Charley Jones, and his sister Lizzie came home from school one afternoon, early in January. Charley was about eight years old, and Lizzie was six. After putting away their overclothes and school books, they concluded to go into their father’s library, and have a good time in looking over the beautiful books, on the centre table, which had been sent to him as Christmas presents. They had great pleasure, in opening one book after another, and looking at the nice engravings, which were in them. For some time every thing went on pleasantly; but after awhile, they both happened to lay their hand on one book at the same time, and each wanted to have it.
“Let me look at it first, Lizzie,” said Charley, “because I’m the oldest.”
“No,” said Lizzie, “I got hold of it before you did. So you must let me see it first.”
“No, I wont,” said Charley, and then a struggle began between them, in which each tried to get the first use of the book. While this struggle was going on, the book got pushed off the table, and fell to the floor. At the same time an inkstand was knocked off the table, and all the ink in it was poured out on that beautiful book. The children were frightened when they saw this. There was that great terrible ink-mark, which spoiled the beauty of the book. And what was to be done now? The children looked at each other; and then they looked at that ugly stain on the book. It was getting late, and they knew that their father would soon be home. “O, what shall we do?” asked Charley, in great distress. “Indeed, I don’t know,” said Lizzie.
“Tll tell you what I’ll do,” said Charley. “I’ll put that book away down under all the others. Then father wont see it tonight, and if after some days, he sees that ugly stain, he’ll think that one of the girls did it, while fixing up his library. That will be the best thing to do.”
Charley was going on to carry out his plan, when suddenly he stopped. He looked down on the floor, evidently thinking seriously about something; and as he did so, he turned very pale. What was the matter with him? Why he remembered just then, that at family prayers that morning, after reading the Bible study with children, his father said; that “God is with us in all places. He sees everything we do, and hears everything we say; and if we say what is not true with our lips, or do what is not true in our actions, He will be angry with us, and we shall be an abomination unto Him.”
Charley reminded his sister of what their father had said that morning. And then he said: “No, Lizzie, I can’t think of trying to hide this from father. I’ll tell him honestly, and truly, all about it. I can bear to have him scold me, or even whip me, but I can never bear to do what is not honest, and true, because that will make God angry with me.”
“When his father came home, Charley told him what he had done, and asked his forgiveness, with many sobs and tears. His father was so pleased to find that his little boy had honestly spoken the truth about it, that he only told him to try and be more careful another time, and then he kissed him, and forgave him.