American Sunday School Union
The Allis Family; Or, Scenes of Western Life 06
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THE ALLIS FAMILY; OR, SCENES OF WESTERN LIFE
THE COLD DAY
Both Susie and Annie Allis had learned a good lesson, and both of them
profited by it. They found, each for herself, how much safer and better it
was to trust their parents and obey their commands, whether they understood
all about them or not. These kind parents often reminded their little ones
that their good Father in heaven knew just what kind of parents he had
given the children, and that he required them to yield a willing and
cheerful obedience to all their parents' will, unless their commands
involved the breaking of his holy law. That this would be the case the
little girls did not fear, and, taught, as we believe, by the good Spirit
from above, they tried very hard to please God by honouring their
The winter was quite mild and pleasant, and Mrs. Allis thought best that
Annie and Susie should continue to attend school as long as the weather
would permit. It was a long walk for little girls not quite seven years
old; but when the sky was bright and the path good they did not mind the
cold air, for they were warmly clad and full of health and animation; they
ran gayly along, scarcely heeding the distance they had to go.
One morning Mr. and Mrs. Allis had occasion to go to a neighbouring town on
business, and Mary was left at home alone with the baby. The children rode
to school with their parents, and, when they got out of the wagon at the
door of the log school-house, Annie said,--
"Will you get back before night, father?"
"Probably not. If we do we will call and take you home."
The morning was somewhat dark and cloudy, and a dense fog settled in the
hollows and ravines. Towards noon, however, there was a change; a cold
north wind began to blow, as it blows nowhere except on the wide open
prairies, unless it be on the sea. The clouds soon disappeared and the
bright sun shone out clear and bright. Every hour the cold increased, until
it became intense. The school-mistress dismissed the children somewhat
earlier than usual and called them all around the huge fireplace to warm
themselves. Then, after she had carefully fastened their cloaks and tippets
and charged them to run home as fast as they could, they started out.
Poor little Annie and Susie had to go alone. None of the children lived in
the direction of their home; and, worse than all, they had the cold, fierce
wind directly in their faces. But they thought of no danger while the sun
was shining so brightly; and so on they went, running backwards to keep the
wind out of their faces. Somewhat more than half-way home, a little aside
from the road, lived a family by the name of Staunton. When they were just
opposite to the house they found themselves very cold.
"Oh, Annie! do let's go in and warm, ourselves," said Susie; "I am so
"I can't stop, Susie," said Annie; "don't you know mother said we mustn't
stop on the way home from school?"
"Well, I don't think mother would care if we stopped now; I am so very
cold. Do you?"
"I don't know; I guess we had better hurry home as fast as we can. It would
be hard work to start again, you know."
At this juncture the wind tore away Annie's cloak, and the little girls
forgot their cold hands as they chased it away off towards the pile of
rocks where Annie saw the snake in the summer. Under the shelter of those
rocks they sat down a moment to put on the cloak. Of course, mittens must
be laid aside, and the little, stiff, benumbed fingers had hard work to
fasten the garment, which had lost one of its strings in the encounter with
the rude north wind. When at last it was made fast with a pin, Susie
"I am going to rub my hands with snow, Annie! You know Dick Matthews said
that he could warm his hands with snow when they were cold!"
Both the little ones rubbed their hands with the snow, and again set out,
holding each other firmly by the hand. Several times they repeated the
experiment, baring the little delicate fingers to the biting wind. At last
they ceased to ache; but the feet were stiff and their limbs tired and
"Do your hands ache now, Susie?"
"No; but my feet do, and my face. Oh, I'm afraid we'll never get home!
a'n't you, Annie?"
"It's hard work to walk, and I can hardly stir one step;" when I turn my
back it seems as if I should fall right down. I do wish Mary would come
down to the field and open the gate! don't you?"
"Yes, I do; for my hands are just as stiff as they can be."
"There come father and mother, Annie; let's wait and ride," said Susie.
"We'd better go and open the gate. See! there comes Mary! A'n't you glad?"
"I can't stay for any thing; I shall run right to the fire! My feet are
freezing, almost," said Susie.
At that moment Mary came. She had been watching for the children, and as
soon as they came in sight she laid down the baby and ran to help them come
in the house. She set the gate wide open for the wagon, and then hurried
the girls in to the fire. Soon the parents came in.
"How glad we are to see you, children! We were almost afraid you would be
frozen. We tried to get home in time to take you in the wagon. Are not your
hands very cold?"
"Our feet are cold; our hands were, too, but they are not now."
"Not now?" said Mary, hastily drawing off Annie's mittens.
Alas! the little fingers were frozen! Susie's were in the same sad
condition. And now there was a brisk rubbing with snow, and the most
intense suffering as the slow-coming warmth returned to the purple hands.
"Annie," said Mr. Allis, when the pain of the hands was somewhat relieved,
"why did you not stop at Mr. Staunton's and warm yourself?"
"Because, father," said Annie, looking up meekly through her tears, "mother
has told us never to stop on our way home from school, and I always try to
mind what she tells us now!"
* * * THE END * * *