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“We do not,” was the firm but gentle reply.
“Then why have you never told us so before, dear grandmamma, when you know how we have been toiling for one ?"
“Because your mother, I know, wished you to work for it, and far be it from me to interfere between parent and child. However, as when your mamma and Mrs. Maxwell dined here yesterday, I mentioned the circumstances to them which first induced me to think that more good might be done by the same amount of substance disposed of in other ways, and as they both requested that I would name them to you to-day, I of course can have no hesitation in complying with their desire.
"It is now many years since the first bazaar for a charitable purpose was proposed in our neighbourhood. I forget just now what its object was, for there have been so many since. However, that does not signify. It was for something that excited universal interest, and about which no party feeling could exist, and the fingers of all the ladies in the neighbourhood were soon busily engaged in preparing for it. This house was not then so empty as it now is : I had all my dear children about me, and my girls entered into the scheme with the utmost ardour. My dear Catherine, (after whom you are named,) was then beginning to droop, though she was spared to us for nearly a year afterwards, and her father and I were delighted that any thing had occurred to provide her with interesting occupation in the house, now that she was confined to it almost constantly. I suggested to my daughters that they should make none but useful articles, for I thought that whenever there was a professed purchase, the value of the article ought to correspond to the price paid for it. I had just before bought a very pretty little dress for your uncle James, who was then beginning to trot about. It was beautifully braided, and Catherine, who was fond of that kind of work, made several like it. They were so much admired that many more were bespoken, indeed more than she could undertake herself, so that she induced different friends to make them, as it seemed a pity that so much should be lost to the funds of the bazaar: indeed they became quite the fashion, so that at last I think I scarcely exaggerate when I say that there was hardly a gentleman's child in the county who was not provided with one, if not more of these dresses. Catherine of course was very much pleased with
her success; her own work sold for ten pounds, and she was highly congratulated upon her successful industry.
“There was a Mrs. Winton, who lived near us then, who had a large family of children, and she thought she could not do better than fit them out for the winter at the bazaar ; and I rather think she purchased the greater part, if not the whole, of Catherine's work. Shortly after the bazaar she came to me one morning in great distress, saying she had had a letter from her sister begging her to visit a Mrs. Wilson, who had once been her sister's maid. She was now a widow and had come to live here a few months before, principally owing to Mrs. Winton's representations to her sister of the opening afforded here to a maker of children's dresses. She had, it seems, promised to get her children's winter dresses from her as well as to recommend her to other ladies, but the engrossing claims of the bazaar had completely made her forget all about it.
“Her sister now reminded her of her promise and urged its fulfilment, particularly as she feared Mrs. Wilson was in rather embarrassed circumstances, and not in very good health.
“ Mrs. Winton came to ask me to go and see her, as she felt ashamed to go herself, being unable to do anything for her in the way of her business, and, as for asking Mr. Winton for anything to give her in the way of charity, that was out of the question, as in providing her so amply with money to spend at the bazaar, he had warned her that there must be no claims brought forward except for necessaries for a long time to come.
“I was very much interested in the case, particularly as I was aware we had indirectly contributed to destroy Mrs. Wilson's prospect of employment, for I remembered to my no little confusion, that the famous pattern frock, from which so many had been made, was bought of her.
“I found her very poorly and very dejected, not seeing a prospect of employment for some time at any rate, and there are few heavier trials to a person, than not to be able to procure work when they are desirous of it.”
“And what became of her, grandmamma?”.
“Why, we contrived to procure one thing or another for her to do, till we had made her case pretty well known, which we were bound to do, as we had been the means of inflicting the injury;
and ultimately she had a flourishing business. At the same time, I have no doubt that many suffer in a similar manner, of whom nothing is ever heard, from their having no influential friends to make their case known."
Emma Maxwell thanked Mrs. Simpson for her story, and said "it confirmed her in the opinion she had always held, that it was better only to make articles that were of no positive utility, for bazaars, and then no one could be sufferers from them.”
Mrs. Simpson shook her head, and was just going to reply, when the girls catching sight of Mr. Simpson coming up the approach, bounded out to meet him.
Mrs. Simpson then ordered luncheon, and when they were all seated round the table in the dining room, she named the subject of their conversation to her husband.
“When I write my famous Treatise on Arithmetic,” he said, smiling, “ for the use of young people, I intend to head one chapter as follows:
“CHARITY ADDITION ;
“Shewing how Ten and Ten make Ten.” The girls laughed, as I suppose he intended that they should ; and begged him to explain.
