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Jack and Jill

6. Surprises
"Is it pleasant?" was the question Jill asked before she was fairly awake on Christmas
morning.
"Yes, dear; as bright as heart could wish. Now eat a bit, and then I'll make you nice for
the day's pleasure. I only hope it won't be too much for you," answered Mrs. Pecq,
bustling about, happy, yet anxious, for Jill was to be carried over to Mrs. Minot s, and it
was her first attempt at going out since the accident.
It seemed as if nine o clock would never come, and Jill, with wraps all ready, lay waiting
in a fever of impatience for the doctor's visit, as he wished to superintend the moving. At
last he came, found all promising, and having bundled up his small patient, carried her,
with Frank's help, in her chair-bed to the ox-sled, which was drawn to the next door, and
Miss Jill landed in the Boys Den before she had time to get either cold or tired. Mrs.
Minot took her things off with a cordial welcome, but Jill never said a word, for, after one
exclamation, she lay staring about her, dumb with surprise and delight at what she saw.
The great room was entirely changed; for now it looked like a garden, or one of the fairy
scenes children love, where in-doors and out-of-doors are pleasantly combined. The
ceiling was pale blue, like the sky; the walls were covered with a paper like a rustic
trellis, up which climbed morning-glories so naturally that the many-colored bells
seemed dancing in the wind. Birds and butterflies flew among them, and here and there,
through arches in the trellis, one seemed to look into a sunny summer world, contrasting
curiously with the wintry landscape lying beyond the real windows, festooned with
evergreen garlands, and curtained only by stands of living flowers. A green drugget
covered the floor like grass, rustic chairs from the garden stood about, and in the middle
of the room a handsome hemlock waited for its pretty burden. A Yule-log blazed on the
wide hearth, and over the chimney-piece, framed in holly, shone the words that set all
hearts to dancing, "Merry Christmas!"
"Do you like it, dear? This is our surprise for you and Jack, and here we mean to have
good times together," said Mrs. Minot, who had stood quietly enjoying the effect of her
work.
"Oh, it is so lovely I don't know what to say!" and Jill put up both arms, as words failed
her, and grateful kisses were all she had to offer.
"Can you suggest anything more to add to the pleasantness?" asked the gentle lady,
holding the small hands in her own, and feeling well repaid by the child's delight.
"Only Jack"; and Jill's laugh was good to hear, as she glanced up with merry, yet wistful
eyes.
 
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