“How do you do, my children?” she said, on one such occasion. “I am very glad to see you. How nice you look! You have come, Andella (Andella was the name of Jane’s doll), to make Rosalie a visit. I am very glad. You will have a very pleasant time, I am sure; because you never quarrel. I observe that, when you both wish for the same thing, you don’t quarrel for it and try to pull it away from one another; but one waits like a lady until the other has done with it. I expect you have been a very good girl, Andella, since you were here last.”
Then, turning to Jane, she asked, in a somewhat altered tone, “Has she been a good girl, Jane?”
“She has been a pretty good girl,” said Jane, “but she has been sick.”
“Ah!” said Della in a tone of great concern, and looking again at Andella, “I heard that you had been sick. I heard that you had an attack of Aurora Borealis, or something like that. And you don’t look very well now. You must take good care of yourself, and if you don’t feel well, you must ask your mother to bring you in to me and I will give you a dose of my medicine—my aqua saccharina. I know you always take your medicine like a little heroine when you are sick, without making any difficulty or trouble at all.”
Aqua saccharina was the Latin name which Delia gave to a preparation of which she kept a supply in a small phial on her table, ready to make-believe give to the dolls when they were sick. Maria and Jane were very fond of playing that their dolls were sick and bringing them to Della for medicine, especially as Della always recommended to them to taste the medicine themselves from a spoon first, in order to set their children a good example of taking it well.
Sometimes Della would let the children take the phial away, so as to have it always at hand in case the dolls should be taken suddenly worse. But in such cases as this the attacks were usually so frequent, and the mothers were obliged to do so much tasting to encourage the patients, that the phial was soon brought back nearly or quite empty, when Delia used to replenish it by filling it nearly full of water, and then pouring a sufficient quantity of the saccharine powder into the mouth of it from the sugar-bowl with a spoon. Nothing more was necessary except to shake up the mixture in order to facilitate the process of solution, and the medicine was ready.
A Medium of Reproof.
Delia was accustomed to use the dolls not only for the purpose of instruction, but sometimes for reproof, in many ingenious ways. For instance, one day the children had been playing upon the piazza with blocks and other playthings, and finally had gone into the house, leaving all the things on the floor of the piazza, instead of putting them away in their places, as they ought to have done. They were now playing with their dolls in the parlor.
Delia came to the parlor, and with an air of great mystery beckoned the children aside, and said to them, in a whisper, “Leave Andella and Rosalie here, and don’t say a word to them. I want you to come with me. There is a secret—something I would not have them know on any account.”