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   Chapter 8 A NEW PLASTER.

Cricket at the Seashore By Elizabeth Weston Timlow Characters: 16172

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02


"It seems to me, my dear," said grandma, standing on the piazza, and drawing on her gloves, "that it is a very great risk to run to go and leave those children to themselves for six whole hours. If you could manage without me, I think I'll stay at home, even now," and grandma looked somewhat irresolutely at the carriage, which was waiting at the gate to take them to the station.

"I am afraid you must come, mother, on account of those business matters," Mrs. Somers answered. "But the children will be all right, I know. Eliza will look out for the small fry, and the elders must look out for themselves," she added, looking down at the three, Eunice, Edna, and Cricket, with a smile. "Don't get into any mischief, will you?"

The girls looked insulted.

"The very idea, auntie!" exclaimed Eunice. "As if we ever got into mischief! Nobody looks after us especially, at Kayuna."

"And, consequently," said auntie, with a sly smile, "you go to the cider-mill when you are put in charge of the children, and get run away with by the oxen."

Eunice got very red.

"Well, that was a great while ago, auntie, when we were quite young," she said, with as much dignity as if the occurrence auntie referred to was half a dozen years ago, instead of one. "Anyway," changing the subject, "we'll look after everything now, and you can stay till the last train, if you want to."

"No, dear, thank you. We'll come on the 5.10, I think, at any rate. Perhaps earlier, if we accomplish all our business. There! I didn't put on my watch. Edna, will you run up-stairs and get it, from my bureau or table? I think I laid it on the table. No, wait. Have you yours, mother? Never mind, then, Edna. But will you please put it back in my drawer, when you go up-stairs, dear? Don't forget. Well, good-by. Be good children," and with a kiss all round, auntie and grandma got into the carriage.

"Good-by. Be sure and bring me some chocolate caramels," called Edna.

Auntie smiled, nodded, and waved her hand, and then Luke turned the corner, and they rolled away.

"The boys said that the tide would be right for bathing, about eleven," Cricket said, after they had watched them out of sight. "Come on, it's most time," and off they trooped for their plunge. The children were already over at the Cove, with Eliza, running about in their little blue bathing-suits, though they generally went in only ankle deep. Edna could swim well, and Cricket had made good progress in the last week. Eunice took to the water as naturally as a duck, and, strange to say, had learned to swim well, before Cricket did.

After their bath they came back to the house, where Eunice and Cricket settled themselves on the piazza, to write letters to the travellers. Cricket kept a journal letter and scribbled industriously every day. Both Eunice and Cricket had sometimes very homesick moments, when papa and mamma seemed very far away, and Cricket, in particular, occasionally conjured up very gloomy possibilities of her pining away, and dying of homesickness, before they returned, so that when they should come home, they would find only her grave, covered with flowers. She even went so far, in one desperate moment, as to compose a fitting epitaph for her tombstone, which was to be of white marble, of course, with an angel on top.

This was the epitaph.

"Oh, stranger, pause! Beneath this mossy stone

Lies a poor child, who died, forsaken and alone.

Her mother far in distant lands did roam,

Leaving her daughter, Jean, to die at home.

She pined away in sad and lonely grief,

Not any pleasures brought to her relief,

And when at last her family returned,

With sorrow great, about her death they learned.

So, pause, oh, stranger! drop a single tear,

Pity the grief of her who liest here."

This effusion was the greatest consolation to Cricket. She never showed it to anybody, not even to Eunice, but she often took it out, and read it with much satisfaction, and was almost inclined to begin pining away directly.

But on the whole they were very contented, and it was much easier for them than if they had been left at Kayuna.

Dinner-time-dinner was a one o'clock feast, in the summer-came when they had finished their letters, and had them ready for the mail.

"We'll have the European letters to-night," said Eunice, joyfully, as they sat down to the table. "Does it seem as if we'd been here two weeks? Mamma won't seem so far away, when we get the first letters."

"There was the cablegram," said Edna.

"That doesn't count," said Eunice. "It wasn't mamma's own dear handwriting."

"Papa writed it," chirped in Helen.

"No, he didn't, goosie," said Cricket. "The man here wrote it. Papa only sent it."

"I know!" exclaimed Zaidee. "Papa talked it into the box, and the man writed it down when he talked," confusing the telephone at home with the cablegram, which, directed to Miss Eunice Ward, as the eldest representative, had been the occasion of much excitement on its arrival.

After dinner the three girls started down on the beach, to sit down under the rocks till it should be cool enough, later, to go for a ride with the ponies.

"There comes the baby, all alone," said Cricket, presently, as that young man slipped out of the yard all by himself, and ran across the road and down towards the beach where the girls were. "Doesn't he look cunning? The darling!"

Kenneth, although he was nearly four, was still The Baby to the family. His broad-brimmed hat hung down his back, held around his chin by its elastic, and his golden hair was rampant. His blue eyes were dancing with mischief, and his hands were clasped behind his back.

