Much against their will John and Dorry were forced to wake up, and be slapped and scolded, and made ready for bed, Aunt Izzie standing over them all the while, like a dragon. She had just tucked them warmly in, when for the first time she missed Elsie. "Where is my poor little Elsie?" she exclaimed. "In bed," said Clover, meekly. "In bed!" repeated Aunt Izzie, much amazed.
When Aunt Izzie let her go up, Cousin Helen was lying on the sofa all dressed for the day in a fresh blue muslin, with blue ribbons, and cunning bronze slippers with rosettes on the toes. The sofa had been wheeled round with its back to the light.
The three girls didn't know much about sickness, but Papa's grave face, and the hushed house, weighed upon their spirits, and they missed the children very much. "Oh dear!" sighed Elsie. "How I wish Aunt Izzie would hurry and get well." "We'll be real good to her when she does, won't we?" said Clover. "I never mean to leave my rubbers in the hat-stand any more, because she don't like to have me.
And if there's money enough left, Aunty, won't you buy me a real nice book for Dorry, and another for Cecy, and a silver thimble for Mary? Her old one is full of holes. Oh! and some candy. And something for Debby and Bridget some little thing, you know. I think that's all!" Was ever seven dollars and a quarter expected to do so much? Aunt Izzie must have been a witch, indeed, to make it hold out.
Whenever Aunt Izzie went in, she was sure to find them there, just as close to Cousin Helen as they could get. And Cousin Helen begged her not to interfere. "We have only three or four days to be together," she said. "Let them come as much as they like. It won't hurt me a bit." Little Elsie clung with a passionate love to this new friend. Cousin Helen had sharp eyes.
It was a forlorn-looking child enough which she saw lying before her. Katy's face had grown thin, and her eyes had red circles about them from continual crying. Her hair had been brushed twice that morning by Aunt Izzie, but Katy had run her fingers impatiently through it, till it stood out above her head like a frowsy bush.
Kantor, disheveled and a smudge of soot across her face, but beneath her arm, triumphant, a violin of one string and a broken back. "See, Leon what mamma got! A violin! A fiddle! Look! The bow, too, I found. It ain't much, baby, but it's a fiddle." "Aw, ma that's my old violin. Gimme. I want it. Where'd you find " "Hush up, Izzie! This ain't yours no more. See, Leon, what mamma brought you.
"Elsie is a real cry-baby, anyway. And Aunt Izzie always takes her part. Just because I told the little silly not to go and send a great heavy slate to the post-office!" She went out by the side-door into the yard. As she passed the shed, the new swing caught her eye. "How exactly like Aunt Izzie," she thought, "ordering the children not to swing till she gives them leave.
Then came the parcels, all shapes and sizes, tied in white paper, with ribbons, and labelled. "What's that?" asked Dr. Carr, as Aunt Izzie rammed a long, narrow package into Clover's stocking. "A nail-brush," answered Aunt Izzie. "Clover needed a new one." How Papa and Katy laughed! "I don't believe Santa Claus ever had such a thing before," said Dr. Carr.
But after one little jump, nothing could have been sweeter than the way in which she comforted poor crest-fallen Katy, and made so merry over the accident, that even Aunt Izzie almost forgot to scold. The broken dishes were piled up and the carpet made clean again, while Aunt Izzie prepared another tray just as nice as the first.