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The Carpenter's Daughter

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Down in a little hollow, with the sides grown full of wild thorn, alder bushes, and stunted cedars, ran the stream of a clear spring. It ran over a bed of pebbly stones, showing every one as if there had been no water there, so clear it was; and it ran with a sweet soft murmur or gurgle over the stones, as if singing to itself and the bushes as it ran.

On one side of the little stream a worn foot path took its course among the bushes; and down this path one summer's afternoon came a woman and a girl. They had pails to fill at the spring; the woman had a large wooden one, and the girl a light tin pail; and they drew the water with a little tin dipper, for it was not deep enough to let a pail be used for that. The pails were filled in silence, only the spring always was singing; and the woman and the girl turned and went up the path again. After getting up the bank, which was only a few feet, the path still went gently rising through a wild bit of ground, full of trees and low bushes; and not far off, through the trees, there came a gleam of bright light from the window of a house, on which the setting sun was shining. Half way to the house the girl and the woman stopped to rest; for water is heavy, and the tin pail which was so light before it was filled, had made the little girl's figure bend over to one side like a willow branch all the way from the spring. They stopped to rest, and even the woman had a very weary, jaded look.

"I feel as if I shall give up, some of these days," she exclaimed.

"O no, mother!" the little girl answered, cheerfully. She was panting, with her hand on her side, and her face had a quiet, very sober look; only at those words a little pleasant smile broke over it.

"I shall," said the woman. "One can't stand everything,—for ever."

The little girl had not got over panting yet, but standing there she struck up the sweet air and words,—

"'There is rest for the weary,There is rest for the weary,There is rest for the weary,There is rest for you.'"

"Yes, in the grave!" said the woman, bitterly. "There's no rest short of that,—for mind or body."

"O yes, mother dear. 'For we which have believed do enter into rest.' Jesus don't make us wait."

"I believe you eat the Bible and sleep on the Bible," said the woman, with a faint smile, taking at the same time a corner of her apron to wipe away a stray tear which had gathered in her eye. "I am glad it rests you, Nettie."

"And you, mother."

"Sometimes," Mrs. Mathieson answered, with a sigh. "But there's your father going to bring home a boarder, Nettie."

"A boarder, mother!—What for?"

"Heaven knows!—if it isn't to break my back, and my heart together. I thought I had enough to manage before, but here's this man coming, and I've got to get everything ready for him by to-morrow night."

"Who is it, mother?"

"It's one of your father's friends; so it's no good," said Mrs. Mathieson.

"But where can he sleep?" Nettie asked, after a moment of thinking. Her mother paused.

"There's no room but yours he can have. Barry wont be moved."

"Where shall I sleep, mother?"

"There's no place but up in the attic. I'll see what I can do to fit up a corner for you—if I ever can get time," said Mrs. Mathieson, taking up her pail. Nettie followed her example, and certainly did not smile again till they reached the house. They went round to the front door, because the back door belonged to another family. At the door, as they set down their pails again before mounting the stairs, Nettie smiled at her mother very placidly, and said—

"Don't you go to fit up the attic, mother; I'll see to it in time....