by the American Sunday-School Union
Ella Russell is a little girl with soft, flaxen
hair, bright eyes, and a complexion fair and clear.
She is neat and orderly in her habits, and is very
gentle and mild in her manners. Her musical
laugh sometimes rings through the house like a
sweet melody. It is so contagious that you would
laugh yourself to hear it.
Ella is obedient, and needs as little care as any
child I ever knew. Her father is living, but she has
no mother, and Ella lives with a Mrs. Lindsley, who
has three daughters, two of them older and one
younger than Ella. She is much attached to this
lady, and feels perfectly at home in her house.
Ella's mother was in feeble health several years
before her death. Ella was her constant companion,
and nothing gave her more pleasure than to
wait upon her and do all in her power to relieve her
sufferings and make her more comfortable. Mrs.
Russell said her daughter was an excellent nurse,
although she was not more than seven or eight
years old. It shows how much even small children
can do for the comfort of their invalid friends, if
they really try. It is very gratifying to a mother
to have a child so careful and thoughtful, and Ella
and her mother loved each other more and more
every day. Mrs. Russell's disease was consumption,
and she could not be restored to health. Poor Ella,
how lonely she felt when her mother died! She
was young to know so much sorrow.
Ella's home is not far from the city. Her father
often goes there, and frequently sends her some
delicacy which he knows she would relish—a box
of early strawberries, or a basket of plums or
peaches, or whatever fruit may be in season. Mr.
Russell is exceedingly generous, and he expects his
little daughter to divide the fruit with the family
where she has found so excellent a home.
Ella, good child as she is in most respects, has
one sad fault. She is selfish. When she receives
any rarity she would prefer to eat it herself, just as
the chickens do when they have found a nice tit-bit.
It is really a trial to her that she cannot eat a whole
basket of peaches before they would spoil! Indeed,
one day, after receiving such a present, she said to
a person in the family, "I wish my father would
not send so many. I like it better when I have
only a small basket, and can keep it in my own
At one time Mr. Russell sent a basket of peaches
to Mrs. Lindsley. Ella was not at home. She had
gone out to make a call on some of her friends. She
heard this basket had been sent, and hastened back
as soon as she could. "I hope they haven't eaten
up all my peaches!" was her first exclamation. She
was quite indignant to find the basket had been
Mrs. Lindsley gave her all she considered it
safe for her to eat; but Ella was not happy. She
felt as if they all ought to be hers, and she really
cried about it. A day or two after Ella saw her
father, and he told her the peaches were designed
for the family. Ella was somewhat mortified, and
afterward told Mrs. Lindsley what her father said
about the basket of fruit.
It seems very strange that Ella should be so
selfish, for her father is not at all so, and I know
it must grieve him to have a child of his so forgetful
of the enjoyment of others. This selfishness does
not make her happy. It occasions her much trouble,
and it always will.
I know a little boy, six years old, who is very
fond of fruit, and who is much delighted when his
father brings him an apple; yet I have seen him,
when he had but one, divide it between his brothers
and sisters, and reserve no part of it for himself.
He seemed entirely happy in doing so.
One day he heard his mother say, "I have not
even a penny in my purse." He went up-stairs to
his money-box, and brought down a handful of pennies,
and gave them to her. His mother kissed
his plump, brown cheek, and thanked him for
His mother kissed his plump, brown cheek.
Which should you prefer to be like—selfish Ella,
or this generous little boy?
The selfish person is always willing to receive
favours, but to the generous "it is more blessed
to give than to receive."