The Baldwin Library
CARRIE'S TWO VICTORIES.
"Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."
I CoB. x. 31.
CARRIE'S TWO VICTORIES.
The hand of peace is frank and warm,
And soft as ringdove's wing;
And he who quells an angry thought
Is greater than a king."
HE church clock struck twelve, and simul-
taneously with its sound there arose another
in Mrs. Stewart's school-room; a noise of
moving of forms and pushing back of chairs,
of furtive whisperings at the bookcases and admo-
nitory cautions from a tall girl who carried round
the forfeit-basket, intent on pouncing upon all stray
books and papers which were so unfortunate as to
come under her notice. The hubbub increased every
moment, till Miss Stewart, who stood half in, half out
of the doorway, watching the robing of the day-
scholars in the little square lobby outside, and their
subsequent exit through the school-door, said in a tone
of authority, Quietly! quietly! my dears," which
had instant effect in reducing the commotion.
4 Carrie's Two Fictories.
At the end of five minutes the day-scholars were
gone, the room was tidy, and the boarders' lunch was
brought in, consisting of thick slices of bread, which,
spite of the absence of butter, the hungry girls
devoured with keen relish after their morning's work.
During its dispatch the talk recommended, the subject
now being the walk, and the hope that it might be ex-
changed for a game of croquet.
"Walks are such a bother," said Fanny Blake.
"So excessively fatiguing in warm weather," lisped
Clara Trevor, a strikingly pretty girl, whose beauty
was nevertheless completely spoiled by her haughty
expression and affected manner. "When will Miss
Stewart come ?" said another. Oh here she is!" as
that lady entered amidst such a volley of questions
that her own voice was scarcely heard. Oh! are
we going for a walk ?" Mayn't we play croquet
instead ?" Oh which is it to be ? Croquet? Oh!
that's right !" and the whole body of excited girls
rushed out of the room.
Don't forget goloshes or thick boots; and I will be
with you directly," added Miss Stewart, as she turned
In a very short time she re-appeared with a work-
basket in her hand, and her bright sunny face half
shaded by a large mushroom hat.
She walked leisurely up the path bordered by the
,children's gardens, to her mind fit emblems of their
Carrie's Two Victories. 5
different characters, some sadly neglected and untidy,
others with seemingly about an equal proportion of
weeds and flowers, while in two or three the number
of half-hidden buds gave promise in due time of sweet
blossoms which would rejoice and repay those who
tended them. This was only the third day since the
return of the girls from the Midsummer holidays, and
the early August sun was shining in full strength as
she crossed the asphalted playground, and reached the
smooth, long strip of lawn where the advocates for
croquet were assembled. A stunted beech was at one
end near the low hedge, and on the bench under it the
only two girls to whom the game was nothing had
placed themselves, and made ready a comfortable seat
for Miss Stewart. It was a pleasure as much to her
as to her pupils to sit there again, for frequent showers
had, till to-day, made croquet a forbidden thing, and
she could fully enter into the happy feelings which
shone forth in the young faces grouped together near
her. She had played- with them often before the
holidays, as then the players numbered only seven; now
a fresh competitor, a new girl,. had enrolled herself in
the ranks, so she sat down, ready as usual to assist if
wanted, and to keep the peace, which was necessary
sometimes in that lively group.
Who will take blue ?" was the first question asked
by the leader of the light side, a girl named Janet
Scott, to whom the others looked up, with some envy
6 Carrie's Two Victories.
it must be confessed, as the best croquet player in the
No one volunteered at first; then the new girl, Carrie
Wilson, said timidly, as if doing a rather selfish thing,
"I will. Now, then, let us begin; we are wasting all
"Blue, you begin," said the opposite side. Poor
blue! a sad beginning it was.
