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W'., ONE YEAR'S BUILDING. '-,
SARAH ENDICOTT OBER.
Amerioan Baptist publication Sooiety, ^
1420 Chestnut Street.
ONE YEAR'S BUILDING.
SARAH ENDICOTT OBER.
Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul!
As the swift seasons roll,
Leave thy low, vaulted past.
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
Till thou at length art free,
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life's unresting seal "
AMERICAN BAPTIST PUBLICATION SOCIETY,
1420 Chestnut Street.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1888, by the
AMEIICAN BAPTIST PUBLICATION SOCIETY,
In the Olfice of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.
A SYMpATHIZING BROTHER.......................... 5
A SISTER'S PLANS. ................................ 18
AN EVENING'S CONSULTATION ...................... 30
A SUNDAY WITH STACEY.......... ................. 44
WORKING UP THE PLANS............................ 57
THE NEW ROOml ............. ................... 68
A GIFT TO STACEY. ................................ 80
TIHE OLD SEWING MACITNE ........................ 92
A VIsIT FRoM KITTY CAREW....................... 04
A CRIISTIAN'S VARIED INFLUENCE.................. 120
KITY CAREW PROPOSES A PLAN ................... 131
THE METAMORPIIOSED MANTELPIECE ................ 146
TIIE SKETCH BOOK CLUB .......................... 155
MARY ROBBINS' TRIALS ..................... ......... 167
A GRAND SURPRISE ................................ 179
THE DAWN OF BETTER DAYS ....................... 191
A SUCCESSFUL SCIEME ............................. 203
GLAD TIDINGS...................................... 210
STACEY'S NEW LIFE............. ......... ....... 2218
A SYMPATHIZING BROTHER.
S YD burst into his sister's room like a sub-
dued whirlwind. His usual mode of en-
trance was that of a small tornado in full
blast; but since Stacey had "taken to wear-
ing her nerves on the surface," Syd had made
most strenuous efforts to be quiet, and prided
himself greatly on his success. But the door
was opened with a rush, and closed with one
of his unmistakable bangs, a very little soft-
ened from his customary noisy door slam-
mings; and though Syd's heavy boots had
given place to carpet slippers, yet his vigor-
ous tread shook the room and set the invalid's
6 STACEY'S ROOM.
sensitive nerves all in a quiver. Not that
Syd was purposely noisy, or intended to have
his progress announced with such eclat; but
he was one of those unlucky mortals, whose
very approach seems to invest inanimate
objects with the depravity with which they
have been accredited, and whose every step
is accompanied with a din and clatter which
seems a sort of triumphal quickstep.
Unconscious of Stacey's quivering nerves,
Syd lumbered across the room, his arms piled
high with wood, and dropping now and then
a stick on his way, he finally reached the
wood box by the little "air-tight" stove, and
laboriously dropped the rest of his burden,
stick by stick, into the receptacle, thereby
prolonging poor Stacey's torture. But she
never complained, knowing full well that Syd
would part with his strong right hand, rather
than knowingly cause her the slightest pain
or annoyance. When the last stick had
STACEY'S ROOM. 7
crashed into its place, Syd straightened him-
self with a relieved grunt, and turned towards
the bed with his customary greeting.
"Good-morning, sister mine. How are
all the aches and pains to-day?"
To his great amazement, instead of the thin
white face, with its patient, cheerful smile,
which always greeted him, only the top of a
tumbled black head was visible, while the con-
vulsive trembling of the bed coverings de-
noted plainly that Stacey was indulging in an
unheard of luxury for her-a good crying
Syd was completely nonplussed, for though
he had seen Stacey in agonies of pain, yet
never throughout the whole of her long
and painful illness had he seen her shed a
"Oh, come, now, Stacey, this will never do.
What is the matter?" he finally managed to
say. "Are the pains so very bad?"
8 STACEY'S ROOM.
An emphatic shake of the black head was
the only response, as the sobs increased.
Has any one been cross to you ?" he re-
turned again. You just tell me, and I will
fix them." And Syd looked fierce enough to
"fix" a whole army; but another shake of
the head modified his wrath.
"Now, Stacey, don't cry, you are only mak-
ing yourself ill," he coaxed. Come, tell me
what troubles you-won't you ? Are you in
love with the doctor, and he won't recipro-
cate?" he questioned-a roguish smile on
his face-for the said doctor was fat and
fifty, a veritable old bear, and the unhappy
possessor of seven unruly children.
Syd's sally brought an hysterical laugh from
the bed, and, much encouraged, he went on.
Come, pour forth your sorrows into my
sympathetic ear. They surely are large
enough to hold untold depths of woe."
(Syd's auricular appendages, though rather
STACEYS ROOM. 9
small for cherubic wings, were certainly large
for ears.) "You know I will never tell, and
if you cannot trust me, I will solemnly vow
and declare that I will never divulge your
secret, never. I hope I'll never see the back
of my neck if I do."
This strange declaration seemed to have
some effect on Stacey, and, after a little more
coaxing from Syd, her flushed, tear-stained
face emerged from its retreat, and, half laugh-
ing, half crying, she made known her griev-
"Oh, Syd," she began, shamefacedly, "I
am positively ashamed of myself for being so
foolish; but I have really suffered agonies
from this horrible room. I have tried hard to
endure it silently, but this morning I could
not help thinking how easily I could fix it up
if I only had the use of myself, and the sense
of my helplessness came over me as it never
had before. You see," she said, brokenly, "I
10 STACEY'S ROOM.
have tried to think of other things, and not-
"Yes, dear, I understand," interrupted Syd,
smoothing the tumbled locks with such a
loving hand that Stacey's convulsive sobs,
which had choked her utterance, soon ceased.
"And what about the room?" asked Syd,
when she was calmer.
"Why, this horrible clash of coloring, it
makes my teeth stand on end. You have
heard of 'colors swearing at each other'?
Well, that just expresses it; that terrible
magenta lambrequin and green blind, after
indulging in a little mild profanity at each
other, combine in a whole volley of oaths at
the carpet and wall paper, and when mother
brought in the old lounge with its bright red
cover I could not bear it any longer. Oh
dear! I know it is very wicked of me to
have such thoughts, but I can't help it."
And overcome with the enormity of her sins,
STACEY'S ROOM. 11
poor Stacey disappeared once more beneath
the coverings, leaving Syd completely trans-
fixed by such strong language from his un-
complaining sister. He soon collected his
scattered wits and essayed to comfort her.
"Don't fret, Stacey. Remember what Par-
son Murray told us last summer, that the evil
does not lie in being tempted, but in yielding
to temptation. It is not you that think the
wicked thoughts, but this ogre of a disease.
I read somewhere or other, that invalids are
scarcely responsible for the morbid thoughts
which fill their minds; but when the body is
enfeebled by disease, the mind is often sympa-
thetically affected, and cannot battle with, or
throw off the strange fancies which come to it.
Not that I think you are either morbid or
wicked ; really, I enjoy a little wickedness now
and then. You are so very good sometimes
that I am afraid you will die young. Come,
cheer up, sister mine, and let us take counsel
12 STACEY'S ROOM.
together about this evil old room, and see if
we cannot stop some of its profanity. Can't
Marmie fix it up for you in some way ?"
That is the trouble, Syd! cried Stacey,
emerging from her retreat, somewhat com-
forted. Mother has just as much work as
she can do, and it would be cruel to add to
her burdens. You know my illness makes a
great deal of extra work, and expense, too.
And you must not breathe a word about my
foolishness to Marmie, or to father, either. I
have made them both trouble enough already,
without adding this one, which is caused
chiefly by my nervous fancies. If I could only
do the work myself, I could fix up the empty
room down-stairs with very little expense.
But it is entirely out of the question, and I
must make up my mind to bear these little
annoyances, which really are not so hard
when I think of the thousand blessings I
STACEY'S ROOM. 13
How would you fix up the room down-
stairs ? asked Syd.
"I have it all planned out, but it is useless
to talk about it, for of course I cannot do it.
I might just as well be paralyzed: my head is
the only useful part of me." And poor Stacey
glanced at her nerveless hands with a look of
"Well, your head is worth more than many
folks whole bodies," said Syd, coaxingly.
"What would this wonderful sister of mine
do, provided she possessed other useful mem-
bers of anatomy ? "
Do! I cannot tell you half I would do.
I have thought it all out over and over again
while lying here, and there are so many use-
ful and pretty things I could make if I only
had two strong hands."
