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“Well-no, it's not well; but it can't be helped. Take care of you famously if you do get it.”
What is the matter with me?" said the little patient, now speaking for the first time.
“Only scarlet fever,” said the doctor,—“that's not much. Worst thing is, it makes one look like a lobster."
Shall I be sick a great while?" said the child again. “Hum" said the doctor,—“depends entirely: Not if you make haste and get well. I'll cure you up in no time.”
The words seemed satisfactory enough, but they failed to give satisfaction. Hulda looked away from him to her sister, finding comfort in her look and smile, grave as they both were.
The doctor fidgeted about the room, kicked the fire, came båck to ask questions, then stamped off to the door.
“Hark you, Miss Rosalie,” he said, " don't forget why I left that crack in the window-shutter. Good-bye I'll see you again this evening. And keep your spirits up,-there's nothing in life to put 'em down.”
But Rosalie thought that there was many a thing in life to do that office for her spirits had they needed it. In life !-With that thought came one of life's great antagonist, and sitting down once more by the bed, she took her little sister on her lap, and began very tenderly that work of undressing which the doctor had recommended. Was there anything in death to depress her?".
There had been,-the tokens of his power were not less plain upon her face than in her dress; and now-human nature lived still! Before those two sisters could be separated many a band must give way that passed about them, unseen in this world, but forming to the eyes of angels a golden tissue of love and confidence. Rosalie felt as if some hand were trying its strength even now. There was something in these quiet preparations for suffering that tried her extremely; and to brace her mind for possibilities, without that sudden strength which an emergency gives, was very hard. And more than once was her hand passed across her face with that feeling of which Rutherford wrote,—"O how sweet it is
a sinner to put his weakness in Christ's strengthening hand ! Weakness can speak and cry, when we have not a tongue.”
“Do you think I shall get well, Alie?” said little Hulda, looking " I trust so, my darling." Steady and sweet the voice was as ever. “Then what makes you look sorrowful ?”
“Because you look sick. Is not that enough to make me sorrowful ?"
“No,-not if I'm going to get well soon.". And as if but half satisfied with her sister's
face, Hulda repeated,—" Isn't he a good doctor: Wont he cure me?"
“I believe he is a very good doctor; but, dear Hulda, I trust you in better hands than his."
The child smiled with a perfect understanding of her words,&
up at her.
look so quick and bright, that Rosalie was silent until her little charge was laid in the bed. Then Hulda spoke.
Say that to me again. “I have done as the people did when Jesus was in the world,” Rosalie answered,—“when they brought their sick and laid them down at Jesus' feet, and besought him that he would heal them.” “I wish you would ask him again,” said the child, wearily closing
“for my head aches very much.” And kneeling down with the little hand fast in hers, Rosalie spoke once more the words of submission and entreaty,—that strange mingling of feeling which none but a Christian can either know or rest in. When she arose Hulda was asleep.
Carefully drawing the drapery around the bed corner, so as to shield the child's eyes yet more from the light, Rosalie began to busy herself in arranging the room for its new use. Unnecessary articles were put out, and the needful brought in; and the closet was so filled and arranged that the rest of the house should be but little called upon. At first Rosalie had half determined that none of the servants should be allowed to enter the sick-room; but Martha Jumps, light of heart as of foot, having declared that nothing short of a dismissal from the house should keep her from going where she pleased in it, she was made an exception,-and forthwith moved about with a great access of dignity.
There aint the least bit of ueak leather in my shoes, I can tell you," said Martha, in a whisper, which, low as was, penetrated to the remotest corner of the room. “I could walk over hatching eggs and not scare the chickens. Tom Skiddy saysWhat next, Miss Rosalie:”
" That little thermometer that hangs in the front room downstairs, Martha—and my desk, and the trivet.”
“Theometers, hey,” said Martha,- " that aint just the sort of doctor's stuff I took when I was a child, and yet I growed up as fast as most folks, too. What's the good of theometers ?"
But she brought it. “ Has Mr. Thornton come home?" was Rosalie's last question.
