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The Baldwin Library
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TANGLE THREAD AND GOLDEN
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TANGLE THREAD, GOLDEN THREAD, AND
WILLIAM P. NIMMO.
TaneLte Tureap, . . . : 9
Gotpen Tureap, 7 7 . . 88
Strver Tureap, 7 . 7 : 87
Tee was once a very beautiful piece of white satin,
which had been woven with care and skill. Yet those
who saw it went away shaking their heads, saying, â€˜* What
a pity! what a pity!â€ For there ran across this lovely
fabric a tangled thread, and that one thread spoiled all.
And there was a lady who was very beautiful, too. She
had always lived in a pleasant home, with kind and loving
friends about her. She had never in her life known what it
was to want anything she could not have. Indeed she
seemed born to be treated gently and tenderly. People
who were ignorant were not afraid to go to see and talk
10 TANGLE THREAD.
with her, for they knew she never laughed at their mis-
takes; and poor people liked to go and tell her about their
poverty, just as if she were poor too. And those who were
sick or in trouble wanted her to know all about their trials.
For those who went to see her with empty hands, came away
not half so poor as they went in; and the sick and the sor-
rowful were comforted by her words of pity. You will
think that this lady who was so good, who could dress just
as she pleased, and ride when and where she pleased, who
had friends to love her, and friends to admire her, must
have been very happy indeed. And so she was, for a
time. Her life looked as smooth and fair as the white
satin you have just heard of. Bat by and by there began
to run across it a thread not at all like the soft and
even threads of which it was made; here came a soiled
spot; there were knots and tangles; as far as you could
see, its beauty was gone. How did this happen? Why,
there came into the house one day, a little baby. A little,
soft, tender baby, that did not look as if it would harm any
body. Its mother was very glad to see it. She thought
herself almost too happy with such a treasure. The most
sunshiny, pleasant room in the house was given this little
thing for its own. All sorts of pure white garments were
bought for it, and every thing possible was done to keep it
well and make it happy. Before it came its mother used to
lie down to sleep at night as sweetly as you do, little rosy
-child, who read this book. But now she slept, as people
say, with one eye and one ear open! That is, she kept
starting up to see if it were nicely covered with its soft blan-
TANGLE THREAD. " 8
kets, or to listen to its gentle breathing, to know if it were
quite well, If it happened to be restless or unwell, she
would sit up all night to take care of it, or walk with it hour
after hour when any body but its own dear mother would
have been out of patience, or too tired to keep awake,
And before the baby came there, this lady used to spend
a good deal of time at her piano, singing and playing. She
used to draw and paint, and read and write. But now she
had almost forgot she had any piano. The baby's cooing
was all the music she cared for. And she left off drawing and
painting, and thought the sweetest picture in the world was
that tiny, sleeping creature in its cradle. To be sure,
mother and baby together did make a lovely picture indeed.
As for books, she had not now much time to read anything
but Combe on Infancy, which she studied every day, because
it is a book, about babies, and tells how to wash and dress
them, and what to give them to eat.
Perhaps you will begin to think that this lady loved her
baby too much. But no, a mother cannot do that, unless
she loves it better than God, and this little childâ€™s mother
loved God best. She loved Him so dearly that if He had
asked her to give it back to Him, she would have given it
without a word, He would not ask her to do it without
12 TANGLE THREAD,
The baby had a name of its own, but it was called â€œ Tur
Basy,â€ and nothing else, just as if there never had been one
in the world before, and never would be again. As it had
nothing to do but to grow, it did grow, but not very fast.
Its mother said she liked a tiny baby better than she did a
big one. When she shewed it to her friends she always
said, â€˜It isnâ€™t a very large child, I know; but you see its
bones are very small, and of course that makes a difference.â€
And they would reply, â€œ Certainly, that makes a great dif-
ference. And it has the prettiest little round face, and wee
bits of hands and feet, there ever were!â€
The day on which the nurse who took care of the baby
and its mother at first, was obliged to go away, another young
woman came to fill her place. Her name was Ruth. She
was very glad to come, indeed. For she thought it would
be very nice to sit in that bright, pleasant room, holding
that pretty little baby on her lap. She thought she should
never know a care or a trouble. But she was quite fright-
ened when she undertook to wash and dress the pretty little
creature, to find how it screamed. The truth is, if there was
any one thing this baby could not bear, it was to be touched
with water. What was to be done? Let it go unwashed ?
-Oh! no, that would never do! Its mother really trembled
when she saw such a young, feeble creature ery so. She
knelt down by the side of the nurse, and with her soft hands
TANGLE THREAD. 18
tried to hurry through the washing and dressing. They
never knew how they got on the little shirt, or how they
fastened on the little petticoats, or which of them tied the
clean, white frock. The nurse was red and warm, and the
mother pale and tired, when this great task was over. But
they both thought things would go better next time, and
Ruth said so to herself as she walked up and down trying to
quiet the child, and the mother said so to herself as she lay
all worn out on the sofa, watching them.
Day after day passed, however, and every morning the
baby screamed. As it grew older and stronger, its mother
was less frightened when it cried, but it was painful to hear
such an uproar, and she began to dread the hour for washing
and dressing it.
â€˜* What can be the reason the baby cries so?â€ she asked
the nurse every morning, till at last, tired of saying,
â€˜Perhaps she won't cry so, next time ;â€ poor Ruth cried
â€˜Why, itâ€™s the temper, maâ€™am !â€â€
â€œTts temper !â€â€ said its mother, much astonished. â€œ Why,
I should as soon think of talking about the temper of one of
the cows in your fatherâ€™s farm-yard !â€
â€˜And you might well do that, maâ€™am, for cows have tem-
pers of their own as well as babies and other folks. There
was old White Spot, now. She couldn't cry and scream
like this baby, but she could kick over a pail of milk equal
to any body. And did it many a time when she was put
The babyâ€™s mother hardly knew what to think, Combe on
14 TANGLE THREAD.
Infancy did not say a word on this subject. She thought
she would write to her own mother, who lived not far off,
and beg her to tell her whether little babies really did cry
because they were angry, and ask her advice about Â» great
many other things just as important. There was a small
spot on the childâ€™s forehead, and she wanted to know if that
would be likely to go away, of itself. And how soon would
the baby begin to â€œâ€˜take notice?â€ And what playthings
had she better be buying, to be ready for it when it was
ready for them? And, oh! how would it do to tie up a
raisin in a rag and stop the babyâ€™s mouth with that while
they were washing it? For Ruth said she was sure that
would do so nicely!
Tue baby grew older and grew stronger, but it did not
grow better. The truth is, it had a very strong will of its
own. As long as it could have its own way, it was pleasant
and sweet, but the moment other people undertook to have
their way, it began to scream.
As soon as it became old enough to understand what was
said to itâ€”and that was very soonâ€”its mother resolved
never to give it things for which it cried. She told Ruth so.
But one day she went into the nursery, and there lay Miss
TANGLE THREAD. 15
Baby fast asleep on the bed, with a china vase on each
â€œWhy, Ruth, what does this mean?â€ she asked.
â€œThe baby cried so for the vases that I could dÃ© nothing
with her,â€ replied Ruth. â€˜It was time for her nap, and I
did all I could to get her to sleep, but she cried herself
nearly into fits for the vases. So at last I had to give them
to her. She dropped right off to sleep then, like a lamb.â€
â€œNever do so again, Ruth. You may spare yourself a
little trouble for the time, by giving a child what it cries
for. But in the end you increase your trouble tenfold, and
strengthen the child in its resolution to have its own way.â€
When the baby awoke, it did not miss the vases, which
its mother had replaced on the shelf, but when it was ready
to go to bed that night it looked at them, and stretched out
its arms towards them, saying plainly by its gestures, â€œI
am going to sleep with those pretty things in my arms.â€
â€œNo, baby canâ€™t have them,â€ said Ruth. â€˜ Baby must
go to sleep.â€
Babyâ€™s answer was a fearful scream, which was heard in
the dining-room where her papa and mamma were taking
â€œHark!â€ said her papa. â€˜I hear the baby. She has
either had a fall, or there are a dozen pins sticking in her.â€
â€œNo, that is not a cry of pain,â€ replied her mother.
â€œTt is a cry of anger. And I think I know what it means.
However, I'll go up and see.â€
She ran up stairs and found poor Ruth walking up and
down with the child, looking hot and tired.
16 TANGLE THREAD.
â€œI knew you would think I was murdering her, maâ€™am,â€
she said. â€˜â€˜ But itâ€™s those vases she wants. Wouldn't it be
best to pacify her with them? She's hoarse with crying.â€
â€œNo, Ruth, no,â€ said her mamma. â€˜I do not wonder
you are tired and almost discouraged. But we must think
of the childâ€™s good rather than our own present comfort.â€
She took the angry baby in her arms, and sat down sadly
in a low chair with it. :
â€œYou aro sure there are no pins about its clothes ?â€
Oh! yes, maâ€™am! I sewed on its clothes just as you
â€œVery well. Go down now to your tea.â€
â€˜T donâ€™t like to leave you with the child crying so.â€
â€˜T prefer you should go. She will certainly stop crying
Ruth went slowly downstairs.
â€˜Two sticks anâ€™t crosser than that baby,â€ she said to
herself. â€˜I never saw such a child. Why, every bone in
me aches like the toothache.â€
â€œ What's going on upstairs?â€ asked the cook, as Ruth
entered the kitchen.
â€œYou might knock me down with a straw,â€ replied Ruth.
â€œTI have been trying for an hour to get the baby to sleep,
and it has screamed the whole time till I was afraid it would
Meanwhile the poor mother still sat sadly and quietly in
the low chair, holding the struggling child, and praying to
God to teach her how to subdue it. She begged Him to
give her patience, and to give her gentleness, and to give her
TANGLE THREAD. 17
firmness. The babyâ€™s cries began to grow less and less
noisy, and at last, all tired out, it fell asleep. Its mother
looked down upon it tenderly, and kissed it over and over.
But her heart was full of care and pain.
â€œAh!â€ thought she, â€œthe old saying is true,â€”Every
rose has its thorn !â€
Day after day passed on, and the baby grew from a baby
into a little child, with busy hands, and active feet, and a
will of its own that seemed jo grow with its growth, and
strengthen with its strength. Her father, seeing how much
anxiety and trouble she caused her mother, began to call
her â€œTangle Thread,â€ instead of â€œBaby.â€ By degrees
every body in the house fell into the same habit, and in-
stead of bearing her own sweet name of â€œLily,â€ this new
name was fastened to her.
When she was two years old she could talk quite plainly,
and when nothing was vexing her she was bright and play-
ful. Her mother tried to avoid conflicts with her, as much
as possible. But if she once began she did not yield. She
knew that no child can be happy that always has its own
way. She knew that God would be displeased with her if
she let her little daughter grow up self-willed and disobedient.
* Early one morning Tangle Thread awoke, smiling and
18 TANGLE THREAD.
cheerful. Her little crib was close by her mamma's bed, and
she saw that neither her father nor mother was yet awake.
She sat up in bed and played awhile with her pillow. But
she was soon tired of that, so she climbed from her crib to
the bed, and from the bed slipped down to the floor.
Pretty soon her mother, hearing a slight noise, awoke, and
starting up, she saw Tangle Thread standing in a chair before
her fatherâ€™s dressing-table, with a razor open in her hand.
â€˜Â© Oh! she has a razor!â€ she said, jumping from the bed,
and hastening towards the child.
Tangle Thread instantly got down from the chair and ran
across the room with the razor in her hand.
â€œTangle Thread! stop this instant!â€™ cried her father,
awakened by the noise. But Tangle Thread only ran faster,
and when she saw her father and mother both rusning after
her, she became angry.
â€˜Â¢ Will have it! will shave!â€ she cried.
â€˜* Stop this instant!â€ cried her father once more.
By this time her mother had seized her hand, and after a
struggle the razor was secured. Tangle Thread burst into
frantic screams, but suddenly stopped short when she saw
that her motherâ€™s hand was covered with blood.
â€œ Yes, you made your poor mamma cut her hand,â€ said
Tangle Thread was frightened.
â€œT sorry,â€ she said.
_ But in an instant she was angry with herself for being
sorry. She began to dance up and down, and to scream
out, â€˜* No, no, not sorry.â€
TANGLE THREAD. 19
Her mother was used to such scenes. Her father had
never seen her so angry.
â€œWhy, this is dreadful!â€™ he cried. â€˜I never saw such
a child. If she does not learn to obey, she will sometime
cut herself to pieces or get burned up.â€
â€œYes, I know it,â€ replied her mother. â€˜â€˜I have tried,
in every possible way, to teach her obedience. But nothing
seems to have any effect. Not half an hour after being
punished for this offence, she will do something else just as
â€˜â€œâ€˜But has the child no feeling? It seems so unnatural
for a little thing of her age not to be alarmed and pained at
the sight of blood. And your fingers are all cut, I do be-
lieve. Let me see. Yes, every one of your poor mammaâ€™s
fingers is cut and is bleeding,â€ he said, turning to Tangle
Thread, who during this time had not ceased to scream and
stamp with all her might. Her fatherâ€™s address only made
her cry more angrily and loudly.
Her mamma said to him, in a low voice, â€˜â€˜ Do not notice
her. It only irritates her yet more. She has a great deal
of feeling, and I am sure she is distressed at the sight of my
And this was true. Tangle Thread was distressed. But
she did not know herself what was the matter with her, and
she was still angry and excited, and kept on crying. And
when she once begun to ery, she was like a horse that has
begun to run, and the more he runs the more he must run,
till he gets almost wild and quite worn out, and has to stop
to take breath.
20 TANGLE THREAD.
Wuen Tangle Thread had cried till she could cry no
longer, her mamma sent for Ruth to come and dress her.
Daring breakfast, the father and mother were both silent
and thoughtful. At last her father said,
â€œDo not you intend to bring that child to her senses, my
â€œYes, I shall punish her by and by. Now, while she is
so excited, she would let me kill her before she would give
â€œBut you intend to make her say she is sorry ?â€
â€œT donâ€™t know.â€
â€˜You don't know, my dear? Do you mean that you do
not intend to break that child's will ?â€
â€œÂ«T used to think I must do that, once for all,â€™â€™ she re-
plied. â€˜â€˜I have heard great stories of conflicts between
parents and children, that finished up the business for ever.
Thereâ€™s Mr Hamilton, he told me that his little Ellen, when
she was about a year and a half old, was standing near him,
holding a little doll in her hand.
â€œ Â«Let papa see your dolly,â€™ said he.
* â€œThe child put both hands behind her, and made no
â€œÂ« Â«Come to me, and let me see your dolly,â€™ he repeated.
â€œThe child refused. At last, after urging her some time,
TANGLE THREAD. 21
â€œÂ«* Then papa will have to make you doit.â€™ He began
by slapping her hands. She changÃ©@the-doll fromhand to
hand, but held it firmly. He then used a littletod. The
child grew more and more violent; a raged
between them. He kept repeating, â€˜I shall punish you,
Nelly, till you shew me your dolly;â€™ but she would not yield.
At last she threw it at him, angrily. Hour after hour
passed before the child would submit; but at last she gave
up, and that was their final conflict. But I have had twenty
such scenes with Tangle Thread. She yields at last, and
is as sweet and gentle and loving, for a time, as need be.
But perhaps the very next day the whole ground will have
to be fought over again.â€
â€œPerhaps Tangle Thread would yield to me more readily,â€
said her father. â€˜As it was â€œmy razor about which she was
80 obstinate, perhaps I ought to take her in hand myself.â€
So, after breakfast, he took Tangle Thread into his
dressing-room, and said to her,
â€œYou have been a very naughty child; you would not
mind either papa or mamma; and you made poor mamma
cut her fingers very badly. Are not you sorry you were
so naughty ?â€â€™
Tangle Thread held down her head and was silent.
â€˜* Answer papa. Are you sorry ?â€
He took her little hand in his. â€˜I shall slap this little
hand very hard, if you do not answer me.â€
Then Tangle Thread burst out into â€œher usual
22 TANGLE THREAD,
Her father struck her hands again and again, but she only
kept onâ€™ crying.
He began to wish he had not undertaken the task of
conquering such a child.
â€œ After all, it is a motherâ€™s work,â€â€™ he said to himself,
He looked at his watch. It is ten o'clock. I ought to be
in my office,â€ he said, uneasily.
â€œTangle Thread, are you going to obey me, or shall I
have to punish you more severely ?â€
Ten minutes passedâ€”fifteenâ€”Tangle Thread had no
thought of yielding. .
At eleven o'clock her father sat in despair, looking more
worn out than the angry child did; but the battle was not
At last her poor mother, who had sat looking on in agony,
burst into tears,
â€œO my child!â€ she cried, â€˜will you make your father
strike you yet more ?â€
Then Tangle Thread's stubborn heart seemed to melt.
She cried out,
â€˜* Am sorry, papa!â€
â€œThen run to your dear mamma, and tell her so,â€
Tangle Thread ran into her mammaâ€™s arms, who kissed
her and wept over her, but was too tired and heart-sick to
â€œDo you know, my little child, that your mamma feels
just so when you are naughty, and have to be punished ?
She certainly does. Then wonâ€™t you try to be good for her
TANGLE THREAD. . 28
CHAPTER VI. Â°
Tancte Tareap fell asleep in her mamma's arms. Her
papa looked at her sorrowfully.
â€œT am sorry I undertook to govern her,â€ said he. â€œI
never was so tired in my life. Who would think that that
tiny frame could hold such a will?â€
â€œT never have these conflicts with her now,â€ replied her
mamma. â€˜It has been suggested to me, that when a child
refuses to obey, it is best to punish it for disobedience at
once, rather than enter on a contest with it. And, on the
whole, I believe it to be the proper way.â€
â€œWell, good-by, my dearâ€™; it is past twelve, and I ought
not to stay another moment. Do go and lie down. You
look quite worn out. Or shall I order the carriage for you?
Ah! your life is very different now from what it used to be,
before this strange child dropped down upon us?â€
â€œTt may look hard to those who only see the wilful,
wayward ways of the child,â€ said her mother. â€œBut I love
this poor little creature dearly.â€
The father now kissed the pale mother and the sleeping
child, and went out. He soon forgot, in trying to make up
for his lost time, what he had been through. God means
that the work of training little children should belong chiefly
to the mother. She has no business to call her out; she
can have no business so important outside her own doors.
It is for her to watch every look and word and tone; to give
24 TANGLE THREAD.
up all her time, if necessary, and find her happiness in seeing
her child grow up good and gentle, or her sorrow in seeing
it continue perverse and disobedient. So Tangle Threadâ€™s
mamma could not go out, like her papa, and forget her
troubles. There was only one place in all the world where
she could find comfort. That was on her knees, before God.
