at other mother sat by her boy’s bed as anxious butwith better hope, for Mrs. Minot made trouble sweet and helpfulby the way in which she bore it; and her boys were learning of herhow to find silver linings to the clouds that must come into thebluest skies.
  Jack lay wide awake, with hot cheeks, and throbbing head, and allsorts of queer sensations in the broken leg. The soothing potion hehad taken did not affect him yet, and he tried to beguile the wearytime by wondering who came and went below. Gentle rings at thefront door, and mysterious tappings at the back, had been going onall the evening; for the report of the accident had grownastonishingly in its travels, and at eight o clock the general beliefwas that Jack had broken both legs, fractured his skull, and lay atthe point of death, while Jill had dislocated one shoulder, and wasbruised black and blue from top to toe. Such being the case, it isno wonder that anxious playmates and neighbors haunted thedoorsteps of the two houses, and that offers of help poured in.
  Frank, having tied up the bell and put a notice in the lightedside-window, saying, “Go to the back door,” sat in the parlor,supported by his chum, Gus, while Ed played softly on the piano,hoping to lull Jack to sleep. It did soothe him, for a very sweetfriendship existed between the tall youth and the lad of thirteen.
  Ed went with the big fellows, but always had a kind word for thesmaller boys; and affectionate Jack, never ashamed to show hislove, was often seen with his arm round Ed’s shoulder, as they sattogether in the pleasant red parlors, where all the young peoplewere welcome and Frank was king.
  ”Is the pain any easier, my darling?” asked Mrs. Minot, leaningover the pillow, where the golden head lay quiet for a moment.
  ”Not much. I forget it listening to the music. Dear old Ed isplaying all my favorite tunes, and it is very nice. I guess he feelspretty sorry about me.””They all do. Frank could not talk of it. Gus wouldn’t go home totea, he was so anxious to do something for us. Joe brought backthe bits of your poor sled, because he didn’t like to leave themlying round for anyone to carry off, he said, and you might likethem to remember your fall by.”Jack tried to laugh, but it was rather a failure, though be managedto say, cheerfully,”That was good of old Joe. I wouldn’t lend him ‘Thunderbolt forfear he d hurt it. Couldn’t have smashed it up better than I did,could he? Don’t think I want any pieces to remind me of that fall. Ijust wish you d seen us, mother! It must have been a splendid spillto look at, anyway.””No, thank you; I d rather not even try to imagine my precious boygoing heels over head down that dreadful hill. No more pranks ofthat sort for some time, Jacky”; and Mrs. Minot looked ratherpleased on the whole to have her venturesome bird safe under hermaternal wing.
  ”No coasting till some time in January. What a fool I was to do it!
  Go-bangs always are dangerous, and that’s the fun of the thing. Ohdear!”Jack threw his arms about and frowned darkly, but never said aword of the wilful little baggage who had led him into mischief; hewas too much of a gentleman to tell on a girl, though it cost him aneffort to hold his tongue, because Mamma’s good opinion was veryprecious to him, and he longed to explain. She knew all about it,however, for Jill had been carried into the house reviling herselffor the mishap, and even in the midst of her own anxiety for herboy, Mrs. Minot understood the state of the case without morewords. So she now set his mind at rest by saying, quietly.
  ”Foolish fun, as you see, dear. Another time, stand firm and helpJill to control her headstrong will. When you learn to yield less andshe more, there will be no scrapes like this to try us all.””I’ll remember, mother. I hate not to be obliging, but I guess itwould have saved us lots of trouble if I’d said No in thebeginning. I tried to, but she would go. Poor Jill! I’ll take bettercare of her next time. Is she very ill, Mamma?””I can tell you better to-morrow. She does not suffer much, and wehope there is no great harm done.””I wish she had a nice place like this to be sick in. It must be verypoky in those little rooms,” said Jack, as his eye roved round thelarge chamber where he lay so cosey, warm, and pleasant, with thegay chintz curtains draping doors and windows, the rosy carpet,comfortable chairs, and a fire glowing in the grate.
  ”I shall see that she suffers for nothing, so don’t trouble your kindheart about her to-night, but try to sleep; that’s what you need,”answered his mother, wetting the bandage on his forehead, andputting a cool hand on the flushed cheeks.
  Jack obediently closed his eyes and listened while the boys sang”The Sweet By and By,” softening their rough young voices for hissake till the music was as soft as a lullaby. He lay so still hismother thought he was off, but presently a tear slipped out androlled down the red cheek, wetting her hand as it passed.
  ”My blessed boy, what is it?” she whispered, with a touch and atone that only mothers have.
  The blue eyes opened wide, and Jack’s own sunshiny smile brokethrough the tears that filled them as he said with a sniff,”Everybody is so good to me I can’t help making a noodle ofmyself.
  ”You are not a noodle!” cried Mamma, resenting the epithet. “Oneof the sweet things about pain and sorrow is that they show us howwell we are loved, how much kindness there is in the world, andhow easily we can make others happy in the same way when theyneed help and sympathy. Don’t forget that, little son,””Don’t see how I can, with you to show me how nice it is. Kiss megood-night, and then ‘I’ll be good, as Jill says.”Nestling his head upon his mother’s arm, Jack lay quiet till, lulledby the music of his mates, he drowsed away into the dreamlesssleep which is Nurse Nature’s healthiest soothing sirup for wearysouls and bodies.
