Page:A Garland for Girls (1893).djvu/50

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any one to eat, and in the bed, with an old carpet for cover, lay the three children. Tot and Caddy cuddled in the warmest place, while Lotty, with her little blue hands, was trying to patch up some old stockings with bits of cotton. I did n't know how to begin, but Lotty did, and I just took her orders; for that wise little woman told me where to buy a bushel of coal and some kindlings, and milk and meal, and all I wanted. I worked like a beaver for an hour or two, and was so glad I d been to a cooking-class, for I could make a fire, with Lotty to do the grubby part, and start a nice soup with the cold meat and potatoes, and an onion or so. Soon the room was warm, and full of a nice smell, and out of bed tumbled the babies, to dance round the stove and sniff at the soup, and drink milk like hungry kittens, till I could get bread and butter ready.

"It was great fun! and when we had cleared things up a bit, and I'd put food for supper in the closet, and told Lotty to warm a bowl of soup for her mother and keep the fire going, I went home tired and dirty, but very glad I'd found something to do. It is perfectly amazing how little poor people's things cost, and yet they can't get the small amount of money needed without working themselves to death. Why, all I bought did n't cost more than I often spend for flowers, or theatre tickets, or lunches, and it made those poor babies so comfortable I could have cried to think I'd never done it before."

Ida paused to shake her head remorsefully, then went on with her story, sewing busily all the while on an