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Nanny Merry or, What Made the Difference?

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IN WHICH NANNIE IS INTRODUCED.   little brown house, with an old elm-tree before it, a frame of lattice-work around the door, with a broad stone for a step—this is where old Grannie Burt lives. And there she is sitting in the doorway with her Bible in her lap. She can't read it, for she is blind; but she likes to have it by her; she likes the "feeling of it," she says. "When my Bible is away," Grannie Burt says, "I am sometimes troubled and worried; but if I can only touch it, my troubles are all gone; for what harm can any trouble do us when we are going to heaven at last?"

But grannie doesn't always have to feel her Bible. Sometimes—very often—a little girl comes down the path to the brown house, and sitting down close by grannie, on that cricket that you see there now, takes the good book and reads the blessed words to her, till the tears trickle down grannie's wrinkled face, and laying her trembling hand on the little girl's head, she says, "God bless thee, my child."

I think she is expecting her now; for, see the cricket is all ready, and on the little table is a pitcher of cool water from the old well that you see just behind the house; and here is the little girl herself.

"Good-morning, grannie; are you waiting for me? I couldn't come any sooner, because mamma wanted me to play with Charlie; and here are some peaches mamma sent you,—she thought you would like them;" and Nannie, quite out of breath with her walk and her talk, stops a minute, which gives Grannie Burt a chance to answer her questions and to thank her for her peaches. "Now shall I read, grannie?" said Nannie, as, taking a long draught from the little pitcher, she sat down on the cricket.

"Eat this peach first," said grannie, picking out the softest and handing it to her; "I know you must be warm from your long walk, and this will cool you."

The peach looked so tempting that Nannie looked at it wishfully. Her mother had only given her one, and she had sent grannie a whole basketful. It was only for a moment that Nannie let these selfish thoughts trouble her. "Grannie never has any of her own, and in a few weeks I can have as many as I want," she thought; so taking up the Bible she said, "No, grannie, thank you; the water has cooled me enough; where shall I begin?"

"Read about heaven, Nannie; you know I like to hear about that best."

Softly the little voice began: "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth." Then she read of the tree of life, whose leaves are for the healing of the nations; and of the water of life, that flows near the jasper throne.

When she had finished, she said, "What makes you like to hear of heaven so much, grannie?"

"Oh, I'm going there, Nannie! When you read about the beautiful things, the pearly gates, and the golden streets, I think, 'I shall see them, for there will be no night there; not even in these poor old eyes of mine.' And when you read, 'the Lamb is the light thereof,' then I think Jesus will be there, and that's what I like best of all."

"Where is heaven, grannie?"

"Up there, I suppose," she said, pointing to the bright sky above....