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Rainbow Valley

X. The Manse Girls Clean House
"Ugh," said Faith, sitting up in bed with a shiver. "It's raining. I do hate a rainy
Sunday. Sunday is dull enough even when it's fine."
"We oughtn't to find Sunday dull," said Una sleepily, trying to pull her drowsy wits
together with an uneasy conviction that they had overslept.
"But we DO, you know," said Faith candidly. "Mary Vance says most Sundays
are so dull she could hang herself."
"We ought to like Sunday better than Mary Vance," said Una remorsefully. "We're
the minister's children."
"I wish we were a blacksmith's children," protested Faith angrily, hunting for her
stockings. "THEN people wouldn't expect us to be better than other children.
JUST look at the holes in my heels. Mary darned them all up before she went
away, but they're as bad as ever now. Una, get up. I can't get the breakfast
alone. Oh, dear. I wish father and Jerry were home. You wouldn't think we'd miss
father much--we don't see much of him when he is home. And yet EVERYTHING
seems gone. I must run in and see how Aunt Martha is."
"Is she any better?" asked Una, when Faith returned.
"No, she isn't. She's groaning with the misery still. Maybe we ought to tell Dr.
Blythe. But she says not--she never had a doctor in her life and she isn't going to
begin now. She says doctors just live by poisoning people. Do you suppose they
do?"
"No, of course not," said Una indignantly. "I'm sure Dr. Blythe wouldn't poison
anybody."
"Well, we'll have to rub Aunt Martha's back again after breakfast. We'd better not
make the flannels as hot as we did yesterday."
Faith giggled over the remembrance. They had nearly scalded the skin off poor
Aunt Martha's back. Una sighed. Mary Vance would have known just what the
precise temperature of flannels for a misery back should be. Mary knew
everything. They knew nothing. And how could they learn, save by bitter
experience for which, in this instance, unfortunate Aunt Martha had paid?
The preceding Monday Mr. Meredith had left for Nova Scotia to spend his short
vacation, taking Jerry with him. On Wednesday Aunt Martha was suddenly
seized with a recurring and mysterious ailment which she always called "the
misery," and which was tolerably certain to attack her at the most inconvenient
times. She could not rise from her bed, any movement causing agony. A doctor
she flatly refused to have. Faith and Una cooked the meals and waited on her.
The less said about the meals the better--yet they were not much worse than
Aunt Martha's had been. There were many women in the village who would have
been glad to come and help, but Aunt Martha refused to let her plight be known.
"You must worry on till I kin git around," she groaned. "Thank goodness, John
isn't here. There's a plenty o' cold biled meat and bread and you kin try your hand
at making porridge."
 
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