注册 登录  
 加关注
   显示下一条  |  关闭
温馨提示!由于新浪微博认证机制调整,您的新浪微博帐号绑定已过期,请重新绑定!立即重新绑定新浪微博》  |  关闭

見るところ花にあらずと云ふことなし

褎然举首

 
 
 

日志

 
 

转:Pollyanna CHAPTER XXV-XXXII (The end)  

2009-09-24 18:28:51|  分类: Reading notes |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

  下载LOFTER 我的照片书  |

 

CHAPTER XXV. A WAITING GAME

On the day after John Pendleton's call at the Harrington homestead, Miss Polly set herself to the task of preparing Pollyanna for the visit of the specialist.

"Pollyanna, my dear," she began gently, "we have decided that we want another doctor besides Dr. Warren to see you. Another one might tell us something new to do—to help you get well faster, you know."

A joyous light came to Pollyanna's face.

"Dr. Chilton! Oh, Aunt Polly, I'd so love to have Dr. Chilton! I've wanted him all the time, but I was afraid you didn't, on account of his seeing you in the sun parlor that day, you know; so I didn't like to say anything. But I'm so glad you do want him!"

Aunt Polly's face had turned white, then red, then back to white again. But when she answered, she showed very plainly that she was trying to speak lightly and cheerfully.

"Oh, no, dear! It wasn't Dr. Chilton at all that I meant. It is a new doctor—a very famous doctor from New York, who—who knows a great deal about—about hurts like yours."

Pollyanna's face fell.

"I don't believe he knows half so much as Dr. Chilton."

"Oh, yes, he does, I'm sure, dear."

"But it was Dr. Chilton who doctored Mr. Pendleton's broken leg, Aunt Polly. If—if you don't mind VERY much, I WOULD LIKE to have Dr. Chilton—truly I would!"

A distressed color suffused Miss Polly's face. For a moment she did not speak at all; then she said gently—though yet with a touch of her old stern decisiveness:

"But I do mind, Pollyanna. I mind very much. I would do anything—almost anything for you, my dear; but I—for reasons which I do not care to speak of now, I don't wish Dr. Chilton called in on—on this case. And believe me, he can NOT know so much about—about your trouble, as this great doctor does, who will come from New York to-morrow."

Pollyanna still looked unconvinced.

"But, Aunt Polly, if you LOVED Dr. Chilton—"

"WHAT, Pollyanna?" Aunt Polly's voice was very sharp now. Her cheeks were very red, too.

"I say, if you loved Dr. Chilton, and didn't love the other one," sighed Pollyanna, "seems to me that would make some difference in the good he would do; and I love Dr. Chilton."

The nurse entered the room at that moment, and Aunt Polly rose to her feet abruptly, a look of relief on her face.

"I am very sorry, Pollyanna," she said, a little stiffly; "but I'm afraid you'll have to let me be the judge, this time. Besides, it's already arranged. The New York doctor is coming to-morrow."

As it happened, however, the New York doctor did not come "to-morrow." At the last moment a telegram told of an unavoidable delay owing to the sudden illness of the specialist himself. This led Pollyanna into a renewed pleading for the substitution of Dr. Chilton—"which would be so easy now, you know."

But as before, Aunt Polly shook her head and said "no, dear," very decisively, yet with a still more anxious assurance that she would do anything—anything but that—to please her dear Pollyanna.

As the days of waiting passed, one by one, it did indeed, seem that Aunt Polly was doing everything (but that) that she could do to please her niece.

"I wouldn't 'a' believed it—you couldn't 'a' made me believe it," Nancy said to Old Tom one morning. "There don't seem ter be a minute in the day that Miss Polly ain't jest hangin' 'round waitin' ter do somethin' for that blessed lamb if 'tain't more than ter let in the cat—an' her what wouldn't let Fluff nor Buff up-stairs for love nor money a week ago; an' now she lets 'em tumble all over the bed jest 'cause it pleases Miss Pollyanna!

"An' when she ain't doin' nothin' else, she's movin' them little glass danglers 'round ter diff'rent winders in the room so the sun'll make the 'rainbows dance,' as that blessed child calls it. She's sent Timothy down ter Cobb's greenhouse three times for fresh flowers—an' that besides all the posies fetched in ter her, too. An' the other day, if I didn't find her sittin' 'fore the bed with the nurse actually doin' her hair, an' Miss Pollyanna lookin' on an' bossin' from the bed, her eyes all shinin' an' happy. An' I declare ter goodness, if Miss Polly hain't wore her hair like that every day now—jest ter please that blessed child!"

Old Tom chuckled.

"Well, it strikes me Miss Polly herself ain't lookin' none the worse—for wearin' them 'ere curls 'round her forehead," he observed dryly.

"'Course she ain't," retorted Nancy, indignantly. "She looks like FOLKS, now. She's actually almost—"

"Keerful, now, Nancy!" interrupted the old man, with a slow grin. "You know what you said when I told ye she was handsome once."

Nancy shrugged her shoulders.

"Oh, she ain't handsome, of course; but I will own up she don't look like the same woman, what with the ribbons an' lace jiggers Miss Pollyanna makes her wear 'round her neck."

"I told ye so," nodded the man. "I told ye she wa'n't—old."

Nancy laughed.

"Well, I'll own up she HAIN'T got quite so good an imitation of it—as she did have, 'fore Miss Pollyanna come. Say, Mr. Tom, who WAS her A lover? I hain't found that out, yet; I hain't, I hain't!"

"Hain't ye?" asked the old man, with an odd look on his face. "Well, I guess ye won't then from me."

"Oh, Mr. Tom, come on, now," wheedled the girl. "Ye see, there ain't many folks here that I CAN ask."

"Maybe not. But there's one, anyhow, that ain't answerin'," grinned Old Tom. Then, abruptly, the light died from his eyes. "How is she, ter-day—the little gal?"

Nancy shook her head. Her face, too, had sobered.

"Just the same, Mr. Tom. There ain't no special diff'rence, as I can see—or anybody, I guess. She jest lays there an' sleeps an' talks some, an' tries ter smile an' be 'glad' 'cause the sun sets or the moon rises, or some other such thing, till it's enough ter make yer heart break with achin'."

"I know; it's the 'game'—bless her sweet heart!" nodded Old Tom, blinking a little.

"She told YOU, then, too, about that 'ere—game?"

"Oh, yes. She told me long ago." The old man hesitated, then went on, his lips twitching a little. "I was growlin' one day 'cause I was so bent up and crooked; an' what do ye s'pose the little thing said?"

"I couldn't guess. I wouldn't think she could find ANYTHIN' about THAT ter be glad about!"

"She did. She said I could be glad, anyhow, that I didn't have ter STOOP SO FAR TER DO MY WEEDIN' 'cause I was already bent part way over."

Nancy gave a wistful laugh.

"Well, I ain't surprised, after all. You might know she'd find somethin'. We've been playin' it—that game—since almost the first, 'cause there wa'n't no one else she could play it with—though she did speak of—her aunt."

"MISS POLLY!"

Nancy chuckled.

"I guess you hain't got such an awful diff'rent opinion o' the mistress than I have," she bridled.

Old Tom stiffened.

"I was only thinkin' 'twould be—some of a surprise—to her," he explained with dignity.

