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Winnifred Burton sat all alone in the pleasant sitting-room, curled up in an easy-chair so large that her little figure was almost lost in its great depths. The fire in the open grate burned brightly, sending out little tongues of flame which made dancing shadows on the walls and ceiling, and flashed ever and anon on the bright hair and face and dress of the little girl sitting so quiet before it. It was a dismal day near the close of January. Snow had been falling steadily all day, and the window-sill was already piled so high with it that by and by it would have to be brushed away in order to close the shutters. But Winnifred was so absorbed in the book she was reading that she knew nothing of all this. The book was a new edition of "The Giant Killer; or, The Battle That All Must Fight." She was just reading how the brave but tempted Fides lay in the dreadful Pit of Despair; of how he had fallen back, bruised and bleeding, time after time, in his endeavors to cut and climb his way out, before he found the little cord of love which was strong enough to draw him out with scarcely an effort of his own. Twilight was fast closing in around the little reader, and all the letters on the page were beginning to dance up and down. Impatiently shaking herself, Winnifred slipped down from her chair, gave the fire a little poke, and settled herself on the floor in front of it, holding the book so that she could see to read by the flickering light. But she had scarcely begun to do so, when the door opened. She gave a little jump, and turned quite red in the face.