Some poor woman, in a moment of inspiration, called Miss Blanche "The sunshine of the poor." The word was instantly caught up in the parish, and had now this many years gently displaced "Lunley," and settled on her here below, and its echo gone before her up to Heaven.
The poor "sunshine of the poor" was happy: life was sweet to her. To know whether this is so, it is useless to inquire of the backbone or the limbs: look at the face! She lay at her window in the kindred sunshine, and in a world of sturdy, able, agile cursers, grumblers, and yawners, her face, pale its ashes, wore the eternal sunshine of a happy, holy smile.
But there came one to her bedside and told her the bank was broken, and all the money gone she and her sisters had lent Mr. Hardie.
The saint clasped her hands and said, "Oh, my poor people! What will become of them?" And the tears ran down her pale and now sorrowful cheeks.
At this time she did not know the full extent of their losses. But they had given Mr. Hardie a power of attorney to draw out all their consols. That remorseless man had abused the discretion this gave him, and beggared them--they were his personal friends, too--to swell his secret hoard.
When "the sunshine of the poor" heard this, and knew that she was now the poorest of the poor, she clasped her hands and cried, "Oh, my poor sisters! my poor sisters!" and she could work no more for sighing.
The next morning found "the sunshine of the poor" extinct in her little bed: ay, died of grief with no grain of egotism in it; gone straight to heaven without one angry word against Richard Hardie or any other.
Old Betty had a horror of the workhouse. To save her old age from it she had deposited her wages in the bank for the last twenty years, and also a little legacy from Mr. Hardie's father. She now went about the house of her master and debtor, declaring she was sure he would not rob _her,_ and, if he did, she would never go into the poorhouse. "I'll go out on the common and die there. Nobody will miss _me._"