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Entered according to the Act of Congress, by
W:E3ST:E:ME?:T TrZ A.P- TI A:IW:D :BOOK: SOCIm'TY
In the Oifice of the Cogressional Librarian, District of Columbia, 1870
Ester's H ome.................................................**......... 5
What Sadie Thought..................... .......................... 15
Florence Vane......................................................... 24
The Sunday Lesson... ..... ................ .. .........*.. ..... 32
The Poor Little Fish............... ........0 *........* .*............ 40
Something Happens...... *00.........................0 ........'* **** 50
Journeying. ................ .................. .. ...0000 0 ............... 6
Journey's End................... ................. ............... ..... 78
Cousin Abbie........... ................ .......................... 9
Ester's M inister............. .......................................... 04
The New Boarder............ ... .0................ ........... ......... 1 20
Three People.......... .. *...........**0 ......... .. ........ 000....... 13
The Strange Christian............................................... .143
SIT COJVT.'.S TS.
The Lit tle Card........................ ......0...... .................... 155
W hat is the Difference1........ ................. ............. ......... 170
A Victory... ....... ** ....... *. *.**.. **.... ..* ** *...........* i 87
Stepping Between ..................................... ................. 199
Light out of Darkness................................................ 21
Sundries .. .. ........ ........... ..... .. ....,.... ..... O 22.8
At Home.................. ..........................*............. 240
CHA PTER XXI.
Testea,.................. ...................... .... ...o ...... ........... 25 x
", Little Plum Pies.".................... ........... ................. 263
Crosses ................................. ...... ............ ........ 274
G od's W ay............................. ...... ........................ 288
Sadie Surrounded............... .................. .................. 299
The Time to Sleep....... .....0..e .... .............. .............. 326
At Last.....- ........ ..c. ***. *...** *........,.... .c..... ....*......... 34-
SLEEP AND WAKE,
ESTER S HOME.
HE did not look very much as if she were
asleep, nor acted as though she expected to
Sget a chance to be very soon. Thei-e was
no end to the things which she had to do, for
the kitchen was long and wide, and took many
steps to set it in order, and it was drawing
toward tea-time of a Tuesday evening, and there
were fifteen boarders who were, most of them,.
punctual to a minute.
Sadie, the next oldest sister, was still at the
academy, as also were Alfred and Julia, while
little Minnie, the pet and darling, most certainly
was not. She was around in the way, putting
little fingers into every possible place where
little fingers ought not to be. It was well for
her that, no matter how warm, and vexed, and
out of order Ester might be, she never reached
the point in which her voice could take other
than a loving tone in speaking to Minn'ie; foi
Minnie, besides being a precious little blessing
in herself, was the child of Ester's oldest sister,
whose home was far away in a Western grave-
yard, and the little girl had been with them
since her early babyhood, three years before.
So Ester hurried to and from the pantry, with
quick, nervous movements, as the sun went
toward the west, saying to Maggie who was
ironing with all possible speed:
Maggie, do hurry, and get ready to help me,
or I shall never have tea ready:" Saying it in a
sharp fretful tone. Then: "No, no, Birdie,
don't touch!" in quite a different tone to Minnie,
who laid loving hands on a box of raisins.
"I am hurrying as fast as I can!" Maggie
made answer. But such an ironing as I have
every week can't be finished in a minute." /
"Well, well! Don't talk; that won't hurry
Sadie Ried opened the door that led from the
dining-room to the kitchen, and peeped in a
F* 8TEi'8 h OMATE 7
thoughtless young head, covered with bright
How are you, Ester ?"
And she emerged fully into the great warm
kitchen, looking like a bright flower picked
from the garden, and put out of place. Her
pink gingham dress, and white, ruffled apron-
yes, and the very school books which she swung
by their strap, waking a smothered sigh in
"O, my patience!" was her greeting.
"Are you home? Then school is out."
"I guess it is," said Sadie. "We've been
down to the river since school."
"Sadie, won't you come and cut the beef and
cake, and make the tea? I did not know it was
so late, and I'm nearly tired to death."
Sadie looked sober. "I would in a minute,
Ester, only I've brought Florence Vane home
with me, and I should not know what to do
with her in the meantime. Besides, Mr. Ham-
mond said he would show me about my algebra.
if I'd go out on the piazza this minute."
"Well, go then, and tell Mr. Hammond to
wait for his tea until he gets it!" Ester answered,
Here, Julia"-to the ten-year old new-conm
er-'" Go away from that raisin-box, this minute!
Go up stairs out of my way, and Alfred too.
Sadie, take Minnie with you; I can't have her
here another instant. You can afford to do that
"0, Ester, you're cross!" said Sadie, in a
good-humored tone, coming forward after the
"Come, Birdie, Auntie .Essie's cross, isn't
she? Come with Aunt Sadie. We'll go to
the piazza and make Mr. Hammond tell us a
And Minnie-Ester's darling, who never re-
ceived other than loving words from her-went
gleefully off, leaving another heartburn to the
weary girl. They stung her, those words:
"Auntie Essie's cross, isn't she ?"
Back and forth, from dining-room to pantry,
from pantry to dining-room, went the quick feet.
At last she spoke:
"Maggie, leave the ironing and help me; it
is time tea was ready."
"I'm just ironing Mr. Holland's shirt," ob-
"Well, I don't care if Mr. Holland never has
another shirt ironed. I want you to go to the
spring for water and fill the table-pitchers, and
do a dozen other things."
The tall clock in the dining-room struck five,
and the dining-bell pealed out its prompt sum-
mons through the house. The family gathered
?S81f2Y9 S IZOM[E. 9
promptly and noisily-school-girls, half a dozen
or more, Mr. Hammond, the principal of the
academy, Miss Molten, the preceptress, Mrs.
Brookley, the music-teacher, Dr. Van Anden,
the new physician, Mr. and Mrs. Holland, and
Mr. Arnett, Mr. Holland's clerk. There was a
moment's hush while Mr. Hammond asked a
blessing on the food; then the merry talk went
on. For them all Maggie poured cups of tea,
and Ester passed bread and butter, and beef and
cheese, and Sadie gave overflowing dishes of
blackberries, and chattered like a magpie, which
last she did everywhere and always.
"This has been one of the scorching days,"
Mr. Holland said. It was as much as I could
do to keep cool in the store, and we generally
are well off for a breeze there."
"It nas been more than I could do to keep
cool anywhere," Mrs. Holland answered. "I
gave it up long ago in despair."
Ester's lip curled a little. Mrs. Holland had
nothing in the world to do, from morning until
night, but to keep herself cool. She wondered
what the lady would have said to the glowing
kitchen, where she had passed most of the
"Miss Ester looks as though the heat had
been too much for her cheeks," Mrs. Brookley
said, laughing. "What have you been doing ?
"Something besides keeping cool," Estei an-
"Which is a difficult thing to do, however,"
Dr. Van Anden said, speaking soberly too.
"I don't know, sir; if I had nothing to do
but that, I think I could manage it."
"I have found trouble sometimes in keeping
myself at the right temperature even in Jan-
Ester's cheeks glowea yet more. She under-
stood Dr. Van Anden, and she knew her face
did not look very self-controlled. No one
knows what prompted Minnie to speak just then.
"Aunt Sadie said Auntie Essie was cross.
Were you, Auntie Essie ?"
The household laughed, and Sadie came to
"Why, Minnie! you must not tell what Aunt
Sadie says. It is just as sure to be nonsense as
it is that you are a chatter-box."
Ester thought that they would never all finish
their supper and depart; but the latest comer
strolled away at last, and she hurried to toast a
slice of bread, make a fresh cup of tea, and send
Julia after Mrs. Ried.
Sadie hovered around the pale, sad-faced
woman while she ate.
"Are you truly better, mother? I've been
worried half to pieces about you all day."
ffS _76P RS 4OMEfT. fr
"0, yes; I'm better. Ester, you look dread-
fully tired. Have you much more to do?"
Only to trim the lamps, and make three beds
that I had not time for this morning,.and get
things ready for breakfast, and finish Sadie's
"Can't Maggie do any of these things ? "
Maggie is ironing."
Mrs. Ried sighed. "It is a good thing that I
don't have the sick headache very often," she
said sadly; "or you would soon wear yourself
out. Sadie, are you going to the lyceum to-
"Yes, ma'am. Your worthy daughter has the
honor of being editress, you know, to-night.
Ester, can't you go down? Never mind that
dress; let it go to Guinea."
"You wouldn't think so by to-morrow even-
ing," Ester said, shortly. "No, I can't go."
The work was all done at last, and Ester
betook herself to her room. How tired she
was! Every nerve seemed to quiver with
It was a pleasant little room, this one which
she entered, with its low windows looking out
toward the river, and its cosy furniture all neatly
arranged by Sadie's tasteful fingers.
Ester seated herself by the. open window, and
looked down on the group who lingered on the
piazza below-looked down on them with her
eyes and with her heart; yet envied while she
looked, envied their free and easy life, without a
care to, harass them, so she thought; envied
Sadie her daily attendance at the academy, a
matterr which she so early in life had been
obliged to have done with; envied Mrs. Holland
the very ribbons and laces which fluttered in th:
evening air. It had grown cooler now, a strong
breeze bclew up from the river and freshened the
air; and, as they sat below there enjoying it,
the sound of their gay voices came up to her.
"NVhat do they know about heat, or care, or
trouble?" she said scornfully, thinking over all
the weight of her eighteen years of life; she
hated it, this life of hers, just hated it-
the sweeping, dusting, making beds, trimming
lamps, working from morning till night; no
time for reading, or study, or pleasure. Sadie
had said she was cross, and Sadie had told the
truth; she zwas cross most of the time, fretted
with her every-day petty cares and fatigues.
"0!" she said, over and over," if something
would only happen; if I could have one day,
just one day, different from the others; but no,
it's the same old thing-sweep and dust, and
clear up, and eat and sleep. I hate it all."
Yet, had Ester nothing for which to be thank-
ful that the group on the piazza had not?
.E8TA7', 8 H10E. 73. /3
If she had but thought, she had a robe, and a
crown, and a harp, and a place waiting for her,
up before the throne of God; and all they had
Ester did not think of this; so much asleep
was she, that she did not even know that none
of those gay hearts down there below her had
been given up to Christ. Not one of them; for
the academy teachers and Dr. Van Andenf wre
not among them. 0, Ester was asleep !'She
went to church on the Sabbath, and to prep ai.
tory lecture on a week day; she read a few
verses in her Bible, frequently, not every ay;
she knelt at her bedside. every night, and said a
few words of prayer-and this was all!
She lay at night side by side with a young
sister, who had no claim to a home in heaven,
and never spoke to her of Jesus. She worked
daily side by side with a mother who, through
many trials and discouragements, was living a
Christian life, and never talked with her of their
future rest. She met daily, sometimes almost
hourly, a large household, and never so much as
thought of asking them if they, too, were going,
some day, home to God. She helped her young
brother and sister with their geography lessons,
and never mentioned to them the heavenly
country whither they themselves might journey.
She took the darling of the family often in her
/4 BSS]7R I oZ. ^
arms, and told her stories of "Bo Peep," and the
"Babes in the Wood," and Robin Redbreast,"
and never one of Jesus and his call for the ten-
This was Ester, and this was Ester's home.
WHAT SADIE THOU-GHT.
cADIE RIED was the merriest, most thought-
Sless young creature of sixteen years that
ever brightened and bothered a home. Mer-
ry from morning until night, with scarcely ever
a pause in her constant flow of fun; thoughtless,
nearly always selfish too, as the constantly
thoughtless always are. Not sullenly and cross-
ly selfish by any means, only so used to think
of self, so taught to consider herself utterly
useless as regarded home, and home cares and
duties, that she opened her bright brown eyes in
wonder whenever she was called upon for help.
It was a very bright and very busy Saturday
"Sadie!" Mrs. Ried called, "can't you come
and wash up these baking dishes? Maggie is
mopping, and Ester has her hands full with the
"Yes, ma'am," said Sadie, appearing promptly
from the dining-room, with Minnie perched tri-
umphantly on her shoulder. "Here I am, at
your service. Where are they ?"
