by Timothy Shay Arthur
What's the matter here? There is something wrong in this picture. It is clear that the little boy in the picture is not receiving kind treatment at the hands of his sister. But what is she doing to him? Not pulling his ear, we hope. Something is wrong; what can it be? We must try and make it out. There is a whip and a top on the floor, and also a chair thrown down, to which a string is tied.
The little boy, we suppose, was whipping his top, while his sister was playing with the chair.
"Take care, now, Johnny," says the sister, as the lash of her brother's whip comes every little while close to her face; "take care, or you will cut me in the eyes."
But Johnny either doesn't hear, or doesn't heed, and keeps on whipping his top.
"There, now!" says Anna, "you came as near as could be to striking me. I wish you would go out into the passage or down into the dining-room with your top."
"John," says mamma, looking up from her work, "you must be careful and not cut your sister with that whip."
"No, ma'am," replies Johnny, and keeps on with his sport as carelessly as ever.
Presently there is a cry, and then an angry exclamation. The lash of Johnny's whip has fallen with a smarting stroke on Anna's neck. The little girl, without waiting to reflect, follows the impulse of her feelings, and seeks to punish her brother by pinching and pulling his ears.
This is the story of the picture, and we are sorry it will not bear a more favorable explanation.
We do not think that any of our young readers will approve the conduct of either of the children. Undoubtedly, Johnny was wrong not to have been more careful how he threw his lash about. Anna had as much right to be in the room as he had, and if Johnny wanted to whip his top, it was his place to do it so cautiously as not in the least to endanger his sister's face and eyes; and he deserved to have his top taken from him as a punishment for his carelessness and indifference; and no doubt this was done by his mother.
And Anna was wrong, likewise, for permitting her angry feelings to so carry her away as to lead her to hurt her brother, in revenge for what he had done to her. So, you see, Johnny's wrong act was the cause of a still greater departure from right in his sister. If Johnny had loved his sister, he would have been much more careful how he used his whip; and if Anna had loved her brother, she would never have been tempted to strike him or pull his ear, even if he had hurt her.
It is a very sad thing for little brothers and sisters to quarrel with each other.
We hope, among all our little readers, there is not a brother and sister who have quarreled — who have ever called each other hard names — or, worse, who have ever lifted their tiny hands to hurt each other.