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“Other Folks' Shoes; or, who was the worst off ?” BY AGNES GIBERNE; AUTHOR OF
TIM TEDDINGTON'S DREAM;" WILL FOSTER OF THE FERRY ;”
NOT FORSAKEN,' ETC.
“ Will! when did the doctor say he'd come WILL BROWNING'S SIOES.
again P” asked Mary in a hollow voice.
“ Seems to me there ain't much time to lose." DARK sad night,-a can. "He said he'd come by the earliest morndle flickering on the table, ing," Tim answered in tones so low and
a little child gasping out gentle as to startle himself; “but he could
poor Tim ! he little the little wan face. But then there was a guessed it was this to which he was coming. change,-a dark grey shadow, the meaning
Tim had felt depressed and worried before, of which Tim too well knew. but what was that to the bitter anguish of “Will! he's dying,” sobbed the poor mohis heart as he stood by his dying child P, ther. “O Willie, Willie, mother's darling! For he was Will Browning, Will Browning's Oh, can't you call the doctor, Will P Maybe children were his. Will Browning's heart was he'd try something fresh.” his. Tim felt half-distracted with bitter sor- Tim felt wild,-frantic. He rushed to the row. He looked back and remembered the door and out into the dark silent night. He one-two-three little ones, who had been hastened through the streets with rapid footalready, at long intervals, removed by death. steps and burning brow. His Willie,-his How dear they had been to him! Strange, darling little Willie ! Oh, what was aught of -for Tim had never given much thought to outward success and prosperity beside such these children of his neighbour, passing one sorrow as this ? Money-troubles,-why, they by one away. He had noted well his pro- were as nothing in comparison. sperity, and had been sorry for him in a care- Poor Tim grew confused as he hurried less fashion now and then, but he had never along; and now he thought of Willie, and now realized this!
of his little Tim at home,- -one moment pasHe realized it now, standing in Will Brown- sionately grieving, as Will Browning, over ing's shoes. Three children gone. Another the dying child; the next rejoicing, as Tim going. Only two remaining. Ay, and the Teddington, over the thought that he at least sweet-faced delicate mother, another Mary, had never known such woe. Poor Will only pale and careworn, instead of plump Browning, --how Tim pitied him. And then and blithe-might there not be the dim sha- he remembered that he was Will Browning, dow of death creeping already over her face ? and he pitied himself, and wished he were Tim; Tim knew it to be so, as he gazed upon her, only, as usual, it never occurred to him to while she bent tearfully over her dying little take off the shoes. And then he thought one. And his soul recoiled from the thought, afresh of Willie, and rushed on with redoubled and his heart beat thickly, and deep sobs speed. struggled upwards, and tears rose to the The doctor's house was reached at length. manly eyes which had never grown moist But just as Tim put out his hand to ring the at aught of bodily pain. For Tim was Will bell, he stopped short; for in one moment he Browning now,
;-as brave and manly and true. found himself face to face on the doorstep hearted a working.man as ever lived, -pro- with the little old gentleman carrying his sperous so far as money was concerned. But, blue bag. oh, how was it that Tim had not remembered “ Just in time," said the little gentleman or had so faintly calculated the darkness of politely. "I won't trouble you to descend this shade which lay over Will's life ?
into my workshop this time. Here is a pair
of shoes which I believe you particularly “Please, sir, Browning's little child is wanted."
dying, and he has come to beg you to go “My own P” exclaimed Tim eagerly.
and see him." The old gentleman pulled off his cocked Tim sat upright and looked round. He hat, scratched his head, surveyed Tim from liked his new quarters amazingly,-much head to foot, and put it on again.
better than he liked being disturbed therein. “ Your shoes ! That is good, now. Didn't Such a soft comfortable bed. Such a luxu. you wish you were in the doctor's shoes P” rious apartment, compared with anything to
“I-I believe I did,” faltered Tim, almost which Tim had hitherto been accustomed. aghast at such unexpected promotion. “But He would have liked to remain where he was do you really-really mean it po
for hours longer. " Exchange !" said the old gentleman "Browning's little boy! Why, I told him curtly.
