How Tom Changed



COME, Maggie, let us go down to the creek now, and sail Tommy's boat; you know he said we might if we would help him weed his flower-bed." Little Maggie Adams ran after her sister Kate, as the latter called her, and together they found Tommy. He was at that moment setting out for the creek with his boat, "The Jolly Skipper," under his arm.

"Go away, girls!" he coolly exclaimed, as he heard his sisters' request. "I want to play with my boat myself, without having you to bother me."

"But you promised us, Tom—you know you did; you said we could have it just before dinner." "Well, I intended then that you should have it," said Tommy, firmly, "but now I have changed my mind. People can't think the same always, and there is no harm in changing a body's mind; everyone knows that." Tommy walked off very grandly, as if he had said a fine thing, and his disappointed little sisters felt like crying; they had worked for him a long time that morning. Mr. Adams sat reading his paper near the open window, and he heard the whole talk. He started to call Tommy in that he might talk to him of his mean and dishonorable conduct. Then he remembered that he had already done this several times before with no good result, and he resolved to try something more effectual than talk.

Tommy sailed his boat for an hour or two, and then condescended to talk to the little girls, who had come down to the water to see him enjoy himself. "Only think," he exclaimed, "what fun I am going to have! Father is going to get me a velocipede; he almost promised he would bring it from the city tonight. He will, I am sure, for he always keeps his word; and next thing I am going to have some roller-skates."

"Oh, I wish we had roller-skates! " cried Maggie.

"You? Nonsense!"

"It is not nonsense," said Kate. "Ever so many girls have them."

"Well, you won't, if they do," returned their brother, roughly.

That night Tom rushed down stairs from his play-room two steps at a time when he heard his father's voice in the piazza. He pushed past his mother and the girls, shouting, "Where is my velocipede? Father, did you get it?"

"No," returned his father, quietly drawing out a pair of skates from his coat pocket.

“Oh, you didn't this time, but you did the next best thing. Hurrah for my skates!" Tom snatched them, and cried, "Why, they are too small! I know they are."

"Think so, my boy? Then these are not likely to be better;" and Mr. Adams brought out a second pair, smaller still. "Try them on, little girls," he said kindly, "and don't be too ambitious and hurt yourselves."

"Where are mine? Do let me see them! The girls didn't need skates."

"I changed my mind, Tom, and concluded not to get you any."

"Why, father!" groaned Tom.

"And it is all nonsense your wanting a velocipede."   “But you said I might have one."

"I intended that you should have one when I said so; but everybody has a right to change his mind, and I changed mine," said his father indifferently, as he turned to help the little girls fasten their skates.

Tom was too much astonished and grieved fairly to understand the full meaning of his father's words. Never before had their father given his children the faintest hope of a pleasure or a gift, and then failed to gratify them without some excellent reason. They were proud to believe that their father was a man of honor and truthfulness.

But Tom's eyes were opened in the next two or three days. His weekly pocket-money was not forth-coming, because his father had not the exact amount, and he had changed his mind about giving it to him, anyway. His mother failed to buy him a new suit he was expecting, because she had "changed her mind."

"Oh, how Tom came to hate those words! He was quick enough to learn the lesson now that it was for him to learn that such mind-changing as his had been was mean and selfish, and contrary to the golden rule. By Saturday night, Tom was a much meeker and better boy, and from that day he was careful to have good reason for so doing whenever he found it necessary to "change his mind."





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