AFTER THE STORY.
"PRIMROSE," asked Eustace, pinching her ear, "how do you like my little Pandora? Don't you think her the exact picture of yourself? But you would not have hesitated half so long about opening the box."
"Then I should have been well punished for my naughtiness," retorted Primrose, smartly; "for the first thing to point out, after the lid was lifted, would have been Mr. Eustace Bright, in the shape of a Trouble."
"Cousin Eustace," said Sweet Fern, "did the box hold all the trouble that has ever come into the world?"
"Every mite of it!" answered Eustace. "This very snow-storm, which has spoiled my skating, was packed up there."
"And how big was the box?" asked Sweet Fern.
"Why, perhaps three feet long," said Eustace, "two feet wide, and two feet and a half high."
"Ah," said the child, "you are making fun of me, Cousin Eustace! I know there is not trouble enough in the world to fill such a great box as that. As for the snow-storm, it is no trouble at all, but a pleasure; so it could not have been in the box."
"Hear the child!" cried Primrose, with an air of superiority. "How little he knows about the troubles of this world! Poor fellow! He will be wiser when he has seen as much of life as I have."
So saying, she began to skip the rope.
Meantime, the day was drawing towards its close. Out of doors the scene certainly looked dreary. There was a gray drift, far and wide, through the gathering twilight; the earth was as pathless as the air; and the bank of snow over the steps of the porch proved that nobody had entered or gone out for a good many hours past. Had there been only one child at the window of Tanglewood, gazing at this wintry prospect, it would perhaps have made him sad. But half a dozen children together, though they cannot quite turn the world into a paradise, may defy old Winter and all his storms to put them out of spirits. Eustace Bright, moreover, on the spur of the moment, invented several new kinds of play, which kept them all in a roar of merriment till bedtime, and served for the next stormy day besides.