Short Stories » Young Girls Don't Speak to Me

Young Girls Don't Speak to Me

THIS remark, uttered by a lone woman, has often recurred to me. Where we once lived we noticed almost daily a foreigner pass our house ; her apparel was neat in the extreme, her hair so black and lustrous, her cheek so pale, eyes so sad, and manners so refined, I began after awhile to watch for her, for she flitted by so silently, only bowing slightly if one actually met her, I wondered who and what she was. One day I purposely met and spoke to her. She told me that her husband was an invalid, their children afar in the world, and all their possessions withheld from them on account of their receiving the gospel. Thus they had exchanged their earthly for their heavenly inheritance.

I tried to cheer her, and, thanking me, she went on her way. We moved to another locality, and a year after I met her upon a crowded street. In answer to my salutation, she looked up gravely, then smiled in recognition, and said: " You are very kind; young girls don't speak to me. I am poor, and look not fine as they do, and this seems very kind in you." Upon inquiry I learned that her husband was now dead and that she did sewing at home.

" Consider me your friend. Speak to me if I do not see you first when we meet; I often think of you." " I will. One who is so kind to the sad and lonely I cannot forget." She paused a moment, then with a quick movement drew from her neck a locket and opened it. I looked in surprise at the exquisite portrait upon ivory, a bride adorned with jewels beside a handsome man in officer's uniform. Despite the years she had lived since then, I recognized her and realized what they had left behind them. While I thought, she turned the locket, and upon the other side looked into my eyes a child, lovely as imagination could dream. "Is she dead?" I asked. " She is living in the emperor's palace, beneath her grand uncle's guardianship, companion to a lady of rank." Her features quivered, and, hastily replacing the locket, she gave me her hand, and passed quickly on. Palace and hovel ! How the thoughts rushed through my mind then and often since! Many times since I have looked for her, but we have never met since. Perhaps the poor stranger has gone where she is no longer poor or. an alien,

Children, whose fathers are perhaps traveling, preaching the gospel, think how a kind salutation and sympathetic interest would be valued by them, and be kind to the new-comers you may meet. There are many in Zion in the guise of poor and humble apparel, but I know of some such who have dwelt in royal courts and have laid aside titles and estates to come here and live within log houses and labor for the necessities of life.

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