"Not he!” said Martha, emphatically. “The idea! “And what use, after all?”
Ask him to come up here as soon as he does, Martha.” And then she sat down quietly to wait--that hardest of all things to do.
The sun was not long in finding his way to the horizon, and the darkness which had lain hid until his departure came forth,-at first slowly and tarrying in corners, then marching with swift steps over the whole city. The crowd gave way before her; footsteps were few and distinct; the hum and the roar were past; and every carriage now had credit for just its own noise and no other. The doctor had come on his promised visit, and had left medicine “to be taken when she wakes up;" and still Rosalie sat there alone in the dim light from the fire, and the far off and shielded candle. The winds were whispering at the corners of the house, and anon sighing around it,—now raising and now depressing their voices, but never entirely silent. Footsteps now had a character
and meaning, coming out as they did from the deep stillness and passing into other stillness as deep; and as an oyster-man went slowly through the street with his cart, his deep monotonous cry of “Oys—ters !” chimed wildly and yet soothingly with the universal tone of all things else.
And so passed the evening until a loud ring sounded through the house, and the new comer had sprung up-stairs and entered the sick room, almost before the startled bell clapper had regained its equanimity. “ Hush !” was Rosalie's first greeting.
I thought you wanted to see me," said the young man, with a but half-checked step.
Yes, but softly-you will wake Hulda.” “No disparagement to your eyes, my dear-which are as fine as can be, no doubt-but I also must lay claim to some powers of vision. Hulda has been watching me ever since I came into the
Now what is your pleasure: Martha having screamed scarlet fever!' after me as I came up-stairs, I am prepared for any disclosures. Is that really the state of the case ?" “So Dr. Buffem says.".
"Well, I suppose he is at least on a par with his brethren in sagacity,” said Thornton, sitting down on the edge of the bed. “ How do you feel, young one? Hey-day!-don't you want to be kissed ?”
"No," said Hulda, who had turned her face very decidedly away.
“You've been smoking.”. What a little goose you are!" said her brother, laughing and standing up again. “And I suppose I may not even shake hands with you, my Lady Squeamish :"
But the lips that were hastily offered him showed no fear of his, and the hand that rested on his shoulder had no touch but of sisterly affection-unless a little want of comfort mingled therewith. Thornton returned the embrace very heartily.
You are a dear girl," he said, “with all your prejudices. Now don't trouble yourself about this child-I daresay she will do well enough. Would it be any comfort to you if I sat up with her tonight?"
No,” said Rosalie, with a smile which she could not repress at the very idea; "for then I should have two people to take care of instead of one. “ What are you going to give her?"
Something I have here I don't know what:-at twelve o'clock, Dr. Buffem said.”.
Well, I will come in then and see how you get on, and give her the medicine."
A very needless offer, but it was not refused; and when little Hulda awoke at midnight from uneasy dreams to the dazzling candle, it was to see the medicine-spoon in the hands of Thornton, and that plan of arrangements sanctioned by her sister's quiet presence and smile. But it was Rosalie's arm
that raised her up, and it was on Rosalie's bosom that her head lay; and if Hulda Ireamed of angels that night, they all wore Rosalie's face.