Ester glanced up. "I'd go and put on my
white dress first, if I were you," she said signifi-
And Sadie looked down on her pink gingham,
ruffled apron, shining cuffs, and laughed.
"0, I'll take off my cuffs, and put on this
distressingly big apron of yours, which hangs
behind the door; then I'll do."
"That's my clean apron, I don't wash dishes
"O, bless your careful heart! I won't hurt it
the least speck in the world. Will I, Birdie?"
And she proceeded to wrap her tiny self in
the long, wide apron.
"Not that pan, child !" exclaimed her mother.
"That's a milk-pan."
"O," said Sadie, "I thought it was pretty
shiny. My! what a great pan. Don't you
come near me, Birdie, or you'll tumble in and
drown yourself before I could fish you out with
the dish-cloth. Where is that article? Ester, it
needs a patch on it; there's a great hole in the
middle, and it twists every way."
"Patch it, then," said Ester, dryly.
"Well,'now I'm ready; here goes. Do you
want these washed?" And she seized upon a
stack of tins which stood on Ester's table.
"Do let things .alone!" said Ester. "Those
are my baking-tins, ready for use; now you've
got them net, and I shall have to go all over
Iow will you go, Ester? On foot? They
look pretty greasy; you'll slip."
"I wish you would go up stairs. I'd rather
wash dishes all the forenoon than have you in
"Birdie," said Sadie gravely, "you and I
musn't go near Auntie Essie again. She's a
'bowwow,' and I'm afraid she'll bite."
Mrs. Ried laughed. She had no idea how
sharply Ester had been tried with petty vexa-
tions all that morning, nor hobxy bitter those
words sounded to. her.
"*Come, Sadie,'' she said; "what a silly child
you are. Can't you do any thing soberly ? "
"I should think I might, ma'am, when I have
such a sober and solemn employment on hand
as dish-washing. Does it require a great deal
of gravity, mother? Here, Robin Redbreast,
keep your beak out of my dish-pan."
Minnie, in the mean time, had been seated on
the table, directly in front of the dish-pan.
Mrs. Ried looked around. "0 Sadie! what
possessed you to put her up there ?
"To keep her out of mischief, mother. She's
Jack Horner's little sister, and would have had
every plum in your pie down her throat, by this
time, if she could have got to them. See here,
pussy, if you don't keep your feet still, I'll tie
them fast to the pan with this long towel, when
you'll have to go around all the days of your
life with a dish-pan clattering after you."
But Minnie was bent on a frolic. This time
the tiny feet kicked a little too hard; and the
pan being drawn too near the edge, in order to
be out of her reach, lost its balance-over it
O, my patience!" screamed Sadie, as the
water splashed over her, even down to the white
stockings and daintily slippered feet.
Minnie lifted up her voice, and added to the
general uproar. Ester left the eggs she was
beating, and picked up broken dishes. Mrs.
Ried's voice arose above the din:
"Sadie, tale Minnie and go up stairs. You're
too full of play to be in the kitchen."
Mother, I'm real sorry," said Sadie, shaking
herself out of the great wet apron, laughing
even then at the plight she was in.
Pet, don't cry. We didn't drown after all."
"WVell! Miss Sadie," Mr. Hammond said, as
he met them in the hall. "What have you been
up to now? "
WIIMT 8.4 /)AIE TJO UG[IT. H9
"Why, Mr. Hammond, there's been another
deluge; this time of dish-water, and Birdie and I
are escaping for our lives."
If there is one class of people in this world
more disagreeable than all the rest, it is people
who call themselves Christians."
This remark Mr. Harry Arnett made that
same Saturday evening, as he stood on the piaz-
za waiting for Mrs. Holland's letters. And he
made it to Sadie Ried.
"Why, Harry!" she answered, in a shocked
"It's a fact, Sadie. You just think a bit, and
you'll see it is. They're no better nor pleasanter
than other people, and all the while they think
they're about right."
What has put you into that state of mind,
"O, some things which happened at the store
to-day suggested this matter to me. Never
mind that part. Isn't it so ?"
"There's my mother," Sadie said thoughtfully.
"She is good."
"Not because she's a Christian though; it's
because she's your mother. You'd have to look
till you were gray to find a better mother than
I've got, and she isn't a Christian either."
"Well, I'm sure Mr. Hammond is a good
E0 .SlEl? 72 IF ).
"Not a whit better or pleasanter than Mr.
Holland, as far as I can see. I don't like him
half so well. And Holland don't pretend to be
any better than the rest of us."
"Well," said Sadie, gleefully, "I don't know
many good people. Miss Molton is a Christian,
but I guess she is no better than Mrs. Brooklcy,
and szhe isn't. There's Ester; she's a member of
"And do you see as she gets on any better
with her religion, than you do without it ? For
my part, I think you are considerably pleasanter
to deal with."
Sadie laughed. "We're no more alike than a
bee and a butterfly, or any other useless little
thing," she said, brightly. "But you're very
much mistaken if you think I'm the best.
Mother would lie down in despair and die,
and this house would come to naught at once,
if it were not for Ester."
Mr. Arnett shrugged his shoulders. "I al.-
ways liked butterflies better than bees," he said.
Harry," said Sadie, speaking more gravely,
" I'm afraid you're almost an infidel."
If I'm not, I can tell.you one thing-it's not
the fault of Christians."
Mrs. Holland tossed her letters down to him
from the piazza above, and Mr. Arnett went away.
)tRAT S."1591L' T[OUGIILT. 21
Florence Vane came over from the cottage
across the way-came with slow, feeble steps,
and sat down in the door beside her friend.
Presently Ester came out to them:
Sadie, can't you go to the office for me? I
forgot to send this letter with the rest."
Yes," said Sadie. "That is if you think
you can go that little bit, Florence."
I shall think for her," Dr. Van Anden said,
coming down the stairs. Florence out here
to-night, with the dew falling, and not even any
thing to protect your head. I am surprised!"
Oh, Doctor, do let me enjoy this soft air for
a few minutes."
"Positively, no. Either come in the house, or
go home directly. You are very imprudent.
Miss Ester, I'll mail your letters for you."
"What does Dr. Van Anden want to act like
a simpleton about Florence Vane for ?" Ester
asked this question late in the evening, when the
sisters were alone in their room.
Sadie paused in her merry chatter. "Why,
Ester, what do you mean? About her being
out .to-night? Why, you know, she ought to
be very careful; and I'm afraid she isn't. The
doctor told her father this morning he was afraid
she would not live through the season, unless
shie was more careful."
"Fudge !" said Ester. He thinks he is a
wise man; he wants to make her out very sick,
so that he may have the honor of helping her.
I don't see as she looks any worse than she did
a year ago."
Sadie turned slowly around toward her sister:
"Ester, I don't know what is the matter with
you to-night. You know that Florence Vane
has the consumption, and you know that she is
my dear friend."
Ester did not know what was the matter with
herself, save that this had been the hardest day,
from first to last, that she had ever known, and
she was rasped until there was no good feeling
left in her heart to touch. Little Minnie had
given her the last hardening touch of the day,
by exclaiming, as she was being hugged and
kissed with eager, passionate kisses:
"Oh, Auntie Essie! You've cried tears on my
white apron, and put out all the starch."
Ester set her down hastily, and went away.
Certainly Ester was cross and miserable. Dr.
Van Anden was one of her thorns. He crossed
her path quite often, either with close, searching
words about self-control, or grave silence. She
Sadie, as from her pillow she watched her
sister in the moonlight kneel down hastily, and
knew that she was repeating a few words of
prayer, thought of Mr. Arnett's words spoken
wtHiZtr & ^DIii THOUGIZAT. 23
that evening, and, with her heart throbbing still
under the sharp tones concerning Florence,
sighed a little, and said within herself:
"I should not wonder if Harry were right."
And Ester was so much asleep, that she did
not know, at least did not realize, that she had
dishonored her Master all that day.
F. the same opinion concerning Florence
was Ester, a few weeks later, when, one
evening as she was hurrying past him, Dr.
Van Aiiden detained her:
"I want to see you a moment, Miss Ester."
During these weeks Ester had been roused.
Sadie was sick; had been sick enough to awaken
many anxious fears; sick enough for Ester to
"discover what a desolate house theirs would
have been, supposing her merry music had been
hushed forever. She discovered, too, how very
much she loved her bright young sister.
She had been very kind And attentive; but the
fever was gone now, and Sadie was. well enough
to rove around the house again; an'd Ester be.
gan to think that it couldn't be so very hard to
have loving hands ministering to one's simplest
want, to be cared for, and watched over, a-:n
petted every hour in the day. She was return-
ing to her impatient, irritable life. She forgot
how high the fever had been at night, and how
the young head had ached; and only remem-
bered how thoroughly tired she was, watching
and ministering day and night. So, when she
followed Dr. Van Anden to the sitting-room, in
answer to his "I want to see you, Miss Ester,"
it was a very sober, not altogether pleasant face
which listened to his words.
"Florence Vane is very sick to-night. Some
one should be with her besides the housekeeper.
I thought of you. Will you watch with her?"
If any reasonable excuse could have been
found, Ester would surely have said "No," so
foolish did this seem to her. Why, only yester-
day she had seen Florence sitting beside the
open window, looking very well; but then, she
was Sadie's friend, and it had been more than
two weeks since Sadie had needed watching
with at night. So Ester could not pleac fatigue.
"I suppose so," she answered, slowly, to the
waiting doctor, hearing which, he wheeled and
left her, turning back, though, to say:
"Do not mention this to Sadie in her pres-
ent state of body. I don't care to have her
"Very careful you are of everybody," mut-
tered Ester, as he hastened away. "Tell her
what, I wonder? That you are making much
ado about nothing, for the sake of showing your
astonishing skill ?"
In precisely this state of mind she went, a few
hours later, over to the cottage, into the quiet
room where Florence lay asleep-and, for aught
she could see, sleeping as quietly as young, fresh
life ever did.
"What do you think of her?" whispered the
old lady who acted as housekeeper, nurse and
mother to the orphaned Florence.
"I think I haven't seen her look better this
great while," Ester' answered, abruptly.
"Well, I can't say as she looks any worse to
me either; but Dr. Van Anden is in a fidget, and
I suppose he knows what he's about."
The doctor came in at eleven o'clock, stood
for a moment by the bedside, glanced at the old
lady, who was dozing in her rocking-chair, then
came over to Ester and spoke low:
"I can't trust the nurse. She has been broken
of her rest, and is weary. I want you to keep
awake. If she" (nodding toward Florence)
"stirs, give her a spoonful from that tumbler on
the stand. I shall be back at twelve. If she
wakens, you may call her father, and send John
for me; he's in the kitchen. I shall be around
the corner at Vinton's."
Then he went away, softly, as he had come
1I FZ 0 PiL'.YVCE J~.l4F. 27
The lamp burned low over by the window, the
nurse slept on in her arm-chair, and Ester sat
with wide-open eyes fixed on Florence. And
all this time she thought that the doctor was
engaged in getting up a scene, the story of
which should go forth next day in honor of his
skill and faithfulness; yet, having come to watch,
she would not sleep at her post, even though she
believed in her heart that, were she sleeping by
Sadie's side, and the doctor quiet in his own
room, all would go on well until the morning.
But the doctor's evident anxiety had driven
sleep from the eyes of the gray-haired old man
whose one darling lay quiet on the bed. He
came in very soon after the doctor had departed.
"I can't sleep," he said, in explanation, to
Ester. "Some way I feel worried. Does she
seem worse to you ?"
"Not a bit," Ester said, promptly. "I think
she looks better than usual."
"Yes," Mr. Vane answered, in an encouraged
tone; "and she'has been quite bright all day;
but the doctor is all down about her. He won't
say a single cheering word."
Ester's indignation grew upon her. "He
might, at least, have let this old man sleep in
peace," she said, sharply, in her heart.
At twelve, precisely, the doctor returned. He
went directly to the bedside.
"fHow has she been?" he asked of Ester, in
"Just as she is now." Ester's voice was not
only dry, but sarcastic.
