"I'll keep fresh as long as ever I can," said the pansy, "It's the
least I can do for him, poor fellow!"

"At all events the flowers are all out of my own garden," said Bethea,
sitting down by the white bed, and then she talked away so gently that
the boy's weary face smoothed out, and he went to sleep.

In a few days' time Bethea begged her grandmother to let her go again
to the hospital, and she persuaded the gardener to give her a
beautiful bunch of pansies to take to the sick boy.

As she entered the room, she saw that the little purple pansy was
standing in a tumbler of water, on a chair by the boy's bed.

Its head hung over on one side, but it looked quite fresh and healthy.

"Hasn't it lasted well?" said the boy, happily. He looked much better
and spoke in a loud, cheerful voice. "It's been talking to me about
all sorts of things! the country, and gardens, and springtime, and
being out and about in the fresh air and sunshine!"

"Well, I certainly have tried to make myself as pleasant as possible,"
said the pansy, but it spoke so low that nobody heard it except the
boy whose ears were sharpened by illness.

"I've brought you some more," said Bethea, holding out her bouquet,
"shall I put them in the tumbler with the little one?"

"Oh, no!" cried the boy anxiously, "I think if you don't mind I'd
rather you gave those to some of the other children. I can't like any
fine new flowers as well as that little fellow. I feel as if he had
made me well again!"

The pansy expanded with pride, and a tear of gratitude rolled out of
its eye, and fell with a splash on the cane chair-seat.

"I'm going to have it dried in my old pocket book, when it's really
withered," continued the boy, "and then I shall be able to look at it

When little Bethea next visited the hospital, the boy with the crooked
leg was just leaving; but his leg was not crooked any longer; his face
was bright and healthy, and safely buttoned up in his coat he carried
a shabby old pocket book, in which lay a withered flower, with one
word written underneath in large pencilled letters--"_Heartsease_."


"Oh, do take me!" cried the pansy, touching her little brown shoe with
one of its leaves to attract her attention, "I do want to help!" and
Bethea stooped down, she scarcely knew why, gathered it, and put it
with the rest of her flowers.

The drive to the Hospital was along a dusty country road, and the
flowers under their paper covering, gasped for breath.

As soon as they arrived, Bethea, following her grandmother, carried
them up to the room where children were lying in the little white
beds, and gave them to the woman who was in charge of it.

"Please would you mind putting them in water for the children," she
said in her soft voice, and the woman smiled and nodded.

Bethea took a few of the flowers out, and went round to the different
beds offering one or two, shyly, until she came to a thin pale boy--a
new patient, whom she had never seen before.

"He's only been here a fortnight," said the woman in a whisper, "and
we can't get him to take any interest in anything--I don't know what
we're going to do with him!"

"Is he very ill?" asked Bethea, wistfully.

"No, not so bad as some. A crooked leg, that will get well in time if
only we can wake him up a little."

"I'm so sorry I have nothing but this flower left," said Bethea, as
she stooped over the boy's curly head, and gave him the small purple

"Oh, I wish I was more beautiful!" sighed the little dark flower.
"_Now_ would be an opportunity to do some good in the world!"

The boy turned wearily, but his face lighted up as he saw the pansy.
His eyes brightened and he seized it eagerly.

"Heartsease! Oh, it's like home. We've lots of that growing in our
garden. I always had some on Sundays!" he cried. "Do let me keep it.
It seems just a bit of home--a bit of home--a bit of home."

He murmured it over and over again, as if there was rest and happiness
in the very sound of it.


The three-cornered scrap of garden by the elm tree, with a border of
stones, and a neat trodden path down the middle, belonged to little

It grew things in a most wonderful way. Stocks and marigolds,
primroses and lupines, Canterbury bells and lavender; all came out at
their different seasons, and all flourished--for Bethea watered and
tended them so faithfully that they loved her.


On a soft spring day Bethea stood by her garden with scissors and
basket, snipping away at the brightest and best of her children;
carefully, so that she might not hurt them, and with judgment, so that
they might bloom again when they wished to.

"Do you know where you're going?" she said--"To the Hospital.
Grandmamma's going to take me, and you're being gathered to cheer up
the sick people there--aren't you pleased?" And the flowers nodded.

"I don't suppose I shall be picked. I don't think I'm good enough!"
whispered a very small purple pansy, who had only recently been
planted, to a beetle who happened to be crawling by. "I should like
to go with the others, though I don't suppose it would cheer anyone to
see me, I'm not light enough!"

"Don't be too sure," said the beetle solidly. "You've a nice velvety
softness about you, and then you have the best name of them all. What
sick person wouldn't like to have Heartsease?"

"I think I've got enough now," said Bethea, as she laid the last
primula in her basket.