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Page 204 text:
Dorothy, who accompanied her to the carriage, she said: "You arc a dear little "Builder" and I know 1 can depend on you. Be sure to finish your composition. I shall he interested in reading it when 1 come back; and I shall think of you tomorrow afternoon." But Dorothy only looked gratitude at her mother as she drove away—she could not speak it, for her lips quivered.
She returned to the house and busied herself with preparations for supper, calling to Martha only when three-year-old Arthur came in with a bleeding hand, and scolding kitty for "tratching" him. After some delay, Martha appeared with a frowning face, and, grasping Arthur’s hand, said: "You're always getting hurt when nobody has time to help you.”
"Martha,” interrupted her sister, "how arc you getting along with your composition?" "Why, I had just got nicely started and interested when you called me.” was the reply. "I was writing on thoughtfulness for others when you called me, and it occurred to me that your thoughtlessness :n interrupting my train of thought is a good illustration of how poorly this grand principle is observed, generally." Dorothy allayed the chiding which rose to her lips and ran to greet her father, who entered at that moment, and who. on seeing the ready laid supper-table, exclaimed proudly. “Such busy little housekeepers as 1 have—good builders they are. to be sure."
In spite of Mrs. Hadley’s absence, the evening meal was pleasant: Arthur amused them all with his comments on his "tratched” hand: the girls were eager to tell about their compositions, and they found their father's interest very encouraging. Martha, however, in her eagerness to resume her work, left the table, remarking to Dorothy, "I'll
have to work all evening to finish my composition, so I can have tomorrow forenoon to
copy it. You know I didn't begin until a long time after you did. so I'll need more time
to finish than you will. I’ll go at it right now and let you wash the dishes." So saying,
she retired to the library. Papa kept little Arthur quiet by telling him stories of "big cats (tigers) that scratch worse than kitty does."
Meantime. Dorothy, busy in the kitchen, was too proud to admit to herself that her heart ached. Her thoughts reverted to her mother and Aunt Lizzie, and she reminded herself of the admonitions of "The Builders’ Guide." saying to herself, as she did so. "I can not dream myself into a character: I must hammer and forge myself one." She foresaw that it would be impossible to finish her composition and copy it by the afternoon of the next day. but she determined that she would not shatter her mother's faith in her. so as a last resort she resolved to withdraw from the week's contest and finish her paper. "Now Arthur, the cuckoo says ‘To bed,’” sounded Dorothy’s cheerful voice. But Arthur pleaded for one more story: and while his father granted this. Dorothy bethought herself of her diary that she had neglected during the excitement of the past few hours. She went to the library and wrote as follows:
"My most- intimate friend: I have only a few minutes to visit with you this evening, but I want to remind you of that beautiful, divine thought which Miss Fountaine taught us last spring:
" ‘The patient child, whose watchful eye Strives for all things pure and high.
Shall take their image by and by.’
"Do you understand what it means. Diary? We never can overcome our wickedness until we desire, with all our heart and soul, to become good and great. When we really wish that our thoughts, our words, and our deeds be pure and high, we must watch with our eyes to see righteousness, we must listen with our ears to hear righteousness, and we must respond with our soul to feel righteousness. If we arc very, very patient and never cease to admire it. to watch for it. to listen to it. and to respond to it, we shall finally become righteous. Diary, isn't that a magnificent promise? f mean to attain it! Good-night.”
When Dorothy closed her eyes in sleep that night it was with a prayer in her heart for mother and Aunt Lizzie; a blessing for father, and Martha, and Arthur: and a plea that she might never forget to admire and seek righteousness and to be patient throughout. When she informed Martha, the next morning, of her decision to withdraw from the week’s contest, she felt rewarded, by the look of pleasure on her sister’s face, as she replied "Oh! I’m glad of it, Dorothy, for then you'll have time to do the work this morning. I'll help you after the meeting." So saying, she left the room and Dorothy saw no more of her until dinner-time, when she greeted the family with. "My composition is finished!”
The Builders’ meeting that afternoon was an unusually interesting one. and Dorothy heard with delight, the praises that were accorded Martha for her composition. But Miss Fountaine’s sympathizing eye had not only been quick to detect trouble in Dorothy's face on her arrival, but it had been painfully awake to the fact during the meeting. Wishing, if possible, to remove the cause, she took the opportunity, when the girls were leaving, to request Dorothy to remain a few minutes In reply to Miss Fountaine’s inquiry as to why she bad not taken part in the exercises, she said, briefly: "Mother was unexpectedly called away yesterday and I haven’t had time to finish my composition.