"Well, yes, I guess 'twould be—THEN," retorted Nancy. "I ain't sayin' what 'twould be NOW. I'd believe anythin' o' the mistress now—even that she'd take ter playin' it herself!"

"But hain't the little gal told her—ever? She's told ev'ry one else, I guess. I'm hearin' of it ev'rywhere, now, since she was hurted," said Tom.

"Well, she didn't tell Miss Polly," rejoined Nancy. "Miss Pollyanna told me long ago that she couldn't tell her, 'cause her aunt didn't like ter have her talk about her father; an' 'twas her father's game, an' she'd have ter talk about him if she did tell it. So she never told her."

"Oh, I see, I see." The old man nodded his head slowly. "They was always bitter against the minister chap—all of 'em, 'cause he took Miss Jennie away from 'em. An' Miss Polly—young as she was—couldn't never forgive him; she was that fond of Miss Jennie—in them days. I see, I see. 'Twas a bad mess," he sighed, as he turned away.

"Yes, 'twas—all 'round, all 'round," sighed Nancy in her turn, as she went back to her kitchen.

For no one were those days of waiting easy. The nurse tried to look cheerful, but her eyes were troubled. The doctor was openly nervous and impatient. Miss Polly said little; but even the softening waves of hair about her face, and the becoming laces at her throat, could not hide the fact that she was growing thin and pale. As to Pollyanna—Pollyanna petted the dog, smoothed the cat's sleek head, admired the flowers and ate the fruits and jellies that were sent in to her; and returned innumerable cheery answers to the many messages of love and inquiry that were brought to her bedside. But she, too, grew pale and thin; and the nervous activity of the poor little hands and arms only emphasized the pitiful motionlessness of the once active little feet and legs now lying so woefully quiet under the blankets.

As to the game—Pollyanna told Nancy these days how glad she was going to be when she could go to school again, go to see Mrs. Snow, go to call on Mr. Pendleton, and go to ride with Dr. Chilton nor did she seem to realize that all this "gladness" was in the future, not the present. Nancy, however, did realize it—and cry about it, when she was alone.





CHAPTER XXVI. A DOOR AJAR

Just a week from the time Dr. Mead, the specialist, was first expected, he came. He was a tall, broad-shouldered man with kind gray eyes, and a cheerful smile. Pollyanna liked him at once, and told him so.

"You look quite a lot like MY doctor, you see," she added engagingly.

"YOUR doctor?" Dr. Mead glanced in evident surprise at Dr. Warren, talking with the nurse a few feet away. Dr. Warren was a small, brown-eyed man with a pointed brown beard.

"Oh, THAT isn't my doctor," smiled Pollyanna, divining his thought. "Dr. Warren is Aunt Polly's doctor. My doctor is Dr. Chilton."

"Oh-h!" said Dr. Mead, a little oddly, his eyes resting on Miss Polly, who, with a vivid blush, had turned hastily away.

"Yes." Pollyanna hesitated, then continued with her usual truthfulness. "You see, I wanted Dr. Chilton all the time, but Aunt Polly wanted you. She said you knew more than Dr. Chilton, anyway about—about broken legs like mine. And of course if you do, I can be glad for that. Do you?"

A swift something crossed the doctor's face that Pollyanna could not quite translate.

"Only time can tell that, little girl," he said gently; then he turned a grave face toward Dr. Warren, who had just come to the bedside.

Every one said afterward that it was the cat that did it. Certainly, if Fluffy had not poked an insistent paw and nose against Pollyanna's unlatched door, the door would not have swung noiselessly open on its hinges until it stood perhaps a foot ajar; and if the door had not been open, Pollyanna would not have heard her aunt's words.

In the hall the two doctors, the nurse, and Miss Polly stood talking. In Pollyanna's room Fluffy had just jumped to the bed with a little purring "meow" of joy when through the open door sounded clearly and sharply Aunt Polly's agonized exclamation.

"Not that! Doctor, not that! You don't mean—the child—will NEVER WALK again!"

It was all confusion then. First, from the bedroom came Pollyanna's terrified "Aunt Polly Aunt Polly!" Then Miss Polly, seeing the open door and realizing that her words had been heard, gave a low little moan and—for the first time in her life—fainted dead away.

The nurse, with a choking "She heard!" stumbled toward the open door. The two doctors stayed with Miss Polly. Dr. Mead had to stay—he had caught Miss Polly as she fell. Dr. Warren stood by, helplessly. It was not until Pollyanna cried out again sharply and the nurse closed the door, that the two men, with a despairing glance into each other's eyes, awoke to the immediate duty of bringing the woman in Dr. Mead's arms back to unhappy consciousness.

In Pollyanna's room, the nurse had found a purring gray cat on the bed vainly trying to attract the attention of a white-faced, wild-eyed little girl.

"Miss Hunt, please, I want Aunt Polly. I want her right away, quick, please!"

The nurse closed the door and came forward hurriedly. Her face was very pale.

"She—she can't come just this minute, dear. She will—a little later. What is it? Can't I—get it?"

Pollyanna shook her head.

"But I want to know what she said—just now. Did you hear her? I want Aunt Polly—she said something. I want her to tell me 'tisn't true—'tisn't true!"

The nurse tried to speak, but no words came. Something in her face sent an added terror to Pollyanna's eyes.

"Miss Hunt, you DID hear her! It is true! Oh, it isn't true! You don't mean I can't ever—walk again?"

"There, there, dear—don't, don't!" choked the nurse. "Perhaps he didn't know. Perhaps he was mistaken. There's lots of things that could happen, you know."

"But Aunt Polly said he did know! She said he knew more than anybody else about—about broken legs like mine!"

"Yes, yes, I know, dear; but all doctors make mistakes sometimes. Just—just don't think any more about it now—please don't, dear."

Pollyanna flung out her arms wildly. "But I can't help thinking about it," she sobbed. "It's all there is now to think about. Why, Miss Hunt, how am I going to school, or to see Mr. Pendleton, or Mrs. Snow, or—or anybody?" She caught her breath and sobbed wildly for a moment. Suddenly she stopped and looked up, a new terror in her eyes. "Why, Miss Hunt, if I can't walk, how am I ever going to be glad for—ANYTHING?"

Miss Hunt did not know "the game;" but she did know that her patient must be quieted, and that at once. In spite of her own perturbation and heartache, her hands had not been idle, and she stood now at the bedside with the quieting powder ready.

"There, there, dear, just take this," she soothed; "and by and by we'll be more rested, and we'll see what can be done then. Things aren't half as bad as they seem, dear, lots of times, you know."

Obediently Pollyanna took the medicine, and sipped the water from the glass in Miss Hunt's hand.

"I know; that sounds like things father used to say," faltered Pollyanna, blinking off the tears. "He said there was always something about everything that might be worse; but I reckon he'd never just heard he couldn't ever walk again. I don't see how there CAN be anything about that, that could be worse—do you?"

Miss Hunt did not reply. She could not trust herself to speak just then.





CHAPTER XXVII. TWO VISITS

It was Nancy who was sent to tell Mr. John Pendleton of Dr. Mead's verdict. Miss Polly had remembered her promise to let him have direct information from the house. To go herself, or to write a letter, she felt to be almost equally out of the question. It occurred to her then to send Nancy.

