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take the fever, I should never forgive myself for allowing you to run the risk.”
So Ella turned sadly away with a downcast face.
When she told Miss Gray and the girls about Ruth, in the afternoon, they were, one and all, very sorry, for Ruth was not only the best scholar, but the greatest favourite in the whole school.
Ruth Lee was the eldest of four orphan children. Captain Lee was poor when he died, and since that his widow and children found it very difficult to get along. But Mrs. Lee had worked hard, and been able to keep her girls in school. Ruth was very quick to learn, was at the head of all her classes, and, by her gentle, unobtrusive ways, had won the affection and esteem of both teachers and pupils.
Ella May was especially fond of Ruth, and although Ella's family were well off, Ruth never felt that there was any difference in their circumstances, because Ella was very careful she should not. Every day Ruth and Ella were together at school; they always spent their holidays in each other's society; and, on the whole, were so intimate that whenever one was invited anywhere, the other was also. Thus, you see, Ruth's illness was a great sorrow to Ella, and she longed for the time when she would be allowed to see her friend. Every morning she walked past the house, and gazed at the windows, hoping to see somebody. Once or twice she did catch a glimpse of Minnie Lee; but, when Ella beckoned her to come down, Minnie only shook her head sadly, and would not come.
Every afternoon Ella called at the doctor's office and inquired how Ruth was, and if he was sure she would get well. He only answered that he hoped so; but that he could not tell. Then Ella would go away again as sad as she came.
The time slipped by until examination day, in which no one took much interest because Ruth was absent. Every one had expected so much on that day, that her absence cast a shadow over all the exercises. ;
Soon after vacation began, the crisis of Ruth's illness passed, and then she grew better slowly.
One day, after Ella had been to see her friend, she came running up to a group of the school-girls who were chattering together, and cried :
“Only listen, girls! I've been to see Ruth, and what do you think has happened to her? She is probably going to be blind! Isn't it awful? The doctor says he isn't able to do anything for her, and that she ought to be taken to London as soon as she is well enough, and have her eyes examined !” And Ella paused, out of breath.
It's too bad,” said Dora Dean. It's perfectly horrid !” added Mollie Brown. “ Yes,” said Ella, who had just recovered her speech; “and the worst of it is that her mother is so poor she can't afford to take Ruth to London. I heard her
this morning, she didn't see how she could possibly do it, and yet she felt as if she ought to."
“ If I only had money enough, I'd give it to her in a minute !” exclaimed Edna Lindsey, opening her own diminutive purse and gazing hopelessly at a few pennies it contained.
“ So would I, so would I," echoed all the others.
“We might ask our fathers for it,” said Dora Dean. “How much would it take, I wonder ?”
“Oh! ever so much! Fifty or sixty pounds I suppose,” replied Ella. “ Besides, I don't believe Mrs. Lee would like to accept so much from our fathers. I wish there was some way we could get it ourselves.”
“I tell you what, girls,” exclaimed Mollie Brown, “let's get up a fair. Grown-up folks have fairs for everything, and I don't see why we shouldn't have one for Ruth. I'm sure she needs it as much as anybody.”
Capital ! ” cried all the others.
“ That's just the very thing. And we can have it in the school-house,” said Ella.
“We've got plenty of time, now it's vacation,” added Edna Lindsey, “and we ought to get it up pretty quickly. Come over to my house this afternoon and talk it over, and arrange all about it.” We must let the other girls know, so they can work too."
That afternoon, Ella, Dora, Mollie, and Edna resolved themselves into a committee of arrangements, and set to work with right good-will. Their parents approved the plan, and promised aid in various ways. All the other girls who went to the school joined in cordially, and many nimble fingers accomplished a great deal.
They made such quantities of tidies, mats, pin-cushions, toilet-sets, needle-books, breakfast-shawls, sofa-pillows, babies' sacques and socks and caps, leather dressing-cases, spool-cases, glove and handkerchief boxes, afghans, wrought chair-seats, and I know not what, as would have stocked a good-sized fancy store. They made everything, in fact, they could think of to attract purchasers. They decided to have the fair one Thursday afternoon, and evening; and, in the early morning, several of the girls went out into the woods and got quantities of trailing vines and wild flowers to decorate the room with. While some of them arranged the tables, the others 'wreathed the doors, windows, maps, pictures, and tables with ground pine, partridge vine, and arbutus, till the old school-room looked like a woodland bower. The girls were delighted with the effect, and went home to change their dresses in high glee.
At two o'clock everything was in readiness, and the doors opened to receive the persons who promised to come. And not only those came who had promised to, but a great many more who had heard of the fair and its object, and the place was crowded from its opening till ten o'clock in the evening. Everybody praised everything, and when Ella, tired and sleepy, went home with one of the money-boxes under her arm, she declared to her mother she never had had such a good time in all her life.
The next morning, Ella, Dora, Mollie, and Edna met, and counted over the money.
“Oh never!” exclaimed Ella, when they had nearly finished. “I believe we have made almost sixty pounds, girls.”
They really had. Pretty successful for a little girls' fair, was it not?
The next thing was to present the money to Ruth. Neither of them exactly wanted to perform that part; so they finally agreed to go together that afternoon to see their sick friend, and then Ella, who was most intimate with her, should make the present. In her mind, Ella composed a little speech to make; but when she got to the house and saw poor Ruth sitting in the darkened room with her eyes tightly bandaged, she just ran up to her, and kissing her, said :
Ruth, dear, here's some money that we girls have made all ourselves to send you to London, with. take it and go?"
And then the girls explained to Ruth all about the fair ; for they had previously kept it a secret from her. When she fully comprehended it, she said, smiling through her tears :
“ Dear girls, how good you have been to me, and how I love
you for it! You have followed Christ's beautiful rule, and have done as you would be done by. Whether I I ever get my sight back or not, it will always make me happy to know that you cared enough for me to do so much to help
Three months after, Ruth returned from London to her home, her sight entirely restored. A happier company of little girls was never assembled than those who went to meet her, and to say:
“We knew God would not let so sweet and good a creature be deprived of the power of seeing His beautiful world. He knows you love Hirn, Ruth, and He blesses you when most you need His blessing."
Highest of AII.
that I'm somebody. Charlie Williams
“ Don't be angry with him, Arty; he is a kind hearted, 'good boy. More than that, I believe he's a Christian. If you failed, and he won the prize, you know it's not because he tried to injure
you; and he would do you a kindness at any time, if he had the opportunity, I'm sure.”
“ I'll have my name above his yet, Marion ; see if I don't. I'm bound for Martin's Cliff.” And with a dark face and darker heart, Arty Fisher left his gentle sister, who had failed to soften his hard feelings toward his class-mate.
Martin's Cliff was the name of a huge rock that formed one side of a hill which was a favourite playground of the boys; and the larger of them often had trials of skill, or rather of strength, in climbing its steep front. It was no easy task, for there was not very much for either hands or feet to get hold of, and the rock stood nearly upright, and stretched away up some sixty feet ; so that there was danger in the sport. Here and there upon its sunburnt and storm-beaten face were initial letters rudely cut, fifteen, twenty, thirty feet from its base-memorial-marks of the climbers; and one could be seen fully forty feet high, where Tommy Black, who was always more venturesome than the rest and who afterwards went to sea, had managed to leave