THE CANDLES 1039
There also the candles were lighted : they shone out across the street; the carriages rolled up with the elegant ball-guests and the music played.
' Now they begin across there,' the tallow-candle noticed, and thought of the beaming face of the rich little girl, more sparkling than all the wax-lights. ' That sight I shall never see again ! '
Then the smallest of the children in the poor house, a little girl, came and took her brother and sister round the neck : she had something very important to tell them, and it must be whispered. ' To-night we shall have— just think !—To-night we shall have hot potatoes ! '
And her face shone with happiness : the tallow-candle shone right into it, and it saw a gladness, a happiness as great as over in the rich house, where the little girl said, 1 We shall have a ball to-night, and I shall wear my big red sash ! '
1 It is just as much to get hot potatoes,' thought the candle. ' Here there is just as much joy amongst the children.' And it sneezed at that; that is to say, it sputtered ; a tallow-candle can do no more.
The table was laid, and the potatoes eaten. Oh, how good they tasted! it was a perfect feast, and each one got an apple besides, and the smallest child said the little verse:
'Thou good God, I give thanks to Thee That Thou again hast nourished me. Amen!
1 Was that not nicely said, Mother ? ' broke out the little one.
' You must not ask that again,' said the mother; ' you must think only of the good God who has fed you.'
The little ones went to bed, got a kiss and fell asleep at once, and the mother sat and sewed late into the night to get the means of support for them and for herself. And over from the big house the lights shone and the music sounded. The stars shone over all the houses, over the rich and over the poor, equally clear and blessed.
' This has really been a delightful evening ! ' thought the tallow-candle. ' I wonder if the wax-candles had it any