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Contents > Author > American Sunday School Union > The Allis Family; Or, Scenes of Western Life 03 1858- 1858
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American Sunday School Union
The Allis Family; Or, Scenes of Western Life 03
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Chapter 3:

How tired every one was all day after the prairie-fire! Well would it have
been if the matter had terminated in fatigue. Early in the day the feeble
mother had to betake herself to her bed; and on the following morning Mr.
Allis, to his great surprise, found himself rudely shaken by the ague. Not
many days passed ere Mrs. Allis and Mary found themselves at the mercy of
the same annoying visitor. Sometimes the three shook in concert; and then
you may imagine that the little girls had enough to do to carry water to
satisfy their thirst. Occasionally the chills would seem to be broken up
for a few days, and then they would most unexpectedly return. Several times
Mr. Allis thought himself perfectly well, and once or twice he went to the
grove a number of miles distant, with his team, for a load of wood, and on
the way there or back would be attacked with a chill, and it was only by a
great effort that he reached home. The little girls were quite well; but
they did not find their prairie home as pleasant in the cold winter as it
was in the glad summer-time. Oh, how they longed for spring! And when it
came how they rejoiced over the little lambs and calves in their father's
yard, and how delighted were they when the first sweet violets peeped
forth! Still their joy was to be increased: a sweeter prairie-flower than
any of these bloomed in their humble cabin, opening a fount of untold
gladness in the hearts of all. One bright morning a sweet little sister was
presented to the delighted children.

It was long before they could be made to realize that it was their own dear
babe, and always to be theirs and to stay with them. At last they
recovered themselves sufficiently to ask its name.

"It has no name, Annie," said her father.

"Oh, mother! mother!" cried the enthusiastic Susie, "let us call it

What a blessing that little unconscious one was to all beneath that lowly
roof! Annie and Susie would sit beside its little cradle and watch it for
hours; and if permitted to hold the tiny creature for a few moments they
were never weary of caressing her. Daily and almost hourly they discovered
some new beauty or perfection in the dear object of their most tender
regard, and the day of her birth was made an era in the house; for almost
every thing that was spoken of was said to have taken place either so long
before or so long after the Baby came.

At length a school was opened about a mile distant, and the parents thought
best that the little girls should have the advantage of attending it
through the summer. At first they were quite reluctant to go; for they were
strangers still to the children around them, and the young lady who taught
them they had never seen until they met her among her pupils. After a few
days they became very fond of their school and their young playmates, and
the only drawback to their happiness was leaving the little darling Mary
for so many long hours every day. But it was soon evident that they learned
some evil things as well as good things. They grew less willing to
submit to the gentle control of their parents, and were quite inclined to
think the rules under whose influence they had been educated were
altogether too strict, fortifying their occasional remonstrances with
"Mary Jones says so," or "Fanny Adams thinks so." This gave their
affectionate parents much solicitude and pain.

One evening the little girls came home with a petition that they might "go
to school barefooted," and, as usual for the last few weeks, Susie said,
"All the girls go without shoes."

"That, my child, is no reason why you should do so if we prefer you
should wear your shoes."

"But, mother, it is so warm!" said Annie.

"What would you have thought, Annie, if I had told you to go to school
barefooted while we lived in Massachusetts?"

"All the girls wore shoes and stockings there, mother."

"But was it not quite as warm there as here, my child?"

"I suppose so; but, mother, all the girls and boys laugh at us so. They say
we are 'proud,' because we wear shoes and stockings."

"You must not mind being laughed at when you are doing right."

"But I can't see what wrong there is in going barefooted," said Annie.

"You are not now required to see the harm in it. All you have to do in this
case is to obey."

"But won't you tell us why, mother?" persisted Susie.

"No, children, I shall not now tell you why. I have my reasons; and you
must trust me now, and wait for an explanation until some future time."

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