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soon as the things were carefully put by, she told her she would be very glad for her to do herbest; "But," said she, "don't, my little girl, be too hopeful, because it is a large sum, and you don't know how many disappointments you may have in the plans you are making, and the time is very short. I only wish I could help you, my dear Fanny; but all I can do is, to ask God's blessing upon your endeavours, and then your work will be sure to prosper with you in some way or other, though not, perhaps, in the way that we most wish."
Fanny listened very attentively, and then, having dressed her mother's hand, and tried to make it feel more comfortable, she set to work in good earnest; her mother had had her taught to do straw-plaiting, and she had made herself a very pretty basket, which she intended to fill, as I shall tell you. Wednes
day was market day, and she meant then to take two baskets to the neighbouring town, and try to dispose of her goods to some of the people there. She had often heard the poor washerwomen complain that they had nothing to fasten their things to the lines with, when they were put to dry, and sometimes they would use pins, which tore the things, and then the ladies complained, and that was a very bad job for them. She knew what they ought to have, for her mother had been a laundress, and had by chance kept
some of her pegs, which she would occasionally lend the neighbours; so she took one of these down from the shelf, and examined it well, and then felt sure that her brother, who was a very handy boy of ten years old, would be able to cut some out of the soft elder wood,
of which there was plenty close at hand; so she got a supply, and took it to her brother, and showed him the peg, and began cutting one herself, to show him how to do it: he felt very proud at being able to do anything to help, and set to work at once; he had, however, to try very often, for the wood split, and
once he cut his finger, and was very near giving it up in despair; but then his sister encouraged him, and helped him, and at last he made a very nice one, that would answer the purpose perfectly. The first was all the dif ficulty, for after that he went on very well, and by Tuesday evening he had completed two dozen, and his sister had tied them up in tidy packets of half a dozen each, and she meant to ask fourpence a packet, which her mother said was not too much. William felt very proud of his success, and looked at his pegs as they lay in the basket, as if they were the finest things in the world; meanwhile Fanny had not been idle, but after many, many trials, for her task was much harder than her brother's, she had succeeded in making some nice little straw mats, for putting flower-pots on; she had not the right kind of straw-plait, but she did her best, and very nice she thought they looked, put round the edge of her basket; there were only four of them, as that was all she had time to make, for poor Fanny had every thing to do in the house as well: her mother's hand was so bad she did not dare use it at all, and being the right hand it made her quite helpless, so that she was very tired every night when she went to bed; but she was an industrious little girl, and so she tried to keep a good heart, and each night said a prayer to God for help in her undertaking; her mother having
taught her from her earliest youth always to offer up prayers to her Heavenly Father, whenever she was in any trouble or difficulty: for well the poor widow knew herself the blessing of prayer, and she felt she was giving her child what was more valuable than any worldly goods, in giving her a firm reliance on her merciful Creator, Saviour, and Sanctifier, as her only stay and support in all the chances and changes of this mortal life, which were so sure to beset her onward path.
Very early on Wednesday morning Fanny was up and out in the fields, picking wild roses and honeysuckles, and all the pretty flowers she could get, with a very few quite common ones that she had begged from the neighbours; such as sweet William and sweet peas, and then she picked also, by her mother's advice, some bunches of thyme and mint, and sage, and parsley; and when she had got all she could, she brought them home and made up the nosegays very prettily, adding to each a bit of her own favourite scarlet geranium, and a sprig of myrtle, which made them look very gay and bright. The herbs were tied up in bunches, with some of the orange flowers of the nasturtian, used by some people to put in nice savoury broth; then she put at the bottom of her basket on fresh green moss, four new laid eggs, which their two hens had laid, and arranged her herbs and her nosegays as well as she could, so
that her mother could not help saying, "Well, Fanny, but it does look pretty I must say, and I hope my child you will have good luck, and come back with it quite empty."
Fanny was too eager and too happy to be able to eat any breakfast, but she washed the things up as usual, made the cottage quite tidy, and then put on her bonnet, and set off with a very light heart across the fields; she forgot all her previous fatigues in the hopes of success; and it was such a beautiful morning, the dew still sparkling on the grass, the gossamers hanging from branch to branch, the birds singing on every tree, and all Nature seemed to be rejoicing. Fanny could not help feeling gay, though her heart beat as she approached the town, and wondered whether she should be able to sell anything at all.
The market was just at the fullest time when she arrived, and she felt very shy and timid as she offered her basket to the different passers by. She went and stood near a good natured looking old woman, who was selling large rolls of nice fresh looking butter, placed on green leaves, and sprinkled over with water to keep them cool. She had not been there long, when two pretty children with their nurse came up, and began looking at her flowers, and the nurse, seeing she was a clean-looking girl (for she looked very neat and nice in her Sunday's frock and bonnet),