There had been a time when Nancy would have rejoiced greatly at this extraordinary opportunity to see something of the House of Mystery and its master. But to-day her heart was too heavy to, rejoice at anything. She scarcely even looked about her at all, indeed, during the few minutes, she waited for Mr. John Pendleton to appear.

"I'm Nancy, sir," she said respectfully, in response to the surprised questioning of his eyes, when he came into the room. "Miss Harrington sent me to tell you about—Miss Pollyanna."

"Well?"

In spite of the curt terseness of the word, Nancy quite understood the anxiety that lay behind that short "well?"

"It ain't well, Mr. Pendleton," she choked.

"You don't mean—" He paused, and she bowed her head miserably.

"Yes, sir. He says—she can't walk again—never."

For a moment there was absolute silence in the room; then the man spoke, in a voice shaken with emotion.

"Poor—little—girl! Poor—little—girl!"

Nancy glanced at him, but dropped her eyes at once. She had not supposed that sour, cross, stern John Pendleton could look like that. In a moment he spoke again, still in the low, unsteady voice.

"It seems cruel—never to dance in the sunshine again! My little prism girl!"

There was another silence; then, abruptly, the man asked:

"She herself doesn't know yet—of course—does she?"

"But she does, sir." sobbed Nancy, "an' that's what makes it all the harder. She found out—drat that cat! I begs yer pardon," apologized the girl, hurriedly. "It's only that the cat pushed open the door an' Miss Pollyanna overheard 'em talkin'. She found out—that way."

"Poor—little—girl!" sighed the man again.

"Yes, sir. You'd say so, sir, if you could see her," choked Nancy. "I hain't seen her but twice since she knew about it, an' it done me up both times. Ye see it's all so fresh an' new to her, an' she keeps thinkin' all the time of new things she can't do—NOW. It worries her, too, 'cause she can't seem ter be glad—maybe you don't know about her game, though," broke off Nancy, apologetically.

"The 'glad game'?" asked the man. "Oh, yes; she told me of that."

"Oh, she did! Well, I guess she has told it generally ter most folks. But ye see, now she—she can't play it herself, an' it worries her. She says she can't think of a thing—not a thing about this not walkin' again, ter be glad about."

"Well, why should she?" retorted the man, almost savagely.

Nancy shifted her feet uneasily.

"That's the way I felt, too—till I happened ter think—it WOULD be easier if she could find somethin', ye know. So I tried to—to remind her."

"To remind her! Of what?" John Pendleton's voice was still angrily impatient.

"Of—of how she told others ter play it Mis' Snow, and the rest, ye know—and what she said for them ter do. But the poor little lamb just cries, an' says it don't seem the same, somehow. She says it's easy ter TELL lifelong invalids how ter be glad, but 'tain't the same thing when you're the lifelong invalid yerself, an' have ter try ter do it. She says she's told herself over an' over again how glad she is that other folks ain't like her; but that all the time she's sayin' it, she ain't really THINKIN' of anythin' only how she can't ever walk again."

Nancy paused, but the man did not speak. He sat with his hand over his eyes.

"Then I tried ter remind her how she used ter say the game was all the nicer ter play when—when it was hard," resumed Nancy, in a dull voice. "But she says that, too, is diff'rent—when it really IS hard. An' I must be goin', now, sir," she broke off abruptly.

At the door she hesitated, turned, and asked timidly:

"I couldn't be tellin' Miss Pollyanna that—that you'd seen Jimmy Bean again, I s'pose, sir, could I?"

"I don't see how you could—as I haven't seen him," observed the man a little shortly. "Why?"

"Nothin', sir, only—well, ye see, that's one of the things that she was feelin' bad about, that she couldn't take him ter see you, now. She said she'd taken him once, but she didn't think he showed off very well that day, and that she was afraid you didn't think he would make a very nice child's presence, after all. Maybe you know what she means by that; but I didn't, sir."

"Yes, I know—what she means."

"All right, sir. It was only that she was wantin' ter take him again, she said, so's ter show ye he really was a lovely child's presence. And now she—can't—drat that autymobile! I begs yer pardon, sir. Good-by!" And Nancy fled precipitately.

It did not take long for the entire town of Beldingsville to learn that the great New York doctor had said Pollyanna Whittier would never walk again; and certainly never before had the town been so stirred. Everybody knew by sight now the piquant little freckled face that had always a smile of greeting; and almost everybody knew of the "game" that Pollyanna was playing. To think that now never again would that smiling face be seen on their streets—never again would that cheery little voice proclaim the gladness of some everyday experience! It seemed unbelievable, impossible, cruel.

In kitchens and sitting rooms, and over back-yard fences women talked of it, and wept openly. On street corners and in store lounging-places the men talked, too, and wept—though not so openly. And neither the talking nor the weeping grew less when fast on the heels of the news itself, came Nancy's pitiful story that Pollyanna, face to face with what had come to her, was bemoaning most of all the fact that she could not play the game; that she could not now be glad over—anything.

It was then that the same thought must have, in some way, come to Pollyanna's friends. At all events, almost at once, the mistress of the Harrington homestead, greatly to her surprise, began to receive calls: calls from people she knew, and people she did not know; calls from men, women, and children—many of whom Miss Polly had not supposed that her niece knew at all.

Some came in and sat down for a stiff five or ten minutes. Some stood awkwardly on the porch steps, fumbling with hats or hand-bags, according to their sex. Some brought a book, a bunch of flowers, or a dainty to tempt the palate. Some cried frankly. Some turned their backs and blew their noses furiously. But all inquired very anxiously for the little injured girl; and all sent to her some message—and it was these messages which, after a time, stirred Miss Polly to action.

First came Mr. John Pendleton. He came without his crutches to-day.

"I don't need to tell you how shocked I am," he began almost harshly. "But can—nothing be done?"

Miss Polly gave a gesture of despair.

"Oh, we're 'doing,' of course, all the time. Dr. Mead prescribed certain treatments and medicines that might help, and Dr. Warren is carrying them out to the letter, of course. But—Dr. Mead held out almost no hope."

John Pendleton rose abruptly—though he had but just come. His face was white, and his mouth was set into stern lines. Miss Polly, looking at him, knew very well why he felt that he could not stay longer in her presence. At the door he turned.

"I have a message for Pollyanna," he said. "Will you tell her, please, that I have seen Jimmy Bean and—that he's going to be my boy hereafter. Tell her I thought she would be—GLAD to know. I shall adopt him, probably."

For a brief moment Miss Polly lost her usual well-bred self-control.

"You will adopt Jimmy Bean!" she gasped.

The man lifted his chin a little.

"Yes. I think Pollyanna will understand. You will tell her I thought she would be—GLAD!"

"Why, of—of course," faltered Miss Polly.

"Thank you," bowed John Pendleton, as he turned to go.

In the middle of the floor Miss Polly stood, silent and amazed, still looking after the man who had just left her. Even yet she could scarcely believe what her ears had heard. John Pendleton ADOPT Jimmy Bean? John Pendleton, wealthy, independent, morose, reputed to be miserly and supremely selfish, to adopt a little boy—and such a little boy?

With a somewhat dazed face Miss Polly went up-stairs to Pollyanna's room.

"Pollyanna, I have a message for you from Mr. John Pendleton. He has just been here. He says to tell you he has taken Jimmy Bean for his little boy. He said he thought you'd be glad to know it."

Pollyanna's wistful little face flamed into sudden joy.

