by Louisa May Alcott
Nelly sat beside her mother picking lint; but
while her fingers flew, her eyes often looked
wistfully out into the meadow, golden with
buttercups, and bright with sunshine. Presently she
said, rather bashfully, but very earnestly, "Mamma,
I want to tell you a little plan I've made, if
you'll please not laugh."
I think I can safely promise that, my dear,"
said her mother, putting down her work that she
might listen quite respectfully.
Nelly looked pleased, and went on confidingly,
"Since brother Will came home with his lame
foot, and I've helped you tend him, I've heard a
great deal about hospitals, and liked it very much.
To-day I said I wanted to go and be a nurse, like
Aunt Mercy; but Will laughed, and told me I'd
better begin by nursing sick birds and butterflies
and pussies before I tried to take care of men. I
did not like to be made fun of, but I've been
thinking that it would be very pleasant to have a
little hospital all my own, and be a nurse in it,
because, if I took pains, so many pretty creatures
might be made well, perhaps. Could I, mamma?"
Her mother wanted to smile at the idea, but
did not, for Nelly looked up with her heart and
eyes so full of tender compassion, both for the
unknown men for whom her little hands had done
their best, and for the smaller sufferers nearer
home, that she stroked the shining head, and answered
readily: "Yes, Nelly, it will be a proper
charity for such a young Samaritan, and you may
learn much if you are in earnest. You must study
how to feed and nurse your little patients, else
your pity will do no good, and your hospital become
a prison. I will help you, and Tony shall
be your surgeon."
"O mamma, how good you always are to me!
Indeed, I am in truly earnest; I will learn,
I will be kind, and may I go now and begin?"
"You may, but tell me first where will you
have your hospital?"
"In my room, mamma; it is so snug and sunny,
and I never should forget it there," said Nelly.
"You must not forget it anywhere. I think
that plan will not do. How would you like to
find caterpillars walking in your bed, to hear sick
pussies mewing in the night, to have beetles clinging
to your clothes, or see mice, bugs, and birds
tumbling downstairs whenever the door was
open?" said her mother.
Nelly laughed at that thought a minute, then
clapped her hands, and cried: "Let us have the
old summer-house! My doves only use the upper
part, and it would be so like Frank in the storybook.
Please say yes again, mamma."
Her mother did say yes, and, snatching up her
hat, Nelly ran to find Tony, the gardener's son,
a pleasant lad of twelve, who was Nelly's favorite
playmate. Tony pronounced the plan a "jolly" one, and,
leaving his work, followed his young mistress to the
summer-house, for she could not wait one minute.
"What must we do first?" she asked, as they
stood looking in at the dusty room, full of
garden tools, bags of seeds, old flower-pots, and
"Clear out the rubbish, miss," answered Tony.
"Here it goes, then," and Nelly began bundling
everything out in such haste that she broke
two flower-pots, scattered all the squash-seeds,
and brought a pile of rakes and hoes clattering
down about her ears.
"Just wait a bit, and let me take the lead,
miss. You hand me things, I'll pile 'em in the
barrow and wheel 'em off to the barn; then it
will save time, and be finished up tidy."
Nelly did as he advised, and very soon nothing
but dust remained.
"What next?" she asked, not knowing in the
"I'll sweep up while you see if Polly can
come and scrub the room out. It ought to
be done before you stay here, let alone the
"So it had," said Nelly, looking very wise all
of a sudden. "Will says the wards—that means
the rooms, Tony—are scrubbed every day or
two, and kept very clean, and well venti-some-
thing—I can't say it; but it means having a plenty
of air come in. I can clean windows while Polly
mops, and then we shall soon be done."
Away she ran, feeling very busy and important.
Polly came, and very soon the room looked
like another place. The four latticed windows
were set wide open, so the sunshine came dancing
through the vines that grew outside, and curious
roses peeped in to see what frolic was afoot. The
walls shone white again, for not a spider dared
to stay; the wide seat which encircled the room
was dustless now,—the floor as nice as willing
hands could make it; and the south wind blew
away all musty odors with its fragrant breath.
" How fine it looks! " cried Nelly, dancing
on the doorstep, lest a foot-print should mar the
still damp floor.
"I'd almost like to fall sick for the sake of
staying here," said Tony, admiringly. "Now, what
sort of beds are you going to have, miss?