Page 203 text:
THE BUILDERS’ GUIDE
The readers of “The Builders’ Guide” originally included none but the members of the tenth grade of the Dover Public School, but as the weeks passed the merits of the pamphlet won supporters among older readers, and each subscriber learned to look forward to the weekly issue with eager anticipation.
When the school closed in the spring. Miss Fountaine, the energetic tenth-grade teacher, whose home was in Dover, utilized her ingenuity to devise some plan of occupation for her ambitious little charges which might provide wholesome mental recreation amid the continual variety of physical amusement which the three months of vacation held in store Being aware of the special weakness in the character of each of her girls, she resolve to lend her energy to help each one to overcome her characteristic weakness. She suggested that they form themselves into a club and meet at her home every Friday afternoon and devote an hour to a friendly discussion of moral lessons learned during the week, and exchange helpful suggestions for guiding each other over rough places. The girls knew, by previous experience, that observance of their teacher's suggestions always brought them pleasure, and they entered heartily into the plan, styling themselves "The Builders.” They adopted for their motto the warning words of .!. A. Fronde: "You can not dream yourself into a character: you must hammer and forge yourself one.” To add to the interest of the work, they combined their talents to publish a weekly pamphlet, called “The Builders’ Guide.” The members were invited to contribute material related to their work, and Miss Fountaine reserved the right to accept or reject all contributions. She suggested that the first week be devoted to an exchange of ideals, and the proper ideal, as selected from their material, published in “The Builders’ Guide.”
As weeks passed each meeting brought a full attendance, with applications from others to become members. The girls left each meeting feeling morally strengthened, better equipped to meet the week’s duties, and more determined to dignify the purpose of their association by a practical demonstration of its principles. At one of the August meetings it was decided to devote the next week to the subject "How to Enrich Character.” Each member was required to bring an original composition on the subject and to read it before the association, the best one to appear in the next weekly pamphlet.
Among the members were the Hadley sisters, both enthusiastic in their work. Upon their return home from this meeting, in accordance with their usual habit, they led the conversation at the evening meal by an animated review of the afternoon’s meeting. Their subject for the following week met with the approval and support of their parents, who, from the first, had taken a great interest in this work. Mrs. Hadley had once remarked to Miss Fountaine that her efforts were bearing fruitful results. During the first part of the week the demands of the canning season were so urgent that Dorothy and Martha found but little time to devote to their compositions. On Thursday afternoon, however, out of sympathy with the cause. Mrs. Hadley declared that the girls should have a holiday, in order to complete their work for Friday. Assured of her mother's delight in granting them this privilege, Dorothy gleefully repaired to the library, where she found Martha already at work—not on her composition, however, but reading a novel which had captivated her interest during the week. A writer with a happy, grateful countenance, and a reader with a dreamy, retired countenance, were the busy occupants of the library all that afternoon, until about four o'clock, when Mrs. Hadley's sudden entrance interrupted them. The look of worry on her mother’s usually cheerful face caused Dorothy’s heart to tremble with self-reproach and her face to tinge with sympathy as she rose and said, “Mother, dear, you’ve been working too hard this afternoon: let me—” But her mother interrupted her with. “It isn't that. Dorothy, but your Aunt Lizzie is ill and has just sent word requesting me to come at once, if possible. I shall probably have to be gone several days. Do you think you can take charge of the work in my place? The canning can be postponed till I return, and with Martha's help I think you will be able to look after the comforts of your father and little Arthur and still have time to finish your composition.”
On Dorothy’s assurance of her own ability her mother looked relieved and went immediately to prepare to leave. Dorothy put away her work and went to her assistance. Seeing this, Martha decided that her help wasn’t necessary, “and besides.” she said. “I don’t like to l»e interrupted now—I want to finish my paragraph on unselfishness, while I have it so well in mind.” “The truth is,” she admitted to herself, “I'd like to have Miss Fountaine select my paper to be published in “The Builders Guide” this week: it's such a splendid subject, and I’d like to show my friends that T aim high." So thinking, she resumed her writing, stopping only when her mother came into the room to say, “Good-bye, Martha: success with your paper, and don’t forget to help Dorothy.” To
One hundred ninety-nine
Page 205 text:
But I have begun it, and will finish it later, and hand it to you." A gleam of light suddenly entered Miss Fountainc’s heart, and a worthy admiration of her exemplar pupil illumined her face, as she said: "Dorothy, 1 should be glad to help you while your mother is away. May 1 go home with you?" Dorothy answered, gratefully, "We shall all be delighted to have you with us."