She placed the weary little sleeper on her own bed, and then,
with many tears, gave her away more truly than ever before
to Him. She told Him all her troubles and cares, and be-
sought Him to look down in love on her poor little lamb,
and to take her in His arms and carry her in His bosom, till
she should become like Himself.
Perhaps you think that God heard this prayer and
answered it at once, so that Tangle Thread awoke from her
nap quite another child, and never was naughty again. And
no doubt He did hear and answer it. But fruit does not
ripen in one day, nor in two. Under the care of the skil-
fal gardener it will surely ripen, but it must have sun and
rain not once or twice, but day after day, week after week;
sometimes, even, month after month.
Poor little Tangle Thread was only conquered for a time.
The very day after the sad affair with the razor she was as
naughty as ever. And the next day it was just the same.
No matter what she was refused, she always cried for it with
her whole heart. No matter how she was punished, she
would do, right over again, the very things she had been
Ruth found it hard work to get along with her ; for when
her mamma was out, she could cry as much as she pleased,
. TANGLE THREAD, 25
and tease Ruth till her patience was worn, as she said her-
self, â€˜â€˜ to tatters.â€
â€œIf you won't seream once to-morrow,â€ Ruth said to her
one day, â€˜I'll ask your mamma to let you go home with me
some time. Then you can seo all our cows, and our hens
and chickens, and you can take a basket and hunt for eggs.â€
Well!â€ said Tangle Thread.
But the next day she cried half a dozen times. Once it
was because her hair was cut; once because she did not
wish to go to walk. Again, because there was rice-pudding
for her dinner, and she said she hated rice; and so on,
through the day.
â€œTry again to-morrow,â€ urged Ruth.
â€œWell!â€ said Tangle Thread, â€œ if you'll promise not to
wash my face, nor change my dress, nor make me wear
over-shoes when I go out; if you'll go on the shady side of
the street, and walk down to Union Square, then I won't
cry. I shanâ€™t have any thing to cry about.â€
â€œBut I can't promise,â€ said Ruth. Â«I must wash your
face and change your dress; I must put on your over-shoes ;
and while this cold weather lasts, I must walk on the sunny
side of the street. Your mamma has bidden me do all these
things ; aud as for Union Square, you know your mamma
won't let you go there, because she is afraid you'll get run
â€œThen I shall cry,â€ returned Tangle Thread. Â« Of
course if you and mamma do all you can to plague â€˜me,
and wonâ€™t let me do a thing I want to do, I must ery. Or
at any rate I must fret.â€
26 TANGLE THREAD. â€˜
â€œYou think if we let you alone, and you could do just as
you pleased, you would have nothing to cry or fret about.
But you'd go to destruction in the space of half an hour.
You would kill yourself eating cake and candy, or you would
get run over by some cart or carriage, or you would catch
your death of cold. It frightens me to think what you
would do if it wasnâ€™t for your poor mamma slaving herself
into a consumption to make you a better child. And your
niamma is such a sweet lady, too. Oh! I wish you would
be a good child!â€
But Tangle Thread was much amused at the various ways
in which Ruth said she might go to destruction, and she
liked better to hear that sort of talk, than talk about being
good, which was an old story.
â€œTell some more dreadful things I might do,â€ said she.
â€œT've told enough,â€ said Ruth.
â€˜You must tell me some more. Mamma says you must
do all you can to amuse me. Come! make haste! Sug-
gest something else !â€
â€œWell, you might get choked to death trying to say a
â€œ Now you are laughing at me! And I've a right to say
â€˜suggestâ€™ if Iâ€™ve a mind. I'll tell mamma how you laugh
at me !â€
+ Ruth answered, good naturedly, â€˜â€˜ I didnâ€™t mean to tease
you, at any rate. Come, let me tell you all about my fatherâ€™s
â€˜You're always telling that. You've told me nine hun-
dred times. I'd rather hear about something else.â€
TANGLE THREAD. 27
â€œ Then I'll tell you about the Babes in the Wood.â€
â€œNo, I donâ€™t want to hear that, either. Tell me about
a nurse that put a baby in a carriage and made a poor little
lamb draw it all over town. And at last the poor little lamb
fell down dead.â€
â€œ But I donâ€™t know that story.â€
â€œYes, you do, for I've just told it to you.â€
â€œ But if I only tell just what you've told me, you will get
angry and go to crying.â€
â€œT told you all I know,â€ said Tangle Thread. â€˜I made
it up, myself. And you must tell me a lot more about it.â€
â€œ But I can't,â€ said Ruth. â€˜I canâ€™t make up stories. I
â€œYou're a naughty girl. I donâ€™t like you one bit. I'll
tell mamma of you.â€ .
â€˜And you are a tiresome, naughty child!â€ Ruth was
tempted to say. But she bit her lips, and was silent. Then
Tangle Thread ran away behind the bed, and was silent, too.
Ruth knew she would sit there and pout for a long tinfe, and
then, if not noticed, scream till attention was paid her. She
got up and opened her bureau-drawer, and took from it three
little bits of candy.
â€œHere is some candy your mamma said I might give
you,â€ said she. â€˜â€˜ Come, get up from the floor and eat it.â€
Tangle Thread remained lying flat on the floor with her
face hidden in her two hands, Ruth placed the candy near
her, and went back to her work. The child pulled the candy
towards her, ate it, still lying on the floor, and at last fell
28 TANGLE THREAD.
â€˜ Was there ever such a child!â€ said Ruth. â€œIf I take
her up, she'll cry and kick and scream till the walls come
down. If I leave her there, sheâ€™ll get cold. Well, I can
but cover her up with a shawl and let her alone.â€
I suaut skip over several years of Tangle Threadâ€™s life
now, for I donâ€™t like to write about naughty children. When
she was old enough to learn to read, her mother was glad,
for she thought the child would be better and happier if she
could amuse herself with books. She determined to give
her four very short lessons every day, so as never to let her
get tired. So one morning she called Tangle Thread, and
taking her into her lap, she said,
â€œ Here is a nice little book for you, and I am going to
teach you to read. Donâ€™t you want to learn to read?â€
â€œNo,â€ said Tangle Thread ; â€˜I want to play.â€
â€œYes, you shall play very soon. But you must learn a
little bit of"a lesson, first, And I do not like you to say
â€˜Noâ€™ when you speak to me. I wish you to be a polite
little girl, and it isnâ€™t polite to speak so to your mamma.â€
â€œI donâ€™t want to be polite,â€ said Tangle Thread.
Her mamma sighed a little, though she tried not, and
smiled as sweetly and pleasantly as ever.
TANGLE THREAD. e 29
â€œ This letter is great A,â€ said she. â€˜See! one of his
legs goes up,jso; and the other down, so. What did I say
his name was?â€
â€œÂ«T donâ€™t know,â€ said Tangle Thread, in a sulky voice.
â€˜Â© A,â€ said her mother. â€˜â€˜ Now, say it after meâ€”A.â€
â€˜TI donâ€™t want to learn to read,â€ repeated Tangle Thread.
â€˜But I am resolved you shall learn, my child,â€ replied
her mother. â€˜â€˜ Now, say A, after me.â€
Tangle Thread was silent. Her mother looked at her
watch. The time she had set apart for the lesson was over.
â€œÂ« My child,â€ said she, â€˜ you have disobeyed me, and I
must punish you. And at twelve oâ€™clock I shall give you
another lesson.â€ Then, with a heavy heart she punished
the little girl, and sent her back to the nursery.
At twelve oâ€™elock the nurse â€œbrought her home from her
usual morning-walk, took off her things, brushed her hair,
and led her to her mother for the second lesson, as she had
been told to do.
Her mother received her with a loving word and a kiss.
â€œ Now, can you tell me the name of the letter ?â€ she asked.
â€œ T donâ€™t know, and I said I did'nt know. And I donâ€™t
want to learn to read.â€
â€œI think you do know, Tangle Thread,â€ said her mother.
â€œBut I will tell you once more. It is A.â€
â€œTcanâ€™t say A,â€ said Tangle Thread. â€˜And I canâ€™t
say B, either. Nor C.â€
â€œWhy, where did you learn your letters?â€ asked her
mother, in great surprise. â€˜â€œ How glad I am that you know
80 Â° TANGLE THREAD,
â€œThey're on my blocks,â€ said Tangle Thread, in a
gracious voice, â€˜And if you'll buy me a wax doll as big as
Edith May's, I'll say some more.â€ :
â€œT canâ€™t promise to pay you for doing what I bid you,â€
replied her mother. â€˜ You have a dozen dolls now, and if
you had one like Edithâ€™s, you would soon break it. But
do not let us talk of that, now. Let me hear you say D.â€
Half-crying, and with pouts and frowns this second lesson
was finished. Tangle Threadâ€™s mother went on faithfully to
teach her naughty child in spite of her behaviour. But when
she called her to her lessons, she felt very much as people
do when they go up the steps of the dentist's house and
ring his bell. Tangle Thread never came pleasantly; she
almost always cried before they got through the few minutesâ€™
task; she would not half-listen to what was said, and every
thing had to be repeated over and over again. Her book was
blotted with tears, and its leaves were crumpled in her im-
patient hands, so that many a new one had to be bought be-
fore the end of the year. And oh! how many weary, weary
hours this work she had looked forward to with pleasure,
cost the poor mother!
Wun Tangle Thread could read quite well, her mamma
. bought for her a good many pretty little books, and a book-
case in which to keep them. And one day she went out on
purpose to get a silver thimble for her, that she might learn
TANGLE THREAD. . 81
tosew. Then she fitted some work very nicely} and sat
down by Tangle Threadâ€™s side, so as to shew her how to
hold the needle and how to take the stitches. But Tangle
Thread was just as naughty about this task as she had been
in learning to read. Now, if any one had said to her,
â€œTangle Thread, take your needle and prick your
mamma's cheeks and neck and arms all over with itâ€™â€”do
you think the child was cruelenough to do so? No, indeed.
But when she cried, and made her needle rusty with her
tears; when she jerked her thread till it broke or became
full of hard knots ; when she pouted, and was sullen or im-
patient, her mother was really wounded over and over again,
and that in a tenderer spot than cheek or arm or neck.
Remember that, my child, the next time you are tempted to
behave as Tangle Thread did, ard beg God to help you to
be gentle and patient to those who take the trouble to teach
Tangle Thread had also to learn to write. Then she
would not sit properly at the table, or hold her pen as she
ought; she blotted her book and stained her fingers with
ink, and kept saying,
â€˜0 dear! I wish I didnâ€™t have to learn to write!â€ or,
â€œÂ«T wish I could hold my pen as I've a mind.â€
While her mother stood over Tangle Thread trying to
teach her, she had to keep silently praying to God to give
her patience with this wilful little child. For sometimes
she was tempted to say, :
â€œVery well ; since you will not learn pleasantly, you shall
not learn at all. I will let you grow up a dunce.
82 p TANGLE THREAD.
But she loved her child too well to do this, and she
loved God too well not to try to do the work He had given
her to do, in the best possible manner, leaving it to Him to
make that work hard or easy as He thought best.
But she was so troubled with her childâ€™s conduct that
when she tried to read she often did not know what book
she held in her hand, and when she tried to draw or paint,
her hand would tremble so that she had no pleasure in what
she was doing. By degrees the piano was opened less and
less frequently, the portfolio of drawings began to be ne-
glected, and new books and magazines to lie with uncut
leaves upon the table. What she studied now was the
character of her child, and how best to mould and to fashion
it into the likeness of Christ; and wherever she went or
whateyer she did, there was always a secret care gnawing at
her heart. Is it so with your mother? Do you never
speak that rude or impatient word to her which cuts her to
the quick ? When you see her sitting silent and anxious,
can you say to yourself,
â€˜â€˜Whatever it may be that is now grieving my dear
mother, I know it is nothing I have said or done.â€
Do not hurry over these pages without stopping to think.
This book is not written merely to amuse you. It is writ-
ten with the hope of touching the heart of some wilful child,
of persuading it to pray day and night that God would make
it docile and submissive, like Him of whom it is said,
â€˜As a lamb before its shearers is dumb, so He opened
not His mouth.â€
Pe was once a piece of coarse, black stuff, and a
bright golden thread waved and rippled through it like
And there was a poor, solitary woman, who had known
little but trouble since the day she was born. When she
was only eight years old, the parent-birds pushed her out
of the nest, to find home and shelter where she could. No-
body taught her to read or to write; nobody cared where she
went or what she did. She wore rags for clothing, ate the
coarsest food, and not enough of that; was knocked about,
scolded, and abused. At last she was married. Her hus-
band lived with her till what little money she had laid up
was gone, and then ran away. After a time she heard that
he was dead.
But just before he went away, God had pity on the joyless
life of this poor woman, and He wove into it a golden thread.
In other words, He sent a little smiling, loving child into the
86 GOLDEN THREAD.
dark room that used to be so lonely. There wasnâ€™t much
in it besides the child. While the mother lay in bed with
the baby by her side, the drunken husband had broken most
of the furniture to pieces with an axe. The bureau that
she had been so proud of was only fit to light the firÃ© now;
and the table and the chairs were not worth much more.
But what if the floor was covered with these fragmentsâ€”
wasnâ€™t there a live baby lying on her arm ?
Little Golden Thread grew fat every minute, as good
babies are apt to do. God had provided plenty of sweet
milk for her, and nobody had to go out of the house to buy
it when the baby was hungry. It kept coming as fast as it
was wanted, just as oil kept coming into the poor woman's
cruse in the Bible. But food for the mother did not come
of its own accord, and it was necessary for her to do some-
thing to earn money to pay her rent with, to buy bread and
potatoes, and coal and clothes. She did not know, at first,
how to manage it; for she must stay at home and take care
of her baby, and could not go out to work as she used to do.
There was a poor little seamstress who was willing to pay
half a dollar a week if she would let her come and sleep in
her bed. And she came every night, when her dayâ€™s labour
was ended, and crept in far over toward the wall, so as to
leave room for Golden Thread and her mother. Then in
the morning, while the child was taking its nap, the
mother would go out, with an old poker in one hand and a
- tin pail in the other, to rake out bits of coal from rich
peopleâ€™s ash-barrels. Her clothes were scauty, and of all
sorts of odd shapes, so that if you happened to see her from
GOLDEN THREAD. 87
your bed-room window, half buried in your barrel of ashes,
you would hardly have been able to tell whether that queer
figure was a manâ€™s or a woman's. These bits of coal helped
to keep them warm, and to cook a dinner now and then.
Golden Thread had to lie on an old rug on the floor, and
take care of herself most of the time. Her mother was
afraid to leave her on the bed, lest she should fall off. But
the child was happy on her rug, and she threw up her arms
and hands and legs, and played with them, or watched her
mother moving about the room, or just lay kicking and
laughing, and crowing and cooing. Some of her little clothes
were always in the wash-tub, or else hanging on a line be-
hind the stove, drying. This was because she had so few
things, that they had to be washed every day. But she did
not know or care anything about that. She went on
enjoying herself just as much as if she had had a housefal
of clothes, and her mother would stop now and then, look
fondly down at the old rug and the little creature on it, and
say, half-aloud, half to herself, Â« Little comfort ! little bless-
ing!â€ and then go cheerily on with her work.
Wuen Golden Thread had learned to creep and to walk,
it was not so safe to go out and leave her alone, as it had
88 GOLDEN THREAD.
been. She would get burned or scalded, or pull the chairs
over and hurt herself, because she did not know any better
than to get into mischief. So her mother had to wrap her
up in an old shawl and take her with her when she went out.
Golden Thread used to pat and kiss her as they went along,
with the clothes that were to be washed, or the coarse needle-
work that was to be done. And this made the way seem
short when it was long. This poor woman had often to
carry a very heavy basket on one arm, with her child on the
other, and this was hard, and she often had to stop to take
breath. If Golden Thread had fallen asleep, these sudden
halts would wake her up; then she would smile, put up her
lips to be kissed, and settle down to sleep again. And as
soon as she was strong enough to trot along by her motherâ€™s
side, she wanted to help to carry the basket, or the pail, or the
bundle that was almost as big as herself, indeed sometimes
much bigger than she was. Now, of course, she could not
help at all, and yet it was very sweet to see her try, and to
watch her bright face when she fancied herself of some use
to her mother. Donâ€™t you remember how pleased you were
when you ran to get your papaâ€™s boots for him? And how
pleased he was, too? You see you were like little Golden
Thread when you did that.
When Golden Thread was three years old, her mother
thought she must begin to leave her at home and go out to
work by the day. Ladies who wanted washing done would
_ let her come and wash for them all day, give her plenty of
good food to eat, and when she went home at night pay her
six shillings or a dollar for her work. So she asked one of
GOLDEN THREAD, 89
her neighbours to look in now and then to see how the child
was getting along, made up a fire that would last till her
return, put bread where Golden Thread could reach it,
charged her to be a good girl, and went away. She knew
that Golden Thread would stay where she was bidden, but
she did not love to go and leave her all alone, and she went
back twice to kiss her, and to promise to get home as early
as possible. Golden Thread did not cry or fret when her
mother had gone, and she heard her lock the door behind
her. She ran and climbed up into a chair to look out from
the window, and watch for her to come home, just as she
always did when her mother went out on errands. She sat
patiently and quietly a long, long time, thinking every minute
she should see her mother turn the corner, and then hear
her step coming up the stairs. â€œShe did not know how long
a day is. By and by, the neighbour who had promised to
look after her came up and unlocked the door, and put in
her head. Golden Threadâ€™s mother had given her the key
to keep while she was gone.
â€œO mother! is that you?â€ cried the lonely little child,
running to the door.
â€œNo, itâ€™s not time for your mother to be back yet. Sup-
pose you go down and stay with me a bit ?â€
Golden Thread was very glad to go, and for a time she
was quite happy, playing with the neighbour's children,
But by and by they began to quarrel, and to pull each otherâ€™s
hair, and their mother boxed all the ears in the room, even
poor Golden Threadâ€™s, without stopping to ask who was to
blame, and the poor little thing was very glad to be taken
40 GOLDEN THREAD.
home again to her own room. The fire had begun to get
low, and the neighbour put on more coal before she went
away. Golden Thread made-believe iron when she was left
alone, but this made her arms ache, and then she made
houses with the clothes-pins. Then dinner-time came, and she.
ate her bread and drank some water, and climbed up to watch
once more for her mother. Dear me! what a joyful sound
it was to hear her come toiling up the stairs! They hugged
ani kissed each other so many times, and it was 80 nice!
â€œ Poor little soul !â€™â€™ said her mother ; â€œ it was lonesome
while its mother was gone !"â€™
â€œBut you've come now!â€ cried Golden Thread, and she
forgot all the long hours, and was just as happy as a little
And the tired mother forgot how tired she was, and she
put on the tea-kettle and a sauce-pan, and began to get the
little oneâ€™s supper. She had had hers, and now all she
thought of was giving something warm to her child who had
been so sweet and contented with her bread and water all day.
