Harper's Young People, December 16, 1879 An Illustrated Weekly

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Excerpt Mrs. Douglas was looking over her shopping list, and Lily Douglas was looking over her mother's shoulder. The Christmas Charity Fair was so soon to be held that Mrs. Douglas had a world of business to attend to, for of course her table must be full of pretty things suitable for the season. She was going out this morning to finish all her purchases, and Lily had been promised a corner of the carriage if she would be as quiet as she knew how to be, and not take cold. This was joyfully acceded to, for with all the glories of the shops to look at, could she not be still? and with her new velvet cloak and warm furs, how could she take cold? So she bounced into the brougham after her mother, and curled herself into the smallest possible space, that there might be room for all the packages. Such smiling brown eyes under sweeping lashes looked up at the sky as she wished for snow, and so warm a little heart beat under the velvet and furs as the brougham rolled down the street, that more than one passer-by gave her smiles in return. They had not long been out when the snow came indeed, as if just to oblige the little maiden; first in a sulky, slow way, then taking a start as if it were in earnest, down came the feathery flakes. "Oh, mamma," she cried, "aren't you glad? Just look at the lovely, lovely snow!" "Yes," said mamma, abstractedly, reading off her list; "one dozen decorated candles; three screens, gilt; six lace tidies; fifteen yards blue ribbon; dolls—oh, Lily, I have forgotten the dolls, and I must have them in time to dress them. Knock on the window, and tell Patrick to turn down town again; but I am afraid the snow will be deep before we can get home." "So much the better, mamma," exclaimed Lily. "Oh, I am so glad it has come!" Mamma smiled back at her little girl's radiant look, as she said, "What will all the little poor children do?" "Do?" answered Lily; "why, they will sweep the walks—look! there they are now. What fun! I wish I had a broom, and a tin cup for pennies." Mamma could have preached a little, but she refrained. She did not even venture to call to Lily's notice the pinched and blue noses and the chapped hands of the little army of sweepers which had so suddenly appeared. The brougham stopped at her signal, and Mrs. Douglas went into an immense toy-shop, while Lily watched the movements of a little girl who had attracted her. The child was thin and pale; an old ragged sacque was her only outer garment, and the sleeves were so short that half her arms were exposed; on her head was an old untrimmed straw hat; on her feet shoes large enough for a woman; a faded bit of cotton cloth was twisted about her neck; in her hand was a broom, made of a bundle of sticks, such as street-sweepers use. She would make a hasty dash at the snow, and then, as if struggling between duty and pleasure, would rush from her sweeping to the shop window, and gaze with an eager and fascinated intentness at the toys within. Lily looked at her until she became tired; then, impatient of restraint, she jumped out of the carriage, and went into the shop after her mother; but Mrs. Douglas was down at the end of the counter, surrounded by people, and in front of Lily, near the door, was a basket of dolls gazing up at her with bewitchingly inviting glances. She began to name them—Jessie, Matilda, Clarissa, Marguerite, Cleopatra—no, she concluded, she wouldn't have Cleopatra. What should this other darling be named?—Rosamond. "Do you think Rosamond a pretty name?" said a timid little voice near her. It came from the girl she had watched from the carriage window. "Well, not very," answered Lily; "but you see I have such a large family that I don't know what to call them all....
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