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stouter. Ellie was thin now, because she was growing so fast, and she had noticed lately that she was pale, too. She must make her a cup of beef-tea every morning and keep her in the open air as much as possible. It was a pity that she was the only child in the family and that there were no children of her own age in the neighborhood. It was bad for her to be with grown people so much.

She drew herself together with a little start. She was forgetting what the doc

tor had told her. She must think of her soul. "The sting of death is sin. . . . But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.' She had not been a sinful woman, but neither had she been very good. She had worked only for those that were near and dear to her, but now she must try to do something for God. She had two dollars in her purse, the money that the doctor had refused to take. She would give it to the heathen, and she would do some

sewing for the Ladies' Aid Society and read aloud to Mrs. Dortchley, who was blind and bedridden.

There was a dash of rain against the window, and looking out, she saw that the clouds were dark and lowering. She did n't believe that Ellie had taken her rubbers to school with her that morning, or an umbrella, either. She must find out as soon as she got home. She would n't have Ellie get wet for anything. It might give her pneumonia. The car stopped, and she got off quickly and hurried into the house. The rain had increased to a steady downpour, and it was turning colder. Ellie's widowed mother, a fair, frail-looking woman, was sewing in the front room.

"Mamie," cried Mrs. Morlan, "did Ellie take an umbrella to school this morning?"

"No, Mother, she did n't," answered Mamie; "but she 'll get one of the Dennis children to bring her home."

"I don't know whether she will or not," said Mrs. Morlan, anxiously. "She's timid about asking favors. I think I'd better take her one. She 'll need her rubbers, too."

"I hate for you to go out in the rain, Mother," said Mamie. "I'd take them myself, but I have to finish Mrs. Black's dress by half-past twelve."

"Why, I thought she did n't want it till to-morrow," exclaimed Mrs. Morlan.

"She did say so, but she telephoned after you left that she must have it by half-past twelve. Folks seem to think that I'm a machine." Mamie lifted a fold of the dress to wipe away tears of weariness.

"You poor child!" cried Mrs. Morlan. "You 're worn out. I'll get back as soon as I can and help you."

In half an hour her swift fingers were at work, and so efficient was her help that by half-past twelve the dress was finished and put away in its box, ready for the boy who was to come for it.

"Now, Mamie," said Mrs. Morlan, "you must lie down on the sofa and let me make you a cup of tea. You 're too tired to do any more work to-day. I'll

get a blanket to put over you. Sometimes I like to pretend you 're a little girl again just the size of Ellie."

It was after one o'clock when she began her long-delayed housework, but dinner was on the table when the family came home at two. There was a pain in her back, her head ached, and her hands shook with nervousness; but she took her seat at the table and beamed at her husband and children with joyful satisfaction in their presence. Mr. Jimmy Morlan, the head of the family, was a tall, seedy man with a weak, rather handsome face. He worked occasionally, but in his own judgment his health was poor, and he spent most of his time at the corner grocery. Jimmy, Junior, was in a real-estate office, and Alice, the youngest daughter, a pretty, freshlooking girl of eighteen, was a stenographer. Mrs. Morlan was too tired to join in the general conversation, but she laughed at all of Jimmy's jokes, and she listened eagerly to Mr. Morlan's account of a new business enterprise that he expected to engage in as soon as he could find some one who would finance the scheme. After she had cleared the table and washed the dishes, she went to her room and lay down on the bed with a little feeling of guilty wonder at herself. She had been there only a few minutes, though, when she opened her eyes to find Ellie bending over her.

"Are you sick?" she asked anxiously.

"No, I'm all right," cried Mrs. Morlan, springing up hastily. "I'm just pretending I'm a fine lady that has to have an afternoon nap. Don't tell your mother I was lying down. I'm going to get ready now and take some money to Mrs. James for her Chinese fund."

She sang one of Ellie's school-songs while she was putting on her hat and cloak, and she walked briskly as far as the corner for fear that Mamie might be watching her from a window; but when she was out of sight of the house, she slowed down, and began to count the houses that she passed, hoping that the monotony of the task might have power to dull her weariness.

"I just must n't waste any more time," she told herself. "I've got so much to do and so little time to do it in!"

Mrs. James was not at home, but she left the money and a message of explanation with the servant, and on her way home she stopped to see Mrs. Phelan, who was president of the Ladies' Aid Society and was also one of the richest and most influential members of her church. Mrs. Morlan was shown into the library, and she sat down on the extreme edge of a large leather chair and felt unusually small and shabby in the midst of so much splendor.

"I wanted to find out," she said with awkward shyness when Mrs. Phelan at last made her appearance, "if the society has any more sewing on hand than it can get through with. If it has, I'd be real glad to help with some of it."


"Oh, I'm so glad you 're going to join us!" said Mrs. Phelan, effusively. suppose some of the ladies have been to see you. The conference meets in January, you know, and we 're working hard to increase our membership before then, so we can make a good showing in our report. I think you'll enjoy the meetings. They're not all work and no play, you know. We always serve tea and sandwiches and we have a very sociable time together."

"Oh, I can't come to the meetings," exclaimed Mrs. Morlan, hastily. "I'll do my share of the sewing at home."

Her clothes might be good enough for church, but she knew perfectly well that they could never be submitted to the critical eyes of the Ladies' Aid Society.

