“MOTHER'S cross!" said Maggie, coming out into the kitchen with a pout on her lips. Her aunt was busy ironing, but she looked up and answered, "Then it is the very time for you to be pleasant and helpful, Maggie. Mother was awake a great deal last night with the baby." 

Maggie made no reply. She put on her hat, and walked off into the garden. But a new idea went with her. "The very time to be helpful and pleasant is when other people are cross," thought she. 

"Sure enough, that would be the time when it would do the most good. I remember when I was sick last year, I was so nervous that if any one spoke to me I could hardly help being cross; and mother never got angry or out of patience, but was just as gentle with me!  I ought to pay it back now; and I will."  Up she sprang from the grass where she had thrown herself, and turned a face full of cheerful resolution toward the room where her mother sat soothing and tending a fretful, teething baby. Maggie brought out the pretty ivory balls, and began to jingle them for the little one. He stopped fretting, and a smile dimpled the corners of his lips.

"Couldn't I take him out to ride in his carriage, mother?" she asked. "It's such a nice morning."

"I should be so glad if you would!" said her mother. The little hat and sack were brought, and the baby was soon ready for his ride. "I'll keep him as long as he is good," said Maggie, "and you must lie on the sofa and get a nap while I am gone. You look tired."

The kind words and the kiss that accompanied them, were almost too much for the mother. The tears rose to her eyes, and her voice trembled as she answered, "Thank you, dear; it will do me a world of good if you can keep him out an hour; and the air will do him good, too. My head aches badly this morning." What a happy heart beat in Maggie's bosom as she trundled the little carriage up and down on the walk! She had done real good. She had given back a little of the help and forbearance that had so often been bestowed upon her. She had made her mother happier, and given her time to rest.

She resolved to remember and act on her aunt's good words: "The very time to be helpful and pleasant is when everybody is tired and cross."