Dear children, who read about Willie, are you prepared to follow him and Charley, where they are gone to dwell with that Saviour who, when he was on earth, took little children in his arms, and blessed them, and said, “of such is the kingdom of heaven?”
“I wish to make a call in —— street,” said a lady to me, as we together were visiting some of the poor of the city. “There is a Mrs. Smith living there, a poor old woman nearly eighty years old. She is infirm and partially blind. She has a little grandson, and she has no means with which to take care of him. We hope to persuade her to give him to us, and let us find a good home, by adoption, for him.”
It was a warm winter’s morning. Snow had fallen the day before, but it was rapidly disappearing. The foot sank in the melting mass at every step. The crossings were muddy, and it required some skill to pick our way along dry-shod.
We turned into the street, and sought for the number which had been given us. We found it on the door of a low, shed-like building, old and out of repair.
“Does Mrs. Smith live here?” we inquired.
“Is there an old lady, who is almost blind, and who has a little grandson, in the house?”—we further asked, thinking Mrs. Smith might not be known by name.
“No, ma’am. There is no such person here.”
“Does she live in the neighbourhood?”
“She may be in No. ——.”
We made inquiries at several doors, dodging in quickly to avoid the great drops which came pattering down on the pavement from the gutterless eaves, but we could learn nothing of the object of our search.
At length we came to a grocery, and, stepping in by the mackerel barrels which stood at the door, we repeated our inquiry—
“Can you tell us where Mrs. Smith lives? She is an old lady, almost blind, and has a little grandson.”
“Oh, yes! I know her well. She is a deserving, needy woman.”
The man followed us to the street to point out the house where she lived. As he was telling us, a woman passed by. He spoke to her, saying,
“You know where Mrs. Smith lives—the old lady who is almost blind, and who has a little grandson?”
“Will you show these ladies the place?”
She walked on with us till she came to a large tenement building, and then directed us to a room in the upper story. We thanked her, and entered the narrow hall, and passed up the still narrower staircase.
We knocked at the door, and were bidden to enter. The old lady was not there. We inquired for her again, and learned that she had just gone out. The woman said she would send for her. A boy, ten or twelve years old, went to find her. While he was gone, we talked with his mother,—a round-faced, good-natured, intelligent Irish woman. We asked her where Mrs. Smith lived, and she said she was most of the time with her. Poor woman! she had only a living-room and a bed-room for herself and four children, yet she was willing to share them with another as poor and more helpless than herself.