‘the letter said.
HARVEST HOME NUMBER
, 4; VX‘
5 Pi: mass in
Von. II. No. 33. H, E2“,
Tm-: little bronze clock on the mantel had
struck twelve, but in spite of the insistence
of the silvery pea], Ruth Elliott had sat
unheeding, looking straight before her, with
eyes that seemed to see beyond the luxuri-
ous, dimly-lighted room. Though it was
early summer, the day had been cool in the
‘ easterly wind springing up
late in the afternoon had rendered agree-
able, if not necessary, the fire that l>la7.ed
in the grate, casting its flickering shadows
on the walls, and emphasizing an unusual
pallor on the girl's thoughtful face.
It was a very pretty face on which the
fn-cliglit fell, a face sensitive, cultured and
sweet. “ Not much of the farmer's daugh-
tcr about it now," Ruth's uncle said
pioinllv. And yet, for the first ten years
of her life, Ruth had played, a brown, bare-
footcd little maiden, about the broad acres
of her fnther‘s farm.
Nine years before, Judge Elliott, visit-
ing his brother in the out-of-the-way vil-
lage of Banks Corners, had seen for the
first time his fair-haired little niece Ruth.
The lawyer and man of the world seldom
acted impulsively. It was not until aftcr
his‘ rcturn to the city that he made the
. proposition destined to change the girl's
“ Share Ruth with me. John,"
“ You will hardly miss
hcr out of your dock, and I need a dangli-
The farmer had tossed the letter from
him with impatience. but not so his wife.
““'c mustn't stand in the child's way,
.lohn,“. she said bravely, though her lips
tremhlr-d. “Ile can do better by her than
“ And have him teach her to be ashamed
of her own folks, like he's grown to be?"
answt-l'e(l Farmer Elliott.
lint even this argument failed to shake
the mother's resolve. The overworked,
yielding woman, now that her childis wcl-
fnre was involved. seemed to have hecome a
different being. And her persistence won
her oldest (laughter and the darling of her
heart passed out of the home that had once
At first, communication was keptuprcgu-
larly between them. iuth wrote home often,
with a girl's eagerness to tell her impres-
sions of the new, bewildering world in
which she found herself. But gradually
the widening gulf between their pursuits
and interests was a daily-increasing dith-
culty in the way of a frequent Correspond-
ence. As the years went on, in the few
visits Ruth paid to the farm she was al-
most frightened to find how little she had
in common with the brothers and sisters
who were so silent and embarrzts.-sed in her
This evening, as Ruth sat alone in her
dainty chamber, her reflections were far
from satisfactory. Late that afternoon she
had received a letter directed in her sister
Mnttie's round, childish hand. Ruth had
opened it with a curious pang at her heart.
Somehow her eye never fell upon the-Cur-
ncrs postmark without this indefinnble and
Copyright, 1902, by Dar (1 C.
was the letter:
Dear Sister Ruth: I'm writing
to you without letting mother
know, for I want to tell you that
Annie has broken down somehow,
and is not able to go on at school.
She Wants to see you and cries
a good deal. Father says you won’t come.
But he 15 worried because he can't pay the
mortgage, and looks on the dark side of
everything. You will come, wou’t yon,
Ruth? Annie does Want ‘on so. Please
come. . our sister,
Ruth slowly folded the letter. IIcr sis-
ter Annie was two years younger than her-
self. They had loved each other dearly in
the days that seemed so long past. Some-
how Ituth's eyes grew dim with the memory
of those earlier days, and the pleasures she
had planned for the summer seemed unim-
port-ant, and their sacrifice a necessity.
Ruth came down stairs next morning
pale and troubled.
“ Uncle," she said with her character-
istic directness, “ I want to go home to-
day. Annie is sick."
ller uncle set down his cotfce and looked
at her. “Annie sick! Do you mean dan-
luth shook her head. “ I think not."
“Must you go, then?" he asked, a
shadow crossing his face.
“Yes, I believe I am needed there,"
“ How long will you be away, my dear?"
was the next question.
“I hardly know," said Ruth, after a
moment's hesitation. “I suppose as long
as they need me."
Iler uncle looked at her again, this time
with elevated eyebrows.
too much of your summer for a sentiment,
my dear. I'm afraid you overestimate the
value of your assistance.”
Late that afternoon, when she walked
into the kitchen at home, Ruth was almost
inclined to think her uncle’s conclusion a
correct one. Her" father, after his first
start of surprise, greeted her with but
slight warmth. mother's welcome
was a timid one. “V19 she glad? Ruth
hardly knew. The children looked embar-
ns‘e . But Mattie, for all her shyness,
pr scd her sister's arm lovingly.
“ ‘Vhere is Annie?" Ruth nskcd.
