“Not much; they came to that hut years ago, evidently very poor, and quite as evidently—so report says—having seen better days. The husband and father drank deeply, and the wife earned a scanty support for the family by sewing and knitting; that is about all I know of them, except that several of their children died of scarlet fever within a few days of each other, soon after they came to the neighborhood, and that a year ago last winter, the man, coming home very drunk, fell into a snow-drift, and next day was found frozen to death. I was told at that time they had only two children—a son who was following in his father’s footsteps, and this daughter.”
“Poor woman!” sighed Elsie, “she is sorely tried and afflicted. I must go to her at once.”
“Do, mamma, and get a doctor for her,” said little Elsie; “she looked so sick and miserable.”
Mrs. Ross offered her carriage, and the shower having cooled the air, Elsie went, shortly after the conclusion of the meal.
not chide thee;
Let shame come when it will, I do not call it.”
“I never saw such a likeness in my life!” said Mrs. Gibson looking after the phaeton as it drove away; “she’s the very image of her mother. I could just have believed it was the very little Elsie Dinsmore I used to teach more than twenty years ago.”
“She’s lovely!” exclaimed Sally with enthusiasm. “Mother, did you see what a pretty watch she had?”
“Yes,” gloomily; “some folks seem to have nothing but prosperity, and others nothing but poverty and losses and crosses. They’re as rich as Croesus and we have hardly enough to keep us from starving.”
“Better times may come,” said Sally, trying to speak hopefully, “Tom may reform and go to work. I do think, mother, if you’d try to——”
“Hush! I’m a great deal better to him than he deserves.”
It was some moments before Sally spoke again, then it was only to ask, “Will you have your dinner now, mother?”
“No; there’s nothing in the house but bread and potatoes, and I couldn’t swallow either. Dear me what a table they used to set at Roselands! enough to tempt the appetite of an epicure.”
“I must rest my eyes a little. I can’t see any longer,” said the girl, laying down her work and going to the door.
“It’s just dreadful,” sighed her mother, “but don’t get out of heart; these people will help us and it is possible some skilful oculist may understand your case and be able to help you.”
The girl’s eyes were fixed upon the distant mountain-tops where, through a rift in the clouds the sun shone suddenly out for a moment. “’I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills whence cometh my help,’” she murmured softly to herself. Then from a full heart went up a strong cry, “O God, my Father, save me, I beseech thee, from this bitter trial that I so dread! Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. Oh, help me to be content with whatsoever thou shalt send!”