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Wealth

Not oaks alone are trees, nor roses flowers;
Much humble wealth makes rich this world of ours.
—Leigh Hunt

"She is such a wealthy woman," she said, as a stranger passed us in the street.

‘Indeed," said I, "I should not have imagined so much if my eyes do not deceive me."

"But look at her clothes," cried my neighbor, "how costly! Her furs, how magnificent! why, they must represent piles of money! and her jewels are simply priceless!"

"But her face," I protested, "how terribly sad it is! Her eyes will haunt me for days, they seem to me to be so full of unshed tears."

"Oh, yes, I believe as a matter of fact she is very far from being a happy woman. You know she is absolutely alone in the world, they say she has no one to love, and no one loves her."

Just then Mrs. Murphy, my charwoman, came along the street. Her clothes were old and shabby, but so clean and tidy; her hat had weathered many a storm, and her gloveless hands were rough and red with honest toil. In one hand she held the basket that contained her good man’s dinner, and by the other she held on to a toddling baby girl, while close behind, struggling with a huge slice of bread and jam, marched little Tommy, his chubby face sticky and stained with the sweet concoction.

Now Mrs. Murphy's face was wreathed in smiles as she listened to the prattle of the baby girl at her side, and turning to tell Tommy to " ’urry up," she laughed right out most heartily. Then she said, as if in apology for the sticky, jammy face, —

"They do muss their faces up, mem, don't they? bless their dear little 'arts."

I nodded and laughed too, and turning to my neighbor, I said, —

"She is a wealthy woman!"

"Who?” she asked, looking all around her for another vision of furs, and silks, and jewels.

"My Mrs. Murphy," said I, "did you not see her jewels? and did you not see her face? She is not alone in the world, and I imagine a great big heart of love is waiting to catch a glimpse of herself and her jewels down there somewhere on the quay."

My neighbor answered never a word. I imagine she is still trying to solve the problem!

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Lily L. Allen

  • Born on December 30th, 1867 at Burrishoole, Eire
  • Wife of author James Allen
  • Wrote many books of her own
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