Read GETTING WELL of Child Life In Town And Country 1909 , free online book, by Anatole France, on

Germaine is ill.  Nobody knows how it began.  The arm which sows fever is invisible like the dustman’s hand, the old fellow who comes every night and makes the little ones so sleepy.  But Germaine was not ill very long and she was not very bad, and now she is getting well again.  This getting well is even pleasanter than being quite well, which comes next.  In the same way hoping and wishing are better, very often, than anything we wish for or hope for.  Germaine lies in bed in her pretty, bright room, and her dreams are as bright-coloured as her room.

She looks, a little languidly still, at her doll, which sleeps beside her own bed.  There are sympathies that go deep between little girls and their dolls.  Germaine’s doll fell ill at the same time as her little mamma, and now she is getting well with her.  She will take her first carriage outing sitting by Germaine’s side.

She has seen the doctor too.  Alfred came to feel the doll’s pulse.  He is Doctor “As-bad-as-can-be.”  He talks of nothing but cutting off arms and legs.  But Germaine asked him so earnestly that he agreed to cure her dolly without slashing it to pieces.  But he prescribed the nastiest medicines.

Illness has one advantage at any rate; it makes us know our friends.  Germaine is sure now she can count on Alfred’s goodness; she is certain Lucie is the best of sisters.  All the nine days her illness lasted, Lucie came to learn her lessons and do her sewing in the sick room.  She insists on bringing the little patient her herb-tea herself.  And it is not a bitter potion, such as Alfred ordered; no, it is balmy with the scent of wild flowers.

When she smells its perfume, Germaine’s thoughts fly to the flowery mountain paths, the haunt of children and bees, where she played so often last year.  Alfred too remembers the beautiful ways, and the woods, and the springs, and the mules that climbed up and up on the brink of precipices with a sound of tinkling bells.