â€œSee,â€ said she, â€œthis pretty white egg. I am going to
boil it for you. And you shall have a drop of milk, and a
bit of sugar, and a cup of tea to-night. And mother will
make you a slice of toast.â€ What a feast after a long,
lonely day !
Â« â€œMother, do rich people have such nice suppers?â€™â€™ asked
Golden Thread, hopping round her and looking gaily on.
â€œDear me! bless the child!â€™ said her mother; and she
laughed all to herself, and felt a good deal happier than
many rich folks put together.
GOLDEN THREAD. 41
So Golden Thread sat up to the table and had her warm
supper. Her tea was make-believe tea, made of water with
a little milk in it, but she had it in a real tea-cup, and the
egg wasn't a make-believe egg byany means, /
â€œT'm going again to-morrow to the same place,â€ said her
mother. â€˜â€˜ And you must be a good child, and not fret for
â€œNo, I won't fret one bit,â€ said Golden Thread. â€˜ And
when you're a big girl I'll buy you a great big egg, and cook
it for your supper.â€
â€œWhy, I'm a big girl now,â€ said her mother. Then they
both laughed a good deal, and by and by it was time to go
to bed. When Golden Thread had fallen asleep, her mother
put on her hood and shawl, and went out to spend the money
she had earned that day. She bought a little coal, and a
loaf of bread, and three penniesâ€™ worth of tea, and some
meal. Some of the meal was to be boiled next morning for
the childâ€™s breakfast. And the coal was to keep her from
freezing through the wintry day.
â€˜Wait upon me as soon as you can,â€ she said to theâ€™
grocer of whom she bought her tea. â€˜ For Iâ€™ve locked my
little girl up alone in the room, and Iâ€™m so afraid of fires
when it comes night.â€
â€œTtâ€™s a pretty risky thing to lock a child up, day or
night,â€ replied the grocer. â€˜ There's no telling how many
come to their death that way, every year. You see they get
lonesome, and they fall to playing with the fire, or with
â€œ* My little girl never does such things,â€ said the woman.
42 GOLDEN THREAD.
â€œThat doesnâ€™t prove she never will do them, some time,â€
persisted the grocer. â€˜Childrenâ€™s all just alike. And itâ€™s
my opinion they all make a point of getting into all the mis-
chief ~ can. Donâ€™t lock â€™em up in rooms by themselves,
â€œThat's my doctrine, too,â€ said another man, who stood
by. â€œBesides, itâ€™s a piece of cruelty. Children wasnâ€™t
made to live alone by the day.â€
-â€œT donâ€™t know what else we poor folks are to do,â€ said
Golden Threadâ€™s mother. She caught up her basket and
hastened away, â€˜to see that the child was safe.
Gotpen Tareap spent a great many such days as the one
I have told you about. How would you like to be locked
into the room and left alone all day? Do you think you
should ery ?
At last Golden Thread was old enough to go to school,
and then her long, lonely days were over. It is hard work
to learn to read, but it isnâ€™t half so hard as to stay by your-
self all day. So Golden Thread was very happy to stand
by her teacher's side and be taught her letters. There were
â€œa great many children in the school, and many of them were
naughty, tiresome children. They teased their teacher and
GOLDEN THREAD. 48
made her a deal of trouble, so that she often got quite out of
patience, and would speak sharply to them or even shake
them. She even got out of patience with our good little
Golden Thread, because she did not learn faster, and one day
she spoke quite roughly to her, and said,
â€œYour are as stupid as an owl!â€
The tears came into Golden Threadâ€™s eyes, but she looked
up sweetly into her teacherâ€™s face, and said,
â€œâ€˜ Why, Miss Bacon ? you called me an owl!â€
â€œTI did not mean to call you so,â€ replied the teacher.
â€œYou must forgive me for speaking so rudely. You are
my best child, and if all the rest were like you I should not
lose my temper so.â€
When Golden Threadâ€™s mother came home that night,
with her limbs aching and her hands all wrinkled and puck-
ered with hot water, how pleased she was to hear her dear
â€œÂ« My teacher says I am her best child !â€
Indeed the poor woman did not creep home to a dark and
gloomy room in these days as she used to do befgre she had
any child. As she passed swiftly through the streets she
knew that Golden Thread would have the fire burning cheer-
fully, the room nicely swept, the candle lighted, and the little
low chair waiting for her. And, what was more, she knew
that the moment she opened the door she should hear the
joyful ery, â€œOh! here you come, mother!â€ and that two
arms would be round her neck and twenty kisses on her
cheek before she had time to take off her things. Oh! it is
80 pleasant to have somebody glad to see you when you get
44 GOLDEN THREAD.
home! Sailors on the sea think so, and soldiers in their
tents think so, and so all mothers think who have little
Golden Threads watching and waiting for them !
â€œT wish I might bring home to you somo of the good
things I see wasted every day,â€ said the mother. â€˜Or,
that I could go without half my dinner, so that you could
Golden Thread looked quite surprised.
- â€œWhy, mother? I have plenty to eat!â€ said she.
â€œSome children have to go a-begging. They are worse off
than I am.â€
â€œ Well, you haven't plenty of clothes, at any rate. I wish
you had. Then you wouldnâ€™t have to lie in bed while I wash
and dry what few old things you have.â€
Then Golden Thread laughed, and said, â€˜ But it is so
nice that Iâ€™ve got some clothes, and donâ€™t have to lie in bed
all the time. And pretty soon I shall be a big girl, and can
help you work, and we shall have lots of clothes.â€
Yet down in the depths of little Golden Threadâ€™s heart
there lay a good many wants and wishes, that she never told
of. There are always such wishes in the hearts of those
who are poor, or only pretty well off. Some great agitation
throws them to the surface, and friends see them with as-
tonishment, not dreaming of their existence until now. Just
so, all sorts of plants are growing down in the depths of the
sea. But it needs a great wind or storm to tear them loose
from the rocks and toss them to the surface.
GOLDEN THREAD. 45
Gotpen Tureanâ€™s mother kept on working very hard, and
by degrees she was able to get good warm clothing for her-
self and her child. She bought a new bureau, and some
chairs and a table, and their room looked more like a nice
pleasant home than ever. But hard work in all sorts of
weather, now in freezing cold, now in long summer days,
requires a good deal of health and strength, and this poor
woman began to lose hers. Now and then, instead of going
out to earn money, she had to stay at home to rest, and then
what she had been saving had to be used up. At last, one
day, she fell from a ladder on which she was standing, and
the pail of whitewash she had been using overturned and
poured its contents all over her. Her eyes were filled, and
so was her mouth, and she could hardly breathe or see.
Some of the servants in the house where she was at work
helped her to get up and wipe the whitewash from her face,
but they could not cure her eyes, which burned like fire.
One of them led her home, where she spent the night in
great pain and anxiety. In the morning Golden Thread
could not run gaily to school, as usual. She must lead her
half-blind mother to a dispensary. Do you know what a
dispensary is? If not, ask your mother, and she will tell
you. The poor woman was given something with which to
cool her eyes, but it did little good, and she sat with folded
46 GOLDEN THREAD.
hands, she who had always been so busy! Golden Thread
made the fire, and got the breakfast, and swept the room ;
and she said every thing she could think of .to comfort her
But the poor woman needed a great deal of comfort. She
knew that if she lost her eyes she could not work any more,
to earn money for herself and her child. They would be
turned out of their pleasant little home, and have to go to
the alms-house. When she said so, Golden Thread an-
â€œ But, won't they be good to us in the alms-house ?â€
â€œYou donâ€™t know what you are talking about, poor thing,â€
said her mother. â€˜â€˜ And Iâ€™m glad you donâ€™t. And to think
of my being blind, and not able to walk another step !â€
â€œBut you've got me to lead you, mother,â€ said Golden
Thread. â€˜ It isnâ€™t so bad as if you hadnâ€™t any little girl like
â€œNo, I know it isnâ€™t. But if I am blind I never shall
see your face again.â€ ,
Â«â€˜ But you can feel it with your hands, and thatâ€™s most as
good,â€ said Golden Thread. â€˜â€˜ And I shall never leave you,
no, not one minute. And pretty soon I shall be able to read
to you. I'll read such beautiful stories. All about kings
and soldiers, and battles and giants. There's lots of stories
in the Bible.â€
â€œÂ«Â«Dear me! the child would bring a dead man to life!â€
said the mother; â€˜â€˜and I am an ungrateful creature not to
â€˜be thinking of my mercies instead of sitting here groaning.
Why, if I had to choose which I'd lose, this child or my
GOLDEN THREAD. 47
two eyes, it would come dreadfal hard ; but I'd choose to
keep the child.â€
So many days passed, but the injured eyes were no better,
and all the neighbours came in to see the poor woman and
to give their advice. One wanted her to try this thing and
another that; and at last they told of a woman who knew a
great deal about the eye, and would be sure to cure the
worst case. Golden Thread danced for joy when she heard
this, for she believed all she heard, like other little children.
She could hardly wait till her mother was got ready to set
off to visit this wonderful person who was to cure her eyes.
She led her carefully and tenderly along the street, just as
you would lead your little baby-sister if you were allowed to
take her out. The woman-doctor looked at the eyes and
made great promises, and in returf for her advice she took
fourteen shillings from the widow's hard-working hands.
And she took fourteen shillings a good many times after
this, till all the money the poor woman had was gone. And
ut the end of the visits her eyes were almost gone, too.
Tuese were hard times. The bureau that held all their
treasures was sold ; by and by the little clock that used to tick
so cheerfully, went where the bureau did ; then the mother's
warm shawl was pawned ; then Golden Threadâ€™s best frock
48 GOLDEN THREAD.
that she wore to Sunday school; then other things, one
after another, till they and their room looked as forlorn as
a room could that had Golden Thread in it, and as Golden
Thread could, while always wearing her sweet, cheery
But winter was coming on; and winter wants many things
that summer can do without. It wants those blankets that
are at the pawnbroker's; those thick shawls and petticoats,
plenty of coal, plenty of warm food.
â€œMother,â€ said Golden Thread, â€œif rich people knew
how poor we ave, wouldn't they give us something ?â€
â€œYes, I dare say ; but I never begged.â€
â€œâ€˜ But there was a lady said she would give us cold meat
if we would come for it. Is it begging to go ?â€â€
â€œ Why, if I ever get well, I could do something to pay
for them,â€ replied her mother. â€˜ You're hungry, poor
thing ; I know you are. Come, I'll go with you. But it
comes hard,â€ she added, for her courage failed her, and she
sat down again, and pressed both hands on her eyes to keep
back the tears that would have scalded them.
â€œâ€˜ Never mind, mother,â€ said Golden Thread, â€˜I am not
very hungry. And thereâ€™s my best shoes left; may be we
could get something for them.â€â€™
â€œ Well, we'll try,â€ said her mother. They put on their
scanty shawls and went out.
â€œGolden Thread held her motherâ€™s hand fast in hers, and
led her carefully along, looking on all sides to see that she
â€œwas not run overâ€”picking out the dry places, and every
now and then speaking a word of love and good cheer.
GOLDEN THREAD. â€˜49
Walking slowly along in this way, Golden Thread
observed a lady very richly dressed, leading by the hand a
little girl younger than herself. The child was made on a
very tiny scale. Her hands and feet were so small that
you could not help wondering at them; and her very red
cheeks were on such a cunning little face that you would
have said they were dollâ€™s cheeks, if the eyes and the mouth
hadnâ€™t such a wise and knowing way with them. She was
pulling very hard on the hand that held hers, trying to get
away. Hear what she says, and perhaps you will know who
Â«I fI canâ€™t have plumcake and coffee, I donâ€™t want any
party. Edith has plumcake, and she drinks two cups of
coffee. When I am a big woman I mean to have just what
I've a mind.â€ â€˜
â€œDo you see that little girl across the street ?â€ asked her
mother. â€˜See how miserably she is dressed. Look at her
poor feet. Her shoes are so old that she can hardly keep
them on. And the poor woman she is leading has a band-
age over her eyes. Do you think that little girl teases for
rich cake and coffee? Do you think, if I should invite her
to come to our house to lunch, she would cry for things I
did not give her ?â€
â€˜â€˜She would be afraid to cry,â€ replied Tangle Thread ;
â€˜and I dare say she is a bad girl, and her mother is only
making-believe blind. Gertrude says the streets are full of
Tangle Thread was so pleased that she had said a big
word that her ill-humour began to give way.
50 GOLDEN THREAD.
â€œTâ€™ll run and ask them if they're impostors,â€ said she ;
â€œand if they say they're not, I'll give them a shilling,â€ she
added, tossing up her little bit of a head. Â»
And before her mother had time to answer, she ran to-
wards Golden Thread, who had stopped to pull up her shoes
that kept slipping from her feet. Many carriages and
heavy carts and stages were passing, and the child was in
the midst of them before her mother had recovered from
het surprise at her flight. A moment more and she would
have been thrown down, and perhaps killed. But Golden
Thread pulled off her old shoes, ran quickly to the middle of
the crossing, and snatched up the little figure in her own
â€œPut me down, you old girl, you!â€ cried Tangle Thread,
frightened and angry. â€˜â€œ Put me down, I say! Iâ€™ve got as
many feet as you have!â€
By this time her mother had reached them.
â€œThank you, little girl,â€ said she, looking at Golden
Thread ; â€œthank you, with all my heart. You are a brave
child to run in among the horses and carriages, to save this
foolish little thing. But is that thin shawl warm enough
this cold day ? and are not your feet half-frozen ?
â€œOh! I donâ€™t mind it,â€ said Golden Thread, smiling,
and slipping her feet into her old shoes.
- And is this your mother ?â€ asked the lady, looking,
with pity, at the bandaged eyes,
â€œYes, maâ€™am, but I lead her,â€ replied Golden Thread.
â€œShe's hurt her eyes, and can't see so well as she used,â€
â€œDo you see that house on the corner?â€ asked the
GOLDEN THREAD. 51
lady. â€˜â€˜ Well, I live there, and I wish you would come and
see me to-morrow morning. Will you let her come ?â€ she
asked, in a gentle voice, turning to Golden Threadâ€™s mother.
â€œThe childâ€™s hardly decent, ma'am,â€ said the poor
â€œShe looks very clean, Iâ€™m sure,â€ said the lady.
â€œVery well, if youâ€™re kind enough to think so, ma'am,â€
replied the woman.
So they bid each other good-bye, and each passed on their
way, only Golden Thread and Tangle Thread looked back
at each other several times.
â€˜â€˜ What a nice, pleasant-looking little girl,â€ said Tangle
Threadâ€™s mother. â€˜â€˜ And ob, my child, how thankful we
ought to be to God for saving you when you were in such
danger. How could you run â€˜across the street in that reck-
less way? You know how often I have told you never to
do it. But I wonâ€™t say any more = it. I am mo
thankful that no harm has come to you.â€
â€œShould you cry if I should be killed ?â€ asked Tangle
Thread. â€˜If I had been killed you wouldnâ€™t have had any
little girl to tease you.â€
â€œO my darling child! how little you know how your
mother loves you. If you only could begin to know, what a
different child you would be !â€
Tangle Threadâ€™s proud little heart melted a little, and she
said, in a low voice,
â€œI wonâ€™t tease for plumcake and coffee again. I'll have
just what you want me to have. And I am going to invite
that little girl to my party. Idonâ€™t think sheâ€™s an impostor.â€
52 GOLDEN THREAD.
Her mother smiled, and would gladly have caught her
child in her arms, and covered her with kisses, as they
entered the house together. But Tangle Thread would not
have allowed herself to be caressed for making one civil
speech. She was too proud for that. So they went in
together, and were both full of business all day.
Golden Thread and her mother went on, meanwhile, to
the pawnbrokerâ€™s, where they pawned the shoes. With the
money thus gained they bought a bit of bread, and, hungry
as they were, ate it on the way home.
â€œWhat do you suppose that rich lady wants me to come
there for, mother ?â€ asked Golden Thread.
â€œI suppose she wants to give you something because you
picked up her little girl for her.â€
â€˜She must be a very nice lady, then. It only took me a
minute to snatch up the little girl.â€
â€œYes, but you might have got run over and killed in that
one minute. And then what would have become of your
poor old mother ?â€â€
Golden Thread was silent. But, after a while, she said,
â€œâ€˜T donâ€™t believe God would take away your eyes and your
little girl both at once. And if that kind lady gives me as
much as a shilling, I'll buy a little piece of beef with it.
The doctor you went to first, said you wasnâ€™t at all strong,
and ought to eat beef.â€
â€˜Much he knows where it's to come from!â€ said the
mother. â€˜But that lady won't give you money, child.
How should she, not knowing but I would take it from you
and spend it in drink ?â€
GOLDEN THREAD. 53
Tue next morning, very early, Golden Thread washed
her face and hands, and combed her hair, and was going to
set off at once to make the promised visit. But her mother
â€œYou must nof go these three hours. The lady won't
be up this long while, and then thereâ€™s her breakfast. It
will take a good deal longer to eat it than it takes us to eat
our bit of dry bread.â€
Golden Thread tried to wait in patience, but it was ten
o'clock when her mother at last let her set off. She was
taken upstairs, where her nÃ©w friend sat by a cheerful fire,
with Tangle Thread by her side.
â€œCome in,â€ said the lady ; â€œcome to the fire and warm
yourself, Have you had your breakfast?â€
â€œOh, yes, maâ€™am, a good while ago,â€ said Golden Thread,
trying not to look round her at the beautiful things in the
room, but looking in spite of herself.
â€œIf you had your breakfast long ago, I dare say you
could eat some more by this time. Or, would you rather
have something to take home, so as to share it with the
â€œThere isnâ€™t anybody but mother,â€ said Golden Thread.
â€˜And she is almost blind, isnâ€™t she ?â€
â€˜â€˜ Her eyes were almost burnt up with whitewash,â€ replied
Golden Thread ; â€œand since then she canâ€™t work as she
54 GOLDEN THREAD.
used. If she could, she wouldnâ€™t let me go into a lady's
house with such shoes on,â€ she added, looking down at her
miserable feet. â€˜â€˜ She says she hopes you will excuse it.â€
â€œTo be sure, to be sure,â€ said the lady, drawing a little
chair to the fire. â€˜ Sit down, my child, and tell me what
is your name.â€
â€œMother calls me her little Golden Thread. But that
isnâ€™t my real name. My real name isâ€.