I could do nothing more for him," said Tim Tim took the shoes which were handed to involuntarily, having already lost the impreshim, and endeavoured to put them on, but it sion of his own recent suffering in Will's was not easy. “Dear me, they seem very place. small,” he muttered.
· Yes; but he does beg so that you'll go, “ Weren't made for you," said the old sir. The poor fellow seems half-distracted gentleman. “Very extraordinary the sort of like. You see, sir, it's the fourth he'll have expectations people have, that anything un- lost." der the sun is fitted for anybody. Shoes Tim yawned again. “Five o'clock, and I won't fit unless they're made to fit. That's didn't go to bed-till-till past twelve, I am how it is so many kings have failed to keep sure. Well, there's no help for it.” their shoes on long, because in fact they had Kind-hearted as Tim himself had always been made to fit somebody else. But never been, and kind-hearted as was the doctor mind,-of course you don't miņd a little pain. into whose shoes he had stepped,-still it was Pull hard."
rather a trial to him to turn out of bed at They won't come properly on at all,” said that time in the morning, more especially as Tim. “I don't think they'll tumble off, he knew that his services would be absolutely though,-in fact they are too tight. Dear me, useless. No human aid could save the child, how they pinch my toes."
he told himself. “Mustn't mind that,” said the old gentle- “Dear me, how odd !” he muttered at the man consolingly. “Perhaps by-and-by they first moment of stepping on the floor. “I may pinch less, as your foot adapts itself to must have got into bed with my slippers on.” its new covering.”
Then he remembered facts, and held his “Or the shoes may stretch a little," said tongue; but the shoes pinched so unmerci. Tim hopefully.
fully that he walked quite lamely, and the Why no, I don't think you must expect servant, who was still lingering, said, much in that line. Now then, put on the “I'm afraid you were overdone yesterday, second shoe; pull hard, all at once,-and—” sir."
Tim heard no more, for he was sound asleep “Hum,-he-yes,-perhaps so," said Tim, in a big four-posted bed, with chintz curtains rather uncertain as to how the previous day on either side.
had been spent, if he really was the doctor now, and not Tim Teddington any longer.
“Won't you put on another pair of shoes, CHAPTER VI.
sir p" asked the servant, evidently surprised THE DOCTOR'S SHOES.
to see the doctor's heels nearly resting on the PLEASE, sir,
bare ground. It was a voice, startling Tim unexpectedly But Tim knew that would never do. from his slumbers.
no account,” he said testily. “ Go and order Yes,- a -ah-oh —” yawned Tim, in the carriage. I'll be ready in half an hour." various tones of sleepy surprise.
The servant opened his eyes wide.
riage, sir !” for the doctor usually walked, if forsake him immediately. And Tim, though called up in the night.
a well-to-do doctor, couldn't of course afford But Tim did not see how he was to walk in to offend his wealthy patients. these shoes; so he said, “Yes,” very decidedly; So, after snatching a hasty breakfast, off and the servant disappeared, and Tim went went Tim again, perfectly aware all the time to the looking-glass.
that the old lady could have managed just as Yes; there was the doctor,-the very same well without him as with him for a couple of benevolent face which Tim had seen before, hoars,—if only she could have been induced when bending over his baby's cradle, only to believe it. And having paid her a long there was just a look of Tim himself showing visit, greatly to the detriment of his own through the eyes.