Chapter 3
For some days, nothing was seen and little was heard of the “dearsufferers,” as the old ladies called them. But they were notforgotten; the first words uttered when any of the young peoplemet were: “How is Jack?” “Seen Jill yet?” and all waited withimpatience for the moment when they could be admitted to theirfavorite mates, more than ever objects of interest now.
  Meantime, the captives spent the first few days in sleep, pain, andtrying to accept the hard fact that school and play were done withfor months perhaps. But young spirits are wonderfully elastic andsoon cheer up, and healthy young bodies heal fast, or easily adaptthemselves to new conditions. So our invalids began to mend onthe fourth day, and to drive their nurses distracted with efforts toamuse them, before the first week was over.
  The most successful attempt originated in Ward No. I, as Mrs.
  Minot called Jack’s apartment, and we will give our sympathizingreaders some idea of this place, which became the stage whereonwere enacted many varied and remarkable scenes.
  Each of the Minot boys had his own room, and there collected hisown treasures and trophies, arranged to suit his convenience andtaste. Frank’s was full of books, maps, machinery, chemicalmesses, and geometrical drawings, which adorned the walls likeintricate cobwebs. A big chair, where he read and studied with hisheels higher than his head, a basket of apples for refreshment at allhours of the day or night, and an immense inkstand, in whichseveral pens were always apparently bathing their feet, were theprincipal ornaments of his scholastic retreat.
  Jack’s hobby was athletic sports, for he was bent on having astrong and active body for his happy little soul to live and enjoyitself in. So a severe simplicity reigned in his apartment; insummer, especially, for then his floor was bare, his windows wereuncurtained, and the chairs uncushioned, the bed being as narrowand hard as Napoleon’s. The only ornaments were dumbbells,whips, bats, rods, skates, boxing-gloves, a big bath-pan and a smalllibrary, consisting chiefly of books on games, horses, health,hunting, and travels. In winter his mother made things morecomfortable by introducing rugs, curtains, and a fire. Jack, also,relented slightly in the severity of his training, occasionallyindulging in the national buckwheat cake, instead of the prescribedoatmeal porridge, for breakfast, omitting his cold bath when thethermometer was below zero, and dancing at night, instead ofrunning a given distance by day.
  Now, however, he was a helpless captive, given over to all sorts ofcoddling, laziness, and luxury, and there was a droll mixture ofmirth and melancholy in his face, as he lay trussed up in bed,watching the comforts which had suddenly robbed his room of itsSpartan simplicity. A delicious couch was there, with Frankreposing in its depths, half hidden under several folios which hewas consulting for a history of the steam-engine, the subject of hisnext composition.
  A white-covered table stood near, with all manner of dainties setforth in a way to tempt the sternest principles. Vases of flowersbloomed on the chimney-piece gifts from anxious young ladies,left with their love. Frivolous story-books and picture-papersstrewed the bed, now shrouded in effeminate chintz curtains,beneath which Jack lay like a wounded warrior in his tent. But thesaddest sight for our crippled athlete was a glimpse, through ahalf-opened door, at the beloved dumb-bells, bats, balls,boxing-gloves, and snow-shoes, all piled ignominiously away inthe bath-pan, mournfully recalling the fact that their day was over,now, at least for some time.
  He was about to groan dismally, when his eye fell on a sight whichmade him swallow the groan, and cough instead, as if it chokedhim a little. The sight was his mother’s face, as she sat in a lowchair rolling bandages, with a basket beside her in which werepiles of old linen, lint, plaster, and other matters, needed for thedressing of wounds. As he looked, Jack remembered how steadilyand tenderly she had stood by him all through the har4 times justpast, and how carefully she had bathed and dressed his wound eachday in spite of the effort it cost her to give him pain or even seehim suffer.
  ”That’s a better sort of strength than swinging twenty-pounddumb-bells or running races; I guess I’ll try for that kind, too, andnot howl or let her see me squirm when the doctor hurts,” thoughtthe boy, as he saw that gentle face so pale and tired with muchwatching and anxiety, yet so patient, serene, and cheerful, that itwas like sunshine.
  ”Lie down and take a good nap, mother dear, I feel first-rate, andFrank can see to me if I want anything. Do, now,” he added, with apersuasive nod toward the couch, and a boyish relish in stirring uphis lazy brother.
  After some urging, Mamma consented to go to her room for fortywinks, leaving Jack in the care of Frank, begging him to be asquiet as possible if the dear boy wished to sleep, and to amuse himif he did not.
  Being worn out, Mrs. Minot lengthened her forty winks into athree hours nap, and as the “dear boy” scorned repose, Mr. Frankhad his hands full while on guard.
  ”I’ll read to you. Here’s Watt, Arkwright, Fulton, and a lot ofcapital fellows, with pictures that will do your heart good. Have abit, will you?” asked the new nurse, flapping the leaves invitinglyfor Frank bad a passion for such things, and drew steam-enginesall over his slate, as Tommy Traddles drew hosts of skeletonswhen low in his spirits.
  ”I don’t want any of your old boilers and stokers and whirligigs. Im tired of reading, and want something regularly jolly,” answeredJack, who had been chasing white buffaloes with “The Hunters ofthe West,” till he was a trifle tired and fractious.
  ”Play cribbage, euchre, anything you like”; and Frank obliginglydisinterred himself from under the folios, feeling that it was hardfor a fellow to lie flat a whole week.
  ”No fun; just two of us. Wish school was over, so the boys wouldcome in; doctor said I might see them now.””They’ll be along by and by, and I’ll hail them. Till then, whatshall we do? I’m your man for anything, fake nike shoes uk

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