They Took Me In by Unknown

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"Who is she?"

"Couldn't say. She is a stranger here, I think."

"Yes, she lives in that little house down by the bridge, you know, girls, that tiny bit of a house covered with that white rose."

"Where we always got such lots of flowers to decorate with because no one ever lived there. Why, the house is almost tumbled down. How can anyone live there?"

"No one would if they were not very poor. Of course you can tell by the girl's clothes that she is poor."

"Come on, girls, never mind talking about her," said one of the number impatiently. "What difference does it make to us who she is? We will be late," and the troop of merry girls passed on down the street.

Meantime the subject of this conversation was hurrying in another direction, her eyes blinded by the quick tears that had sprung unbidden to them when the wistful glance she had cast at the girls had been met with only those of cold curiosity.

"It is hard to be so alone," she murmured, "but I must not let mamma know."

The girls went on their way, unconscious of the wistful look, or unthinking that they had been in any way unkind.

Nellie Ross had noticed, however, and she was thoughtful all the afternoon. How must it feel, she wondered, to be alone among strangers. As they were returning home toward night, she whispered to her particular friend:—

"Do you know, Mabel, I can not help thinking of that girl we met this morning."

"What girl?" asked Mabel Willis, with a slightly puzzled air.

"Why, the one that Margaret said lived in the little cottage you know."

"O yes. What about her?"

"Why she looked at us so wistfully, and I never see her with anyone; she must be lonely."

"Well?"

"You know what the Bible says," slowly: "'I was a stranger and ye took Me not in.' This girl is a stranger and don't you think we might apply that?"

"Just what are you thinking of, Nellie?"

"I was thinking that we might call on her and ask her to join our Sabbath school class, and that might open the way."

Mabel laughed. "You always were a regular missionary, Nellie; but I hardly believe I care to go with you," with a shrug of her shoulders.

Nellie was disappointed, but she said no more for she had learned the uselessness of arguing with Mabel, so she determined to make her call alone.

Nellie felt a little timid as she presented herself at the tiny home the next afternoon. The girl herself answered her rap, and invited her into the wee living room. In an easy chair at one side of the fireplace reclined a delicate, sweet-faced woman.

[Illustration: "'<i>I thank you, my dear,' said the woman</i>."]

"My name is Nellie Ross, and I have noticed you and thought you were a stranger here," began Nellie in the winning way that had always won her many friends, "and so I thought I would call and ask you to join our Sabbath school class. We have such good times, and Mrs. Allen, our teacher, is so interesting."

"I would like to go," the girl faltered; "but they are all such strangers to me, and"—

"That will not matter," declared Nellie. "I will come for you and will introduce you to the rest of the girls."

"I thank you, my dear," said the woman, before the girl could answer again. "I am sure Edna will be glad to go. It has been rather a trying time for her, I fear, since we came here, although she has never complained, for fear it might worry me.

"She was always in church and Sabbath school work at home. But my health failed, and the physician said a winter here might save my life.

"My husband could not come with me, for he must work at home to get money to pay our expenses, so Edna gave up her school and everything to come with me. We are compelled to live very cheaply, you see, but I am getting better, and I think I shall get quite well, if only Edna can be contented here," with a fond glance at her daughter.

"Of course, I shall be contented mamma," replied Edna.

"I'm sure she will like the Sabbath school very much," said Nellie, earnestly, "and I will come for her to-morrow."

She did so, and Edna went with her, although she felt a little shy, but the warm welcome given her by Mrs. Allen, and the friendliness of the girls, soon made her feel at home. It was not until the school joined in singing the last song, that she so far forgot herself as to join in the singing. Then the girls were astonished. She sang alto beautifully.

"Really," cried one of them as soon as they were dismissed, "you must join our young people's choir, will you? We do need an alto so badly."

From that time on, Edna had no cause for loneliness, for she was one of the girls, and her mother smiled and grew better.

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You will see the pools of stagnant water frozen through the winter, while the little running streams are bounding along between fringes of icy gems. Why is this? The streams have something else to do than to stand still and be frozen up. Be you like them. Keep your heart warm by feeling for others, and your powers active by work done in earnest.

JOHN HALL.

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A house built on sand is in fair weather just as good as if built on a rock. A cobweb is as good as the mightiest chain cable where there is no strain on it. It is trial that proves one thing weak and another strong.

BEECHER.

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Little self-denials, little honesties, little passing words of sympathy, little nameless acts of kindness, little silent victories over favorite temptations—these are the silent threads of gold which, when woven together, gleam out so brightly in the pattern of life that God approves.

DEAN FARRAR.