by the American Sunday-School Union
At one time, when Mrs. Dudley was spending a
few days in the city, she went with a friend to call
upon a poor woman whom she heard was in great
need. This woman had sent a daughter, about
eight years old, to school for one day, and then
found that she could not spare her; she felt obliged
to keep her at home to take care of the baby.
Mrs. Carter—for by this name I shall call her—occupied
a house back from the street. The ladies
ascended the steps leading to the first floor, and
inquired if she lived there. "She is in the basement,"
was the answer. They descended into the
area. It was neatly swept, and in perfect order.
"It must be a genteel woman who lives here,"
remarked Mrs. Benton. They knocked. A voice
bade them come in. They opened the door and
entered. Mrs. Carter was sewing by a table.
By her side stood Georgianna, her oldest child,
plainly and neatly dressed. At the other end of
the table was a little girl about four years old, whose
name I forget, and in the rocking-chair before the
stove was a dark-haired babe, quietly sleeping.
The room was neat and tidy. There was a little
fire in the stove, but not enough to thoroughly
warm the room.
The ladies inquired of Mrs. Carter in regard to
her circumstances. They learned that her husband
left her last spring, and had gone she knew not
where. He was a carpenter by trade, and could
earn two dollars a day. She had always done what
she could with her needle, and had earned a few
dollars a month by binding shoes or doing other
sewing. They had lived very comfortably, renting
good apartments for eight dollars a month, and
knew nothing of want or suffering.
Mrs. Carter was obliged to give up her pleasant
rooms, to remove to the basement. She has laboured
industriously, whenever she can procure work, to
pay her rent, three dollars a month, and to provide
food for her children. She has known what it is
to be both cold and hungry. She has bought coal
by the bushel, and has sometimes been without
fire in the dead of winter. Her family have lived
principally upon bread and water, and the little
ones have cried for food when she had none to
Little Ida is too young to know her mother's sorrow.
She is a babe of only a few weeks old, and
she sleeps as sweetly in that great rocking-chair as
any babe ever slept in a cradle. She is warmly
wrapped in a blanket, and does not suffer, although
she has scarce a change of dresses.
When Mrs. Dudley returned to her happy home,
she told her children about this family, and particularly
about the poor babe, who so increased her
mother's cares and labours, yet repaying it all by
the wealth of maternal love her coming had developed.
It was pleasing to see Georgianna lay her
face so softly on the infant's, and so gently rock her
when her slumbers were disturbed.
Mrs. Dudley's children listened to her story with
great interest, and wished to do something for the
family. Mary repaired some garments which her
mother gave her, and when this was done, she went
to her drawer and took out a small piece of calico,
which had been given to her to make her doll a
dress. She asked her mother if there was enough
to make Ida a dress. Mrs. Dudley examined it,
and told her there was. So she cut it out for her
daughter, and showed her how to make it. This
work occupied her several days, for Mary goes to
school, and has not much time for sewing. The
dress looked very pretty when it was completed.
She had embroidered the tiny sleeves with a neat
scollop, and had taken great pains to make it strong
The next time Mrs. Dudley went to the city, she
took several small parcels for Mrs. Carter, who was
much pleased with them. None gratified her more
than the dress for the baby.
It will always be a pleasant recollection to Mary
that she made the heart of this suffering woman
happy by sending a dress to her infant. She learned
the pleasure of giving, and of exerting herself to do
good to others.
If Mrs. Dudley had had the dress made by a
seamstress, it would have been equally useful to
Mrs. Carter; but Mary would have lost the reward
which she now enjoys in the consciousness of relieving
the sufferings of the destitute. I hope
Mary will always be benevolent, and never grow
"weary in well-doing."