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The Big Poor People

I can say no more. If I couldn't think of it, yet I must do it. It is right that we should go, and we will go."

"And why should you be talkin' that way, mother?" said John. "Was it what you said that kept us from goin' to the States long ago? Sure, if you had said nothing at all, we hadn't the money to go, and so what difference was it what you said?"

"Listen to me, John," said his mother; "it was all through me that you didn't leave this land of sorrow long ago. It was because it had been a land of joy as well to me that we all stayed here; and now, since you're sure that it's right and best for you to go, it's not the want of money that shall stand in your way. It's yourself knows, John, that your father—Heaven be his bed!—was always the careful and the saving man, and I always tried to help him the best I could. The times got a little better with us, as you know, after those worst ones in '47 and '48, and we saved a little again—it was not much, but it was something. Your father left it with me before he died, and he said: 'Keep it always by you till you need it most. Don't use it till the time comes when you can say, "I shall never need this money more than I need it now."' So I have always kept it, and I have it now. That was why I told you not to fear about the winter. It would have paid our rent if all else had failed, and it would have taken us all through the winter. But it's better that it should take us to the States. If we stayed here and used the money, we'ld be as bad off in another year. Kitty will be getting strong again there, and it'll be better for all of us. The time that your father said has come; I'm sure we'll never be needing the money that he left more than we're needing it now. There's no more to be said; we'll go."

For a little while no more was said. John and Kitty gazed at the old woman in wonder. The thing that they had thought about for so long, and wished for as a happiness that could never be, was come to them. And now it scarcely seemed a happiness; it was half a sorrow.

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