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   Chapter 14 PLAYING NURSE.

Cricket at the Seashore By Elizabeth Weston Timlow Characters: 7115

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02


Poor Cricket went around with a face as long as her arm, all the rest of the day, dreadfully cast down by this unfortunate result of her wrestling lessons. For a while, she was almost ready to vow that she would never do anything again that the boys did, but when she thought of all the lovely things this would cut her off from, she couldn't make up her mind to go that length.

"SHE BURIED HERSELF IN THE STORY FOR 'THE ECHO'"

Auntie Jean soon assured her that the sprain was not at all serious, and that the inflammation seemed to be going down already, but her heart was very heavy. She would not go sailing with the boys, nor sit under the rocks with the girls, and at last she buried herself in her next story for the Echo. A very tragic and mournful tale it was, of a naughty little girl, who was left in charge of her small brother, but who ran away, all by herself, up garret, to play, and when she went back she found her poor little baby brother had fallen into the bath-tub, which was left half full of water, and was drowned. Picturing the remorse of her heroine, and how they finally brought the baby back to life, although he had been in the water all the afternoon,-of course Cricket did not mind a little thing like that,-somewhat relieved her mind. By supper-time she had sufficiently recovered so that she could allow herself to smile.

Will came in from the post-office, waving a letter that finished the work. It was from Hilda Mason, saying that she could come on Friday next, as Cricket, with auntie's permission, had written, asking her to do, to spend a week.

"Goody! goody!" cried Cricket, dancing around, with her dimples quite in evidence again. "Won't we have fun! and she can write a story for the 'Echo,' too."

"What bliss!" remarked Archie, bringing all her curly hair over her face with a sweep of his arm.

"It's a great honour to be a contributor to a paper, Mr. Archie, so," shaking back her hair, and pulling his.

"Especially for one that pays so liberally as the 'Echo,'" teased Archie.

"You're a model of sarcasticity, I suppose you think," said Cricket, tossing her head. "Auntie, will you take us to Plymouth some day? I know Hilda will want to see Plymouth Rock."

"Watch her that she doesn't carry it off in her pocket," advised Archie.

"And all the other interesting things in Plymouth," went on Cricket, turning her back on him. "And we'll go over to Bear Island for a picnic, girls."

"Yes, if you'll promise-" began Edna.

"Goodness, yes! if you won't say anything more about it," interrupted Cricket, hastily. "And, oh, auntie! couldn't we have some charades? Some real, regular charades, I mean, not little ones all by ourselves."

"I'll be in them, if you'll have something I like," offered Archie, condescendingly.

"If we have any charades, you may be sure we won't ask you," returned Cricket, crushingly. "I'll have Will, though. He's a very good actress, and he doesn't spoil everything, as some other people do."

"Thank you," said Will, making a bow, with his hand on his heart.

"I'm out of it, then," said Archie, "for I know I'm not a good actress."

"Of course I meant actor. There isn't much difference, anyway. Just two letters. Anyway, we'll have a beautiful time. You'll have Edna, Eunice, and I'll have Hilda."

"What do you suppose would happen if it should chance to be a rainy week, and I should have you all on my hands to entertain in the house, now, while grandma is laid up? Would there be any house left?" asked Auntie Jean.

"The cellar," s

aid Eunice. "But I'd be sorry for you, auntie."

"And I for myself. But I don't think it will rain, and you'll probably have a lovely time together."

"Don't expect too much," advised Will. "Anticipation is always better than reality, you know."

"It wouldn't be, if people always had as good a time as they expected," remarked Cricket, thoughtfully.

There was a shout at this.

"Exactly, little wiseacre. That's the trouble," laughed auntie. "Write to Hilda to come on the 4.10 train Friday afternoon, and we'll all be ready to help you both have as good a time as you anticipate."

Cricket departed to write the following letter:

"Dearest Old Hilda:

"I was so glad to get your letter that I nearly jumped out of my shoes. We'll have the greatest fun that ever was, and auntie will take us to Plymouth, and I'll guess Will will sail us out beyond the Gurnet Light, and we can have a picnic on the island, perhaps. What do you think I've gone and done to-day? I expect you'll say it's just like me, and I'm sure it isn't like anybody else, and I'm awfully morterfied. I wrestled with grandmother, my grandmother Maxwell, when she didn't know I was going to, and I tipped her right over accidentally, without meaning to, and I've almost broken her leg!!! Isn't that too dreadful? I didn't quite break her leg, but I sprained her ankle, so she can't walk. I never knew anybody to do such terrible, morterfying things as I do. I do hope I'll get to be proper and good when I'm grown-up. It would be very nice to be born proper, and very nice for my mother, but then I wouldn't have had so much fun. I want to see you so much that I can't wait, hardly. It seems a million years till Friday. Remember you're to stay a whole week, and we'll have loads of fun. Auntie says come on the 4.10 train, and we'll meet you.

"Yours very lovingest,

"Jean Maxwell."

The next morning, after breakfast, when grandma was up and dressed, with her sprained foot resting on a cushioned chair in front of her, Cricket presented herself at the door.

"I've come to be your legger, grandma," she announced, "and I'll read to you, or amuse you, or play dominos or halma with you, or anything you like. Or we might play go-bang. That's very interesting."

"Thank you, little granddaughter," said grandmother, much amused, but touched as well. "I'll be very glad to have a legger, but, after all, it wasn't my eyes that were sprained, so I can read very well for myself. I couldn't think of keeping you in all this beautiful day."

But Cricket begged to be allowed to stay with her, and stay she did. A deft little nurse she proved. She initiated grandmother into the mysteries of go-bang, and the "Chequered Game of Life;" she read in the morning papers the articles that grandmother pointed out, and let herself be taught checkers and backgammon, showing surprising quickness in learning. At last she nearly paralyzed her grandmother by voluntarily suggesting her going and bringing her knitting, to knit a little, "while we just plain talk for a change," she said.

So the little maid ensconced herself in a chair near grandma's large one, with her wash-rag. Grandma took up her knitting, also, and the needles clicked, socially.

"Why couldn't you tell me a story? I always forget to talk while I'm knitting, so I can't be very entertaining," said Cricket, laboriously pushing her needle through her very tight stitches, and twisting her face into a very hard knot. The boys said Cricket knit as much with her face as with her fingers.

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