Page:The Poor Rich Man, and the Rich Poor Man.djvu/133

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Few things are more gratifying to a benevolent person than to know that a charity has proved effective; and to the Aikins, to whom charities were luxuries which their straitened circumstances forbade them often to indulge in, it was a happiness hardly to be estimated by those who have it in their power to give away every day. Little Juliet had appeared from the first a gentle-tempered, loving, and interesting child; but nothing could be more desultory than her habits, nor more discouraging than her condition. She had, as she said, been taught to read by her real mother; but, in her present protectress's various removings, her books had been lost, and her little learning forgotten, so that she could not form a letter, and she even read stumblingly.

She was, at first, a constant hinderance to the little Aikins, and a constant trial of their mother's inexhaustible patience. Her ear was caught by every passing sound in the street, and her eye by every occurrence in the apartment. But she was most grateful for the kindness extended to her, and most desirous to profit by it. Habits in children are, like young plants, of rapid growth, and in a few weeks Juliet's character underwent a transfor-