Short Stories » Lizzie and Her Mother
Lizzie and Her Mother
SOME years ago there used to come to my house twice a week a young English girl. From the first day, her quiet manner and gentle spirit interested me. There are many lights and shades of human character. Lizzie was tall and slender, with fair complexion and very large blue eyes that were expressive of tenderness. Her duties for me were of the plainest character, and I thought she did not appear strong enough, so I gently suggested as much, thinking it only fair that she should understand in the beginning and not undertake what might overtax her strength. Her answer was so cheerful : " I am sure I can do it, ma'am. I shan't think of its being hard work, I'll be thinking of mother and Rufie and trying to do justice to you, ma'am. It's all in the way of thinking, I believe." Who could help admiring her straightway ? Between breakfast and dinner I handed her a slight refreshment, and she pleasantly said : " It's like the stile by the hedge-row; it gives a rest on the way. Thank you." When the money was paid her, she sped away so lightly I wondered, for she must have been tired, I thought Soon after I learned that Lizzie was employed every day but Sunday, and one morning I told her there was danger of her breaking down in health. " I think not, ma'am. I thank my heavenly Father every night for what He's let me earn, and I ask Him every morning to give me strength for the day's work, and He's never failed to help me yet."
One evening, as she was about to start home, she witnessed a neighbor's child leave the door in temper, to go away and spend the night. Lizzie looked thoroughly astonished, and, turning to me, remarked: " I wouldn't be in that young lady's place, and going away from home, too ; I never goes to bed without kissing my mother; we none of us knows what might happen before morning." " You've got a good mother, Lizzie." " Yes, ma'am, and I'm glad to work for her now I'm strong enough ; Rufie's too little, and since father died mother needs Rufie near by to take her mind off from mourning in the day-time; she does enough of that when she thinks him asleep."
Lizzie had a little book in which she kept strict ac- count of her earnings and regularly paid her tithing.
She took a great interest in the Lamanites, and felt sorry because they could not appear neat and clean. I found out that Lizzie had some cakes of toilet soap in the little satchel she always brought her apron in, and, favorable opportunities occurring, she managed to give, by signs, toilet lessons to more than one Indian woman. As the cakes were selected with care as to appearance and perfume, they were accepted in as friendly a spirit as they were given. " Lizzie," said I, " you're a diplomat." " What's that, ma'am ? " I explained. " Well, ma'am, the Scriptures say, ' Be ye wise as serpents and harmless as doves,' and I wouldn't hurt their feelings in their afflictions."
By and by 'Lizzie married and went to her own home, and I long missed her good and gentle ways.
Three years later she passed on to where the meek, the willing, and the pure in heart rest from their labors and receive their eternal reward in joy and glory awaiting them.