A Garland for Girls eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 220 pages of information about A Garland for Girls.

“Well, I suppose it’s right, but I do perfectly hate to go poking round among poor folks, smelling bad smells, seeing dreadful sights, hearing woful tales, and running the risk of catching fever, and diphtheria, and horrid things.  I don’t pretend to like charity, but say right out I’m a silly, selfish wretch, and want to enjoy every minute, and not worry about other people.  Isn’t it shameful?”

Maggie Bradford looked such a sweet little sinner as she boldly made this sad confession, that no one could scold her, though Ida Standish, her bosom friend, shook her head, and Anna said, with a sigh:  “I’m afraid we all feel very much as Maggie does, though we don’t own it so honestly.  Last spring, when I was ill and thought I might die, I was so ashamed of my idle, frivolous winter, that I felt as if I’d give all I had to be able to live it over and do better.  Much is not expected of a girl of eighteen, I know; but oh! there were heaps of kind little things I might have done if I hadn’t thought only of myself.  I resolved if I lived I’d try at least to be less selfish, and make some one happier for my being in the world.  I tell you, girls, it’s rather solemn when you lie expecting to die, and your sins come up before you, even though they are very small ones.  I never shall forget it, and after my lovely summer I mean to be a better girl, and lead a better life if I can.”

Anna was so much in earnest that her words, straight out of a very innocent and contrite heart, touched her hearers deeply, and put them into the right mood to embrace her proposition.  No one spoke for a moment, then Maggie said quietly,—­

“I know what it is.  I felt very much so when the horses ran away, and for fifteen minutes I sat clinging to Mamma, expecting to be killed.  Every unkind, undutiful word I’d ever said to her came back to me, and was worse to bear than the fear of sudden death.  It scared a great deal of naughtiness out of me, and dear Mamma and I have been more to each other ever since.”

“Let us begin with ‘The Prisoners of Poverty,’ and perhaps it will show us something to do,” said Lizzie.  “But I must say I never felt as if shop-girls needed much help; they generally seem so contented with themselves, and so pert or patronizing to us, that I don’t pity them a bit, though it must be a hard life.”

“I think we can’t do much in that direction, except set an example of good manners when we go shopping.  I wanted to propose that we each choose some small charity for this winter, and do it faithfully.  That will teach us how to do more by and by, and we can help one another with our experiences, perhaps, or amuse with our failures.  What do you say?” asked Anna, surveying her five friends with a persuasive smile.

“What could we do?”

“People will call us goody-goody.”

“I haven’t the least idea how to go to work”

“Don’t believe Mamma will let me.”

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Project Gutenberg
A Garland for Girls from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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