Mr. Vane scanned the doctor's face eagerly;
but it was grave and sad. Quiet reigned in the
room. The two men at Florence's side neither
spoke nor stirred. Ester kept her seat across
from them, and grew every moment more sure
that she was right, and more provoked. Sud-
denly the silence was broken. Dr. Van Anden
bent low over the sleeper, and spoke in a gentle,
anxious tone: "Florence." But she neither
stirred nor heeded. He spoke again: "Flor-
"ence;" and the blue eyes unclosed slowly and
wearily. The doctor drew back quickly, and
motioned her father forward.
"Speak to her, Mr. Vane."
"Florence, my darling," the old man said,
with inexpressible love and tenderness sounding
in his voice. His fair young daughter turned
her eyes on him; but the words she spoke were
not of him, or of aught around her. So clear
and sweet they sounded, that Ester, sitting quite
across the room from her, heard them distinctly.
"I saw mother, and I saw my Savior."
Dr. Van Anden sank upon his knees, as the
drooping lids closed again, and his voice was
low and tremulous:
.FJZ 0 JWCOE rY-lJVE. Iva
"Father, into thy hands we commit this spirit.
Thy will be done."
In a moment more all was bustle and confu-
sion. The nurse was thoroughly awakened;
the doctor cared for the poor childless father
with the tenderness of a son; then came back
to send John for help, and to give directions
concerning what was to be done.
Through it all Ester sat motionless, petrified
with solemn astonishment. Then the angel of
death had really been there in that very room,
and she had been "so wise in her own conceit,"
that she did not know it until he had departed
with the freed spirit!
Florence really was sick, then-dangerously
sick. The doctor had not deceived them, had
not magnified the trouble as she supposed; but
it could not be that she was dead! Dead! Why,
only a few minutes ago she was sleeping so qui-
etly! Well, she was very quiet now. Could
the heart have ceased its beating?
Sadie's Florence dead! Poor Sadie! What
would they say to her? How could they tell
Sitting there, Ester had some of the most
solemn, self-reproachful thoughts that she had
ever known. God's angel had been present in
that room, and in what a spirit had he found this
90 ESTRE TXIE7D.
Dr. Van Anden went quietly, promptly, from.
room to room, until every thing in the suddenly
stricken household was as it should be; then hl
came to Ester:
"I will go over home with you now," he said,
speaking low and kindly. He seemed to under-
stand just how shocked she felt.
They went, in the night and darkness, across
the street, saying nothing. As the doctor ap-
plied his key to the door, Ester spoke in low,
"Doctor Van Anden, I did not think-I did
not dream ." Then she stopped.
"I know," he said, kindly. "It was unex-
pected. I thought she would linger until morn-
ing, perhaps through the day. Indeed, I was so
sure, that I ventured to keep my, worst fears
from Mr. Vane. I wanted him to rest to-night.
I am sorry-it would have been better to have
prepared him; but 'At even, or at midnight, or
at the cock-crowing, or in, the morning'-you
see we know not which. I thank God that to
Florence it did not matter."
Those days which followed were days of great
opportunity to Ester, if she had but known how
to use them. Sadie's sad, softened heart, into
which grief had entered, might have been turned
by a fevwkind, skillful words, from thoughts of
Florence to Florence's Savior. Ester did try;
FL 0 'E.'C.E rJ7WE. ,
she was kinder, more gentle with the young
sister than was her wont to be; and once, when
Sadie was lingering fondly over memories of her
friend, she said, in an awkward, blundering way,
something about Florence having been prepared
to die, and hoping that Sadie would follow her
example. Sadie looked surprised, but answered,.
"I never expect to be like Florence. She was
perfect, or, at least, I'm sure I could never see
any thing about her that wasn't perfection. You
know, Ester, she never did any thing wrong."
And Ester, unused to it, and confused with
her own attempt, kept silence, and let poor Sadie
rest upon the thought that it was Florence's
goodness which made her ready to die, instead
of the blood of Jesus.
So the time passed; the grass grew green
over Florence's grave, and Sadie missed her
indeed. Yet the serious thoughts grew daily
fainter, and Ester's golden opportunity for lead-
ing her to Christ was lost.
THE SUNDAY LESSON.
\ jLFRED and Julia Ried were in the sitting-
room, studying their Sabbath-school lessons.
C- Those two were generally to .be found to-
gether; being twins, they had commenced life
together, and had thus far gone side by side. It
was a quiet October Sabbath afternoon. The
twins had a great deal of business on hand
during the week, and the Sabbath-school lesson
used to stand a fair chance of being forgotten,;
so Mrs. Ried had made a law that half an hour
of every Sabbath afternoon should be spent in
studying the lesson for the coming Sabbath.
Ester sat in the same room, by the window; she
had been reading, but her book had fallen idly
in her lap, and she seemed lost in thought.
Sadie, too, was there, carrying on a whispered
conversation with Minnie, who was snugged
close in her arms, and merry bursts of laughter
THE 3 SY7W r '1 LESSOr. .
came every few minutes from the little girl.
The idea of Sadie keeping quiet herself, or of
keeping any body else quiet, was simply absurd.
"But I say unto you that ye resist not evil,
but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right
cheek, turn to him the other also," read Julia,
slowly and thoughtfully. "Alfred, what do you
suppose that can mean?"
"Don't know, I'm sure," Alfred said. "The
next one is just as queer: 'And if any man will
sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let
him have thy cloak also.' I'd like to see me
doing that. I'd fight for it, I reckon."
"Oh, Alfred! you wouldn't, if the Bible said
you mustn't, would you?"
"I don't suppose this means us at all," said
Alfred, using, unconsciously, the well-known ar-
gument of all who have tried to slip away from
gospel teaching since Adam's time.
"I suppose it's talking to those wicked old
fellows who lived before the flood, or some such
"Well, anyhow," said Julia, I should like to
know what it all means. I wish mother would
come home. I wonder how Mrs. Vincent is.
Do you suppose she will die, Alfred ?
"Don't know-just hear this, Julia! 'But I
say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them
that curse you, do good to them that hate you,
and pray for them which despitefully use you
and persecute you.' Wouldn't you like to see
anybody who did all tlat ?"
Sadie," said Julia, rising suddenly, and mov-
ing over to where the frolic was going on, won't
you tell us about our lesson? We don't under-
stand a bit about it; and I can't learn any thing
that I don't understand."
"Bless your heart, child! I suspect you know
more about the Bible this minute than I do.
Mother was too busy taking care of you two,
when I was a little chicken, to teach me as she
"Well, but what can that mean-'If a man
strikes you on one cheek, let him strike the
other too ?'"
Yes," said Alfred, chiming in, and,' If any-
body takes your coat away, give him your cloak
"I suppose it means just that," said Sadie.
"If anybody steals your mittens, as that Bush
girl did yours last winter, Julia, you are to take
your hood right off, and give it to her."
"Oh, Sadie! you don't ever mean that."
"And then," continued Sadie, gravely, "if that
shouldn't satisfy her, you had better take off
your shoes and stockings, and give her them."
"Sadie," said Ester,^" how can you teach those
children such nonsense ?"
Hlif S[JLV27)AY LESSOJV. 86
She isn't teaching me any thing," interrupted
Alfred. "I guess I ain't such a dunce as to
swallow all that stuff."
"Well," said Sadie, meekly, "I'm sure I'm
doing the best I can; and you are all finding
fault. I've explained to the best of my abilities.
Julia, I'll tell you the truth;" and for a moment
her laughing face grew sober. "I don't know
the least thing about it-don't pretend to. Why
don't you ask Ester? She can tell you more
about the Bible in a minute, I presume, than I
could in a year."
Ester laid her book on the window. "Julia,
bring your Bible here," she said, gravely. Now
what is the matter? I never heard you make
such a commotion over your lesson."
"Mother always explains it," said Alfred, "and
she hasn't got back from Mrs. Vincent's; and I
don't believe any one else in this house can do it."
"Alfred," said Ester, "don't be impertinent.
Julia, what is that you want to know ?"
"About the man being struck on one cheek,
how he must let them strike the other too.
What does it mean ?"
It means just that, when girls are cross and
ugly to you, you must be good and kind to
them; and, when a boy knocks down another,
he must forgive him, instead of getting angry,
and knocking back."
"Ho!" said Alfred, contemptuously, "I nevel
saw the boy yet who would do it."
"That only proves that boys are naughty,
quarrelsome fellows, who don't obey what .the
"But, Ester," interrupted Julia, anxiously,
"'was that true what Sadie said about me giving
my shoes and stockings and my hood to folks
who stole something from me ?"
"Of course not. Sadie shouldn't talk such
nonsense' to you. That is about men going to
law. Mother will explain it when she goes over
the lesson with you."
Julia was only half satisfied. "What does
that verse mean about doing good to them
Here, I'll read it," said Alfred-"' But I say
unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that
curse you, do good to them that hate you, and
pray for them which despitefully use you and
"Why, that is plain enough. It means just
what it says. When people are ugly to you,
and act as though they hated you, you must be
very good and kind to them, and pray for them,
and love them."
Ester, does God really mean for us to love
people who are ugly to us, and to be good to
them ? "
TrffE :Ut I Y LESS6M0. 37
"Well, then, why don't we, if God says so?
Ester, why don't you ? "
"That's the point!" exclaimed Sadie, in her
most roguish tone. "I'm glad you've made the
Now Ester's heart had been softening under
the influence of these peaceful Bible words. She
believed them; and in her heart was a real,
earnest desire to teach her brother and sis-
ter Bible truths. Left alone, she would have
explained that those who loved Jesus were
struggling, in a weak feeble way, to obey these
directions; that she herself was trying, trying
hard sometimes;.that they ought to. But there
was this against Ester-her whole life was so
at variance with those plain, searching Bible
rules,. that the youngest child could not but see
it; and Sadie's mischievous tones and evident
relish of her embarrassment at Julia's question,
destroyed the self-searching thoughts. She an-
swered, with severe dignity:
"Sadie, if I were you, I wouldn't try to
make the children as irreverent as I was my-
self." Then she went dignifiedly from the
Dr.. Van Anden paused for a moment before
Sadie, as she sat alone in the sitting-room that
< ESTEJi? 1rLJJ0D.
"Sadie," said he, "is there one verse in tih
Bible which you have never read?"
"Plenty of them, Doctor. I commenced
reading the Bible through once; but I stopped
at some chapter in Numbers-the thirtieth, I
think it is, isn't it? or somewhere along there
where all those hard names are, you know. But
why do you ask?"
The doctor opened a large Bible which lay cn
the stand before them, and read aloud: "Ye
have perverted the words of the living God."
Sadie looked puzzled. "Now, Doctor, what
ever'possessed you to think that I had never
read that verse ?"
God counts that':a solemn thing, Sadie."
"Very likely; what'then ?"
"I was reading on the piazza when the chil-
dren came to you for an explanation of their
Sadie laughed. "Did you hear that conver-
sation, Doctor? I hope you were benefited."
Then, more gravely: Dr. Van Anden, do you
really mean me to think that I was perverting
Scripture ? "
"I certainly think so, Sadie. Were you not
giving the children wrong ideas concerning the
teachings of our Savior ?"
Sadie was quite sober now. "I told the truth
at last, Doctor. I don't know any thing about
these matters. People who profess to be Chris-
tians do not live according to our Savior's teach-
ing. At least I don't see any who do; and it
sometimes seems to me that those verses whicl
the children were studying, can not mean what
they say, or Christian people would surely try to
For an answer, Dr. Van Anden turned the
Bible leaves again, and pointed with his finger
to this verse, which Sadie read:
"But as he which has called you is holy, so
be ye holy in all manner of conversation."
After that he went out of the room.
And Sadie, reading the verse over again, could
not but understand that she might have a perfect
pattern, if she would.
THE POOR LITTLE FISH.
"((I OTHER," said Sadie, appearing in the
Sdining-room one morning, holding Julia
L by the hand, "did you ever hear of the
fish who fell out of the frying-pan into
the fire? Which question her mother answered
by asking, without turning her eyes from the
great batch of bread which she was molding:
"What mischief are you up to now, Sadie?"
"Why, nothing," said Sadie; "only here is
the very fish so renowned in ancient history, and
I've brought her for your inspection."