"I suppose it won't do to put butterflies and
toads and worms into beds like the real soldiers
where Will was?" answered Nelly, looking
Tony could hardly help shouting at the idea;
but, rather than trouble his little mistress, he said
very soberly: "I'm afraid they wouldn't lay
easy, not being used to it. Tucking up a butterfly
would about kill him; the worms would be apt to
get lost among the bed-clothes; and the toads
would tumble out the first thing."
"I shall have to ask mamma about it. What will
you do while I'm gone?" said Nelly, unwilling
that a moment should be lost.
"I'll make frames for nettings to the windows,
else the doves will come in and eat up the sick
"I think they will know that it is a hospital,
and be too kind to hurt or frighten their neighbors,"
began Nelly; but as she spoke, a plump white dove walked
in, looked about with its red-ringed eyes, and quietly
pecked up a tiny bug that had just ventured out from
the crack where it had taken refuge when the deluge came.
"Yes, we must have the nettings. I'll ask
mamma for some lace," said Nelly, when she saw
that; and, taking her pet dove on her shoulder,
told it about her hospital as she went toward the
house; for, loving all little creatures as she did, it
grieved her to have any harm befall even the least
or plainest of them. She had a sweet child-fancy
that her playmates understood her language
as she did theirs, and that birds, flowers, animals,
and insects felt for her the same affection which
she felt for them. Love always makes friends,
and nothing seemed to fear the gentle child; but
welcomed her like a little sun who shone alike on
all, and never suffered an eclipse.
She was gone some time, and when she came
back her mind was full of new plans, one hand
full of rushes, the other of books, while over her
head floated the lace, and a bright green ribbon
hung across her arm.
"Mamma says that the best beds will be little
baskets, boxes, cages, and any sort of thing that
suits the patients; for each will need different care
and food and medicine. I have not baskets
enough, so, as I cannot have pretty white beds, I
am going to braid pretty green nests for my
patients, and, while I do it, mamma thought you'd
read to me the pages she has marked, so that we
may begin right."
"Yes, miss; I like that. But what is the ribbon
for?" asked Tony.
"O, that's for you. Will says that, if you are
to be an army surgeon, you must have a green
band on your arm; so I got this to tie on when we
Tony let her decorate the sleeve of his gray
jacket, and when the nettings were done, the
welcome books were opened and enjoyed. It
was a happy time, sitting in the sunshine, with
leaves pleasantly astir all about them, doves cooing
overhead, and flowers sweetly gossiping together
through the summer afternoon. Nelly wove her
smooth, green rushes. Tony pored over his pages,
and both found something better than fairy legends
in the family histories of insects, birds, and beasts.
All manner of wonders appeared, and were explained
to them, till Nelly felt as if a new world
had been given her, so full of beauty, interest, and
pleasure that she never could be tired of studying
it. Many of these things were not strange to
Tony, because, born among plants, he had grown
up with them as if they were brothers and sisters,
and the sturdy, brown-faced boy had learned
many lessons which no poet or philosopher could
have taught him, unless he had become as child-like a
s himself, and studied from the same great book.
When the baskets were done, the marked pages
all read, and the sun began to draw his rosy
curtains round him before smiling "Good night,"
Nelly ranged the green beds round the room, Tony
put in the screens, and the hospital was ready.
The little nurse was so excited that she could
hardly eat her supper, and directly afterwards
ran up to tell Will how well she had succeeded
with the first part of her enterprise. Now brother
Will was a brave young officer, who had fought
stoutly and done his duty like a man. But when
lying weak and wounded at home, the cheerful
courage which had led him safely through many
dangers seemed to have deserted him, and he was
often gloomy, sad, or fretful, because he longed
to be at his post again, and time passed very
slowly. This troubled his mother, and made
Nelly wonder why he found lying in a pleasant
room so much harder than fighting battles or
making weary marches. Anything that interested
and amused him was very welcome, and when
Nelly, climbing on the arm of his sofa, told her
plans, mishaps, and successes, he laughed out more
heartily than he had done for many a day, and his
thin face began to twinkle with fun as it used to
do so long ago. That pleased Nelly, and she
chatted like any affectionate little magpie, till
Will was really interested; for when one is ill,
small things amuse.
"Do you expect your patients to come to you,
Nelly?" he asked.
"No, I shall go and look for them. I often
see poor things suffering in the garden, and the
wood, and always feel as if they ought to be taken
care of, as people are."
