“I should be only too glad to do so,” said Veronica, who had listened intently to every word that Sabina had said. “Have you any such book as you describe, that you can lend me to read?”
Sabina was well pleased at this request. She had a book close at hand, which she had just finished reading, and from which she expected great things for the young girl. Veronica was moved by Sabina’s glowing words, to believe that her future might be happier, and that the clouds of despondency which had overshadowed her, were about to be dispersed.
She lost no time, for she was in earnest. She opened the book that very evening, and began to read. But her sanguine expectations were not fulfilled. She read the words, she understood their meaning; but it was as if she heard them at a distance and through them all, louder than all else, sounded something in her ears and in her heart that drowned them. It was the flow of the troubled waters, as Sabina had said. The waves rose higher; their noise increased, until Veronica lost all hearing and understanding of what she was reading. Still she persevered; perhaps bye-and-bye it would come right. Alas! was not that the house door opening and shutting again so softly late in the night? She flung the book aside; walked rapidly back and forth in her chamber for awhile, then unfolded her sewing, and worked steadily on and on, until the morning broke and a new day called her to its duties.
A thunder Clap.
Blasi, the lounger, stood in his doorway in the clear sunshine of this lovely summer morning, both hands plunged deep into his pockets as was his wont, and looked about him as if to see whether everything in the outer world was the same as yesterday.
Judith came out to the well, carrying her water-jug on her head.
“Look out, Blasi, you are losing something,” she cried. Blasi looked on the ground, turned about, and searched behind and before.
“I don’t see anything,” he said, and stuffed his hands deeper into his pockets.
“It’s always so with me,” said Judith, “when I’ve lost anything, I can’t see it.”
“Oh ho, you’re making a fool of me again!”
“That’s all the thanks I get for telling you that you are losing something, and I was just going to make you a present that is worth more than five francs to a fellow like you.”
“What is it? Show it to me,” said Blasi, with more animation.
“First I will tell you something, and then you shall have it,” replied Judith. “Look here, Blasi, my sainted father used to say, “If you keep your hands out of your pockets they will get full, but if you keep them in, your pockets will be empty.” Now, both your hands are in your pockets, so all that ought to go in is running to waste. Isn’t that so?”
“Well, suppose it is,” said Blasi, angrily. “Now give me what you promised me.”