I was one day calling in Dorsetshire on a clever, kind old lady, who showed me a beautiful tabby cat, coiled up before the fire. “Seventeen years ago,” said she, “that cat’s mother had a litter. They were all ordered to be drowned with the exception of one. The servant brought me one. It was a tortoise-shell. ‘No,’ I said; ‘that will always be looking dirty. I will choose another.’ So I put my hand into the basket, and drew forth this tabby. The tabby has loved me ever since. When she came to have a family, she disappeared; but the rain did not, for it came pouring down through the ceiling: and it was discovered that Dame Tabby had made a lying-in hospital for herself in the thatched roof of the house. The damage she did cost several pounds; so we asked a friend who had a good cook, fond of cats, to take care of Tabby the next time she gave signs of having a family, as we knew she would be well fed. We sent her in a basket completely covered up; and she was shut into a room, where she soon exhibited a progeny of young mewlings. More than the usual number were allowed to survive, and it was thought that she would remain quietly where she was. Not so. On the first opportunity she made her escape, and down she came all the length of the village, and early in the morning I heard her mewing at my bed-room door to be let in. When I had stroked her back and spoken kindly to her, off she went to look after her nurslings. From that day, every morning she came regularly to see me, and would not go away till she had been spoken to and caressed. Having satisfied herself that I was alive and well, back she would go. She never failed to pay me that one visit in the morning, and never came twice in the day, till she had weaned her kittens; and that very day she came back, and nothing would induce her to go away again. I had not the heart to force her back. From that day to this she has always slept at the door of my room.”

Surely you will not be less grateful to those who brought you up than was my old friend’s cat to her. Acts, not mere words, show the sincerity of our feelings. Consider how you are acting towards them each hour and day of your life. Are you doing your best to act well, whether at home, at school, or at play?