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Johanna Spyri
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 95 pages of information about Veronica And Other Friends.
I did not really care for reading; I preferred sewing as you do, but I accepted the doctor’s offer and went to his house.  His wife was very kind and gave me a book at once, bidding me come as soon as I had finished it and get another.  I began to read the very next Sunday, and I became so deeply interested that I scarcely laid the book down all day, and even during the week I took it up as often as I could find a spare moment.  It was an account of foreign countries and nations; how they lived, and their manners and customs.  I was particularly interested to read about how the women were treated in different places; how in some countries they are sold and bartered for cattle or wool or cloth, and how they belong to their husbands just as if they were furniture, and their husbands can treat them just as they please, as we do cats or dogs.  And in some places, it said, a wife has to be burned when her husband dies, because she is only a part of him and has no value of her own after his death.  Oh! how many strange things there are in the world, to be sure!  I became hungry and thirsty for knowledge.  The doctor’s wife lent me one book after another, and in each there was something new and wonderful.  I learned how terrible the condition of women had been everywhere until our own Lord Jesus Christ came into the world, and taught that one soul was as much worth as another, all equal, man and woman, lord and servant; that every individual must be free, one as well as another; and that two people should be joined together only by love, and not as a matter of ownership.  But even now-a-days there are still countries and islands where men make nothing of killing and eating each other, and the women are bought and sold like goods.  It is only where the influence of Christianity has penetrated, that there is true equality of womanhood.  You can imagine the flood of new ideas that crowded in upon me as I read, and I assure you that I was able to forget sometimes for many days that I was a hunchback, and when I did remember it, the thought had lost its sting.  I dwelt upon the many privations and sufferings of others, till they seemed to outweigh my own trouble so that it dwindled in my estimation; and gradually I began to see the good side of my lot.  How independently I could live supporting myself; what a wealth of interest was opened to me through my reading, and in fact how fortunate I was, and blessed beyond many another!  Yes, Veronica, I can assure you that I am now a happy woman, with a heart filled with gratitude to the good God for the blessings he has sent me.  And so I say to you, my child, from the fulness of my own experience, that you have no right to go about looking like a thunder-cloud; you with all the freshness and beauty of your young life!

Tell me do you owe our Lord God something or is He in debt to you?  Have you nothing to thank him for?  Others can see how much you have to look forward to.  Get yourself together, girl, and try to give your thoughts another direction.”

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