"Dess what I dot?" he demanded, pausing at a safe distance, and looking up roguishly from under his long lashes.

"What have you there, baby? See what he has, Cricket, and tell him he mustn't have it," said Eunice.

"Bring it to Cricket, baby," said that young lady, holding out her hand.

"Dess what I dot," repeated the baby, edging off a little.

Just then Zaidee appeared from the house. Kenneth immediately trotted off up the beach at the sight of her. She ran after him.

"Do away!" he cried, holding his possession, whatever it was, more tightly. "You tan't have it, Zaidee. I dot it."

"What's the matter, Zaidee?" called Eunice. "Where's Eliza?"

"She's dressing Helen. Eunice, Kenneth has auntie's gold watch. She left it on the little table where she keeps her God-books"-for so the twins always called the Bible and Prayer-book-"and he's run off with it. I guess auntie forgot it. Ought he to have it, Eunice?"

"Of course not," said Eunice, springing up. "Edna, auntie told us to put it away, and we forgot it. Dear me! I hope he won't drop it. Baby, come here and give the watch to Eunice." She went slowly towards him, holding out her hand.

But baby hugged his treasure. "I dot tick-tick!" he announced, triumphantly. "Tennet likes it. Oo tan't have it," and off he started as fast as two little legs could carry him, over the soft sand till he reached the firmer beach, which the receding tide had left hard.

Eunice sprang after him. The baby looked back over his shoulder, greatly enjoying the race, tripped over a bit of stone, and fell headlong, the watch shooting on ahead. He gave a frightened cry as he fell, but the next instant, when Eunice reached him, he lay motionless. Hurriedly she raised him up. A stream of blood poured from an ugly gash in his poor little forehead, cut on a piece of glass that was half imbedded in the sand. As she raised him his golden head fell back heavily, and his eyes were closed.

"Oh, girls, girls!" shrieked Eunice. "Kenneth is dead! he's killed! he's killed!"

Cricket and Edna were already by her side.

"Run, Zaidee-Edna-run for Eliza. Get some water, Cricket. Oh, baby, speak to me," poor frightened Eunice cried, half beside herself at the gruesome sight of the baby's white, still face, and that dreadful blood welling up so fast, and staining everything with its vivid red. Cricket flew to the edge

of the beach, dipping water up in the crown of her sailor hat. She tore off her soft Windsor tie to use for a handkerchief (which, of course, she didn't have), to wipe off the streaming blood. The little face looked ghastly white, in contrast to the blood-soaked hair about it.

Eliza came flying from the house with the Pond's Extract bottle in one hand and a bundle of old linen in the other, articles that were always at hand, ready for use.

"Bring him into the shade," she called, as she ran, and Eunice, with Kenneth in her arms, hurried up the beach. Eliza took him as they met, and fairly flew back into the yard.

"Oh, Billy!" she called, passing him, "go for the doctor as fast as you can. Kenneth's dreadfully hurt. No, Miss Edna, you go. You can go quicker;" and Edna flew.

Eliza, frightened herself by the child's unconsciousness, dropped on the grass under a tree, trying to stanch the blood that now flowed less freely. Eunice ran for hartshorn, Cricket for water. As they washed away the blood, they could see the long, ugly cut just over his eye. Eliza laid linen bandages soaking in Pond's Extract over the place, but in a moment they were stained through.

Edna came rushing back, panting and breathless.

"The doctor's gone away-won't be back for ever so long-they'll send him right over when he comes. Oh, Eliza! will Kenneth die?"

Zaidee set up a shriek at the word.

"Be still, Zaidee," ordered Cricket, slipping her hand over the little girl's mouth. "You go and find poor Helen, and help her finish her dressing."

Zaidee went off, sobbing, and Eunice asked, anxiously:

"Couldn't we plaster it up ourselves? I know papa says the edges of a cut like that ought to be drawn together as soon as possible, and bandaged. I know how he does it. He sops the place off, and washes the cut out, and puts strips of sticking-plaster over it, and then ties it up in a dry bandage."

"Oh, it's a head you have, Miss Eunice," said Eliza, who showed her Irish blood by her terror.

"You get some sticking-plaster, Miss Cricket, while I sop off the blood. Oh, my pretty! my pretty! See! he's opening his eyes. Do you know 'Liza, lovey?"

The heavy blue eyes opened, languidly, and the yellow head stirred a little. The motion set the blood flowing again.

"Kenneth," said Eunice, bending down beside him; "here's sister! wake him up, if you can, 'Liza. Papa wouldn't let Zaidee go to sleep last winter when she fell off the bedstead and bumped her head so. Baby! wake up, pet!" and she kissed him, eagerly.