A joy has taken flight.-ŚHELLEY, FOR several days the doctor's visits were short and frequent; and his conversation was made up of little abrupt questions and ejaculations, assurances to Hulda that if he killed her he would have her buried, and earnest requests to Rosalie that she would furnish him with another patient. His first step was always towards the window; and having admitted a few of the proscribed sunbeams, he came back to the bed and made his observations, and once more closed the shutter. Counsel and warning about antimony and apple-water took up what further time the doctor saw fit to bestow in this quarter of his round; and then the room was left to the unquiet motions of the sick child, and the gentle and tender ministering of her nurse. Sometimes when Hulda was more than usually at ease, her eyes followed Rosalie about the roomwatching, with a dreamy pleasure the perfect doing of the one person whom she thought perfect, -noticing the noiseless placing of a stick of wood on the fire, and the laughing answer which the flames
and sometimes her thoughts were held fast for a while, as the white ashes came over the red coals, and then dropped off, or the sap went singing out at the end of the stick, or the stick itself broke and fell down over the andirons. But her eyes got tired with the light and went after Rosalie, who was perhaps arranging the cups and napkin on the little stand; and if she went into the closet, Hulda knew she had gone for an apple, and watched with some interest while the apple was made fast to a string, and that again to the mantelpiece. Then she noticed the desperate twists of the apple when it found itself at liberty to twist; and turning her head a little she listened to hear the first spurt of the apple-juice, and watched the bright drops as they came back from their tangent, and fell into the little silver plate that awaited them; while the apple having waltzed to its heart's content, presented a steady front to the fire, and rebelled against being roasted all round. Often Hulda fell asleep here, and then awoke in time to see the refractory apple, all brown and shrivelled, cut loose from the string and shut up in a silver pitcher with plenty of boiling water. At this point she always felt thirsty, and was quite ready for the tumbler by the time it came to her bedside; but though Rosalie held her up, and managed glass and spoon to admiration-tasted the apple-water too, lest it might be not sweet or not cool enough-Hulda could take but a few spoonfuls, and was glad to lie down again.
Thornton's visits were a little variety, but of no other use ; though he always wore a look as if he knew he ought to do some. thing, and hadn't the remotest idea what,
,-a look which his sister understood perfectly, and read with sometimes a smile and sometimes a sigh. The visits were always short. Hulda could bear very little talking or reading, and her greatest comfort was to have Rosalie's face on the pillow with her own, and to hear from her
lips a verse of a hymn or from the Bible, or some little story or incident, or a few of her own sweet and quiet words. No one else entered the room, except to bring wood and water and Rosalie's meals; and on these occasions Martha Jumps restrained as much as possible her own love of talk, and said not many words more than were needful. The sounds from the street became to little Hulda's ear almost what they were to her sister's; and in the still, late evening she lay and listened to the oyster-man, with a strange feeling of dreariness and pleasure. And as in health, so in sickness, the morning never rose and the evening never fell, that Rosalie did not kneel by her little sister, and pray with her and for her in just such words as she could understand. Martha Jumps stayed her foot if perchance she entered the room at those times; and Thornton more than once found himself there, and wished himself away, and did not go.
“I wonder what Dr. Buffem would say to such proceedings !" he remarked one evening, when he had come softly in during the prayer, and had stood watching and listening, too proud even to bend his head. “In my opinion he would call them feverish. What would you say, Rosalie, if I should report, and if the doctor should issue contrary orders ?"
"I should hear them," she answered with a smile that told very plainly what more she would do.
“ And by what token, my sage sister, do you prove yourself wiser than your physician ?”
0-by not thinking of men above what is written.'" “A most complete lady in the opinion of some three besides her. self!" said Thornton. Nevertheless, I stand to the feverishness."
But it couldn't make me feverish,”'. said Hulda, putting in her word with voice as pale and thin as her face. I like it-always.
“ Like it, you pickaninny! You don't know what you like.'
" It would be strange,” said Rosalie, with a very gentle look at Hulda, and then turning one no less gentle but of somewhat different expression upon Thornton, “it would be strange if a child brought up as she has been, to look upon God as her best friend, should be disturbed or wearied by all mention of his name.
"You are looking marvellously pretty to-night," was Thornton's cool reply, while he surveyed his sister as if he had not the remotest idea what she was talking about. “ I only hope you will keep on these wrappers when you come down stairs again. I am as tired of seeing you in that black dress as a man can be of seeing you at all, I suppose. Here, don't turn off with that face; look up and kiss me before I go. What are you so grave about?".
She gave the required kiss, but not the required answer; and moving away to the fireplace began to pile together the fallen brands—arranging and altering, as if in no haste to have the task finished.
“ Well-what?" said Thornton, following her; "what have I said that was so dreadful ? Did you never hear that
A saint in crape is twice a saint in lawn poss