"Glad? GLAD? Well, I reckon I am glad! Oh, Aunt Polly, I've so wanted to find a place for Jimmy—and that's such a lovely place! Besides, I'm so glad for Mr. Pendleton, too. You see, now he'll have the child's presence."

"The—what?"

Pollyanna colored painfully. She had forgotten that she had never told her aunt of Mr. Pendleton's desire to adopt her—and certainly she would not wish to tell her now that she had ever thought for a minute of leaving her—this dear Aunt Polly!

"The child's presence," stammered Pollyanna, hastily. "Mr. Pendleton told me once, you see, that only a woman's hand and heart or a child's presence could make a—a home. And now he's got it—the child's presence."

"Oh, I—see," said Miss Polly very gently; and she did see—more than Pollyanna realized. She saw something of the pressure that was probably brought to bear on Pollyanna herself at the time John Pendleton was asking HER to be the "child's presence," which was to transform his great pile of gray stone into a home. "I see," she finished, her eyes stinging with sudden tears.

Pollyanna, fearful that her aunt might ask further embarrassing questions, hastened to lead the conversation away from the Pendleton house and its master.

"Dr. Chilton says so, too—that it takes a woman's hand and heart, or a child's presence, to make a home, you know," she remarked.

Miss Polly turned with a start.

"DR. CHILTON! How do you know—that?"

"He told me so. 'Twas when he said he lived in just rooms, you know—not a home."

Miss Polly did not answer. Her eyes were out the window.

"So I asked him why he didn't get 'em.—a woman's hand and heart, and have a home."

"Pollyanna!" Miss Polly had turned sharply. Her cheeks showed a sudden color.

"Well, I did. He looked so—so sorrowful."

"What did he—say?" Miss Polly asked the question as if in spite of some force within her that was urging her not to ask it.

"He didn't say anything for a minute; then he said very low that you couldn't always get 'em for the asking."

There was a brief silence. Miss Polly's eyes had turned again to the window. Her cheeks were still unnaturally pink.

Pollyanna sighed.

"He wants one, anyhow, I know, and I wish he could have one."

"Why, Pollyanna, HOW do you know?"

"Because, afterwards, on another day, he said something else. He said that low, too, but I heard him. He said that he'd give all the world if he did have one woman's hand and heart. Why, Aunt Polly, what's the matter?" Aunt Polly had risen hurriedly and gone to the window.

"Nothing, dear. I was changing the position of this prism," said Aunt Polly, whose whole face now was aflame.





CHAPTER XXVIII. THE GAME AND ITS PLAYERS

It was not long after John Pendleton's second visit that Milly Snow called one afternoon. Milly Snow had never before been to the Harrington homestead. She blushed and looked very embarrassed when Miss Polly entered the room.

"I—I came to inquire for the little girl," she stammered.

"You are very kind. She is about the same. How is your mother?" rejoined Miss Polly, wearily.

"That is what I came to tell you—that is, to ask you to tell Miss Pollyanna," hurried on the girl, breathlessly and incoherently. "We think it's—so awful—so perfectly awful that the little thing can't ever walk again; and after all she's done for us, too—for mother, you know, teaching her to play the game, and all that. And when we heard how now she couldn't play it herself—poor little dear! I'm sure I don't see how she CAN, either, in her condition!—but when we remembered all the things she'd said to us, we thought if she could only know what she HAD done for us, that it would HELP, you know, in her own case, about the game, because she could be glad—that is, a little glad—" Milly stopped helplessly, and seemed to be waiting for Miss Polly to speak.

Miss Polly had sat politely listening, but with a puzzled questioning in her eyes. Only about half of what had been said, had she understood. She was thinking now that she always had known that Milly Snow was "queer," but she had not supposed she was crazy. In no other way, however, could she account for this incoherent, illogical, unmeaning rush of words. When the pause came she filled it with a quiet:

"I don't think I quite understand, Milly. Just what is it that you want me to tell my niece?"

"Yes, that's it; I want you to tell her," answered the girl, feverishly. "Make her see what she's done for us. Of course she's SEEN some things, because she's been there, and she's known mother is different; but I want her to know HOW different she is—and me, too. I'm different. I've been trying to play it—the game—a little."

Miss Polly frowned. She would have asked what Milly meant by this "game," but there was no opportunity. Milly was rushing on again with nervous volubility.

"You know nothing was ever right before—for mother. She was always wanting 'em different. And, really, I don't know as one could blame her much—under the circumstances. But now she lets me keep the shades up, and she takes interest in things—how she looks, and her nightdress, and all that. And she's actually begun to knit little things—reins and baby blankets for fairs and hospitals. And she's so interested, and so GLAD to think she can do it!—and that was all Miss Pollyanna's doings, you know, 'cause she told mother she could be glad she'd got her hands and arms, anyway; and that made mother wonder right away why she didn't DO something with her hands and arms. And so she began to do something—to knit, you know. And you can't think what a different room it is now, what with the red and blue and yellow worsteds, and the prisms in the window that SHE gave her—why, it actually makes you feel BETTER just to go in there now; and before I used to dread it awfully, it was so dark and gloomy, and mother was so—so unhappy, you know.

"And so we want you to please tell Miss Pollyanna that we understand it's all because of her. And please say we're so glad we know her, that we thought, maybe if she knew it, it would make her a little glad that she knew us. And—and that's all," sighed Milly, rising hurriedly to her feet. "You'll tell her?"

"Why, of course," murmured Miss Polly, wondering just how much of this remarkable discourse she could remember to tell.

These visits of John Pendleton and Milly Snow were only the first of many; and always there were the messages—the messages which were in some ways so curious that they caused Miss Polly more and more to puzzle over them.

One day there was the little Widow Benton. Miss Polly knew her well, though they had never called upon each other. By reputation she knew her as the saddest little woman in town—one who was always in black. To-day, however, Mrs. Benton wore a knot of pale blue at the throat, though there were tears in her eyes. She spoke of her grief and horror at the accident; then she asked diffidently if she might see Pollyanna.

Miss Polly shook her head.

"I am sorry, but she sees no one yet. A little later—perhaps."

Mrs. Benton wiped her eyes, rose, and turned to go. But after she had almost reached the hall door she came back hurriedly.

"Miss Harrington, perhaps, you'd give her—a message," she stammered.

"Certainly, Mrs. Benton; I shall be very glad to."

Still the little woman hesitated; then she spoke.

"Will you tell her, please, that—that I've put on THIS," she said, just touching the blue bow at her throat. Then, at Miss Polly's ill-concealed look of surprise, she added: "The little girl has been trying for so long to make me wear—some color, that I thought she'd be—glad to know I'd begun. She said that Freddy would be so glad to see it, if I would. You know Freddy's ALL I have now. The others have all—" Mrs. Benton shook her head and turned away. "If you'll just tell Pollyanna—SHE'LL understand." And the door closed after her.

A little later, that same day, there was the other widow—at least, she wore widow's garments. Miss Polly did not know her at all. She wondered vaguely how Pollyanna could have known her. The lady gave her name as "Mrs. Tarbell."

