• Table of contents with working links to chapters is included
• The book has been corrected for spelling and grammatical errors
• New and improved version
"I know your head aches, mamma, so lie here and rest while I sit in my little chair and amuse you till papa comes in."
As Portia bent to arrange the sofa-cushions comfortably, the tiny silver pitcher hanging at her neck swung forward and caught her mother's eye.
"Is it the latest fashion to wear odd ear-rings instead of lockets?" she asked, touching the delicate trinket with an amused smile.
"No, mamma, it is something better than a fashion; it is the badge of a temperance league that Pris, Polly, and I have lately made," answered Portia, wondering how her mother would take it.
"Dear little girls! God bless and help you in your good work!" was the quick reply, that both surprised and touched her by its fervency.
"Then you don't mind, or think us silly to try and do even a very little towards curing this great evil?" she asked, with a sweet seriousness that was new and most becoming to her.
"My child, I feel as if it was a special providence," began her mother, then checked herself and added more quietly, "Tell me all about this league, dear, unless it is a secret."
"I have no secrets from you, mother," and nestling into her low chair Portia told her story, ending with an earnestness that showed how much she had the new plan at heart.
"So you see Polly is trying to keep Ned safe, and Pris prays for Phil; not in vain, I think, for he has been very good lately, they tell me. But I have neither brother nor lover to help, and I cannot go out to find any one, because I am only a girl. Now what can I do, mamma, for I truly want to do my share?"
The mother lay silent for a moment, then, as if yielding to an irresistible impulse, drew her daughter nearer, and whispered with lips that trembled as they spoke,—
"You can help your father, dear."
"Mamma, what can you mean?" cried Portia, in a tone of indignant surprise.