carv’ings, figures cut in wood or stone.
mys’ter y, something entirely unknown.
thresh’old, a piece of board which lies under a door.
tile, a thin piece of baked clay.
ex am’ine, look at with care.
* * * * *
Christmas morning came, and soon Alice Brown entered Mrs. Reed’s cottage and received a warm welcome.
“Merry Christmas! Mrs. Reed,” said Alice.
“Thank you, my dear,” replied Mrs. Reed; “it will indeed be a ’Merry Christmas’ if you can remain with me this forenoon.”
“Well, I can stay till dinner-time,” said Alice. “See what a pretty present cousin John sent me!” and Alice held up a new pocket-book.
“That is very nice, Alice,” said Mrs. Reed; “now if you had some one to fill it with money, it would be better still.”
“Yes, indeed,” cried Alice, laughingly; “but as I was not so fortunate as to receive any money, and have none of my own to put in it, the pocket-book is not likely to be worn out for a long time.”
“Well, well, Alice,” replied Mrs. Reed, “it is always handy to have things in the house; for some time they may be needed.
“Excuse me a moment, Alice,” continued Mrs. Reed; “sit down here by the fire and warm yourself.”
Alice took a seat by the fire and warmed her fingers; for, although it was a bright sunshiny day, it was very cold.
Mrs. Reed stepped into the adjoining room, and with a light heart and an expression on her face that no one had seen for many a day, took up the little work-box she had prepared for Alice.
Returning again to the sitting-room with the box in her hand, she approached Alice and said;
“Here, my dear, is a little Christmas present I have for you. I sincerely wish it were something better. It will be useful, I know, and I hope it will please you.”
“O how beautiful!” exclaimed Alice, as she caught sight of the curious carvings on the outside of the box. “And a work-box, too!” she continued, as she took it in her hands and lifted the cover; “is it really for me?”
“For no one else, I assure you,” replied Mrs. Reed, as her face lighted up with joy, at seeing Alice so happy.
“O how can I ever thank you enough!” exclaimed Alice, as she threw her arms around Mrs. Reed’s neck and kissed her again and again.
Then taking a seat by Mrs. Reed, Alice began to examine the contents of the new work-box, lifting out the articles one by one, and placing them in her lap.
She then admired the beautiful lining which. Mrs. Reed had put in the box, asking her where she got such pretty pieces of silk.
“That piece of silk at the top, Alice, is a bit of my wedding-dress; and that on the sides, is a part of my wedding-sash. Those remind me of happy days, Alice.