“Yes, I don’t know the boy lately; but he’ll be as bad as ever when he’s well,” returned Fanny, who hadn’t much faith in sick-bed repentances.

“Much you know about it,” growled Tom, lying down again, for he had sat bolt upright when Polly made the astounding declaration that he was like the well-beloved Jimmy. That simple little history had made a deep impression on Tom, and the tearful ending touched the tender spot that most boys hide so carefully. It is very pleasant to be loved and admired, very sweet to think we shall be missed and mourned when we go; and Tom was seized with a sudden desire to imitate this boy, who hadn’t done anything wonderful, yet was so dear to his sister, that she cried for him a whole year after he was dead; so studious and clever, that people called him “a fine fellow”; and so anxious to be good, that he kept on trying, till he was better even than Polly, whom Tom privately considered a model of virtue, as girls go.

“I just wish I had a sister like you,” he broke out, all of a sudden.

“And I just wish I had a brother like Jim,” cried Fanny, for she felt the reproach in Tom’s words, and knew she deserved it.

“I shouldn’t think you’d envy anybody, for you’ve got one another,” said Polly, with such a wistful look, that it suddenly set Tom and Fanny to wondering why they didn’t have better times together, and enjoy themselves, as Polly and Jim did.

“Fan don’t care for anybody but herself,” said Tom.

“Tom is such a bear,” retorted Fanny.

“I wouldn’t say such things, for if anything should happen to either of you, the other one would feel so sorry. Every cross word I ever said to Jimmy comes back now, and makes me wish I hadn’t:”

Two great tears rolled down Polly’s cheeks, and were quietly wiped away; but I think they watered that sweet sentiment called fraternal love, which till now had been neglected in the hearts of this brother and sister. They didn’t say anything then, or make any plans, or confess any faults; but when they parted for the night, Fanny gave the wounded head a gentle pat (Tom never would have for-given her if she had kissed him), and said, in a whisper, “I hope you’ll have a good sleep, Tommy, dear.”

And Tom nodded back at her, with a hearty “Same to you, Fan.”

That was all; but it meant a good deal, for the voices were kind, and the eyes met full of that affection which makes words of little consequence. Polly saw it; and though she didn’t know that she had made the sunshine, it shone back upon her so pleasantly, that she fell happily asleep, though her Jimmy wasn’t there to say “good-night”.

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