THE first day of the New Year, and the children were quarreling! A bad beginning!

"Alice and Harriet, take your knitting-work. John and Henry, you may each bring nine armfuls of wood into the woodshed. Mabel, you may take your slate and write, and I guess if they are let alone, the two babie’s will take care of themselves. Now, for half an hour, let us have silence. If anybody speaks, let it be in a whisper."

So there was silence in the kitchen, except the noise the little mother made with her pie-making, and the occasional prattle of the two babies.

There was generally a good deal of noise at number thirteen; and sometimes pretty often it wasn't pleasant noise. The children were all young, and all wanted their own way;

She got a nice piece of paper, and sharpened the pencil anew for the child, although she was pie-making. 

Mabel copied it very carefully, and laid it away in the bottom of her handkerchief-box, saying, "I shall see it often there, and nobody goes there but mother and I."

But it happened one day that Harriet was sent to distribute the pile of clean handkerchiefs from the ironing-table into the different boxes, and as Mabel's was empty, she saw the writing. It was so short that she took it in at a glance.

Resolved to Alwas spek plesant 

when Ennybody speks cros.


Somehow, it fixed itself in Harriet's mind, and that evening she was busy with pen and ink. The result was a writing in Harriet's handkerchief-box, with a resolution written more neatly, but the same in effect:

 Resolved: That I will try this year to return pleasant, words for cross ones. 


It made a difference that was easy to see when two of the children began to practice this resolution. There was less of quarreling.

"That's mine! You better mind your own business!" said John to Harriet, one day, when she took up his top, and was putting it in his drawer.

"But, John, mother wants me to clear up the room," said Harriet.

"Well, I want the top to stay there!" said John obstinately.

"Well, perhaps it's no matter. A top isn't much litter," said Harriet, pleasantly.

John was fully prepared for a contest. I'm afraid he would rather have relished one. He stared. Then he looked ashamed. Then he spoke.

"What made you say that, Harriet? "Harriet laughed and colored a little.

"Tell me! What made you?" John insisted.

"Come here, and I'll show you," said she.

She took him into the clothes-press, where was the row of pretty handkerchief-boxes, each labeled.

She opened little Mabel's, and took out the clean, soft pile of handkerchiefs. "Look there! "said she. John read.

"The good little thing! She never does quarrel, anyhow," said John.

"So I thought I had better put one in mine, too," said Harriet, and showed hers.

"I'll follow suit. It's Bible, the 'soft answer,' you know," said John. 

So, in a coarse, boyish hand, he wrote out his resolution for the New Year: 

Resolved: That I will give soft answers. 


I don't know whether any of the rest found out Mabel's secret, but there has been a great change at number thirteen since last New Year's.  Little Mabel began it. 


in Youth's Companion.