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Was She Frivolus?

Was She Frivolus? image
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The Iíev. Mr. 8haw contrasted greatly with his surrcundings - his potless cloth ittinjr so w.ll his sironfr, manly figure; lis clear cut, Greciau features, and dark, wavy huir, thrown back with careless race ('rom his smooth brow. He was viaitiiifí oue of those wretched enement houseá asea by the very poor, irxl before liitn was a forlorn group. A wldoW who liail jn.-t burried her lusband ; she. had live helplcss cliildren - tlie eldest six, tlie youngest a nurslinj; ahy, and a pair of twins among them. Tlie rags, and, worse than all, tile dirt of overly everywhere apparent. Au expression of almost sublime pily rested on the countenance of the minister. The woman, with the aproa thrown ver her liciul, rocked herself to and tro ind wailqd fortli her troubles. "I don't know what l'm agoia' to do Cor my.sclf and the little 'une. Though iny oíd niau would have his drink, he lidn't beat us, and brourit enounli to us [ know we ciiu't do notlilu' but starve iikI die!1' "llave you no friends?" asked Mr. Sbaw ni a low voice, "Soine, Uut as bad or wuss off toan us, Yos," she said, looking up with a gratetul, brijílit expression, "there is one - Lord bles herí who has done a lot for oie - Miss Mehitable Sauks. She sent medicine and the doctor to tlie oíd man, ind ;uv me clothes und somethin' to eat; and many's t lio man, woman and child tii ut hlosi's her for laking care of 'em. Wliy, sir, she even leaves little ca'rds with stamps on 'em; and Job Potter who can wiite, sends 'em to her when we are iu a very bad state." After assuiin"; her of lussympathy, and that he would do ;ill that he could for her, the minister wended his way home. As he thought of those to wliom he mlght appeal, a visión of a bright f;ice haunted him, but wbile he lingered over the thought most tenderly, there was a shudow on his brovv as if there was S)iine llight jar that marred the barinony of his tliotl;lits. Mr. Öhaw was the reotor of one of the wealthy chinches of the city, and Mabel Lee was one of the parishoners. Her face ua.s Madoiuia-like in its tender curves and beauty, the large blue eyes with jutt a tinge oí' sadness, the perfect curve of the red lip-, a faultless complexión, and blonde h:iir that was like a halo of lij-'ht round tlie graceful head. But ah, when she talked it was likt a dainper, a miët on a beautiful picture, mailing the lints that othenvise would have been perfect. liríght uuü witty, but a butterfly ; such a devotee to society that one longed for the cpie-sion of a single serious thought that could leaveu into somethinjr like common inte this personitication of frivolity. With it all, however, she was lovily and lovable lo every one, and Mr. Shaw liad lung strui:i,'lcd against an inti ust in her, the indulgence of which he feit wonlil be fatal to his future huppiness and usetulness. Absorlud in tlitsc thoufrhts he fonnd himself In front of Mr Lee's house, and, obeyiujf an impulse, he turned into tlie gate and was admitled. As Miss Lee entcred the parlor, he tbougbt lie had selilom se-n a fatrer vision, and was vexed to feel his heart tbrob more quickly, anil thrill with a pleasure that he telt must be Control led. She greeted liim with that easy giace which was one of lier principal channs. "Ah, Mr. Shaw ! I am so rlal to see you. I liad a real spell of ennui this inorning. This last novel is wretched( as both heio and heroine dieil in the most jirovokinj; way, all because of Rome over(iralned idea of duty, and I was just vrUbing tbatsome one would come in and 1 could have a clieertnl little cüat, to dispel theloomy impression." "Then I am atraid,'1 smillngiy, "you wilLnot like your present visitor. I have not come in a very cheerful humor; aud, .bcsides, 1 wlsb to a.-k yon a favor." 'A lavor ! Tliat is too lovely. Consider it grantoJ, even to the half of my kingdom. I am truly ;Iad that you wlsh to a favor of n.e, because I did not think your opinión of me was sufflciently pood for sueli a tliftig. Do you know," with a sudden droop of the eyes, "that you ahvays make me feel as íf I am Uoin soniethint; wroBgf " "i)o 1 ? Well, I shall ñve yon a (íolden opportunity iiow to redtein yourpelf. I have just been yisiting some of those wretchedly poor families in street, and I would like it o mueh if you could interest Mime ladies in their behalf- visit Üieni and relieve them." A look of consternaüon orerspread her pretty tact as she ixclaimcd: "Uh, Indeed, you don't mean for me to f) there ? How eould I ever stand it? can't bear such places. Ask me almost anylhlng ebe. The dreadtul men and wñinrn '¦ - the odor! Ugh ! " wltb a shudder. "Ask me almost anytlilng else." A look of keen djsapriolniment drifted ,oTer Mr. Shaw's face. Slic siullcnl brightened and said : "I do intend ti do soinuthlnc gooi! nest week. 1 have refutsed a üernian," trlumpiiantly, "ihat I may attend the Charity Calicó Ball to be given. You know all the dresses are for the poor, so I slial do sorue good." "Aml what Is your dicss to be? " asked Mr. Slmw, with ïather uu indescribablt