"You won't like to carry insane bugs, lame
toads, and convulsive kittens in your hands, and
they would not stay on a stretcher if you had
one. You should have an ambulance and be
a branch of the Sanitary Commission," said
Nelly had often heard the words, but did not
quite understand what they meant. So Will told
her of that great never-failing charity, to which
thousands owe their lives; and the child listened
with lips apart, eyes often full, and so much love
and admiration in her heart that she could find no
words in which to tell it. When her brother
paused, she said earnestly: "Yes, I will be a
Sanitary. This little cart of mine shall be my
amb'lance, and I'll never let my water-barrels go
empty, never drive too fast, or be rough with my
poor passengers, like some of the men you tell
about. Does this look like an ambulance, Will?"
"Not a bit, but it shall, if you and mamma
like to help me. I want four long bits of cane, a
square of white cloth, some pieces of thin wood,
and the gum-pot," said Will, sitting up to examine
the little cart, feeling like a boy again as
he took out his knife and began to whittle.
Upstairs and downstairs ran Nelly till all
necessary materials were collected, and almost
breathlessly she watched her brother arch the
canes over the cart, cover them with the cloth,
and fit an upper shelf of small compartments, each
lined with cotton-wool to serve as beds for
wounded insects, lest they should hurt one another
or jostle out. The lower part was left free for any
larger creatures which Nelly might find. Among
her toys she bad a tiny cask which only needed a
peg to be water-tight; this was filled and fitted
in before, because, as the small sufferers needed
no seats, there was no place for it behind, and, as
Nelly was both horse and driver, it was more
convenient in front. On each side of it stood a
box of stores. In one were minute rollers, as
bandages are called, a few bottles not yet filled,
and a wee doll's jar of cold-cream, because Nelly
could not feel that her outfit was complete without
a medicine-chest. The other box was full of
crumbs, bits of sugar, bird-seed, and grains of
wheat and corn, lest any famished stranger should
die for want of food before she got it home. Then
mamma painted "U.S. San. Com." in bright letters on
the cover, and Nelly received her charitable
plaything with a long sigh of satisfaction.
"Nine o'clock already. Bless me, what a
short evening this has been," exclaimed Will, as
Nelly came to give him her good-night kiss.
"And such a happy one," she answered.
"Thank you very, very much, dear Will. I only
wish my little amb'lance was big enough for
you to go in,—I'd so like to give you the first
"Nothing I should like better, if it were possible,
though I've a prejudice against ambulances in
general. But as I cannot ride, I'll try and hop out
to your hospital to-morrow, and see how you get
on,"—which was a great deal for Captain Will
to say, because he had been too listless to leave
his sofa for several days.
That promise sent Nelly happily away to bed,
only stopping to pop her head out of the window
to see if it was likely to be a fair day to-morrow,
and to tell Tony about the new plan as he passed
"Where shall you go to look for your first load
of sick folks, miss?" he asked.
"All round the garden first, then through the
grove, and home across the brook. Do you think
I can find any patients so? " said Nelly.
"I know you will. Good night, miss," and
Tony walked away with a merry look on his face,
that Nelly would not have understood if she had
Up rose the sun bright and early, and up rose
Nurse Nelly almost as early and as bright. Breakfast
was taken in a great hurry, and before the
dew was off the grass this branch of the S. C.
was all astir. Papa, mamma, big brother and
baby sister, men and maids, all looked out to see
the funny little ambulance depart, and nowhere in
all the summer fields was there a happier child than
Nelly, as she went smiling down the garden path,
where tall flowers kissed her as she passed and
every blithe bird seemed singing a "Good speed!"
"How I wonder what I shall find first," she
thought, looking sharply on all sides as she went.
Crickets chirped, grasshoppers leaped, ants
worked busily at their subterranean houses,
spiders spun shining webs from twig to twig, bees
were coming for their bags of gold, and butterflies
had just begun their holiday. A large white one
alighted on the top of the ambulance, walked
over the inscription as if spelling it letter by letter,
then floated away from flower to flower, like one
carrying the good news far and wide.
"Now every one will know about the hospital
and be glad to see me coming," thought Nelly.
And indeed it seemed so, for just then a black-
bird, sitting on a garden wall, burst out with a
song full of musical joy, Nelly's kitten came
running after to stare at the wagon and rub her soft
side against it, a bright-eyed toad looked out
from his cool bower among the lily-leaves, and at
that minute Nelly found her first patient. In one
of the dewy cobwebs hanging from a shrub near
by sat a fat black and yellow spider, watching
a fly whose delicate wings were just caught in the
net. The poor fly buzzed pitifully, and struggled
so hard that the whole web shook: but the more
he struggled, the more he entangled himself, and
the fierce spider was preparing to descend that it
might weave a shroud about its prey, when a
little finger broke the threads and lifted the fly
safely into the palm of a hand, where he lay
faintly humming his thanks.