“ Upstairs, sick,” Mattie answered; and
her father added irritably, “It seems im-
possible to get girls up to womanhood with
any strength to ‘emf’
But upstairs comfort nwnited Ruth. The
pole, languid Annie, so unlike the girl she
had known, threw herself in her sister's
arms, and clung to her sobbing. Ruth held
her close, soothing and comforting her.
When she again went downstairs, she was
physically weary, but inwardly at peace.
n the days that followed, Ruth found
the powers of mind and heart taxed to the
utmost. Life at the farm was tedious at
best. There was no use denying that her
father was inclined to look on the dark
side. ller mother was often wcnrily
silent, and at times Annie was exacting be-
yond description. The routine of drudzs,
cry, the succession of dull, unchanging
days, wore on Ruth's spirits more than
she would have helieved possible. One day
ggf",:..: . .
-L." . V
-62‘ "‘”‘ ’
“Don't sacrifice b
her uncle wrote:
s W” ‘ire!’ .
Cook Publishing Company.
DAVID C. COOK PUBLISHING C0,, ELGIN, ILL., AND 36 Wasmxcrrox Sr., CHICAGO.
Come home, Ruth. The seaside concert
you were so anxious to hcar comes off Thurs-
ay. If on want. to attend, telegraph me
at once, so I can secure seats.
Ruth held the letter in her hand. The
small, low chamber was hot and close.
Downstairs sounded the rattle of knives
and forks as the farm hands hurried
through dinner. She thought of the sea-
breezes and the soothing murmur of the
nnie turned her flushed face on the
pillow. ““'hat did uncle say, Ruthie?
You are not going back now?"
“No, not yet, dear," answered Ruth
gently. She sat down and wrote to her
uncle, telling him she might not be able to
return to the city before winter.
My place is here, uncle. I am sure I
should not be doing right. to leave for the
present. As soon as I can be spared I will
come. Oh, how sweet it will be to be back
with you again, and yet-I'm glad I came.
Ruth waited impatiently for the answer
to this letter. but it did not come. Then it
awned on her comprchcnsion that her
uncle was 0 en e .
Judge Elliott was a man imperious by
nature and training. ]Ie loved his niece
and was proud of her. Ile knew she was
trying to live a Christian life, and though
he had “never felt the need of joining a
he was sometimes
heard to say, “I
do not question
others doing so."
But now he was
i n d i g n a n t at
“To think it do-
ing right to for-
get all we have
done for her, just
for a sick girl's
whim . ’
The silent dis-
pleasure of her
uncle added not a
little to Ruth's
n r d e n . But
though the bur-
den was heavy,
she bore it brave-
ly. She helped in
with a readiness
that opened her
father's heart to
her and gave her
the place given
his other children.
the old arm-
house as the sun-
shine could not
brighten it. nor
the flowers she
gathered in wood
and field. In the
long twilight she
sat at the old or-
gan and sang till
her mother's eyes
were full of tears
and the father's
anxious . heart
made lighter. She
did not now vex
her spirit by ask-
ing how this was
all to end.
time came on. nnie, who was now a 1
to be downstairs, declared that it tired her
out “just to see the rest so busy." Ruth
[t was enough to do the work
God put into her hands each day and be
""An‘d‘su the summer crept by, and harvest
September I9, I903.
worked as she had never worked before,
and, watching her mother's weary, pale
face, she often wondered that her slight
frame could endure so much.
Early one morning Ruth was awakened
by Mattie's cager voice. “ Oh, Ruth,
mother's got such fl headache that she
can't get up. Don't you think that you
and I can do the work today?"
Ruth sprang out of hcd. " Of course we
can," she said with a confidence she did not
altogether feel. “ Tcll mother not to
worry a bit.” And then as she dressed
herself hastily she thought with a sigh of
relief, ““'ell, this is the last day of har-
vesting: we'll get along somehow."
But before the morning was over, Ruth
doubted even this modest assumption.
From the dairy to the store-room, from the
store-room to the pantry, and then back
to the kitchen, she hurried, casting occa-
sional glances at the clock, and wondering
if the forenoon would really be long enough
for her to prepare dinner for a dozen
hungry men. A knock at the door dis-
turbed her cnlculations, and glancing up,
Ruth saw her uncle's wondering face. The
next moment she was folded to his breast.
“ You poor girl! Poor little Ruth!" he
said. patting her head as he heard her sobs.
“ And I left you alone."
“There, don'tl” said Ruth. “Oh, how
good it is to see you!" And she drew
nan USCLE‘s WOXDI‘.IlI)'0 FACE.
from him and wiped her face with her
apron. “But plcase go into the parlor
now. Mother‘: sick and the men will
come in to dinner soon."
Iler uncle did not take,himself to the
parlor, but “‘:lt('lu'-d Ruth, with an observ-
ant gravity as she hurried on with her