"Here are two strong hands, to say nothing
of one hundred and thirty-five pounds of other
material, at your service, madam," said Syd,
14 STACEY'S ROOM.
with a bow and flourish, which he intended to
Stacey looked up with dawning hope in her
pathetic, dark eyes.
Oh, Syd, do you mean it? Will you help
me ?" she cried.
Certainly, to the very best of my humble
ability," answered Syd.
But you cannot find the time," said Stacey,
growing despondent again. "You know
there are your lessons to be learned-and all
the 'chores' to be done out of school. Oh,
no-you could not help; but you are a dear,
good brother to be willing to."
"Don't you worry," returned Syd, hope-
fully. "I can find the time, I know. I might
get up an hour earlier, for one thing."
One of Syd's peculiarities was his unbreak-
able habit of lying in bed until the very last
moment, leaving him scant time to scramble
into his clothes, and present himself at the
STACEY'S ROOM. 15
breakfast table in time for prayers. His toilet
was usually made while on the way down
the stairs, and various small articles of his
attire could be found strewn all along the way
between his chamber door and that of the
dining-room. Many and stringent had been
the means used by his parents to cure him of
this bad habit, but all had thus far been unsuc-
cessful; so no wonder Stacey smiled at this
You need not laugh," continued Syd,
loftily. I might be able to get up early if I
tried hard. Stranger things than that have
happened; perhaps this will be just the thing
to start me. Anyway, we will see. Then
you know the snow has spoiled all the skating,
so I can do something for you in the evenings
just as well as not."
Syd did not mention that'the very same snow
that had ruined the skating had also made
the best coasting, and that his new toboggan
16 STACEY'S ROOM.
possessed far greater attractions than even his
cherished skates. He felt repaid for his pro-
posed sacrifice, however, when he saw the
grateful look in Stacey's eyes, and the flush
of pleasure in her white cheeks, and he turned
away the flood of gratitude which he knew
was coming by surveying critically the offend-
"Whew !" he whistled. "I did not know
the room did look so badly. Why, it's a regu-
lar hash. I don't wonder it worried you ; and
you have to stay here day after day, with noth-
ing else to look at. Just tell me what to do,
and I will go to work this very evening-that
is, after I have waded through those old
"Bring your lessons with you, and I will
help you with them," said Stacey, brightly.
"VWill you? that will be jolly," cried Syd,
with great satisfaction. "I can never see the
use of learning, anyway. A good sensible
STACEY'S ROOM. 17
carpenter trade would suit me better, but I
suppose I must do as the pater commands,
and peg away at the miserable old lessons.
Just wait, though, until I get old enough to
choose for myself."
"Father knows best," said Stacey, pacifi-
cally. "Keep on with your lessons now, and
you will learn their usefulness some time. It
is not alone the knowledge you get from
books that benefits you, but the habits of
study and application."
"Perhaps you are right, but I don't see it
so," returned Syd, doubtingly. Then, noticing
the tired look creeping over his sister's face,
he bade her a rough, but affectionate adieu,
and hurried away, leaving her to plan, or fer-
ment," as he expressed it.
A SISTER'S PLANS.
IT had been a long and dreary time for poor
Stacey, since the unlucky day, five months
before, when she was thrown from a carriage
and received the spinal injury which had kept
her confined to her bed ever since. And
there were many long weary months yet in
store for her before she would be able to
walk, or even to sit up.
Most of the time had been passed in ex-
cruciating pain, or seasons of extreme pros-
tration; occasionally, however, came days
comparatively free from pain, when she could
interest herself in some light work or read-
ing. These were her "breathing spells" as
Syd called them, and glad enough was he
when one of these "breathing spells," came,
STACEY'S ROOM. 19
and he could be admitted into her room.
Most of the time, however, no one could
enter the door but her mother ; while alone
and unaided, Stacey, in her darkened room,
bore her pains in silence, bravely and uncom-
"Alone and unaided" did I say? Ah!
there was ever One ready to help and com-
fort her, and to give her strength to bear the
long hours of agony. It is a comforting
thought to know that where human love and
sympathy fail to lessen a single pang, or to
give strength to bear it, there is help, and
strength, and comfort from a Divine source ;
and Stacey knew full well what that blessed
comfort was ; and she could truly say, with
"To lack the loving discipline of pain
Were endless loss."
After Syd left her that morning, she lay
quietly and happily planning, so intent with
20 STACEY'S ROOM.
her thoughts that all inharmonious colors
about her were unnoted. When her mother
came in, she noticed the change at once, and
rejoiced to see the hope and animation in
Stacey's face. She forbore to question her,
however, knowing full well that Stacey would
soon confide all to her; for there was com-
plete confidence between this mother and
Ah they were rare friends. Between the
two-close, tender, and trusting-was a love
that was more than maternal or filial, more
even than the love between friends, but par-
taking of all these. The mother, ever en-
deavoring to keep her place in the heart of
her child, reached back to her own youth, re-
membering her early hopes and aspirations,
her j.:..iin faith, and happy inexperience,
thereby being enabled to interpret her daugh-
ter's; while Stacey reached forward towards
her mother, striving by her tender love and
STACEY'S OOIM. 21
sympathy to enter into and understand her
mother's matured nature and thoughts. Thus
there existed between them a love close, true,
and confidential. Happy and proud indeed
the mother who possesses her child's love and
confidence; and safe and secure that daughter
who is shielded by her mother's counsel and
The Palmers were a good type of many
New England families. A family who, though
boasting nothing famous or remarkable, could
trace their ancestry through generations of
honest and true men and women back to the
earliest settlers ; but those ancestors, happen-
ing to lar on some other portion of "that
stern and rock-bound coast" than the Ply-
mouth Rock, got no honor or renown in the
early annals, but passed on unnoted, leaving
no record save their good, honest lives, whose
traces could plainly be discerned in the char-
acteristics of their descendants.
22 STACEY'S ROOM.
The Palmers lived in the suburbs of a large
manufacturing town, about twenty miles from
Boston. In former years, large tracts of land
extending along the picturesque coast, had
been in possession of the family; but as the
sturdy family-tree grew and branched out, this
land was divided and sub-divided among the
numerous branches, until only a small piece
remained to the present representatives;
though in all probability that small portion
was now worth far more than the whole had
been in former days.
There was land enough for the family's
needs -for orchard, garden, and flower-
beds, leaving a good-sized grassy plot for
the youngsters' enjoyment still surrounding
the large, comfortable, old-fashioned house,
which was built of brick in the square, solid
style prevalent nearly a century ago ; and hav-
ing been built in the honest, thorough way
which was also prevalent at that time, it was
STACEY S ROOM. 23
still in good order and condition, though, of
course, it might look somewhat old-fashioned
among the modern upstarts, with their French
roofs, their Queen Anne and other fantastic
styles. It had a look of solid respectability;
and Mr. Palmer had had the rare good sense,
when adding modern improvements, to make
them fit the house, instead of trying to make
the house over to fit them.
Some of the square, roomy apartments still
retained their deep window-seats, and open
fireplaces, and the wainscoted walls of former
days. But a furnace now heated the house
far better than the cheery, though insufficient
wood-fire; so nearly all the fireplaces were
closed. Only in the pleasant sitting-room,"
every cool evening, a bright fire blazed on the
hearth behind the shining brass andirons; and
it was one of the most cherished family cus-
toms to gather about it, especially on Sunday
evenings, in the twilight.
24 STACEY'S ROOM.
This custom seemed to bind the family
closer together, and many happy hours were
passed watching the "fitful firelight" play
upon the wall, and listening to the stories or
songs which the father and mother contrib-
uted for their children's entertainment. Since
-Stacey's illness, however, many of these pleas-
ant customs were given up, and were sadly
missed by all the children.
The room upon which Stacey had set her
heart had never been modernized; but for
years it had been retained as the future library.
The books for that purpose had accumulated
year by year, until they overflowed bookcases,
tables, and all sorts of odd nooks and corners
in every room in the house; but Mr. Palmer
could never afford the expense necessary for
properly furnishing that room. So it had re-
Stacey could find ample ways for filling every
bare corner of it, as she lay in her bed, plan-
STACEY'S ROOM. 25
ning all sorts of contrivances, which were to
be such successes, and to cost so little money.