"I'm a stranger to you, of course," she began at once. "But I'm not a stranger to your little niece, Pollyanna. I've been at the hotel all summer, and every day I've had to take long walks for my health. It was on these walks that I've met your niece—she's such a dear little girl! I wish I could make you understand what she's been to me. I was very sad when I came up here; and her bright face and cheery ways reminded me of—my own little girl that I lost years ago. I was so shocked to hear of the accident; and then when I learned that the poor child would never walk again, and that she was so unhappy because she couldn't be glad any longer—the dear child!—I just had to come to you."

"You are very kind," murmured Miss Polly.

"But it is you who are to be kind," demurred the other. "I—I want you to give her a message from me. Will you?"

"Certainly."

"Will you just tell her, then, that Mrs. Tarbell is glad now. Yes, I know it sounds odd, and you don't understand. But—if you'll pardon me I'd rather not explain." Sad lines came to the lady's mouth, and the smile left her eyes. "Your niece will know just what I mean; and I felt that I must tell—her. Thank you; and pardon me, please, for any seeming rudeness in my call," she begged, as she took her leave.

Thoroughly mystified now, Miss Polly hurried up-stairs to Pollyanna's room.

"Pollyanna, do you know a Mrs. Tarbell?"

"Oh, yes. I love Mrs. Tarbell. She's sick, and awfully sad; and she's at the hotel, and takes long walks. We go together. I mean—we used to." Pollyanna's voice broke, and two big tears rolled down her cheeks.

Miss Polly cleared her throat hurriedly.

"We'll, she's just been here, dear. She left a message for you—but she wouldn't tell me what it meant. She said to tell you that Mrs. Tarbell is glad now."

Pollyanna clapped her hands softly.

"Did she say that—really? Oh, I'm so glad!"

"But, Pollyanna, what did she mean?"

"Why, it's the game, and—" Pollyanna stopped short, her fingers to her lips.

"What game?"

"N-nothing much, Aunt Polly; that is—I can't tell it unless I tell other things that—that I'm not to speak of."

It was on Miss Polly's tongue to question her niece further; but the obvious distress on the little girl's face stayed the words before they were uttered.

Not long after Mrs. Tarbell's visit, the climax came. It came in the shape of a call from a certain young woman with unnaturally pink cheeks and abnormally yellow hair; a young woman who wore high heels and cheap jewelry; a young woman whom Miss Polly knew very well by reputation—but whom she was angrily amazed to meet beneath the roof of the Harrington homestead.

Miss Polly did not offer her hand. She drew back, indeed, as she entered the room.

The woman rose at once. Her eyes were very red, as if she had been crying. Half defiantly she asked if she might, for a moment, see the little girl, Pollyanna.

Miss Polly said no. She began to say it very sternly; but something in the woman's pleading eyes made her add the civil explanation that no one was allowed yet to see Pollyanna.

The woman hesitated; then a little brusquely she spoke. Her chin was still at a slightly defiant tilt.

"My name is Mrs. Payson—Mrs. Tom Payson. I presume you've heard of me—most of the good people in the town have—and maybe some of the things you've heard ain't true. But never mind that. It's about the little girl I came. I heard about the accident, and—and it broke me all up. Last week I heard how she couldn't ever walk again, and—and I wished I could give up my two uselessly well legs for hers. She'd do more good trotting around on 'em one hour than I could in a hundred years. But never mind that. Legs ain't always given to the one who can make the best use of 'em, I notice."

She paused, and cleared her throat; but when she resumed her voice was still husky.

"Maybe you don't know it, but I've seen a good deal of that little girl of yours. We live on the Pendleton Hill road, and she used to go by often—only she didn't always GO BY. She came in and played with the kids and talked to me—and my man, when he was home. She seemed to like it, and to like us. She didn't know, I suspect, that her kind of folks don't generally call on my kind. Maybe if they DID call more, Miss Harrington, there wouldn't be so many—of my kind," she added, with sudden bitterness.

"Be that as it may, she came; and she didn't do herself no harm, and she did do us good—a lot o' good. How much she won't know—nor can't know, I hope; 'cause if she did, she'd know other things—that I don't want her to know.

"But it's just this. It's been hard times with us this year, in more ways than one. We've been blue and discouraged—my man and me, and ready for—'most anything. We was reckoning on getting a divorce about now, and letting the kids well, we didn't know what we would do with the kids, Then came the accident, and what we heard about the little girl's never walking again. And we got to thinking how she used to come and sit on our doorstep and train with the kids, and laugh, and—and just be glad. She was always being glad about something; and then, one day, she told us why, and about the game, you know; and tried to coax us to play it.

"Well, we've heard now that she's fretting her poor little life out of her, because she can't play it no more—that there's nothing to be glad about. And that's what I came to tell her to-day—that maybe she can be a little glad for us, 'cause we've decided to stick to each other, and play the game ourselves. I knew she would be glad, because she used to feel kind of bad—at things we said, sometimes. Just how the game is going to help us, I can't say that I exactly see, yet; but maybe 'twill. Anyhow, we're going to try—'cause she wanted us to. Will you tell her?"

"Yes, I will tell her," promised Miss Polly, a little faintly. Then, with sudden impulse, she stepped forward and held out her hand. "And thank you for coming, Mrs. Payson," she said simply.

The defiant chin fell. The lips above it trembled visibly. With an incoherently mumbled something, Mrs. Payson blindly clutched at the outstretched hand, turned, and fled.

The door had scarcely closed behind her before Miss Polly was confronting Nancy in the kitchen.

"Nancy!"

Miss Polly spoke sharply. The series of puzzling, disconcerting visits of the last few days, culminating as they had in the extraordinary experience of the afternoon, had strained her nerves to the snapping point. Not since Miss Pollyanna's accident had Nancy heard her mistress speak so sternly.

"Nancy, WILL you tell me what this absurd 'game' is that the whole town seems to be babbling about? And what, please, has my niece to do with it? WHY does everybody, from Milly Snow to Mrs. Tom Payson, send word to her that they're 'playing it'? As near as I can judge, half the town are putting on blue ribbons, or stopping family quarrels, or learning to like something they never liked before, and all because of Pollyanna. I tried to ask the child herself about it, but I can't seem to make much headway, and of course I don't like to worry her—now. But from something I heard her say to you last night, I should judge you were one of them, too. Now WILL you tell me what it all means?"

To Miss Polly's surprise and dismay, Nancy burst into tears.

"It means that ever since last June that blessed child has jest been makin' the whole town glad, an' now they're turnin' 'round an' tryin' ter make her a little glad, too."

"Glad of what?"

"Just glad! That's the game."

Miss Polly actually stamped her foot.

"There you go like all the rest, Nancy. What game?"

Nancy lifted her chin. She faced her mistress and looked her squarely in the eye.

"I'll tell ye, ma'am. It's a game Miss Pollyanna's father learned her ter play. She got a pair of crutches once in a missionary barrel when she was wantin' a doll; an' she cried, of course, like any child would. It seems 'twas then her father told her that there wasn't ever anythin' but what there was somethin' about it that you could be glad about; an' that she could be glad about them crutches."

"Glad for—CRUTCHES!" Miss Polly choked back a sob—she was thinking of the helpless little legs on the bed up-stairs.

"Yes'm. That's what I said, an' Miss Pollyanna said that's what she said, too. But he told her she COULD be glad—'cause she DIDN'T NEED 'EM."

"Oh-h!" cried Miss Polly.