â€œ NÃ©ver mind ; Lam sure it isnâ€™t so pretty as the one by
which your mother calls you. And now, Golden Thread, do
you know why I asked you to come here to-day ?â€
â€œ* Well, I wanted to ask you, for one thing, if you were
going to have a good many little girls come to see you, what
would you give them to eat ?â€
Golden Thread smiled and looked down. At last she
â€œWhy, if I had plenty of roasted potatoes, with butter
on them, I'd give them as many as they liked. Roasted
potatoes are very nice if you have butter with them.â€
â€˜And nothing else ?â€
â€œ* And may be I'd give every one apiece of cake. I mean
if I had any cake. But I shouldn't, yon know, maâ€™am.â€
The lady looked at Tangle Thread and smiled, and Tangle
Thread smiled too, for she was thinking, as her mother was,
of the sponge cake, and maccaroons, and kisses, and candies,
+ and ice cream, that had been ordered for her party ; and
which she had pouted about, and said she wouldn't have, un-
less there was wedding-cake and coffee !
GOLDEN THREAD. 55
â€œAnd now, Golden Thread,â€ said the lady, â€œI should
like you to tell me what of all things you want most. For
I feel very grateful to you, and it will be a great pleasure to
me to give you something.â€
Golden Thread smiled, and looked thoughtfally into the
fire. Dear me! she wanted so many things most!
Then the lady said,
â€œIn this deep bureau drawer I keep things to give away.
You would laugh if you could see what queer things.I keep
in it. Toys, and books, and clothing, and shoes, and stock-
â€œOh! is there a pair of shoes there?â€ cried Golden
Thread, jumping up.
â€œWhy didnâ€™t you say a big wax doll?â€ cried Tangle
Thread. â€˜ Mamma would just as soon give you a doll as
â€œThere are no shoes large enough for you in the drawer,â€
said the lady. â€˜ Come, what would you like next best to
â€œPerhaps there's stockings,â€ suggested the child.
â€˜Mother says warm stockings are good for chilblains.â€
â€œOh! there are larger things in the drawer than stock-
ings. Choose once more.â€
â€œThere never could be a shawl big enough for mother ?â€
The lady rose, opened the drawer, and took thence a thick
â€œ Like this ?â€ she asked.
â€˜Oh! how nice!â€ cried Golden Thread. â€˜â€˜ Mother is so
cold since she got sick. But, have I been begging ? oh!
56 GOLDEN THREAD,
have I been begging ?â€â€ she cried, looking alarmed. â€œ Did
T ask for a shawl for mother? And I was never thinking
of a big warm shawl like that.â€
â€œPerhaps you were thinking of a little warm one like
this,â€ said the lady, almost erying with pleasure that she had
found out so many of the childâ€™s secret wishes. Â«But this
is just large enough for you, and you can give the other to
* Oh! thank you, maâ€™am, thank you,â€ cried Golden Thread.
â€œAnd here are more things in the drawer,â€ said Tangle
Thread, climbing into a chair, and looking down into it.
â€œSee, books, dolls, reticules, pictures, workboxes.â€
â€œWhy, how came these things here?â€ asked her
â€œT put them there my own self,â€ replied Tangle Thread.
â€œ They are for the little girl. And I should like to have her
take off her things, and stay here and play with me.â€
â€œI left mother all alone, and I must go now,â€ said
â€œStop a minute,â€ said the lady. These thick night-
gowns are for you.â€
â€œWhy, I never had any night-gowns,â€ said Golden
Thread, with great surprise and pleasure. â€œ What will
mother say ?â€â€™
-â€œâ€˜And in this bundle you will find a good many other
â€œ Why, I had to lie in bed while my things were washed !
T'll go right home and shew all these to mother. What will
she say ?â€
GOLDEN THREAD. 57
The lady smiled, and Tangle Thread looked almost as
much astonished as Golden Thread. She drew near and
â€˜But why donâ€™t you ask my mother for a big doll? And
some cake and candy, and nuts and raisins ?â€
Golden Thread was speechless. Was she the sort of
child to ask for dolls, and cake and candy, while her
mother sat half-blind, half-frozen, half-starved, at home ?
â€œOh!â€ she cried, bursting into tears, â€œit isnâ€™t nico
things we want! It's bread and meat, and fire !â€â€
Tangle Thread rushed out of the room, and upstairs to
â€œGive me all my money, quick!â€ said she ; â€˜there's a
little girl downstairs that wants some bread and meat, and
â€œOh! your mamma won't let you give to beggars,â€ said
â€œShe isnâ€™t a beggar any more than you are!â€ cried Tangle
Thread, angrily. â€˜â€˜ And I will have my money. Get it this
â€œI'm not to give you things unless you ask me in a pro-
â€œT will have my money!â€ said Tangle Thread ; and she
climbed up and opened the upper bureau drawer, and began
to turn over the things there, in search of her purse.
â€œDon't toss over your nice clean collars in that way,â€
said Ruth. â€œ Your purse is not in that drawer, and you'll
not find it if you look all day.â€
Tangle Thread burst into loud and angry cries. She took
58 GOLDEN THREAD,
out her nice collars and aprons, and threw them one by one
to the floor, and was trampling them under her feet when her
â€œmamma suddenly entered the room.
The happy moments she had spent with Golden Thread
were over, and she stood in the door with that sorrowful,
grieved look, that was now almost always on her face. She
did not say a word, but taking the angry child by the hand,
she led her downstairs to her own room, and seated herself
â€œopposite to her in silence.
Were you ever disappointed in your life? When you
were going into the country to spend the day, and it began
to rain just as you were all ready to set off, how did you
feel ? And when you were invited to a Christmas tree, and
had talked about nothing else for a week, how did you be-
have when your mamma said you had too bad a cold to go,
and all the other children went without you? You were
disappointed, and very likely cried more or less about it.
Well, Tangle Thread's mother was disappointed, that just as
her child seemed gentler and sweeter than usual, her good-
ness lasted so little while. You know just how she felt as
she sat there, looking at Tangle Thread sobbing with anger.
But no, you do not know, and you never will, till you grow
up and have some little children of your own.
GOLDEN THREAD. 59
Meanwhile Golden Thread had gone home, and one of
the maids went with her, as she was directed to do,
with a basket on her arm and some money in her pocket.
With the money she was to buy shoes and stockings, that
Golden Thread was to put right on and wear home.
â€œBut I've a pair of shoes at the pawnbrokerâ€™s,â€ said
â€œNever mind, Iâ€™m to do as Iâ€™m told,â€ said the maid.
â€œTf you ever get your other shoes back, they'll may be do
â€œLook at me, mother!â€ cried Golden Thread, ranning
in with her stout shoes on, and making all the noise she
could. â€˜â€˜ Lift up your bandage just a minute, and see what
I've got. Shoes and stockings, and shawls and night.gowns,
and petticoats, and the lady-says sheâ€™s coming to see you.
And here are roasted potatoes right out of the oven, and
butter to eat them with! Oh, mother, I didnâ€™t mean to beg
for them !â€
The poor mother looked so bewildered and so ready to ery, |
that the maid thought it best to set the basket on the table
and to slip out as quietly as she could. As soon as she had
gone, Golden Thread flew into her motherâ€™s arms,
â€œOh, it was such a nice lady!â€ said she. â€˜ She is com-
ing to see you, mother, and says you must go to her doctor
and let him see your eyes. And she told me to tell you not
to be troubled, for you would not be left to suffer when you
were not fit to work.â€
The poor woman shook her head. â€˜TI cannot take all
these things,â€ said she. â€œI never can pay for them,
60 GOLDEN THREAD.
and I haven't been used to having things I didnâ€™t work
Golden Thread stood silent, for she did not know what to
â€œ At any rate, you'll eat some of the potatoes, won't you,
mother ?â€â€ she asked. And she began taking them from the
basket. â€˜â€˜ Why, thereâ€™s a piece of roast meat here!â€ she
cried. â€˜Oh, mother, it will do you so much good! And
-thereâ€™s enough to last a week!â€
They sat down, hungry and thankful, to this little dinner,
and then they looked at the shawls, the shoes, and all the
â€œT canâ€™t think of keeping them,â€ said the poor woman
again. â€˜ Unless, indeed, the lady will let me come and
work for her whenever I get well.â€
â€œThe lady is very rich,â€ said Golden Thread, looking
down at her shoes. â€˜And she said herself that my old
shoes were not fit to wear.â€
Her mother made no answer, but looked again and again
at the thick shawls, and at last laid every thing carefully
away on the bed.
â€œâ€˜T haven't got down quite so low as all this comes to,â€
said she. â€˜â€˜ Begging is a trade 1 wasnâ€™t brought up to. We
must not keep these things. Just as soon as my eyes get
. Well, I shall be able to earn what we need.â€
â€œÂ« May be if you'd seen the lady as long as I did, mother,
you wouldnâ€™t mind taking presents from her. But I'll do
just as you say. You are not angry with me, are you ?â€
â€œAngry with you? Bless your heart! No, indeed. If
GOLDEN THREAD. 61
I'm angry with any body itâ€™s with myself, for getting that fall
and spoiling my eyes.â€
Watzx this was going on in the one small room in which
Golden Thread lived, poor little Tangle Thread sat crying
before her mamma. She was crying with anger, and when
spoken to she made no answer, unless it was by crying more
loudly and by kicking against the chair on which she sat.
So at last her mamma rose quietly and went away into an-
other room. There she threw herself down upon her knees,
hid her face in her hands, and burst into tears. Then she
prayed long and earnestly to God to touch the heart of her
child. When she returned to her room Tangle Thread had
stopped crying, and looked tired. Indeed, she was both tired
and ashamed. She wished she hadn't been so angry, and
that she could tell her mamma so. But it would have been
easier to have a tooth out than to tell her secret thoughts to
â€˜Come here, my child,â€ said her mother, tenderly, and
holding out her hand.
Tangle Thread rose slowly, and walked to her motherâ€™s
â€œT am not going to say anything to you about your be-
haviour,â€ said her mother. â€˜I have said everything I had
to say, a great many times already. And I am not going
62 GOLDEN THREAD.
to punish you, either. I am quite tired of that. I can
hardly remember a day in your life that I have not had to
punish you in some way. But I will tell you to-morrow
what I intend to do.â€
She spoke in a gentle, loving, but very sad tone, and
Tangle Thread saw that her eyes were red with crying. She
never had felt so miserable in her life. What a pity that she
did not throw herself into her mammaâ€™s arms, tell her how
sorry she felt, and promise to try, with Godâ€™s help, to be a
better child! But she did not say a word, and pretty soon
the carriage was ordered, and she saw her mamma drive
off. She went back to the nursery and tried to play with her
dolls, but they did not comfort her. Then she took down
The Fairchild Family and read a little here and there in
that favourite book.
Meanwhile her mother drove from place to place, making
inquiries about Golden Threadâ€™s mother. She heard nothing
ill of her anywhere. Everybody said she was a hard-working,
industrious woman. So then she drove to the house where
the poor woman lived. All the neighbours ran to the win-
dows to look at the carriage, and some of them directed her
to the room she was seeking.
â€˜Oh, mother! itâ€™s the nice lady !â€ cried Golden Thread, as
she opened the door on hearing her gentle knock.
â€œâ€˜T have come to see you on account of your eyes,â€ said
â€˜the lady, kindly. â€˜I want you to tell me all about your
accident, and what has been done for your eyes since they
Golden Thread's mother was glad to tell her story to so
GOLDEN THREAD. 68
kind a listener, and by degrees a good many things came
out that she did not mean to tell.
â€œT will take you to see an oculist, if you are willing to
go,â€ said the lady. â€œI have the carriage at the door, on
purpose, and there is plenty of time before dark.â€
The poor woman coloured, and was silent. At last she
â€œT thank you, maâ€™am, with all my heart. But I am not
decent to go with a lady, like you. If you would please to
give me a bit of a note to the doctor, my little girl could
lead me to his house.â€
â€œTt is too far. Besides, I want to see him myself.
Your shaw] will nearly cover you, and Iâ€™m sure your dress
is clean and tidy.â€
â€œDo go,â€ whispered Golden Thread. â€œ Do go, mother,â€
â€œI was going to say, ma'am, speaking of the shawl and
things, that I am grateful for them ; but I canâ€™t think of
taking them unless you will let me do something for you.
T can wash and iron, and scrub and scour, and I understand
whitewashing ; and I can get in coal, and sweep off the
â€œNot now, that you are nearly blind !â€â€ said the lady,
â€œWhy, no, maâ€™am, I canâ€™t say that I can see to do much
of anything now ; but I hope to get well.â€
â€œThe first thing then is to see what the doctor says,â€
replied the lady ; â€œand I promise to give you work as soon
as you are able to do it. So get ready, and we'll go at once.
Pat on your shawl, too, Golden Thread,â€ she added, â€œ for
of course you are to go with us.â€
64 GOLDEN THREAD.
You should have seen Golden Thread's face as she led her
mother down the stairs and helped her intoâ€™ the carriage !
Driving off in a carriage as if they were queens! Well, if
it was a dream, what a delightful dream it was!
The doctor said the poor eyes were in a sad state, what
with the whitewash and the quack medicine. But he
thought they would be well in time. He spoke kindly and
cheerfully to the poor woman, who felt as if a great, heavy
stone had been lifted off her heart.
â€œâ€˜ And now,â€ said the lady, as she set her down at her
own door, â€œI have one thing more to say to you. Suppose
I should be very ill several months, not able to turn myself
in bed, and needing constant care day and night. I should
have to have a nurse, and I should take all her time and
strength and patience. Now, I should pay her all she askÃ©d,
and perhaps more. But could I really pay her with money
so as not to have any reason to feel grateful to her for all
she had done and all she had suffered for me ?â€
â€˜* Why, no, maâ€™am, may be not,â€ said the poor woman,
wondering what was coming next.
â€œWell, if I could never repay her, then I must always
feel under obligation to her. I could, in fact, only repay
her by nursing her through just such illness. But I should
not be unhappy on that account. I love to feel obliged to
people. I love to feel grateful to God for His goodness to
nie, and I love to feel grateful to kind friends for their good-
ness. And I want you to love to have me do all I can for
* you in this time of your trouble. Anybody can refuse a
favour, but it isn't everybody who knows how to accept one,
; GOLDEN THREAD. 65
nobly and freely. But you must try, for my sake, and for
His sake who bids His children to minister to each other as
they would to Him.â€
So saying, the lady allowed Golden Thread and her
mother to alight from the carriage, and the coachman
handed them from under his seat such a big bundle that they
could hardly get it upstairs. And when they got there,
they did not know their own room. There was such a fire
burning ; and the bureau had come back, and so had the -
table and the chairs, and the clock. And when they opened
' the big bundle, there were blankets and a warm quilt, and
shoes and stockings for the mother, and flannel petticoats,
and a woollen dress. And when she tried to put ona pair of
the stockings, there was something hard in each toe, and
the hard thing proved to be gold dollars, with which to buy
coal, and food, and medicine, all through this strait!
â€œ Are you going to send all these things back, mother ?â€â€
asked Golden Thread, anxiously, for she had not understood
the ladyâ€™s talk with her mother.
â€œSend them back! No, indeed! Iam going to keep
them, and be grateful for them!â€ was the answer.
Then Golden Thread was so glad she did not know what
to do, and she threw herself down on the floor and rolled
like a ball across the room. And they put away their
treasures nicely in the drawers, and Golden Thread went
out and bought a candle to eat their supper by.
66 GOLDEN THREAD.
Tue next morning Tangle Thread's mother said to her,
â€˜â€˜T had a plan in my mind yesterday which I do not approve
of, now that I have bad more time to think it over. Do you
want to know what it was ?â€
â€œTf it was about me, I do,â€ said Tangle Thread.
â€œWell, I had half a mind to send you to spend a week
with that little girl who was here yesterday.â€
â€œÂ« What !â€”that little golden girl ?â€
â€œ Little Golden Thread, yes. I thought it might do youâ€
good to see how poor people live, and to watch that nice,
pleasant child at her work. But, on the whole, I cannot
get courage to let you go.â€
â€œWhy not, mamma? I want to go. I am tired of
always being in this house.â€
â€˜No, I dare not trust you. You might take cold, or get
into trouble of some sort.â€
It was just like Tangle Thread to begin to cry, and to
want to go because her mamma did not wish it. So she
fancied herself much abused because she could not have her
â€˜I have to play all alone,â€ said she. â€˜I never have any
, one to play with me.â€
â€œ Not little Gertrude ?â€â€ said her mother.
â€œGertrude gets all my toys, and she won't play anything
GOLDEN THREAD. 67
I like. She just sits and sings to my wax doll as if it was
alive. Do let me go, mamma.â€
Her mother could hardly help smiling.
At this moment her father entered the room. He looked
at Tangle Thread with displeasure and said,
â€œâ€˜T shall really have to send you away if you behave in
this manner. You weary your mamma's life out with such
Â«TI was just telling her that I had been thinking of send-
ing her to spend a week with a poor woman I know of.
But instead of being alarmed at the prospect, she is quite
vexed because I will not let her go.â€
â€œIs the woman trustworthy ? Does she live in a decent
place ?â€ asked the father ; â€˜â€˜ for I am not sure it would not
be a good thing for Tangle Thread to be sent away among
â€˜Â«T really began to think so,â€ said her mamma.
Then Tangle Thread suddenly changed her mind, and
began to think she did not want to go.
â€˜â€œâ€˜ They are not nice people,â€ said she, â€˜â€˜ and they have
no meat or bread or fire. I would rather stay at home.â€
â€œâ€˜I was quite in earnest in what I said,â€ urged her
father. â€˜A little girl who will not try to be gentle and good,
and who, after so many years, continues so wilful, ought
not to be treated like other little girls. If she makes her
home unhappy, she ought not to stay there.â€
So saying he took his hat and went out.
â€œIT never saw your father so displeased,â€ said Tangle
Threadâ€™s mother. â€œI am afraid that he will really send
68 GOLDEN THREAD.
you away. We know of a lady in the country who
takes little girls, and she would be quite willing to take
Â«I wasn't any naughtier than usual,â€ said Tangle Thread.
â€œT donâ€™t see why I should be sent away, just for fretting a
little bit.â€ â€˜
* Â« Your father was thinking of all your naughty ways ever
since you were born ; and perhaps he thinks that some one
else will manage you better than your mother can. But, oh,
my poor child! nobody will love you as I do, and you will
miss the love. Your heart will ache for it day and night.â€
Tangle Thread sighed. It is easy to be naughty, but itâ€™s
â€œI won't tease you any more,â€ said she. â€œ It isnâ€™t very
nice to tease people. I can do anything I've a mind. I
can be good, and I can be naughty.â€
â€œ Don't say so, my dear. Say you can be good if Jesus
will help you ; for thereâ€™s no use in trying unless He helps
â€œTf I canâ€™t be good all by myself, I donâ€™t want to be good
at all,â€ said Tangle Thread. â€˜â€˜ You destroy all my am-
She was so pleased with herself for having made this
great speech, that her little tightly-packed body almost
seemed to swell with the pride it was hardly big enough to
hold. She went to the nursery, lost in thought.
