Sadie hushed her busy tongue that evening as she saw in the moonlight Ester kneeling to pray; and a kind of awe stole over her for a moment as she saw that the kneeler seemed unconscious of any earthly presence. Somehow it struck Sadie as a different matter from any kneeling which she had ever watched in the moonlight before.
And Ester, as she rested her tired, happy head upon her own pillow, felt this word ringing sweetly in her heart: “And ye are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.”
Ester was winding the last smooth coil of hair around her head when Sadie opened her eyes the next morning.
“My!” she said. “Do you know, Ester, it is perfectly delightful to me to lie here and look at you, and remember that I shall not be responsible for those cakes this morning? They shall want a pint of soda added to them for all that I shall need to know or care.”
Ester laughed. “You will surely have your pantry well stocked with soda,” she said, gayly. “It seems to have made a very strong impression on your mind.”
But the greeting had chimed with her previous thoughts and sounded pleasant to her. She had come home to be the helper; her mother and Sadie should feel and realize after this how very much of a helper she could be. That very day should be the commencement of her old, new life. It was baking day—her detestation heretofore, her pleasure now. No more useful day could be chosen. How she would dispatch the pies and cakes and biscuits, to say nothing of the wonderful loaves of bread. She smiled brightly on her young sister, as she realized in a measure the weight of care which she was about to lift from her shoulders; and by the time she was ready for the duties of the day she had lived over in imagination the entire routine of duties connected with that busy, useful, happy day. She went out from her little clothes-press wrapped in armor—the pantry and kitchen were to be her battle-field, and a whole host of old temptations and trials were there to be met and vanquished. So Ester planned, and yet it so happened that she did not once enter the kitchen during all that long busy day, and Sadie’s young shoulders bore more of the hundred little burdens of life that Saturday than they had ever felt before. Descending the stairs, Ester met Dr. Van Anden for the first time since her return. He greeted her with a hurried “good-morning,” quite as if he had seen her only the day before, and at once pressed her into service:
“Miss Ester, will you go to Mr. Holland immediately? I can not find your mother. Send Mrs. Holland from the room, she excites him. Tell her I say she must come immediately to the sitting-room; I wish to see her. Give Mr. Holland a half teaspoonful of the mixture in the wine-glass every ten minutes, and on no account leave him until I return, which will be as soon as possible.”