"And after that she said he made a regular game of it—findin' somethin' in everythin' ter be glad about. An' she said ye could do it, too, and that ye didn't seem ter mind not havin' the doll so much, 'cause ye was so glad ye DIDN'T need the crutches. An' they called it the 'jest bein' glad' game. That's the game, ma'am. She's played it ever since."

"But, how—how—" Miss Polly came to a helpless pause.

"An' you'd be surprised ter find how cute it works, ma'am, too," maintained Nancy, with almost the eagerness of Pollyanna herself. "I wish I could tell ye what a lot she's done for mother an' the folks out home. She's been ter see 'em, ye know, twice, with me. She's made me glad, too, on such a lot o' things—little things, an' big things; an' it's made 'em so much easier. For instance, I don't mind 'Nancy' for a name half as much since she told me I could be glad 'twa'n't 'Hephzibah.' An' there's Monday mornin's, too, that I used ter hate so. She's actually made me glad for Monday mornin's."

"Glad—for Monday mornings!"

Nancy laughed.

"I know it does sound nutty, ma'am. But let me tell ye. That blessed lamb found out I hated Monday mornin's somethin' awful; an' what does she up an' tell me one day but this: 'Well, anyhow, Nancy, I should think you could be gladder on Monday mornin' than on any other day in the week, because 'twould be a whole WEEK before you'd have another one!' An' I'm blest if I hain't thought of it ev'ry Monday mornin' since—an' it HAS helped, ma'am. It made me laugh, anyhow, ev'ry time I thought of it; an' laughin' helps, ye know—it does, it does!"

"But why hasn't—she told me—the game?" faltered Miss Polly. "Why has she made such a mystery of it, when I asked her?"

Nancy hesitated.

"Beggin' yer pardon, ma'am, you told her not ter speak of—her father; so she couldn't tell ye. 'Twas her father's game, ye see."

Miss Polly bit her lip.

"She wanted ter tell ye, first off," continued Nancy, a little unsteadily. "She wanted somebody ter play it with, ye know. That's why I begun it, so she could have some one."

"And—and—these others?" Miss Polly's voice shook now.

"Oh, ev'rybody, 'most, knows it now, I guess. Anyhow, I should think they did from the way I'm hearin' of it ev'rywhere I go. Of course she told a lot, and they told the rest. Them things go, ye know, when they gets started. An' she was always so smilin' an' pleasant ter ev'ry one, an' so—so jest glad herself all the time, that they couldn't help knowin' it, anyhow. Now, since she's hurt, ev'rybody feels so bad—specially when they heard how bad SHE feels 'cause she can't find anythin' ter be glad about. An' so they've been comin' ev'ry day ter tell her how glad she's made THEM, hopin' that'll help some. Ye see, she's always wanted ev'rybody ter play the game with her."

"Well, I know somebody who'll play it—now," choked Miss Polly, as she turned and sped through the kitchen doorway.

Behind her, Nancy stood staring amazedly.

"Well, I'll believe anythin'—anythin' now," she muttered to herself. "Ye can't stump me with anythin' I wouldn't believe, now—o' Miss Polly!"

A little later, in Pollyanna's room, the nurse left Miss Polly and Pollyanna alone together.

"And you've had still another caller to-day, my dear," announced Miss Polly, in a voice she vainly tried to steady. "Do you remember Mrs. Payson?"

"Mrs. Payson? Why, I reckon I do! She lives on the way to Mr. Pendleton's, and she's got the prettiest little girl baby three years old, and a boy 'most five. She's awfully nice, and so's her husband—only they don't seem to know how nice each other is. Sometimes they fight—I mean, they don't quite agree. They're poor, too, they say, and of course they don't ever have barrels, 'cause he isn't a missionary minister, you know, like—well, he isn't."

A faint color stole into Pollyanna's cheeks which was duplicated suddenly in those of her aunt.

"But she wears real pretty clothes, sometimes, in spite of their being so poor," resumed Pollyanna, in some haste. "And she's got perfectly beautiful rings with diamonds and rubies and emeralds in them; but she says she's got one ring too many, and that she's going to throw it away and get a divorce instead. What is a divorce, Aunt Polly? I'm afraid it isn't very nice, because she didn't look happy when she talked about it. And she said if she did get it, they wouldn't live there any more, and that Mr. Payson would go 'way off, and maybe the children, too. But I should think they'd rather keep the ring, even if they did have so many more. Shouldn't you? Aunt Polly, what is a divorce?"

"But they aren't going 'way off, dear," evaded Aunt Polly, hurriedly. "They're going to stay right there together."

"Oh, I'm so glad! Then they'll be there when I go up to see—O dear!" broke off the little girl, miserably. "Aunt Polly, why CAN'T I remember that my legs don't go any more, and that I won't ever, ever go up to see Mr. Pendleton again?"

"There, there, don't," choked her aunt. "Perhaps you'll drive up sometime. But listen! I haven't told you, yet, all that Mrs. Payson said. She wanted me to tell you that they—they were going to stay together and to play the game, just as you wanted them to."

Pollyanna smiled through tear-wet eyes.

"Did they? Did they, really? Oh, I am glad of that!"

"Yes, she said she hoped you'd be. That's why she told you, to make you—GLAD, Pollyanna."

Pollyanna looked up quickly.

"Why, Aunt Polly, you—you spoke just as if you knew—DO you know about the game, Aunt Polly?"

"Yes, dear." Miss Polly sternly forced her voice to be cheerfully matter-of-fact. "Nancy told me. I think it's a beautiful game. I'm going to play it now—with you."

"Oh, Aunt Polly—YOU? I'm so glad! You see, I've really wanted you most of anybody, all the time."

Aunt Polly caught her breath a little sharply. It was even harder this time to keep her voice steady; but she did it.

"Yes, dear; and there are all those others, too. Why, Pollyanna, I think all the town is playing that game now with you—even to the minister! I haven't had a chance to tell you, yet, but this morning I met Mr. Ford when I was down to the village, and he told me to say to you that just as soon as you could see him, he was coming to tell you that he hadn't stopped being glad over those eight hundred rejoicing texts that you told him about. So you see, dear, it's just you that have done it. The whole town is playing the game, and the whole town is wonderfully happier—and all because of one little girl who taught the people a new game, and how to play it."

Pollyanna clapped her hands.

"Oh, I'm so glad," she cried. Then, suddenly, a wonderful light illumined her face. "Why, Aunt Polly, there IS something I can be glad about, after all. I can be glad I've HAD my legs, anyway—else I couldn't have done—that!"





CHAPTER XXIX. THROUGH AN OPEN WINDOW

One by one the short winter days came and went—but they were not short to Pollyanna. They were long, and sometimes full of pain. Very resolutely, these days, however, Pollyanna was turning a cheerful face toward whatever came. Was she not specially bound to play the game, now that Aunt Polly was playing it, too? And Aunt Polly found so many things to be glad about! It was Aunt Polly, too, who discovered the story one day about the two poor little waifs in a snow-storm who found a blown-down door to crawl under, and who wondered what poor folks did that didn't have any door! And it was Aunt Polly who brought home the other story that she had heard about the poor old lady who had only two teeth, but who was so glad that those two teeth "hit"!

Pollyanna now, like Mrs. Snow, was knitting wonderful things out of bright colored worsteds that trailed their cheery lengths across the white spread, and made Pollyanna—again like Mrs. Snow—so glad she had her hands and arms, anyway.

