The Way To Help 


ONE day, when she came home from school, Effie found the sitting room and kitchen occupied by cousins and friends, all very busy and very lively, for they were making preparations for a wedding. One of Effie's sisters was soon to be married, and of course there was a great deal to be done.

Effie thought how nice it would be if she could help make the cakes and spread on the icing; for it was a country wedding, and much of the "refreshment" part would have to be done at home. It seemed such easy work mixing things together, beating eggs, etc.

So Effie went first to one and then to another, begging that she might be allowed to help.

"No, child, no; what do you know about such things?" a rather impatient old lady said to her.

Another said: 

"Oh my! Now school's out, we shall have no more peace. Children are always in the way?"

After she had been rebuffed in all her attempts at being useful in the pleasant way she wanted to be, she happened to cast her eyes upon a large work-basket in a corner of the sitting room, and she saw that it was filled with stockings and socks waiting to be looked over and repaired.

"Now, if I really want to be useful," thought the little girl, "I might get these stockings out of the way for this busy week. They have been forgotten, I suppose but I would rather make cakes."

Effie was but eleven years old, but she knew how to darn very nicely, for her mother had taught her, and she had been willing to learn.

Down she sat, therefore, close to the table in the corner, so as to be out of the way, and began her self-denying work.

The merry laughter among the young cousins as they went in and out to the oven with their delicate cakes and other things, was pleasant to Effie, and she longed to be among them; but she thought, 

"Mother will be so tired by this evening that she will not want to do her darning, and it will be a nice surprise to her when she finds all these socks and stockings put in their proper drawers all ready for use."

So she persevered with her quiet task, glancing once in awhile toward the busy group, and admiring their skillful performances.

One of the cousins who had been "cross" to Effie noticed how industrious and steady she seemed at her work in the corner, and after awhile brought over a beautiful iced queen cake and gave it to her. 

But that, nice as it was, gave her not half the pleasure she felt, when, toward the close of the afternoon, her mother, tired with her baking and other work, sat down by her worktable saying, "I would like to lie down and rest a little, but I must get the week's mending out of the way. 

But who has been here before me, I wonder?" she added with surprise.

"Your little daughter," said one of the other girls. "I could not but notice her, after she had been refused when she wanted to help with the cakes and sweet things. Not many little girls would have been so thoughtful about doing work that was not attractive." 

And when Effie was kissed and thanked by her mother, and had seen her comfortably resting after her labors, she certainly felt much happier than if she had been allowed to help with the icing and other ornamental matters which seemed so tempting to her among her young cousins. She felt sure now that she would only "have made a mess," as they said, for she knew nothing about such doings. 

Little girls are sometimes troublesome when they undertake to do things of which they have no knowledge, and are called "officious."

This day's experience was useful to Effie. She had borne patiently the disappointment of not being allowed to help in the way she would have preferred, but in the performance of a nearer duty, she had proved herself really a valuable assistant; and in after years she learned to know and value, under all circumstances, the wise and practical suggestion, "Perform the duty that is nearest thee." 

Golden Days.