It was very odd. Tim patience, but quite as much to the composing could not make it out at all.
of her nerves, Tim set off on his regular At all events he felt very wise now. What round. a deal of knowledge he had to be sure ! All He would have been rather at a loss him. about his own and his neighbours' insides as self to know where to go; but the coachman well as their outsides; and all about skeletons seemed thoroughly acquainted with the docand skins and veins and arteries and the tor's plans, and drove Tim from house to mysteries of the human frame generally, house quite systematically. concerning which physicians know so much, It was delightful at first,—driving luxu– though little is that much, except in com- riously about in his own carriage, with books parison with the greater ignorance of other and papers to while away the time, and anxious
patients perpetually welcoming his arrival. Tim felt quite oppressed with the burden But gradually the first bloom of pleasure of so much learning, and yet he was proud began to wear away.
He missed the bodily of it too. He did not regret this change of exercise to which he was accustomed, and the his. It was a great thing to be a doctor,-a monotony of his occupation palled upon him. grand thing to be able to help everybody who The supply of books was not to his taste. was ill. How people would look up to him ! The constant atmosphere of sick rooms, and And then what a comfortable home he had the never-ceasing recurrence of questions on of his own !
his own part and catalogues of ailments on So he had, if only he could have found time the other, became positively depressing. to enjoy it. Tim soon discovered what was Besides, as Tim went thus from house to lacking in this respect, however. He drove ḥouse, he began gradually to realize the great to the Brownings' house, and stood by the load of responsibility which rested on him. little fellow when he died, and tried to speak Suppose in this house or that he should some comforting words to the poor father and have taken a wrong view of a case, and have mother. He was astonished to find how entered upon a mistaken course of treatment. small was the power of the very kindest Tim quite shuddered at the thought. Of words to give real consolation. Poor Will course he knew himself to be a highly caand Mary thanked him heartily, but they sor- pable and dependable physician in the opinion rowed on just the same.
of most folks,-certainly not excluding his Then Tim drove back, feeling tired and
But the very cleverest doctors are sleepy, and having some thoughts of going liable to make mistakes, and this weight of to bed again. But, behold ! a second message responsibility coming thus suddenly upon was awaiting him from a nervous old lady at Tim was almost more than could be endured. the other end of the town, who had been The real fact was of course that the shoes seized with spasms. Somehow Tim was quite
didn't fit. aware that it wouldn't do to offend her. He "Suppose, - only suppose, - only just had gone to the Brownings out of sheer kind. imagine,” sighed Tim, as he leant back in
He must go now, out of mingled po- his cushioned corner, "that nice little Mrs. liteness and regard for his own interests. If Parker now,- if she were to die, and to he offended her by any inattention, she would leave all those nine poor children, and I
were to feel I hadn't done the very best and So the servant vanished, and in his place wisest thing,-wouldn't that be dreadful? appeared the old gentleman with his bluc Nobody else might blame me; in fact, I don't bag and a very frowning face. see how they could if I'd given the best " Tim Teddington, this won't do. If you advice in my power; but I should never for. stand in the doctor's shoes, you must do the give myself.
doctor's work. Folks can't be left to die for · And that other poor fellow, whose brain want of medical aid, just because you areis in such a state ; I'm sure I don't know ahem !-somewhat addicted to laziness.” what is the matter with him. Who can? If “You may well call it work. I'm worn to there was a consultation of all the chief doc- death," said Tim. tors in England, nobody would be any the “Possibly," was the sarcastic answer. “A wiser. But what a terrible thing, that his good many other doctors are, besides yourself; life or death may be hanging upon the reme- so you mustn't mind that.” dies which I shall devise ! and if-if I make “But I say I do mind it," retorted Tim. a mistake"
“When am I to rest and amuse myself, pray, Tim groaned aloud, deeply as he had if I'm never left an hour in peace P” groaned over the dying child. He was get- “Why, just when it happens that you can," ting tired out and depressed; yet still he said the little gentleman. “A doctor isn't had to go on, and still he had to be kind his own master, you see.” and patient, and polite and attentive. Once “ But perhaps every day isn't like this,” a sharp word did escape him, and Tim saw said Tim hopefully. at once that dire offence had been taken. “Fair average day,-fair average, -some These invalid ladies were accustomed, evi. better, some worse." dently, to being treated with the utmost cir. “ Worse! I couldn't stand that,” said Tim. cumspection. Tim began to feel desperate. “No; you like a good many holidays, I beHe backed out of that house somehow, and lieve," said the old gentleman drily. wanted to go straight home; but the coach- “ Who doesn't?" asked Tim. man would not hear of it. On and on he “Ah! but you see illness won't wait for drove remorselessly, and Tim's remon- holidays." strances were in vain.
