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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 213 pages of information about Ester Ried.

“O!” 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 thankful that the group on the piazza had not?

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 not.

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 Anden were not among them.  O, Ester was asleep!  She went to church on the Sabbath, and to preparatory lecture on a week day; she read a few verses in her Bible, frequently, not every day; 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 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 tender lambs!

This was Ester, and this was Ester’s home.

CHAPTER II.

WHAT SADIE THOUGHT.

Sadie Ried was the merriest, most thoughtless young creature of sixteen years that ever brightened and bothered a home.  Merry 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 crossly 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 morning.

“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 cake.”

“Yes, ma’am,” said Sadie, appearing promptly from the dining-room, with Minnie perched triumphantly 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 significantly.

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