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lady, stooping down and examining them ; “ and well worth ten cents. 6 I'll take them.”
“ Thanky, ma'am. I was afraid I should have to take them home," said the woman, her heart bounding up lightly.
The lady rung the bell, for it was at her door that the tired strawberry-woman had stopped to rest herself. While she was waiting for the door to be opened, the lady took from her purse the money for the strawberries, and handing it to the woman, said : :
“ Here is your money. Shall I tell the servant to bring you out a glass of cool water ? You are hot and tired.”
“If you please, ma’am,” said the woman, with a grateful look.
The water was sent out by the servant who was to receive the strawberries, and the tired woman drank it eagerly. Its refreshing coolness flowed through every vein, and when she took up her tray to return home, both heart and step were lighter.
The lady whose benevolent feelings had prompted her to the performance of this little act of kindness, could not help remembering the woman's grateful look. She had not done much —not more than it was every one's duty to do; but the recollection of even that was pleasant, far more pleasant than could possibly have been Mrs. Mier's self-gratulations at having saved ten cents on her purchase of five boxes of strawberries, notwithstanding the assurance of the poor woman who vended them, that, at the reduced
rate, her profit on the whole would only be two cents and a half.
After dinner Mrs. Mier went out and spent thirty dollars in purchasing jewelry for her eldest daughter, a young lady not yet eighteen years
That evening, at the tea-table, the strawberries were highly commended as being the largest and most delicious in flavor of any they had yet had ; in reply to which, Mrs. Mier stated, with an air of peculiar satisfaction, that she had got them for eight cents a box, when they were worth at least ten cents.
“ The woman asked me ten cents,” she said, “but I offered her eight, and she took them.”
While the family of Mrs. Mier were enjoying their pleasant repast, the strawberry-woman sat at a small table, around which were gathered three young children, the oldest but six years of age. She had started out in the morning with thirty boxes of strawberries, for which she was to pay seven and a half cents a box. If all had brought the ten cents a box, she would have made seventy-five cents; but such was not the
Rich ladies had beaten her down in her price—had chaffered with her for the few pennies of profits to which her hard labor entitled her —and actually robbed her of the meager pittance she strove to earn for her children. Instead of realizing the small sum of seventy-five cents, she had cleared only forty-five cents. With this she bought a little Indian meal and molasses for her own and her children's supper and breakfast.
As she sat with her children, eating the only
food she was able to provide for them, and thought of what had occurred during the day, a feeling of bitterness toward her kind came over her; but the remembrance of the kind words, and the glass of cool water, so timely and thoughtfully tendered to her, was like leaves in the waters of Marah. Her heart softened, and with the tears stealing to her eyes, she glanced upward, and asked a blessing on her who had remembered that, though poor, she was still human.
Economy is a good thing, and should be practiced by all, but it should show itself in denying ourselves, not in oppressing others. We see persons spending dollar after dollar foolishly one hour, and in the next trying to save a five penny piece off of a wood-sawyer, coal-heaver, or market-woman. Such things are disgraceful, if not dishonest.
LOTS OF THINGS.
“O DEAR !” said I to Mr. Smith one morning, as we arose from the breakfast-table, at which we had been partaking of rather a badly-cooked meal,—“more trouble in prospect.”
“What's the matter now ? asked Mr. Smith, with a certain emphasis on the word "now" that didn't sound just agreeable to my ears.
Oh, nothing ! nothing !" I answered, with as much indifference of manner as I could assume.
“You spoke of trouble,” said he, kindly, “and trouble, in my experience, is rather more tangible than “nothing.'
“ I've another raw Irish girl in the kitchen, who, according to her own confession, hasn't been above ten days in the country. Isn't that enough ?”
" I should think so. But, why, in the name of goodness did you take another of these green islanders into your house ?”
“It's easy enough to ask questions, Mr. Smith,” said I, a little fretfully; “but” I checked myself. We looked at each other, smiled, andsaid no more on the subject.
“ Your name is Anna, I believe ?” said I, as I stepped to the kitchen-door, a couple of hours afterwards.