On their way home Dorothy, being full of inspiration from the afternoon’s meeting, could not refrain from telling Miss Fountaine how much she appreciated her summer s plan; and further remarked; "1 never leave the weekly meetings without thinking of the beautiful memory gem you taught us last spring—the one beginning, "The patient child, whose watchful eye." But Dorothy did not, and could not know, the unbounded pleasure which her remark brought to her teacher's heart. "Salary the teacher's compensation," said Miss Fountaine to herself, with contempt. Aloud she said, "By the way, that memory gem would be an excellent basis for a composition on ‘How to Fnrich Character.' I wonder that some of my girls have not thought of it." Dorothy's sympathetic heart interpreted these words as approaching regret in the mind of her teacher, and she longed to convince her that at least one responsive heart had given root to the seed she had sown while in the schoolroom. Her heart already overflowing with emotion which she could not understand. Dorothy could conceal herself no longer. "Miss Fountaine," she said, "I made use of that memory gem in my diary last evening." This remark furnished Miss Fountaine with another gleam of information and served to confirm the suspicion that she already entertained toward Martha. "Dorothy," she said, "please tell me about your diary." Dorothy hesitated a moment, then replied: "No one knows anything about
it. but I feel as if I want to tell you." She explained briefly: "I spend a few minutes
each evening writing about what has appealed to me during the day. Mv diary is my
most intimate friend; it knows all that ! know. I can trust it with what I feel that I can
not talk to others about." Miss Fountaine was puzzled. "I thought I had analyzed Dorothy’s nature into all its beautiful traits," she reflected, "but I see that I have not
yet sounded the depth of her character." She looked at Dorothy and said, in a tone ot
interested curiosity: "You say that you wrote last evening, about your favorite memory
gem; why could you not talk to others about that—was there anything personal in it?"
"No.” was Dorothy’s hesitating reply. Her teacher continued, in a tone of faltering appeal: "My dear, 1 should love to read what you wrote last night." Instant refusal came to Dorothy's mind, but as she looked into her teacher’s pleading face she reflected. “Why should I refuse? There is nothing personal in it. and she deserves to sec that no girls do not forget what she teaches them." Thus resolved, she replied: "1 will show it to you when we get home." Her teacher’s hearty “Thank you" dispelled the slight regret she had felt upon consenting.
Upon their arrival home Miss Fountaine requested "The diary first, please." Dorothy consented, conducted her to the library, and. handing her the diary, excused herself "to look after Arthur."
But a most agreeable surprise awaited Dorothy. On her tour through the house, in search of Arthur, she went to the kitchen, and there found mother and Martha preparing supper. Aunt Lizzie was so much better that mother had returned sooner than expected. Greetings over. Dorothy led the way to the library, where they found Miss Fountaine with the diary in her hand. She greeted Dorothy with a smile, in spite of the tears in her eyes, and approached her with an embrace, saying: "My precious little Builder, this is better than any composition read at the meeting this afternoon: it is worthy of the attention of any reader; and if you arc willing, it shall be printed in "The Builders’ Guide" this week.”
Seeing the look of inquiry on Mrs. Hadley’s face. Miss Fountaine gave vent to her admiration of Dorothy by saying: "Owing to your absence, Dorothy gave up her composition. in order to permit Martha to finish hers. Martha’s composition is good, but read this—it is what Dorothy told her diary, last evening, while Martha was writing her composition.” Mrs. Hadley took the diary and read aloud, to her own joy. to Miss Fountaine’s admiration, to Dorothy’s anxiety, and to Martha's consternation: for m the meantime. Martha's conscience was listening to a still, small voice, unheard by the others. Heeding the admonitions of this Almighty Voice, she was suddcnlv awakened to her cruel fault, and touched with the pathos of her sister’s sacrifices. Between sobs of repentance. she told the whole story, concluding with: “1 have learned that I can not dream myself into a character, but that I must hammer and forge myself one": and Dorothy sealed her sister’s resolution, and renewed her own strength by repeating:
"The nation child, whose watchful eye
Strives for all things pure and high.
Shall take their image by and by."
7 wo hundred one
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