Nelly had heard much about contrabands, knew who
they were, and was very much interested in them;
so, when she freed the poor black
fly she played he was her contraband, and felt
glad that her first patient was one that needed
help so much. Carefully brushing away as much
of the web as she could, she left small Pompey,
as she named him, to free his own legs, lest her
clumsy fingers should hurt him; then she laid him
in one of the soft beds with a grain or two of
sugar if he needed refreshment, and bade him rest
and recover from his fright, remembering that he
was at liberty to fly away whenever he liked,
because she had no wish to male a slave of him.
Feeling very happy over this new friend, Nelly
went on singing softly as she walked, and presently
she found a pretty caterpillar dressed in
brown fur, although the day was warm. He lay
so still she thought him dead, till he rolled himself
into a ball as she touched him.
"I think you are either faint from the heat of
this thick coat of yours, or that you are going to
make a cocoon of yourself, Mr. Fuzz," said Nelly.
"Now I want to see you turn into a butterfly, so
I shall take you, and if get lively again I will
let you go. I shall play that you have given out
on a march, as the soldiers sometimes do, and
been left behind for the Sanitary people to see to."
In went sulky Mr. Fuzz, and on trundled the
ambulance till a golden green rose-beetle was
discovered, lying on his back kicking as if in a fit.
"Dear me, what shall I do for him?" thought
Nelly. "He acts as baby did when she was so
illl, and mamma put her in a warm bath. I haven't
got my little tub here, or any hot water, and I'm
afraid the beetle would not like it if I had. Perhaps
he has pain in his stomach; I'll turn him over,
and pat his back, as nurse does baby's when she
cries for pain like that."
She set the beetle on his legs, and did her best
to comfort him; but he was evidently in great distress,
for he could not walk, and instead of lifting
his emerald overcoat, and spreading the wings
that lay underneath, be turned over again, and
kicked more violently than before. Not knowing
what to do, Nelly put him into one of her soft
nests for Tony to cure if possible. She found no
more patients in the garden except a dead bee,
which she wrapped in a leaf, and took home to
bury. When she came to the grove, it was so
green and cool she longed to sit and listen to the
whisper of the pines, and watch the larch-tassels
wave in the wind. But, recollecting her charitable
errand, she went rustling along the pleasant
path till she came to another patient, over which
she stood considering several minutes before she
could decide whether it was best to take it to her
hospital, because it was a little gray snake, with
bruised tail. She knew it would not hurt her,
yet she was afraid of it; she thought it pretty,
yet could not like it: she pitied its pain, yet shrunk
from helping it, for it had a fiery eye, and a keep
quivering tongue, that looked as if longing to bite.
"He is a rebel, I wonder if I ought to be good
to him," thought Nelly, watching the reptile
writhe with pain. "Will said there were sick
rebels in his hospital, and one was very kind to
him. It says, too, in my little book, 'Love your
enemies.' I think snakes are mine, but I guess I'll
try and love him because God made him. Some boy
will kill him if I leave him here, and then perhaps
his mother will be very sad about it. Come,
poor worm, I wish to help you, so be patient, and
don't frighten me."
Then Nelly laid her little handkerchief on the
ground, and with a stick gently lifted the wounded
snake upon it, and, folding it together, laid it in
the ambulance. She was thoughtful after that,
and so busy puzzling her young head about the
duty of loving those who hate us, and being kind
to those who are disagreeable or unkind, that she
went through the rest of the wood quite forgetful
of her work. A soft "Queek,queek!" made her
look up and listen. The sound came from the
long meadow-grass, and, bending it carefully
back, she found a half-fledged bird, with one
wing trailing on the ground, and its eyes dim with
pain or hunger.
"You darling thing, did you fall out of your
nest and hurt your wing?" cried Nelly, looking
up into the single tree that stood near by. No
nest was to be seen, no parent birds hovered
overhead, and little Robin could only tell its troubles
in that mournful "Queek, queek, queek!"
Nelly ran to get both her chests, and, sitting
down beside the bird, tried to feed it. To her
joy it ate crumb after crumb, as if it were
half starved, and soon fluttered nearer a
confiding fearlessness that made her very proud.
