So these three lived their lives under that same roof, and guessed not what the end might be.
THE STRANGE CHRISTIAN.
“Abbie,” said Ester, wriggling herself around from before an open trunk, and letting a mass of collars and cuffs slide to the floor in her earnestness, “do you know I think you’re the very strangest girl I ever knew in my life?”
“I’m sure I did not,” Abbie answered gaily. “If it’s a nice ‘strange’ do tell me about it. I like to be nice—ever so much.”
“Well, but I am in earnest, Abbie; you certainly are. These very collars made me think of it. Oh dear me! they are all on the floor.” And she reached after the shining, sliding things.
Abbie came and sat down beside her, presently, with a mass of puffy lace in her hands, which she was putting into shape.
“Suppose we have a little talk, all about myself,” she said gently and seriously. “And please tell me, Ester, plainly and simply, what you mean by the term ‘strange.’ Do you know I have heard it so often that sometimes I fear I really am painfully unlike other people. You are just the one to enlighten me.”
Ester laughed a little as she answered: “You are taking the matter very seriously. I did not mean any thing dreadful.”
“Ah! but you are not to be excused in that way, my dear Ester. I look to you for information. Mother has made the remark a great many times, but it is generally connected in some way with religious topics, and mother, you know, is not a Christian; therefore I have thought that perhaps some things seemed strange to her which would not to—you, for instance. But since you have been here you have spoken your surprise concerning me several times, and looked it oftener; and to-day I find that even my stiff and glossy, and every way proper, collars and cuffs excite it. So do please tell me, ought I to be in a lunatic asylum somewhere instead of preparing to go to Europe?”
Now although Ester laughed again, at the mixture of comic and pathetic in Abbie’s tone, yet something in the words had evidently embarrassed her. There was a little struggle in her mind, and then she came boldly forth with her honest thoughts.
“Well, the strangeness is connected with religious topics in my mind also; even though I am a professing Christian I do not understand you. I am an economist in dress, you know, Abbie. I don’t care for these things in the least; but if I had the money as you have, there are a great many things which I should certainly have. You see there is no earthly sense in your economy, and yet you hesitate over expenses almost as much as I do.”
There was a little gleam of mischief in Abbie’s eyes as she answered: “Will you tell me, Ester, why you would take the trouble to get ’these things’ if you do not care for them in the least?”
“Why because—because—they would be proper and befitting my station in life.”