This answer brought Mrs. Ried's eyes around
from the dough, and fixed them upon Julia; and
she said, as soon as she caught a glimpse of the
forlorn little maiden: O, my patience !"
SA specimen requiring great patience from any
one coming in contact with her, was this same
Julia. The pretty blue dress and white apron
liE POOR LZlrrLE FISFr. fj
were covered with great patches of mud; ro-
rocco boots and neat white stockings were in
the same direful plight; and down her face the
salt and muddy tears were running, for her
handkerchief was also streaked with mud.
"I should think so!" laughed Sadie, in answer
to her mother's exclamation. "The history of
the poor little fish, in brief, is this: She started,
immaculate in white apron, white stockings, and
the like, for the post-office, with Ester's letter.
She met with temptation in the shape of a little
girl with paper dolls; and, while admiring them,
the letter had the meanness to slip out of her
hand into the mud.! That, you understand, was
the frying-pan. Much horrified with this state
of things, the two wise young heads were put
together, and the brilliant idea conceived of
giving the muddy letter a thorough washing in
the creek! So to the creek they went; and.
while they stood ankle deep in the mud, vigor-
ously carrying their idea into effect, the vicious
little thing hopped out of Julia's hand, and sailed
merrily away, down stream! So there she was,
'Out of the frying-pan into the fire,' sure enough!
And the letter has sailed for Uncle Ralph's by i
different route than that which is usually taken."
Sadie's nonsense was interrupted at this point
by Ester, who had listened with darkening face
to the rapidly told story:
"She ought to be thoroughly whipped, the
careless little goose! Mother, if you don't pun-
ish her now, I never would again."
Then Julia's tearful sorrow blazed into sudden
anger: "I oughtn't to be whipped; you're an
ugly, mean sister to say so. I tumbled down
,nd hurt my arm dreadfully, trying to catch
your old hateful letter; and you're just as mean
as you can be!"
Between tears, and loud tones, and Sadie's
laughter, Julia had managed to burst forth these
angry sentences before her mother's voice reached
her; when it did, she was silenced.
"Julia, I am astonished! Is that the way to
speak to your sister? Go up to my room di-
rectly; and, when you have put on dry clothes,
sit down there, and stay until you are ready to
tell Ester that you are sorry, and ask her to
"Really, mother," Sadie said, as the little girl
went stamping up the- stairs, her face buried in
her muddy handkerchief, I'm not sure but you
have made a mistake, and Ester is the one to be
sent to her room until she can behave better. I
don't pretend to be good myself; but I must say
it seems ridiculous to speak in the way she did
to a sorry, frightened child. I never saw a more
woeful figure in my life;" and Sadie laughed
again at the recollection.
rffHE IDO 1? ._iJfLE ,fIS/J 41
"Yes," said Ester, "you uphold her in all sorts
of mischief and insolence; that is the reason she
is so troublesome to manage."
Mrs. Ried looked distressed. "Don't, Ester,"'
she said; "don't speak in that loud, sharp tone.
Sadie, you should not encourage Julia in speak-
ing improperly to her sister. I think myself
that Ester was hard with her. The poor child
did not mean any harm; but she must not be
rude to anybody."
"(Oh, yes," Ester said, speaking bitterly, "of
course I am the one to blame; I always am.
No one in this house ever does any thing wrong
Mrs. Ried sighed heavily, and Sadie turned
away and ran up stairs, humming:
"' Oh, would I were a buttercup,
A blossom in the meadow."
And Julia, in her mother's room, exchanged
her wet and muddy garments for clean ones, and
cried; washed her face in the clear, pure water
until it was fresh and clean, and cried again,
louder and harder; her heart was all bruised
and bleeding. She had not meant to be care-
less. She had been carefully dressed that morn-
ing to spend the long, bright- Saturday with
Vesta Griswold. She had intended to go swiftly
and safely to the post-office with the small white
44 ESR'EIS1 JiEl.
treasure intrusted to her care; but thce r.a,e
dolls were so pretty, and of course there was no
harm in walking along with Addie, and looking
at them. How could she know that the hateful
letter was going to tumble out of her apron-
pocket? Right there, too, the only place along
the road where there was the least bit of mud to
be seen! Then she had honestly supposed that
a little clean water from the creek, applied with
her smooth white handkerchief, would take the
stains right out of the envelope, and the sun
Should dry it, and it would go safely to Uncle
% Ralph's after all; but, instead of that, the hateful,
hlatefl thing slipped right out of her hand, and
went floating down the stream; and at this point
Julia's sobs burst forth afresh. Presently she
took up her broken thread of thought, and went
on: How very, very ugly Ester was; if she
hadn't been there, her mother would have list-
ened kindly to her story of how very sorry she
was, and how she meant to do just right. Then
she would have forgiven her, and she would
have been freshly dressed in her clean' blue dress
instead of her pink one, and would have had her
happy day after all; and now she would have to
spend this bright day all alone; and, at this
point, her tears rolled down in torrents.
"Jule," called a familiar voice, under her
THiE P OOR LITr-LE FS1f. 5s
window, "where are you? Come down and
mend my sail for me, won't you?"
Julia went to the window and poured into
Alfred's sympathetic ears the story of her grief
and her wrongs.
"Just exactly like her," was his comment
on Ester's share in the tragedy. "She grows
crosser every day. I guess, if I were you, I'd
let her wait a spell before I asked her forgive-
I guess I shall," sputtered Julia. "She was
meaner than any thing, and I'd tell her so this
minute, if I saw her; that's all the sorry I am."
So the talk went on; and when Alfred was
called to get Ester a pail of water, and left
Julia in solitude, she found her heart very much
strengthened in its purpose to tire everybody
out in waiting for her apology.
The long, warm, busy day moved on; and the
overworked and wearied mother found time to
toil up two flights of stairs in search of her
young daughter, in the hope of soothing and
helping her; but Julia was in no mood to be
helped. She hated to stay up there alone; she
wanted to go down in the garden with Alfred;
she wanted to go to the arbor and read her new
book; she wanted to take a walk down by the
river; she wanted her dinner exceedingly; but
to ask Ester's forgiveness was the one thing that
she did not want to do. No, not if she staid
there alone for a week; not if she starved, she
said aloud, stamping her foot and growing indig-
nant over the thought. Alfred came as often as
his Saturday occupations would admit, and held
emphatic talks with the little prisoner above,
admiring her "pluck," and assuring her that he
"wouldn't give in, not he."
"You see I can't do it," said Julia, with a
gleam of satisfaction in her eyes, "because it
wouldn't be true. I'm not sorry; and mother
wouldn't have me tell a lie for anybody."
So the sun went toward the west, and Julia at
the window watched the academy girls moving
homeward from their afternoon ramble, listened
to the preparations for tea which were being
made among the dishes in the dining-room, and,
having no more tears to shed, sighed wearily,
and wished the miserable day were quite done
and she was sound asleep. Only a few moments
before she had received a third visit from her
mother.; and, turning to her, fresh from a talk
with Alfred, she had answered her mother's
question as to whether she were not now ready
to ask Ester's forgiveness, with quite as sober
and determined a "No, ma'am," as she had
given that day; and her mother had gravely
and sadly answered, "I am very sorry, Julia.
I can't come up here again; I am too tired for
!JIJE POOf4 LI1TJlE jFIFJ. 47
that. You may come to me, if you wish to see
me any time before seven o'clock. After that
you must go to your room."
And with this Julia had let her depart, only
saying, as the door closed: "Then I can be
asleep before Ester comes up. I'm glad of that.
I wouldn't look at her again to-day for any
tling." And then Julia was once more sum-
moned to thle window.
"Jule," Alfred said, wihi less decision in his
voice than there had been before, "mother looked
awful tired when she came down stairs just now,
and there was a tear rolling down her cheek."
"There was?" said Julia, in a shocked and
"And I guess," Alfred continued, "she's had
a time of it to-day. Ester is too cross even to
look at; and they've been working pell-mell all
day; and Minnie tumbled over the ice-box and
got hurt, and mother held her most an hour
and I guess she feels real bad about this. She
told Sadie she felt sorry for you."
Silence for a little while at the window above,
and from the boy below: then he broke forth
suddenly: "I say, Jule, hadn't you better do it
after all-not for Ester, but there's mother, you
"But, Alfred," interrupted the truthful and
puzzled Julia, "what can I do about it? You
48 ESrE aI.
know I'm to tell Ester that I'm sorry; and that
will not be true."
This question also troubled Alfred. It did
not seem to occur to these two foolish young
heads that she ought to be sorry for her own
angry words, no matter how much in the wrong
another had been. So they stood with grave
faces, and thought about it. Alfred found a
way out of the mist at last.
See here, aren't you sorry that you couldn't
go to Vesta's, and had to stay up there alone all
day, and that it bothered mother? "
Of course,"'said Julia, I'm real sorry about
mother. Alfred, did I, honestly, make her cry ?"
''Yes, you did," Alfred answered, earnestly.
I saw that tear as plain as day. Now you see
you can tell Ester you're sorry, just as well as
not; because, if you hadn't said any thing to
her, mother could have made it all right; so of
course you're sorry."
Well," said Julia, slowly, rather bewildered
still, "that sounds as if it was right; and yet,
somehow Well, Alfred, you wait for me,
and I'll be down right away."
So it happened that a very penitent little face
stood at her mother's elbow a few moments
after this; and Julia's voice was very earnest:
" Mother, I'm so sorry I made you such a great
deal of trouble to-day."
TH7 PO o 1 L ITTL E FISff. 4.
And the patient mother turned and kissed the
flushed cheek, and answered kindly: Mother
will forgive you. Have you seen Ester, my
No, ma'am," spoken more faintly; "but I'm
going to find her right away."
And Ester answered the troubled little voice
with a cold "Actions speak louder than words.
I hope you will show how sorry you are by
behaving better in future. Stand out of my
Is it all done up ?" Alfred asked, a moment
later, as she joined him on the piazza to take a
last look at the beauty of this day which had
opened so brightly for her.
"Yes," with a relieved sigh; "and, Alfred, I
never mean to be such a woman as Ester is
when I grow up. I wouldn't for the world. I
mean to be nice. and good, and kind, like sister
t1OW the letter which had caused so much
Trouble in the Ried family, and especially
B in Ester's heart, was, in one sense, not an
ordinary letter. It had been written to
Ester's cousin, Abbie, her one intimate friend,
Uncle Ralph's only daughter. These two, of
the same age, had been correspondents almost
from their babyhood; and yet they had never
seen each other's faces.
To go to New York, to her uncle's house, to
see and be with Cousin Abbie, had been the one
great dream of Ester's heart-as likely to be
realized, she could not help acknowledging, as a
journey to the moon, and no more so. New
York was at least five hundred miles away; and
the money necessary to carry her there seemed
like a small fortune to Ester, to say nothing of
the endless additions to her wardrobe which
\ ^ i
8 0.1/iBlk'G HiA ySs. 51
would have to be made before she would ac-
count herself ready. So she contented herself,
or perhaps it would be more truthful to say she
made herself discontented, with ceaseless dreams
over what New York, and her uncle's family,
and, above all, Cousin Abbie, were like; and
whether she would ever see them; and why it
had always happened that something was sure
to prevent Abbie's visits to herself; and whether
she should like her as well, if she could be with
her, as she did now; and a hundred other con-
fused and disconnected thoughts about them all.
Ester had no idea what this miserable, restless
dreaming of hers was doing for her. She did
not see that her very desires after a better life,
which were sometimes strong upon her, were
colored with impatience and envy.
Cousin Abbie was a Christian, and wrote her
some earnest letters; but to Ester it seemed a
very easy matter indeed for one who was sur-
rounded, as she imagined Abbie to be, by luxury
and love, to be a joyous, eager Christian. Into
this very letter that poor Julia had sent sailing
down the stream, some of her inmost feelings
had been poured
Don't think me devoid of all aspirations after
something higher," so the letter ran. Dear
Abbie, you, in your sunny home, can never
imagine how wildly I long sometimes to be free
62 EZr.E7'. l>7i ".
from my surroundings, free from petty cares,
and trials, and vexations, which, I feel, are eating
out my very life. Oh, to be free for one hour;
to feel myself at liberty, for just one day, to
follow my own tastes and inclinations; to be the
person I believe God designed me to be; to
fill the niche I believe He designed me to fill!