Soon baby Robin seemed quite comfortable, his
eye brightened, he "queeked" no more, and but
for the drooping wing would have been himself
again. With one of her bandages Nelly bound
both wings closely to his sides for fear he should
hurt himself by trying to fly; and though he seemed
amazed at her proceedings, he behaved very
well, only staring at her, and ruffling up his few
feathers in a funny way that made her laugh.
Then she had to discover some way of accommodating
her two larger patients so that neither should
hurt nor alarm the other. A bright thought came
to her after much pondering. Carefully lifting
the handkerchief, she pinned the two ends to the
roof of the cart, and there swung little Forked-
tongue, while Rob lay easily below.
By this time, Nelly began to wonder how it
happened that she found so many more injured
things than ever before. But it never entered her
innocent head that Tony had searched the wood
and meadow before she was up, and laid most of
these creatures ready to her hands, that she
might not be disappointed. She had not yet lost
her faith in fairies, so she fancied they too
belonged to her small sisterhood, and presently it
did really seem impossible to doubt that the good
folk had been at work.
Coming to the bridge that crossed the brook,
she stopped a moment to watch the water ripple
over the bright pebbles, the ferns bend down to
drink, and the funny tadpoles frolic in quieter
nooks, where the sun shone, and the dragon-flies
swung among the rushes. When Nelly turned to
go on, her blue eyes opened wide. and the handle
of the ambulance dropped with a noise that caused
a stout frog to skip into the water heels over head.
Directly in the middle of the bridge was a pretty
green tent, made of two tall burdock leaves. The
stems were stuck into cracks between the boards,
the tips were pinned together with a thorn, and
one great buttercup nodded in the doorway like a
sleepy sentinel. Nelly stared and smiled, listened,
and looked about on every side. Nothing was
seen but the quiet meadow and the shady
grove, nothing was heard but the babble of
the brook and the cheery music of the bobolinks.
"Yes," said Nelly softly to herself, "that is a
fairy tent, and in it I may find a baby elf sick
with whooping-cough or scarlet-fever. How
splendid it would be! only I could never nurse
such a dainty thing."
Stooping eagerly, she peeped over the buttercup's
drowsy head, and saw what seemed a tiny
cock of hay. She had no time to feel disappointed,
for the haycock began to stir, and, looking
nearer, she beheld two silvery gray mites, who
wagged wee tails, and stretched themselves as if
they had just waked up. Nelly knew that they
were young field-mice, and rejoiced over them,
feeling rather relieved that no fairy had appeared,
though she still believed them to have had a hand
in the matter.
"I shall call the mice my Babes in the Wood,
because they are lost and covered up with leaves,"
said Nelly, as she laid them in her snuggest bed,
where they nestled close together, and fell fast
Being very anxious to get home, that she might
tell her adventures, and show how great was the
need of a sanitary commission in that region,
Nelly marched proudly up the avenue, and, having
displayed her load, hurried to the hospital,
where another applicant was waiting for her. On
the step of the door lay a large turtle, with one
claw gone, and on his back was pasted a bit of
paper, with his name,— Commodore Waddle,
U.S.N." Nelly knew this was a joke of Will's,
but welcomed the ancient mariner, and called
Tony to help her get him in.
All that morning they were very busy settling
the new-comers, for both people and books had
to be consulted before they could decide what
diet and treatment was best for each. The
winged contraband had taken Nelly at her word,
and flown away on the journey home. Little
Rob was put in a large cage, where he could use
his legs, yet not injure his lame wing. Forked-tongue
lay under a wire cover, on sprigs of fennel,
for the gardener said that snakes were fond of it.
The Babes in the Wood were put to bed in one
of the rush baskets, under a cotton-wool coverlet.
Greenback, the beetle, found ease for his unknown
aches in the warm heart of a rose, where he sunned
himself all day. The Commodore was
made happy in a tub of water, grass, and stones,
and Mr. Fuzz was put in a well-ventilated glass
box to decide whether he would be a cocoon or not.
Tony had not been idle while his mistress was
away, and he showed her the hospital garden he
had made close by, in which were cabbage, nettle,
and mignonette plants for the butterflies, flowering
herbs for the bees, chick-weed and hemp for
the birds, catnip for the pussies, and plenty of room
left for whatever other patients might need. In
the afternoon, while Nelly did her task at lint-picking,
talking busily to Will as she worked, and
interesting him in her affairs, Tony cleared a
pretty spot in the grove for the burying-ground,
and made ready some small bits of slate on which
to write the names of those who died. He did
not have it ready an hour too soon, for at sunset
two little graves were needed, and Nurse Nelly
shed tender tears for her first losses as she laid the
motherless mice in one smooth hollow, and the
gray-coated rebel in the other. She had learned
to care for him already, and when she found him
dead, was very glad she had been kind to him,
hoping that he knew it, and died happier in her
hospital than all alone in the shadowy wood.
