"In the cloakroom of a certain school a question arose among some girls as to who had the most beautiful hands. The teacher listened to her girls thoughtfully. They compared hands and explained secrets of keeping them pretty. Nettie said that a girl could not keep perfect hands and wash dishes or sweep. Maude spoke of the evil effects of cold and wind and too much sunshine. Stella told of her favorite cold cream. Ethel spoke of proper manicuring. At last the teacher spoke.
“To my mind Jennie Higgins has the most beautiful hands of any girl in school,” she said quietly.
“Jennie Higgins!” exclaimed Nettie in amazement; “why, her hands are rough and red and look as if she took no care of them. I never thought of them as beautiful.”
“I have seen those hands carrying dainty food to the sick, and soothing the brow of the aged. She is her widowed mother’s main help, and she it is who does the milking and carries the wood and water, yes, and washes dishes night and morning, that her mother may be saved the hard work. I have never known her to be too tired to speak kindly to her little sister and help her in her play. I have found those busy hands helping her brother with his kite. I tell you I think they are the most beautiful hands I have ever seen, for they are always busy helping somewhere.”
~ Excerpt from Beautiful Girlhood by Mabel Hale
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