Abbie, I hate my life. I have not a happy
moment. It is all rasped, and warped, and
unlovely. I am nothing, and I know it; and
I had rather, for my own comfort, be like the
most of those who surround me-nothing, and
not know it. Sometimes I can not help asking
myself why I was made as I am. Why can't I
be a clod, a plodder, and drag my way with
stupid good nature through this miserable world,
instead of chafing and bruising myself at every
Now it would be very natural to suppose that
a young lady with a grain of sense left in her
brains, would, in cooler moments, have been
rather glad than otherwise, to have such a
restless, unhappy, unchristianlike letter hope-
lessly lost. But Ester felt, as has been seen,
thoroughly angry that so much lofty sentiment, (
which she mistook for religion, was entirely lost.
Yet let it not be supposed that one word of this
rebellious outbreak was written simply for effect,
Ester, when she wrote that she hated her life,"'
S Otf17fPHLG HA JEIy EJV8.
was thoroughly and miserably in earnest. When,
in the solitude of her own room, she paced het
floor that evening, and murmured, despairingly:
"Oh, if something would only happen to rest me
for just a little while!" she was more thoroughly
in earnest than any human being who feels that
Christ has died to save her, and that she has an
eternal resting-place prepared for her, and wait-
ing to receive her, has any right to feel on such
a subject. Yet, though the letter had never
reached its destination, the pitying Savior, look-
ing down upon his poor, foolish lamb in tender
love, made haste to prepare an answer to her
wild, rebellious cry for help, even though she
cried blindly, without a thought of the Helper
who is sufficient for all human needs.
Long looked for, come at last!" and Sadie's
clear voice rang through the dining-room, and a
moment after that young lady herself reached
the pump-room, holding up for Ester's view a
dainty envelope, directed in a yet more dainty
hand to Miss Ester Ried. Here's that won-
derful letter from Cousin Abbie which you have
sent me to the post-office after three times a day
for as many weeks. It reached here by the way
of Cape Horn, I should say, by its appearance.
It has been remained twice."
Ester set her pail down hastily, seized the
letter, and retired to the privacy of the pantry
54 ES TEB I? ?IED.
to devour it; and for once was oblivious to the
fact that Sadie lunched on bits of cake broken
from the smooth, square loaf while she waited
to hear the news.
"Anything special?" Mrs. Ried asked, pausing
in the doorway, which question Ester answered
by turning a flushed and eager face toward them,
as she passed the letter to Sadie, with permission
to read it aloud. Surprised into silence by the
unusual confidence, Sadie read the dainty epistle
"MY DEAR ESTER:
I'm in a grand flurry, and shall therefore
not stop for long stories to-day, but come at the
pith of the matter immediately. We want you.
That is nothing new, you are aware, as we have
been wanting you for many a day. But there is
new decision in my plans, and new inducements,
this time. We not only want, but must have
you. Please don't say 'No' to me this once.
We are going to have a wedding in our house
and we need your presence, and wisdom, and
taste. Father says you can't be your mother's
daughter if you haven't exquisite taste. I am
very busy helping to get the bride in order
which is a work of time and patience; and I do
so much need your aid; besides, the bride is
your Uncle Ralph's only daughter, so of course
you ought to be interested in her.
"Ester, do come. Father says the inclosed
nfty dollars is a present from' him, which you
must honor by letting it pay your fare to Ne\w
York just as soon as possible. The wedding is
fixed for the twenty-second; and we want you
here at least three weeks before that. Brother
Ralph is to be first grdomsman; and he especially
needs your assistance, as the bride has named
you for her first bridesmaid. I'm to dress-I
mean the bride is to dress-in white, and mother
has a dress prepared for the bridesmaid to match
hers; so that matter need not delay or cause
"This letter is getting too long. I meant it
to be very brief and pointed. I designed every
other word to be 'come;' but after all I do not
believe you will need so much urging to be with
us at this time. I flatter myself that you love me
enough to come to me if you can. So, leaving
Ralph to write directions concerning route and
trains, I will run and try on the bride's bonnet,
which has just come home.
P. S. There is to be a groom as well as a
bride, though I see I have said nothing concern-
ing him. Never mind, you shall see him when
you come. Dear Ester, there isn't a word of
sense in this letter, I know; but I haven't time
to put any in."
S6' )Ys .TE e R.-F-.D.
"Really," laughed Sadie, as she concluded the
reading, this is almost foolish enough to have
been written by me. Isn't it splendid, though?
Ester, I'm glad you are you. I wish I had
corresponded with Cousin Abbie myself. A
Wedding of any kind is a delicious novelty; but
a real New York wedding, and a bridesmaid
besides-my! I've a mind to clap my hands
for you, seeing you are too dignified to do .it
"Oh," said Ester, from whose face the flush
had faded, leaving it actually pale with excite-
ment and expected disappointment, "you don't
suppose I am foolish enough to think I can go,
do you ?"
"Of course you will go, when Uncle Ralph
has paid your fare, and more, too. Fifty dollars
will buy a good deal besides a ticket to New
York. Mother, don't you ever think of saying
that she can't go; there is nothing to hinder her.
She is to go, isn't she ?"
"Why, I don't know," answered this per-
plexed mother. I want her to, I am sure; yet
I don't see how she can be spared. She will
need a great many things besides a ticket, and
fifty dollars do not go as far as you imagine;
besides, Ester, you know I depend on you so
Ester's lips parted to speak; and had the
S/[EHTI)JVG It'I 7^. E7
words come forth which were in her heart, they
would have been sharp and bitter ones-about
never expecting to go anywhere, never being
able to do any thing but work; but Sadie's
eager voice was quicker than hers:
"Oh now, mother, it is no use to talk in that
way. I've quite set my heart on Ester's going.
I never expect to have an invitation there my-
self, so I must take my honors secondhand.
Mother, it is time you learned to depend on
me a little. I'm two inches taller than Ester,
and I've no doubt I shall develop into a remark-
able person when she is where we can't all
lean upon her. School closes this very week,
you know, and we have vacation until Octo-
ber. Abbie couldn't have chosen a better time.
Whom do you suppose she is to marry?
What a queer creature, not to tell us. Say she
can go, mother-quick! "
Sadie's last point was a good one in Mrs.
Tried's opinion. Perhaps the giddy Sadie, at
once her pride and her anxiety, might learn a
little self-reliance by feeling a shadow of the
weight of care which rested continually on Ester.
You certainly need the change," she said,
her eyes resting pityingly on the young, care-
worn face of her eldest daughter. But how
could we manage about your wardrobe ? Your
blOck silk is nice, to be sure; but you would
58 JESTJ a IRE).
need one bright evening dress at least, and you
know we haven't the money to spare."
Then Sadie, thoughtless, selfish Sadie, who
was never supposed to have one care for others,
and very little for herself-Sadie, who vexed
Ester nearly every hour in the day, by what, at
the time, always seemed some especially selfish,
heedless act-suddenly shone out gloriously.
She stood still, and actually seemed to think for
a full minute, while Ester jerked a pan of pota-
toes toward her, and commenced peeling vigor-
ously; then she clapped her hands, and gave
vent to little gleeful shouts before she exclaimed:
"Oh, mother, mother! I have it exactly. I
wonder we didn't think of it before. There's
my blue silk-just the thing! I am tall, and
she is short, so it will make her a beautiful train
dress. Won't that do splendidly!"
The magnitude of this proposal awed even
Ester into silence. To be appreciated, it must
be understood that Sadie Ried had never in her
life possessed a silk dress. Mrs. Ried's best
black silk had long ago been cut over for Ester;
so had her brown and white plaid; so there had
been nothing of the sort to remodel for Sadie;
and this elegant sky-blue silk had been lying in
its satin-paper covering for more than two years.
It was the gift of a dear friend of Mrs. Ried's
girlhood to the young beauty who bore her
SSTIfEfliYG Hj~i~E.4SS. ^
name, and had been waiting all this time for
Sadie to attain proper growth to admit of its
being cut into for her. Meantime she had
feasted her eyes upon it, and gloried in. the
prospect ot that wonderful day when she should
sweep across the platform of Music Hall with
this same silk falling in beautiful blue waves
around her; for it had long been settled that it
was to be worn first on that day when she
No wonder, then, that Ester stood in mute
astonishment, while Mrs. Ried commented:
Why, Sadie, my dear child, is it possible
you are willing to give up your blue silk ?"
"Not a bit of it, mother; I don't intend to
give' it up the least bit in the world. I'm merely
going to lend it. It's too pretty to stay pokud
up in that drawer by itself any longer. I've set
my heart on its coming out this very season,
Just as likely as not it will learn to put on airs
for me when I graduate. I'm not at all satisfied
with my attainments in that line; so Ester shall
take it to New York; and if she sits down or
stands up, or turns around, or has one minute's
peace while she has it on, for fear lest she should
spot it, or tear it, or get it stepped on, I'll never
And at this harangue Ester laughed a free,
glad laugh, such as was seldom heard from her.
do KTEE KIEt7V.
Some way it began to seem as if she were really
to go, Sadie had such a brisk, business-like way
of saying Ester shall take it to New York."
Oh, if she only, only could go, she would be
willing to do any thzinzg after that; but one peep,
one little peep into the beautiful magic world
tlat lay outside of that dining-room and kitchen
she felt as if she must have. Perhaps that laugh
did as much for her as any thing. It almost
startled Mrs. Ried with its sweetness and rarity.
What if the change would freshen and brighten
her, and bring her back to them with some of
the sparkles that continually danced in Sadie's
eyes; but what, on the other hand, if she should
grow utterly disgusted with the monotony of
their very quiet, very busy life, and refuse
to work in that most necessary treadmill any
longer. So the mother argued and hesitated
and the decision which was to mean so much
more than any of those knew, trembled in the
balance; for let Mrs. Ried once find voice to
say, "Oh, Ester, I don't see.but what you will
have to give it up," and Ester would have turned
quickly and with curling lip, to that pan of pota-
toes, and have sharply forbidden any one te
mention the subject to her again. Once more
Sadie, dear, merry, silly Sadie, came to the
"Mother, oh, mother! what an endless time
SO.37tEYL~jkY ];4 1jIjVS. 6'
you are in coming to a decision! I could plan
an expedition to the North Pole in less time
than this. I'm just wild to have her go. I want
to hear how a genuine New York bride looks;
besides, you know, dear mother, I want to stay
in the kitchen with you. Ester does every
thing, and I don't have any chance. I perfectly
long to bake, and boil, and broil, and brew
things. Say yes, there's a darling."
And Mrs. Ried looked at the bright, flushed
face, and thought how little the dear child knew
about all these matters, and how little patience
poor Ester, who was so competent herself, would
have with Sadie's ignorance, and said, slowly
and hesitatingly, but yet actually said:
Well, Ester, my daughter, I really think we
must try to get along without you for a little
And these three people really seemed to think
that they had decided the matter. Though two
of them were at least theoretical believers in a
"special providence," it never once occurred to
tLem that this little thing, in all its details, had
been settled for ages.
6. pWENTY minutes here for refreshments!"
7] "Passengers for New York take south
S track !" "New York daily papers here!"
"Sweet oranges here!" And amid all
these yells of discordant tongues, and the
screeching of engines, and the ringing of
bells, and the intolerable din of a merciless
gong, Ester pushed and elbowed her way
through the crowd, almost panting with her
efforts to keep pace with her traveling com-
panion, a nervous country merchant on his
way to New York to buy goods. He hurried
her through the crowd and the noise into the
dining-saloon; stood by her side while, obe-
dient to his orders, she poured down her throat
a cup of almost boiling coffee; then, seating
her in the ladies' room, charged her on 11o
JO URIjV E "JXV G.
account to stir from that point while he was
gone-he had just time to run around to the
post-office, and mail a forgotten letter; then he
vanished, and in the confusion and the crowd
Ester was alone. She did not feel, in the least,
flurried or nervous; on the contrary, she liked it,
this first experience of hers in a city depot; she
would not have had it made known to one of the
groups of fashionably-attired and very-much-at-
ease travelers who thronged past her for the
world-but the truth was, Ester had been having
her very first ride in the cars! Sadie had made
various little trips in company with school friends
to adjoining towns, after school books, or music,
or to attend a concert, or for pure fun; but,
though Ester had spent her eighteen years of life
in a town which had long been an Express Sta-
tion," yet want of time, or. of money, or of incli-
nation to take the bits of journeys which alone
were within her reach, had kept her at home.
