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HOME > Short Stories > The Disagreeable Woman > CHAPTER XIV. THE QUALITY OF MERCY.
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When I knocked again at the door of Mrs. Mills, she opened it and regarded me in some surprise.

"Did you think Alice would be worse?" she asked.

"No, but I am commissioned by a charitable lady, one of my fellow boarders, to give you this."

She took the bill which I offered her, and her face lighted up with joy.

"It is a godsend," she said. "I was feeling very anxious. We had but twenty-five cents in the house."

"This will help along."

"Indeed it will. How kind you are,[Pg 123] doctor," and her eyes filled with grateful tears.

"I would like to be kind, but my ability is limited."

"And who is this lady to whom I am indebted?"

"We call her the Disagreeable Woman."

She looked very much surprised.

"Surely you are jesting, doctor."

"No; she is a social mystery. She is very blunt and says many sharp things."

"But she sends me this money. She must have a good heart."

"I begin to think so. It would surprise all at the table if they knew she had done this."

"I shall think of her as the Agreeable Woman."

"Now, Mrs. Mills, I am going to give you some advice. What your daughter needs is nourishing food. Use this money to provide it not only for her but for yourself."

[Pg 124]

"I will—but when this is gone," she hesitated.

"We will appeal to the Disagreeable Woman. What has your daughter taken?"

"I have given her some beef tea."

"That is good as far as it goes. Do you think she could eat a bit of steak?"

"I will ask her."

Alice seemed so pleased at the suggestion that Frank was dispatched to the butcher's for a pound of sirloin steak, and a few potatoes. Soon the rich and appetizing flavor of broiled steak pervaded the apartment, and a smile of contentment lighted up the face of the sick girl.

"Now mind that you and Frank eat some too," I said. "I will see you to-morrow morning.

I made a report to Miss Blagden at breakfast.

"If you had seen how much pleasure your gift gave, you would feel amply repaid," I said to her.

[Pg 125]
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