â€œT can be good if Iâ€™ve a mind,â€ she said to herself.
â€œTâ€™ve a great mind to begin. Then everybody will be so
astonished. They'll say they never saw such a sweet little
GOLDEN THREAD. 69
girl. Thatâ€™s what people say about good childrenâ€”they
say they're sweet, and I can be sweet if I've a mind.â€
These thoughts were so pleasing that she laughed aloud.
â€œ What are you laughing at ?â€ asked Ruth.
Tangle Thread blushed, and started. â€œI wasnâ€™t laughing,â€
â€˜Indeed, you were,â€ said the nurse.
â€œâ€˜T was not. Or if I was, you neednâ€™t be asking about
it. I can laugh if I choose.â€
â€˜ Sheâ€™s out of humour, and I wonâ€™t say anything to vex
her,â€ thought Ruth. â€˜I did provoke her yesterday, and I
wish I hadn't.â€
â€œT've been looking everywhere for your purse,â€ said she.
â€œTwas sorry that I did not help you to look for it. But
I had such a toothache, I could not bear to move. And
you'll never guess where I found it. Why, in one of your
boots, under the bed.â€
â€œOh! Iremember now. I played that my boot was a
ship, and I put my purse on board for cargo. I am so glad
Tâ€™ve found it. Letâ€™s go right out now and give some money
to that little girl.â€
â€œWe must see what your mamma says, first. And I
doubt if she lets you give so much money to one person.â€
â€œYes, she will. She likes generous people.â€
â€œ But what will you do when all your money is gone ?â€
â€˜Oh! papa will give me plenty more.â€
â€œThen I donâ€™t call it generous to give it away. You
wouldn't do it if you were not sure he would give you
70 GOLDEN THREAD.
Tangle Thread was silent. But after a minute she ran
down to her mamma. She found her writing.
â€œMamma !â€â€™ said she, â€˜â€˜ mamma!â€
â€œDo not interrupt me now; I am busy,â€ said her
Â«But, mamma, I wantâ€™â€â€”â€”
Her mother put her gently away.
â€œI should think you might listen,â€ said Tangle Thread,
Her mother looked up. â€˜I was making up the week's
accounts,â€ said she, â€˜â€˜ and you have disturbed me so, that I
shall have to go over them all again. Go away, now, and
come again in half-an-hour.â€
Â«Â« But you've stopped now, andâ€™â€™â€”â€”
â€˜Go, my child,â€ said her mother. â€˜ You must learn to
Tangle Thread went. But it was not a â€˜sweet little
girlâ€ who ran from the room with a flushed face.
â€œÂ«T'll go up into the attic and stay there till I freeze to
death,â€ she said to herself. â€˜Then mamma will wish she
hadnâ€™t teased me so. Oh! she'll be sorry enough when
she sees me lying there, cold and dead !â€
The attic was not a very agreeable place on this wintry
day. Tangle Thread soon became tired of pouting there
alone. So she concluded not to freeze, but to starve to
death ; a resolution that she kept till supper-time, when she
+ put it off till next day.
GOLDEN THREAD. jl
In half an hour her mother sent for her.
â€œT am at leisure now,â€ said she ; â€œ what were you going
â€œI want to know if I can go to see that little gil, and
give her all my money?â€
â€œI have given her all she needs for the present,â€ replied
her mother. â€œ But I am going to see them now, and if you
wish to go with me, you can run and get ready.â€
Tangle Thread hesitated. At last she went up to be
dressed, and she slipped the purse into her pocket.
They found Golden Thread â€˜and her mother quite cheerful
and happy. Their room looked clean and pleasant; and
the two children sat apart, while their mothers conversed
together and had a little chat of their own.
â€œ Where are your toys?â€ asked Tangle Thread.
â€˜â€˜ T have none,â€ said Golden Thread.
â€œWhat have you done with them, then ?â€
â€œOh! I never had any to speak of. When I was a little
girl, mother made me a rag-baby; but I gave it away, long
â€œBut what do you do all day, if you have no toys?â€
â€œIT help mother. I wash the dishes and I sweep the
floor; and I can knit, I knit almost a whole stocking,
â€œCan you read? Have you any books ?â€
72 GOLDEN THREAD.
â€œI canâ€™t read very well. I have to stay at home from
school, to take care of mother now.â€
â€œWhy doesnâ€™t she teach you, then ?â€
â€œOh! sheâ€™s almost blind. Besides, she doesnâ€™t know
how to read herself.â€
Tangle Thread was speechless with surprise. A grown-
up woman not know how to read!
â€˜â€˜ Mamma knows every thing,â€ said she, â€œand she teaches
me. And one of these days I shall know as much as she
does. But I am afraid she won't go to heaven unlÃ©ss she
gives you more money. She ought to give you money to
buy ever so many toys with. But I've got some money of
my own, and you shall have it all. You must buy a large
doll and a cradle.â€ ,
â€œBut does your mamma know about it 2â€ asked Golden
Thread, half-pleased and half-frightened.
â€œNo, she doesnâ€™t. It says in the Bible, that you should
not let your left hand know what your right hand does.
So of course I donâ€™t want her to know about it.â€ And
Tangle Thread felt very virtuous indeed, as she put the
purse into Golden Threadâ€™s hand.
By this time her mamma was ready to go; and when
they were in the carriage again, she said,
â€˜How do you feel about spending a week with that poor
blind woman and her child? You know you could help
them to pare potatoes and wash dishes, and make their bed
â€œYou are laughing at me, mamma,â€ said Tangle
GOLDEN THREAD. 73
â€œ And you may laugh at me, too, if you like,â€ answered
her mamma; â€œbut I have another plan now. Golden
Thread cannot go to school while her mother is so helpless,
and I have been thinking how it would answer to let her
comeevery day to our house to be taught.â€
â€œ Who would teach her ?â€
â€œT thought you would.â€
Tangle Thread could not conceal her smile of pride and
pleasure. She sat up as straight as possible, and said,
â€œT should like that dearly.â€
â€œBut you must make up your mind to find it quite a
task. At first it will be pleasant, but after the novelty wears
off you will often find it irksome. But I want you to feel
that you were not placed in this world just to amuse your-
self and have a good time. 1 want you to do some things
that are tiresome, and that require labour and patience.â€
â€œ When may I begin ?â€
â€œ To-morrow or next day. I have already spoken to the
child's mother about it.â€
Tancte Tureap went to bed full of ambitious schemes.
She forgot that it was not Golden's Threadâ€™s fault that,
though two years older than herself, she could not read well.
74 GOLDEN THREAD.
She forgot who had given her her own great readiness to
learn, and yet what impatience she had always shewn at her
Next morning at the â€” hour Golden Thread made
â€˜My mother says I ought not to have taken this money,â€
said she, placing the purse in Tangle Threadâ€™shand, â€˜ She
says I am to say I am very sorry I was such a foolish
Tangle Thread's mother looked at her little daughter with
â€œDid you give her your purse, after all ?â€ she asked.
Â«Yes, mamma,â€ replied Tangle Thread, in a firm voice.
â€œThe Bible says, â€˜Blessed is he that considereth the
Â«But what does it say about obedience to parents ? Oh,
Tangle Thread ! what shall I do with you?â€
She sank back into a chair, almost ill. Golden Thread
stood looking on, surprised and troubled, and was very glad
to be told that she might run home, as there would be no
lessons that day.
On hearing her story, her mother was greatly shocked.
â€˜No wonder that lady looks so sorrowful,â€ she said. â€˜I
thought she had some trouble on her mind.â€
Â«Oh! but her little girl will never do so again,â€ said
Golden Thread. â€˜â€˜ She wouldn't like to make her mother
, turn so pale again.â€
â€œAh!â€ thought the poor woman, â€œI've had a sorrowful,
hard life; and if I get well, I've got to go on working just
GOLDEN THREAD. 75
so, a8 long asI live. But what of it? I've got the best
child that eyer was. A child that never crossed me in any-
thing, nor ever spoke a rough word to me. There isnâ€™t
anything God could have given a poor lonely creature like
me, that I should have been half so pleased with as my little
Golden Thread. Why, since she came into the world, it
isnâ€™t the same world it was before, and I ainâ€™t the same
woman. But I have not been so thankful as I ought. I've
grumbled and fretted a good deal because I was so poor.
And yet I'd rather have my little Golden Thread than all
the money, and all the houses, and all the good things there
are in the world!â€
While these thoughts lighted up the little obscure room
in which the poor woman lived, Tangle Threadâ€™s mother sat
in her beautiful house, sad and sorrowful. What to do next
for her child she kuew not. But God saw her grief and
pain, and heard her prayers. He put new courage and
patience into her heart. She said to herself, â€˜I have a
very hard task to perform. I must teach this child obedi-
ence. But I see that this cannot be done at once. I must
go on day after day, trusting in God to lead me every step of
the way. I must pray more, I must love her more, I must
be more gentle and tender. But I must have her obedi-
Tangle Thread stood, meanwhile, with a dark and gloomy
face, near the window. A little bird hung near her in his
cage, and she looked at him as he hopped about picking up
his seeds, and said half aloud,
â€œT wish J was a bird! Then I'd fly awayâ€”away off
76 GOLDEN THREAD.
where there are no houses and no people, and where I
should have nobody to plague me,â€
â€œPoor little unhappy child!â€ said her scams * donâ€™t
you know who it is that â€˜ plaguesâ€™ you ?â€ :
â€˜â€˜ Everybody does!â€ cried Tangle Thread. â€˜â€˜ Papa does,
and you do, and Ruth does. You all seem to think I am
â€˜Poor child!â€ repeated her mother, â€˜it is you who tor-
ment yourself. But I will not argue with you. I will tell
you onee more what I have often told you. I cannot treat
you exactly as God treats me, for I am a sinful, ignorant
creature. I make mistakes, and He never does. I get out
of patience, and He does not. I know almost nothing,
and He knows everything. But I mean to try to treat
you, as nearly as I can, as He does me. He has had
patience with me a great many times, when I wonder He
was willing to wait for me to be penitent. He has been
good to me, and given me many, many things. And He has
never ceased to put me under the rod since the day I gave
myself awayto Him. I donâ€™t know which to thank Him for
most,.His goodness or His severity.â€
Tangle Thread did not perfectly understand all this. But
she saw that her mother spoke out of the very depths of her
heart. She saw that she was more than ever resolved to
make her obedient. And what she did not understand, she felt.
â€œShe went away sorrowfully to her play-room and locked
herself in. She could not think what made her feel so sad
â€˜and unhappy. Her books and her toys did not seem to be
what she wanted.
GOLDEN THREAD. 77
â€œTI donâ€™t know what I do want!" she said, to herself,
and tears began to roll down her cheeks.
Ah! little Tangle Thread! This is what you wantâ€”To
have Jesus touch your heart and make it sorry. To kneel
right down and tell Him how sad and desolate you feel, and
to beg Him to make you His own dear child, and to help you
to love and obey Him. And then to run and throw your-
self right into your dear motherâ€™s arms, hide your head in
her bosom, tell her how grieved you are for all your wilful,
naughty ways, and how you want to begin now to be like
Jesus, and to love and obey Him!
But the child had not yet learned this sweet lesson. She
could not bear to be sorry, much less to own she was sorry. .
As nothing more was said to Tangle Thread about her
teaching Golden Thread to read, she saw that her mother
did not mean to give her that pleasure, on account of her
behaviour about the purse. Nor was she now invited to go
with her mamma to visit poor people, as she had often done.
To march into sick-rooms laden with baskets of fruit and
flowers, her little figure fairly swelling with pride, had been
one of her greatest pleasures. There were some good and
kind feelings mingled with her pride ; she liked to see a pale
78 GOLDEN THREAD.
face light up with joy on her entrance, and to see how
grateful fruit often was to parched lips.
â€œThere's the makings of a good woman in her, bless her
heart!â€ said one of the poor invalids whom she was often
* taken to see. This woman had lived in her mother's house
as cook; she had heard of Tangle Threadâ€™s behaviour
through the other servants, and knew pretty well what she
About this time, Gertrude, Tangle Thread's little friend,
came to spend the day with her.
Soon after dinner Gertrude complained of feeling chilly.
Ruth, on hearing this, put more coal on the fire, and made
Gertrude wear one of Tangle Threadâ€™s flannel sacs. But
in a few hours she was taken quite sick. Tangle Thread
ran quickly for her mother, who came at once.
â€œShe surely can have eaten nothing at dinner to make
her ill ?â€ said she, turning to Ruth.
â€œNo, maâ€™am. They had nothing but their mutton-chops,
potatoes, and a rice pudding. Noâ€”it was tapioca pudding
â€˜â€œâ€˜Her head and her hands are quite hot,â€ said Tangle
â€œâ€˜ What a child you are!â€ said her mother, smiling.
But she looked anxiously at little Gertrude.
â€œIt is snowing, and is very cold,â€ said she. â€˜TI hardly
like to send Gertrude home in such a storm. Gertrude,
darling, would you feel very badly to stay here to-night ta
â€œI want to go home,â€ said Gertrude. â€˜I want my own,
mamma to make me get well.â€
GOLDEN THREAD. 79
â€œTwill go for your mamma, and if she thinks it best she
will take you home. But if she thinks it would not be safe,
then you will stay here, just to-night, won't you ?â€
â€œOh, yes! just as mamma says,â€ replied Gertrude.
And she closed her eyes and fell back fast asleep in Ruthâ€™s
arms. Tangle Thread ran for a shawl, and covered the
sleeping child carefully.
â€œ Thatâ€™s right, dear,â€ said her mother.
â€œ Thank youâ€”thatâ€™s a good child,â€ said Ruth.
It was just at dusk that Gertrudeâ€™s mother came hurrying
up to the nursery. Gertrude awoke and stretched her arms
towards her dear mamma with a sigh of relief. Once in
her arms, she expected to be well.
â€œI dare not touch you yet, dear,â€ said her mother. â€˜I
am all covered with snow. Wait till I can shake it off and
get dry. Where do you feel sick, darling?â€
â€œâ€˜T feel better now. My headâ€ aches a little, and I am
thirsty. And I am tired a little.â€
Â«Tt never would answer to take her home in this storm,â€
said Tangle Threadâ€™s mother. â€˜â€˜ She may be quite relieved
by to-morrow, and we might then take her home safely, I
will sleep with her myself, and do everything I can for
â€œTI donâ€™t knowâ€”I feel nervous about illness,â€ replied
Gertrudeâ€™s mother, looking anxiously at the childâ€™s glowing
cheeks. â€˜Since I lost my little Mary, I am frightened at
everything. And Gertrude is just one of those little lovely
creatures one is always expecting,to lose.â€
â€œCan't you stay here with Gertrude?â€ asked Tangle
80 GOLDEN THREAD.
Thread, who had heard every word of this whispered con-
â€˜Ah! no ;â€”thereâ€™s the baby to nurse, and where he is
I must be. But'I dare not move Gertrude to-night. Per-
haps, after all, itâ€™s only a fit of indigestion My darling,â€
said she, now taking the child from Ruth, â€˜you'll do just
what dear mamma wishes. I know you will. You'll stay
here to-night, and early in the morning I'll come with the
carriage and take you home. Only just to-night, dear.â€
â€œYes, mamma,â€ said Gertrude. â€œIf you want me to
stay, I will.â€
Tuey soon had the child undressed and in a warm bed.
She fell asleep again, and though her sleep was restless, she
complained of nothing when she woke ; only once, when she
tried to take some water, she said, â€˜It hurts me when I
drink ; I donâ€™t want any more water.â€ Her mother, having
sat by her side all the evening, was now preparing to go
home, and did not hear these words. Tangle Threadâ€™s
â€œCan her throat be sore 2â€ she said, to herself, â€œIs it
possible that scarlet fever has crossed our threshold ?â€
Her heart yearned over her own child. â€œOh! if she should
have it, and die!â€
GOLDEN THREAD. 81
â€œTf there are any alarming symptoms during the night, I
had better send for theâ€™ doctor, had I not?â€ she said, as
Gertrudeâ€™s mother took leave,
â€œCertainly, certainly. But I hope she will have a good
night, and be quite bright to-morrow.â€
But the child did not have a good night. She tossed to
and fro, and moaned in her sleep, and often said,
â€œIt hurts me where my throat is.â€
As soon as daylight began to steal into the room, it
became plain that Gertrude was covered with an eruption of
some sort, and was very ill. The doctor was sent for her.
He said at once, â€˜Yes, it is scarlet fever |â€ 3
â€œCan I go home to my own mamma ?â€ asked Gertrude.
â€œWe'll send for your mamma to come here,â€ said the
doctor. And turning to Tangle Threadâ€™s mother, he
â€œAs to your own child, you will of course see that she
does not enter this room.â€ +
â€œÂ« But may she not have already taken the disease ? She
and Gertrude were together all day yesterday.â€
â€œT cannot say. We must use the precaution of keeping
them apart a couple of weeks at any rate. As to little
Gertrude, if she lives through it, you will have her in this
room six weeks,â€
â€œ Tf she lives through it! _ Is she, then, so ill ?â€
â€œTI think her a very sick child. And you know what
scarlet fever is. But we will do all we can. It is not
necessary to alarm her mother. She will take the alarm
when she hears what the disease is.â€
82 GOLDEN THREAD.
Gertrude's mother soon came in, and a glance at her
child told her the whole story.
â€œNobody need tell me what it is!â€ she cried, bursting
into tears. â€œIt is scarlet fever! Oh, my little Gertrude !
My sweetest, my best child! I never thought she would
live to grow up! I knew she was too good! But I never
dreamed it would come so soon !â€
â€œHush !â€ said Tangle Thread's mother, â€œ she is waking ;
she will hear you. You must put on a cheerful face when
she sees you.â€
â€œOh! how can I look cheerful when my heart is break-
â€œCome into the next room till you are more composed.
