Page:Letters of Life.djvu/240

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228
LETTERS OF LIFE.

mother and friends at home. There they found concurrence. A variety of methods were adopted, suited to their respective positions. One was systematically to perform some slight domestic service, to which a stipend was attached. Another was to aid in the department of plain needle-work, or mending, all happily bearing upon the cultivation of a taste for household good. If it was found that these new occupations invaded the time appropriated to their daily lessons, they promised to rise an hour earlier in the morning. Their fixedness of purpose was remarkable; so was their ingenuity in searching out forms of remunerative industry. During one afternoon reading of History, I observed one bright little head bent over her desk, instead of the accustomed attitude of face to the circle. On going to her seat I found her with an elongated piece of leather on her lap, in which she was dexterously inserting slender pieces of bent wire. To the inquiry, what she was doing, she briskly answered:

"Setting card-teeth for the spinning machines. They have promised to pay me."

"How did you learn the art?"

"Oh, in their shop, by looking on a few minutes. It is more profitable work than I could get at home."

When they brought their first contribution at the opening of a new month, under this new régime, observing their eyes to beam with a deep satisfaction, I said: "You have not cast into the treasury that which