Carrie had undertaken a difficult task; she had
never played before, as she had hitherto lived at home
in the heart of a busy town, and had never known the
enjoyment of garden or croquet lawn. She was so
keenly alive to the bliss of out-door recreations, and so
anxious to begin at once, that she had not considered
what was before her in undertaking, with her unaccus-
tomed hand, to play with and against seven girls all
possessed of well-practised skill. Want of forethought
was one of Carrie's faults, of which, of course, she often
reaped bitter consequences in many discouragements, as
whatever she had undertaken, however unadvisedly, she
would undauntedly finish if the end lay at all within
To those of my young readers to whom the game
of croquet is known, it will therefore be no surprise
that Carrie's first unskilful stroke sent the ball to the
wrong side of the hoop, and that consequently she had
to wait till her companions had all played, and then
begin again. This time, with eyes marking the
Carrie's Two Victories. 7
distance, and hands tightly grasping her mallet, she
succeeded in sending the unfortunate blue through two
hoops; but alas! for Carrie, a second stroke, when
success had thrown her slightly off her guard, left it
between two of the enemies, and almost before she
knew what she had done, she saw it fly across the
lawn, roll over the asphalt, and finally lodge in a
clump of ribbon grass near the school-room window.
Once in the enemies' hands, it seemed very difficult
for Carrie to get free. Nearly all the rest had gone
through all the hoops, most of them were rovers, and
yet her poor blue was still only at the third. Would
it ever get through ? It seemed very doubtful, for as
soon as she had it as she thought in position, up would
come some pink, or yellow, or orange, or fatal red,
and totally annihilate her hopes. All were rovers,
and she began to wonder how to get up, when Fanny
Blake, a kind-hearted girl, the owner of the brown
ball, came to her aid and diligently helped her on till
the stick had been touched and she was actually
returning. But now began a fierce contest: those on
the light side apprehending more than they had expected,
took notice of the poor blue as it lay all ready for
action in front of the row of three hoops on the return
side of the lawn.
One after another Carrie's efforts failed or were
laughed to scorn; twice, thrice, four times, five times,
she saw the ball sent off the field just as she was
8 Carrie's Two Victories.
ready "to strike and conquer," as she thought to
herself. At the sixth effort, thus baffled, she felt
strongly tempted to throw down the mallet and rush
in-doors in a rage. She was so warm-hearted and
affectionate, it seemed cruel to her that those clever,
experienced girls could take pleasure in thus keeping
her at bay; but it seemed they did, and she had to
exert all her self-control to keep down the tears which
twinkled in her eyes.
Knock out," said one on the light side, "knock
out; Carrie will never hit the stick. Don't keep us all
Oh no !" said the two famous players, Janet and
Clara, who were now Carrie's terror, "she is capital
"Yes!" thought the poor victim, "very likely
capital fun to you, but what I think is another thing !"
A fierce battle was going on in the poor child's heart,
much stronger and more momentous than the croquet
strife. Again she tried; again the relentless red sent
her yards off. Again it seemed to be done out of mere
spite, and Carrie raised her eyes flashing with indigna-
tion and wounded feeling to meet-what? only Miss
Stewart's sweet, pitying, sympathizing gaze fixed
earnestly, wistfully upon her. Somehow there was
that in her look which checked the angry storm, and
words she knew well enough-for Carrie was aware of
her fiery temper, and was learning with a higher
Carrie's Two Victories. 9
strength than her own to combat it-sounded in her
wounded heart, almost in her ears, "He that ruleth his
spirit is better than he that taketh a city."
One earnest, uplifted prayer, one determined struggle,
and the spirit was ruled. The game went on-effort,
failure, effort, failure; but she felt cross no longer, nay,
she even laughed with the others at her own helpless-
ness; and when at last, tired with their persecution of
poor Carrie's blue, the victors shouted triumphantly,
the conquered went to help the conquerors to put
away the balls, and took all their sallies and exultant
speeches as if they were very sweet to her, instead of
wounding her, as in truth they did, to the very quick.
But when Miss Stewart went up-stairs to dress for
dinner, and on her way stopped to open a little dressing-
room window, she saw behind the door a little body
very diligently rubbing her eyes as she put away her
Miss Stewart's hand rested for one moment on her
shoulder. Never mind, darling yours is the best
victory after all; I would rather be you than all the
others. Cheer up! my brave little soldier; he that
ruleth his spirit is better than he that taketh a city."