When Syd came into her room that night,
laden with the despised books, he was greatly
surprised and rejoiced at Stacey's improved
"Why, Stacey!" he cried, "you look as
though you had been drinking from the Foun-
tain of Perpetual Youth, that that old codger
of a Spaniard was hunting after when he ran
"Syd you incorrigible boy You have all
a youth's irreverence for historical dignita-
ries," cried Stacey, with mock gravity. "Will
you never learn to speak respectfully of your
elders and betters ? "
"I fear me, never, most respected mentor;
for methinks the fault lies not with my educa-
tion, but is in my very nature-' bred in the
bone,' as it were. But what about your room?
If the mere planning it accomplishes such
26 STACEY'S ROOM.
wonders, what will the fulfillment of those
plans do ? "
Make me well again, let us hope," replied
Stacey, brightly. Now let us attack these
formidable lessons, and then I will confront
you with such a long list of the things I want,
that I fear you will sadly repent of your bar-
"We will see. I don't think work of that
sort would frighten me half as much as a
tough bit of Greek, or a nonsensical medley
of Latin," answered Syd. "Anything would
be preferable to these abominable old lessons."
And Syd scowled wrathfully at his unoffending
Oh! I will soon help you out of your
slough of despond, then I will claim your
assistance to pull me out of mine. Is it a
"Agreed !" cried Syd.
Applying themselves diligently to the les-
STACEY'S ROOM. 27
sons, in a very short time, much to Syd's
surprise, and thanks to Stacey's aid, the
dreaded tasks were all completed.
"Why, I should have been digging away
at them for another hour if you had not
helped me," cried Syd, gratefully. "So
there are sixty clear moments at your ser-
vice. Now, tell me some of your wonderful
Nothing loth, Stacey unfolded her plans:
"First, I want a divan--"
"A divan! what is that? queried Syd.
"Is it possible that a brother of mine is so
ignorant?" exclaimed Stacey, merrily. "If I
am not greatly mistaken, you will find divans
mentioned in your 'Arabian Nights.' "
Oh, yes now I remember. It's a sort of
sofa, all cushions and the like. How are you
going to make it ?"
"I will tell you how when you are ready to
do it; but let me go over the list first; then
28 STACEY'S ROOM.
if it discourages you, there is yet time to retire
"Go on, then."
"There is a table to be made, a bookcase,
picture-frames, brackets, and other small arti-
cles. Then there are such weighty matters as
easy chairs, and- "
Hold on!" cried Syd, somewhat alarmed;
"you surely cannot think I can make such
things as these. I'm no cabinet-maker. I'm
nothing but an apprentice, and a bungling one
Don't be alarmed; the things will not be
very difficult to manage, unless I have made
mistakes in my calculations, and also in your
ability," said Stacey, laughing at Syd's dubious
Then she carefully explained to him her
ideas concerning the furniture; and he quickly
caught at her suggestions, offering many
amendments whenever her knowledge of car-
STACEY'S ROOM. 29
entering failed her ; but he was greatly sur-
prised at his sister's keen insight into mechan-
I tell you what, you would make a first-
rate carpenter, Stacey. What a pity you are
only a girl !"
Syd's look of pity for her feminine nature
was so genuine, that it nearly convulsed
Stacey, who, however, managed to say that
she was contented with the humble lot nature
had given her.
She now began to show signs of fatigue,
and Syd gathered his books up and departed,
with one commission from his sister to pur-
chase a can of dark brown paint, the use of
which Stacey would not divulge until the mor-
row, bidding him "wait and see."
AN EVENING'S CONSULTATION.
THE next morning, Syd was up betimes,
contrary to all precedent, and he had a
clear hour to hammer, saw, and plane in his
"den," the woodshed chamber, before the
breakfast bell interrupted his labors.
A queer place was Syd's "den"-a long,
narrow chamber, with one side sloping under
the eaves, well filled with all sorts of things,
which were treasures in Syd's eyes, though
many of them might be considered only as
trash in other folk's estimation. One of his
possessions he valued more highly than all
the rest put together. That was his car-
penter's bench, well stocked with a complete
set of tools.
Mr. Palmer had noticed his boy's taste
STACEY'S ROOM. 31
for mechanical work, and believing that chil-
dren should be allowed to follow out their
bent, he had provided him with everything
necessary to exercise his talent, only stipu-
lating that Syd should keep his belongings,
and try all his experiments in his own
Whistling a merry tune, Syd hammered,
sawed, and planed away with a will, and by
the time the first bell rang, calling him in to
prepare for breakfast, he had nearly completed
the framework for Stacey's divan."
Following her directions, he made a rough,
strong framework, six feet long, and two-and-
a-half feet wide, out of boards that were seven
inches wide, and about half an inch thick; four
stout legs were added, which, with castors,
made it a little over a foot high. This open
frame was to be covered with coarse canvas,
which Syd was to procure on his way from
school-then his part of the work was com-
32 STACEY'S ROOM.
pleted, and it was to be handed over to Mrs.
Palmer, to be upholstered.
Syd had the frame all made by the time the
bell rang, and he realized, as he had never
done before, how much work he might have
accomplished during the many morning hours
that he had wasted in bed; and, as he hurried
into the house, the pleasing consciousness of
a good work accomplished strengthened his
resolution never to fall back into the old lazy
Everything went well with Syd that day.
He got to school in good season, lessons were
learned thoroughly, and all seemed to prosper;
so he came home with even more than the
usual amount of good spirits. It took but a
short time to nail the canvas, which he had
procured at a sail-loft, to the rough frame; and
his part of the "divan" was completed.
Stacey had talked over her plans with her
mother during the day, and obtained her ap-
STACEY'S ROOM. 33
proval. Stacey's room had long been an eye-
sore to Mrs. Palmer also, but her busy hands
had too much to occupy them already, and the
time never came when she could attempt to
renovate the apartment. She had despaired
of improving it much; for, it was one of those
hopelessly ugly rooms, which nothing short of
an entire alteration could improve.
She fell in with Stacey's ideas very readily,
promising to further them as far as she possi-
bly could, and never by word or look throwing
any discouragement in the way. Although
she could not look at the matter as hopefully
as Stacey did, she was glad of anything that
could make the weary days pass less drearily
for her daughter, and encouraged in every way
That evening there was an earnest consulta-
tion held in Stacey's room, regarding the ways
and means for the proposed undertaking.
"Where is the money coming from, any-
34 STACEY'S ROOM.
how?" questioned Syd; for in the Palmer
family wants and needs were far more plen-
tiful than the "wherewithal" to supply them.
"I have the money Uncle David gave me
for my last birthday present," answered
Stacey. "When he gave it to me, he made
me promise to spend it all for myself. I did
not want to do that-it seems so mean and
selfish; and there were so many, many things
I wanted to buy for the 'tribe.'" And Stacey
brooded dejectedly over her vanished schemes
of benevolence until recalled to the present
consideration by the incorrigible Syd.
"Uncle David was right. He knew you
would spend every cent for other folks, if you
had your own way. You are too foolish in
that way, Stace. I really believe you would
give away your hair and teeth if nature had
not fastened them in securely. How much
money have you got?"
"Twenty-five dollars, and that will be
STACEY'S ROOM. 35
enough to get all the materials we need, if I
am right in my calculations," answered Staccy.
"We must get the larger articles first-
the carpet, curtains, and furniture and cover-
ings; then the smaller things will come after-
wards. I want to have a room, if possible,
that is not full of macrame, applique, and Ken-
sington work. And, as for 'hand-painted'
abominations, I am heartily sick of them. I
do believe that one could make a really pretty,
sensible room, even if it were not crowded to
repletion with all those time-destroying things."
And Stacey's flushed face and bright eyes
were filled with scorn.
Syd laughed heartily at his sister's vehe-
"How will you manage it, sister mine?
You might as well be out of the world as out
of the fashion," he quoted. "Suppose we or-
ganize a reform, or a crusade against time-
destroying abominations, and let your room
36 STACEY'S ROOM.
be an example of solid common sense, which
will 'point the moral' of the whole affair."
"Wait and see what we can do first," said
Stacey, laughing. Meanwhile, you can get
the yardstick and measure the room down-
stairs, so we can know how large a carpet
will be required."
Syd departed for the lower regions, and
soon returned, flourishing his yardstick, and
giving his verdict.
"Just six yards by five."
"Then our carpet must be five yards by
four," declared Stacey.
