“Oh, Cousin Will, do tell us a story! There’s just time before the school-bell rings.” And Harry, Kate, Bob, and little Peace crowded around about their older cousin until he declared himself ready to do anything they wished.
“Very will,” said Cousin Will. “I will tell you about some dangerous doors I have seen.”
“Oh, that’s good!” exclaimed Bob. “Were they all iron and heavy bars? And if one passed in, did they shut and keep them there forever?”
“No; the doors I mean are pink and scarlet, and when they open you can see a row of little servants standing all in white, and behind them is a little lady dressed in crimson.”
“What? That’s splendid!” cried Kate. “I should like to go in myself.”
“Ah! It is what comes out of these doors that makes them so dangerous. They need a strong guard on each side, or else there is great trouble.”
“Why, what comes out?” said little Peace, with wondering eyes.
“When the guards are away,” said Cousin Will, “I have known some things to come out sharper than arrows, and they make terrible wounds. Quite lately I saw two pretty little doors, and one opened and the little lady began to talk like this: ‘What a stuck-up thing Lucy Waters is! And did you see that horrid dress made out of sister’s old one?’ ‘Oh, yes,’ said the other little crimson lady from the other door, ‘and what a turned-up nose she has!’ Then poor Lucy, who was around the corner, ran home and cried all evening.”
“I know what you mean,” cried Kate, coloring (blushing).
“Were you listening?”
“Oh, you mean our mouths are doors!” exclaimed Harry, “and the crimson lady is Miss Tongue; but who are the guards, and where do they come from?”
“You must ask the Great King. This is what you must say: ‘Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth: keep the door of my lips.’ Then He will send Patience to stand on one side and Love on the other, and no unkind word will dare come out.”