Not a member?     Existing members login below:

Under the Lilacs

Detective Thornton
A few days later, Miss Celia was able to go about with her arm in a sling, pale still, and
rather stiff, but so much better than any one expected, that all agreed Mr. Paine was right
in pronouncing Dr. Mills "a master hand with broken bones." Two devoted little maids
waited on her, two eager pages stood ready to run her errands, and friendly neighbors
sent in delicacies enough to keep these four young persons busily employed in disposing
of them.
Every afternoon the great bamboo lounging chair was brought out and the interesting
invalid conducted to it by stout Randa, who was head nurse, and followed by a train of
shawl, cushion, foot-stool and book bearers, who buzzed about like swarming bees round
a new queen. When all were settled, the little maids sewed and the pages read aloud, with
much conversation by the way; for one of the rules was, that all should listen attentively,
and if any one did not understand what was read, he or she should ask to have it
explained on the spot. Whoever could answer was invited to do so, and at the end of the
reading Miss Celia could ask any she liked, or add any explanations which seemed
necessary. In this way much pleasure and profit was extracted from the tales Ben and
Thorny read, and much unexpected knowledge as well as ignorance displayed, not to
mention piles of neatly hemmed towels for which Bab and Betty were paid like regular
So vacation was not all play, and the girls found their picnics, berry parties, and "goin' a
visitin'," all the more agreeable for the quiet hour spent with Miss Celia. Thorny had
improved wonderfully, and was getting to be quite energetic, especially since his sister's
accident; for while she was laid up he was the head of the house, and much enjoyed his
promotion. But Ben did not seem to flourish as he had done at first. The loss of Sancho
preyed upon him sadly, and the longing to go and find his dog grew into such a strong
temptation that he could hardly resist it. He said little about it; but now, and then a word
escaped him which might have enlightened any one who chanced to be watching him. No
one was, just then, so he brooded over this fancy, day by day, in silence and solitude, for
there was no riding and driving now. Thorny was busy with his sister trying to show her
that he remembered how good she had been to him when he was ill, and the little girls
had their own affairs.
Miss Celia was the first to observe the change, having nothing to do but lie on the sofa
and amuse herself by seeing others work or play. Ben was bright enough at the readings,
because theyn he forgot his troubles; but when they were over and his various duties
done, he went to his own room or sought consolation with Lita, being sober and quiet,
and quite unlike the merr monkey all knew and liked so well.
"Thorny, what is the matter with Ben?" asked Miss Celia, one day, when she and her
brother were alone in the "green parlor," as they called the lilac-tree walk.