Pollyanna saw people now, occasionally, and always there were the loving messages from those she could not see; and always they brought her something new to think about—and Pollyanna needed new things to think about.

Once she had seen John Pendleton, and twice she had seen Jimmy Bean. John Pendleton had told her what a fine boy Jimmy was getting to be, and how well he was doing. Jimmy had told her what a first-rate home he had, and what bang-up "folks" Mr. Pendleton made; and both had said that it was all owing to her.

"Which makes me all the gladder, you know, that I HAVE had my legs," Pollyanna confided to her aunt afterwards.

The winter passed, and spring came. The anxious watchers over Pollyanna's condition could see little change wrought by the prescribed treatment. There seemed every reason to believe, indeed, that Dr. Mead's worst fears would be realized—that Pollyanna would never walk again.

Beldingsville, of course, kept itself informed concerning Pollyanna; and of Beldingsville, one man in particular fumed and fretted himself into a fever of anxiety over the daily bulletins which he managed in some way to procure from the bed of suffering. As the days passed, however, and the news came to be no better, but rather worse, something besides anxiety began to show in the man's face: despair, and a very dogged determination, each fighting for the mastery. In the end, the dogged determination won; and it was then that Mr. John Pendleton, somewhat to his surprise, received one Saturday morning a call from Dr. Thomas Chilton.

"Pendleton," began the doctor, abruptly, "I've come to you because you, better than any one else in town, know something of my relations with Miss Polly Harrington."

John Pendleton was conscious that he must have started visibly—he did know something of the affair between Polly Harrington and Thomas Chilton, but the matter had not been mentioned between them for fifteen years, or more.

"Yes," he said, trying to make his voice sound concerned enough for sympathy, and not eager enough for curiosity. In a moment he saw that he need not have worried, however: the doctor was quite too intent on his errand to notice how that errand was received.

"Pendleton, I want to see that child. I want to make an examination. I MUST make an examination."

"Well—can't you?"

"CAN'T I! Pendleton, you know very well I haven't been inside that door for more than fifteen years. You don't know—but I will tell you—that the mistress of that house told me that the NEXT time she ASKED me to enter it, I might take it that she was begging my pardon, and that all would be as before—which meant that she'd marry me. Perhaps you see her summoning me now—but I don't!"

"But couldn't you go—without a summons?"

The doctor frowned.

"Well, hardly. I have some pride, you know."

"But if you're so anxious—couldn't you swallow your pride and forget the quarrel—"

"Forget the quarrel!" interrupted the doctor, savagely. "I'm not talking of that kind of pride. So far as THAT is concerned, I'd go from here there on my knees—or on my head—if that would do any good. It's PROFESSIONAL pride I'm talking about. It's a case of sickness, and I'm a doctor. I can't butt in and say, 'Here, take me!'can I?"

"Chilton, what was the quarrel?" demanded Pendleton.

The doctor made an impatient gesture, and got to his feet.

"What was it? What's any lovers' quarrel after it's over?" he snarled, pacing the room angrily. "A silly wrangle over the size of the moon or the depth of a river, maybe—it might as well be, so far as its having any real significance compared to the years of misery that follow them! Never mind the quarrel! So far as I am concerned, I am willing to say there was no quarrel. Pendleton, I must see that child. It may mean life or death. It will mean—I honestly believe—nine chances out of ten that Pollyanna Whittier will walk again!"

The words were spoken clearly, impressively; and they were spoken just as the one who uttered them had almost reached the open window near John Pendleton's chair. Thus it happened that very distinctly they reached the ears of a small boy kneeling beneath the window on the ground outside.

Jimmy Bean, at his Saturday morning task of pulling up the first little green weeds of the flowerbeds, sat up with ears and eyes wide open.

"Walk! Pollyanna!" John Pendleton was saying. "What do you mean?"

"I mean that from what I can hear and learn—a mile from her bedside—that her case is very much like one that a college friend of mine has just helped. For years he's been making this sort of thing a special study. I've kept in touch with him, and studied, too, in a way. And from what I hear—but I want to SEE the girl!"

John Pendleton came erect in his chair.

"You must see her, man! Couldn't you—say, through Dr. Warren?"

The other shook his head.

"I'm afraid not. Warren has been very decent, though. He told me himself that he suggested consultation with me at the first, but—Miss Harrington said no so decisively that he didn't dare venture it again, even though he knew of my desire to see the child. Lately, some of his best patients have come over to me—so of course that ties my hands still more effectually. But, Pendleton, I've got to see that child! Think of what it may mean to her—if I do!"

"Yes, and think of what it will mean—if you don't!" retorted Pendleton.

"But how can I—without a direct request from her aunt?—which I'll never get!"

"She must be made to ask you!"

"How?"

"I don't know."

"No, I guess you don't—nor anybody else. She's too proud and too angry to ask me—after what she said years ago it would mean if she did ask me. But when I think of that child, doomed to lifelong misery, and when I think that maybe in my hands lies a chance of escape, but for that confounded nonsense we call pride and professional etiquette, I—" He did not finish his sentence, but with his hands thrust deep into his pockets, he turned and began to tramp up and down the room again, angrily.

"But if she could be made to see—to understand," urged John Pendleton.

"Yes; and who's going to do it?" demanded the doctor, with a savage turn.

"I don't know, I don't know," groaned the other, miserably.

Outside the window Jimmy Bean stirred suddenly. Up to now he had scarcely breathed, so intently had he listened to every word.

"Well, by Jinks, I know!" he whispered, exultingly. "I'M a-goin' ter do it!" And forthwith he rose to his feet, crept stealthily around the corner of the house, and ran with all his might down Pendleton Hill.





CHAPTER XXX. JIMMY TAKES THE HELM

"It's Jimmy Bean. He wants ter see ye, ma'am," announced Nancy in the doorway.

"Me?" rejoined Miss Polly, plainly surprised. "Are you sure he did not mean Miss Pollyanna? He may see her a few minutes to-day, if he likes."

"Yes'm. I told him. But he said it was you he wanted."

"Very well, I'll come down." And Miss Polly arose from her chair a little wearily.

In the sitting room she found waiting for her a round-eyed, flushed-faced boy, who began to speak at once.

"Ma'am, I s'pose it's dreadful—what I'm doin', an' what I'm sayin'; but I can't help it. It's for Pollyanna, and I'd walk over hot coals for her, or face you, or—or anythin' like that, any time. An' I think you would, too, if you thought there was a chance for her ter walk again. An' so that's why I come ter tell ye that as long as it's only pride an' et—et-somethin' that's keepin' Pollyanna from walkin', why I knew you WOULD ask Dr. Chilton here if you understood—"

"Wh-at?" interrupted Miss Polly, the look of stupefaction on her face changing to one of angry indignation.

Jimmy sighed despairingly.

"There, I didn't mean ter make ye mad. That's why I begun by tellin' ye about her walkin' again. I thought you'd listen ter that."

"Jimmy, what are you talking about?"

Jimmy sighed again.

"That's what I'm tryin' ter tell ye."

"Well, then tell me. But begin at the beginning, and be sure I understand each thing as you go. Don't plunge into the middle of it as you did before—and mix everything all up!"

Jimmy wet his lips determinedly.

"Well, ter begin with, Dr. Chilton come ter see Mr. Pendleton, an' they talked in the library. Do you understand that?"

