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It was dreadfully cold, snowing, and turning dark. It was the last evening of the year, New Year's Eve. In this cold and darkness walked a little girl. She was poor and both her hands and feet were bare. Oh, She had had a pair of slippers when she had left home, but they had been too big for her. In truth, they had belonged to her mother. The little one had lost them while hurrying across the street to get out of the way of two carriages that had been driving along awfully fast. One of the slippers she could not find and the other had been snatched by a boy who, laughingly, shouted that he would use it as a cradle when he had a child of his own.
Now the little girl walked barefoot through the streets, her feet were swollen and red from the cold. She was carrying a little bundle of matches in her hand and had more in her apron pocket. No one had bought any all day or had given her so much as a penny. Cold and hungry, she walked through the city; cowed by life, the poor thing!