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

“Yours nonsensically; SADIE.”

CHAPTER XX.

AT HOME.

Over this letter Ester had laughed and cried, and finally settled, as we found her, into quiet thought.  When Abbie came in after a little, and nestled on an ottoman in front of her, with an inquiring look, Ester placed the letter in her hands, without note or comment, and Abbie read and laughed considerably, then grew more sober, and at last folded the letter with a very thoughtful face.

“Well,” said Ester, at last, smiling a little.

And Abbie answered:  “Oh, Ester.”

“Yes,” said Ester, “you see they need me.”

Then followed a somewhat eager, somewhat sorrowful talk, and then a moment of silence fell between them, which Abbie broke by a sudden question: 

“Ester, isn’t this Dr. Douglass gaining some influence over Sadie?  Have I imagined it, or does she speak of him frequently in her letters, in a way that gives me an idea that his influence is not for good?”

“I’m afraid it is very true; his influence over her seems to be great, and it certainly is not for good.  The man is an infidel, I think.  At least he is very far indeed from being a Christian.  Do you know I read a verse in my Bible this morning which, when I think of my past influence over Sadie, reminds me bitterly of myself.  It was like this:  ‘While men slept his enemy came and sowed tares—.’  If I had not been asleep I might have won Sadie for the Savior before this enemy came.”

“Well,” Abbie answered gently, not in the least contradicting this sad statement, but yet speaking hopefully, “you will try to undo all this now.”

“Oh, Abbie, I don’t know.  I am so weak—­like a child just beginning to take little steps alone, instead of being the strong disciple that I might have been.  I distrust myself.  I am afraid.”

“I’m not afraid for you,” Abbie said, speaking very earnestly.  “Because, in the first place you are unlike the little child, in that you must never even try to take one step alone.  And besides, there are more verses in the Bible than that one.  See here, let me show you mine.”

And Abbie produced her little pocket Bible, and pointed with her finger while Ester read; “When I am weak, then am I strong.”  Then turning the leaves rapidly, as one familiar with the strongholds of that tower of safety, she pointed again, and Ester read:  “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.”

Almost five o’clock of a sultry October day, one of those days which come to us sometimes during that golden month, like a regretful turning back of the departing summer.  A day which, coming to people who have much hard, pressing work, and who are wearied and almost stifled with the summer’s heat, makes them thoroughly uncomfortable, not to say cross.  Almost five o’clock, and in the great dining-room of the Rieds Sadie was rushing nervously back and

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