10 Carrie's iTwo Victories.
A SUCCESSION of fine days enabled the croquet
players to enjoy their amusement to their hearts'
content. A fortnight passed, a month, five weeks, yet
Carrie's side had never won. Still she persevered, for
being one who liked to do with her might all she
undertook, she had made a private resolve to keep on
till she could play as well as the others. Besides she
did not like to keep her friends back, and their frequent
lamentations after continued failures troubled her
greatly. Still she tried on. And now a light dawned
upon her. Why was it she always had to take the
blue ball ? Once she had thought it was politeness that
made the others wish her, the stranger, to play first;
but now she felt convinced this could not be the case,
so one day she asked Fanny Blake, if one ball was
better than another ?
"Why yes, of course;" said Fanny; "if you go
first you are at the mercy of the rest, whereas if you
are last you send all before you."
I see," said Carrie, and her mind was made up to
what she did not, however, communicate to her com-
The next day being half-holiday, when the seven
appeared on the ground Carrie was already there, and
the balls and mallets lay about on the grass except
what she guarded with her own hand and foot.
Carrie's Two Victories. I
"Where's the red ball ?" exclaimed Janet; I don't
see it anywhere."
"I have it," said Carrie, coolly.
Well give it me, quick !" said Janet.
"No, thank you, I want it myself," was the answer,
in such firm yet quiet tones, that Janet saw there was
no disputing the matter, only she gave vent to the ill-
natured remark, "Some people are born cheats."
At the last word Miss Stewart raised her head,
What is that I hear ?"
There was no reply, only in Janet's darkened face.
"Who is cheating ?" demanded the teacher again.
"No one," said Fanny; "only Carrie has the red
ball that Janet usually has, and wont give it up."
"The balls are common property, I believe," said
Miss Stewart; "and the rule is, 'First come, first
served,' is it not ?"
"Yes," said Fanny.
"Well, then, any girl has a right to any ball she
likes, provided she is in time to secure it."
Well, that's settled," said Fanny; "now choose
"I'll be with Carrie," "and I," "and I," said her
constant companions in misfortune, who were possessed
with the belief that she would win some day.
Three other balls were secured; blue alone, poor,
much-enduring blue, was still without an owner.
12 Carrie's Two Victories.
What ball am I to have, then ?" asked Janet, in an
Why, blue!" said Carrie, merrily, and driven to
extremity, Janet held her peace and began.
The game was a spirited one. Carrie, profiting by
her long practice, and experienced from her failures,
sent balls in all directions, in a style worthy of Janet
herself; then as the goal was nearly reached, fiercer
grew the game, more excited the combatants. Janet's
side was nearly out, and she herself had brought up her
ball from the other end of the lawn, when a well-timed
croquet sent it farther away than ever. Again it came
up, again it missed, again it was sent back. Then
feeling she could afford to be generous, Carrie let it
alone, and knocked herself out when Janet's ball was
within a foot of the stick.
"Carrie's won! Carrie's won!" and a wild dance
executed by the successful side was meant to finish the
But the exultation was soon checked. Janet and
her friends walked off sulkily, muttering broken
sentences, of which shame," unfair," and conceit,"
were the only words audible.
Carrie stood disappointed. Surely they who had
won so often need not grudge her her first victory. It
troubled her; and after a word or two with Fanny and
the others, she ran off to where Janet and Clara were
walking up and down in dignified confidence.
Carrie's Two Victories. 13
"Janet! I'll play again, if you like, and take blue,
too, to prove I don't cheat," said Carrie, earnestly.
No! they did not wish to play : it was not lady-
like in Carrie to act as she had done. It was not fair
either, for every one knew one got accustomed to one
ball and mallet, and could not play so well with
another; it was just one of her hypocritical tricks to
which they were accustomed, and it did not matter
Poor child! she felt disgusted with them, croquet,
victory, and everything, it was so disappointing!