In a few minutes, Cricket came running out of the house. "We can't find any sticking-plaster, and we've looked everywhere. Edna says she doesn't know if her mother has any. What shall we do? I know it ought to be put together right away, else it wouldn't heal so well. Oh, wait! I know!" and back she darted. Immediately she reappeared with a part of a sheet of postage stamps.

"These will do, 'Liza," she said, excitedly. "Now, is the cut all washed out? Here, I can do it. I've watched papa lots of times."

Cricket knelt down by the baby and dipped a piece of linen in water. The flow of blood was very slight by this time. She wiped Kenneth's forehead off, carefully, over and over, and then the cut itself, looking to see if any bit of glass or sand was still in it. Then, with firm, gentle little fingers, she drew the gaping edges together closely, and held them, while Eunice moistened some postage stamps in water, and laid them in place.

"Cricket! how can you do that? How do you know how?" exclaimed Edna, who kept in the rear, since the sight of the blood made her feel a little faint and sick.

"I've seen papa loads of times," answered Cricket, in her matter-of-fact way. "If only we had some surgeon's plaster. But that will hold for now. Bind this strip tight around it now, 'Liza. Baby, can't you talk a little? Do you know Cricket?"

"Tritet," repeated Kenneth, with a faint little smile. "Tritet take baby."

"Let me have him," begged Cricket, and Eliza laid him gently in his little sister's arms.

"Eunice, there's Mrs. Bemis coming over," said Edna, "I'm so glad."

Mrs. Bemis was the doctor's wife. She came hastily up to the little group.

"I was out when Edna came, and just got in. The girl told me some one was hurt, so I came right over. The baby, is it? poor little soul! has he lost all that blood? did he cut himself?"

Eunice explained, and Cricket told Eliza to unfasten the bandage to ask Mrs. Bemis if it was all right. At the sight of four pink stamps, the doctor's wife exclaimed in astonishment:

"What have you put on for a plaster? It looks beautifully done."

"Them's postage stamps," volunteered Eliza, quickly. "Miss Cricket couldn't find any sticking-plaster, so she brought this. Oh, she's her father's own child for the doctorin'."

"I thought they might do," explained Cricket, rather shyly. "I knew I ought to have strips of plaster, of course, but I couldn't find any. I thought the cut ought to be drawn together as soon as possible."

"You're a thoughtful child," said Mrs. Bemis, warmly.

"But Eunice thought of doing it first," answered Cricket, quickly. "I only thought of the postage stamps."

"He's too heavy for you, my dear," said Mrs. Bemis, then. "Carry him gently into the house, Eliza. He's faint with the loss of so much blood. Let him go, dear," as Cricket demurred. "Eliza can carry him better than you. Let me give him a few drops of this, first," and she moistened the baby's lips with a few drops from a flask she had brought in her hand.

When the little procession reached the hall door, Mrs. Bemis said:

"Let me take care of him now, with Eliza, girls. You keep the twins amused out-of-doors," for Zaidee and Helen came creeping down the staircase, looking frightened to death. The girls willingly turned back, having taken them in charge.

"Oh, the watch!" suddenly exclaimed Edna, and they all raced down to the beach, where the accident had happened. The watch still lay, gleaming in the sunlight, where it had fallen, ticking as unconcernedly as if no adventure had befallen it. Fortunately, it had alighted on a particularly soft bit of sand. Edna picked it up.

"If only I hadn't forgotten to put this away when mamma told me to, all this wouldn't have happened," she said, remorsefully.

"I suppose Kenneth just slipped in there after 'Liza finished dressing him," said Eunice, "and saw it lying on the table. You know he's always teasing auntie to show him her 'tick-tick.'"

They went slowly back into the yard, scarcely knowing what to do with themselves. They could not settle to any of their regular amusements, and nobody wanted to go off riding. The twins were still under the tree, where they had left them. Helen ran towards them.

"Eunice, won't you please make Zaidee stop drinking up all the Pond's Extrap? She says she likes it, and I'm afraid it will kill her," she said, half crying. "I told her to don't, and she didn't don't."

"Put the bottle right down, Zaidee," ordered Eunice, laughing. "If you drink the Pond's Extract, what will you do when you fall down and hurt yourself, next time?"

Zaidee took a last hasty swallow. Strange to say, she did like it, very much.

"I suppose it goes all down inside my legs," she said, with calm conviction, "and if I bump my legs it will do them lots more good inside than outside. Come on, Helen. 'Liza said cook would give us our supper to-night, and she's calling us."

"What funny children," exclaimed Edna. "Does Zaidee really like it?"

"Yes, really. 'Liza keeps the bottle locked up. Isn't it funny?"

Just before auntie and grandma returned, Dr. Bemis came over, and went to see his little patient. He was amused at Cricket's original plaster, for which he carefully substituted the proper article, but he pronounced the dressing of the cut very nicely done, and said that the cut would not have healed so well as he hoped it would now, if it had been left open for that two hours that elapsed before he could get there.

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