Pewmonia! groaned Dolly, burrowing among the bedclothes with the long-handled pan, as if bent on fishing up that treacherous disease.
Oh, is it bad? asked Phebe, nearly dropping a pail of hot water in her dismay, for she knew nothing of sickness, and Dollys suggestion had a peculiarly dreadful sound to her.
Hush! ordered the Doctor, in a tone that silenced all further predictions, and made everyone work with a will.
Make her as comfortable as you can, and when she is in her little bed Ill come and say good-night, he added, when the bath was ready and the blankets browning nicely before the fire.
Then he went away to talk quite cheerfully to Aunt Peace about its being only a chill; after which he tramped up and down the hall, pulling his beard and knitting his brows, sure signs of great inward perturbation.
I thought it would be too good luck to get through the year without a downfall. Confound my perversity! Why couldnt I take Myras advice and keep Rose at home. Its not fair that the poor child should suffer for my sinful over-confidence. She shall not suffer for it! Pneumonia, indeed! I defy it, and he shook his fist in the ugly face of an Indian idol that happened to be before him, as if that particularly hideous god had some spite against his own little goddess.
In spite of his defiance his heart sunk when he saw Rose again, for the pain was worse, and the bath and blankets, the warming-pan and piping-hot sage tea, were all in vain. For several hours there was no rest for the poor child, and all manner of gloomy forebodings haunted the minds of those who hovered about her with faces full of the tenderest anxiety.
In the midst of the worst paroxysm Charlie came to leave a message from his mother, and was met by Phebe coming despondently downstairs with a mustard plaster that had brought no relief.
What the dickens is the matter? You look as dismal as a tombstone, he said, as she held up her hand to stop his lively whistling.
Miss Rose is dreadful sick.
The deuce she is!
Dont swear, Mr. Charlie; she really is, and its Mr. Macs fault, and Phebe told the sad tale in a few sharp words, for she felt at war with the entire race of boys at that moment.
Ill give it to him, make your mind easy about that, said Charlie, with an ominous doubling up of his fist. But Rose isnt dangerously ill, is she? he added anxiously, as Aunt Plenty was seen to trot across the upper hall, shaking a bottle violently as she went.
Oh, but she is though. The Doctor dont say much, but he dont call it a chill any more. Its pleurisy now, and Im so afraid it will be pewmonia to-morrow, answered Phebe, with a despairing glance at the plaster.
Charlie exploded into a stifled laugh at the new pronunciation of pneumonia, to Phebes great indignation.
How can you have the heart to do it, and she in such horrid pain? Hark to that, and then laugh if you darst, she said with a tragic gesture, and her black eyes full of fire.
Charlie listened and heard little moans that went to his heart and made his face as sober as Phebes. O uncle, please stop the pain, and let me rest a minute! Dont tell the boys I wasnt brave. I try to bear it, but its so sharp I cant help crying.
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