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   Chapter 13 A WRESTLING MATCH.

Cricket at the Seashore By Elizabeth Weston Timlow Characters: 12178

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02


"That's it! Prime! Now, again!" shouted Will, encouragingly, and Cricket, in her blue gymnasium suit, panting and laughing, put her shoulder to Archie's again, and stood in position. Will was giving her a lesson in wrestling, at her particular request, and she was proving an apt pupil, for the slender, elastic little figure and supple muscles made up for any lack of strength.

"Good, good!" repeated Will, as Cricket, swaying and tugging, and bending backward almost double, came up like a steel wire. "Bravo! we'll soon have you champion lady wrestler in a dime museum. At him again! good enough! hurray!" for Cricket, slipping through Archie's grasp like a knotless thread, took him suddenly unawares, and fairly and squarely tripped him up.

"By jove!" ejaculated Archie, still on his back, too much surprised to get up.

"Well done, Miss Scricket!" applauded Will. "Bet you can't do it again."

"Come over here, and I'll try you," offered Cricket, and Will, laughingly, put his arm around her waist. But his superior size and strength soon told, and Cricket found herself down on her back.

"But you do well, youngster," said Will, patronizingly. "Try that twist once more that you tripped Archie up on. That's a good one! Now, again! That would fetch anybody if they weren't expecting it."

"I'm tired now," said Cricket, throwing herself on the grass, for they were in the orchard. "Let's rest awhile." She clasped her hands above her head, and lay back on the grass. Archie drew himself up on to one of the low gnarled trees and balanced himself in a very precarious way directly over her head.

"If you fall off that limb, you will come straight down and break my nose," warned Cricket.

"There isn't enough of it to break, miss," said Archie, balancing himself with care, as he tried to see if he could kneel upon a horizontal branch without holding on.

"You'll have to be of a very equilibrious nature to do that," said Cricket, rolling hastily out of her dangerous position, just in time, for Archie overbalanced himself, and came down with a crash.

"Now, see what you've done," said Archie, sitting up and feeling of his back. "You spoke at the wrong time. I might have broken my neck."

Cricket meditated a moment, then addressed the sky, thoughtfully.

"Isn't it funny that when anything happens to a boy all by his own fault, he always says to somebody, 'See what you've made me do.' Anybody would think I'd made Archie fall there."

"Well, didn't you?"

"When Donald can't find anything that he's gone and lost himself," went on Cricket, still addressing the sky, "he always says he wishes the girls would let his things alone. Boys are the funniest."

"If they're any funnier than girls, I'll eat my boots," said Archie, firing green apples at a mark. "Girls are so finicky. There's Edna, squeals if you touch her. If I give her hair just one little yank, you would think I'd pulled her scalp off. If I give Will a good punch"-illustrating with a resounding whack-"he doesn't squeal."

"No, but he hits back," said Cricket, laughing, as Will levelled Archie, by a vigorous thump. "If Edna should hit you a few times like that, you wouldn't tease her so."

"And she's always so careful of her clothes," went on Archie, ignoring this point; "can't do this, because she'll spoil her apron, can't do that, because she'll muss her hair."

"Boys ar'n't talked to about their clothes as girls are," said Cricket, with a sigh. "If you just heard 'Liza talk when we tear our clothes! She has to mend them. Wouldn't I be happy if I could go around all the time in my gymnasium suit. I feel so light and airy."

"And girls are so affected," pursued Archie. "You wouldn't walk with us yesterday coming home from church, and why not? 'Cause you had your best bonnet on, and you carried your head too high. So affected!"

"It wasn't affectedness, it was got-to-do-it-ness," said Cricket, stoutly. "If you had to go to church with a great, big, flappy, floppy hat on, that joggled your ears all the time, 'cause the roses were so heavy, and if you had to be careful to keep your pink organdie clean for next Sunday, and if you had a teasy cousin, who, likely as not, would take hold of your arm, and crunch your sleeves all down, most probably you'd have walked all by yourself, too, and tried to keep yourself respectable so 'Liza wouldn't scold. But you're a boy," finished Cricket, with a burst of envy, "and so you don't bother about clothes. And, anyway, boys will never admit they're to blame about anything," returning suddenly to the original charge.

"Because they never are, of course," answered Archie, turning a back somersault. "It's always somebody else's fault."

"Did you hear auntie tell that funny story about Archie, last night, Will?" asked Cricket.

"Funny story about me, miss? There never was any funny story about me."

"This was a little bit funny, anyway. Auntie said you weren't but three years old, and she was visiting with you, at Kayuna. It was early one morning, before breakfast, and the piazza had just been washed up, and wasn't dry yet. Papa was reading a newspaper, and you were running up and down the piazza, showing off."

"Showing off!" repeated Archie, with a sniff of disdain.

"Yes, sir, showing off. Auntie said so. She said you always liked to, even then. Stop firing apples at me. You nearly hit me that time. You stood still just in front of papa, and gave a little kick at him, and your foot slipped, and down you went on your back. And you got up, as angry as could be, and you said, 'Now see what you made me do,' and you gave another kick at him, and down you went again. Then auntie said you screamed out, 'Now you've done it again. You've done it again.' And she says that ever since, you always say that, no matter what happens to you."

"There comes grandma," said Archie, changing the subject, immediately, since he knew by long experience that Cricket was apt to get the best of him, in such conversations.

