Read CHAPTER XXX of Polly and the Princess, free online book, by Emma C. Dowd, on


Doodles had heard of Nelson Randolph’s illness, yet he was unprepared for the additional tidings that came to him when he was on a downtown errand.

“Oh, he suffers something terrible!” exclaimed the boy who brought the news. “Carl Harris told me about it. He’s down there in the paper office, and they say if he don’t get better pretty soon he’s got to die! The Doctor can’t stop the pain.”

Doodles walked away thinking hard. “Guess I’ll go,” he told himself. “He liked my singing the other night up here, and perhaps it would make him forget. Anyhow, I can go!”

An hour later Doodles stood at the door of the Randolph home.

“He’s sick. He can’t see anybody,” said the maid who answered his ring.

“Is he able to talk?” queried the lad.

The girl nodded.

“Then will you please ask him if he would like to have Doodles Stickney sing to him.”

“’T won’t do no good,” she replied indifferently. “The nurse won’t let anybody see him.”

A man came slowly up the steps, and the boy turned to recognize a well-known physician.

“Oh, Dr. Temple!” he began eagerly, “do you think Mr. Randolph would like to have me sing for him?”

The physician looked the lad over gravely. He was so long about it, Doodles wondered if his boots were dusty and the Doctor were disapproving them. Then came the answer.

“Probably not.”

“But he did like to hear me sing the other night when he was at our house. He said so. And when I heard how he is suffering, I thought perhaps I could make him forget it.” His appealing brown eyes looked straight into those keen blue ones that the physician’s admirers thought saw everything.

Dr. Temple considered a moment. “Come in!” he said.

Doodles followed where he led, which was into the first room beyond the entrance.

“Sing!” was the order.

Doodles, not in the least abashed, stood where he was, in the middle of the reception room, and began.

Soft, soft as the crooning of a mother bird, came the first notes.

“Peace...peace...peace I leave with you.” Gently the music rose, the lad’s voice beautifully modulated to suit the time and place. “My peace I give unto you:...not as the world giveth...not as the world giveth...give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled...let not your heart be troubled...let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

The physician sat still for a moment, as if reluctant to break the spell. Then he got up quickly. “Come!” he bade.

Doodles followed, up the velvet-covered stairs, with never the sound of a footstep, and to the end of a wide corridor.

“Wait here, please!” Dr. Temple motioned him to a chair by the window, and after knocking at a door disappeared behind it.

Presently he returned. “You may sing what you sang downstairs.” He went back, leaving the door ajar.

Again Doodles sang. At the end he waited, wondering if he were to keep on.

A white-clad young woman came out of the room, smiling to him under her pretty white cap.

“Mr. Randolph would like to have you sing some more,” she said.

“The Lord is my Shepherd,” “Come unto Me,” “I will lift up mine eyes,” “The Lord bless thee and keep thee,” these and others Doodles sang, while not a sound came from the room beyond.

Then the young woman appeared again.

“Mr. Randolph says he wishes you would sing ‘Old Folks at Home,’” she told him.

At the close of the song the nurse came to the door and beckoned him in.

The president of the Paper Company put out a feeble hand.

“Thank you, Doodles!” he smiled. “I suppose you came all the way from Foxford just to sing for me!”

“Oh, that isn’t anything!” said the boy lightly. “I am glad to do it, Mr. Randolph. I do hope you will get better!”

“I am better now! You have done me good, Doodles!”

“I’m so glad! May I come again?” eagerly.

“I should be mighty glad if you could! I will send my car for you any day.”

“Thank you!” The lad’s face was radiant. “To-morrow?” He glanced at Dr. Temple.

The Doctor gave him a smiling nod.

“This same time?”

“Better than the afternoon,” assented the physician.

Doodles was downstairs when the nurse came out to speak to him.

“Mr. Randolph says to wait and he will have his man take you home.”

So Doodles rode to Foxford in Mr. Randolph’s sumptuous roadster, to the astonishment of Blue whom he met not far from home.