One day, after he had borrowed The Worm's trap for a lady who never existed, had used it himself all the afternoon, had sent a note to The Worm purporting to come from the lady, and was telling the Mess all about it, The Worm rose in his place and said, in his quiet, ladylike voice: "That was a very pretty sell; but I'll lay you a month's pay to a month's pay when you get your step, that I work a sell on you that you'll remember for the rest of your days, and the Regiment after you when you're dead or broke.
Two months passed, and the Senior Subaltern still educated The Worm, who began to move about a little more as the hot weather came on.
The Senior Subaltern was so pleased with getting his Company and his acceptance at the same time that he forgot to bother The Worm.
One night, at the beginning of the hot weather, all the Mess, except The Worm, who had gone to his own room to write Home letters, were sitting on the platform outside the Mess House.
But the woman had fled through a door, and on the paper was written:--"This is to certify that I, The Worm, have paid in full my debts to the Senior Subaltern, and, further, that the Senior Subaltern is my debtor, by agreement on the 23d of February, as by the Mess attested, to the extent of one month's Captain's pay, in the lawful currency of the India Empire.
And little Clover bloomed once more, Rosy, and sweet, and fair, And patiently watched by the mossy bed, For the worm still slumbered there.
They thought no more of the ugly worm, Who once had wakened their scorn; But looked and longed for the butterfly now, As the soft wind bore him on.
Dear flower," the butterfly whispered low, "Long hast thou waited for me; Now I am come, and my grateful love Shall brighten thy home for thee; Thou hast loved and cared for me, when alone, Hast watched o'er me long and well; And now will I strive to show the thanks The poor worm could not tell.
They were now very happy; their home was done, the four blue eggs lay in the soft nest, and the little wife sat still and patient on them, while the husband sang, and told her charming tales, and brought her sweet berries and little worms.
It is a great sacrifice for you lightloving Fairies to dwell through the long winter in the dark, cold earth, watching over the flowerroots, to keep them free from the little grubs and worms that seek to harm them.
But when his trouble came upon him, she discovered many good things in this cousin of hers, and learned not only to pity but to respect and love the poor Worm, who tried to be patient, brave, and cheerful, and found it a harder task than anyone guessed, except the little nurse, who saw him in his gloomiest moods.
The poor old Worm turns as if she was treading on him instead of cuddling him like a pussy cat.