"LITTLE Annie Wilder has joined the church," said Mrs. Fielding to her friend, Mrs. Brewster.

"Joined the church! Well, I must say I don't believe in filling the church with children, and such material, too. I don't believe Annie Wilder knows how to read."

"And her mother is such a low-lived, vagrant," added the first speaker.

"Yes, and that isn't the worst of it; she takes a drop too much, I am told."

"Say a great many drops, and you will get nearer the truth," was the reply.

This bit of dialogue took place in Mrs. Fielding's pretty parlor in a certain suburb.

It happened that not long thereafter Annie Wilder came to Mrs. Fielding's and asked for work.

She was set to washing dishes and cleaning vegetables, and a most efficient little hand-maiden she proved. She was as gay as a bird, warbling snatches of hymn and song as she hurried from one task to another.

One day Mrs. Fielding said: "Annie, I wonder you are not more serious since you joined the church. It is a great responsibility to be a church member, and religion is a serious thing."

Annie paused in her work, looked at the lady with her sweet, truthful eyes, and said,-

"I don't know what you mean, ma'am."

"I feared as much," said Mrs. Fielding. "Child, do you know what it is to join the church?"

"It means being on Jesus' side," said Annie, her face radiant;" and oh! I love him so that I can't help singing."

"But," said Mrs. Fielding, "don't you have any fears, any struggles?"

"Why should I, ma'am?" asked the child, her clear eyes opening wide.

The lady said no more, but she shook her head ominously as she walked away.

The hot weather came on; family trials were onerous, nobody had an appetite, the children were cross, papa was critical. One morning Mrs. Fielding felt particularly out of sorts. The sun, but a little way on his journey, shone with noonday intensity. Not a leaf stirred. The breakfast was tasteless. The flies were aggravating. I don't know how it happened, but it only takes a little spark to make an explosion when the train is laid.

Some unguarded word was spoken, a temper blazed, a child was slapped and sent away from the table, the husband remonstrated, sharp words followed, then tears, a downright quarrel. "Oh, the trouble of living!" groaned Mrs. Fielding, when husband and children were out of the house and she was left alone. "I cannot bear it!" and she gave herself up to hysterical sobbing.

By and by, when the storm was a little cleared away, came Annie, her face serene, her eyes soft and untroubled.

"Please excuse me, ma'am, for being so late," she said, "but mother was bad this morning, and wouldn't let me come."

"What is the matter with her!"

The child blushed.

"She has been drinking, I suppose," said Mrs. Fielding.

Annie raised her arm at that minute, and there on the soft, fair flesh, was the livid mark of a blow.

"What's that?"

"Please don't ask me, ma'am; it's nothing."

"Your mother has been beating you--and what a face! You look as if you hadn't a trouble in the world. How can you bear such things?"

"I keep saying 'en over, ma'am."

"Saying what over?"

"The charity verses. I said 'em so fast I didn't hear mother very plain."

"What do you mean?"

"Love suffereth long and is kind,' isn't it beautiful, ma'am?" and the child's face glowed. "And then, when I started to come here," she continued, "I couldn't help feeling bad and lonesome, and I thought of another verse: 'Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.' Always, ma'am-think of that! It means Jesus, ma'am; and oh, I love him so!"

Mrs. Fielding went to her own room, dumb before the wisdom of an ignorant child. Presently Annie's voice came floating out on the stifling air.

She was singing, "His loving-kindness, O how great."





New York Observer.