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Plain Sewing; Or, How To Encourage The Poor
by [?]

“Do you know of any poor body who does plain sewing?” asked Mrs. Lander of a neighbour upon whom she called for the particular purpose of making this inquiry. “I have a good deal of work that I want done, and I always like to give my plain sewing to people that need it.”

“I think I know of a person who will suit you,” replied Mrs. Brandon, the lady to whom the application had been made. “She is a poor widow woman, with four children dependent upon her for support. She sews neatly. Yesterday she brought me home some little drawers and night-gowns that were beautifully made. I am sure she will please you, and I know she deserves encouragement.”

“What is her name?”

“Mrs. Walton; and she lives in Larkin’s Court.”

“Thank you, ma’am. I will send for her this morning. You say she is very poor?”

“You may judge of that yourself, Mrs. Lander. A woman who has four children to support by the labour of her own hands cannot be very well off.”

“No–certainly not. Poor creature! I will throw all I can in her way, if her work should please me.”

“I am sure that will be the case, for she sews very neatly.”

Mrs. Lander having found out a poor woman who could do plain sewing–she was always more ready to employ persons in extreme poverty than those who were in more easy circumstances–immediately sent a summons for her to attend upon her ladyship. Mrs. Walton’s appearance, when she came, plainly enough told the story of her indigence.

“Mrs. Brandon informs me,” said Mrs. Lander, “that you do plain sewing very well, and that you stand in need of work. I always like to encourage the industrious poor.”

The woman inclined her head, and Mrs. Lander went on.

“Do you make shirts?”

“Yes, ma’am, sometimes.”

“Do you consider yourself a good shirt maker?”

“I don’t call myself any thing very extra; but people for whom I work seem generally pleased with what I do.”

“I have six shirts cut out for Mr. Lander. How soon can you make them?”

“I couldn’t make them all in less than a couple of weeks, as I have other work that must be done within that time.”

“Very well. That will do.”

The poor woman took the shirts home, feeling grateful to Mrs. Brandon for having recommended her, and thankful to get the work. In order to give satisfaction to both her new customer, and those for whom she already had work in the house, she divided her time between them, sewing one day for Mrs. Lander and the next on the work received before hers came in. At the end of a week, three of the shirts were ready, and, as she needed very much the money she had earned in making them, she carried them over to Mrs. Lander on Saturday afternoon.

“I have three of the shirts ready,” said she, as she handed to the lady the bundle she had brought.

“Ah! have you?” remarked Mrs. Lander, as, with a grave face, she opened the bundle and examined the garments. This examination was continued with great minuteness, and long enough almost to have counted every stitch in the garments. She found the shirts exceedingly well made; much better than she had expected to find them.

“When will you have the others ready?” she asked, as she laid them aside.

“I will try and bring them in next Saturday.”

“Very well.”

Then came a deep silence. The poor woman sat with the, fingers of both hands moving together uneasily, and Mrs. Lander looked away out of the window and appeared to be intent upon something in the street.

“Are these made to please you?” Mrs. Walton ventured to ask.

“They’ll do,” was the brief answer; and then came the same dead silence, and the same interest on the part of the lady in something passing in the street.