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8. “It is foolish, I know, to be vexed at any thing that might have been prevented as well as not,” said Howard.
9. “And it is no less foolish to be angry at what one can not prevent,” added Irving. “Let us try to follow these rules. We can, I am sure, if we help each other.”
10. “I agree to it,” said Howard, who was generally ready for any thing that Irving proposed.
II.--HOW THE RULES WORKED.
1. The boys arose the next morning fully determined to follow their new rules; but Howard soon surprised Irving by saying:
“There, now, that is too bad! We shall lose every cabbage in the garden, and the grape vines will all be torn down, too."
2. “ Well, Howard, what is the matter now?” said Irving.
3. “Why, Mr. Smith's cows are in the road, and the gate is open. Every one of them will go into the garden. I think it is too bad that he should let his cows trouble his neighbors so."
4. “O, is that all ?” said Irving. “I thought that something awful was about to happen. It seems to me that I heard a little boy say last night that it was foolish to be vexed at any thing that could be prevented.”
5. “I see, I see," said Howard; “this is one of the things that can be helped ;” and he ran off and shut the gate in time to keep the cows out of the garden. “It does look foolish,” said Howard, when he came back, “to get angry at what can so easily be prevented. " Thank you, Irving, for helping me see it.”
6. “O, that is too bad !” exclaimed Irving, as he was preparing for school.
7. “What is too bad, Irving ?” asked Howard.
8. “Why, that my shoe-string should break when I am in such a hurry.”
9. “It is provoking, but this is one of the things that can not now be prevented. The string is broken, but there is another one in your drawer, upstairs, that will make it all right in a minute."
10. “But we shall be late at school.”
11. “No, not if you hurry. It will take but a moment to get the string and put it into your shoe; and then by walking a little faster we will be sure to be at school in time.”
12. “That is true," said Irving; and in a moment after he was scampering off to school much happier than he would have been had it not been for the rule.
13. During the day several opportunities occurred for putting in practice the new rules. The last one was this: In the evening, Irving, while cutting a hard piece of wood, broke the blade of his knife.
14. “It can not be helped,” said Howard, “so you must not be angry about it.”
15. “It might have been helped,” said Irving, “but as it is done, I can do better than to fret about it. It will be a good lesson to me, and it may save a knife of much more value.”
16. “Your rules work well," said their mother.
17. “Yes, mother, they have helped us a great deal to-day,” said Irving. “Shall we try them tó-morrow, Howard ?”
18. All day the boys had been compelled to watch themselves very closely to keep from getting vexed; but
. it was agreed to try the rules the next day.
III.—THE TWO RULES ADOPTED.
1. The next morning, while Howard was seeing how well he could write in his new copy-book, his mother called him to do an errand for her.
2. While he was gone, his sister Olive took the pen to write her name in a book which her father had bought for her the day before. In doing it a drop of ink fell from the pen onto the page where Howard had been writing.
3. Just then Howard returned, and, as he saw what had been done, he exclaimed, “O, Olive, you have made a great blot on my book!"
4. “I did not mean to do it, Howard, and I am very sorry for it,” said Olive. But Howard was angry, and I
, fear would have answered his sister very roughly, had not Irving just then come up and touched him, saying as he did so -“Take care, Howard; the thing is done, you know, and it can not be helped now.
5. It was hard for Howard to keep back the angry words, but he did; and soon he said, pleasantly,—“I know it was an accident, and I do not blame you any, Olive. Accidents will happen, I suppose.” And that very day Howard had occasion to know more about it, for he tore his coat while climbing over a fence.
6. “O, now, that is too bad !” he said.
7. “But it can not be helped,” said Irving, “and it can be mended.”
8. “Yes, it can be mended, but mother has so much to do that I do not like to ask her to do it."
9. “Ask Olive, then,” said Irving.
10. Howard knew that Olive very much disliked such work, and at first he was not disposed to ask her, but he finally decided to do so.
11. The boys found Olive busily at work on a piece of embroidery. Howard looked at Irving when he saw how his sister was employed, and was inclined to turn back, but Irving said, “ Ask her."
12. “What do you want?" said Olive, in a pleasant voice.
13. “I am almost afraid to tell you," said Howard. “ It seems too bad to ask you to leave your work and do a job for me which I know you dislike."
14. “You are a long while in getting at what you want. I did not know that I was such a terrible creature that you were afraid of me. Come now, out with it,” said Olive, laughing.
15. Howard held up his arm and showed the great rent he had made in his coat. Well,” said Olive, cheerfully, “take it off, and I will do my best to make it all right again.”
16. “You are a dear, good sister,” said Howard. “When I saw what you were doing, I did not want to ask you to mend it."
17. "And my good nature and my willingness to do it surprise you, do they? I have been thinking all day what I could do to repay you for not getting vexed at me this morning for blotting your writing book. Does this explain ?"
18. “So much for our rules!” exclaimed Irving, triumphantly. “They work like a charm.”
19. “What rules?" inquired Olive.
20. “We must tell Olive all about it,” said Irving. Then the boys told her the two rules, and how they had been trying them, and how well they worked.
21. Olive thought they were good rules to follow, and said that she would join the boys in keeping them. The three children then adopted the rules, being fully determined to follow them all their lives.
THE TWO RULES.
First: WE WILL NOT BE VEXED WITH ANY THING WE OAN PREVENT.
Second: WE WILL NOT BE VEXED WITH ANY THING WE CAN NOT PREVENT.
22. How would you like to join this N. B. V. (never be vexed) society ? I think the children will take you in; but if they will not, here are the rules, and you can start a new one for yourselves.
1. Angry words! O let them never
From thy tongue unbridled slip;
Check them ere they soil the lip.
3. Angry words are rashly spoken;
Bitterest thoughts are often stirred,
By a single angry word !
Write your name with kindness, love and mercy on the hearts of those you come in contact with, and you will never be forgotten.