Now she glanced at herself, at her faultlessly neat
and ladylike traveling suit. She could get a full
view of it in an opposite mirror, and it was be-
coming, from the dainty vail which fluttered
over her hat, to the shining tip of her walking
boots; and she gave a complacent little sigh, as
she said to herself: "I don't see but I look as
much like a traveler as any of them. I'm sure I
don't feel in the least confused. I'm glad I'm
6'4f S.T_F^ aRIr. DO
not as ridiculously dressed as that pert-looking
girl in brown. I should call it in very bad taste
to wear such a rich silk as that for traveling.
She doesn't look as though she had a single
idea beyond dress; probably that is what is oc-
cupying her thoughts at this very moment;"
and Ester's speaking face betrayed contempt
and conscious superiority, as she watched the
fluttering bit of silk and ribbons opposite. Ester
had a very mistaken opinion of herself in this
respect; probably she would have been startled
and indignant had any one told her that her
supposed contempt for the rich and elegant
attire displayed all around her, was really the
outgrowth of envy; that, when she told herself
she wouldn't lavish so much time and thought
and, above all, money, on mere outside show, it
was mere nonsense-that she already spent all
the time at her disposal, and all the money she
could possibly spare, on the very things which
she was condemning.
The truth was, Ester had a perfectly royal
taste in all these matters. Give her but the
wherewithal, and she would speedily have glis-
tened in silk, and sparkled with jewels; yet she
honestly thought that her bitter denunciation of
fashion and folly in this form was outward evi-
dence of a mind elevated far above such trivial
subjects, and looked down, accordingly, with
JO U[lL TIVIG.
cool contempt on those whom she was pleased
to denominate "butterflies of fashion."
And, in her flights into a "higher sphere of
thought," this absurdly inconsistent Ester never
once remembered how, just exactly a week ago
that day, she had gone around like a storm
king, in her own otherwise peaceful home, almost
wearing out the long-suffering patience. of her
weary mother, rendered the house intolerable to
Sadie, and actually boxed Julia's ears; and all
because she saw with her own common-sense
eyes that she really could not have her blue silk,
or rather Sadie's blue silk, trimmed with net-
ted fringe at twelve shillings a yard, but must
do with simple folds and a seventy-five-cent
Such a two weeks as the last had been in the
Ried family! The entire household had joined
in the commotion produced by Ester's projected
visit. It was marvelous how much there was to
do. Mrs. Ried toiled early and late, and made
many quiet little sacrifices, in order that her
daughter might not feel too keenly the difference
between her own and her cousin's wardrobe.
Sadie emptied what she denominated her finery
box, and donated every article in it, delivering
comic little lectures to each bit of lace and rib-
bon, as she smoothed them and patted them, and
told them they were going to New York. Julia
hemmed pocket handkerchiefs, and pricked her
poor little fingers unmercifully and uncomplain-
ingly. Alfred ran of errands with remarkable
promptness, but confessed to Julia privately that
it was because he was in such a hurry to have
Ester gone, so he could see how it would seem
for everybody to be good natured. Little Minie
got in. everybody's way as much as such a tiny
creature could, and finally brought the tears
to Ester's eyes, and set every one else into
bursts of laughter, by bringing a very smooth
little handkerchief about six inches square, and
offering it as her contribution toward the travel-
er's outfit. As for Ester, she was hurried and
nervous, and almost unendurably cross, through
the whole of it, wanting a hundred things which
it was impossible for her to have, and scorning
not a few little trifles that had been prepared for
her by patient, toil-worn fingers.
Ester, I do hope New York, or Cousin Abbie,
or somebody, will have a soothing and improv-
ing effect upon you," Sadie had said, with a sort
of good-humored impatience, only the night
before her departure. "Now that you have
reached the summit of your hopes, you seem
more uncomfortable about it than you were
even to stay at home. Do let us see you look
pleasant for just five minutes, that we may have
something good to remember you by,"
JO USJrlT YAI.4/. 6?
"My dear," Mrs. Ried had interposed, rebuk-
ingly, "Ester is hurried and tired, remember,
and has had a great many things to try her
to-day. I don't think it is a good plan, just as a
family are about to separate, to say any careless
or foolish words that we don't mean.. Mother
has a great many hard days of toil, which Ester
has given, to remember her by." Oh, the pa-
tient, tender, forgiving mother! Ester, being
asleep to her own faults, never once thought of
the sharp, fretful, half disgusted way in which
much of her work had been performed, but only
remembered, with a little sigh of satisfaction, the
many loaves of cake, and the rows of pies, which
she had baked that very morning in order to save
her mother's steps. This was all she thought of
now, but there came days when she was wide-
Meantime the New York train, after panting
and snorting several times to give notice that
the twenty minutes were about up, suddenly
puffed and rumbled its way out from the depot,
and left Ester obeying orders, that is, sitting iii
the corner where she had been placed by Mr.
Newton-being still outwardly, but there was in
her heart a perfect storm of vexation. "This
comes of mother's absurd fussiness in insisting
upon putting me in Mr. Newton's care, instead
of letting me travel alone, as I wanted to," she
fumed to herself. "Now we shall not get into
New York until after six o'clock! How pro-
"How provoking this is!" Mr. Newton ex-
claimed, re-echoing her thoughts as he bustled
in, red with haste and heat, and stood penitently
before her. "I hadn't the least idea it would
take so long to go to the post-office. I am very
Well," he continued, recovering his good
humor, notwithstanding Ester's provoking si-
lence, "what can't be cured must be endured,
Miss Ester; and it isn't as bad as it might be,
either. We've only to wait an hour and a quar-
ter. I've some errands to do, and I'll show you
the city with pleasure; or would you prefer sit-
ting here and looking around you?"
"I should decidedly prefer not running the
chance of missing the next train,"*Ester answered
very shortly. "So I think it will be wiser to stay
where I am."
In truth Mr. Newton endured the results of
his own carelessness with too much complacency
to suit Ester's state of mind; but he took no
notice of her broadly-given hint further than to
assure her that she need give herself no uneasi-
ness on that score; he should certainly be on
time. Then he went off, looking immensely
relieved; for Mr. Newton frankly confessed to
.JO U1MJ3E r^YLG. Q
himself that he did not know how to take care
of a lady. "If she were a parcel of goods now,
that one could get stored or checked, and knew
that she would come on all right, why-but a
lady. I'm not used to it. How easily I could
have caught that train, if I hadn't been obliged
to run back after her; but, bless me, I wouldn't
have her know that for the world." This he
said meditatively as he walked down South
The New York train had carried away the
greater portion of the throng at the depot, so
that Ester and the dozen or twenty people who
occupied the great sitting-room with her, had
comparative quiet. The wearer of the con--
demned brown silk and blue ribbons was still
there, and awoke Ester's vexation still further
by seeming utterly unable to keep herself quiet;
she fluttered -from seat to seat, and from window
to window, like an uneasy bird in a cage. Pres-
ently she addressed Ester in a bright little tone:
"Doe.sn't it bore you dreadfully to wait in a
".' Yes," said Ester, briefly and truthfully, not-
withstanding the fact that she was having her
first experience in that boredom.
"Are you going to New York ?"
I hope so," she answered, with energy. "I
expected to have been almost there by this time;
70 .E8!2.2? ^IEf.
but the gentleman who is supposed to be taking
care of me, had to rush off and stay just long
enough to miss the train."
How annoying! answered the blue ribbons,
with a soft laugh. "I missed it, too, in such a
silly way. I just ran around the corner to get
some chocolate drops, and a little matter detained
me a few moments; and when I came back, the
train had gone. I was so sorry, for I'm in such
a hurry to get home. Do you live in New
York ? "
Ester shook her head, and thought within
herself: "That is just as much sense as I should
suppose you to have-risk the chance of miss-
ing a train for the sake of a paper of candy."
Of couse Ester could not be expected to know
that the chocolate drops were for the wee sister
at home, whose heart would be nearly broken if
sister Fanny came home, after an absence of
twenty-four hours, without bringing her any
thing; and the "little matter" which detained
her a few moments, was joining the search after
a twenty-five-cent bill which the ruthless wind
had snatched from the hand of a barefooted,
bareheaded, and almost forlorn little girl, who
cried as violently as though her last hope in life
had been blown away with it; nor how, failing
in finding the treasure, the gold-clasped purse
had been opened, and a crisp, new bill had been
JO UJVJYE TWIXG. 7f
taken out to fill its place; neither am I at all
certain as to whether it would have made any
difference at all in Ester's verdict, 'if she had
known all the circumstances.
The side door opened quietly just at this point,
and a middle-aged man came in, carrying in one
hand a tool-box, and in the other a two-story tin
pail. Both girls watched him curiously as he
set these down on the floor, and, taking tacks
from his pocket and a hammer from his box, he
proceeded to tack a piece of paper to the wall.
Ester, from where she sat, could see that the pa-
per was small, and that something wts printed
on it in close, fine type. It didn't look in the
least like a handbill, or indeed like a notice of
any sort. Her desire to know what it could be
grew strong; two tiny tacks held it firmly in its
place. Then the man turned and eyed the in-
mates of the room, who were by this time giving
undivided attention to him and his bit of paper.
Presently he spoke, in a quiet, respectful tone:
I've tacked up a nice little tract. I thought
maybe while you was waiting you might like
something to read. If one of you would read it
aloud, all the rest could hear it." So saying, the
man stooped and took up his tool-box and his
tin pail, and went away, leaving the influences
connected with those two or three strokes of his
hammer to work for him through all time, and
meet him at the judgment. But if a bomb-shell
had suddenly come down and laid itself in ruins
at their feet, it could not have made a much
more startled company than the tract-tacker left
behind him. A tract!-actually tacked up on
the wall, and waiting for some human voice to
give it utterance! A tract in a railroad depot!
How queer! how singular! how almost im-
proper! Why? Oh, Ester didn't know; it was
so unusual. Yes; but then that didn't make it
improper. No; but-then, she-it- Well', it
was fanatical. Oh yes, that was it. She knew
it was improper in some way. It was strange
that that very convenient word should have
escaped her for a little. This talk Ester held
hurriedly with her conscience. It was asleep,
you know; but just then it nestled as in a dream,
and gave her a little prick; but that industrious,
important word, "fanatical," lulled it back to its
rest. Meantime there hung the tract, and flut-
tered a little in the summer air, as the door
opened and closed. Was no one to give it voice?
I'd like dreadful well to hear it," an old lady
said, nodding her gray head toward the little leaf
on the wall; "but I've packed up my specs, and
might just as well have no eyes at all, as far as
reading' goes, when I haven't got my specs on.
There's some young eyes round here though,
one would think," she added, looking inquiringly
0 tr/VLY I 7jV. Yf
around. You won't need glasses, I should say
now, for a spell of years!"
This remark, or hint, or inquiry, was directed
squarely at Ester, and received no other answer
than a shrug of the shoulder and an impatient
tapping of her heels on the bare floor. Under
her breath Ester muttered, "Disagreeable old
The brown silk rustled, and the blue ribbons
fluttered restlessly for a minute; then their own-
er's clear voice suddenly broke the silence: I'll
read it for you, ma'am, if you really would like
to hear it."
The wrinkled, homely, happy old face broke
into a beaming smile, as she turned toward
the pink-cheeked, blue-eyed maiden. "That I
would," she answered, heartily, "dreadful well.
I ain't heard nothing good, 'pears to me, since I
started; and I've come two hundred miles. It
seems as if it might kind of lift me up, and rest
me like, to hear something real good again."
