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“Mamma,” said Mary Lester, creeping up to her mother's side one morning, and looking anxiously in her face, “I do so wish you would give me some
Tell me what you want it for,” said her mamma.
"I want to give it to poor Hannah Jackson. Her little girl was here a short time ago, and she came and stood beside me whilst I was feeding my rabbits, and what do you think she said ? her mother was sitting at home crying, because she had no money to pay her
bill at the grocer's, and he will not wait any longer for it.”
“I am very sorry for poor Hannah Jackson," replied Mrs Lester," for she works hard and is very steady and careful. She would not be in need of money now, if she had not had to nurse her husband through a long illness and then pay his funeral expenses."
“Then,” said Mary joyfully, " you will give me some money to give her."
“No, dear, I think not," replied Mrs Lester. "I will tell you why I say I will not-you are nine years old
— now, and ought to be able to understand that you must not content yourself with giving help which costs you nothing. Unless you give her some of your own little store of money, or some help from your own hands, you are in reality giving her nothing."
"But, mamma, I have no money, I have spent it all."
" Then, Mary dear, if you spend all you have on yourself, and then come to me for more whenever you are sorry for any one, I am the one who gives and not you, and your charity costs you no sacrifice of any kind.”
Then what am I to do?" said Mary looking ready
“I do not know, you must either save some of the next money you get to give to her, or find some way of helping her with your hands, or you must give up the idea of doing anything for her.”
"I will do something,” thought Mary, "if only I can find a way." She went into the garden, and tried to think of every possible way of helping Hannah
Jackson, from selling her dolls, and giving her the money she got for them, to trying to earn a trifle by sewing--at last she thought of something which she believed would do and went and asked her mother to let her gather all the sweet violets which grew in the garden, and make them up into pretty little bunches, and sell them in the streets.
Her mother said she was welcome to all the violets, and might make them all ready, early every morning before her lessons, but Hannah Jackson's little boy and girl must undertake to sell them. And so it was settled, and Mary went with her nurse, to see if they could find a tidy basket to put them in, and to tell the little Jacksons to come for the violets at ten o'clock the very next day.
2.—LITTLE HANDS MAY GIVE GREAT
thread At ten next morning the little Jacksons came and found a basket quite full of bunches of violets all
neatly arranged, ready for them. Each was tied with a piece of thread, and each had two or three green leaves mixed with the violets to make them look bright and pretty. Before putting them in the basket Mary had carefully counted them, and had to her great joy found that she had thirty of them. They were not shabby little bunches, such as you sometimes see sold, but good large ones, for Mary wished those who bought them to-day, to be pleased with what they had got, and to buy some more to-morrow.
She would have liked to follow the two children when they went out, and watch in the distance to see if they were so lucky as to find any one to buy their flowers; and all the morning, whenever she had a few minutes to herself between her lessons, she wondered if they would sell them, and thought what a sad thing it would be, if those dear sweet violets found no one to buy them.
The first day they sold eighteen bunches, and so they made eighteenpence, and Mary, well pleased, put the basket with the scissors and thread in it, in the summer house, to be ready for her to begin her work again next morning. Then she got the watering pot and watered the beds of violets, so that the flowers might be large, fresh, and dewy, when she went to gather them.
And this lasted all the time the violets were in bloom, and as Mary made up such large fine nosegays of them for one penny, each day she sold more and more, for people looked out of their windows to see if the two violet sellers were coming, and by the time the violet season was over, and they looked into the