"Five by four!" cried Syd. "Why, that
won't cover the floor; it will be like the bed
Paddy made, 'whin he tucked in his fate, shure,
an' his shoulders were bare; an' whin he
kivered his shoulders, dade, an' his fate were
"I intend to get a bordered square that will
cover the centre of the floor, and the can of
STACEY'S ROOM. 37
paint you purchased to-day will cover the rest,"
"Oh, that's the idea! said Syd, evidently
"Yes; and you are to purchase the carpet
for me, when you go in to take your music
"I never can. I don't know one thing about
'hues and blendings,' 'tints' and colorings,'
and all that sort of trash. They are all myste-
ries to me. I say with the old darkey woman,
'I don' wear none of yer gaudey cullars; jest
gib me plain red and yeller.' "
"I will explain it all to you, so you will
be well able to select a carpet which will
be perfect in hue and blending, tint and
coloring; so don't let it worry you," answered
Syd saw by her whitening face that she was
growing weary; so cutting short the interview
by proposing to attack the floor that very
38 STACEY'S ROOM.
evening, he departed with his usual bang and
Donning a suit of old clothes, Syd went to
work diligently, and in a few hours the floor
was adorned with a wide border of dark-brown
paint, to say nothing of a big splash in the
centre, which was matched by a similar daub
on Syd's clothes, when he had upset the paint
can, and then fallen squarely upon the spilled
paint. It is true, the paint was rather un-
evenly applied, and the inner edge of the bor-
der rather ragged and wavering as to outline;
but, despite these small drawbacks, Syd con-
templated his work with great satisfaction, as
he stood in the middle of the room, his arms
a-kimbo, resting his aching back. He had
covered the whole ground, and kept the mop-
board free from speck or stain; and that'was
the main thing.
He crept up to bed, long after the rest
of the "tribe" were "wrapped in the arms
STACEY'S ROOM. 39
of Murphy," with the comforting thought
"Something attempted, something done,
Had earned a night's repose."
The next day Mrs. Palmer, following Sta-
cey's directions, finished the divan. She made
a mattress to fit the frame, stuffing it with
excelsior; this rested on the canvas seat, and
was about six inches thick. Two large pillows
formed the back of the divan, each one half
the length of the mattress, and thirty
inches in width. All were covered with plain
cretonne, of old-red color, and the edges piped
with old gold cretonne, and both mattress and
pillows tufted with old-gold worsted; a box-
pleated frill concealed the rough frame, while
two long round pillows, covered with the old
red, and the circular ends ornamented with a
cluster of fluffy balls of the old-gold worsted,
served as arms for the couch. When finished,
it proved to be as comfortable as it was hand-
40 STACEY'S ROOM.
some; and it was with feelings of pride and
relief that Stacey saw it fill the place of the
despised red lounge.
The next Saturday Syd departed for the
city, his usually careless face lengthened by
the weight of responsibility imposed upon
him, for he was entrusted with the purchase
of that wonderful carpet, and his head was
one confused receptacle for the thousand and
one directions which Stacey had impressed
Poor Syd! All through the half hour's
ride, the clanking wheels of the car repeated
over and over again, hues and blendings,"
"tints and colors," until, like poor Mark
Twain, with his "Punch, brothers, punch-
punch with care !" Syd was driven well nigh
Even through his violin lessons, the words
mingled strangely with the tones of the violin,
and he found himself saying to the astonished
STACEY'S ROOM. 41
professor, in reply to some question put to
him, regarding the aria he was playing:
The prevailing tone must be rich, yet sub-
dued, with touches of brighter colorings."
"Messa Palma, he thoughts mus' be gad-
derin' ob de wool, certaments," was the
astonished verdict of the old Italian, as he
glared at Syd, who stood idly thrumming his
violin, which he held like a guitar. Syd, with
a mighty effort, recalled his "wool-gathering"
thoughts and gave his whole attention to the
We will not trace Syd's progress through
the numerous stores that afternoon, or note
the miles upon miles of carpetings which were
unrolled before his bewildered gaze. It
seemed as though there was everything that
his sister did not want, but no one carpet
combined the whole of her requirements; and
at last, wearied and disgusted, Syd was about
to give up his quest in despair, when a
42 STACEY'S ROOM.
friendly clerk, moved to pity by his despond-
ent face, asked a few skillful questions, which
brought out the whole story. He became
interested in the young invalid, and her
desire for a pretty room ; and after pondering
a few moments, announced that he thought
he had just the article she wanted. Then
leading the way into another department, he
whisked forth from their hiding places some
artistic-looking felt squares, and spread them
before the discouraged Syd.
As soon as he beheld these squares, that
unhappy youth felt his mission was accom-
plished, and at last he had found something
that fulfilled all Stacey's requirements. Dark
and rich in coloring, relieved with touches of
bright soft tints; quaint and unobtrusive in
designs ; and handsomely bordered, they were,
indeed, just what she had wanted, and the price
also came far below the sum she had set
apart for the purchase.
STACEY'S ROOM. 43
It was with a face miraculously shortened,
that Syd completed the purchase, and gave
directions where the carpet should be sent.
He felt, however, a little trepidation as he
awaited his sister's verdict. When the huge
bundle was carried to her room, and divested
of its manifold wrappings, and Syd saw by his
sister's expressive face, her full satisfaction
and pleasure, his feelings could be no longer
repressed, and he tumultuously departed for
the outer air, where he indulged in a tremen-
dous war whoop, and attacked the wood pile
with much vigor, sending the chips flying in
That same wood pile had often served as
an outlet for Syd's feelings when they got
the better of him," and many a fit of anger,
as well as feelings of elation, had been worked
off by an hour's vigorous chopping or sawing.
A SUNDAY WITH STACEY.
T HROUGHOUT the long hours of the fol-
lowing night, Stacey watched the bright
stars shining in the dark sky, slowly swinging
in their ceaseless circling. She had watched
them so many nights, that she knew the time
for each one to appear, and how many hours
would elapse ere it traveled across the narrow
space of sky framed in by her window. They
seemed like dear, familiar faces to her, and
many a bright, encouraging thought came to
her, as she watched them marking off the long
hours of darkness, whose monotony was other-
wise unbroken, save by paroxysms of pain.
Often the hours seemed endless to poor
Stacey. Syd spoke more truly than he
thought, when he said:
STACEY'S ROOM. 45
Stacey has more than her due allowance
of time; for her days are twenty-four hours
long, and her nights forty-eight."
It really seemed that forty-eight hours must
have passed before she saw the dark sky grow
lighter by imperceptible degrees, while the
stars as imperceptibly paled and finally faded
Gladly Stacey watched the grayness flush
daintily, and grow warmer and brighter before
the approaching dawn ; and almost before she
knew it, the whole eastern sky was aglow with
the glory of the sun's rising.
The beauty of the sunrise came ever like
a revelation to her, though she had seen it a
thousand times. And to-day she watched the
changing panorama with as keen delight as
though it were the first time her eyes be-
As she gazed, new hope and courage filled
her heart; and almost unconsciously her
46 STACEY'S ROOM.
thoughts resolved themselves into a heartfelt
prayer that the darkness, the dull gray mo-
notony of her life, might be brightened, trans-
figured by the Sun of Righteousness; that he
would glorify and beautify it with the light of
Her life was ennobled by this great love.
For several years she had been an humble
follower of the Great Master, and throughout
her illness his words and promises had been
her strength and stay. She could truly say:
"He fights for me when I cannot fight,
He comforts me in the dead of night.
The burden that weighs me down he bears,
And soothes and comforts because he cares."
Throughout the long, weary months, he had
given her many "songs in the night."
This was a typical Sunday morning-calm,
bright, and peaceful. Even the stir of life
about the house seemed quieter and more
STACEY'S ROOM. 47
Stacey listened to the sounds, tracing each,
from Bridget's descent from the upper story-
which, though accomplished with the most
ponderous caution on her part, was pro-
claimed with loud creakings and groanings
from each step of the stairs-to the quickly-
subdued scufflings from the boys' room, where
Will and Rob had indulged in the usual morn-
ing diversion of a pillow fight, which came to
an inglorious conclusion as Syd appeared upon
the scene, demanding, with most righteous
severity, if they did not know what day it
Covered with confusion, the delinquents
stopped their scufflings, and dressed them-
selves without the customary wrestling, while
Syd retired to his apartment, oblivious of the
time when /e used to "forget what day it
Stacey, however, smiled to herself, as she
thought of those times when Master Syd had
48 STACEY'S ROOM.
been guilty of the same irreverence as those
unlucky boys. The smile faded as she heard
sounds of wailing from Edith, who was wrest-
ling with the complications of buttons and
straps, which the poor child could never be
made to understand; and Stacey longed vainly
for the power to go to her and disentangle
the snarl, which she well knew Edith's gar-
ments had gotten into. She soon heard her
mother's gentle tones, as she came to Edith's
assistance, and for the hundredth time pa-
tiently showed her how the perplexing gar-
ments were to be fastened, meanwhile gently
reprimanding Marian, who, because she could
dress without assistance, made light of poor
Edith's dilemma, greatly to the latter's indig-
Stacey listened to it all-the many little vex-
ations, the universal clamor for "mother," the
innumerable demands upon her for all sorts of
things necessary for their proper equipment-
STACEY'S ROOM. 49
until the last refractory button was conquered,
and the last tangled head brushed into shining
smoothness, and the little band had trooped
down the stairs to the dining-room.
