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What She Could   By: (1819-1885)

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"Girls, there's a Band!"

"A what?"

"A Band in the Sunday School."

"I am sure there is a careless girl in the house," put in another speaker. "Go and wipe your feet, Maria; look at the snow you have brought in."

"But, mamma "

"Go and get rid of that snow before you say another word. And you too, Matilda; see, child, what lumps of snow are sticking to your shoes. Was there no mat at the door?"

"There was a cold wind there," muttered Maria, as she went to obey orders. "What harm does a little snow do?"

But while she went to the door again, her sister, a pretty, delicate child of fewer years, stood still, and adroitly slipped her feet out of the snowy shoes she had brought in, which she put in the corner of the fireplace to thaw and dry off; the little stocking feet standing comfortably on the rug before the blaze. It was so neatly done, the mother and elder sisters looked on and could not chide. Neatness suited the place. The room was full of warm comfort; the furniture in nice order; the work, several kinds of which were in as many hands, though lying about also on chairs and tables, had yet the look of order and method. You would have said at once that there was something good in the family. The child in front of the fire told more for it. Her delicate features, the refined look and manner with which she stood there in her uncovered feet, even a little sort of fastidious grace which one or two movements testified, drew the eyes of mother and sisters, and manifestly stopped their tongues; even called forth a smile or two.

"What is all this Maria is talking about, Matilda?"

"Why, we have been to the Sunday School meeting, mamma."

"I know that; and it was not a night fit for you to go. What ever possessed you and Maria?" remarked one of the sisters.

"Why, Mr. Richmond wanted to see all the Sunday School," said Matilda, thoughtfully. "He wanted you too, I suppose; and you were not there."

"There is no use in having a meeting such a night. Of course, a great many people could not be there. It ought to have been put off."

"Well, it was not put off," said Matilda.

"What did he want? What was Maria talking about?"

"She is the best one to ask," said the child.

At the same moment Maria came in from getting rid of the snow, and enquired if Tilly had told them everything? Finding all was right, she sat down contentedly before the fire and stretched out her feet towards it.

"We've had a splendid time, I can tell you," she began.

"What was done in particular?" asked one of the older girls, who was making a bonnet. "More than usual?"

"A great many things in particular, and one in general. We've made a Band."

"I have made several since you have been away," the other sister remarked.

"You know we cannot understand that unless you explain," said the bonnet maker.

"You must let Maria take her own manner," said their mother.

"Well, now, I'll tell you all about it," said Maria. "There weren't a great many people there, to begin with."

"Of course not! such a night."

"So there were plenty of empty benches, and it didn't look like a meeting at all, at first; and I wondered if it would come to anything; but then Mr. Richmond came in, and I saw he meant something."

"Mr. Richmond always does mean something," interrupted Matilda.

"You hush, Tilly! Well, there were prayers first, of course; and then Mr. Richmond stood up in the aisle, and said he wanted to know how many of us all there were willing to be really good."

"The servants of Christ, he said," Matilda explained.

"Yes, the servants of Christ, of course; and he said he didn't know any better way to get at it than that we should all stand up."

A burst of laughter from all Maria's audience a little confused her... Continue reading book >>

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