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- From Jest to Earnest - 79/79 -

But the postman, who brought, with increasing frequency, letters that were big and heavy, like the writer, was the man whom Lottie most doted on in all the city.

With the whole energy of her forceful, practical nature, she trained herself for her work, as Hemstead was training himself for his. And when, a year later, she gave him her hand at the sacred altar, it was not a helpless hand.

Years have passed. Mr. and Mrs. Hemstead are the chief social, refining, and Christianizing influences of a growing Western town. They have the confidence and sympathy of the entire community, and are people of such force that they make themselves felt in every department of life. They are shaping and ennobling many characters, and few days pass in which Lottie does not lay up in memory some good deed, though she never stops to count her hoard. But, in gladness, she will learn in God's good time that such deeds are the riches that have no wings.

She made good her warning, and never became a "solemn, ghostly sort of a missionary." She was usually as wholesome as the sunshine, or if the occasion required, as a stiff north wind, and had a pronounced little way of her own, when things went wrong at home or in the church, of giving all concerned the benefit of some practical common sense. But she also, in the main, kept her pledge to endure patiently, as she had borne her hunger on the mountain, and many privations and trials of their lot.

While she sustained her husband's hands and doubled his usefulness abroad, he generally found at home a sunny philosopher who laughed him out of half his troubles.

With increasing frequency he said, "Lottie, you are so wholesome; there is not a morbid, unnatural trait in you."

And she inspired him to preach such a wholesome, sunny Gospel that it won even the most prejudiced.

One evening, a feeble, aged man stepped down from the train, and was borne off in triumph by Hemstead to the warmest corner of his hearth.

Lottie gave him such a welcome that the old gentleman cried out: "Hold on. My goodness gracious! haven't you sobered down yet?"

Then, while Frank stood near, with his hand upon her shoulder, looking as proud of her as a man could be, and with just such a black-eyed cherub in her arms as she must have been herself twenty odd years before, her face aglow with health, happiness, and content, she asked, "Well, uncle, what do you think of your meddling now?"

Mr. Dimmerly went off into one of his old-time chuckles, as he said, "This is one of the things which the world never can 'stop.'"

From Jest to Earnest - 79/79

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