Stay yourself dn God, my dear friend. He will not touch
a hair of Gertrudeâ€™s head unless it is best. And if it is
bestâ€”if He does take her from youâ€”you will still have
Him left. But do not be discouraged. You are not ina
state to judge fairly how she is. You look as if you had not
slept an hour since you left us last night.â€
â€œT did not close my eyes. Something kept saying,
â€˜ Gertrude is going just where little Mary did.â€™â€
â€œLittle Mary went to a very happy place !"â€
â€œYes, yes, [know. But, oh! she left such a great chasm
when she went away. You never lost a child. You donâ€™t
know anything about it. This world never has seemed the
same to me since I lost my little Mary.â€
â€œNor has the next world either. You have often told
me how much nearer, how much dearer heaven had been
made to you by that aflliction. And it will become yet
GOLDEN THREAD. 83
nearer and dearer if your precious little Gertrude goes there
too. But God will not take her away unless it is best. Let
us believe that. Let us trust herto Him. He never makes
mistakes, nor snatches away our treasures a moment too
Gertrudeâ€™s mother dried her tears. â€˜I will trast Him,â€
said she. â€˜I thank Him for giving me such a friend as
you to lean on in this time of trouble. But what am I think-
ing of ?â€ she cried, suddenly. â€˜â€˜ Here is your child, your
only child, exposed to this fearful disease! And I thought
only of myself!â€
â€˜â€œ*T must do what I have been urging you to do. I must
trust in God,â€ replied Tangle Thread's mother.
Litrte Gertrude remained very ill many weeks. Her
precious life hung, as it were, ona thread. A little self-will
on her part, a want of docility in submitting to painful
remedies, would have broken that thread at any moment.
But she lay, with little meekly folded hands, on her weary
bed, behaving and quieting herself like a weaned child.
There was never a frown nor an impatient word. She let
the doctor, and her mother, and all her friends do what was
thought best to do, without in any way resisting their wishes.
Her mother never left her, save now and then to weep in
84 GOLDEN THREAD.
â€œShe will not get well,â€ said she. â€˜â€˜ She is too patient,
too gentle, too lovely, for this world.â€
Everybody thought as she did. Tangle Threadâ€™s mother
looked at this lamb as upon one already chosen of Christ,
and precious. She had never seen such sweet submission
â€œTI â€˜never look at her,â€ she whispered to Gertrudeâ€™s
mother, â€˜â€˜ without thinking of the lines,
â€œ*Sweet to lie passive in Thy hands,
And know no will but Thine.â€™â€
â€œT have learned, at last, to say those blessed words out
of the depths of my own heart,â€ was the answer. â€œTI have
no longer any choice about my child. If she is bound
heavenward I will not detain her.â€
Meanwhile, Tangle Threadâ€™s restless, wilful soul was quite
subdued by the silence and sadness that reigned in the
house. Nothing now would tempt her to indulge in those
angry screams that used to resound through every room.
She spoke in a low voice, walked softly up and down the
stairs, and seemed quite another child. Indeed, her habit
of crying aloud with rage was now broken up once for all.
â€œDo you think Gertrude will get well ?â€ she asked Ruth,
anxiously, every hour; and Ruth always replied, â€˜ Yes, I
But at last she could not help saying,
â€˜No, Ido not. Children like her always die. It is the
cross, hateful ones that get well.â€
â€œThen if I am taken sick I suppose I shall get well,â€
GOLDEN THREAD. 85
said Tangle Thread. But after a time she started up and
â€˜But every body dies some time or other. Does every-
body get good, first ?â€
â€œTI donâ€™t know. And I don't know as I did right to say
Gertrude wouldnâ€™t get well. The doctor says her goodness
is in her favour. She takes every thing so beautifully, you
canâ€™t think. And now they're trying to feed her up, and
she has to take brandy, and beef tea, and all sorts of things
so often. And if she was naughty, and would not take them,
or if she cried and fretted about them, then she certainly
â€œ But beef tea is very nice,â€ said Tangle Thread.
â€œNice to people that feel pretty well. But Gertrude is
so weak that she can hardly swallow. It tires her dread-
fully to take anything. Why, I heard of a little boy who
starved to death because he would not take the nice,
nourishing things he needed. His father got down on his
knees and begged him, with tears in his eyes, to take just
a little bit of wine jelly, and he wouldnâ€™t. So he died. It's
a very bad thing for a child to be self-willed when it is well.
But when it is sick it is perfectly dreadful.â€
â€œâ€˜T mean to be very good when I am sick,â€ replied Tangle
Thread. â€˜â€˜I feel a little sick now. I wish you would look
down my throat and see if thereâ€™s anything the matter with
â€œOh! thereâ€™s nothing the matter with your throat,â€ said
Ruth, trying to believe what she said. â€˜Who told you
Gertrudeâ€™s throat was sore ?â€
86 GOLDEN THREAD.
â€œWhy, nobody. I didnâ€™t know it was sore. But I know
mine is, And I know my head aches.â€
â€œDear me! I hope you're not going to be sick!â€ cried
Ruth. â€œI'm sure your mamma has her hands full now.
Well, well, what is to be will have to be. Come here ; sit
in my lap, and lay your head on my shoulder. Poor little
thing! her head is hot, I declare.â€
. â€œ Why, Ruth, you seem to love me!â€ said poor Tangle
Thread, bursting into tears.
Ro could not help crying a little when Tangle Thread
* said that.
â€œT'm sure Iâ€™ve always loved you when you were good,â€
she replied. â€˜And you have been a very nice little girl
lately. But I suppose I ought to go and tell your mamma
that you donâ€™t feel well. Only I hate to worry her.â€
â€œTfIam sick and die, then she won't have anybody to
tease her,â€â€™ said Tangle Thread. Â«And she'll have plenty
of time to read, and to paint, and everything.â€
â€œShe'd rather have you than the time,â€ said Ruth. Â« It
would just break her heart if you should die. But don't talk
that way. You are not going to die. You are going to get
well and be the best little girl that ever lived. And while
you're sick we'll take such good care of you! And when
you get well, I'll ask your mamma to let me take you home *
with me, and you shall drink new milk right from the cow,
and you'll grow strong and fat again.â€
90 SILVER THREAD.
But Tangle Thread had fallen into a heavy sleep, and did
not hear Ruthâ€™s cheerful words,
Ruth placed her on the bed, covered her with a blanket,
and went to tell her mother how ill she seemed. The
doctor happened to come in at that moment to see little
Gertrude, and he went at once to look at Tangle Thread.
There was not much to say or to do. He promised to come
in again in a few hours, and then returned to Gertrude.
â€˜Tangle Thread's mamma was very quiet, but her heart
felt heavy indeed.
â€œIf Tangle Thread should be as ill as Gertrude,â€ she said
to Ruth, â€˜â€˜ she cannot live, she is so very unlike Crertrude.â€
Ruth made some cheering, pleasant answer, and began to
arrange things in the nursery, as if she expected Tangle
Thread to remain there during her illness.
â€˜Oh! I shall have Tangle Thread in my room,â€ said her
â€œI was hoping to keep her here, ma'am,â€ said Ruth.
â€œT'll take the very best care of her. And you are worn out
now with little Gertrudeâ€™s sickness, and so many coming and
â€œThank you, Ruth. You are very kind, but I feel that
I must have Tangle Thread in my own room. You must
remember she is all Ihave.â€ And then the thought that she
anight now be about to lose that all, made her eyes fill with
tears, and she sat down by the bed, and hid her face in her
childâ€™s pillow, and silently wept and prayed.
Tangle Thread awoke and started up, looking flushed and
SILVER THREAD... 91
â€œOh! mamma, is Gertrude dead ?â€ she cried.
â€œNo, my darling, Gertrude seems a little better to-day.â€
â€œThen what makes you cry so?â€
â€œ Oh! I am not crying much,â€ replied her mother. â€˜I
suppose I am pretty tired with watching Gertrude; and so
when I heard you were sick, too, I could not help shedding
a few tears. You see mamma loves you very much, and it
grieves her to see you suffer. But now you are going into
my room to sleep with me in my bed, and I shall take care
of you day and night. And if you will try to be patient and
docile, like Gertrude, you will get well before long.â€
She was very glad to be undressed and to lay her head on
the cool pillow in her mammaâ€™s own bed. She passed a
weary night, and only slept in snatches.
When the doctor came the next day, he knew, and they
all knew, that she had the fever with which Gertrude had
been so ill.
And now the fruits of her mammaâ€™s long patience shewed
themselves. Tangle Thread did not submit to painful
remedies as sweetly as Gertrude had done; and sometimes
she cried, and was peevish and unreasonable. But she had
been learning lessons of obedience all her life, and now she
was humbled and subdued by greater suffering than she had
ever known. So she never absolutely resisted the doctorâ€™s
wishes nor her mamma's. She was not so ill as Gertrude
had been, but she had a long and tedious sickness, and
passed many weary hours. Her mamma seldom left her,
and did all she could to make her forget her sufferings.
92 Â» @@ SILVER THREAD.
After a time, little Gertrude, whose room was on the
same floor, was brought inâ€™ the nurseâ€™s arms, to make
Tangle Thread a visit. The poor little creature was very
feeble. She could not hold up her head, nor could she
amuse herself in any way.
â€œâ€˜ Why donâ€™t you tell Gertrude stories, mamma, and sing
to her?â€ asked Tangle Thread.
â€œThe poor little thing cannot hear,â€ replied her mamma.
â€œTt makes my heart ache when I see how little we can any
of us do for her.â€
â€œWhy canâ€™t she hear?â€ asked Tangle Thread, in sur-
prise. â€˜â€˜ She used to hear as well as I did.â€
â€œYes, but she has been very, very ill. And it will be a
long time before she can hear stories, if ever.â€
â€œJ will give her all my toys, then,â€ said Tangle Thread.
â€œ My Paris doll and all its clothes; its dotted muslin frock
and its pink silk, and its gaiter-boots, and its bracelets, and
its watch, and its pocket handkerchief, and under-sleeves,
â€œBut Gertrude has a little EugÃ©nie already.â€
â€œSo she hasâ€”I forgot it ;â€ and so saying, Tangle Thread
buried her face in the pillow and began to ery pitifully.
Her mamma was afraid she would make herself very ill
by crying so. She told Gertrudeâ€™s nurse to take her away ;
.and then leaning over the bed, she said, gently, but very
â€œYou must stop crying, my child.â€
â€œTI canâ€™t,â€ sobbed Tangle Thread, â€œI'm so tired! And
I donâ€™t want Gertrude not to hear.â€
SILVER THREAD, 93
â€œT am sorry I let you know that,â€ said her mamma,
kissing her and stroking back the hair that had fallen
over her face. â€˜But now stop crying, for I have two
things to say to you, and you canâ€™t hear unless you are
Tangle Thread stopped crying and wiped her eyes.
â€œ You must not break your heart about little Gertrude,â€
said her mother. â€˜â€˜ The doctor hopes, and we all hope,
that by and by her hearing will return to her. But if it
never does, her dear Saviour, who loves her so, and who has
been with her all through her sickness, will comfort her and
make her happy. Even at the longest, we do not stay in
this world very long. Little Gertrude will only have to be
patient a few years, and then God will take her to heaven,
where she will hear just as well as youand I, You know
we mustn't be always thinking how we are getting along with
the troubles we have in this world. We must be thinking
how sweet heaven will be when we get there.â€
Tangle Threadâ€™s, face began to look a little brighter.
But after a moment she said,
â€œBut Gertrudeâ€™s mamma will feel so sorry !â€
â€˜Yes, she feels very sorry already. But then Gertrude's
mamma loves Jesus dearly. And she likes to have Him do
just what He thinks best.â€
â€œBut what makes Him think it best to make people
â€œIdo not know. I do not expect to understand every-
thing He does. When the doctor used such painful
remedies for your throat you did not expect to understand
94 SILVER THREAD.
why he used them. You let him do what he pleased,
because you knew he was wise and kind.â€
Tangle Thread smiled. After a time she said,
â€œWhat was the other thing you were going to say,
â€œIT was going to say, that, on the whole, you have been
very good while you were ill. I expected to have a hard
time with you. I thought you would be unwilling to take
your medicines, and to do other things the doctor desired.
But we have had some quite happy hours together since you
were moved into this room. So you are not to be called
Tangle Thread any longer. You are to be called my little
â€œ That's nice ! thatâ€™s real nice! But, oh! mamma, what
has become of Golden Thread ?â€
â€œShe has not been here during your illness, I believe.
I must send some one to see how they are. And, my
darling, donâ€™t you think that before long you will become a
little Golden Thread ?â€
â€œT don't know. I'm afraid I never shall be so good as
that,â€ replied Silver Thread, whose ideas on the subject bad
undergone a great change since the time when she said, â€œI
can be whatever I please!â€
.Durine Gertrudeâ€™s illness and Tangle Thread's, nobody had
had much time to think of Golden Thread. For four weeks
SILVER THREAD. 95
Gertrudeâ€™s mother had never undressed, and the whole house
had been full of care and anxiety. But now both children
were out of danger, and Ruth was very glad to run around,
as before, among the poor and the sick. She was particu-
larly glad to be sent to inquire after Golden Thread and her
mother, for she liked them both. And they liked her, and
were thankful to see her pleasant face once more. At least
Golden Thread was. As to her poor mother, her eyes were
worse than ever, so that she could not use thenrat all, and
she looked pale and thin. She said the doctor had told her
she never would get well while she lived in that house; there
was water in the cellar, and the whole street was damp and
unwholesome. She felt discouraged and anxious, and
thought she never should be able to see again. But she
still had great comfort in her good, loving child, and said
the world could not seem quite dark to her while Golden
Thread was in it, happen what might.
â€˜Tt comes very hard on poor folks to be sick,â€ said she.
â€œTt is many a long day since I earned a penny, and my
strength seems all gone.â€
Then Ruth told her all about the two sick children at their
house ; how lovely little Gertrude had been, and how she
had lain nine days so ill that they thought she might die at
any moment. And how Tangle Thread's name had been
changed to Silver Thread, because she had behaved so much
better during her sickness than ever before in her life.
â€œYou see rich folks have their troubles as well as poor
folks,â€ added Ruth. â€˜And our folks make a good use of
theirs. It seemed as if they were as kind to the poor and
96 SILVER THREAD.
the sick as they well could be, but they're even kinder now.
Why, when I go home and tell how you're getting on, and
what the doctor says, I'm sure they'll be for moving you intÂ»
a healthier place.â€
â€œBut rents are higher in better houses,â€ returned the
â€œOf course, And our notions about goodness havo risen
a peg or two higher,â€ said Ruth, laughing, I've been
thinking it-over since I came in, and Iâ€™ve made up my mind
to let you have so much a month out of my wages. I get
good wages, and many a present besides. If you ever get
well you can pay me again, you know.â€
Ruth did not really expect this poor blind woman to be
able to repay her. She only said this to comfort her. She
went home quite pleased and happy; but there she found
dismal news awaiting her. Her mother had written to say
that all sorts of trouble had come upon them. The big barn
had burned down, and one of the horses was lame, and
â€œfatherâ€ had the rheumatism, and some of their best milk
and butter customers had fallen off. Poor Ruth had a good
cry, and satâ€˜up late that night writing a long letter in reply.
She said there should be another big barn built out of her
savings ; she was going to be very careful and not waste a
penny; then the horse would certainly get well, in time for
the spring work, and she knew father's rheumatism would
go off when warm weather came, especially if he would use
the liniment she was going to send him. And as to the
milk and butter, why, if folks wouldn't buy it, suppose they
got somebody to come and eat and drink it? That is, sup-
SILVER THREAD. 97
pose they took in one or two boarders this coming summer.
And just as she said that, a thought came into her head
that made her get up and look at herself in the glass, to see
what sort of a body it was that could make such splendid
â€œ Mother would like the company, and she wouldn't have
to put herself out at all for them. There's plenty of house
room, and plenty to eat and drink. If they once went there
they'd be likely to stay, year in and year out. And Golden
Thread is a good, handy child; she'd soon save mother
some steps. Mother would get fond of her, I know. Let
me seeâ€”what was it I promised to give them? I do
believe I said I would pay the difference in their rent, if
they'd move. But, of course, I canâ€™t do that and let my
own father suffer. Well, I won't worry about it. It will
all come out right in the end, I'm sure it will!â€
On hearing Ruthâ€™s account of the state in which she had
found the poor blind womanâ€”for she was now really quite
blindâ€”Silver Thread was full of pity.
â€œ Do go to see her, mamma,â€ said she. And do carry
lots of things to her.â€
98 SILVER THREAD.
Her mamma sat silent and thoughtful, and did not seem
â€œMamma! mamma!â€ repeated Silver Thread, impa-
The mother was still silent.
â€œYou won't do a thing I want you to do,â€ said Silver
Her mamma started. â€˜I was trying to think what I
could do for that poor woman,â€ she answered. â€œAnd I
did not think my little Silver Thread would ever speak to
me in that way again.â€
â€œTI don't know how I came to do it,â€ said Silver Thread,
Oh! how quickly these few words, this gentle tone, set
everything right between them !
- But Silver Thread was very feeble, and she now began to
â€œDon't cry, my darling,â€ said her mamma. â€œI ought
not to expect you to cure yourself of your bad habits at once.
But now let me tell you what I have been planning. I will
go to see Dr Aâ€”â€”, and find out just what he thinks of this
poor woman. He certainly seemed to think he could cure
her eyes when I took her to him. But if he says he cannot,
then I think a nice quiet home in the country, somewhere,
would be better for her general health than the best home
in the city.â€
â€œYes, my general health is better in the country,â€ said
â€œSilver Thread, wiping her eyes. â€˜And Golden Thread
would like to go, I know. Do please, mamma, order the
SILVER THREAD. 99
carriage and see about it, right away. Ruth can come and
tell me stories while you are gone.â€
â€œT thought Ruth was not gifted in story-telling.â€
â€œWell, it isnâ€™t stories exactly. Itâ€™s talk. She talks
about her fatherâ€™s farm, and the horses, chickens, and such
â€œHer fatherâ€™s farm! Why, that would be such a very
nice place for our poor blind woman! Ruth's mother is one
of the kindest creatures in the world. I wonder if she
would mind the care! I could make it quite an object to
Ruth came in now to say that the carriage was ready, and
Silver Thread was glad when she heard her mamma drive
off in it.
â€œOnly to think, Ruth,â€ said she, â€˜mamma has gone to
see the doctor about Golden Threadâ€™s mother. She is going
to ask him if he thinks it would be good for her general
health to go into the country to live. And she says she
wonders if your mother would let her come there, because
she could make it quite an object to her.â€
â€œWell! if I ever!â€ cried Ruth. â€œIf the very same
idea didnâ€™t come into my head! OnlyI didnâ€™t mean to have
your mother pay a penny. I expected to manage it somehow
â€œIt will be splendid!â€ said Silver Thread. .
They chatted on awhile, until the clock struck.
â€œIt's time for you to take Your beef tea,â€ said Ruth.
â€œDo you mind staying alone while I run down for it ?â€
â€œOh! I donâ€™t believe it is time yet,â€ replied Silver
100 SILVER THREAD,
Thread. You canâ€™t think how I hate it. I donâ€™t see what
the doctor makes me take it for.â€
â€œYou said once that beef tea was very nice. And you
must take it, whether or no.â€
Silver Thread begen to fret and to mutter.
