With All Your Heart




ANNIE CLARK read the first verse over the second, even the third time, with a cloud on her face. : Then she spoke to the duster in her hand,—

"There are plenty of people who can serve Him, but I don't see how I am one of them. Sweeping, and dusting, and setting tables, and cutting pie, and seasoning turnips and potatoes, and waiting on children: that is my work."

Her lip curled a little, it looked like such mean work. There were so many things she wanted to do! For instance, on this Thanksgiving day she would like to put on her new brown suit and her new hat, and go to church, and sing in the anthem that the Sabbath-school was going to give just before the sermon; but this she could not do, for the turnips were to be peeled as well as seasoned, so were the potatoes; and Uncle John and Aunt Sarah, and all their hungry children, were to be there to dinner, all of them either a good deal older or a good deal younger than Annie, so that she did not look forward to having much pleasure in visiting with them.

The rest of her thoughts she kept to herself, and went on dusting the parlor, but with the cloud still on her face. She would not have dared to say, in words, that it did not seem to her as though "great things" had been done for her; but that is the way she felt. Thirteen years old, the oldest daughter, with a taste for drawing and a taste for study; yet she unable to do as the other girls did, and go to school, because it would "cost so much," and "business was so poor," and the family was so large.

There was a long streak of black on the window seat. Annie rubbed vigorously; it looked as though she would have to go for soap and water.

While she worked over that spot, a carriage went by—a carriage of peculiar shape—black, with nodding plumes all about it, and drawn by white horses. The hearse! She knew whither it was going. The Morgans, who lived only a few blocks away, had not so large a family now; there would be more time in that house. Little Sadie would be carried out today in the hearse, and left in one of the cold receiving vaults at the cemetery. Annie shivered as she thought of it. What if it were their little Kate? She took up a great deal of time, so did Ned. What would the house be without them? How still it must be at the Morgan's:

"Consider how great things He hath done for you."

The words came back to her, as she stopped her rubbing to follow the hearse. Yes, He had; she could hear at this moment the glad shouts of Ned and little Kate.

Some way, after that, Annie's face grew clearer. Quiet she was, for a while, but presently she trilled a little song as she worked. "Serve him with all your heart;" she said those words over. What, by paring potatoes, and keeping up fires, and setting table? Yes, just in those things. Didn't the Bible say, "Do with thy might whatsoever thy hands find to do"? And didn't it say, "Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God"? She would try it on this Thanksgiving day. There was much to be thankful for, even though she could not study drawing nor French. The Lord had done great things for her. The more she thought about it, the more things came trooping up to be considered.

So she sang over her work.

Down in the kitchen her mother was saying with a sigh, "I suppose Annie is dreadfully disappointed about not going to church today and singing with the girls, but I don't know how to get along without her."

Just at that moment Annie's voice rolled through the house, reaching to the kitchen. A snatch from the anthem. "Consider," it said, "consider how great things, how great things he hath done!"

Over and over the triumphant strain repeated, and the father, listening, smiled as he said, "She doesn't seem to be very brokenhearted; that voice doesn't sound like it."

"Busy?" I think you would be sure of it if you could have looked on her. Uncle John and Aunt Sarah, and all the little "Johns" and "Sarahs,"

had splendid appetites; besides, there were the Marshalls, aunt and cousins and friend; and, to make matters more busy and bewildering, there was a bride, quite new to the family, coming with the Marshalls. Mrs. Clark was hurried and nervous. She had only poor help in the kitchen. But there was one who had enlisted today with her whole heart.

"Dear me, Annie! How late it is, and they will be here in a little while, and there is the parlor in confusion."

"Don't say that, motherie; the parlor is spick and span. Even Aunt Sarah can 't find any dust, if she puts on two pairs of glasses."

"O Annie! I forgot the front hall. And the rubbers and umbrellas are there from the storm, and the children's rubber cloaks. That ought to be put in order right away."

"Done, mother. The front hall is neat as a "Annie, dear, do you suppose you could get time to light the fire in the back parlor!"

"Oh, I lighted it when I ran up to answer the bell a few minutes ago. I saw it was getting late."

Now that is just a little hint of the way things went all that day. Annie had not always been on hand "with her whole heart," and it made the greatest possible difference. At every turn were traces of those busy hands. Little Kate's hair, that the mother nearly always had to curl because Annie hated to do it, and pulled so that Kate always cried, got itself curled as if by magic, and the two youngest children appeared in the parlor in due time, with smiling faces and perfect toilets. Then, when the mother rushed out in dismay, lest the table would be late for the dinner, she found it complete in all its appointments, not a spoon or fork lacking.

As the busy day wore on, Annie became interested in the experiment of working with all her heart. How many steps could her heart save her mother?  That became the problem at which she worked. It seems almost a pity that she could not have heard the mother, as she dropped into her chair at the end of that long, exciting day for a moment's breath, and a word with father, say,

"What I should have done without that blessed child today, I don't know. She has been hands, and feet, and eyes all day. I couldn't begin to tell you of all the things she has thought of, besides the hundred I have set her at."




The Pansy.