With the flush on her face a little heightened,
the young girl promptly crossed to where the
tract hung; and a strange stillness settled over
the-listeners as her clear voice sounded distinctly
down the long room. This was what she read:
74 7STE8Ei 7?TE29,
"Dear Friend: Are you a Christian ? What
have you done to-day for Christ? Are the
friends with whom you have been talking travel-
ing. toward the New Jerusalem ? Did you com-
pare notes with them as to how you were all
prospering on the way? Is that stranger by
your side a fellow-pilgrim? Did you ask him
if he would be ? Have you been careful to rec-
ommend the religion of Jesus Christ by your
words, by your acts, by your looks, this day?
If danger comes to you, have you this day
asked Christ to be your helper? If death comes
to you this night, are you prepared to give up
your account? What would your record of this
last day be? A blank? What! Have you
done nothing for the Master ? Then what have
you done against Him ? Nothing? Nay, verily!
Is not the Bible doctrine, 'He that is not for me
is against me ?'
Remember that every neglected opportunity,
every idle word, every wrong thought of yours
has been written down this day. You can not
take back the thoughts or words; you can not
recall the opportunity. This day, with all its
mistakes, and blots, and mars, you can never live
over again. It must go up to the judgment just
as it is. Have you begged the blood of Jesus to
JO & ?r-IYE YTI. 7
be spread over it all? Have you resolved that
no other day shall witness a repeatal of the same
mistakes? Have you resolved in your "own
strength or in His ?"
During the reading of the tract, a young man
had entered, paused a moment in surprise at the
unwonted scene, then moved with very quiet
tread across the room and took the vacant seat
near Ester. As the reader came back to her
former seat, with the pink on her cheek deepened
into warm crimson, the new comer greeted her
Good-evening, Miss Fannie. Have you been
finding work to do for the Master?"
"Only a very little thing," she answered, with
a voice in which there was a slight tremble.
"I don't know about that, my dear." This
was the old woman's voice. I'm sure I thank
you a great deal. They're kind of startling
questions like; enough to most scare a body,
unless you was trying pretty hard, now ain't
"Very solemn questions, indeed," answered
the- gentleman to whom this question seemed to
be addressed. "I wonder, if we were each
obliged to write truthful answers to each one -
of them, how many we should be ashamed to
have each other see ? "
How many would be ashamed to have Him
see?" The old woman spoke with an emphatic
shake of her gray head, and a reverent touch of
That is the vital point," he said. "Yet how
much more ashamed we often seem to be of
man's judgment than of God's."
Then he turned suddenly to Ester, and spoke
in a quiet, respectful tone:
Is the stranger by my side a fellow-pilgrim ?"
Ester was startled and confused. The whole
scene had been a very strange one to her. She
tried to think the blue-ribboned girl was dread-
fully out of her sphere; but the questions follow-
ing each other in such quick succession, were so
very solemn, and personal, and searching-and
now this one. She hesitated, and stammered,
and flushed like a school-girl, as at last she
faltered: "I-I think-I believe-I am."
"Then I trust you are wide-awake, and a faith-.
ful worker in the vineyard,", he said, earnestly.
"These are times when the Master needs true
and faithful workmen."
He's a minister," said Ester, positively, to
herself, when she had recovered from her confu- (
sion sufficiently to observe him closely, as he
carefully folded the old woman's shawl for her
took her box and basket in his care, and courte-
ously offered his hand to assist her into the cars;
JO (UT=iA 2'I^W." 7?
for the New York train thundered in at last, and
Mr. Newton presented himself; and they rushed
and jostled each other out of the depot and into
the train. And the little tract hung quietly in its
corner; and the carpenter who had left it there,
hammered, and sawed, and planed-yes, and
prayed that God would use it, and knew not
then, nor afterward, that it had already awakened
thoughts that would tell for eternity.
THE JOURNEY'S END.
I..ES, he's a minister," Ester repeated, even
R more decidedly, as, being seated in the
c swift-moving train, directly behind the old
lady and the young gentleman who had
become the subject of her thoughts, she found
leisure to observe him more closely. Mr. New-
ton was absorbed in the Trilbune; so she gave
her undivided attention to the two, and could
hear snatches of the conversation which passed
between them, as well as note the courteous care
with which he brought her a cup of water and
attended to all her simple wants. During the
stopping of the train at a station, their talk be-
"And I haven't seen my boy, don't you think,
in ten years," the old lady was saying. "Won't
he be glad though, to see his mother once more ?
And he's got children--two of them; one is
rTIE JOURJILVEY' S E.xD. 7,6
named after me, Sabrina. It's an awful homely
name, I think, don't you ? But then, you see, it
"And that makes all the difference in the
world," her companion answered. "So the old
home is broken up, and you are going to make
a new one."
Yes; and I'll show you every thing I've got
to remember my old garden by."
With eager, trembling fingers, she untied the
string which held down the cover of her basket,
and, rummaging within, brought to light a with-
ered bouquet of the very. commonest and, per-
haps, the very homeliest flowers that grew, if
there are any homely flowers.
"There," she said, holding it tenderly, and
speaking with quivering lip and trembling voice.
"I picked 'em the very last thing I did, out in
my own little garden patch by the backdoor.
Oh, times and times I've sat and weeded and
dug around them, with him sitting on the stoop
and reading out loud to me. I thought all about
just how it was while I was picking these. I
didn't stay no longer, and I didn't go back to the
house after that. I couldn't; I just pulled my
sun-bonnet over my eyes, and went across lots
to where I was going to get my breakfast."
Ester felt very sorry for the poor homeless,
friendless old woman-felt as though she would
80 EST7E? 2IE2S.
have been willing to do a good deal just then
to make her comfortable; yet it must be con-
fessed that that awkward bunch of faded flowers,
arranged without the slightest regard to colors,
looked rather ridiculous; and she felt surprised,
iand not a little puzzled, to see actual tears stand-
ing in the eyes of her companion as he handled
the bouquet with gentle care.
"Well," he said, after a moment of quiet, "you
are not leaving your best friend after all. Does
it comfort your heart very much to remember
that, in all your partings and trials, you are nev-
er called upon to bid Jesus good-by ?"
"What a way he has of bringing that subject
into every conversation," commented Ester, who
was now sure that he was a minister. Someway
Ester had fallen into a way of thinking that
every one who spoke freely concerning these
matters must be either a fanatic or a minister.
Oh, that's about all the comfort I've got left."
"This answer came forth from a full heart, and
eyes brimming with tears. "And I don't s'pose
I need any other, if I've got Jesus left. I
oughtn't to need any thing else; but sometimes
I get impatient-it seems to me I've been here
long enough, and it's time I got home."
"How is it with the boy who is expecting you ;
has he this same friend ?"
The gray head was slowly and sorrowfully
THrE 7JO UITVY J'E T8' E S
shaken. "Oh, I'm afraid he don't know noth-
ing about Him."
Ah! then you have work to do; you can't
be spared to rest yet. I presume the Master is
waiting for you to lead that son to himself."
"I mean to, I mean to, sir," she said earnestly;
" but sometimes I think maybe my coffin could
do it better than I; but God knows-and I'm
trying to be patient."
Then the train whirred on again, and Ester
missed the rest; but one sentence thrilled her-
" Maybe my coffin could do it better than I."
How earnestly she spoke, as if she were willing
to die at once, if by that she could save her son.
How earnest they both were, anyway-the wrin-
kled, homely, ignorant old woman and the cul-
tivated, courtly gentleman. Ester was ill at
ease-conscience was arousing her to unwonted
thought. These two were different fi-om her.
She was a Christian-at least she supposed so,
hoped so; but she was not like them. There
was a very decided difference. Were they right,
and was she all wrong? wasn't she a Christian
after all ? and at this thought she actually shiv-
ered. She was not willing to give up her title,
weak though it might be.
Oh, well! she decided, after a little, she
is an old woman, almost through with life. Of
course she looks at everything through a differ-
82 ESTrE .?IED .
ent aspect from what a young girl like me natur-
ally would; and as for him, ministers always are
different from other people, of course."
Foolish Ester! Did she suppose that ministers
have a private Bible of their own, with rules of
life set down therein for them, quite different
from those written for her! And as for the old
woman, almost through with life, how near might
Ester be to the edge of her own life at that very
moment! When the train stopped again the
two were still talking.
I just hope my boy will look like you," the
old lady said suddenly, fixing admiring eyes on
the tall form that stood beside her, patiently
waiting for the cup from which she was drinking
the tea which he had procured for her.
Ester followed the glance of her eye, and
laughed softly at the extreme improbability of
her hope being realized, while he answered
"I hope he will be a noble boy, and love his
mother as she deserves; then it will matter very
little who he looks like."
While the cup was being returned there wa3
a bit of toilet making going on; the gray hair
was smoothed back under the plain cap, and
the faded, twisted shawl rearranged and care-
fully pinned. Meantime her thoughts seemed
troubled, and she looked up anxiously into the
rHEV JOUIA'EI"S SEJ. S4
face of her comforter as he again took his seat
"I'm just thinking I'm such a homely old
thing, and New York is such a grand place, I've
heard them say. I do hope he won't be ashamed
of his mother."
No danger," was the hearty answer; "he'll
th.nk you are the most beautiful woman he has
seen in ten years."
There is no way to describe the happy look
which shone in the faded blue eyes at this an-
swer; and she laughed a softly, pleased laugh
as she said:
Maybe he'll be like the man I read about the
other day. Some mean, old scamp told him
how homely his mother was; and he said, says
he, 'Yes, she's a homely woman, sure enough;
but oh she's such a beautiful mother!' Whiat
ever will I do when I get in New York," she
added quickly, seized with a sudden anxiety.
"Just as like as not, now, he never got a bit of
my letter, and won't be there to get me!"
Do you know where your son lives ?"
Oh, yes, I've got it on a piece of paper, the
street and the number; but bless your heart, I
shouldn't know whether to go up, or down, or
Just the shadow of a smile flitted over her
friend's face as the thought of the poor old
lady, trying to make her way through the city,
came to him. Then he hastened to reassure her.
"Then we are all right, whether he meets you
or not; we can take a carriage and drive there.
I will see you safe at home before I leave you."
This crowning act of kindness brought the
I don't know why you are so good to me,"
she said simply, "unless you are the friend I
prayed for to help me through this journey. If
you are, it's all right; God will see that you are
paid for it."
And before Ester had done wondering over
the singular quaintness of this last remark there
was a sudden triumphant shriek from the en-
gine, and a tremendous din, made up of a con-
fusion of more sounds than she had ever heard
in her life before; then all was hurry and bustle
around her, and she suddenly awakened to the
fact that as soon as they had crossed the ferry
she would actually be in New York. Even then
she bethought herself to take a curious parting
look at the oddly matched couple who were
carefully making their way through the crowd,
and wonder if she would ever see them again.
The next hour was made up of bewilderment
to Ester. She had a confused remembrance
afterward of floating across a silver river in a
palace; of reaching a place where everybody
screamed instead of talked, and where all the
bells were ringing for fire, or something else.
She looked eagerly about for her uncle, and saw
at least fifty men who resembled him, as she saw
him last, about ten years ago. She fumbled
nervously for his address in her pocket-book,
and gave Mr. Newton a recipe for making mince-
pies instead; finally she found herself tumbled in
among cushions and driving right into carriages
and carts and people, who all got themselves mys-
teriously out of the way; down streets that.she
thought must surely be the ones that the bells
were ringing for, as they were all ablaze. It had
been arranged that Ester's escort should see her
safely set down at her uncle's door, as she had
been unable to state the precise time of her arri-
val; and besides, as she was an entire stranger
to her uncle's family, they could not determine
any convenient plan for meeting each other at
the depot. So Ester was whirled through the
streets at a dizzying rate, and, with eyes and
ears filled with bewildering sights and sounds,
was finally deposited before a great building,
aglow with gas and gleaming with marble. Mr.
Newton rang the bell, and Ester, making con-
fused adieus to him, was meantime ushered into1
a hall looking not unlike Judge Warren's best
parlor. A sense of awe, not unmixed with lone-
liness and almost terror, stole over her as the
man who opened the door stood waiting, after a
civil-" Whom do you wish to see, and what
name shall I send up ?"
"Whom did she wish to see, and what was
her name, anyway. Could this be her uncle's
house? Did she want to see any of them?"
