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Work: A Story of Experience HTML version

X. Beginning Again
IT was an April day when Christie went to her new home. Warm rains had melted the last
trace of snow, and every bank was full of pricking grass-blades, brave little pioneers and
heralds of the Spring. The budding elm boughs swung in the wind; blue-jays screamed
among the apple-trees; and robins chirped shrilly, as if rejoicing over winter hardships
safely passed. Vernal freshness was in the air despite its chill, and lovely hints of summer
time were everywhere.
These welcome sights and sounds met Christie, as she walked down the lane, and,
coming to a gate, paused there to look about her. An old-fashioned cottage stood in the
midst of a garden just awakening from its winter sleep. One elm hung protectingly over
the low roof, sunshine lay warmly on it, and at every window flowers' bright faces smiled
at the passer-by invitingly.
On one side glittered a long green-house, and on the other stood a barn, with a sleek cow
ruminating in the yard, and an inquiring horse poking his head out of his stall to view the
world. Many comfortable gray hens were clucking and scratching about the hay-strewn
floor, and a flock of doves sat cooing on the roof.
A quiet, friendly place it looked; for nothing marred its peace, and the hopeful, healthful
spirit of the season seemed to haunt the spot. Snow-drops and crocuses were up in one
secluded nook; a plump maltese cat sat purring in the porch; and a dignified old dog came
marching down the walk to escort the stranger in. With a brightening face Christie went
up the path, and tapped at the quaint knocker, hoping that the face she was about to see
would be in keeping with the pleasant place.
She was not disappointed, for the dearest of little Quaker ladies opened to her, with such
an air of peace and good-will that the veriest ruffian, coming to molest or make afraid,
would have found it impossible to mar the tranquillity of that benign old face, or disturb
one fold of the soft muslin crossed upon her breast.
"I come from Mr. Power, and I have a note for Mrs. Sterling," began Christie in her
gentlest tone, as her last fear vanished at sight of that mild maternal figure.
"I am she; come in, friend; I am glad to see thee," said the old lady, smiling placidly, as
she led the way into a room whose principal furniture seemed to be books, flowers, and
The look, the tone, the gentle "thee," went straight to Christie's heart; and, while Mrs.
Sterling put on her spectacles and slowly read the note, she stroked the cat and said to
herself: "Surely, I have fallen among a set of angels. I thought Mrs. Wilkins a sort of
saint, Mr. Power was an improvement even upon that good soul, and if I am not mistaken
this sweet little lady is the best and dearest of all. I do hope she will like me."
"It is quite right, my dear, and I am most glad to see thee; for we need help at this season
of the year, and have had none for several weeks. Step up to the room at the head of the