She was turning back, when Miss Stewart went
up to the two offended ones, and mildly suggested
the justice of Carrie's proposal. So the sides were
chosen again, Carrie with her blue, and once more the
This time she felt nerved by Janet's unkind speeches
to do her very utmost to prove herself a fair player,
and her strokes told well. One after another she made
the light balls give place to her own. Tap after tap
sounded, hoop after hoop was gained, and then Miss
Stewart rose to look on. The clock struck five, the
tea-bell rang; Miss Stewart ran in to ask Mrs. Stewart
for just ten minutes more. And now the excitement
redoubled; first it seemed as if Carrie must win;
then again, by some skilful manoeuvre, Janet sent her
hopes flying with her ball. Again it was recovered
and maintained its position. It was a near touch, all
J4 Carrie's Two Victories.
the balls were grouped round the stick; a false stroke
from Janet decided the matter, and in another second
a simultaneous clapping of hands, in which MissStewart
could not help joining, greeted Carrie the conqueror.
This time the vanquished yielded with better grace,
saying, as they tried to swallow their discomfiture,
" Well, it was at any rate a well-fought game." But
Carrie, victor though she was, did not feel so happy
after all, nor so satisfied as she had expected to be, and as
she walked slowly into the house she looked far more
like the vanquished warrior than "the conquering hero."
"My dear," said Mrs. Stewart to her niece that
evening, I don't know that I altogether approve of
this croquet; it seems to me to stir up strife, and causes
too much emulation among the girls; I think I shall
forbid it in future."
"Oh no, don't; please don't !" said Miss Stewart,
earnestly; it would grieve me beyond measure; and
I think it does them so much good."
I don't see it, my dear; I noticed this evening that
Janet and her set were barely civil to Carrie, and it
grieves me to see such ill-will."
Yes, Aunt, but it is the same with lessons and every-
thing else, and this is Janet's first defeat; she will get
over it in time. I am more pleased than I can tell
you that she did lose; she is far too self-sufficient; it
will be a good lesson for her; and as for Carrie, I
Carrie's Two Victories. 15
hope much from her constant good-humour under
repeated provocation. I know she has not been
amiable all these weeks without frequent struggles; and
a girl who strives so earnestly to infuse right principle
into her play as well as her work, cannot fail to
influence some, at least."
Mrs. Stewart looked more satisfied. I think you
may be right after all," she said; "it is in the little
things of life that we can serve God best; and a child
of twelve, who is learning to fight and conquer little
difficulties and temptations, is laying up in store for
herself much strength against the harder trials of life.
And the example of such a child with the others may
be-who knows ?-like the little leaven that leaveneth
the whole lump.'"
And this is the spirit, my dear young readers, in
which I would beg you to do everything, work or
play; whatever you do, to do all to the glory of God.
If you really wish to serve Him, you will look out for
opportunities of doing so, and thus eanoble and sanctify
all your employment. Cultivate, then, on the croquet
ground patience, forbearance, humility, and generosity.
Patience, to work on after failures repeated and morti-
fying; forbearance, to endure cheerfully and kindly
all the sneers, and to you ill-timed jokes on your non-
success and awkwardness; humility, to suffer defeat
amiably, and sometimes to choose the balls least likely
to win; and generosity, to rejoice in your enemies'
16 Carrie's Two Victories.
conquest. And one lesson I would bid you learn
from your victories, you cannot know it too early; it
is the unsatisfying nature of all earthly triumphs. Let
us strive as we will for the mastery, with motives
however pure, there is in all human success a something
wanting. Only in the spiritual victory which God
gives to us can we realize unmixed peace.
Go on, then, in your battle of life, fighting against
bad habits, subduing evil tempers, rooting out from
within you all that is displeasing tc your Master and
your King; being assured that it you strive to set
forth His glory in all things He will give you all
needful strength, so that you may "manfully fight
under His banner against sin, the world, and the
devil, and continue Christ's faithful soldiers and
servants unto your lives' end."