â€œ Won't let me have any peace. Keep pouring down the
beef tea, and pouring it down. Wonâ€™t let me go to sleep or
anything. Say itâ€™s four o'clock when it isnâ€™t four o'clock.
Do all they can to plague me.â€
She spent the time of Ruth's absence in this state of ill-
humour, and swallowed her beef tea, with grimaces. How
many half-starved children would have been thankful for
every drop !
Ruth quieted and soothed Silver Thread, and made all
sorts of excuses for her.
â€œYou are weak and tired,â€ said she. â€œ Perhaps I let
you talk too much. Now lie down and I'll sing to you.
Poor little Gertrude canâ€™t hear singing or talking, and you
can. Now shut your eyes and lie still, and perhaps you'll
get a little nap, and then you'll wake up just in time to hear
what your mamma has to say.â€
Silver Thread was very tiredâ€”too tired to fret any more.
She lay still and soon fell asleep, and when she awoke her
mamma had come home.
â€˜How have you been, my darling?â€ she asked, sitting
down by the bed. ~
â€œRather cross,â€ said Silver Thread.
Her mamma smiled, not expecting just such an answer.
â€œWell, let me tell you what Dr Aâ€” says. I found
SILVER THREAD. 101
him at home and he was very glad to see me. He says the
poor creatureâ€™s eyes are past cure. She was a good deal
worn out with hard work when the accident happened, and
then she has been living in such an unwholesome place.
Otherwise he might, perhaps, have saved her eyes.â€
â€œAnd she went to a quack doctor first,â€ saidÂ» Silver
â€œYes, that was another thing. So now, if she likes the
plan, we'll get her into the country very soon.â€
â€˜Ruth says her mother will let her come there, she is
â€œThat will be very pleasant. Ruth could go with them
and arrange everything. Ruth needs a little change. I
thought this morning she did not look well.â€
â€œOh! that is because her fatherâ€™s barn got burned down,
and ever so many other things happened.â€
It was too late to do anything more that night. But
Silver Thread went to sleep, in good spirits, with a great
deal that was pleasant to think of. She dreamed that she
saw Golden Thread running about in the fields gathering
buttercups, and as bright and happy as a bird. She saw
her drinking fresh milk, and growing fat on it. She thought
she heard her say, â€˜â€˜Oh! how glad I am I came here! I
never want to go and live in a big city again, as long as I
â€™ CHAPTER IV.
From being a very unhappy child, Silver Thread was
becoming a happy one. Do you know the reason? It was
because God has so made us, that while we spend our time
in thinking of nobody's comfort but our own, the best things
in the world fail to please us. A child may have all the
beautiful toys it wants, and a pleasant home, and the kindest
friends, and yet be restless, peevish, and uncomfortable.
But when it begins to try to be gentle and patient with every
bodyâ€”when it speaks pleasant words and gives up its own
wayâ€”then a black cloud seems to clear away from before
its eyes, and it walks on in sunshine. Poor Silver Thread
had spent her whole life in troubling and grieving her dear
mother, and her nurse, and all about her, but she did not
know it was that which made her often go away by herself
to be sullen and sad in secret, nor did she now quite under-
stand what it was that made her, lying there so feeble on her
sickbed, have so many hours of sweet peace.
Now, if you want to understand better what I have been
saying, let us suppose you get up to-morrow morning and
begin the day by fretting all the time your nurse, or your
mamma, or your sister, is washing and dressing you. You
can cry when your hair is combed, and say she hurts you.
You can pull away from her while she is putting on your
Ã©lothes. Then, when you go down to breakfast, you ean
find fault with it, or get vexed because you canâ€™t eat more
SILVER THREAD. 108
than is good for you. After breakfast, if you have lessons
to learn, you can cry again over them, and soil your book, â€”
and annoy every one in the room. Then if your mamma
wishes you to go out to walk, you can dispute with her about
what you shall wear. You can be very disagreeable if she
says you are to wear your overshoes, and declare that it is
quite dry out of doors. After you get home you can take
your little brother's chair, and when he cries for itâ€”for why
shouldnâ€™t he ery if you do?â€”you can call him a cry-baby,
and tell him to take his old chair, in a very unpleasant way.
If any of the other children ask you to lend them your
knife or your pencil, you can say, â€˜â€˜ What plagues you are!
Why didnâ€™t you tell me you wanted it before I sat down?
And if I lend you my pencil you'll break off the point, and
then I shall have to keep stopping to cut it.â€
When it comes night and you are told it is time to go to
bed, you can say, â€˜â€œâ€˜O dear! must I go to bed? Can't I sit
up a little longer? I donâ€™t believe it is eight o'clock.â€
When, at last, those you have teased and annoyed all day
get you off to bed, they feel relieved and as if they should
now have a little peace. And you lie down on your pillow,
dissatisfied, out of sorts, and ready to get up next morning
peevish and tiresome. :
But let us suppose just the contrary. You get up
pleasant, and if your little sister is going to be dressed first,
you wait patiently for your turn. If your nurse pulls your
hair when she combs it, you can tell her so, gently, and ask
her to please to be more careful. You can go down stairs
smiling and pleasant, and ready to say good morning,
104 SILVER THREAD.
cheerfully, to everybody. If your mamma says you are to
have less breakfast than usual because you had headache
yesterday, you will not say a word, but eat what she gives
you, and be thankful it isso much. If she wants yon to
amuse the baby while she washes the silver, or breakfast
cups, you wonâ€™t answer, â€˜â€œâ€˜Oh! I was just going out to
play,â€ but will give her a sweet smile and a sweet word. If
one of the other children gets your toy, you will not ran to
snatch it away; you will say, â€œ Please, Mary, give me my
doll,â€:and having always seen your good example, she will
be likely to give it up without a word. If you are busy
reading, you will lay aside your book pleasantly when your
papa asks you to run to get the paper for him, and he will
kiss you and be thankful he has such a little girl, when you
come tripping back with it. You will lie down to sleep at
night, peaceful and happy, knowing that you have tried all
day long to do right, and to do it in a pleasant way.
Now Silver Thread could not turn all at once into such
ways as these. Every now and then her old naughty
habits would come, like armed men, and seemed to make her
do and say things she did not want to say. Then she
would be quite provoked with herself, and think there was
no use in trying. And sometimes, after praying to God to
make her good, she felt impatient with Him for not making
her perfect without giving her the trouble of trying to be so.
But thereâ€™s no use in being discouraged! It is better for a
poor naughty child that wants to do right, but finds it very
hard, to keep right on trying and trying, and praying and
praying, hoping on, and hoping ever.
SILVER THREAD. 105
But perhaps you think this sort of talk is too much like a
sermon, and at any rate we had better see what Golden
Thread and her mother have to say about going into the
country. You must remember, that except her own sweet
temper, Golden Thread had not much in this world. She
was not yet old enough to do any sort of work that would
help much toward the support of her mother, and yet her
head was quite full of plans as to what she would do as soon as
she grew taller and stronger. She thought she could go and
live somewhere as little maid, and so earn a trifle ; enough
to get a room in a house where the cellar was not damp,
and though it made the tears come into her eyes to think of
it, she was resolved to do so very soon. Her mother knew
it would have to come to that sooner or later, but it almost
broke her heart to think of being left alone and blind, with-
out her bright Golden Threadâ€™s cheery words and ways.
Ruthâ€™s visits comforted them both for a time, but then the
poor mother grew sad again.
â€œTf we are going to live on charity,â€ said she, â€œâ€˜ we may
as well go to the alms-house first as last. And I don't see
much chance of our living on anything else.â€
â€œ But if we could get along a little while longer, mother,
" just till I grow a bit taller, I could get a place, and then
you wouldnâ€™t have to live on charity.â€
â€˜Tt will be many a long year before you could earn money.
Nobody would give you more than your board and clothes.â€
Â« But that would be a good deal. And I would try to do
everything I could to please them. Donâ€™t cry, dear mother.â€
â€œâ€˜T can't help crying. When I think that ever since I
106 SILVER THREAD.
was eight years old I've earned my own bread and no thank
â€˜to anybody, and Iâ€™m helpless and have to demean myself to
be a beggar!â€
â€œWhy, mother,â€”are you a beggar?â€ cried Golden
â€œIt's just the same. I eat other peopleâ€™s bread, and
wear other peopleâ€™s clothes, and use other people's money.
And I canâ€™t do a thing for them that feed and clothe me.â€
â€œCan't you pray for them, mother? Prayingâ€™s some
The poor woman was silent, What little praying she had
ever done in her life had been for herself, in her misery, and
for her child.
â€œSuch prayers as mine wouldnâ€™t do them any good,â€ she
said at last.
â€œWell, may be they'll do a little bit of good,â€ urged
Golden Thread. â€˜TI pray for that kind lady every night.
And for that little girl, too. My teacher said we ought to
pray for everybody that is kind to us.â€
â€œWhat do you say?â€
â€œÂ«T say, â€˜Our Father, who art in heaven !â€™â€
â€œWhat !â€”the Lordâ€™s Prayer? I donâ€™t call that praying
for the lady, or the little girl either.â€
â€œIsn't it?â€ said Golden Thread, greatly digappointed and
puzzled. â€˜ Why, I meant it, all the same. I donâ€™t know
anything else to say, and so, whenever I think of them,
and how good the lady was, I say, â€˜Our Father.â€™ May be
He knows what I mean.â€
The woman sighed. â€˜ Ah! my child knows more than I
SILVER THREAD. 107
do, and is better, too,â€ thought she. â€˜I've never taught
her anything good, and now sheâ€™s teaching me. I'm afraid
I ain't just what I ought to be; but I donâ€™t know. I never
wronged anybody in my life, nor told a lie, nor took a pin
that wasnâ€™t mine. But I canâ€™t say what's wanting in me.â€
â€œDo you think, Ruth, that this poor blind woman and her
child would give your mother too much trouble?â€ asked
Silver Threadâ€™s mamma. â€˜â€˜ You know I owe them a heavy
debt of gratitude, and I am resolved to place them in some
pleasant country place, where the child can be learned to do
such kinds of work as she is capable of, and where the
mother can recruit.â€
â€œT think my mother would be very glad to take them,
maâ€™am,â€ replied Ruth. â€˜Golden Thread is such a nice
pleasant child, and her mother is so grateful and humble.â€
â€œT don't know about the humility,â€ said Silver Threadâ€™s
mother, smiling a little. â€˜ But I think well of her, and the
child has fairly won my heart.â€
â€œThe only trouble is, to get the poor creature to consent
to go at your expense, ma'am. It almost kills her to live
108 SILVER THREAD.
â€œ Did Elijah live on charity when the ravens fed him ?â€
asked Silver Thread, in her wise little way.
â€˜*T shouldn't think it was charity, I should think it was
God,â€ she added. â€˜Besides, Golden Thread saved my
life, and mamma would want to give her lots of things for
that. Oh! you needn't laugh, Ruth. She really did save
my life! There were all the stages, and carts, and carriages
going up and down, and I might have been run over. And
she risked her life for me.â€
â€œYes, yes,â€â€™ said her mother. â€˜I do really owe them
far more than I can ever repay. But this is nothing to the
debt I owe my heavenly Father, and He intends that those
of His children to whom He has given money shall use it for
Him. I am only thankful that He hes thrown this poor
woman in my way. And now, how very nice it will be if we
can put her under your mother's care. Do write to her by
this evening's mail, and see what she will say. Or stayâ€”
suppose you run down and see her, and talk with her about
it. You can take the seven oâ€™clock train to-morrow morn-
ing, and come back by the early train the day after. Then
if we decide to send Golden Thread and her mother, you
can go with them, and stay a few days until they feel at
Ruth felt very grateful for this proposal, and at twelve
o'clock next day she ate dinner with her father and mother,
to*their no small delight. Everything was easily arranged.
There was a room that could be spared as well as not; it
*was warmed in winter by a remarkable stove funnel, that ran
through it without heating it at all in summer; there was a
SILVER THREAD. 109
pleasant prospect from the window, of a strip of white sanded
beach and blue waters beyond, and of green trees and
â€œTo be sure, if the poor creature is blind, the prospect
does not so much matter,â€ said Ruthâ€™s mother ; â€˜ but then
the little girl can tell her about it, and not let her think I
put her to sleep with her face to the barn, And you say
it is a nice child? I always did say a little girl round the
house was a nuisance I couldnâ€™t and wouldn't bear; but
then some little girls ainâ€™t like all little girls.â€
Â«This one is the nicest child I ever saw,â€ returned Ruth.
â€œAnd you'll teach her your own ways, mother, won't you?
She is not to be brought up a fine ladyâ€”that I was to make
sure ofâ€”but to be an industrious girl, able to do all sorts of
work. Why, she'll save you some steps, now, mother.â€
â€˜She wonâ€™t save as many as she'll make,â€ replied the
mother, whose opinion of â€œlittle girlsâ€ was not flattering.
â€œBut you may depend I'll do my best for her, and her poor
Ruth went back to town quite relieved of all anxiety.
â€˜Oh! mamma,â€ cried Silver Thread, eagerly, â€˜let me tell
Golden Thread â€˜ile to the country. She will be so Â©
glad! Maynâ€™t I tell her?â€
â€œT donâ€™t know, darling. Iam not quite sure that Golden
Thread ought to be exposed to take the fever by coming
here. On the whole, I do not think it would be safe.â€
â€œItâ€™s too bad!â€ cried Silver Thread.
â€œIs anything God does â€˜too badâ€™?â€ asked her mother,
gently. â€˜You know it was He who sent you sickness, and
110 SILVER THREAD, .
it is He who makes it unsafe for children to come to see
â€œT didnâ€™t think,â€ said Silver Thread. â€˜But I should
like so much to tell Golden Thread.â€
â€œVery likely you would be disappointed if you could see
and tell her. She knows nothing about the country, and can-
not go into ecstasies at the thought of living in it. I will
tell you all she does say when I come home, for I am going
now to see them. Perhaps they will prefer to stay in town.
In that case, of course, I cannot force them to leave it.â€
At first it did seem as if leaving the noisy, dirty, unwhole-
some city was going to be a trial instead of a blessing. The
poor woman was so feeble that the thought of exerting her-
self to making any change, made her begin to cry. â€˜Then
Golden Thread cried too, and things looked forlorn.
â€œIt's so hard to go among strangers,â€ said the woman.
â€˜And to live on charity! If I could do anything to pay my
way, it would be so different! But I never lived on charity
One needs patience with poor people as well as with little
children. Silver Threadâ€™s mother had to try hard not to
lose hers, now. }
â€œWhile you were well and strong,â€ said she, â€œit was
quite right for you to work and not to accept charity. But
now God has laid His hand on you, and set you aside from
labour of any kind. And seeing you so helpless, He has
sent me to do for you what you canâ€™t do for yourself.â€
â€œT never thought as God had anything to do with it.
It was the whitewash, and the bad doctoring, and the damp
SILVER THREAD. 111
room and all, that broke me down. I donâ€™t mean any harm.
I am a poor, ignorant creature, and canâ€™t reason things out
very well. But the alms-house is good enough for such as
we are, and we'd better go there if we must go anywhere.â€
â€œGolden Thread, did you ever see any pretty white
hens?â€ asked the lady. â€˜ Ruth says her motherâ€™s hens
are all pure white, every one of them. And they have cows,
tooâ€”I donâ€™t know how many; and when she was a little girl
she used to drive them home from pasture every evening.
You would like to feed the hens and chickens, Iâ€™m sure.
And you can't think how sweet and still it is in the country.
Very soon the spring will open, then the fields will be green
and covered with flowers; the birds will begin to sing and
to build their nests, and everything will be bright and
beautiful. Then, as the summer comes on, you will go out
to pick berries in the fields and woods, And you will be
learning all sorts of things. You will learn to milk, and to
hunt for eggs, and by and by to make butter and chÃ©ese.â€
Golden Thread smiled. She began to think the country
must be nice, after all. To make butter and cheeseâ€”
why, that must be better than living in the city! But then
she did not want to do anything mother didnâ€™t, and mother
kept crying !
â€œ My little daughter wanted, very much, to break this
good news to you,â€ added the lady, smiling. â€˜But I
thought it very likely it wouldn't seem good news at first.
It is not necessary to decide at once what you will do.
You can think it over, and pray it over, and by and by you
will see just what is best to do.â€
112 SILVER THREAD.
â€œShall we say anything besides * Our Fatherâ€™ ?â€ asked
Golden Thread. â€˜â€˜I donâ€™t know any prayer but that, and I
donâ€™t think mother does.â€â€
â€œI would say that, and I would, besides, tell God just
how troubled and perplexed you feel. Tell Him you do not
- know whether to stay here or go into the country. Ask
Him to make you do whatever is best and will please Him
most.â€ She spoke to the child, but she hoped the mother
would lay her words to heart.
* â€œNow, good-bye,â€ she added, rising to go. â€˜â€˜ Donâ€™t feel
troubled and unhappy. You will see your way out of this
strait, I have no doubt.â€ She shook hands with them both,
and took leave.
On hearing the result of her mammaâ€™s visit, Silver Thread
was quite vexed with Golden Thread and her mother.
â€˜They are not nice people at all,â€ said she. â€˜â€˜ They are
ungrateful. I hope you never will give them anything again,
. â€˜(It is fortunate that the affairs of this world are not in
the hands of ignorant little children,â€ replied her mamma,
_ smiling. â€˜So you would have me turn my back upon them
because they do not jump at my offer?â€
SILVER THREAD. 113-
â€˜ That's what they deserve.â€
Â«But what do you and I deserve? Suppose God should
give us exactly what we deserve, what would He give us,
do you think? Oh! my darling, what a mercy it is that He
does not! And we must try to be long-suffering and patient,
as He is, and not be harsh with our fellow-creatures.â€
Silver Thread was silent. She was glad when Ruth came
in to see the colour rush into her cheeks, when told that
the poor woman did not entirely fancy the idea of going to
live in the country.
â€œIt's only too good for such as her to be offered the
privilege of going to live with such as my mother!â€ she
said, quickly, â€˜I begin to see now that you were right,
maâ€™am, in saying she was as proud as she could be.â€
â€œT am not aware that I said that, Ruth. You forget
yourself. I barely suggested that she had less humility than
you fancied ; and that rather to prepare you for the dis-
appointment I thought might await you. As to pride, we
all have it, in one shape or other.â€
â€œTtâ€™s a very ugly shape when it makes a body so stuck
up,â€ said Ruth, who rarely lost her temper, but when she
did, hardly knew where to look for it.
â€œT never saw it in any shape but an ugly one,â€ was the
answer. â€˜It is certainly very unpleasant to see people too
proud to receive favours. But it is also unpleasant to see
people too proud of their own virtues to make allowances for
the faults of others.â€
â€œIdo not mean to be severe with you, Ruth. We are
114 SILVER THREAD,
none of us guiltless in this respect. And do not feel irri-
tated about this matter. The next time you see that poor
woman, she will, as likely as not, have changed her mind.â€
It turned out to be exactly so. The poor woman was
beginning to feel the effects of God's Spirit on her heart.