“What ! no holidays !” said Tim, aghast. The regular round was over at last, and “Well; you may take a few days' leave of poor exhausted Tim was able to recruit his absence now and then,- in fact, you will energies by a good dinner,-a peculiarly good doubtless have to do so; but it is trying to one it must be confessed, and very particu- come back and find everything gone wrong larly Tim needed it. After that he wanted in your absence, and maybe a patient or two to go to sleep. But no; this was the time in danger of being killed off through misfor seeing patients at home. No sooner was taken treatment. Once a year or so, perhaps dinner cleared away than they began to ap- oftener, you will make some such attempt at pear, one after another, in a ceaseless stream. recreation. Or you may arrange occasionally And as fast as they streamed in, just so fast to take a day in the country, you know; but did Tim's patience stream out.
at the last moment somebody is very Then came a fresh call. Somebody else likely to fall dangerously ill, just in time to wanted a visit from the doctor,- ,-a little child
stop you on the platform as you are starting. taken with the croup. Tim went, and came Or, if you are already off, a telegram may back to find another note awaiting him. Tim overtake you. Just ordinary little incidents, flung it down, subsided into an arm-chair, these, connected with the medical profesand refused point-blank to go.
sion,-somewhat patience-trying at first, but “Am I to say that you intend to remain at you
used to them in time." home this evening, sir ?” asked the amazed “I give it up,” said Tim. “Talk of slavery! man-servant.
This is slavery, and no mistake. Why, there “Say anything you like. I'm not going," isn't a moment of the day I can rightly call responded Tim.
“No; that would be too much for a doctor pation. You see, smoking in the doorway to expect. Still, no doubt you will find a doesn't suit his views. But if you would like little leisure at odd times, now and then, to make a six months' trial-" though there are days.when even meals them- “Six months !” shouted Tim, “I should selves get pushed away nowhere. But if you be in a lunatic asylum before three were over. would like to make longer trial.-I don't know No more doctoring for me, if you please. I whether I could bring it about, but I'll try. have done with prescriptions and draughts. I confess, the doctor finds himself particu- Give me any shoes,-any you like,-in ex. larly uncomfortable in your shoes, and com- change,-only don't ask me to keep these." plains bitterly of want of interest and occu
(To be continued.)
all the year ;
Song of the Heartsease.
Sometimes the sick and suffering,
With tear-drops in their eyes,
And trembling steps and sighs,
Stop to behold me all in bloom; Of the poor man's humble plot;
And I sing them this short song :And I'm found in royal gardens,
« 'Twas God made Heartsease beautiful, Contented with
And God can make you strong."
I am a little Heartsease, Because I look so bright;
merry For my head is always buoyant,
never sigh, And my heart for ever light.
And never grieve or fear. I have learnt how to be happy,
In sunshine I'm all radiance, I can spring on any soil ;
And tempests make me thrive;
kind look can't be mistook, And, looking up, I smile.
I am Heartsease-all alive! I have seen folks dressed in purple,
So look at little Heartsease, And all aglow with gold,
And learn to live and smile
; With miserable faces,
And let your kindness lighten Quite painful to behold;
The weight of others' toil.
God smiles on you-look cheerful, 6 See how kind God is to me;
And smile on all around; My life is joy without alloy,
'Tis thus that little Heartsease Heartsease is blithe and free."
With happiness is crowned.
ON MINDING OUR BUSINESS. Two reasons have been given why some they haven't any mind. There may be some persons don't mind their own business : One truth in this. Let me think about it. is, they haven't any business; and the other,