"Yes, Jimmy." Miss Polly's voice was rather faint.

"Well, the window was open, and I was weedin' the flower-bed under it; an' I heard 'em talk."

"Oh, Jimmy! LISTENING?"

"'Twa'n't about me, an' 'twa'n't sneak listenin'," bridled Jimmy. "And I'm glad I listened. You will be when I tell ye. Why, it may make Pollyanna—walk!"

"Jimmy, what do you mean?" Miss Polly was leaning forward eagerly.

"There, I told ye so," nodded Jimmy, contentedly. "Well, Dr. Chilton knows some doctor somewhere that can cure Pollyanna, he thinks—make her walk, ye know; but he can't tell sure till he SEES her. And he wants ter see her somethin' awful, but he told Mr. Pendleton that you wouldn't let him."

Miss Polly's face turned very red.

"But, Jimmy, I—I can't—I couldn't! That is, I didn't know!" Miss Polly was twisting her fingers together helplessly.

"Yes, an' that's what I come ter tell ye, so you WOULD know," asserted Jimmy, eagerly. "They said that for some reason—I didn't rightly catch what—you wouldn't let Dr. Chilton come, an' you told Dr. Warren so; an' Dr. Chilton couldn't come himself, without you asked him, on account of pride an' professional et—et—well, et-somethin anyway. An' they was wishin' somebody could make you understand, only they didn't know who could; an' I was outside the winder, an' I says ter myself right away, 'By Jinks, I'll do it!' An' I come—an' have I made ye understand?"

"Yes; but, Jimmy, about that doctor," implored Miss Polly, feverishly. "Who was he? What did he do? Are they SURE he could make Pollyanna walk?"

"I don't know who he was. They didn't say. Dr. Chilton knows him, an' he's just cured somebody just like her, Dr. Chilton thinks. Anyhow, they didn't seem ter be doin' no worryin' about HIM. 'Twas YOU they was worryin' about, 'cause you wouldn't let Dr. Chilton see her. An' say—you will let him come, won't you?—now you understand?"

Miss Polly turned her head from side to side. Her breath was coming in little uneven, rapid gasps. Jimmy, watching her with anxious eyes, thought she was going to cry. But she did not cry. After a minute she said brokenly:

"Yes—I'll let—Dr. Chilton—see her. Now run home, Jimmy—quick! I've got to speak to Dr. Warren. He's up-stairs now. I saw him drive in a few minutes ago."

A little later Dr. Warren was surprised to meet an agitated, flushed-faced Miss Polly in the hall. He was still more surprised to hear the lady say, a little breathlessly:

"Dr. Warren, you asked me once to allow Dr. Chilton to be called in consultation, and—I refused. Since then I have reconsidered. I very much desire that you SHOULD call in Dr. Chilton. Will you not ask him at once—please? Thank you."





CHAPTER XXXI. A NEW UNCLE

The next time Dr. Warren entered the chamber where Pollyanna lay watching the dancing shimmer of color on the ceiling, a tall, broad-shouldered man followed close behind him.

"Dr. Chilton!—oh, Dr. Chilton, how glad I am to see YOU!" cried Pollyanna. And at the joyous rapture of the voice, more than one pair of eyes in the room brimmed hot with sudden tears. "But, of course, if Aunt Polly doesn't want—"

"It is all right, my dear; don't worry," soothed Miss Polly, agitatedly, hurrying forward. "I have told Dr. Chilton that—that I want him to look you over—with Dr. Warren, this morning."

"Oh, then you asked him to come," murmured Pollyanna, contentedly.

"Yes, dear, I asked him. That is—" But it was too late. The adoring happiness that had leaped to Dr. Chilton's eyes was unmistakable and Miss Polly had seen it. With very pink cheeks she turned and left the room hurriedly.

Over in the window the nurse and Dr. Warren were talking earnestly. Dr. Chilton held out both his hands to Pollyanna.

"Little girl, I'm thinking that one of the very gladdest jobs you ever did has been done to-day," he said in a voice shaken with emotion.

At twilight a wonderfully tremulous, wonderfully different Aunt Polly crept to Pollyanna's bedside. The nurse was at supper. They had the room to themselves.

"Pollyanna, dear, I'm going to tell you—the very first one of all. Some day I'm going to give Dr. Chilton to you for your—uncle. And it's you that have done it all. Oh, Pollyanna, I'm so—happy! And so—glad!—darling!"

Pollyanna began to clap her hands; but even as she brought her small palms together the first time, she stopped, and held them suspended.

"Aunt Polly, Aunt Polly, WERE you the woman's hand and heart he wanted so long ago? You were—I know you were! And that's what he meant by saying I'd done the gladdest job of all—to-day. I'm so glad! Why, Aunt Polly, I don't know but I'm so glad that I don't mind—even my legs, now!"

Aunt Polly swallowed a sob.

"Perhaps, some day, dear—" But Aunt Polly did not finish. Aunt Polly did not dare to tell, yet, the great hope that Dr. Chilton had put into her heart. But she did say this—and surely this was quite wonderful enough—to Pollyanna's mind:

"Pollyanna, next week you're going to take a journey. On a nice comfortable little bed you're going to be carried in cars and carriages to a great doctor who has a big house many miles from here made on purpose for just such people as you are. He's a dear friend of Dr. Chilton's, and we're going to see what he can do for you!"





CHAPTER XXXII. WHICH IS A LETTER FROM POLLYANNA

"Dear Aunt Polly and Uncle Tom:—Oh, I can—I can—I CAN walk! I did to-day all the way from my bed to the window! It was six steps. My, how good it was to be on legs again!

"All the doctors stood around and smiled, and all the nurses stood beside of them and cried. A lady in the next ward who walked last week first, peeked into the door, and another one who hopes she can walk next month, was invited in to the party, and she laid on my nurse's bed and clapped her hands. Even Black Tilly who washes the floor, looked through the piazza window and called me 'Honey, child' when she wasn't crying too much to call me anything.

"I don't see why they cried. I wanted to sing and shout and yell! Oh—oh—oh! just think, I can walk—walk—WALK! Now I don't mind being here almost ten months, and I didn't miss the wedding, anyhow. Wasn't that just like you, Aunt Polly, to come on here and get married right beside my bed, so I could see you. You always do think of the gladdest things!

"Pretty soon, they say, I shall go home. I wish I could walk all the way there. I do. I don't think I shall ever want to ride anywhere any more. It will be so good just to walk. Oh, I'm so glad! I'm glad for everything. Why, I'm glad now I lost my legs for a while, for you never, never know how perfectly lovely legs are till you haven't got them—that go, I mean. I'm going to walk eight steps to-morrow.

"With heaps of love to everybody,

"POLLYANNA."




 

  评论这张
 
阅读(206)| 评论(1)
推荐 转载

历史上的今天

在LOFTER的更多文章

评论

<#--最新日志,群博日志--> <#--推荐日志--> <#--引用记录--> <#--博主推荐--> <#--随机阅读--> <#--首页推荐--> <#--历史上的今天--> <#--被推荐日志--> <#--上一篇,下一篇--> <#-- 热度 --> <#-- 网易新闻广告 --> <#--右边模块结构--> <#--评论模块结构--> <#--引用模块结构--> <#--博主发起的投票-->
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

页脚

网易公司版权所有 ©1997-2017