It was now in the latter part of December--two days more and comes the

season of "Merry Christmas." Ellen thought of the dreary prospect

before her. As she was thinking over her condition, and how she should

manage affairs so as to make home comfortable, the door opened, and in

came Edward earlier than usual, a sober man. With a grateful heart

Ellen set about preparing the supper, and made all the evening as

pleasant a
she could for him.

The next morning earlier than usual Edward was preparing to go out.

The weather was bitter cold, and the wood pile was very low. She did

not like to ask Edward to split some wood the evening before, as she

did not wish to vex him. Of late he had harshly refused her simple

requests. She, however, ventured this morning to ask him to split a

few logs, and he replied:

"Why did you not ask me when you saw me doing nothing all last

evening? You must get along the best way you can until night. I have

engaged to work for Squire Davis, and I shall be late unless I go at


"To work! Have you?" said Ellen, in a pleased and grateful tone.

"Yes; so don't detain me. I am to have a dollar and a half a day as

long as I choose to work."

"How very fortunate!" said Ellen.

After he was gone, Ellen busied herself in making things comfortable

for the children. It was market day, and she must carry her heavy

basket to the village for the different families who depended upon her

for their supply of fresh butter and eggs. A year ago she had a neat

little wagon and a good horse to drive. There was something in the

mind of Ellen; what it was she could not tell--a kind of sad

presentiment of something--as she was preparing to go to market. I

shall tell you in the next story what it was. You will see that Ellen

was very kind to her husband and tried every way to make him happy.