Then came her mother's sweet face, looking
in at her with a fond smile, ere she followed
her noisy brood, and Stacey was left once
more alone, until her mother could leave
them, too busily engaged in disposing of their
breakfast to get into mischief for one-half
hour. Then she returned to Stacey, and pre-
pared her for her dainty repast, which good
old Bridget soon brought to her.
Sunday was ever considered by the Palmer
children to be the best day of the whole week;
for were not their father and mother at their
service during the whole day? It is true they
all attended church and Sunday-school, but
there was plenty of time afterwards for their
innocent enjoyments. The Palmerites (as
Syd had dubbed them) were early risers, and
50 STACEY'S ROOM.
had not fallen into the habit of spending the
best part of Sunday in bed, and then endeav-
oring, by hurrying and worrying, to get
through with the rest of the day. All extra
work, moreover, was done the day before, so
as to leave the Sunday hours free from all
labor except what was absolutely necessary.
Then there was enough time for reading or
telling of stories to the children.
On this day their mother drew the sweetest
music from the large organ, which remained so
silent during the rest of the week, owing to her
manifold household duties; but Mrs. Palmer,
throughout the whole of her busy life, had
kept up the practice of her Sunday playing,
claiming that it was food for her soul, and thus
of more importance than bodily indulgence.
It was grand, soulful music that she played-
compositions by Beethoven, Handel, or Mo-
zart-and it was thoroughly enjoyed by her
children. Even when they were too young to
STACEY'S ROOM. 51
fully understand it, the music quickened their
love for melody, and filled their minds with
pure and noble thoughts. They were all
singers, from Stacey, with her clear, soprano
voice, and Syd, with his newly-acquired bass,
down through the whole number, Will and
Bob singing like angels with their clear, boyish
voices, and Marian and Edith joining in with
sweet, childish tones. Even little Ray could
lisp tunefully the dear old hymns sung by the
rest; and grand sings" they had on Sunday
evenings, surrounding the organ, while their
mother played the tunes familiar to them all.
Stacey missed these family gatherings
greatly, but she could hear the rest, their
sweet tones mellowed by distance; and she
looked forward hopefully to the time when
they could all gather in her room-the room
which now seemed a reality to her, it had oc-
cupied her thoughts so completely during the
past few weeks.
52 STACEY'S ROOM.
It was very hard for her to await with pa-
tience the slow development of her plans; for
she was naturally of an impulsive disposition,
and when well, with her to plan was to do;
but, as Syd expressed it, she was now culti-
vating her patience," and she surely succeeded
well in her efforts, "possessing her soul in
patience" as the weary days dragged on.
Syd had done so well with the purchase
of the carpet, that the next week he was in-
trusted with another commission-that of
buying ten yards of common bagging. When
he learned, however, that Stacey intended to
make her curtains of that material, he laughed
her to scorn.
"Oh, pshaw!" he cried, indignantly. "You
will spoil your room with that coarse, homely
stuff. Who ever heard of using gunny bags
for curtains? Why, Stacey, you surely cannot
Stacey did mean it, and she could not be
STACEY'S ROOM. 53
turned from her determination. The bagging
was purchased, despite Syd's grumblings, and
some ruby-red felting was bought at the same
"There, that would be something like,"
growled Syd, as he viewed the latter purchase.
"If you could make curtains out of that, your
room would look real bright and pretty; but
gu-zy bags!"-and Syd's utter contempt
proved too great for further speech.
Stacey laughed merrily at his dissatisfied
face, and said:
"I could not afford to have curtains of the
felting, and I think they would be too bright
for my room. How could I decorate them?
You know we have declared war against all
painted and Kensington work. Just wait and
see what wonders I intend to work out of the
'gunny bags.' Perhaps you may like them
after they are done."
Syd therefore ceased his growlings, until
54 STACEY'S ROOM.
he should see the complete fulfillment of
The curtains advanced rather slowly. Stacey
was unable to do much of the actual work
upon them, and her mother had very little
spare time to devote to them; but, little by
little, stitch by stitch, they did advance, and
at the end of two weeks they were hung in
their places in the lower room, where the
carpet also was laid down, the paint being
The curtains were finished with an inch-
wide hem at top and bottom, then a band
of felting, eight inches wide, was stitched ten
inches from the bottom, while another band,
six inches in width, was fastened in the same
way eight inches from the top.
These bands were worked with a pretty
pattern in long stitches for about two inches
on either edge, with worsted that matched the
bagging in color. Above the lower band
STACEY'S ROOM. 55
were fastened a row of Japanese crape pic-
tures, about ten inches wide; this band was
finished top and bottom by a tiny, inch-wide
strip of felting, feather-stitched with the wood-
Similar patterns to those worked upon the
bands of felting were worked upon the cur-
tains, above and below both borders, with
worsted matching the felting in color.
When completed, and draped from their
brass-mounted cherry wood poles, the curtains
were indeed handsome and unique. The
soft wood color of the bagging formed an
effective background for the rich colored
felting, and the whole was softened by the
delicate pale pinks and blues of the crape
pictures. Even Syd was forced to acknowl-
edge that the despised "gunny bags" were
Before, however, the curtains were finished,
Stacey's plans were laid aside once more, as
56 STACEY'S ROOM.
for long weary days and longer sleepless
nights she battled silently with agonizing
pains and deathly weakness. Day after day
she lay in her darkened, silent room, "living
one moment at a time," with nothing to
break the dreadful monotony. She could
not bear the slightest jar or noise, and every
one was excluded from the room, only her
mother being allowed to enter.
Many times it seemed to Stacey that she
had reached the utmost limit of her powers
of endurance, and that it was impossible for
her to bear any more. But we cannot esti-
mate our powers to suffer or to -bear, and
when called upon we find we can endure far
more than our shrinking natures could imag-
ine. It is with suffering as with temptation:
"God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be
tempted above that ye are able: but will
with the temptation also make a way to
escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
WORKING UP THE PLANS.
DURING the two weeks of Stacey's inaction,
Syd was by no means idle. Stacey con-
soled herself, when she thought of her inter-
rupted plans, with the reflection that Syd was
enjoying the moonlight evenings with his to-
boggan, little knowing that each evening found
him busily engaged on some wonderful con-
struction, in the solitude of his "den."
It required much resolution on Syd's part to
resist the urgent entreaties of his companions
to join them in their exciting sport; for, as yet,
he had scarcely tested his new toboggan, and
he prized it very highly. It was the result of
many hours of labor, all through the long sum-
mer vacation, when he had worked hard to earn
the money to purchase it. And it seemed to
58 STACEY'S ROOM.
Syd that there never were such tempting even-
ings, when the mo_.',!,lht was so bright, the
air so crisp and exhilarating, and the coasting
in such a perfect condition.
But he resolutely turned a deaf ear to his
comrades' persuasions, and shut himself up in
It is true, however, that Syd found much
enjoyment in his work, and he hammered away
with great industry, regardless of the clamors
of the small fry," who made pathetic appeals
to be admitted to his sanctum, and flattened
their inquisitive little noses against the key-
hole and the cracks of the door, in vain en-
deavors to find out what was going on.
Syd kept his secret to the very end. He
was careful to keep the den locked, even
plu_. ;I- ._ up the keyhole, while the inquisitive
"small fry" were driven nearly frantic with
curiosity. As the work progressed the sounds
of carpentry ceased, and the most aggravating
STACEY'S ROOM. 59
smells of fresh paint and varnish oozed out;
but Syd worked on, unmoved by their up-
roarious demands for admittance, and con-
tented himself with occasional sallies upon
them, when they were put to rout and scat-
tered in great confusion.
