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Lutie Benson

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A Mil A, can't we have a roal Christmas dinner to-mor row, and be like - like other folks?" Lutie Benson drew her chair closer to her mother's knee and laid her curly head in her lap. The next morning'9 sun woula usher in the glad Christmas time, and Lutie had been thinking seriously abont the possibility 'oí being "like othcr folks," íf only thi3 once. Mamma's heart was broodingoveritsown "bitterness ; her cup was full, and it needed. bat this little tilt which Lutie had unconsciously given, to start the overflow, that went out in her reply. "I know to-morrow is Christmaa, dear, but Chnstmas dinners do not come to us any more, so don't botber me about it. Ragged sioos, faded dresses and empty cupboards don't promise much ■for to-morrow, Lutie." Poor Lutie! she knew what mamma meant. She went back to the window and iooked out. She ceased crying with a sigh. " Now if papa didn't drink so, why, how happy they would be. But then, God knows all about itanyway, andHedoesn't think any more of the rich than the poor." " Ask and yo shall receive." God meant any tainfcgood you wanted and shebelieved it. "Mamma," she said, shortly, "let's ask God to send us a nice dinner to-morrow; I know He will if we'd only ask." "I shov.ld be thinking, all the time, that it would not come, if 1 should; so there's no use in my asking," answered Mrs. Benson. "O, haven't you any faith, mamma? It doesn't need much," said Lutie. "How muchdoes itneed,daughter?"asked mamma, with a smile. "O, not much ; a piece as big as a muatard 3eed would do," answered Lntie, eagerly, rememberinj; another text of Scripture. "It won't be half as hard to get us a dinner as to move a mountain, mamma." "Well, it would do no good for me to ask, at any rate," said Mrs. Beuson, discouragingiy. "It won't do any harm, I know," said Lutie, with an emphatic nod of her curly head; "eo I'm going to ask right away. We've put it off so long now that God is 'most ashamed of us." Kneeling beside her mother" knee she said earnestly: "O, Lord! please send us a Christmas dinner; mamma would ask, but she hasn't any faith." Then Lutie went out to where brother Johnnie was trying to make a "anow man." "We' re going to have a nice dinner to-morrow, Johnnie," she said, gieefully. ■Are we?" exclaimed the astonished Johnnie, dropping the broken shovel and opening 1Ü3 eyes very wide; "wtio said so?" 'Oh, Iasked Uod a minute airo, and He'H sensit, X kuovv," answered L-atie. "Of conrse," said Johnnie. brushing the suow off nis knickerbockers and looking Tery much pleasod. Mrs. Crituhfield, their next-door neighbor, heard every word the littla Bcnsons said. Sha noticed, too, the glad look of hopeful trust on eacli pinched face. "I'll do it," she said to herself later; ''those hens havcn't laid eggs enough to half pay for their keeping, and ttie laiy things can't do a better work thau to f urnish a Christmas dinner for those children. Why, I'd rather lose the wholo flock than to have the simple, trusting faith of Lutio shaken," and Mrs. Critchfleld put her hand on a glass of curran t jelly, mentally countïng it in for "the Christmas" next door. After dusk, when the streets illumed for busy lovers of the holy eve; when Joe Benson had gone down to the corner grooery, and while hU wife sat gloomily with her mending, Mrs. Critehfield crept slyly oyer the división fenee with a well-iilled basket. Putting it down oo the door-stone carefully she rapped on the door and withdrew. " O, my ! who's coming to see tu," ejacuated Lutie, as mamma opened the door. There, in a great basket, reposed the lazy Biddie, flanked by an array of pastry deightful to see. Lutie rubbed her eyes a moment; then, clapping her hands, exclaimed: "O, mamma, God tos sent us tho nioest, blessedest dinner I ever sawl " She stoopcd to examne a scrap of paper fastened to the basket. ' As sure as every thing, mamma, here's a etter f rom God!" Mrs Benson took up the mysterious Christmas gift and took it over to the little, leal table, vvhilo Johnnie clung to her skirts. Tlien she began deciphering the cramped chirographyof her neighbor. "O, mamma!" shouted Lutie, lifting the )lump fowl aud spying a eau ol nch cream, 'I think my faith must have been as big as too mustard seeds ; don't you! But what does God say in His lettert" Mrs. Beuson said nothing; she was thinkng of her example oí the day, and wonderngwr-ocould have remembered dranken, oe's family. Spreading out the paper ou icr daughter's palm, she read : " Here's your Christmas dinner, Lutie Benson, that you asked God for; eat it and be thankful." " God heard us," said the Uttle girl, reverently. But Johnnie was watching the tear' on his mother's face. " Mamma isn't glad," he said, sorrowfully, "after all God has done!" " O, yes, she is," responded his sister; "but she's sorry now she didn't do the asking, I guess." "Oh," said Johnnie, much enüghtened and relieved. That night Lutio whispered close down t her pillow: 'I thank thee, dear God, just as hard as ever I can, for answering my prayer." 'fho nextday Mrs. Critchfield watchedthe happy faces o f the little Bensons at dinner from her window, and said softly toherself : " It is more blcssed to give than to receive."


Old News
Ann Arbor Register