But she thought differently, when she got home and found Harvey patiently blacking Master Charlie’s boots.
“Why, Harvey, you were not at church?” she asked, in surprise.
“No, Miss Graystone, they kept me too busy here,” was the reply, in a disheartened tone, “and now Master Charlie’s been off fishin’, and got all covered with dust, I’ve got to black these boots over again. I should think he’d be ashamed ordering me round like a dog, and then walking off without even saying, thank you. If he would give me a quarter, now and then, I would not mind, for I never have a penny of my own for anything, not even to give of a Sunday. But I don’t suppose a poor boy like me, has any right to have a soul,” he added bitterly. “I don’t much care, sometimes, whether I ever go to church again or not.”
“Oh, don’t say that, Harvey,” said Clemence, in distressed tones. A new light broke in upon his mind. She took from her own scanty supply of pocket money, a twenty-five cent note, crisp and new, and handed it to him. “I have no bright silver piece for you, Harvey,” she said, “but here is something nearly as good if you will accept it.”
“Oh, thank you, a thousand times,” was the grateful response, “I will get it changed into pennies for my missionary offering. I was just wishing for some money of my own, to take this afternoon to my Sunday school teacher.”
“Well, I am very glad that I had it to give you,” said Clemence. “Don’t despair, Harvey, if your lot is hard. God sees, and he will surely reward you.”
“Oh, I will try to be patient,” said the boy, lifting his honest face, with the great, tear-filled eyes. “If everybody was only like you, I would be willing to do anything. But it’s only Harvey here, and Harvey there, and never a pleasant word, only before folks. It’s hard to bear. It did not use to be so before mother died. To be sure, we were very poor, and I had to work hard, but mother loved me.”
“Poor boy!” sighed Clemence, turning away, “every heart knoweth its own sorrow.”
For a delicate girl, like Clemence Graystone, this country school teaching proved very laborious work. But she bent to it bravely. It was easy to see that these rude little savages whom she taught, fairly worshipped her. Children have an innate love of the pure and good. Perhaps because they are themselves innocent, until the great, wicked world contaminates them. At any rate, the bright young creature who came among them every morning, seemed to them a being from another sphere, the embodiment of their childish ideas of purity and beauty, and they had for her somewhat of that awe that the devotees of the East feel for the gods they worship.
She sat before them, with the slant sunlight of a July day falling on her fair, sweet face.
“The week is drawing to a close, and you have all worked faithfully,” she said, and taking a snowy manuscript from the desk, “now you shall have your reward. Instead of translating a little French story, as I at first intended, I have written an original one, especially for you.”