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Work: A Story of Experience HTML version

VIII. A Cure For Despair
WHEN Christie opened the eyes that had closed so wearily, afternoon sunshine streamed
across the room, and seemed the herald of happier days. Refreshed by sleep, and
comforted by grateful recollections of her kindly welcome, she lay tranquilly enjoying
the friendly atmosphere about her, with so strong a feeling that a skilful hand had taken
the rudder, that she felt very little anxiety or curiosity about the haven which was to
receive her boat after this narrow escape from shipwreck.
Her eye wandered to and fro, and brightened as it went; for though a poor, plain room it
was as neat as hands could make it, and so glorified with sunshine that she thought it a
lovely place, in spite of the yellow paper with green cabbage roses on it, the gorgeous
plaster statuary on the mantel-piece, and the fragrance of dough-nuts which pervaded the
air. Every thing suggested home life, humble but happy, and Christie's solitary heart
warmed at the sights and sounds about her.
A half open closet-door gave her glimpses of little frocks and jackets, stubby little shoes,
and go-to-meeting hats all in a row. From below came up the sound of childish voices
chattering, childish feet trotting to and fro, and childish laughter sounding sweetly
through the Sabbath stillness of the place. From a room near by, came the soothing creak
of a rocking-chair, the rustle of a newspaper, and now and then a scrap of conversation
common-place enough, but pleasant to hear, because so full of domestic love and
confidence; and, as she listened, Christie pictured Mrs. Wilkins and her husband taking
their rest together after the week's hard work was done.
"I wish I could stay here; it's so comfortable and home-like. I wonder if they wouldn't let
me have this room, and help me to find some better work than sewing? I'll get up and ask
them," thought Christie, feeling an irresistible desire to stay, and strong repugnance to
returning to the room she had left, for, as Rachel truly said, it was haunted for her.
When she opened the door to go down, Mrs. Wilkins bounced out of her rocking-chair
and hurried to meet her with a smiling face, saying all in one breath:
"Good mornin', dear! Rested well, I hope? I'm proper glad to hear it. Now come right
down and have your dinner. I kep it hot, for I couldn't bear to wake you up, you was
sleepin' so beautiful."
"I was so worn out I slept like a baby, and feel like a new creature. It was so kind of you
to take me in, and I'm so grateful I don't know how to show it," said Christie, warmly, as
her hostess ponderously descended the complaining stairs and ushered her into the tidy
kitchen from which tubs and flat-irons were banished one day in the week.
"Lawful sakes, the' ain't nothing to be grateful for, child, and you're heartily welcome to
the little I done. We are country folks in our ways, though we be livin' in the city, and we
have a reg'lar country dinner Sundays. Hope you'll relish it; my vittles is clean ef they
ain't rich."