“But I didn’t say that” persisted Marjorie. “You help people to do it for themselves.”
“I wonder if that is my work in the world,” rejoined Miss Prudence, musingly. “I could not choose anything to fit me better—I had no thought that I have ever succeeded; I never put it to myself in that way.”
“Perhaps I’ll begin some day. Helen Rheid helps Hollis. He isn’t the same boy; he studies and buys books and notices things to be admired in people, and when he is full of fun he isn’t rough. I don’t believe I ever helped anybody.”
“You have some work to do upon yourself first. And I am sure you have helped educate your mother and father.”
Marjorie pulled to pieces the green leaf that had floated in upon her lap and as she kept her eyes on the leaf she pondered.
Her companion was “talking over her head” purposely to-day; she had a plan for Marjorie and as she admitted to herself she was “trying the child to see what she was made of.”
She congratulated herself upon success thus far.
“That children do educate their mothers is the only satisfactory reason I have found when I have questioned why God does give children to some mothers.”
“Then what becomes of the children?” asked Marjorie, alarmed.
“The Giver does not forget them; he can be a mother himself, you know.”
Marjorie did not know; she had always had her mother. Had she lost something, therefore, in not thus finding out God? Perhaps, in after life she would find his tenderness by losing—or not having—some one else. It was not too bad, for it would be a great pity if there were not such interruptions, but at this instant Linnet’s housewifely face was pushed in at the door, and her voice announced: “Dinner in three minutes and a half! Chicken-pie for the first course and some new and delicious thing for dessert.”
“Oh, splendid!” cried Marjorie, hopping up. “And we’ll finish everything after dinner, Miss Prudence.”
“As the lady said to the famous traveller at a dinner party: ’We have five minutes before dinner, please tell me all about your travels,’” said Miss Prudence, rising and laughing.
“You remember you haven’t told me what you sent me for the Bible to show me that unhappy—no, happy time—I broke the picture,” reminded Marjorie, leading the way to the dining-room.
UNDER THE APPLE-TREE.
“Never the little seed stops in its growing.”—Mrs. Osgood.
Linnet moved hither and thither, after the dinner dishes were done, all through the house, up stairs and down, to see that everything was in perfect order before she might dress and enjoy the afternoon. Linnet was pre-eminently a housekeeper, to her mother’s great delight, for her younger daughter was not developing according to her mind in housewifely arts.
“That will come in time,” encouraged Marjorie’s father when her mother spoke faultfindingly of some delinquency in the kitchen.