«It is all right, my dear; don’t worry,» soothed Miss Polly, agitatedly, hurrying forward. «I have told Dr. Chilton 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.»
The adoring happiness that showed in Dr. Chilton’s eyes was unmistakable and Miss Polly saw it. With very pink cheeks she turned and left the room hurriedly.
At the window the nurse and Dr. Warren were talking earnestly. Dr. Chilton held out both his hands to Pollyanna.
«Little girl, I’m sure that one of the very gladdest jobs you ever did has been done today,» 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’d like to tell you that soon Dr. Chilton will become your uncle. And it’s you who have done it all. Oh, Pollyanna, I’m so happy! And so glad!»
Pollyanna began to clap her hands but then she stopped and asked:
«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 today. 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 she did not finish. Aunt Polly did not dare to tell, yet, the great hope that Dr. Chilton had put into her heart. But she said 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 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!»
Dear Aunt Polly and Uncle Tom: — Oh, I can — I CAN walk! I did today 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 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 lay on my nurse’s bed and clapped her hands. Even Black Tilly who washes the floor 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. It was just like you, Aunt Polly, to come on here and get married right beside my bed, so I could see you. You always think of the gladdest things!
Pretty soon, they say, I will go home. I wish I could walk all the way there. I do. I don’t think I’ll 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, because you never know how perfectly lovely legs are till you haven’t got them. I’m going to walk eight steps tomorrow.
With heaps of love to everybody,
— THE END —