a bright sunny day while Ned sat at the breakfast table, he tried to get his
mother or sister to tell him where they were all going.
“I’m as much in the dark as you are,” said
Carolyn.“I think that mother was afraid
I would let out the secret, for she sometimes calls me her little
chatterbox.We’re to be ready at sharp.”
“Well, I suppose we’ll know in a few
hours.Look, here comes Charley
Wood.I promised to show him something
in my workshop.”Away ran Ned.
The boys played together until after ; and then, instead of going
directly to the house, to be on hand promptly at , Ned thought: “Oh, there’s time enough for me to finish my
Two or three times his eyes were upon his
watch; but there were a few minutes to spare, he thought.When he looked again, he was startled to find
that it was three minutes past ten.By
the time he rushed to the front room, he was five minutes late, and no one was
He could not believe that his mother would
disappoint him for such a little delay, so he called for Carolyn.Then he ran to his mother’s room to see if
she was there, then out the front door, but no one was to be seen.
“Why did mother not tell me where she was
going?Then I might have overtaken
her.Now I don’t know in which direction
to go,” mumbled Ned.
It was because of this that his mother had
not told Ned where she was going.He was
in the habit of trying to make up lost time by hurrying at the last minute.
Mrs. Gray had planned a visit to her sister,
who lived on a farm. Ned and Carolyn had once visited there, and they often
begged mother to take them again; but she had many home cares and could not get
Poor Ned!When he found his mother and sister gone, he was a disappointed
boy.Half ashamed to have Jane, the
maid, see his tears or know how miserable he was, he went back to his
play.He knew that if his mother
returned, Carolyn would be sure to run out to the play house in search of him,
so he stayed out there by himself until dinner-time.
Jane called Ned to dinner.She had lived in the Gray home a long time
and knew Ned’s one failing.She had
promised Mrs. Gray not to tell him where his mother and sister had gone, until
dinnertime.Seeing the table set for
only one person, Ned was surprised, for his mother rarely stayed away all day.
The boy sat down to his lonely meal, and
when Jane came in with a piece of pie, he asked why his mother was not home to
“Oh, Ned,” she replied, “your mother won’t
be back today, or tomorrow either—no, not until Monday morning.She and Carolyn have gone to visit your Aunt
Mary.”This was too much for Ned.Dropping knife and fork, he rushed upstairs
to his room, where he flung himself on the bed and cried bitterly.
When he had recovered from the first burst
of tears, he remembered his mother’s request “not to forget,” that she should
expect him “in the front room at
precisely.”Now he understood that she
must have started with Carolyn to the station at the very moment the clock
hands pointed to the hour.It was a good
lesson.He knew his mother had not meant
to be cruel to him, and he resolved to improve in promptness.