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Thanksgiving Day In Florence

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".Nelly, did yon know to-niorrow is Thanksgiving Day at home?" The speaker, a good sized boy, was on kis knees in front of a small open fireplace, where lie was trying with bellows to coax a little llame around some pieces of wood. Bul as tho draft was bad, or tbe wood green, or something was wrong, liis efforts had to be well sustained, or a failure to establish anythiog that would warm seemed imminent. A littlo girl who had been ing to read close to the window, in the fast deepening twilight, threw clown her book and loined her brotlier on tho hearthrug, repcating thoughtfiilly, "Thanksgiving Day at home." "Yes," coDtinued the boy, still puffing with the bcllows; "and there'll bc lots of fun! üon't you remember the jolly good times at grandpa'sPthe roast turkeys andchickenpies.and tho games, and the bonh're of baiTels in the eyening? I say, let's have n ïhanksgiving here in Florence!" Nelly laughed. "Why, George, we couldn't do it! In tho iirst plaee, grandma always sent lots of nice things to poor people, and we don't know any here; and thcn we always went to church, too. It was only having 'good times' that made it a Thanksgiving." "I'lltellyou, Nell. what wo'll do," exclainied tho boy, aíter a silenco of some seconds, as he threw down tho bellows and tho fire began to flicker more brightlyand throwgleams oflight into the dusky corners of the largo apartment; "we'll spend the day in the Cascinc. Wo'l] gct mamma to give us some money and we'll buy a gorgeous lunch and carry it lip thcre and eat it. We eau go to church first, if ycu like." "It will have to be a Cathoüc onc, then," said Nelly. "That's no matter, "saiil her brother; we can take a tíible and a prayer-book, and have a littlo service of our own!" Nelly agred to the proposition. She dearly loved to go the Cascine- a beautiful park laid out with carriagc drives and ivalks, where it was very gay in tho afternoon - to hear tho band play and watch the elegant Florentinos drive by and see the chüdren, acdloungo on the comfortable seats or seareh the thickets in the woods. As soon as mamma camo home the plan was laid before her and agreed upon as a pleasant vav of passing the time, only the mormng French iesson must first be attended ta There were two very bright faces the next day about eleven o'clock hurrying over one of bridges that cross tho Arno towars the Church of Santa Maria Novella. Tdey had chosen this becanse it was the largest church in tho neighborhood and Nelly iked the dark oíd aiier ; in the dim light that feil upon them the ligures and faces had suoh a wonderf ui aspect, as if it belonged to another world. She carried a little prayer-book and Georgo carried a Bible, for they were resolved to have the deYotional part of Thanksgiving Day as real as the pleasures that were to follow. There was service going on at the lar end of the church, and a few worshipers wero kueeling there. The children drew near and sat down on a bench at the side. They had some difiiculty in selecting what chapter to read, but finally decided on the 14öth Psalm, because George thought it was "short," and Nelly thought it was appropriate becauso it began and ended with "Praise ye the Lord" and had in it something about "bread to the hungry." After roading this they both kneeled down, and Nelly soon fonnd the prayer giving "mosthumble and hearty thanks for all thy goodness and loving ..¦.-, y nivii mcj' icpcaLeu Togeiüer. As they rose from their knees they saw that a little ltalian girl was kneeling near them, She was poorly dressed, and her face, now grave wíth her silent devotion was thin and pale. She soon finished her prajer, crossed herself, rose np and took a basket standing by her and was about to leave the church when she caught sight of tb e two American children. Foran instant the two girls looked into each other's eyes, then a smüorippled over the Italian's faee, and with that easy friendliness the Italians possess she nooded to them bolh and said "Good morning!" "Doyouspeak EDglish?" exclaimed both the children at once, forgetting in ineir surprise to return the greetino-. The girl laughed atthsir evident amazement and then said with a little foreign accent, "Oh, yes, niother is Eno-lish, though my father was Italian. ' ' "He is not living now ?" asked Georgo'. "No, he did die many, manv years past " J J "Why don't you go back t.o England then?" asked Kelly, kindly. A shadow! passed over the girl's face, she looked down and said, hesitatingly, "We cannot go; tliere is no raoney to f o. My dear mother, she does work so ard always, all the days, that we may sometime go back to her friends." "Where do you live nowT" asked (ïfinrcrfl vreorge. "II s quite, quite near to hear. I will show you tho house now, iust when we come out." "ít is so nice to meet a little girl who can speak English," saidNelly, as they _ carne from the dusky church into the warm, bright, Florentino sunshinc. 1 mean to come and see you, and you must come and see me." The Italian girl pointed to a house on the corner of ono of the small streets going from the square in front of the ehurch, and told tho childrcn that in the upper story sho and her mother and younger brother lived in one roonj. "Andnow," sho contmued, "I must go ""ÍM-J JAA. Illlllll J , "We wilLwalk along with you," said Nelly. And so Ihoy walked on to tho market, making rapid aoquaintance as children do. As soon as George had a chance lie whispered in Nellv's car iomething about -'breadlo tho hiíngr3" and then disappeared among the stalls in the market-placc. The Italian girl bought what seerued to Nelly a pitifully small amount of round white beaus, and then biddin"good morning," was about to turn to" wards homo when (ieorgo appeared. very red !n the face, very mucli out of breath, and decidedly euibarrassed. He carried a large chlckcn and bunch of carrots, a paper of figs. and a paper of largo roasted chesmuts. "Hero." said he, trying to crowd thü'm into the basket and liamls of theltalian firl. "It's Xhanksgiving Day, vou now. You just tiike thoso things, will you? I don' t want 'em; compliments to vour mortier, of course- it's' all right!" A pink Uush'camc over the girl'sfaoe she lookod puzzled, asharned; but anothr look at the two friendly faces beaming with sueh kintlly interests re-asnred her. Settine down her baskets and bundies she elaspel Neüy's hands with true Itftlian fervor, and. wlnle toara sprang to her oyes, said "Dear, sweet Signorina! ï"ou are tvvo angels f rom hoavedU annot thank you! May the Holy Mof lier bloss yon ahvays! What havo you given to me? What wil] niy dear motlier say? I will teil her it is angois, angeis, who to-day are feeding us wiih good things Wu havo novei so many. Thank you, thank you a thousanil times! "Noli," said George. after She had left tliem and thoy wcre ou their way to tlic Casciue, "t took every centime of what mama Lravc us for our lunch. That poor child looked half itarved.and it reaDy aeemed "bread totlie hnngry," you know, I thovght we'd gi.e somebody a real Thanksgiving Day. Vc have plenty to eat every day, and it won'l hurt logo without lunoh ono day, 1 ffuess." Now, I supposo yon vvill expect to hear how perfeotly happy and contented tho two ohildrtui were after suou an act of unscllïshness. Brave they wero, and naco nplaining;but tvvo moro tired, hungry, miserable littlo moríais aro seldom scon. It was a pretty hard thlflg to do. to pass the entire day without a mcuthful and.waen mamma camo )ip for them late in the afternoon she feared tho experiment had been a failure, as far as pleasure was concerned, they looked so disconsolate. "Well, yon see," exolaimed Gcorge, "we went to church, and praised the Lord and givo "bread to the hungty," and we began to think it was about time for somo ene to givo bread to us."


Ann Arbor Courier
Old News