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which this favourable symptom was, when there
was read to him, from an old book brought
by his mother, a prayer for the use of a little
child, which she said he had been accustomed to
say night and morning when he was a little boy.

At last, the unfortunate patient received
some restorative jelly. But the pressure
on the brain continued. Sometimes he was
well enough to say a few words about his
past life and his deep poverty, but about
the crime attributed to him he seemed wholly
ignorant, and could never understand how
he came into the workhouse. His mother
loudly maintained that her boy was too good and
too religious to try to take away his own life,
but he'd always been afflicted with terrible
headaches, and he must have fallen into the water by
accident. During his progress towards
convalescence there were many patients in the
same ward with him. One had belonged to the
land transport corps in the Crimea, and, as he
said, "had been with Miss Nightingale at
Scutari;" another was a venerable-looking old
man, who had outlived his friends. Another
was a friendless boy, who had been brought in
owing to an accident, and whose amiable face at
once conciliated regard. He was rapidly
improving, and gladly resting on a promise of the
parish authorities that they would enable him to
emigrate. "They were all improving," the nurse
said; "all except the blind man."

"Are you not so well to-day?" we asked the
blind man.

The man raised himself, and showed a pale
and angry face. His lips were white with rage,
as he said,

"How can I be well, treated as I am in this
place? It is no trifle to be abused as I was
this morning, and threatened to be pulled out of
bed, and have my head punched."

"Who threatened you?"

"That man near you. I hear his voice. He
calls himself a 'helper' to the nurse. A nice
sort of a help he is! And he's savage at me
because I speak up for those that can't speak
for themselves. There's that young man you
were reading to: he's put upon low diet by the
doctor's orders. And what is the low diet?
Why, it's half a pint of milk in the morning,
half a pint in the evening, an egg, and twelve
ounces of bread every day, and rice-pudding or
arrow-root twice a week. That's his allowance,
and that's what he ought to have. Well, he
was brought in here of a Thursday, and he never
had any milk till the following Monday, and as
for the egg, he didn't get that for near a
fortnight. Because I speak of these things I'm
abused up and down, and threatened in this
manner."

"Do you get your own allowance?"

"Yes; I've no fault to find for myself. They
know I can and will speak about it if they
attempt to cheat me; but this poor man, who has
been too ill to speak to anybody, they take
advantage of him, and keep back his allowance."

"Who do you mean by they? Whose fault
is it?"

"It isn't my fault," interposed the assistant;
"I always draw the things that are down upon
the diet-board, and if it had been put down
there he would have been sure to get it."

"Whose duty is it to make out the diet-
board?"

"The head nurse in each ward does it, and
enters every morning against the name of each
patient what he is to have that day. She knows
what to enter, by looking at these cards with the
doctor's orders on them, which you see at the
head of each bed."

The diet-board was brought: the number or
quantity assigned to each patient daily, was
entered by the nurse opposite his name. All was
quite correct for that week, and on questioning
the nurse, she answered with such a volley
of wordscivil words, but unnecessarythat we
shrank from the noise of her tongue, and left the
ward. But she followed us, continuing in the
same strain:

"That blind man is the greatest mischief-
maker that ever came within these walls. He's
never so happy as when he's getting people into
trouble. Here have I been a nurse for fifteen
years, and always had a good character from my
patients till I came here. And now, the way
I'm abused, and the names I'm called in that
ward is shameful. I'm sure I wouldn't lead
such a life as I've led the last week or two, no,
not for a hundred a year!"

We went back to replace the card in the little
ward, and to tell the blind man that he had
better not interfere. But this man's tongue
was as active as the nurse's, and she, hearing
it, came to contest the matter boldly. Upon
this the man helper joined in; some of the men
were appealed to; and a strife of tongues ensued
which was most unseemly. The violence and
eagerness with which the nurse defended herself
led us to suspect that she was not wholly guiltless
in the matter of appropriation, especially
when she screamed:

"If you tell tales of me, I'll tell tales of you.
Who is it that hides his eggs instead of eating
'em, and saves 'em up, and sells 'em by the
dozen, and then buys something better with the
money? Ah!"

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