“My darling, have I saddened you with my melancholy story?” she asked, looking down fondly into the tear wet eyes of the young girl who had come and knelt beside her. Clemence could not trust her voice to speak, and the proud woman clasped her closer, as they mingled their tears together. “How meet,” said the girl at last, softly rising, “should we, who have suffered, be united by a bond of affection and sympathy!”
When the hour of separation came, Clemence regretted that she must again leave her friend’s hospitable roof for that of strangers. She thought, ruefully, of Mrs. Brier, and hoped that these new people might not be of their order.
Her wish was destined to be fulfilled. The plain, simple little woman, who came forward to welcome her, when she stopped at farmer Owen’s, certainly did not look very formidable or repulsive.
“Come in,” she said, apparently not a little disconcerted, as Clemence’s figure appeared in the doorway. “You’ll find everything at sixes and sevens. I tried to get cleaned up a little before you got here, but the baby was so cross, I had to sit down and hold him most of the afternoon. He’s just gone to sleep, and left me with all this work, and supper to get for half a dozen hands, beside.”
“Now, that is really unfortunate,” said Clemence, kindly. “Can’t I help you in some way?”
“You,” said Mrs. Owen, stepping backwards, and surveying the dainty figure in the utmost consternation, “I guess not, why, what in earth could you do in the housework line?”
“Oh, a good deal, I dare say, if I were to try,” said Clemence laughing. “You know, ‘where there’s a will there’s a way,’ and if you will tell me how, I am sure I will gladly assist you.”
“No,” was the reply. “You just sit still and I’ll fly round and kinder hoe out some of this dirt. You don’t look as if you had been accustomed to this sort of thing. Why, of the two, now I suppose, if the truth should be known, you are more tired with your work than I am with mine, cross baby and all; just think of it, when I was a girl, a day’s work like this was nothing at all to do, and I was always ready to go to a dance, or something of that sort, to pass away time. There’s a great difference in folks about that.”
“I believe you,” said Clemence, watching her with interest, as she moved around, bringing literally ‘order out of chaos.’ “It seems to me, that no amount of practice could fit me for such work as this. I suppose, of course, I could learn in time, by giving strict attention to it, to be a fair housekeeper; but my experience in boarding round has proved that I do not belong to the class of persons whom they denominate here as ‘handy.’ I have seen women enter a neighbor’s house in time of trouble, and move about as if accustomed to everything, and always know the very place to go and find an article when wanted, without asking tiresome questions, or put an article in its appropriate receptacle when not needed, without being told. But, for myself, though always willing, I am generally apt, like to-day, to sit still and wish I could be of use to somebody, instead of being always in the way.”