“Why,” he said, “ have you not heard how ten pounds worth of little frocks were sent to the only bazaar I ever had anything to do with ? And also how a lady bought ten pounds worth of work, and yet the charity only received ten pounds—in point of fact, not so much ; for there must be the deductions made for wax lights, evergreens, attendants, and I know not how many et cæteras. And yet my dear child firmly believed she had given ten pounds, and the lady in question as firmly believed that she too had given ten pounds, although it was spent in clothes for her children, which she must have procured in some way or other, although had it not been for the bazaar, she might perhaps have been content with less expensive ones. No, no, I like to call things by their right names, and a charity bazaar seems to me made up of too many materials to admit of charity being its distinguishing name.” “But, sir,” said Emma,“ do you think the eight hundred
pounds raised the other day could have been obtained in any other way?"
“And why not, my dear young friend? If there be a call for increased exertion, let it be responded to; let every one just pay down the money they give at a bazaar : there will certainly be less eclat about it in that way, but the end will be gained without the weight of so much cumbrous machinery. When I was very young I heard a sermon that impressed me very much ; I remember nothing of it now, perhaps it was not worth remembering, but the text seemed to me to be one I had never heard before ; and after all, is not the great end of preaching to make us feel the force of the text? It was this, 'He that giveth, let him do it with simplicity.' Now, as bazaars are at present constituted, simplicity is the last thing desired. Oh! the other day, as I turned the corner of the Abbeygate and heard the sound of the drums and trumpets, how could I help thinking of the hypocrites sounding a trumpet before them when they give their alms. How does it accord with our Lord's express command, that we should not do our alms to be seen of men, when we attract public notice to the fact by placards on the walls and flying banners ?”
“But surely, grandpapa, many, very good people, approve of bazaars : surely you will not condemn them all.”
“Far be it from me, Catherine, to sit in judgment upon many wiser and better men than myself. But we must not plead that we are only following the good example of a good person, when we follow their weaknesses. Many I am convinced see the plausible advantages of this way of raising money, and never send a thought to dive beneath the stream of custom. ‘Happy is he that condemneth not himself in the thing which he alloweth,' and I certainly should stand self-condemned did I give my sanction to them."
“But you have plenty of money to give away,” said Catherine, “it is so different with us that we should have nothing worth giving if it were only given in money."
“Tell me then," said her grandmamma, “how much money did you spend in materials.”
“About ten shillings." “ Then why not have given the ten shillings at once ?" “ Because I should not have had it to give; mamma gave it
me nearly all, on purpose to buy materials with, and the value of my time and ingenuity was to be added, so as to make it much more.”
Emma gave a deep sigh as she thought of her spoiled work, and then said, “I am so puzzled about the subject of charity, it seems that girls like us can give so little.”
“Little money, perhaps,” said Mrs. Simpson ; “but that is often the least part of charity: of course I am speaking merely of temporal relief. There is often more true charity in giving employment than money ; and a conscientious mind will employ those who need it most-will sacrifice something in the style of a dress, or a bonnet, in order to procure it where the order will really be a boon. I knew one benevolent lady who always made a point of going to newly-established shops ; she thought those which were in possession of a well-established business would get on without her; and I doubt not that in this way she has gladdened many a heart.”
“ You and grandpapa," said Catherine, “geem to make every thing a matter of conscience. I wish every one did ; but I never thought before, it would signify to me where I bought a thing."
“We are commanded,” said Mr. Simpson,“ whether we eat or drink, to do all to the glory of God, and if so, surely buying and selling, which occur almost as often as eating and drinking, are worthy our serious thought."
"The motive is every thing,” said Mrs. Simpson. “Often in my busy days, when I have had domestic occupations pressing upon me, have the quaint words of Herbert occurred to me,
Who sweeps a room, as to Thy praise,
Makes that and th' action fine,' and when we reflect how small the relative difference must appear in God's sight, between what we call great and what we call small, it will help to rectify our notions on this subject. The record of the poor widow's gift to the treasury of her two mites, seems given on purpose to cheer the hearts of those who have but little to bestow, with the consideration that it is not how much but how we give, that our Saviour regards."
“A cup of cold water," said Mr. Simpson, “which in the ordinary acceptation of the term, costs nothing, is another illus. tration used ; for there we are distinctly shewn that its value is