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CHAPTER III. LYDIA AS PHILANTHROPIST. Lydia was not a very wise
young woman, as wise young women go at the present day. She did not
prudently take time to reflect; she was not careful to assure
herself that she was equal to overcoming the difficulties that
might beset the task she had undertaken; she was only anxious to
begin it. She had not the slightest idea how she was to improve the
condition of the miserable wretches at Star Sands; she was simply
eager to do good amongst them. And so, instead of sitting down
calmly and drawing out a rational scheme of action, she ran up to
her room themoment she readied the hotel and rummaged her boxes for
a certain blue morning gown made quite plain, and having found it,
busied herself in taking off the scarlet bows with which it was
trimmed. She had just enough sense to see that it would not do to
go amongst those rude women in a costume that had provoked their
derision. The next morning after breakfast she put on this blue
dress, took off her rings, and started off alone on foot to Star
Sands. Outside the village she thought it advisable to take off her
gloves; but she had done better to have kept them on, for they
betrayed her character less than her white hands, with their
slender, rose-tipped fingers and long, transparent nails. She went
in at the first open door shecame to. The room was dirty, untidy
and miserable. A man was seated with his hands in his pockets and
an empty pipe in his mouth, staring stolidly before him; a woman
was looking amongst some rubbish in a cupboard. Three young
children hanging to her skirts were whining in the manner of
beggars asking charity. " I tell ye I ain't got anything for ye,"
she said, harshly. The children continued to whine, as if
accustomed to this subterfuge. " I have co...
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