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: Nelly by Guernsey Lucy Ellen - Christian life Juvenile fiction; Honesty Juvenile fiction; Faith Juvenile fiction; Grandmothers Juvenile fiction; Irish Americans Juvenile fiction; Intergenerational relations Juvenile fiction
@FreeBooksTue 07 Nov, 2023
This little story is written to illustrate the value of honesty and faithfulness in small and great matters. Nelly's earnings may possibly be considered rather large for a girl of her age; but a lady of much experience, to whom I referred the matter, assures me that they are not exaggerated, and that a perfectly trustworthy clerk is worth almost any price to his or her employers. A woman mostly confined to the bed and sofa earned, in three years, nearly seven hundred dollars by doing the finer and more elaborate kinds of tatting.
THE BEST INHERITANCE.
"WHAT'S the use?" said Nelly, with a sort of hopeless bitterness in her tone. "There's no use in my ever trying to be anybody!"
Nelly Ryan was leaning against the rickety gate of her grandmother's more rickety cottage, watching a procession of girls about her own age, who were passing on the other side of the street on their way to church. There were about thirty of them, all very nicely dressed, walking two-and-two, and talking quietly to each other. They were the pupils of an old-established boarding-school in the place where Nelly lived; and, as Nelly looked at their dainty, fresh spring dresses and bonnets, their neat boots and gloves, and white collars, and then at her own ragged, faded delaine, her toes peeping out of a pair of old shoes much too large for her, and the tangled, rusty elf-locks of her hair, she felt the contrast very deeply and bitterly. She was a pretty little girl, about thirteen years old, with curly black hair, gray eyes, and a slender but strong and lithe figure. Not one of all the girls she envied could match her in good looks; but her slender hands were grimed and encrusted with dirt, and her face not much better off; her hair looked as if it had hardly known a comb, and her frock was covered with grease and dirt and torn into various stirrups and three-cornered rents. She might have been called a hopeless-looking child enough; and yet there was something in her face that promised better things. She stood looking after the school-girls till they turned a corner, and then, leaning her head against the gate, she cried bitterly but quietly, all the while saying to herself--
"It's too bad! It's too bad! I can't never be anybody or have any thing! It's too bad!"
"What is the matter, little one?" asked a pleasant voice. Nelly glanced up hastily, wiping away her tears with her dirty hands, so that she looked more forlorn than ever. A young lady stood by the gate, regarding her with an expression of interest and sympathy which Nelly felt at once to be genuine. She was nicely and tastefully though not gayly dressed, and in her hand she held a couple of books, and a little nosegay of early spring flowers,--sweet blue and white violets, primroses, periwinkles, and such like,--with a few geranium and ivy leaves.
As Nelly looked up, she repeated her question, adding, "Are you sick?"
"No," stammered Nelly, shyly, hanging down her head.
"What is the matter?" asked the young lady. "I am sure you must be in some trouble, to cry so bitterly."
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