"Why, of course that will be all right if you'd rather have it that way," said Mrs. Phelan. "I'll put your name on the list right away. The dues are fifty cents a month. You can pay on the first, and I'll give you some work to take home this afternoon if you'd like to have it. We are working on a missionary box now, and we want to try to get it off by the middle of December. It 's for a minister out West. He gets only six hundred dollars a year, so of course he 's needy. He has

five children, and one of his little girls is lame."

"Oh, I'd like to do some sewing for her!" cried Mrs. Morlan, eagerly.

"Well, I'll give you some blue flannel for blouses," said Mrs. Phelan. "She's ten years old, they say, but is small for her age. Your little granddaughter is in my Sunday-school class and is about nine, I imagine. You might try the things on her."

"And so she 's just ten years old and she 's lame," said Mrs. Morlan softly to herself, as she turned toward home. "Poor little girl! I 'm glad Ellie has good use. of her limbs. It would just break my heart, I believe, if she could n't run about and play like other children. I'm going to make these waists just as pretty as ever I can. I wish the material was n't so dark. I think I'll tuck the fronts and brier-stitch them with red. I'll try to finish all the housework before dinner tomorrow so that I can cut them out in the afternoon. I must n't waste any time. And I must be sure to say my prayers tonight and to read the Bible, too. I wonder what makes me such a sleepyhead."

The next day, though, Mamie stayed in bed with a headache, and it took Mrs. Morlan all the morning to finish some of her work that had to be sent home that day. After dinner she baked a cake and made bread for Sunday, and then she got an old skirt from her closet and, sitting down in the warm kitchen, began to rip off the braid from the bottom of it.

"I can do that, Grandma," said Ellie, who had followed her all day with eager offers of help. "You just give it to me and see if I can't."

"We 'll do it together," said Mrs. Morlan. "You take those little scissors and start at the other side, and while you 're ripping, you see if you can guess why I'm going to put a new braid on this skirt and clean my black silk waist."

"You 're going off on the train," said Ellie with a little wriggle of excitement. "No, I'm not. I'm too old to go traveling."

"Maybe you 're invited to a party."

"You 're wrong again."

"Well, are you going to have a party?" "No."

"Then I can't guess, but I'm bursting to know."

"Well, I'm going to church to-morrow, and I'm going to take you with me." "O Grandma, that will be lovely! I'll let you wear my locket and chain."

Mrs. Morlan's eyes were wet with sudden tears as she turned to kiss the child.

"No, deary; you wear it yourself. Grandma's too old for such things."

"We'll walk up the middle aisle together," said Ellie, with a deep breath of satisfaction, "and you can bow to all the people you know, just like Mrs. Phelan does, and we 'll sit on the front seat, and every one will be so pleased to see you."

"I declare, I'm getting right excited," exclaimed Mrs. Morlan, a red spot appearing on each cheek. "It 's five years. since I've been to church. They've got some new windows since I was there and a three-thousand-dollar organ, and they say that Mr. Harrison 's the best preacher in town."

"But who 'll cook dinner, Grandma?" asked Ellie, with a swift presentiment of future disappointment. "Mama's in bed, you know."

"I'll ask Lucy to stay home to-morrow and see to things," said Mrs. Morlan. "I can help her a good deal, you know, before I go. There, now, we 've got off this old braid, and, if you 'll just hand me my work-bag, I'll have this skirt ready before you can say Jack Robinson."

"Mother," said Lucy that night at the supper-table, "John Oliver wants me to drive out with him to-morrow to his father's farm to spend the day. It will be all right for me to go, won't it?"

"No, it won't," cried Ellie, dropping her fork with a sudden clatter. "You have to stay home to-morrow and cook dinner. Grandma 's going to take me to church."

"Oh, I'll take you some other time, Ellie," said Lucy. "You don't really care anything about going, do you, Mother?"

"Yes, she does," said Ellie, beginning to

cry. "She's fixed herself some clothes to wear, and she has n't been for five years." "Oh, of course, if you really want to go, Mother-" began Lucy.

"Oh, I don't care about going to-morrow, especially," cried Mrs. Morlan, hastily. "You go on with John, Lucy. I would n't have you miss such a nice day for anything." Then she bent down and whispered to Ellie, who always sat next to her at the table: "Stop crying, Honey, or you 'll make Aunt Lucy feel bad. Run out to the kitchen and get some hot water, and I'll make you a cup of hot-water tea." "I'll come back in time to fix supper, Mother," said Lucy, "so don't bother about anything after dinner. Just lie down and rest."

Next morning Mrs. Morlan gave Lucy and Ellie and Mr. Morlan their breakfast, then carried a dainty little tray to Mamie, and about ten o'clock, when a vigorous thumping on the head of the bed announced that Jimmy, Junior, was at last awake, she took a well-loaded tray to his room and put it down on a chair at the head of the bed.

"You 're the best little mother in the world," he cried, throwing his arms around her and drawing her face down to his. "When I get to be head-man at the office, I'll keep five servants for you, and buy you a silk dress for every day in the week."

She laughed, and called him a foolish boy, but when she had closed his door behind her, the tears, which in those days of secret pain and weariness were always close to the surface, rose to her eyes.

"I've got the best children in the world," she whispered to herself. "The Lord has surely blessed me."

After dinner, Mr. Morlan drifted to the little drug store on the corner, Jimmy boarded a street-car that was to take him to his lady-love, and Mrs. Morlan put on her hat and cloak and went to see Mrs. Dortchley.

"Shall I read from the Old Testament or from the New, Mrs. Dortchley?" she asked after she had chatted with the old lady and had offered to read to her.


"O God,' she prayed, 'give me strength to bear it! Help me to keep up till the end!"

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