And Ruth looked down on the exquisite bit of flesh and blood beside her, and thought of her elegant home and her elegant mother, and of all the softening and enervating influences of her city life, and laughed. How little had she in common with such a work as that to which Mrs. Partridge had given her soul!
Keeping her eyes open, as she had planned to do, this same Flossy saw as she was passing down the aisle the hungry face of one of her boys, as she had mentally called the Arabs with whom her life had brushed on the Sunday morning The word just described it still, a hungry face like one hanging wistfully around the outskirts of a feast in which he had no share. Flossy let go her hold of Ruth’s arm and darted toward him.
“How do you do?” she said, in winning voice, before he had even seen her. “I am real glad to see you again. If you will come with me I will get a seat for you. A lady is going to speak this afternoon who has five hundred boys in her class in Sunday-school.”
Now the Flossy of two weeks ago, if she could have imagined herself in any such business, would have been utterly disgusted with the result, and gone away with her pretty nose very high.
The boy turned his dirty face toward her and said, calmly:
“What a whopper!”
The experience of a lifetime could not have answered more deftly:
“You come and see. I am almost certain she will tell us about some of them.”
Still he stared, and Flossy waited with her pretty face very near to his, and her pretty hand held coaxingly out.
“Come,” she said again. And it could not have been more to the boy’s surprise than it was to hers that he presently said:
“Well, go ahead. I can send if I don’t like it. I’ll follow.”
And he did.
It required Flossy’s eyes and heart both to keep watch of her boy during the progress of that meeting. The novelty of the scene, the strangeness of seeing ladies occupying the speaker’s stand, kept him quiet and alert, until Mrs. Partridge, that woman with wonderful power over the forgotten, neglected portion of the world, arrested all his bewildering thoughts and centered them on the strange stories she had to tell.
Did you ever hear her tell that remarkable story of her first attempt at controlling that remarkable class which came under her care, many years ago, in St. Louis? It is full of wonder and pathos and terror and fascination, even to those who are somewhat familiar with such experiences. But Flossy and her boy had never heard, or dreamed of its like. No, I am wrong; the boy had dreamed of scenes just so wild and daring, but even he had not fancied that such people ever found their way to Sunday-schools.