LITTLE MACKIE, as his friends called him,
was an inmate of the Hospital
for Crippled Children. He was a small
boy and his years were few, yet
his face was already drawn and seamed
with lines of suffering. One of
his feet was twisted and the other
almost useless; yet he could hobble
around very nimbly on his crutches, and
he took great pleasure in helping
other boys who were worse off than
His particular friend and crony was
Dannie O'Connell, whose cot adjoined
his own. Dannie was a helpless little
fellow, with legs that were no better
than none and a back so weak that he
could not sit up without props. Many
were the hours which little Mackie spent
at Dannie's bedside, and many were
the words of encouragement and hope that
he poured into the ears of the
 "We're partners, Dannie," he would say.
"When I get bigger I'll be a bootblack
down on the Square, and you and me'll go
halvers in the profits."
"But what could I do?" queried Dannie.
"I couldn't help with the business.
Why, I can't even hold myself up."
"Oh, you'll be lots better by that
time," answered the ever hopeful Mackie.
"I'll get you a high chair with wheels
under it, so that I can trundle you
around. And I'll get a little candy
stand at the corner for you to 'tend to.
I'll shine 'em up for the fine gentlemen
that come that way, and you'll sell
candy to the ladies. They'll all want
to trade with you when they see you
sitting there in your high chair."
"I think it will be very nice," sighed
Dannie; and he lay gazing up toward the
ceiling and trying to forget his
"Of course it will be nice," said
Mackie; "and don't you forget that we'll
One night when all the children were in
their cots an alarm was sounded.
What could it mean? Soon the cry of
fire was heard, and then a great
 rushing and hurrying in the halls and on
the stairways. Little Mackie jumped
up and seized his crutches, and all the
other boys in the ward began to cry
out in alarm. But their nurse soothed
them and told them that they need not
be afraid, for she was quite sure that
the fire was in a distant part of the
building, and would soon be put out.
Little Mackie lay down again, but he
kept his eyes wide open. "Hey, Dannie,
partner," he whispered, very softly,
"don't be scared. I'm watching out for
and nurse says there's no danger."
The noise outside grew louder, and there
was more of it. Mackie could hear
the people running. He could hear the
children screaming in the other wards.
Soon he saw the red light of the flames
shining through the narrow window
above the door. Then he smelled the
smoke and saw it coming into the room
through every crevice and crack. The
nurse turned pale with fear and did not
seem to know what to do.
Then three men rushed in—firemen with
big hats on their heads and waterproof
capes on their shoulders. Each took two
children in his arms
 and with the fainting nurse hurried away
through the strangling smoke.
"Be brave! We'll be back for you in a
minute," said one of them as he ran past
Dannie and Mackie.
The two "partners" were left alone in
the room. Mackie could hear the
and roaring of the flames. He could
even see them creeping along the floor
and licking up the carpet in the lower
hallway. He could feel their hot
In another minute they would reach the
wooden stairs, and then how could
any one ever come up to save the
children that were still in the wards?
"Run, Mackie!" cried Dannie, trying in
vain to sit up. "I guess they forgot to
come back. Run, Mackie, and don't wait
"No, I don't run, so long as you're my
partner," said Mackie.
He was leaning on his crutches by the
side of Dannie's cot.
"Put your arms round my neck, Dannie.
That's how. Now hold on, tight!
Snuggle your face down over my shoulder.
That's right; now we'll go.
Hold fast, and don't swallow any more
smoke than you can help, Dannie."
 Clack! clack! clack! Through the
smothering smoke the little crutches
clattered out of the room and into the
burning hallway. And Dannie, with
his arms clasped around his partner's
neck, and his shriveled legs dangling
helplessly behind, was borne
half-fainting through the fearful din.
Clack! clack! clack! Mackie was so
short and his head was so near to the
floor that he escaped the thickest part
of the smoke, which rolled in clouds
toward the ceiling. He hurried to the
stairway, keeping his face bent down-
ward and his eyes half closed. He did
not dare to speak to Dannie, for he
had no breath to spare.
Outside of the building there were many
busy hands and many anxious
"Have all the children been saved?"
asked one of the managers of the
"Oh, sir, not all," was the sad answer.
"There were a few in the upper wards
who could not be saved, the fire spread
so rapidly. And there are still two
little boys in the lower ward whom it is
impossible to reach."
"Surely these boys ought to be rescued,"
cried the manager. "Won't some
one try to reach them?"
 "Sir," answered a helper who had already
carried ten children out of the
flaming building, "it is too late. The
stairways are all blazing and the ward
itself is full of fire."
In fact, the flames could now be seen
bursting out of every window.
Clack! clack! clack!
What sound was that on the marble steps
before the smoke-filled door of
the doomed hospital? It was not a loud
noise, but those who stood nearest
heard it quite plainly amid all the
other sounds, the snapping of the
wood, the roaring of the flames, the
falling of heavy timbers.
Then right out from beneath the cloud of
smoke came little Mackie, bearing
Dannie upon his shoulders. Helping
hands were stretched forth to receive
him, and the brave lad fell fainting in
the arms of a big policeman.
Dannie was scarcely harmed at all,
though dreadfully frightened. But
poor hands were badly scorched and his
eyebrows were singed off. His
nightshirt was burned through in a dozen
places. His bare, crippled feet were
blistered by the fallen coals he had
stepped upon. His little
 body was full of hurts and burns. Kind
arms carried him to a place of safety;
but for a long time he lay senseless to
all that was happening around him.
When at last he awoke to consciousness
his first thought was to inquire for
Dannie. Then, as he turned painfully in
the little bed where they had laid
him, he closed his eyes again and said,
"Me and Dannie are partners, don't
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