Gateway to the Classics: Display Item
Laura E. Richards


dropcap image N the Land of To-morrow, near the entrance-gate, two newly arrived spirits met, and looked each other in the face. One of them was a strong and beautiful spirit, with shining garments, and a face full of clear light; but the other was little and pinched and gray, and she trembled and cowered as she went.

"What ails you," asked the first spirit, "that you cower thus?"

"I am afraid!" answered the second. "It is all so strange here: I have no home, no friends, and I am alone and frightened."

"That is strange!" said the strong spirit. "I never felt so at home before. Everything is friendly to my eyes; the very trees are as if I had known them always."

"Let me hold your hand!" said the frightened one. "You seem so strong, and tread so freely, I shall perhaps not be so afraid if I am with you. I was a great lady on the earth. I lived in a fine house, and had servants to run and ride for me, and jewels and rich dresses, and everything that heart could desire; yet I had to leave them all in haste, and come alone to this strange place. It is very terrible! was it so with you?"

"Nay," said the other; "I came willingly."

The frightened spirit clung to the other, and peered in her face.

"Tell me!" she cried. "Did we ever meet on the earth? your face is not only friendly, it is familiar. It is as if I had seen you often, yet none of the noble ladies I knew had such strength and grace. Who were you, beautiful angel?"

"I was your washerwoman!" said the other.