Cornelia's Wish.

THE door opened and closed with a terrific 

slam, and Mrs. Clifford's  two daughters 

rushed in  and crossed the room to the

front window.

"Is she coming?  Do you see her?” 

eagerly inquired Mary,  the younger of the 


"No; not yet,"  answered Cornelia;  and 

the  eyes  of  both were  again  in  anxious  

expectation  turned down  the street.

"How long she is in  getting  along!” 

Do  wish  she'd  hurry.  Isn't she in sight 

now?"  Was Mary's next question,  some five 

minutes after.

"No, yes; she is too!"  exclaimed Cornelia, 

suddenly,  "That's her!  Oh!  it's 

real  fun!  We'll  see  her  eyes  snap  when 

she  comes  up.  Won't she be provoked 

though, when  she  finds  we've  run  off  and 

left her?"

"Left who?"  asked Mrs. Clifford, laying 

aside her book.  "Who are you talking about?'

"Ellen  Pratt,  mother;  she  sits  just  in 

front  of  us,  and  she's  the  hate-fullest,  most 

disagreeable girl you ever saw.  She wanted 

to walk home with us  tonight,  and we told 

her she might;  but we hid her things away, 

and while she was  hunting for them, we ran 

off and left her."

"And is this right?  Is it doing as 


"But we did not hide them far,"    

interrupted  Cornelia.  "We only put her dinner 

basket just behind the stove,  and threw 

her  bonnet  and  shawl  into  the  wood-box."

"You promised her she might walk home 

with you?"  asked Mrs. Clifford.

"We promised her in this way: we told 

her that if  we walked  she might walk with 

us;  but we didn't walk;  we ran every step 

of  the  way,  without  stopping  once.  Besides 

she's such  a  horrid  looking  fright,  I 

should be actually ashamed to be seen walking 

beside  her.  She wears an old, worn-out, 

faded  gingham  dress;  it  looks  old 

enough to  have  come  out  of  the  ark,  and 

it's all patched with new pieces,  and darned 

in ever so many  places;  and last week, 

when she tore it, she had it mended  with 

calico.  We asked her why she didn't put 

in some of the same, and she said,  'there 

wasn't any more  like it.'  We girls call it 

her dress of  many  colors.  Look!  There 

she goes now; see, mother!"

"And is this all the reason of your dislike 

to her?"  inquired  Mrs. Clifford quietly. 

Doesn't she behave properly?"

"Yes, mother; she's what,  Miss  French

calls a pattern scholar," answered Cornelia,

and they are just the  kind I  don't  like.

You see she's the youngest, and she wants

to keep right round us big girls all the  time,

and we don't want her.  She wants us to

mark out her lessons for her,  and  help  her

do her sums, and  all  sorts  of  things; and

we don't want to  be bothered."

"And why not help her?  As she has 

no companions of  her own  age,  it is why 

she wishes  to  be  with  the  older  scholars; 

and if she desires a little assistance, it ought

to be given her."  After making some more 

remarks, Mrs.  Clifford paused.

"But I don't like her!  I can't endure 

her," said  Cornelia,  impatiently;  "and  if 

I can't, I can't, and there's no use in  trying; 

I only wish  the  whole family would 

move out of town.  I detest every  one  of 

them. I  wish Ellen anywhere,  I don't 

care where,  so that she doesn't trouble me."

Mrs. Clifford  forbore to press  the  sub- 

subject  further,  but  was  determined  at  some 

future time to  refer to  it  again.

It was  Friday afternoon, and there  was 

no school  again  until  Monday, but  Ellen 

did  not  come  on  that morning as usual, and 

various remarks concerning her went from 

mouth to  mouth.

"I guess she stayed at home to help her 

mother  wash," said  one.

"Or to add a few more patches to her 

dress  of many  colors," said  another.  "At 

any  rate,  it's  a  real  relief  not  to  see  her 

round;  I always  did  abominate the sight of 

her,"  was  Cornelia  Clifford's  concluding 

observation,  as  the day  wore  away,  and no 

Ellen Pratt appeared.

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday came 

and went:  still  she  did  not  come.  Where 

was Ellen  Pratt?  Was she sick?  Or what 

was the occasion of  her  absence?  inquired 

the  teacher from time to  time of different 

members  of  the school.  But no one could 

tell.  Ellen had not been seen since the day 

she left school.

Recess of  Friday afternoon  came,  just 

two  weeks from  the  time our  story  opens, 

and  the girls  of  Miss  French's school were 

out  enjoying  their usual recreations;  but 

their  amusements were soon clouded and 

brought to  an abrupt termination.  

A hearse coming slowly up the street,   

followed  by  only  a  few  mourners,  caused    

every  countenance to  be lengthened  and   

saddened, and every voice to be hushed.

"Who is dead?"  inquired  one  and  an- 

other  of  the  assembled  group;  but no  one 

could  answer.

"Who is dead?"  asked Cornelia Clifford 

of a lady who  was passing.  Mrs. Denning 

told her.  What was it that made her start 

as if a lightning flash had struck her?  What 

was it that made her grow sick and faint, 

the  blood suddenly recede from her face, 

and the pulsations of her heart almost cease? 

Oh!  It was the name of  Ellen Pratt that 

fell  upon her ear.  It was the overwhelming, 

agonizing reflection, that the last time 

she had  spoken her name was to wish  her 

anywhere, she  cared not where,  so  that she 

wouldn't trouble her.

And  Cornelia's wish, her  cruel, wicked 

wish had  been  granted.  Ellen  Pratt's 

pale,  homely  face,  her  old,  faded,  patched 

gingham dress, and disagreeable ways, would 

never  trouble  her  more.  She had  passed 

from  earth,  and  the  cold, silent  grave  was 

waiting to receive her.  But oh!  What feelings 

of self-condemnation and anguish filled 

Cornelia's soul at this harrowing  thought. 

What bitter tears of penitence and sorrow 

she shed that  night, as she stopped on  her 

way home and knelt by the newly-made grave: 

but  tears,  anguish, and  regret,  could  avail 

nothing now.  The words had been spoken 

and  could  never  be  recalled.  They were 

registered  against  her:  they  were written 

in  memory's tablet,  and had left  a rankling 

sound in  her breast,  which all  the joys of 

life could never  heal.