Syd's secret was the construction of a con-
trivance of his own design, intended for
Stacey's room, and suggested by an idea of
He had procured a large packing-box, thirty
inches long, thirty-six wide, and eighteen deep,
taking care to choose one well made of smooth,
hard wood. From three of the sides he cut
away three inches, leaving one of the yard-
long ends to serve as the top of the stand.
A partition was next put inside the box,
vertically dividing it into two spaces; one
side was fitted with shelves, two in number,
making three spaces of different widths, the
lower being the widest. The other side was
60 STACEY'S ROOM.
left plain, excepting a small semicircular shelf
fastened near the top.
With his scroll saw Syd carved two brack-
ets, three inches in width, and nine in length;
these he fitted under the projecting top, and
secured a small rod through circular holes in
the brackets, very near the top. An orna-
mental strap of carving finished the back of
the top of the stand, and two brackets, similar
to the others, were set against it and finished
the ends of the top.
Then four blocks, an inch and a half in
width, were fastened to the bottom, and
castors fitted into them, while to conceal
these narrow strips of carving were fastened
across the front and sides.
The whole was painted black and well
oiled; the shelves were ornamented with tiny
strips of red pinked leather, fastened in with
gilt-headed nails; and it made quite a hand-
some piece of furniture.
STACEY'S OOM. 61
Syd dubbed it his "combination." It was
intended for a combination of washstand and
bookcase; the larger space to be devoted to
holding washbowl and pitcher, while the nar-
row shelf above held the soap-dish, etc., and
a tiny carved rack contained tooth and nail
brushes. The shelves were destined to hold
Stacey's favorite books, and a curtain, draped
from the slender rod, was to conceal the
useful toilet articles, and convey the impres-"
sion that the whole affair was for books alone.
Syd was quite proud of his handiwork
when it was finished, and longed for the time
to come when he could present it to Stacey.
To his impatient nature it seemed as though
that moment would never arrive. The paint
was a long while drying. So long, indeed,
that Syd got entirely disgusted, and after
blacking his fingers daily in testing it, he at
last became discouraged, and, locking the
door of his den, he did not go near it for
62 STACEY'S ROOM.
a week. He made the most of the time with
his toboggan, and gave Stacey, who was now
once more improving, such glowing accounts
of his sport, that she never suspected the
most of his time had been spent in a far
She took keen interest in all his sports.
As Syd himself expressed it, Stacey could
enjoy a game by proxy, just as well as he
could in person, and he was never contented
until he had shared all his joys and griefs with
It was a proud moment for Syd when the
"combination" was at last ready for presenta-
tion, and he brought it into the sitting room
one evening, to receive the family verdict. It
was a favorable one, entirely unanimous, from
his father down to the old cat, who, after
gravely inspecting and sniffing at the new
arrival, expressed her entire approval by
purring loudly, and rubbing against Syd's
STACEY'S ROOM. 63
legs. It was a genuine surprise to them all;
for no one had guessed what Syd's secret
"Oh, now I know what you kept your old
den locked up for," cried Bob, contemptuously.
"Wouldn't even let a feller get a nail or
nothing, chimed in Will, who always evinced
a most remarkable disregard for all gram-
Will and Bob were at the long-legged in-
quisitive age when small boys must be re-
garded as some of the necessary trials and
disciplines of life.
"What is it, Syd?"
"A play house for our dolls?" asked Edith
and Marian, their arms at that moment well
filled with those counterfeit representations
of humanity, so dear to a girl's heart, but so
utterly contemptible in the eyes of a boy.
Golden-head Ray, the king and ruler of
the household, investigated the whole affair.
64 STACEY'S ROOM.
Creeping around among the restless feet of
his lively brothers and sisters, at the imminent
risk of having his chubby fingers trampled
upon, he testified his approval by crawling
into the larger space of the "combination,"
and saying condescendingly, as he sat en-
throned there, looking out patronizingly upon
his admiring worshipers:
"Way like pitty house. Dood Tid, make
Way pitty house."
Syd paid little attention to the opinions of
the "small fry," but anxiously awaited his
father's judgment. Mr. Palmer was a stern,
quiet man, of whom his children stood in
great awe, though in reality he was a tender
and loving father. Stacey was the only one
who felt entirely at ease with him, and many
a time did she act as mediator and intercessor
for Syd in his numerous misdoings. His
father's words had great weight with Syd;
and he was happy enough when, after a close
STACEY'S ROOM. 65
examination of his work, and some questions
about it, his father said, heartily:
"Well done, my boy. This is a nice piece
of work-well arranged and well finished.
You have displayed patience, as well as inge-
nuity-that pleases me mostly; for genius
without perseverance accomplishes little; it is
like a ship without ballast."
Syd's eager face flushed.
Oh, father he cried out, won't you let
me learn the carpenter's trade? I do love
the work so much, but I fairly hate my books.
I know I shall never be a scholar."
His father looked proudly into the youthful
face, so nearly on a level with his own, and
"Have patience, my boy. Stick to your
books awhile longer, and remember the time
will come when you will be glad you did so.
Learning never comes amiss even in a car-
penter's shop ; you would only be all the
66 STACEY'S ROOM.
better workman for it. But I have some
plans of my own for you. Do well the duty
nearest to hand, and we will see what the
future will bring."
Syd pressed his father's hand warmly, re-
solving to "peg away at the old books," if
thereby he could gain his father's esteem.
Then he turned to his mother for the loving
words of praise which he knew well awaited
Then followed much discussion as to the
best way of presenting Syd's gift to Stacey;
for she had to be carefully guarded from any
excitement. Her mother went ahead to pre-
pare her for its reception, while the rest of
the family formed a sort of triumphal proces-
sion, and followed more slowly. The com-
bination was borne by Mr. Palmer and Syd,
with King Ray still ensconced inside, while
the "small fry followed after-the old cat
bringing up the rear.
STACEY'S ROOM. 67
Stacey had been suffering greatly during
the day, so she was only able 'to greet them
with a feeble smile, and favor Syd with a look
of gratitude; then, when the combination"
was set in its place, they all took their depart-
ure. King Ray, however, could not be per-
suaded to leave his pitty house" until Syd
offered him a ride on his shoulders; and with
his chubby hands clutching Syd's hair, he de-
parted in high glee.
THE NEW ROOM.
IF Stacey was unable to express her thanks
that night for Syd's gift, she endeavored to
make amends on the following one, when, as
she was much better, Syd made his appear-
ance with his books. But her words were
cut short by the reply, in Syd's gruffest tones:
"Oh, bother the thanks! If there is one
thing on earth that I hate more than another,
it is being thanked. If it were not for that, I
would be a real public benefactor, and spend
the whole of my time in doing for others.
But it takes all the pleasure out of it to have
to endure the misery of being thanked."
Stacey held her peace, entering into her
brother's feelings, which he strove to conceal
under a rough manner, and the lessons pro-
STACEY'S ROOM. 69
ceeded without interruption. When they
were finished, Syd made a tour of the house,
collecting all Stacey's favorite books, and a
very pleasant hour was passed in arranging
them on the shelves of the combination."
Although Stacey had reached the age of
nineteen years, when many girls have utterly
forgotten the days of their childhood, and all
their joys and sorrows, she still retained much
of her girlish nature, and could read her
favorite story books to-day, with nearly all the
interest and enjoyment that gave zest to
them in earlier days. It was one of her
greatest charms-this youthfulness, this fresh
and joyous interest in every-day events.
Perhaps it was the secret of her influence
over her brother, her ready comprehension
of all his thoughts and feelings, though he
attributed it to the fact that, "Stacey knew
what it was to be a boy."
When all the books were in place, they
70 STACEY'S ROOM.
made a brave show, with their richly-colored
bindings and gay gildings, and seemed to
Stacey like a social gathering of old and dear
friends. There was one book, however, older
and dearer than all the rest, that found no
place with the others-that was the Book of
Books, and it was always -to be found by
Stacey's pillow. So dear and precious was it
to her, that she felt she could not live without
having it by her side.
The "combination looked very attractive,
with its new occupants; but it needed now a
portiere to conceal the space containing the
"What shall it be?" pondered Stacey,
mentally rejecting all suggestions of painted
feltings, Kensington, or applique work, and
"crazy work," generally. "I have it!" she
cried at last.
"Have what?" queried Syd, who, en-
gaged in testing the comfortableness of the
STACEY'S ROOM. 71
"divan," knew nothing of his sister's train of
"Why, an idea concerning the drapery for
the combi-vention,' answered Stacey.
