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Page:A Garland for Girls (1893).djvu/57

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MAY FLOWERS.

"Last December, just after my sad disappointments, Papa came home to dinner one day, exclaiming, in great glee: 'I've found old Joe! A messenger came with a letter to me, and when I looked up to give my answer, there stood a tall, grizzled fellow, as straight as a ramrod, grinning from ear to ear, with his hand to his temple, saluting me in regular style. "Don’t you remember Joe Collins, Colonel? Awful glad to see you, sir," said he. And then it all came back, and we had a good talk, and I found out that the poor old boy was down on his luck, and almost friendless, but as proud and independent as ever, and bound to take care of himself while he had a leg to stand on. I've got his address, and mean to keep an eye on him, for he looks feeble and can't make much, I'm sure.’

"We were all very glad, and Joe came to see us, and Papa sent him on endless errands, and helped him in that way till he went to New York. Then, in the fun and flurry of the holidays, we forgot all about Joe, till Papa came home and missed him from his post. I said I'd go and find him; so Harry and I rummaged about till we did find him, in a little house at the North End, laid up with rheumatic fever in a stuffy back room, with no one to look after him but the washerwoman with whom he boarded.

"I was so sorry we had forgotten him! but he never complained, only said, with his cheerful grin, 'I kinder mistrusted the Colonel was away, but I was n't goin' to pester him.' He tried to be jolly, though in dreadful pain; called Harry 'Major,' and was so grateful for all we brought him, though he did n't want oranges