Read Chapter IV - The injured girl of Little Frankie at School, free online book, by Madeline Leslie, on ReadCentral.com.

Miss Grant was very much pleased with Frankie’s kindness to Hitty; and she hoped Nelly would see how lovely it made him appear, and try to imitate him.

When the school closed, Hitty felt so grateful to Frankie for showing her the figures, that she stood by him in the closet, to see whether she could not do something for him.  His cap was on a low hook, where he could reach it; but the scarf he wore with it, was hung up higher.  Hitty saw him trying to jump and catch the end to pull it down, and she said quickly, “I can reach it.  I will get it for you;” and she gave it to him with a bright smile.

“Thank you,” said Frankie, pleasantly.

When they were out by the gate the scarf blew off, and Hitty ran to pick it up, when Nelly snatched it from her, and said, “Let alone my cousin’s things, you ugly girl;” at the same time she gave Hitty a rough push to get her out of the way.

I do not think Nelly was so very wicked as to wish really to hurt the little girl, but she was angry, because her conscience was telling her she had done wrong.

She heard Hitty scream, but she ran on, pulling Frankie along, though he urged her to go back, and see what was the matter with the poor girl.

“No, no!” she cried; “I don’t like Hitty, and I don’t want to walk with her.”  Then she began to talk about Ponto, and said she wished he would come and carry her basket for her.

Almost always, when Nelly went home from school, she and Frankie ran up stairs to the chamber where Mrs. Gray sat at work; but now she proposed that they should play in the garden with the dog.

The lady heard their voices, and wondered they did not come in to see her before they began to play.  In about fifteen minutes she heard some one ring the bell at the back door, and presently Sally came up stairs into her room, leading a little girl by the hand.

It was Hitty, but with such a great swelling on her forehead that Mrs. Gray did not at first recognize her.  Her eyes were red and swollen with crying, and even now she could scarcely keep back her sobs.

As she came in, she walked straight across the room to the lady, and put a note into her hand.

Mrs. Gray opened it, and read with great sorrow the following words:  “Nelly pushed this little girl against the stone post, at the school house gate.  I am exceedingly grieved, and as I cannot see Nelly to-night, I have sent Hitty to you.  Please do what you think best in the case.”

“Come here, poor child,” said the lady, tenderly; “that is a dreadful bunch on your forehead.  How did it happen?”

“I was picking up your little boy’s scarf when it fell off his neck, and Nelly snatched it away, and pushed me so hard that I fell against the post.  She called me names, too;” and Hitty began to sob again.

“What did Frankie do?” asked his mamma.

“Nothing at all, ma’am.  It’s very kind to me, he was.”

The lady bade the child sit down.  She then went to the closet and poured some arnica from a bottle into a bowl of water, and after wetting a cloth in it, bound it upon the forehead of the child.  Then she rang the bell, and sent Margie to find Nelly and bring her into the house.

While she was waiting, she talked with Hitty, and soon became as much interested in her as the teacher had been.

Presently Nelly came in, followed by her cousin.  She started and blushed when she saw Hitty; but Frankie ran to the little girl, asking, “What is the matter with your head?  Have you hurt yourself?”

“No,” replied Hitty; “she did it,” pointing to Nelly.

“Look here,” said her aunt, raising the cloth and pointing to the swelling, which was half as large as an egg.

Frankie exclaimed, “O, dear!  I’m sorry.  Does it ache bad?”

Nelly held down her head and began to cry.  She was very much frightened at what she had done.

“Frankie,” said his mother, “you may go down with Hitty to the cook, and ask her for a piece of cake for the little girl.  Then you may walk with her as far as your teacher’s, and wait till I come.  Hitty, you may go home and tell your mother I shall bring Nelly there soon, to have her say what punishment so naughty a girl deserves.”

“O, don’t, aunty! don’t take me there!  I’m afraid to go!” sobbed Nelly, catching hold of her aunt.

“Sit down,” said Mrs. Gray, gravely.

“What are you going to do with me?” asked the child, in an agony of fear.

“I am going to talk with you, and I wish you to tell me how this dreadful thing occurred.  O Nelly, I can’t tell you how very grieved I am, that you should do so!  I thought you had conquered your bad temper, and had become a lovely, amiable child.”

The tears stood in Mrs. Gray’s eyes, and her voice trembled as she spoke.  Nelly sobbed as if her heart would break; but as her aunt waited for her to reply, she said, “I am sorry, aunty.  I didn’t mean to hurt her so; but I didn’t want her to touch Frankie’s things.”

“Why not?  I am sure it was kind of her to pick up his scarf.”

Nelly covered her burning face with her hands.

“Tell me the truth, my child,” said her aunt, firmly.

“She is so poor,” whispered Nelly.  “I don’t like poor girls; and then she lives in such an old house.”

“Why, Nelly!” exclaimed the lady, “I can hardly believe you have so proud and wicked a heart.  Suppose your father should lose all his property, and you should be obliged to go to the poorhouse, and wear an old, shabby dress; should you think that was a good reason why another little girl, whom God had blessed with a good home and kind friends, delighting to supply her with the comforts of life, should treat you unkindly?”

“No, indeed, aunty!  I did not think how very wicked I was.”  Then Nelly confessed truthfully all the naughty feelings which had made her so unkind to the new scholar, though she sobbed so much that she could hardly speak.

Mrs. Gray talked a long time with her, explaining where her sin lay; first, in cherishing pride, and then in giving way to anger, which was the very spirit of Cain when he killed his brother.  After this they knelt down together; and Nelly, in a voice broken with weeping, asked God to forgive her great sin, and help her to be a good child.