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American Sunday School Union
The Allis Family; Or, Scenes of Western Life 05
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THE ALLIS FAMILY; OR, SCENES OF WESTERN LIFE

Chapter 5:
SUSIE'S TEMPTATION.


No sooner had Annie and Susie made acquaintance with some of the children
in the neighbourhood than they began to make frequent visits at Mr. Allis's
house. Both father and mother thought it desirable that the little girls
should associate with other children; but they dreaded the effect of so
much society and so many new influences on the hearts of the little girls.
More than this: there were some among those that visited them frequently,
who seemed to be almost any thing but desirable companions for the
children. Once or twice Mrs. Allis had observed something in the manners
and conversation of Jane Smith which led her to suspect that she was a bad
girl. Accordingly, she told Annie and Susie that she wished they would, as
much as possible, avoid her society. Notwithstanding all she could say,
however, Jane was often at the house; and the children became very fond of
her. She could tell so many interesting stories and say so many witty
things, and had so much to communicate that was new to them, that they
seemed almost fascinated by her.

One Saturday afternoon Mrs. Allis was unusually busy, and Jane came to pay
another visit. In spite of her cares, she, however, contrived to find
amusement for the girls in her own presence. After tea, Jane took her
bonnet to go home, and Susie begged permission to walk a short distance
with her, to gather prairie-flowers. Mrs. Allis hesitated, but at length
gave her consent, specifying the distance which she might go.

Scarcely had they started on their walk, when Jane remarked,--

"I declare! it's mean in your mother to keep you so dreadful close, just as
though you didn't know enough to take care of yourself!"

"Mother isn't mean; and you must not say so, Jane, or I shall go right
home."

"What! You're mad, are you? Well, I'm sure I don't care, if you don't;
but I'm glad my mother don't do so, anyway!"

Susie now turned the conversation, and told Jane that Miss Wilson was
making new bonnets for her and Annie. After some questions as to what kind
of bonnets they were, and how they were trimmed, Jane asked,--

"When are they going to be done?"

"I suppose they are done to-day; but we shall not get them until some time
next week, for it is too late for father to go to-night, and he is very
tired besides."

"Why don't you go and get them yourself? I would."

"Oh, it's too far to go."

"Nonsense! It's only two miles."

"But mother did not send me: she would have sent me if she had wished me to
go."

"Pooh! she thought you would be afraid to go! I'll warrant she would be
glad enough to see the bonnets home. Come along, now! I'll go with you. You
know you can't go to meeting tomorrow if you don't get your bonnet."

"Oh, yes: we can wear our clean sun-bonnets."

"Wear your sun-bonnet to meeting! I'd stay at home first!"

"I wouldn't stay at home first! But I would like a new bonnet, too. I
would go and get it if I thought mother would like it."

"Like it! why, to-be-sure she will! Come along."

With hesitating steps Susie went on. Just before her was the point which
her mother had made the limit of her walk. She felt no desire to disobey
her mother; but the thought of surprising her by bringing home the new
bonnets unexpectedly was quite a temptation. Then it would be so pleasant
to have them, too; she wanted to see how they looked very much indeed. Why
could she not walk very fast and get back soon? She looked at the sun, to
see how much time there would be. It was almost setting; and she
exclaimed,--

"Jane! I can't go! See; it is almost sundown!"

"It will be light for two hours. There is time enough; we can run, and get
back before dark."

"What if I shouldn't get the bonnets after all? What would mother say?"

"You'll get them fast enough; and, even if you don't, you needn't tell her.
She'll never know it! Come along!"

Jane had said one word too many now. The frightened child had done the
best thing she could have done. The idea of deceiving her mother had put
the matter in an entirely new light, and she ran homeward, without one word
of reply, as fast as her little feet could carry her. As soon as she
reached the house she told the story to Annie and Mary, through whom it
soon reached the mother's ears. She had no more occasion to caution her
little girls to avoid Jane Smith.

"How much our mother knows! Don't she, Susie?" said Annie; "she told us
long ago that Jane was a naughty girl; but we didn't see how it could be!"


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