HELP Aunt Mary? Certainly she would! Every curl of Jessie's bright head bobbed an eager assent to the proposition. With Ann away, that large house to look after, and a baby to take care of, Aunt Mary's hands surely must be full; and Jessie hurried every step of the way from her own home to her aunt's. 

"I thought you might like to spend the day with me, dear; and as I am alone, you could help me by amusing baby,'' said Aunt Mary as the little girl entered. "I should think I could!" answered Jessie, decidedly, feeling womanly and experienced enough just then to take charge of baby, Aunt Mary, and the whole establishment. "I'll do anything you want done."

But Aunt Mary did not make any great demands. She only wanted some one to keep little Willie quiet while she went to the kitchen for an hour or two; so she took baby out of the cradle, where he was laughing and playing, baby fashion, and established him on the floor with plenty of toys about him, and then left the two children to themselves.

Willie enjoyed "bo-peep" and block-houses, and was quite ready to laugh and play; but Jessie soon tired of it. It seemed a very commonplace ending of the great plans of usefulness with which she had come just a frolic with a baby! Any little girl could do that, and she had meant to be uncommonly helpful. She grew more dissatisfied as she thought of it, and was wishing for something more to do, when her glance fell upon the bookcase. That was the very thing. She had heard Aunt Mary say, only a few days before, that the books needed re-arranging and the magazines to be neatly piled up on their proper shelf. She could do that, she decided, and how surprised and pleased Aunt Mary would be!

Pushing a chair to the shelves, she placed a footstool upon it, and clambering up began her work at once. But the baby did not like being left alone, and soon expressed his opinion in a fretful cry. He had tossed his playthings out of reach, and missed his companion to pick them up. 

Jessie descended and restored his treasures, but the same thing happened again and again, and as she grew more interested in her grand project she grew more impatient at each interruption.

"Oh dear! Willie, you don't give me any peace!" she exclaimed petulantly, lifting him into a high chair and pushing it near a window.

The change pleased him for a few minutes, but she was scarcely busy with the books again before he began to move about uneasily and fret at being left alone. Jessie grew hurried and vexed. If he hindered her so, she could not finish the bookcase before Aunt Mary came, she said to herself. Babies were dreadfully trouble-some. He might be good just for a little while; any way, she would not leave the books again until she had to. But suddenly a crash and scream startled her, and she sprang to the floor to find that Willie's uneasy struggles had overturned his chair and given him a sad fall. Jessie hastily raised him and placed him in his cradle, beginning to rock and sing most vigorously poor frightened little nurse! In her efforts to soothe him. In a moment, however, his loud cry sank to a pitiful wail, the little lips paled and the baby-face grew deathly white.

"O auntie, he's killed!" shrieked Jessie as Aunt Mary, alarmed by the noise, hastened in.

The mother took him in her arms, bore him to the open air and bathed the bruised head, and slowly the color came back to his cheeks and the blue eyes opened again. 

He had only grown faint and sick from the shock and pain of the fall, and, soothed and caressed into quiet, he presently fell asleep.

Aunt Mary uttered not a single word of blame concerning the accident, and tried her best to make the day pleasant; yet there was a sore spot in Jessie's heart as well as on baby's head when night came.

"'Cause it was just like that lesson about King Saul we had in our class," she said to herself as she walked homeward "how he wasn't satisfied to do just the thing he was told, but wanted to do some great thing besides, and so did the wrong thing. And that verse about' Obedience is better than sacrifice' I didn't know what it meant, but I'm 'most sure I've found out all about it now." 

Kate Hamilton