberately laying the foundation of future wretchedness and failure by neglect of the little corners of habits of strict honesty, perfect truthfulness, making the most of the minutes, etc, etc. 

Think, my child, of the eye that never slumbers looking down into the corners of our rooms, our work, our pursuits, our habits, our lives; remember that He has commanded us to be faithful in the few things committed to our care. That he may find no accumulated dust any where- "Sweep the corners" 

M. E. Winslow, 

in Observer