Jack and Jill
2. Two Penitents
Jack and Jill never cared to say much about the night which followed the first coasting
party of the season, for it was the saddest and the hardest their short lives had ever
known. Jack suffered most in body; for the setting of the broken leg was such a painful
job, that it wrung several sharp cries from him, and made Frank, who helped, quite
weak and white with sympathy, when it was over. The wounded head ached dreadfully,
and the poor boy felt as if bruised all over, for he had the worst of the fall. Dr. Whiting
spoke cheerfully of the case, and made so light of broken legs, that Jack innocently
asked if he should not be up in a week or so.
"Well, no; it usually takes twenty-one days for bones to knit, and young ones make
quick work of it," answered the doctor, with a last scientific tuck to the various
bandages, which made Jack feel like a hapless chicken trussed for the spit.
"Twenty-one days! Three whole weeks in bed! I shouldn't call that quick work," groaned
the dismayed patient, whose experience of illness had been limited.
"It is a forty days job, young man, and you must make up your mind to bear it like a
hero. We will do our best; but next time, look before you leap, and save your bones.
Good-night; you'll feel better in the morning. No jigs, remember"; and off went the busy
doctor for another look at Jill, who had been ordered to bed and left to rest till the other
case was attended to.
Anyone would have thought Jack's plight much the worse, but the doctor looked more
sober over Jill's hurt back than the boy's compound fractures; and the poor little girl had
a very bad quarter of an hour while he was trying to discover the extent 0f the injury,
"Keep her quiet, and time will show how much damage is done," was all he said in her
hearing; but if she had known that he told Mrs. Pecq he feared serious consequences,
she would not have wondered why her mother cried as she rubbed the numb limbs and
paced the pillows so tenderly.
Jill suffered most in her mind; for only a sharp stab of pain now and then reminded her
of her body; but her remorseful little soul gave her no peace for thinking of Jack, whose
bruises and breakages her lively fancy painted in the darkest colors.
"Oh, don't be good to me, Mammy; I made him go, and now he's hurt dreadfully, and
may die; and it is all my fault, and everybody ought to hate me," sobbed poor Jill, as a
neighbor left the room after reporting in a minute manner how Jack screamed when his
leg was set, and how Frank was found white as a sheet, with his head under the pump,
while Gus restored the tone of his friend's nerves, by pumping as if the house was on