Will you favor me with that idea? asked
"No; that is, not to-night; it is high time
you were in bed, if you intend to keep up
your habit of early rising," returned Stacey.
And with a merry "good-night," Syd departed.
The next day Stacey was busily engaged
with the contents of a large basket. It was
filled with silks of all kinds, colors, and mag-
nitudes, which her slender fingers were rapidly
reducing into narrow strips, about one-fourth
of an inch in width. These strips were then
raveled on either side, until only about five or
six threads of the web remained in the
centre, then they were sewed together,
and wound into balls. Old ruffles, neck-
ties, faded ribbons, odds and ends of all
72 STACEY'S ROOM.
sorts, all were stripped and raveled; care
only being taken that they should be clean,
all soiled portions being washed and'
ironed before using. The traveling removed
much of the faded portions, leaving the soft,
fluffy fringe beneath bright and clean.
This work occupied Stacey some time, but
it was light and did not fatigue her, as most
other work did. When she was in such
agony that it seemed impossible to keep still,
it was a relief to employ her restless fingers
in traveling the soft silks. When the little
balls had accumulated in sufficient numbers,
she began to crochet them in "square" or
"cobweb" stitch into a small portiere. She
fortunately had a good foundation-color in
some ruffles of a very dark garnet. These
she used as a beginning of the border, cro-
cheting a strip two inches wide; then came
a Roman stripe, composed of first narrow
stripes of black and yellow, done in single
STACEY'S ROOM. 73
crochet; then an inch-wide stripe of pale
blue, in "cobweb" stitch, followed by a two-
inch stripe of ruby red in the same stitch,
with a tiny stripe of old gold in single crochet
between ; then came another bit of old gold;
then the pale blue, the narrow stripes of
yellow and black, and the two inches of
garnet. This composed the border. The
centre was "hit or miss," or "sheeney," com-
posed of bits of silk of every color and shade,
only care was taken to have all the pieces
short (not more than four inches long), and
the prevailing tone of the garnet.
A border similar to the first completed the
portiere; and a fringe of raveled stripes, in
all colors-the garnet predominating-was
added to the bottom. It made a most ex-
quisite drapery, rich in coloring and effect;
the fluffiness of the raveled silks giving an
indescribable softness to the whole; and with
the rich-looking case, and the daintily bound
74 STACEY'S ROOM.
books, made quite a handsome addition to
Stacey's room. No one suspecting that such
useful but homely things as toilet articles were
concealed by the rich drapery.
During all this time Stacey had been gain-
ing slowly, though surely, and the gruff old
doctor at last gave his consent to her removal
to the lower room. She thought it best not
to wait for the full development of her plans,
as when ensconced in her new quarters she
could plan and work much better.
One sunny day, when she felt stronger
and better than usual, Stacey made the short
journey down the stairs in her father's arms.
As she was carried along the old familiar
way, over which she had so often danced in
years gone by, she thought of the long, weary
months of pain that had elapsed since she last
passed that way. Very vividly every circum-
stance came back to her of that bright sunny
morning, nearly eight months before, when
.. .--r.-_----^_----- -_ -- ''*<.
STACEY'S ROOM. 75
she ran so gayly down those stairs, eagerly
anticipating the unusual luxury of a ride.
And a shudder came over her as she recalled
the ending of that ride, and that painful jour-
ney up those same stairs, when she was
carried into the little room, which had so long
been her prison.
Nearly a year-and in all that time she had
never left her bed of pain, never stepped
upon the green earth, or felt the refreshing
airs of heaven. Stacey wondered if all her
life must be passed in this way. Would she
never feel that sense of life and strength
again, never taste the exquisite pleasure of
motion, of moving at will among the haunts
of nature, which ever held such keen enjoy-
ment for her ?
She was so young, with nearly all of life
untried before her. Ah! it was a bitter cup
for her to drain, and one which she quaffed in
secret, never showing to those dear ones, who
76 STACEY'S ROOM.
tried in every way to brighten her lot for her,
and who ever watched her with sad question-
ings in their eyes, that the cup was bitter.
Now, as she left the little ugly room which
had grown so familiar to her that it almost
seemed a part of her life, she cast a look
back at it, feeling loathe to leave it, arid won-
dering if she should ever see it again.
The old doctor himself could not answer
Stacey's inward questioning; time alone
could prove whether she would ever regain
health and strength, or be a helpless invalid
all the rest of her days. She tried to turn her
thoughts upon other subjects, leaving it all in
God's hands, and only endeavoring to bear
patiently what each day brought her.
The little journey, short though it was, and
tenderly and carefully as her father had
carried her, exhausted Stacey greatly, and for
hours she could take no notice of what sur-
rounded her, only lying in half unconscious-
STACEY'S ROOM. 77
ness. Not until the next day could she fully
realize the fact that she was in her long-
This room had never been modernized, but
still retained its wainscoted walls, deep win-
dow seats, and old-fashioned doors; a huge
beam traversed the middle of the ceiling, and
on either side of the high, narrow, old-fash-
ioned mantel, were quaint little cupboards.
The wood work was painted dark brown, and
the walls and ceilings were tinted a light buff.
Syd's border harmonized very well with the
rest, and the richly colored carpet showed to
great advantage amidst the dark coloring.
The gunny bags at the window added to
the general harmony, and half drawn back,
falling in folds to the floor, revealed the deep
window seats cushioned with dark red, tufted
with old gold, to correspond with the divan.
While shades of buff and brown, relieved by
gilt and red, finished the window furnishings.
78 STACEY'S ROOM.
There was very little furniture in the room
as yet, though the divan" and combina-
tion bravely did their best to take off the
bare look," and Mrs. Palmer had contributed
several chairs from other rooms. But Stacey
had rare plans for filling every bare nook and
corner, and "possessed her soul in patience"
until they could be fulfilled.
She had been so interested in gazing about
her, that she had failed to notice a new sur-
prise, until her attention was called to it by
the glistening of a stray sunbeam on some
bright objects at her feet. She was sur-.
prised to find that she was reclining on
the daintiest and prettiest of brass bed-
Dear old father how good of him !" she
murmured, rightly guessing the giver, as she
noted the delicate tracery of the scroll work.
And her heart was filled with gratitude to
him, for she well knew that this gift must have
STACEY'S ROOM. 79
been made at the cost of extra hours of hard
work; but she knew also that it had afforded
her father as much pleasure in giving as she
had in receiving this pretty present.
A GIFT TO STACEY.
STACEY'S improvement was so rapid and
continuous as to astonish even the sage
old doctor, and he rightly attributed it more to
the new room, than to his pills and potions, his
blisters and plasters.
The new room, indeed, was the cause of it
all. Not alone because it was more sunny
and cheerful than the old one, and because its
details and coloring were more harmonious,
but because it afforded material for Stacey's
active brain and restless hands to work upon,
thereby giving her thoughts a happier subject
than the dreamy and monotonous aches and
pains that each day brought her. Every day
brought some new scheme, or fulfilled some
old one for the adornment of the room.
STACEY'S ROOM. 81
The second day of Stacey's occupancy of it
was celebrated by a surprise from her mother.
It was a cover for the dainty bedstead; and it
was itself a fitting accessory for it, an exqui-
site commingling of creamy, crinkled cloth,
and wide lace and insertion, while scattered
carelessly over it were clusters of poppies in
different shades of red.
What a lovely coverlid! Where did it
come from?" questioned Stacey, eagerly, as
her mother threw it over her.
"'Thereby hangs a tale,'" answered her
"' I prithee, unfold that tale,' said Stacey,
laughing, "and tell me where this dainty
dream of a bed-covering came from."
"It was evolved from very common-place
beginnings, I assure you," replied her mother;
"common 'crazy cloth' and Yak lace form its
ingredients, while the combination of these
materials was the work of my clumsy fingers."
82 STACEY'S ROOM.
How did you ever concoct such a bit of
loveliness from such prosaic articles ? ques-
tioned Stacey, meanwhile caressing the ma-
ligned fingers, which, though roughened and
reddened by coarse work, were by no means
clumsy, but could, whenever the opportunity
presented itself, do work of the most delicate
"I see I must give you the whole history of
the coverlid, from the very germ to the per-
fection of the idea," said her mother, laughing.
"And if you will promise to eat every bit of
your lunch, I will tell you all."
"I think I can safely promise that," said
Stacey, for I feel more hungry 'than I never
vas,' as Dutch Gretchen used to say."
