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Was She Frivolous?

Was She Frivolous? image
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Tho Rev. Mr. Shaw contrasled pieatly w tli liis surroumlings - his spollesx elolh filt:ng so well h s strong, wanly figure; his clbnr cut, Grec an features, umi dark, wavy hair. thrown biick wiili oarless grace f rom bis smoolli brow. He was vis ting ono of thoso wreteheil tenenicnt housen tised by tho very ])or, aud boforu hiiu was a forlorn gnnip. A w'dow wlio had just buried her liusbaiid; she had livo helploss childorn -the el. lest six. the yootigest a nursing baby, and a pa r of twlïis nmong them. Tho rags, and, worso than all, the dirt of poverly was cverywhere apparent An express'on of alraost sublime pity rosted ou the countenance of the minister. The woman, w'th hor apron thrown over hor head, roclced herself to and iro. and watled forth hor troubles. "I dou't know what I'tn a-goin' to do for myselt and tho little 'uns. Though niy old man would have his dr nk, he dlda't beat us, and brought cnough to us to keep body and soul topether, but now 1 know wo can't do ïn.t'iin' bnt slarvo and die!" "Have you uu frieuds?" askeJ Mr. Dhaw in a low voice. "Som.!, but as bad or wuss off than ns. Ye3," she sald, looking up with a prateful, br glit expression, "there is o:ie - Lord bless hor! who has dono a lot for me - Miss Mehitable Sanks. She sent in-jdioine and tlie doet r to the old ni:in. and guv ma clothos and suthin' to eat; and manv's tho man, woman aiiil child that blesses hor for taken caro of 'era. Wny, sir, she even le:ives liitlc carda with staiups on 'em, and Job Potter, who can write, sends 'em to lier wheu we are in a very bad Btaie." Altor assnring her of his sympatliy, nnd that hu would do what he could for hor, the minister wended his way home. As ho thought of those to whom he might appeal, a visión of a bright face haunted him, but while ho üugerod over the thought most tenderly there was a sliadow on his brow as if thero was some slight jar that marred tin; liarmony of his thoughts. Mr. Sliaw was the rector of one of the wealthy churohes of the city, and Mabel Lee was one of the paris hio ners. Her face was Madonna-like in its tender eurvoa and b:auty, the large blue oyes wilh just a tingo of sadness, tho perfect curvi) of thu rod Ii]is, the faultless complex on. and blond,; h;tir that was like a halo of light round tho graeeful haad. But ah, wlien sliu talked it was a daninei', a mist on a beautiful picture, liiarring the tints that would otherwise have boon perfect Br glit aud wittr, bnt a butterfly; eucli a dovoteo to society tliat ono longed for ihe expression of a singlo sur ons thought that could leaven into soninth ug üko coniüion sonso this personiliiation of frivolity. it all, hoiyoyer, sha wan lovoly and lovaUe to every one, aml Mr. Shaw ha l long Slriiggled against an inlorost in her, the iiiilulgonoo Of whicli ha folt would bo fatal to his future happiness and usefulness. Absorbed in these, thougli Is, he fonnd li insiilf in front of Mr. Luo's house, nud, obiing íin impulse, he turne. 1 in at tlio gate and was admkted. As Miss Loo culero 1 tlie parlor he tbou jflit he had sulilom soon a fairer vi-ion. and was voxoil to fojl h s hoart tii rob more qnlcUly, and thrill with a jloa-uro tl Kit hu folt must be controlled. bhe greétod him with that easy graco w.iieh was one of her principal charnis. 'Ah, Mr. Shawl I ara so glad to sers you. I had a real spell of ennui llns mornng. This last novel is wretcheil, as both hen and hcroino die in the most provoking way, all bocause of sonie overs;rained idea of dutv, and 1 was just wi.shing thatsomo oue would eonie in, and 1 conld have a cheerful l.ttlo chat Lo (lispel the gloom impress on." "Tlien I'm afraid," smillingly, "you w 11 not li!;o your present visitor. I have not oom i in a very clieerful humur; and, bssidus, I w sh to a-k a favor. 'A favo:-! That is too ovAy. Consiiler it grauted, evon to the half of my kingdoiu. I am trulv glad that you ivish to ask a favor of me, bccause I did not thiuk your opinión of nu was snfBciently good for suoh a tb ing. Do you know," w tli a sinlileu drop ot the eyes, "lliatyou ahvavs make me fnel as if I nre.rc doing somothing wrong?" "Do I? Well, I siiall give you a folden opportiinity now to redeem lonrsulf. I h:ivo jmt been visiting Utmu of tbose wretchodly poor families ! in si root. and I would like so niuoli ,f you could interest somo ladies ;n tli : r behalf - visit them and relieve theiu." A look of constornation overspread her pretly fac ■ as she exclaimed: ' Oh, nil;! I, you don 't mean for me tfi g thoru? How could I ever stand it? 1 i an't bata suoh planos. Ask ma almosl urn thing o!sj. T ie dreadf ui mon and women! - tlie odor! Uh!" wtli a iliu Idor, "Ask me almst anythiug lo." A look of keen disappointment Irified over Mr. Shaw's faoe. bhe guddenty br ghtened and said: 'I do intend to do so:nethtng good next week. I have refusad a german," triumphanlly, "I may altend the ebarity calicó ball to be given, You know all the dresses are for the poor, so I shall do somo good." "And what is your dress to be