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In the Children’s Hospital

         
            EMMIE

                I.

      Our doctor had call’d in another, I never

        had seen him before,
      But he sent a chill to my heart when I saw
        him come in at the door,
      Fresh from the surgery-schools of France
        and of other lands–
      Harsh red hair, big voice, big chest, big
        merciless hands!
      Wonderful cures he had done, O, yes, but
        they said too of him
      He was happier using the knife than in trying
        to save the limb,
      And that I can well believe, for he look’d
        so coarse and so red,
      I could think he was one of those who would
        break their jests on the dead,
      And mangle the living dog that had loved
        him and fawn’d at his knee–
      Drench’d with the hellish oorali–that
        ever such things should be!

       

               II.

      Here was a boy–I am sure that some of

        our children would die
      But for the voice of love, and the smile,
        and the comforting eye–
      Here was a boy in the ward, every bone
        seem’d out of its place–
      Caught in a mill and crush’d–it was all
        but a hopeless case:
      And he handled him gently enough; but his
        voice and his face were not kind,
      And it was but a hopeless case, he had seen
        it and made up his mind,
      And he said to me roughly, ‘The lad will
        need little more of your care.’
      ‘All the more need,’ I told him, ‘to seek
        The Lord Jesus in prayer;
      They are all His children here, and I pray
        for them all as my own.’
      But he turn’d to me, ‘Ay, good woman,
        can prayer set a broken bone?’
      Then he mutter’d half to himself, but I
        know that I heard him say,
      ‘All very well–but the good Lord Jesus
        has had his day.’

       

               III.

      Had? has it come? It has only dawn’d.

        It will come by and by.
      O, how could I serve in the wards if the
        hope of the world were a lie?
      How could I bear with the sights and the
        loathsome smells of disease
      But that He said, ‘Ye do it to me, when ye
        do it to these’?

       

               IV.

      So he went. And we past to this ward

        where the younger children are laid.
      Here is the cot of our orphan, our darling,
        our meek little maid;
      Empty, you see, just now! We have lost
        her who loved her so much–
      Patient of pain tho’ as quick as a sensitive
        plant to the touch.
      Hers was the prettiest prattle, it often
        moved me to tears,
      Hers was the gratefullest heart I have
        found in a child of her years–
      Nay you remember our Emmie; you used
        to send her the flowers.
      How she would smile at ’em, play with ’em,
        talk to ’em hours after hours!
      They that can wander at will where the
        works of the Lord are reveal’d
      Little guess what joy can be got from a
        cowslip out of the field;
      Flowers to these ‘spirits in prison’ are all
        they can know of the spring,
      They freshen and sweeten the wards like
        the waft of an angel’s wing.
      And she lay with a flower in one hand and
        her thin hands crost on her breast–
      Wan, but as pretty as heart can desire, and
        we thought her at rest,
      Quietly sleeping–so quiet, our doctor said,
        ‘Poor little dear,
      Nurse, I must do it to-morrow; she’ll
        never live thro’ it, I fear.’

       

               V.

      I walk’d with our kindly old doctor as far

        as the head of the stair,
      Then I return’d to the ward; the child
        didn’t see I was there.

       

               VI.

      Never since I was nurse had I been so

        grieved and so vext!
      Emmie had heard him. Softly she call’d
        from her cot to the next,
      ‘He says I shall never live thro’ it; O Annie,
        what shall I do?’
      Annie consider’d. ‘If I,’ said the wise
        little Annie, ‘was you,
      I should cry to the dear Lord Jesus to help
        me, for, Emmie, you see,
      It’s all in the picture there: “Little children
        should come to me”’–
      Meaning the print that you gave us, I
        find that it always can please
      Our children, the dear Lord Jesus with
        children about his knees.
      ‘Yes, and I will,’ said Emmie, ‘but then if
        I call to the Lord,
      How should he know that it’s me? such a
        lot of beds in the ward!’
      That was a puzzle for Annie. Again she
        consider’d and said:
      ‘Emmie, you put out your arms, and you
        leave ’em outside on the bed–
      The Lord has so much to see to! but, Emmie,
        you tell it him plain,
      It’s the little girl with her arms lying out
        on the counterpane.’

       

               VII.

      I had sat three nights by the child–I

        could not watch her for four–
      My brain had begun to reel–I felt I
        could do it no more.
      That was my sleeping-night, but I thought
        that it never would pass.
      There was a thunderclap once, and a clatter
        of hail on the glass,
      And there was a phantom cry that I heard
        as I tost about,
      The motherless bleat of a lamb in the
        storm and the darkness without;
      My sleep was broken besides with dreams
        of the dreadful knife
      And fears for our delicate Emmie who
        scarce would escape with her life;
      Then in the gray of the morning it seem’d
        she stood by me and smiled,
      And the doctor came at his hour, and we
        went to see to the child.

       

               VIII.

      He had brought his ghastly tools; we believed

        her asleep again–
      Her dear, long, lean, little arms lying out
        on the counterpane–
      Say that His day is done! Ah, why should
        we care what they say?
      The Lord of the children had heard her,
        and Emmie had past away.

       


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