Her mother disappeared, to return in a few
moments, bearing a tray containing a dainty
lunch. When Stacey was fulfilling her part of
the bargain, her mother settled herself, with
the never-absent bit of sewing, which she kept
STACEY'S ROOM. 83
ready for the few resting moments she could
get, and began her tale."
"I planned to make this cover a long time
ago, but could not find an opportunity."
Poor marmie! I know the reason only
too well," interrupted Stacey.
Never mind, dear, I have all the time there
is; and now you are down-stairs, there will be
much more time for my resting work. I find
already that it makes a very great difference
not to be obliged to run up and down stairs so
often. But to proceed with my tale. As I
said, I had a vague idea of what I wanted to
make, but could think of nothing tangible,
until I happened to be in Boston one day, and
saw a lot of 'crazy cloth' and Yak lace marked
down quite low. They appealed to me, and
in an instant I could see my much thought-of
cover in my mind's eye. I made my purchase
at once, and the making of it was quite an
84 STACEY'S ROOM.
"Please tell me how it was done," said
Stacey, still busy with her lunch.
"I will try to remember how it was made,"
answered her mother. Let me see. First,
I divided my cloth into squares (I had three
and one-half yards), taking the width of it
(thirty inches) as a measure. One square I
reserved for the centrepiece; two I tore in
halves, making four oblong pieces; the re-
maining one I divided into four squares, for
the corner pieces. Then I worked the poppies
on the several pieces, in outline stitch, not
using any set pattern, working the largest
cluster in the centrepiece. It was an easy
matter to sew it all together, first sewing the
pieces into three long strips. For the central
strip, joining two oblong pieces to the top
and bottom of the large square, with the wide
Yak lace insertion between; while for the
side strips, the remaining two oblong pieces
we rejoined to the corner square in the same
STACEY'S ROOM. 85
manner. Then the three long strips were
fastened together, with the insertion between,
and the whole bordered with the insertion, and
then the wide lace. It makes a serviceable,
as well as pretty cover, for it can be washed
just as well as a white one-the cloth and
lace being wool, and the embroidery being
done with 'wash' silks. There, girlie, is the
whole history of this wonderful 'dream,' and if
it had the power to bring you dreams in reality,
how glad I would be! Mrs. Palmer sighed, as
she thought of poor Stacey's sleepless nights,
for insomnia was one of her worst symptoms.
"Never mind, mamma; I think better days,
or, rather, better nights, are in store for me. If
I don't sleep now with all these poppies scat-
tered over me, it will be a wonder. How
good you are to me I shall have many lov-
ing thoughts of you, as I look at your handi-
work, and think of the many stitches your
dear hands have taken for me."
86 STACEY'S ROOM.
"Then let your loving thoughts dissolve
into dreams, if you can, girlie, and I shall feel
amply rewarded, though the pleasure of the
work has repaid me already."
Mrs. Palmer came forward to remove the
tray, and to see if Stacey had fulfilled her part
of the agreement.
"Why, you have done nobly. I verily be-
lieve your room will do you far more good
than all the doctor's pills and potions. Now
I will leave you to test the drowsy powers of
"Wait just one moment, marmie. You
have not told me what the cover is lined with,
that shows through so prettily," called Stacey.
"Oh, that is only a light lining of cheap
scarlet sateen," answered her mother. And
she left the room, while Stacey enjoyed the
first sound sleep she had had for months.
That evening a most earnest consultation
was held by Syd and Stacey, regarding the
STACEY'S ROOM. 87
further furnishing of the room. On "taking
account of stock," they found that their ex-
penses had thus far amounted to twelve dol-
lars, leaving only thirteen dollars of Stacey's
"My gracious grandmother !" cried Syd,
"only that little sum to buy chairs, table,
bureau, and other little things. How will
you manage it?"
"Oh, I have a few ideas left," said Stacey,
brightly, seeming in no whit daunted by the
problem. "You have displayed so much
skill thus far, that you may be called upon to
exercise more yet. Do you feel willing to be
imposed upon? "
Syd expressed his entire willingness to be
imposed upon, as long as the imposition re-
mained in the carpentering line; out of that
he might prove refractory.
"Well, I will endeavor to remain within
bounds," said Stacey. "Now, concerning
88 STACEY'S ROOM.
chairs and other useful articles of furniture.
Do you remember those old things in the
attic which belonged to marmie's grand-
"What, those ugly, old straight-backed
things which we used to play with?" asked
"The very same. Now, my idea is, that
out of those ugly, old straight-backed things,
we might get something to furnish this room."
You never could want any of that trash,"
cried Syd, with great scorn.
"I really believe we could make many of
them do nicely," persisted Stacey. "I think
that this room, with its old-fashioned finishing,
would look far better with some of those
quaint old chairs than with more modern
furnishings. I know old furniture is highly
valued now, and I should value this all the
more because it belonged to our own ances-
tors, and each bit has its history."
STACEY'S ROOM. 89
"It is all right, if you want the old rubbish;
but I can't see any beauty in it, anyway,"
growled Syd. However, I will investigate,
and see what there is up there."
Syd was as good as his word, and the next
evening made his appearance laden with a most
dilapidated array of bottomless, broken-backed
chairs; and he expatiated largely on the use-
lessness of the whole lot.
Stacey was not to be daunted, and looking
them over carefully, saw great possibilities of
future beauty and comeliness in each battered
"Why, Syd," she exclaimed at last, "they
will be really handsome after they are fixed
"I can't see it," grumbled Syd; "but I am
willing to aid you in every way possible to re-
suscitate the old ghosts."
"Just see this quaint old chair," continued
Stacey, pointing at a queer-looking specimen,
90 STACEY'S ROOM.
whose square seat was set into the circular
back and arms, so as to give it a triangular
appearance. "What a nice chair it will make
to fill up that nook near the fireplace, when it
is polished up and the seat re-covered! Now
if there was only a writing desk to put on the
other side, what a nice corner it would make
"I tell you what, Stacey; if you like these
old things, why not have the old desk, too?
There is a big one in the attic, all full of
pigeon holes, and funny little drawers and
closets. I verily believe there is a secret
drawer in it, too, if I only knew where to look
"Why, Syd, it would be just the thing!"
cried Stacey, her face flushing with pleasure.
"That will fill quite a large part of the bare-
ness, won't it? "
Now, what will you do with this old fel-
low? questioned Syd, whirling round a most
STACEY'S ROOM. 91
disreputable old chair, battered, scratched, and
stained, only the framework remaining.
Stacey looked at it a little dubiously, but
soon brightening, said hopefully:
"I think I see some hope, even for that.
When it is painted, and varnished, and a
pretty cushion and back made for it, you will
never know the 'old fellow.' "
After some more discussion concerning the
"resuscitating of the old ghosts," Syd gath-
ered them up again, and bore them away to
his den, with the concluding remarks:
I shall have a grand time pottering over
these old things. I guess I'll drop into old
Foster's, and get some ideas from him. He
makes it his business to fix up antiques.' "
And Syd departed amid a rattle and clatter
of the dusty old chairs.
THE OLD SEWING MACHINE.
DURING all these weeks Syd had been by
no means idle. Still carrying out his
new departure of early rising, and curtailing
many of his outdoor sports, he had gained
many spare hours, which were spent in the
seclusion of his den," where there was evi-
dently in progress some new mystery. In
course of time it was presented to Stacey with
It proved to be a dainty little table, oblong
in shape, with slender standards of intricate
scroll work, which had a suspiciously familiar
look to Stacey, though she vainly racked her
brains to discover where she had seen them
before. They were very pretty, with quaint
touches of gilt outlining the curves and twists,
STACEY'S ROOM. 93
while the top of the table was of a very grace-
"Why, Syd," exclaimed Stacey, in sur-
prise, "where did you get this pretty table?
You surely could not have made it! "
"Most dearly-beloved and highly-honored
Queen of the Palmerites," began Syd, with a
profound salaam, "this wonderful production
was evolved at the cost of sleepless nights,
and an enormous waste of brain material, by
your devoted servant, out of the dilapidated
remains of an ancient sewing machine, an
equally ancient tea tray, and a thick piece of
board. These incongruous elements were
plentifully mixed with the perspiration of my
noble brow, and the ingenuity of my active
brain, to say nothing of the aid rendered by
my supple fingers, in the dim recesses of my
wonderful den. Behold! the result of this
strange conglomeration is before you." And
Syd, with an indescribable scrape and flourish,