She felt half afraid of them all. Suddenly the
dignity and grandeur seemed to melt into gen-
tleness before her, as the tiniest of little women
appeared and a bright, young voice broke into
"Is this really my cousin Ester? And so you
have come! How perfectly splendid. Where
is Mr. Newton ? Gone? Why, John, you ought
to have smuggled him in to dinner. We are so
much obliged to him for taking care of you.
John, send those trunks up to my room. You'll
room with me, Ester, won't you? Mother thought
I ought to put you in solitary state in a spare
chamber, but I couldn't. You see I have been
so many years waiting for you, that now I want
you every bit of the time."
All this while she was giving her loving little
pats and kisses, on their way up stairs, whither
she at once carried the traveler. Such a perfect
gem of a room as that was into which she was
ushered. Ester's love of beauty seemed likely
to be fully gratified; she cast one eager glance
around her, took in all the charming little details
"tflE JO UIryfl 8 -EJV. 7
in a second of time, and then gave her undivided
attention to this wonderful person before her,
who certainly was, in veritable flesh and blood,
the much- dreamed over, much-longed for Cousin
Abbie. A hundred times had Ester painted her
portrait-tall and dark and grand, with a per-
fectly regal form and queenly air, hair black as
midnight, coiled in heavy masses around her
head, eyes blacker if possible than her hair. As
to dress, it was very difficult to determine; some-
times it was velvet and diamonds, or, if the sea-
son would not possibly admit of that, then a
rich, dark silk, never, by any chance, a material
lighter than silk. This had been her picture,
Now she could not suppress a laugh as she noted
the contrast between it and the original. She
was even two inches shorter than Ester herself,
with a manner much more like a fairy's than a
queen's; instead of heavy coils of black hair,
there were little rings of brown curls clustering
around a fair, pale forehead, and continually
peeping over into the bluest of eyes; then her
dress was the softest and quietest of muslins,
with a pale-blue tint. Ester's softly laugh chimed
merrily; she turned quickly.
"Now have you found something to laugh at
in me already? she said gleefully.
"Why," said Ester, forgetting to be startled
over the idea that she should laugh at Cousin
Abbie, I'm only laughing to think how totally
different you are from your picture."
"From my picture! "
"Yes, the one which I had drawn of you in
my own mind. I thought you were tall, and
had black hair, and dressed in silks, like a grand
Abbie laughed again.
Don't condemn me to silks in such weather
as this, at least," she said gaily. Mother thinks
I am barbarous to summon friends to the city in
August; but the circumstances are such that it
could not well be avoided. So put on your
coolest dress, and be as comfortable as possi-
This question of how she should appear on
this first evening had been one of Ester's puz-
zles; it would hardly do to don her blue silk at
once, and she had almost decided to choose the
black one; but Abbie's laugh and shrug of the
shoulder had settled the question of silks. So
now she stood in confused indecision before her
Abbie came to the rescue.
Shall I help you ? she said, coming forward
"I'll not ring for Maggie to-night, but be wait-
ing maid myself Suppose I hang up some of
these dresses? And which shall I leave for
you ? This looks the coolest," and she held up
to Ester's view the pink and white muslin which
did duty as an afternoon dress at home.
Well," said Ester, with a relieved smile, I'll
And she thought within- her heart: They are
not so grand after all."
Presently they went down to dinner, and in
view of the splendor of the dining-room, and
sparkle of gas and the glitter of silver, she
changed her mind again and thought them very
Her uncle's greeting was very cordial; and
though Ester found it impossible to realize that
her Aunt Helen was actually three years older
than her own mother, or indeed that she was a
middle-aged lady at all, so very bright and gay
and altogether unsuitable did her attire appear;
yet on the whole she enjoyed the first two hours
of her visit very much, and surprised and de-
lighted herself at the ease with whiph she slipped
into the many new ways which she saw around
her. Only once did she find herself very much
confused; to her great astonishment and dismay
she was served with a glass of wine. Now
Ester, among the stanch temperance friends with
whom she had hitherto passed her life, had met
with no such trial of her temperance principles,
which she supposed were sou-d and strong; yet
here she was at her uncle's table, sitting near
90 XE8TEl J1 JE).
her aunt, who was contentedly sipping from her
glass. Would it be prope-, under the circum
stances, to refuse? Yet would it be proper to
do violence to her sense of right ?
Ester had no pledge to break, except the
pledge with her own conscience; and it is most
sadly true that that sort of pledge does not seem
to be so very binding in the estimation of some
people. So Ester sat and toyed with hers, and
came to the very unwarrantable conclusion that
what her uncle offered for her entertainment it
must be proper for her to take! Do Ester's
good sense the justice of understanding that she
didn't believe any such thing; that she knew it
was her own conscience by which she was to be
judged, not her uncle's; that such smooth-sound-
ing arguments honestly meant that whatever her
uncle offered for her entertainment she had not
the moral courage to refuse. So she raised the
dainty wine-glass to her lips, and never once
bethought herself to look at Abbie and notice
how the color mounted and deepened on her
face, nor how her glass remained untouched be-
side her plate. On the whole Ester was glad
when all the bewildering ceremony of the dinner
was concluded, and she, on the strength of her
being wearied with her journey, was permitted
to retire with Abbie to their room.
iTOW I have you all to myself," that young
lady said, with a happy smile, as she
Turned the key on the retreating Maggie
and wheeled an ottoman to Ester's side.
"Where shall we commence? I have so very
much to say and hear; I want to know all about
Aunt Laura, and Sadie, and the twins. Oh,
Ester, you have a little brother; aren't you so
glad he is a little boy ?"
Why, I don't know," Ester said, hesitatingly;
then more decidedly, "No; I am always think-
ing how glad I should be if he were a young
man, old enough to go out with me, and be
company for me."
"I know that is pleasant; but there are very
serious drawbacks. Now, there's our Ralph, it
is very pleasant to have him for company; and
02 _E$TE 1 IE IE.
yet-Well, Ester, he isn't a Christian, and it
seems all the time to me that he is walking on
quicksands. I am in one continual tremble for
him, and I wish so often that he was just a little
boy, no older than your brother Alfred; then I
could learn his tastes, and indeed mold them in
a measure by having him with me a great deal;
and it does seem to me that I could make relig-
ion appear such a pleasant thing to him, that he
couldn't help seeking Jesus for himself. Don't
you enjoy teaching Alfred?"
Poor, puzzled Ester! With what a matter-of-
course air her cousin asked this question. Could
she possibly tell her that she sometimes never
gave Alfred a thought from one week's end to
another, and that she never in her life thought
of teaching him a single thing.
"I am not his teacher," she said at length.
"I have no time for any such thing; he goes to
school, you know, and mother helps him."
"Well," said Abbie, with a thoughtful air, I
don't quite mean teaching, either; at least not
lessons and things of that sort, though I think
I should enjoy having him depend on me in all
his needs; but I was thinking more especially
of winning him to Jesus; it seems so much
easer to do it while one js young. Perhaps he
is a Christian now; is he? "
S;ter merely shook her head in answer. She
"CO &'J 1.f' IE. 9j
could not look in those earnest blue eyes and
say that she had never, by word or act, asked
him to come to Jesus.
"Well, that is what I mean; you have so
much more chance than 1, it seems to me. Oh,
my heart is so heavy for Ralph! I am all alone.
Ester, do you know that neither my mother nor
my father are Christians, and our home influence
is-; well, is not what a young man needs. He
is very-gay they call it. There are his friends
here in the city, and his friends in college,-
none of them the style of people that I like
him to be with,-and only poor little me to stem
the tide of worldliness all around him. There
is one thing in particular that troubles me-he
is, or rather he is not-," and here poor Abbie
stopped, and a little silence followed. After a
moment she spoke again: "Oh, Ester, you will
learn what I mean without my telling you; it is
something in which I greatly need your help.
I depend upon you; I have looked forward to
your coming, on his account as well as on my
own. I know it will be bet-ter for him."
Ester longed to ask what the "something"
was, and what was expected of her; but the
pained look on Abbie's face deterred her, and
she contented herself by saying:
"Where is he now?"
"In college; coming next week. I long, on
his account, to have a home of my own. I be-
lieve I can show him a style of life which will
appear better to him than the one he is leading
This led to a longtalk on the coming wed-
Mother is very much disturbed that it should
occur in August," Abbie said; "and of course
it is not pleasant as it would be later; but the
trouble is, Mr. Foster is obliged to go abroad in
Who is Mr. Foster? Can't you be married
if he isn't here? "
Not very well," Abbie said, with a bright
little laugh. "You see he is the one who has
asked me to marry him."
"Why! is he?" and Ester laughed at her
former question; then, as a sudden thought
occurred to her, she asked: "Is he a minister ?"
Oh dear no, he is only a merchant."
"Is he a-a Christian ?" was her next query,
and so utterly unused was she to conversation
on this subject, that she actually stammered over
the simple sentence.
Such a bright, earnest face as was turned to-
ward her at this question!
"Ester," said Abbie quickly, "I couldn't
marry a man who was not a Christian."
Why," Ester asked, startled a little at the
energy of her tone, "do you think it is wrong ?"
"Perhaps not for every one. I think one's
own carefully enlightened conscience should
prayerfully decide the question; but it would be
wrong for me. I am too weak; it would hinder
my own growth in grace. I feel that I need all
the human helps I can get. Yes, Mr. Foster is
an earnest Christian."
Do you suppose," said Ester, growing met-
aphysical, "that if Mr. Foster were not a Chris-
tian you would marry him?"
A little shiver quivered through AbUie's frame
as she answered:
I hope I should have strength to do what I
thought right; and I believe I should."
"Yes, you think so now," persisted Ester, "be-
cause there is no danger of any such trial; but
I tell you I don't believe, if you were brought
to the test, that you would do any such thing."
Abbie's tone in reply was very humble.
Perhaps not-I might miserably fail; and
yet, Ester, He has said,' My grace is sufficient
for thee.' "
Then, after a little silence, the bright look
returned to her face as she added:
"I am very glad that I am not to be tried in
that furnace; and do you know,. Ester, I never
believed in making myself a martyr to what
might have been, or even what may be in the
future; 'sufficient unto the day' is my motto.
If it should ever be my duty to burn at the
stake, I believe I should go to my Savior and
plead for the 'sufficient grace;' but as long as I
have no such known trial before me, I don't
know why I should be asking for what I do not
need, or grow unhappy over improbabilities,
though I do pray every day to be prepared for
whatever the future has for me."
Then the talk drifted back again to the various
details connected with the wedding, until sud-
denly Abbie came to her feet with a spring.
"Why, Ester!" she exclaimed penitently,
What a thoughtless wretch I am! Here have
I been chattering-you fairly into midnight, with-
out a thought of your tired body and brain.
This session must adjourn immediately. Shall
you and I have prayers together to-night? Will
it seem homelike to you ? Can you play I am
Sadie for just a little while ?"
"I should like it," Ester answered faintly.
"Shall I read, as you are so weary?" and,
without waiting for a reply, she unclasped the
lids of her little Bible. Are you reading the
Bible by course? Where do you like best to
read, for devotional reading I mean ?"
"I don't know that I have any choice ?
EAter's voice was fainter still.
"Haven't you? I have my special verses
c~orT8LY ^1 u. 897
that I turn to in my various needs. Where are
you and Sadie reading? "
No where," said Ester desperately.
Abbie's face expressed only innocent surprise.
Don't you read together? You are room-
mates, aren't you? Now I always thought it
would be so delightful to have a nice little time,
like family worship, in one's own room."
"Sadie doesn't care anything about these
things, she isn't a Christian," Ester said at length.
"Oh, dear! isn't she?" What avery sad and
troubled tone it was in which Abbie spoke.
"Then you know something of my anxiety;
and yet it is different. She is younger than
you, and you can have her so much under your
influence. At least it seems different to me.
How prone we are to consider our own anxieties
Ester never remembered giving a half hour's
anxious thought to this which was supposed to
be an anxiety with her in all her life; but she
did not say so, and Abbie continued: Who is
your particular Christian friend, then?"
What an exceedingly trying and troublesome
talk this was to Ester! What was she to say?
Clearly nothing but the truth.
"Abbie, I haven't a friend in the world."
You poor, dear child; then we are situated
very much alike after all-though I have dear