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As is usual, in such cases, Angeline felt worse after these words had
whistled through the escape pipe of her ill-nature, than she did before;
and, for want of something else to do, she commenced crying. She was not
angry--that is, not altogether so--though the spirit she showed was a
pretty good imitation of anger, it must be confessed. She was peevish.
Matters had not gone right with her that day. She was crossed in this thing
and that thing. Her new hat had not come home from the milliner's, as she
expected; one of her frocks had just got badly torn; she had a hard lesson
to learn; and I cannot repeat the whole catalogue of her miseries. So she
fretted, and stormed, and cried, and felt just as badly as she chose.
Not long after the crying spell was over, and there was a little blue sky
in sight, Jeannette Forrest, a cousin of Angeline's, came running into the
room, her face all lighted up with smiles, and threw her arms around her
cousin's neck, and kissed her. This was no uncommon thing with Jeannette.
She had a very happy and a very affectionate disposition. Every body loved
her, and she loved every body.
One not acquainted with Angeline, might very naturally suppose that she
would return her cousin's embrace. But she did no such thing. Her manner
was quite cool and distant. Human nature is a strange compound, is it not?
"Why, cousin," said the light-hearted Jeannette, "what is the matter? You
are not well, are you?"
"Yes, well enough," the other replied, rather crustily. Take care,
Angeline, there's a cloud coming over your cousin's face. Speak a kind word
or two, now. Then the sun will beam out again, brightly as ever. Jeannette
was silent for a moment, for she was astonished, and did not know what to
make of her cousin's manner. It would have appeared uncivil and rude to
most little girls. But the sweet spirit of Jeannette--loving, hoping,
trusting--was differently affected. She saw only the brighter side of the
picture. So the bee, as she flies merrily from flower to flower, finds a
store of honey where others would find only poison.
"Dear Angeline," said her cousin, at length, "I'm sure something is the
matter. Tell me what it is, won't you? Oh, I should love to make you happy,
if I only knew how!"
Angeline seemed scarcely to hear these words of love. That is strange
enough, I hear you say. So it is, perhaps, and it may be stranger still,
that she read not the language of love and sympathy that was written so
plainly in her cousin's countenance. It is true, though, for all that. She
did not say much of any thing to this inquiry--she simply muttered, between
"I don't believe any body loves me."
Jeannette was no philosopher. She could not read essays nor preach sermons.
Her argument to convince her cousin that there was, at least, one who loved
her, was drawn from the heart, rather than from the head. It was very
brief, and very much to the point. She burst into tears, and sobbed,
"Don't say so, dear."
Jeannette could not stay long. Her mother had sent her on an errand, and
told her she must make haste back. Perhaps it was as well that she could
not stay--and perhaps not. Human nature is a strange sort of compound, as I
said before; and it may be that the ice which had covered over the streams
leading from Angeline's heart would not have melted under the influence
even of the warm sun that, for a moment or two, beamed upon them so kindly.
For one, however, I should like to know what would have come out of that
conversation, if it had been allowed to go on. Jeannette went home, and
Angeline was again left to her own reflections, which were any thing but
pleasant. It was Saturday afternoon; and, there being no school, she had
hoped to be able to ramble in the woods with some of her little companions.
But here she was disappointed, too, and this increased her peevishness;
though the reason why she could not go was, because she did not learn her
lesson in season, and that was her own fault. Toward night, when Mrs
Standish had leisure to sit down to her sewing, she called Angeline, and
reminded her of the ill-natured spirit she had shown in the early part of
the afternoon. The child was rather ashamed of what she had said, it is
true; but she tried to excuse her conduct.
"Every thing went wrong to-day, mother," she said; "I couldn't help feeling
so. Oh, dear! I don't see how any body can be good, when things go in this
way--I mean any body but Jeannette. I wish I was like her. It is easy for
her to be good."
"Your cousin has, no doubt, a very different disposition from yours," said
the mother. "But it is much easier for you to be always good-natured and
happy than you suppose, Angeline."
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