intlectiou to bis voice. The lovclicst blue silesia, wllh n flowered cretonne front,'' enchusiiisticully "sleeveless waist, Medici coliar, shirre and very bouftant draperie. It wlll b( buautiful, and 1 kiiow t will seem very nice to some poor womau wlio ucver had anyihing like it." " Ves,' he said, In a tont; quite saturateé with irony, ''I don't doubt lts iisrfulness; but cton't you thiiik jou ought to add a few yards of illusiou to make some warm bodie for those who have no tires, and a lew ynrds of ribbon to decórate the Hule ffeeflng umus? " "No.w, you are angrv with me, Mr. Sliaw," hesllatingly. "Dou't think me utterly lienrtless; but I can't go to street. It would really give me a little blue chili." "I Cduld never consent to such a cruel thiiig as that, " he said, witU an unpleasautsiuile. "I really feel that I owe you an apology for intruding such a (Usagreeable .-ubject, particularly aftor your uerves were ahattered with your novel. Good morniDg," and he bowed hlmself out very abrubtly, witU a strange Hule pain iu hi heart. He did not agaiu allude to the subject to her, but found other ladies who interester! themselves most warmly in the work. Everywhere that he went fn liis charity rounds, he could see and teel the iniiuence of Miss öanks's good aote. She seeined to be nu anjfe) of inercy, who never tired, aud wlio devoted her eutire time to charity. All that she did was maiked a practicil good sense, and a depth of thought aud feeling that he could notfail to admire. Still he chanced never to meet her. One day, when entering the post-ofHce, ie saw in advance of hun, the graceful ligure of Mabel Lee. ïjhe was iinaware of liis preseuce, and, standing idly bebind icr, he feit as if he had received an electrio shock, as she asked: "Is there anythiug for Mise Mehitable Sanks?" and tlien received ir.d pocketed several postal cards. If he wus ustonislied at the question, ie was still more so at the effect which lis discovered presence produced 011 her. Neck, face and brow, even to the roots of her golden curls, were dyed iu a paiiiful crimson, her eyes dilated with an exjression of great, consternation, but with i little, haughty gestuie of recoguition, -lie hurried past hun. Acting upon an impulse, wllli n few ïasly steps he soon ovurtook lier. He was lost in a bewilderinsí smiirise. She was the last persou with whom he would have connected Miss Sauks in any way, md her great agitation, as he walked besider her, increase:! his surprise. A Budden, bright recognition caused hls heart to beat almost to suffocation. "Teil me, Miss Mabel," he said, "what have you to do wllh Miss Sanks' letters? " "I really can't undeisland, Mr. Shaw, what right you have to ask such a question. In all things spiritual I ackuowledge you are right, but iu this instance you forget yourselt." "Teil me," he said, witli eagcr, regardless liaste, "are you Miss Sanks? " A sudden buist of tears was her only answer, as she hastily pulled down her veil, and walked s(lently beside hiin. A calm of perfect joy descended upon him, as he fully reali.ed the truth. He walked by her side uittil he reached her home, and then, without waking for an invitatlon, eutered it with her. As t.hey reached the parlor, she tossed aside her lint, and stood before him more like a discovered culprit than the little saint sil! liad proved to be. There was a defiant sparkle in her eye as sbe turned her ttnglitd face to him. He took both her hands in bis. "So, Mabel," he murmured, tenderly, "your heart U as beautiful as your fai'e, though you b;ive veiled your j?ox1ness under an exterior of frivolity. This is not the general rule of bumanity." "But, Air. Shaw, if it Is a fault, it lies entirely at your door.1' "Have I anything to do with it?" he asked, in surprise. "I Have been thinking fora loug while that you were entirely bevond my control. '¦Neveithelesf, I have only been obeying your instructions. Don't you reiiieinbir you sometime ago preached against ostenlatiiiu-i charity? 'Jüt not thy Uüt hand know what thy rl;ht lmn.l dui'th.' 1 tlnmirht there was a world Ol truth and torce in it, and I have only piactlced wnat you preached. And now, Mr. Shaw," she said, with a deinurc glnnce at him, "if you are dune with my I will not trouble you to hold them any louger.1' "No," he said gravely, "I do not wih to return them. Ma Helle! Ma Belle!" he said, quickly nd tenderly, "i;ive me the privilege of owning lliein always. Won't you, darlinj??" She took them iiuiekly aw;iy. "No, no," with low lkuLh, "it is Miss Sanks with whom you have fallen in love, lor poor Mable Lee nus only had your toli-ration." "Ah," he aald, "that's when I though t you were a butterfly. Now thut I know yon to be a saint, I beg you to sim re your grace with me, and help jne in uil good thines. I am willlng to Uikc you or Mis.s Sanks - or, In dénanoc of tlir htw of the land, I will take you both. 8he hesitated, then, with :i loely blnsh and sniile, she laid loth her in his. "One for Mis Sanks- one for myself." He drew lier to him, and feit that one sermón at least had been cast upon the waters, whica had retunied to him afler many day.


Ann Arbor Courier
Old News