How Bess Managed Tom by Unknown
Tom's sister Nell was a pretty girl, and being a
year older than Tom, wanted to show her authority
The boy was rough and awkward, and just at
that age when a boy refuses all meddling with "his
rights." He would put his hands in his pockets,
his chair on Nell's dress, and his feet on the
Of course, they often quarreled: "For pity sake,
Tom, do take your hands out of your pockets,"
Nell would say in her most vexing manner.
"What are pockets for? I'd like to know, if not
to put one's hands in," and Tom would whistle and
"Tom, I don't believe you've combed your hair
for a week!"
"Well, what's the use? it would be all roughed
up again in less than an hour."
"I do wish, Tom, you would take your great
boots off the window-sill!"
"O don't bother me; I'm reading;" Tom would
say: and the boots refused to stir an inch,—which
of course was very bad of Tom. And so it would
go on from morning till night.
But Sister Bess had a different way of managing
her big brother. She seemed to understand that
coaxing was better than driving. Sometimes when
he sat with both hands plunged into his pockets,
Bess would nestle down close beside him, with a
book or a picture, and almost before he knew it,
one hand would be patting her curls, while the
other turned the leaves or held the pictures.
If she chanced to see his feet on the window-sill,
she would say, "Just try my ottoman, Tom dear,
and see how comfortable it is;" and though Tom
occasionally growled in a good natured way about
its being too low, the boots always came down to its
Whenever his hair looked very rough, she would
steal behind him and brush it for him herself, in a
way that Tom liked so well that it was a temptation
to let it go rough, just for the pleasure of
having her do it.
Yet for the next three days at least, he would
take special pains to keep every hair in its place,
simply to please little sister.
As they grew older, Bess, in the same quiet,
loving way, helped him to grow wise and manly.
If she had an interesting book, she always wanted
Tom to enjoy it with her. If she was going to call
on any of her young friends, Tom was always invited
to go with her.
"I can't understand," said Sister Nell, "why you
should always want that boy at your elbow; he's
rough and awkward as a bear."
"Some bears are as gentle as kittens," declared
Bess, slipping her arm through his with a loving
hug, while "the bear" felt a warm glow at his
heart as he walked away with Bess, and determined
to be "gentle as a kitten" for her sake.