"She's been to see that sick woman," said Cricket, jumping u

p and running to meet her. She had the most unbounded admiration for her stately, handsome grandmother, who by some strange attraction of opposites, had an especially soft place in her heart for her hoydenish little namesake.

Grandmother Maxwell was by no means an old lady yet, in spite of her flock of grandchildren, for she was only just sixty, and was as erect and vigorous, in spite of her snow-white hair, as a girl. Beauty-loving little Cricket thought her dead perfection, and adored her.

"What a hot little face," said grandmother, lightly touching Cricket's cheek. Cricket put her arm about her grandmother's waist, which she was just tall enough to do, and walked along beside her.

"The boys have been teaching me to wrestle," she explained. "I'm learning fast, grandma. It's just as easy. Get up, Archie, and let me show grandma how I can throw you."

"Throw me! well, I like that. I happened to stumble on a stone, grandma, and Cricket thinks she threw me. She couldn't do it again to save her life."

"Come and try, then," said Cricket, invitingly. But Archie declined, on the plea of its being too hot.

"Isn't he lazy, grandma?" said Cricket, disdainfully. "But I can show you, grandma, how we do it. Put your arm around me this way, and take hold of my hand. Now then, see. I try to get my foot around your ankle, quickly, and give a little jerk, and pull this way-"

And to the unbounded astonishment of all three, stately grandma suddenly and unexpectedly measured her length on the grass, with Cricket on top of her. Cricket's illustration had been altogether too graphic.

"Jean!" gasped grandma, as she went over. Cricket rolled over and sprang to her feet in a flash.

"Oh, grandma! please excuse me! I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to. I never thought I could do it so quickly, for you're so large. I only meant to show you."

Will and Archie were bending over grandma, to help her rise. Her foot was twisted under her.

"Wait, boys," she said. "I'm lying on my foot."

It is not easy for a large person who is lying on her back, with her foot doubled up under her, to find her centre of gravity. It was several minutes before she could be helped to a sitting position. She was very pale, although she laughed.

"Children, I'm really afraid,-Jean, you absurd child! how did you throw me over so quickly? I really am afraid that my ankle is sprained. I don't think I can step on it. See if you can help me to stand, boys, and I'll try it."

"Oh, grandma!" groaned Cricket, in horror. "Have I sprained your ankle?"

"It probably isn't bad, dear," said grandma, quickly. "At any rate, you didn't mean to-Hush, Archie!" as that young man gave Cricket a reproachful-

"Now you have done it!"

Will and Archie, being stout, well-grown boys, easily raised grandma to her feet, or, to her foot, rather, for she immediately found she could not bear her weight on her left ankle, and she sat down rather suddenly again.

"Dear me! this is a dignified position for a grandmother," she said. "Never mind, dear. It was only an accident. Take off my shoe, please, for my foot is swelling, I think. Archie, go for Luke, and tell him to bring a piazza-chair, and I think you can manage to carry me in on that, can't you? Then tell Auntie Jean that I'm here, and have sprained my ankle, and tell her to have some arnica and bandages ready when I get there. Why, don't cry, darling," as two big tears welled up in Cricket's gray eyes, and splashed over her cheeks, where her dimples were entirely out of sight, at the dreadful thought that she had sprained grandma's ankle.

In a few moments Auntie Jean came flying across the orchard, bandages and arnica in hand, while the waitress came after with a water-pitcher.

"Mother!" said Mrs. Somers, in greatest surprise. "How did you manage to fall and sprain your ankle on this perfectly level ground?"

"It's rather humiliating to confess that I was wrestling with my granddaughter, and that she got the best of me," returned grandma, patting Cricket's hand. "It's my first and last pugilistic performance."

"It's my fault," burst out Cricket, "and I ought to be put in jail. Will had been showing me how to wrestle, and he had taught me such a good twist, that I caught Archie on, and I thought I'd just show grandma-just barely show her, auntie, and I put my foot around her ankle, and somehow, she went right over like ninepins, and doubled up her foot. Oh, grandma! can you ever walk again?"

Grandma's lips were getting rather white with pain from her foot, but she laughed again, and said, brightly:

"Yes, indeed, little maid, I will be all right in a week or two."

"A week!" groaned Cricket. "I thought you were going to say to-morrow."

Auntie Jean had slipped off grandma's stocking, and was bathing her rapidly swelling foot with arnica. In a few minutes, Will, and Archie, and Luke appeared, bringing a piazza-chair, and two stout poles. Auntie Jean bandaged the foot temporarily, and then Luke and Will helped grandma up in the chair. They slipped the poles lengthwise under the chair, and Luke stood ready to lift the front ends as Will and Archie took the rear ones.

"Wait a moment," said Aunt Jean, as the procession was ready to start. "Can't I fix a support for your foot, mother? It will hurt it dreadfully to hang it down."

"Put a stick across the poles, and the cushion on it," suggested Cricket, quickly, "and lay her foot on that." She picked up a stout stick, and laid it in place, while Archie put the cushion on it, and adjusted grandma's foot on it.

"That's a capital suggestion," said grandma, approvingly. "That feels very comfortable. Are you sure you can lift me, boys?"

"Could carry a ton this way, Mrs. Maxwell," said Luke. "All ready, boys. Hist all together, now." And as they all "histed" the procession moved. Auntie Jean and Cricket walked on either side, keeping the cushion and stick in place. So grandma finally arrived, was helped up the piazza steps, and into her own room, which was, fortunately, on the first floor.

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