P" asked Mr. Shaw, with rather aa indesser bable inflection to his voice. "Tlie lovel.est blue silesia, with a fl iwirod cretonne front," enthusinsticiilly. "slecvoless wa st. Medici collar, shirrcd and very bouffant draperics. It will be beautiful, and I know it will eeem very nice to some poor nromao who uever had anything like it." "Yes," said he in a tone quite saturicd with irony, "I don't doubt its usefulness; but don't you think you ought to aild a fow yards of illus on to luaka somo warm bodies for tho30 who have no lires, and a few yards of ribbon to decórate thu lttla froez ng arnisP" Now, you are angry me. Mr. Sliaw," hosilatingly. "Don't you think oie uiterly hearlieas; but I cau't go to i street. It vvould really givo me a Hllle blue chili." '1 could nover consent to such a cruel I as that," he said, with an unploaant sin lo. "I really feel that I wo jou an npologv for intruding wol) a disagreuable subject, ly after yonr ncrvos wero sliattereu witb jour novel. Good mornlng." and he bowed himsolf out very nbrupily, wit li a st range littlc pain in h's heart. He (I (1 not again speuk on the subject to her, but fouml othur ladios wlio interested themselves most warnily iu the work. Everyvvliero that lie went in his charitv rounils ho could see and feul the inüuenee of Miss Snnk's good acts. She seemed to be .111 angel of mertsy who never tired, nnd vvho devoted lier entire time to char.ty. All that slie did was marked by a practical {rooi sense and a depth of thought nud feoling that he could not fail to admire. St.U lio uever chanced to meet her. One day when entering the postoffice he saw Lee. Siie was unaware of his presence, and, standing idly behind her, he feit as if he had reoeived an eleclic shock, as she asked: "Is there anything fer Miss Mehitable Sanks P" and then received and pocketed several postal cards. If he was astonished at the question, ho was still more so at the effect whicu his discovery produced on her. Neck, face, and brow, even the rools of her golden curls, were dyed in a painful crimson, her eyes dilated w th an expression of great consternation, but with a little haughty gesturo of recognition she liunied past h:m. Acting upon an impulse, with a few hasty steps he soon ovortook hor. He j was lost in a She ! was tlie last person with whoni he would have connected Miss Slianks in any way. and her great on, as he waiked beside her, increascd his surprise. A sudden, bright susp'cion caused his heart to beat almost to suflbcatoti. "Teil me. Miss Mabel," he sa d, "what have you to do with M Sa Shank's letters P" "I really can't understand. Mr. Sliaw, what right you have to ask mn such a quest'on. In all th ngs spiritual I acknowledgo your right, but in this in.stanco vou forget youiself." "Teil me," he said, "with eager, regardless haste, aro yon Mis3 Slianks ?" A sudden buist of tears was her only j answor, as she hastily pulled down her eeil, and waiked siKntly beside hini. A calni of perfect joy descended upon Mm, as he fully .realized the trutti. He waiked by her side until he reaclied j her home, and then, without waiting j for an invitaron, entered it with her. ; As they reached the parlor, slio ! ed aside her hat and stood bef o re hini j more like a diacovered culprit than the little saint she had pro ved to be. There was a dnfiant sparkle ia her eyes as she tui-ned her flusued face to bim. He took both of her hands in his. "So, Mabel," he nuirmured, ! ly. "your hoart is as beaiiüful as jour, face, thougli you havo veiled j-our goodness undor an exterior oí frivolity. This is not the general rule of human - tv." -But, Mr. Shaw, if it is ft faalt, it lies entirely at j'our door." "Have I anyüiing to do with il?" tie asked, in surprise. "I have been thinking for a long whilo that you were entiri'lj' bevond my control." "Nevertheless, I have only been obcying your nstructions. Don'tyon remember you sometiines preacli against ostcutations oharity? 'Let not thy left hand know what thy right band doeth.' I thonght tliore was a word of trnth and force in it. and I have practiced what you preaclied. And now. Mr. Shaw," sho said, w th a deninre glance at hini, "if you are dono with my hands I will not troublo you to I10UI them any longer." 'No," he said gravely, "I do not wish to return them. Ma Brlle! M.i Belle!" he said, quicklj' and tcndeilv, "give me the privilege of owning them alwuys. Won'tyou, darling?" She took them quickly away. 'No, no," with a low laugh, "it is Miss Sanks whoni you have fallen in love, for poor Mabel Lee has only had your toleiation. " "Ah," he said, "that's when I thought you were a butterifly. Now that i know you to be a saint, I beg you to share your grace wilh me, and help me in all good thinsrs. I am willing to take you or Miss Sanks. or, in deflance of the law of the land, I will take you both.' She hesltated, then, with a lovely blush and smile, she laid both hor hands in his. "One for Miss Sanks - one for myself." He drew her to him, and feit that ! one sermón at least had been cast upon the water, whch had returned to him many days.


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Ann Arbor Democrat