She tried to pray as she had been urged to do, and Golden
Thread prayed too, that they might be led to do what would
please Him. They were. groping their way toward Him in
the dark, as it were, and He was coming to meet them more
thar half-way, as our gracious Lord always does to those
who seek Him.
â€œMother,â€ said Golden Thread, â€œis it nice in the
â€œFolks say itis. Iâ€™ve always thought it must be lone-
some. Now, here you see the carriages going up and down,
and crowds of people stirring about, and everybody so wide
â€œBut you can't see them, now, mother.â€
â€œNo, that's true enough. And the noise in my ears does
tire me some days, May be, too, you'd take a notion to the
â€œT should if you did,â€ replied Golden Thread.
The next day, Ruth, a little ashamed of her anger, asked
leaÂ¥e to go and carry Golden Thread a few fresh eggs, which
she had brought for her from the farm.
The child and her mother were delighted. A breeze from
the furm-house seemed to come invitingly to meet them.
That unknown land, â€˜the country,â€ did not seem so strange
since it sent those white eggs.
SILVER THREAD. 115
â€˜Donâ€™t you think your mother will wish we hadn't come,
after sheâ€™s had ug a little while ?â€ asked the woman. â€˜ For
we shall be a sight of trouble.â€
â€œNo, you won't,â€ answered Ruth. â€œ Golden Thread can
take all the care of you, lead you about, and all that, and
by degrees you will grow stronger, and can help more than
you'll hinder. And Golden Thread will wash dishes and set
the table, and feed the hens and chickens. There's my
little block that I used to stand on when I wasn't high
enough to reach up to the sink; there's my piece of tin on
it now, that I nailed on one end of it.â€
â€œ What was the tin for ?â€ asked Golden Thread.
â€œWhy, my block was going to split, and I nailed on a
bit of tin to keep it together.â€
â€œIsn't it lonesome in the country?â€ asked the poor
woman, @ little timidly.
â€˜*T donâ€™t think itâ€™s lonesome anywhere, where my mother
is,â€ said Ruth. â€œBut then she ainâ€™t your mother, and I
ought not to expect you to feel as if she was.â€
â€œHow nice it must be to hunt for eggs!" cried Golden
Thread. â€˜And you said we should have as much milk as
we wanted! It doesn't seem as if there was as much milk
in the world as that!â€
They all laughed, and Golden Threadâ€™s mother began to
think how pleasant it would be for the child to leave that
dirty street, and breathe the pure country air, She began
to wonder how she had happened to think so much of her-
self, and so little of that good patient child whom she
had never yet heard speak one unkind word.
116 SILVER THREAD.
â€œOh! Ruth, if your mother will let us, we'll go!â€ said
she ; â€œ and we'll try to be as little trouble as we can.â€
Ruth went away, well satisfied with this sudden change.
It was then agreed, that on the first of May she should take
them to their new home. Meanwhile, dear little Gertrude
was slowly regaining her strength, and she and Silver
Thread spent many happy hours together with their dolls
and other toys.
Silver Thread began to feel as if she had a sweet little
sister of her own, and when she at last heard that Gertrude
was going home, she nearly made herself ill again with ery-
ing. Poor little Gertrude could not guess what this terrible
distress was about, for they could not make her understand
that she was going away. But she tried to comfort Silver
Thread with kisses and caresses, and after she had gone,
everybody tried to divert the poor broken-hearted child.
Her mamma was very gentle and tender with her, and talked
to her about Jesus, who never has to go away and leave us,
happen what will. And she let her spend the money in her
little purse in buying some things for Golden Thread's
journey. Silver Thread felt very grateful for this favour,
because this was the very money about which she had been
so naughty. She made up her mind how she would have it
spent, and Ruth went out to get the things, which were odd
enough, you may depend. First, there was a basket to put
eggs in, if she should be so happy as to find any eggs.
Next, there was a small tin-cup which she was to fill with
milk and drink, as soon as she had learned how to milk all
herself. Thirdly, there was a sun-bonnet which Golden
SILVER THREAD. 117
Thread was to wear always except on Sundays. Fourthly, a
penny churn, with which to make butter. Fifthly, some
beans and peas, which were to be planted in whatever little
corner might be allowed her for a garden. Last of all, two
buns, lest she should be hungry on the journey. These
things being all spread out on her bed, she looked at them
with great satisfaction, and couldnâ€™t help wishing she was
going on a journey too.
Golden Thread and her mother needed a good many other
things, which were supplied them, and at last they set off with
Ruth, in pretty good spirits. Indeed, Golden Thread would
have been as gay as a lark if her mother had not looked so
pale and tired ; and very soon her amusement and astonish-
ment at every thing she saw on the road, quite amused and
astonished the poor woman herself, and made her glad that
her child could be so free from care.
Ruth felt quite proud when she at last ushered its new
guests into the neat and cheerful farm-house, and saw how
they enjoyed her motherâ€™s bread and butter, and how her
mother enjoyed being kind and friendly to them. After
dinner she made the poor tired woman lie down on her bed,
when, soothed by the sweet stillness, she soon fell asleep.
And then she and Golden Thread went all about the farm,
laughing, and talking, and making merry together with the
eggs they found and the eggs they couldnâ€™t find, and feeding
the hens and paying visits to the cows. Golden Thread
lived as much in that one day as she had lived before in a
month. Oh! how pleasant everything looked to her! Only
she was almost afraid this was only a beautiful dream, and
118 SILVER THREAD.
that by and by she should wake up and hear the carts go
rumbling by, the milk-man shrieking, and the neighboursâ€™
children quarrelling on the stairs.
Ruts stayed at home four days. She shewed Golden
Thread how to do what work she was able to do, and set up
a blue yarn stocking for her mother to knit, so that she
might not be unhappy from idleness. When she went back
to town, she left them in good spirits, and quite weaned
from the city, which they thought they never should want
to see again. The day after she left was Sunday, and the
farmer brought a waggon to the door, with two seats, and
took them all to church. It was many a year since the
blind woman had been to the house of God. She used to
think Sunday was only fit to rest in, especially for poor folks
who worked hard all the week. But now she could not
make that excuse, for she was resting all the week, not
working. Nor could she say her clothes were not decent,
â€œfor they were as neat and tidy as clothes could be. So she
and Golden Thread sat together in the farmer's big, square
* pew, and had a truly blessed Sunday there. After church,
Ruth's father made Golden Thread stand by his side and
SILVER THREAD, 119
learn the first commandment, and spell out a few verses in
his big Bible, just as he used to do years before with Ruth
herself. Indeed, he soon began to treat the child as if she
were his own little Golden Thread, and to love her dearly;
and he and his wife kept saying how nice it was to have such
a cheerful, pleasant little thing about the house. This did
her mother as much good as the country air and country
food did. She began to feel that they were not a burden,
and to recover her health and spirits. Every pleasant day
she sat, with her knitting, before the door of the house,
looking as peaceful and happy as if she had never known a
care. Yes, happier and more peaceful, for God had blessed
to her the troubles she had passed through, and had taught
her to love Himself. By degrees she left off complaining
that she never expected to live on charity, and grew humble
and thankful, and willing to live just as God would have her.
And after a time she stopped talking about the loss of her
eyes, and only kept saying how happy she was in having
such a home, and such friends, and such a child.
This made everybody kind to her, and Ruthâ€™s mother, as
she bustled about her work, often looked with envy at the
pale placid place, and said to herself,
â€œI'm afraid sheâ€™s on the way to a great deal better place
than this! But it is a pleasure to do what little one can for
her, and to try to make her last days her best days. And if
she's going to heaven, Iâ€™m glad she took us in her way !â€
About two months after Golden Threadâ€™s entrance into
her new home, she and Silver Thread had the pleasure of
meeting again, The doctor wished Silver Thread to travel
120 SILVER THREAD.
about a little this summer, and try change of air, because
she did not grow very strong, or recover her rosy cheeks.
So, for one thing, they all came to this pretty little village,
and when Silver Thread came out to the farm, Golden
Thread led her about, and shewed her all its wonders, and
they played together in the hay, and fed the chickens, to their
Silver Thread liked being at the farm better than staying
at the village, where she had no playmate. Her mamma
â€˜allowed Ruth to take her home to spend a week there,
thinking that she would spend more time out of doors, and
gain strength faster. This was a very pleasant week to both
the children, and they were sorry when Saturday came, and
it was time for Silver Thread to go back.â€
Â«Jâ€™ye a good mind not to go,â€ she said to Ruth, â€œI
like to stay here, and I think this place agrees with me very
well, indeed. Why canâ€™t you go to the village and tell
mamma I want to stay another week ?â€
â€œTJ should not dare to go without you,â€ replied Ruth.
â€œIf your mamma should not choose to have you stay, it
would then be too late to take you home to-night. I would
go if I were you, and perhaps she will let you come back
â€œBut I want to be here on Sunday. Golden Thread says
it is such fun to ride to church in a waggon, and I never
+ rode on a waggon.â€
â€œBut I am to drive you home in the waggon as soon as
we have done supper.â€
Silver Thread became sullen and silent.
SILVER THREAD. 121
â€œT donâ€™t want to stay where I am not wanted,â€ she said
â€œWe do want you,â€ cried Ruth. â€˜ We all want you.
But how dare I disobey your mamma? Come! do be good.
And I daresay she will let you spend another week.â€
Silver Threadâ€™s old bad habits were too strong for her.
She began to cry in a very disagreeable way, kicking her
chair with her feet, and rocking back and forth as if in great
distress. Nobody could do anything with her. Golden .
Thread was frightened, and went and hid in the hay-mow.
Supper was ready, but neither of the children ate any.
Golden Thread was too unhappy, and Silver Thread was too
angry. Ruthâ€™s father brought the waggon to the door,
lifted the crying child into it, and they drove away. Ruth
was thankful to get off; she was ashamed to have her father
and mother see such behaviour. By degrees Silver Thread
stopped crying. Then she began to feel woefully ashamed.
What had she been doing?- What must they all think ?
And what would God do with such a child? Ruth drove
on in silence. She had felt much vexed with Silver Thread,
but she now began to pity her.
â€œPoor thing!â€ thought she, â€˜sheâ€™s got a hard time
before her with that temper of hers. She's the very oddest
child I ever saw. You never can tell one minute what
humour sheâ€™ll be in the next.â€
After a time, touched by Silver Threadâ€™s swollen, tearful
face, and something unusual in its expression, she said,
â€œNever mind. Itâ€™s all over now. You needn't be afraid
I shall tell your mamma of you.â€
122 SILVER THREAD.
â€œT shall tell her, myself,â€ was the answer, and then they
drove on without another word, till they reached the house
where Silver Thread's mamma was boarding. Ruth was to
go home with the waggon, and after lifting the child out,
she hastened away, not caring to see the meeting be-
â€œHere is your old Tangle Thread come back,â€ said the â€˜
poor little girl, as her mother ran joyfully to meet her. â€˜Iâ€™m
not Silver Thread any more. I am worse than cannibals and
- worse than heathens. I'm perfectly dreadful.â€
â€œWhy, my dear child, what can you mean?â€ cried her
mother. â€˜What dreadful thing have you been doing ?
Donâ€™t go off and sit by yourself in that way. Come, sit in
your own mamma's lap, and tell me all about it. Donâ€™t you
know how dearly I love you, and how lonely I have been
without you?â€ She took the child in her lap and soothed
her tenderly. After a time Silver Thread told the whole
â€œBut, my dear little girl, do you expect to become quite
good all at once, like a flash of lightning for instance?â€ ;
â€œI donâ€™t know. I know Iâ€™m old Tangle Thread, only
Her mamma could not help smiling. â€˜Old Tangle Thread,
as you call her,â€ she answered, â€˜â€˜has gone away for ever.
She has left some of her bad habits behind her, it is true,
and they will be often trying to you and to me.â€ Why, â€˜old
Tangle Threadâ€™ was not only naughty, but she never tried to
be good. This little Silver Thread does try, and that very
hard. Tangle Thread never would own she did wrong. She
SILVER THREAD. 128
always disputed about it, and was angry when told of her
faults. Silver Thread has faults, and often is impatient and
angry, and likes to have her own way. But she is sorry
when she does wrong, and often tells me so, with tears.
Above all, my little Silver Thread really loves Jesus, and
prays to Him to make her like Himself, and He will.â€
Silver Threadâ€™s little thin hand crept softly into her
motherâ€™s, and her face grew less sorrowful. â€˜â€˜ It makes me
love Jesus to hear mamma talk as if I loved Him,â€ she said,
to herself. â€˜I believe I do love Him. I am sorry I have
been in such a passion. Oh! I wish I hadnâ€™t! I wish I
I shall not tell you anything more now about Tangle
Thread and Golden Thread.
But I want, before I bid ydu good-bye, to ask you a ques-
tion. Are you the little thread in your motherâ€™s life that
spoils it, or are you the little thread that makes it bright
and beautiful? Perhaps you say, â€˜â€˜I am not so good as
Golden Thread, but I am not half so bad as Tangle Thread.â€
And I daresay you are right. Little children are not often
exactly like these. But, on the whole, which are you most
like? You don't know. ThenI beg you to watch yourself
one day, and see. And if you find that you are really trying
to be good, that you are sorry, and say that you are sorry,
when you do wrong; if you sometimes climb into your
mammaâ€™s lap, and kiss her, and promise to do all you can to
please her, then you may safely say to yourself, â€˜I am
my dear motherâ€™s little Silver or her little Golden Thread.
124 SILVER THREAD.
I love her and she loves me, and she wouldn't give me away
or sell me for all the treasures in the world.â€
Bat if you find that you like to have your own way a great
deal better than you like your mamma to have hersâ€”if you
pout and cry when you cannot do as you pleaseâ€”if you never
own that you are in the wrong, and are sorry for itâ€”never,
in short, try with all your might to be docile and gentle, then
your name is Tangle Thread, Tangle Thread, and you may
depend you cost. your mamma many sorrowful hours and
many tears, And the best thing you can do is, to go away
by yourself and pray to Jesus to make you see how naughty
you are, and to make you humble and sorry. Then the
old and soiled thread that can be seen in your motherâ€™s life
will disappear, and in its place there will come first a silver,
and by and by, with time and patience, and Godâ€™s loving
help, a sparkling and beautiful golden one. And do you
know of anything in this world you should rather be than
somebodyâ€™s Golden Thread? Especially the Golden Thread
of your dear mamma, who has loved you so many years, who
has prayed for you so many times, and who longs so to see
you gentle and docile, like Him of whom it was said, â€˜â€œ Be-
hold the Lamb of God!â€
â€˜THOMAS PATON, PRINTER, EDINBUROR.
WILLIAM P. NIMMO,
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and Vignette Title Page.
Other Volumes in Preparation.
NIMMO'S CHEAP EDITIONS OF THE POETS.
In Foolseap 8vo, printed on Toned paper, elegantly bound in cloth
extra, gilt, gilt edges, price 38. 6d. each ; or in
morocco antique, price 6s. 6d. each,
Henry W. Longfellowâ€™s Poetical Works.
Complete, including â€œ Tales of a Wayside Inn,â€ with fine Por-
trait on Steel, and Six full-page Illustrations, and Vignette Title
Sir Walter Scottâ€™s Poetical Works.
With fine Portrait on Steel, and Six full-page Illustrations, and
Vignette Title Page.
BY WILLIAM P. NIMMO. 8
NIMMOâ€™S CHEAP EDITIONS OF THE POETS,â€”continued.
- Lord Byron's Poetical Works.
With fine Portrait on Steel, and Six full-page Illustrations, and
Vignette Title Page.
Thomas Mooreâ€™s Poetical Works.
With fine Portrait on Steel, and Six full-page Illustrations, and
Vignette Title Page.
William Wordsworth's Poetical Works.
With fine Portrait on Steel, and Six full-page Illustrations, and
Vignette Title Page.
William Cowper's Poetical Works.
With fine Portrait on Steel, and Six full-page Illustrations, and
Vignette Title Page.
John Miltonâ€™s Poetical Works.
With fine Portrait on Steel, and Six full-page Illustrations, and
Vignette Title Page.
William Shakespeare's Complete Works.
With fine Portrait on Steel, and Vignette Title Page. 2 vols.
James Thomsonâ€™s Poetical Works.
With fine Portrait on Steel, and Six full-page Illustrations, and
Vignette Title Page.
Beattieâ€™s,and Goldsmith's Poetical Works.
With fine Portrait on Steel, and Six full-page Illustrations, and
Vignette Title Page.
Alexander Pope's Poetical Works.
With fine Portrait on Steel, and Six full-page Illustrations, and
Vignette Title Page.
Bunyanâ€™s Pilgrimâ€™s Progress and Holy War.
With fine Portrait on Steel, and Six full-page Illustrations and
Vignette Title Page.
4 POPULAR WORKS PUBLISHED BY WILLIAM P, NIMMO.
NEW SERIES OF POETICAL GIFT BOOKS,
Tn small crown 8vo volumes, printed on toned paper, bound in extra
bevelled cloth, gilt edges, price 88. 6d. each ; or morocco antique,
price 6s. 6d, each,
LIFE-LIGHTS OF SONG.
A SELECTION OF POETRY.
VOL. 1, SONGS OF GOD AND NATURE.
Â» % SONGS OF LOVE AND BROTHERHOOD.
Â» 8 SONGS OF LIFE AND LABOUR,
Epirep sy DAVID PAGE, F.G.S.,
AUTHOR OF â€˜* INTRODUCTORY TEXT-BOOK OF GEOLOGY.â€
This Series of beautiful Books is specially adapted for School Prizes
and Gift Books. Each Volume is sold separately, and is in
arrangement and appearance quite complete in itself.
NEW PRESENTATION SERIES OF STANDARD WORKS.
In small crown 8vo, printed on toned paper, bound in cloth extra,
gilt edges, bevelled boards, with Portrait engraved on Steel, price
3s. 6d. each, iz
WISDOM, WIT, AND ALLEGORY.
Papers from â€˜â€˜ The Spectator,â€ with Portrait of App1soy.
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN: A BIOGRAPHY,
MUNGO PARKâ€™S TRAVELS IN AFRICA.
With Portrait of Park, and an Additional Chapter detailing the Pro-
gress of African Discovery down to the present time.
Other volumes in preparation.
This elegant and useful new Series of Books, while specially adapted
for School Prizes, also form admirable volumes for general presentation.
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WARNING CODE 'Daitss::Anomaly' Invalid character
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The element type "div" must be terminated by the matching end-tag "