"I HAVE dun at length with dreeming; 

Hencefourth, oh, thou sole of mine, 

Thou must take up sord and gantlet 

In the warfare most divine."

THAT is what a little girl eleven years old had written in a fair round hand in her diary, on that pleasant summer morning out under the trees.

"Why Hattie Jordan, what dreadful spelling!" exclaimed her sister's voice behind her. "You had better stop dreaming, at all events till you learn how to spell, and go to studying your spelling-book instead. Why, there are six words wrong there."

"I wouldn't peek, anyway," answered Hattie, springing up flushed and angry.

"I really didn't, dearie," replied wise Agnes, drawing her down to her side. "I called you twice, but you did not answer. But now tell me, Hattie, what are you going to do in the place of dreaming, for you know you've spent a great deal of time at that?"

"O sister, I want to do everything that's strong and good. Sometimes I think I'll be a great scholar, as Margaret Fuller was, or a writer, like Mrs. Stowe, or a lecturer, or something. 

O Agnes, what would you do first?"

"Well, dear, I think the first thing, I would go to the dictionary and study, until I could spell every word in that pretty verse of yours correctly; and every day of this vacation I would write out one page of something, and then study it out in the same way, until I could do better. What do you say? For I must go now."

But Hattie only shrugged her shoulders, and, left alone, leaned back against the tree and watched the birds flitting about, and thought of doing great things by-and-by, until the dinner bell called her in to more practical things.

After dinner, Hattie's father, who was a minister, came out on the piazza, and asked the little girl to write a note for him, as his right hand was bound up for a bad cut, and every one else was busy.

"Ask Deacon Conners if he will please send the choir up here," her father said, for they often practiced with his organ. So Hattie wrote, "Please send the quire up here," and the note went by her younger brother. 

About an hour later who should come up the steps but Deacon Conners, who was a bookseller, and in his arms several packages.

"I didn't know which kind you wanted, sir, so I brought several," he said, wiping his hot face.

Mr. Jordan looked in surprise at the various styles of paper displayed, and finally said, "Why, you're very kind, deacon, but I was not needing any paper just now."

Then the deacon took out Hattie's note, and such a laugh as they had over it sent the poor child in tears to Agnes.

"You will believe me now, dear," said her sister, "that if you want to be of any use or help in the world, you must be willing to begin improving just where you see you need it. 

Singing of doing isn't working, dear. 

Now you know you are a poor speller; just begin there, and that will be one step."

Then Hattie took her pretty diary and the dictionary, and made those six words right that she had spelled so poorly that morning; but that seemed such a little step toward becoming a great woman.

"I believe I could do better if I had a verse to go by," she said to Agnes that night.

"Then here is one for you: 'By patient continuance in well-doing.' 

Six words made right does not seem much to you tonight; but six words every one of the more than three hundred working days in the year make how many?"

"Most two thousand," answered Hattie quickly.

"Yes, and if every one of them means, in God's sight, something done so as to make you a wiser and more helpful woman to others, and taking care of the talent he has given you, isn't that worth while too, darling?"

And Hattie answered very softly, 

"Yes;" for she saw then how her life might be like a ladder reaching up to what God called her to be, and the steps of the ladder would be the patient doing of each little duty or work she found in her way. And right there at the beginning she placed an earnest prayer asking the dear Christ's help. Of course he helped her; and if any of you will look at a true life in just the same way, he will help you, for even the little steps, if there be many of them, take you a long way in time.


in Child's Paper,