Helen in the mountains.
It was snowing. The flakes that fell were not large fluffy ones; they were small and compact, so that as the northwest wind drove them into Helen’s face, she realized that she was being pelted with something more substantial than eiderdown.
The severity of the storm startled the girl. It spurred her to a fuller consciousness of her obligation to her friends, that she remove from their minds all occasion for worry as to her whereabouts as soon as possible.
Putting her muff up to shield her face from the cutting blast, Helen set out bravely up the street. She was not a timid or timorous girl. In fact, the words of warning uttered by her sister-in-law had made no lasting impression on her mind, so far as her own personal safety was concerned. She scarcely thought of looking out for danger from any human agency as she left the house.
As the storm was beating into her face, she did not attempt to look ahead much farther than each step as it was taken. It was necessary for her to lean forward slightly and push her head, as it were, right into the storm, and before she had reached the nearest corner it became evident that she must undergo no little inconvenience, if not actual suffering, before her evening’s mission were completed.
“Well, maybe this exercise will give me just the life I need to talk real business to Dave when he comes,” she mused, punctuating her conjecture with a gasp or two as she fought against a gust of wind that forced her almost to a standstill. Winning this skirmish with the storm, she pressed forward again, when suddenly another gasp was forced from her by an entirely different cause. She almost stumbled over an object directly in her way, and as she recovered her equilibrium she recognized before her the form of a small girl scantily clad in a short-sleeved coat much too small for her and a hood that came down scarcely far enough to cover her ears. Her hands were bare and she held them up pitifully before the comfortably—to her richly—clad maiden so out of her element in this poverty-stricken district.
“Please, Miss,” the girl pleaded; “won’t you come and help me? Ma’s sick—she fainted—and pa’s gone away. I’m all alone with her. Ma’s down on the floor an’ don’t move—I’m afraid she’s dead. Oh, please do come, Miss, just a minute, and—”
“Where do you live?” Helen interrupted, indicating by her tone of sympathy that she would do as requested.
“Right there,” the little girl replied, pointing with her hand toward one of the houses a short distance ahead. “Come on, please. Just a minute—help me get ma on the bed. I’ll find one of the neighbors to help after that.”
“All right, go ahead,” Helen directed.
“It seems that I am fated to do at least a little of the work that we set out to do, but were prevented from doing by some unfriendly interests. It’s a pity some of these people are so prejudiced, for we could really do a lot for them.”