The rest of Nelly's patients prospered, and of
the many added afterward few died, because of
Tony's skilful treatment and her own faithful care.
Every morning when the day proved fair the little
ambulance went out upon its charitable errand;
every afternoon Nelly worked for the human
sufferers whom she loved; and every evening brother
Will read aloud to her from useful books, showed
her wonders with his microscope, or prescribed
remedies for the patients, whom he soon knew by
name and took much interest in. It was Nelly's
holiday; but, though she studied no lessons, she
learned much, and unconsciously made her pretty
play both an example and a rebuke for others.
At first it seemed a childish pastime, and people
laughed. But there was something in the familiar
words "sanitary," "hospital" and "ambulance"
that made them pleasant sounds to
many ears. As reports of Nelly's work went
through the neighborhood, other children came to
see and copy her design. Rough lads looked
ashamed when in her wards they found harmless
creatures hurt by them, and going out they said
among themselves, "We won't stone birds, chase
butterflies, and drown the girls' little cats any
more, though we won't tell them so." And most
of the lads kept their word so well that people
said there never had been so many birds before
as all that summer haunted wood and field. Tender-
hearted playmates brought their pets to be
cured; even busy farmers bad a friendly word
for the small charity, which reminded them so
sweetly of the great one which should never be
forgotten; lonely mothers sometimes looked out
with wet eyes as the little ambulance went by,
recalling thoughts or absent sons who might be
journeying painfully to some far-off hospital, where
brave women waited to tend them with hands as
willing, hearts as tender, as those the gentle child
gave to her self-appointed task.
At home the charm worked also. No more idle
days for Nelly, or fretful ones for Will, because
the little sister would not neglect the helpless
creatures so dependent upon her, and the big
brother was ashamed to complain after watching
the patience of these lesser sufferers, and merrily
said he would try to bear his own wound as
quietly and bravely as the "Commodore" bore
his. Nelly never knew how much good she had
done Captain Will till he went away again in the
early autumn. Then he thanked her for it, and
though she cried for joy and sorrow she never
forgot it, because he left something behind him
which always pleasantly reminded her of the
double success her little hospital had won.
When Will was gone and she had prayed
softly in her heart that God would keep him safe
and bring him home again, she dried her tears
and went away to find comfort in the place where
he had spent so many happy hours with her. She
had not been there before that day, and when she
reached the door she stood quite still and wanted
very much to cry again, far something beautiful
had happened. She had often asked Will for a
motto for her hospital, and he had promised to
find her one. She thought he had forgotten it;
but even in the hurry of that busy day he had
found time to do more than keep his word, while
Nelly sat indoors, lovingly brightening the tarnished
buttons on the blue coat that had seen so
Above the roof, where the doves cooed in the
sun, now rustled a white flag with the golden
S.C." shining on it as the wind tossed it to and
fro. Below, on the smooth panel of the door, a
skilful pencil had drawn two arching ferns, in
whose soft shadow, poised upon a mushroom,
stood a little figure of Nurse Nelly, and undeneath
it another of Dr. Tony bottling medicine, with spectacles
upon his nose. Both hands of the miniature Nelly were
outstretched, as if beckoning to a train of insects,
birds and beasts, which was so long that it not only
circled round the lower rim of this fine sketch, but
dwindled in the distance to mere dots and lines. Such
merry conceits as one found there! A mouse bringing the
tail it had lost in some cruel trap, a dor-bug with
a shade over its eyes, an invalid butterfly carried
in a tiny litter by long-legged spiders, a fat frog
with gouty feet hopping upon crutches, Jenny
Wren sobbing in a nice handkerchief, as she
brought dear dead Cock Robin to be restored to
life. Rabbits, lambs, cats, calves, and turtles, all
came trooping up to be healed by the benevolent
little maid who welcomed them so heartily.
Nelly laughed at these comical mites till the
tears ran down her cheeks, and thought she never
could be tired of looking at them. But presently
she saw four lines clearly printed underneath her
picture, ahd her childish face grew sweetly serious
as she read the words of a great poet, which
Will had made both compliment and motto:-
"He prayeth best who loveth best
All things, both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all."