It's a quite morning. Much quieter than last week. :) There are no little boys playing lego behind me and even our windows are shut because it was cooler last night.
After the craziness of last week, this week has been dull. And I've gotten a lot done. :) I do like that. It's kind of funny, I used to want something to be going on each week, but now I'm loving it when there is nothing and I can get so much done. I'm writing my thousand words each night (except for Wednesday when a Heart-Sister came down to visit), I'm working on some big projects that I hardly did a thing with last month and that I'm trying to get done by July. Just about everything is crossed off my "to-do" list which is really nice.
Now I know, you are all curious to know just what I have been writing. I'm sure some of you are hoping I've been working on TCR-6, while others are wondering if it might be more of the story about Dylan and Fern. (That story needs a working title by the way, so if you come up with anything, please let me know! It's getting cumbersome having to call it "the story about Dylan and Fern and the Woods.") A few of you could be wishing for more of Hymns in the Hills. So, just what have I been writing?
Well, I was working on another section for Hymns in the Hills, but then I found my paper with ideas for a blog story I had started last year. Now I'm working on that. It's going to be a longer story, but I think you'll like it. And no, I'm not going to tell you about it yet. Right now it's over 4 parts long and I don't think I've reached the 1/2 way mark.
I hope you enjoy the next part of this story.
Hymns in the Hills
To the Work
With that the younger boys had to be content. Aunt Lillian sent them out to feed the chickens and gather the eggs while the girls set about clearing away the dishes and washing things up. Belle, eager to help, coaxed Sade and Tabby into their room and helped them make the beds and hang up their clothes. As she often did at home, Belle soon broke into song.
“To the work! to the work! we are servants of God,
Let us follow the path that our Master has trod;
With the balm of His counsel our strength to renew,
Let us do with our might what our hands find to do.”
The morning passed quickly for Belle; each thing was novel to her, and she found it all interesting. Two-year-old Benny was the hardest of the young ones to make friends with, for he clung to Jess or his mother’s skirts until Belle was almost in despair.
“Offer ta take him outside,” Ali whispered.
To Belle’s great delight, the little boy went right to her at that offer, and she received permission from Aunt Lillian to take the children out.
“Go ‘long with her, Ali,” Aunt Lillian instructed. “Belle ain’t used ta things ‘round here yet, an’ I don’t reckon she’ll find it as easy as she thinks ta keep an eye on ‘em all.”
Belle soon found that her aunt had been right, for once outside, the children scattered like dandelion seeds when they are blown. It took all of her ingenuity to gather them about her on the sunny slope and teach them a simple game. The younger twins, Si and Sade, refused to join in.
“Si ain’t what folks call real friendly,” confided Ali when all Belle’s coaxing and smiles to the little fellow had been in vain. “He’s shy when he don’t know someone an’ likes ta stay away. An’ ‘course Sade, she goes with ‘im. Ye ain’t likely ta see one ‘thout the other ‘cept at night.”
There was some difficulty with Kade and Rome, for both boys seemed more inclined to stir up trouble than to play the game. Finally Ali grabbed Kade’s arm and said, “Kade Russum, if’n ya don’t quit yer trouble makin’, I’m goin’ ta head up ta the fields and fetch home Pa er Zeke.” She turned to the younger boy. “Same goes fer you too, Rome.”
Neither boy gave answer in words, but they settled down and played the game with the little ones, though they were both sulky and refused to talk to their sister.
After lunch, when Kade and Rome had departed to the upper fields with food for their father and brothers, and the youngest ones had been put down for naps, Aunt Lillian sank wearily into her rocking chair and picked up her mending.
“Auntie,” Belle said, going over and sitting in a nearby chair, “you look so tired. Won’t you go lie down and take a rest? We’ll keep the house quiet. Do Auntie. Mama does often when–” She swallowed hard and then went on with only a slight catch in her voice. “When she’s tired.”
“Do, Ma,” Jess encouraged. “Ya know Kade and Rome’ll be gone fer hours, an’ the little ones are sleepin’. Ya ain’t had a rest fer so long.”
Aunt Lillian looked about, and then down at the mending. “I reckon I kin this once. I am a might more tired’n usual today.”
For several minutes the older girls sat in silence, the sisters glancing at each other and wondering how to entertain their cousin from the city. Suddenly Belle whispered, “Isn’t there something that Auntie would like to have done but hasn’t had time to do? Maybe something she used to do about the house?”
Jess, Riss and Ali exchanged blank looks. At last Riss replied slowly, “She used to wash the windows every week, but she ain’t done that since Sade an’ Si were born. Now they only get washed once a year, if we get to it then.”
Clapping her hands softly, Belle exclaimed in whispered tones, “Let’s wash the windows then! At least the ones in here. There are four of us, so two can work inside and two outside. Unless,” her face fell slightly, “there are other things we need to do instead.”
Jess shook her head. “No, we ain’t got ta do other things, ‘less it’s the mendin’, but I reckon Ma’d like the windows clean more’n she would the mendin’ done. An’,” she added, looking critically down at the basket, “there ain’t much mendin’ neither.”
Soon Ali and Belle were outside with rags and a pail of water while Jess and Riss took up their places inside. Under their willing hands the windowpanes soon began to glisten in the afternoon sun.
Unable to keep back the song she had been humming all day, Belle broke into singing.
“To the work! to the work! there is labor for all,
For the kingdom of darkness and error shall fall;
And the name of Jehovah exalted shall be
In the loud swelling chorus, ‘Salvation is free!’”
Scrubbing the windows in time to her song, she launched into the chorus.
“Toiling on, toiling on,
Toiling on, toiling on,
Let us hope, and trust,
Let us watch, and pray,
And labor till the Master comes.”
The windows shone as all four girls stepped down off the porch to look at them. “They’ll catch the setting sun now,” Belle remarked. “And they’ll shine like gold. Don’t you just love the way the sun sparkles on the glass? It always reminded Mama–” Belle’s voice broke, and it was some time before she could go on. “It reminded Mama about the streets of gold in Heaven, when the sun was making windows shine like gold. Maybe that’s why Auntie liked having them so clean. Perhaps they reminded her of that too.”
When none of her cousins replied, Belle suggested they go inside and not say a word about what they had done. “How long do you think it will be before she notices?”
Have you ever done anything to surprise your mom?
Is there a certain siblings in your family that all the younger ones obey?
Do you like clean windows or do you care?