IT was a lovely spring morning. The birds were all in a twitter, getting ready to build their nests and set up housekeeping. 

Hannah came across the lawn on her way to the milk-room, her big pail in her hand, and butter-bowl under her arm, and stopped a minute to breathe the freshness of the soft air. But she looked very grim. It would take more than the song of birds and the smell of spring flowers to make Hannah feel happy this morning. In fact, it was a long time since she had felt happy. All night she had been lying awake, thinking of her boy John, who was going wrong in many ways, and was writing home to her for money to get him out of foolish debts, instead of earning enough to help her, as a boy who loved his mother should. 

She had made up her mind to write him a sharp letter, and tell him she washed her hands of him entirely. She would send him no more money to help him go to ruin, and she did not want to hear from him 'again until he had made up his mind to behave himself. No wonder poor Hannah looked grim, and cared nothing about the birds. 

A light step sounded behind her, and little Grace came down the grassy path in a fresh spring dress, with a black ribbon tied around her waist. Grace had been at the old farm-house with her auntie only a few days, but she was already a friend of Hannah's, and loved to follow her around at her work. She had many questions to ask about the cows and the milking and the churning and the little pats of shining butter. 'Hannah liked the sound of her voice. She was able to stop thinking about John for awhile, and listen to Grace. 

"Are you going to churn again this morning?" 

Gracie asked, following her from one pan of rich creamy milk to another. 

Hannah shook her head. "No; this is baking day. I've got bread, pies, and I don't know what to tend to. You come down to the kitchen after breakfast, and I'll show you how to make a little pie for your uncle's dinner. Would you like that?" 

"Oh yes!" Grace said, with happy eyes; that would be so nice; she would ask auntie if she might come, just as soon as she wrote her letter. "I must write to Jerry this morning," she continued, her merry eyes-assuming a graver look. 

Then did Hannah give so sudden a start that she almost overturned her bowl of cream. 

"Jerry. who," she said sharply. 

"Why, Jerry Brown. Don't you know?" Gracie spoke in a low, sad tone. 

"It can't be that you write to him!" 

"Every week," said Gracie quietly. "Every Friday he watches for my letter." 

"And he killed your father! Why, Grace Cameron, how can you write to him? I should think you would hate him." 

"Oh no!" and a shocked look came into Gracie's brown eyes. 

"He is so sorry, Hannah. He didn't mean to kill papa, you know; if he had not been drinking, he would not have done it; and papa forgave him with his last breath; and Jerry is in prison, and feels so 

terribly, that they are afraid he will die." 

But Hannah 'shut her grim lips together. 

"There's reason in all things," she said. "It's against nature for you to forgive that man, I don't care how sorry he is! He needn't have swallowed the poison that took his brains away. I don't see how you can forgive him." 

"But, Hannah, I've got to, you know." 

Gracie's voice was low and her lips were trembling. "The Bible says you must forgive seventy times seven; and it says you must forgive your enemies, and you know Jesus said on the cruel cross, "Father, forgive them." Papa said I couldn't ask Jesus to forgive me if I did not forgive Jerry.  At first I couldn’t; I had to ask Jesus about it a great many times. But at last, when I went to see Jerry, he asked me to forgive him, and of course I had to then." 

Hannah turned away suddenly, to hide her face. 

Just then she saw a line in John's letter: "Dear mother, I know I have done wrong; will you forgive me and help me out this time? I promise you I'll never get caught in this way again." 

It was more than an hour afterward that Mrs. Cameron, Gracie's aunt, met Hannah as she came in from the milk-room with the cream for breakfast. 

"Well, Hannah," she said pleasantly, "outside work all done?" 

"Yes'm," said Hannah; "and some of the inside work." 

That meant a good deal more than Mrs. Cameron knew anything about. 

The afternoon mail took two letters away from the farmhouse. One was to poor Jerry Brown in his prison cell, the other was to poor John Barton, Hannah's son. In that letter was this sentence: 

"John, poor boy, your mother forgives you; try again." 

Gracie Cameron had helped to do some of the "inside work" that morning; but she didn't know anything about it.

—The Pansy. 

GOD knows our secret actions, and that is sufficient; for his reward is better than that of men.