“That broom makes me think of what I learned at school when I was a girl.”
“What was that?”
“I am not much of a scholar, but I remember this. Admiral Tromp was a Dutchman, and commanded a fleet that went against the English. Tromp was so successful that he tied a broom to his mast-head and went sailing over the waters, and that meant he had swept his enemy from the sea, and if he hadn’t, he would certainly do it and make clean work of it. Over the blue waters he went skipping along, feeling dreadful big, with that broom at the mast-head. The English boys, though, came at him again and whipped him, and poor Tromp was finally killed in a sea-fight. I don’t know what became of his broom. You had better call that an English and not a Dutch broom.”
When Charlie went up stairs that night, the Neponset as he called the monitor, was still sailing in the sitting-room, its sails all set, its broom at the mast-head. He thought it was splendid to be sick.
“How long do you think this sickness may go on?” was the last question he asked Aunt Stanshy that night.
“O, if it is a slow fever, it might last several weeks, but I don’t want to discourage you.”
“Discourage!” It was magnificent. Two or three weeks of toast and jelly and oranges and many soft words, and not a few hugs! That night he was dreaming of boxes of oranges he was emptying, and of glasses of jelly big as hogsheads, out of which he was taking jelly by the shovelful! The next morning he felt—though unwilling to confess it—much better. At noon keen old Dr. Pillipot happened to come along, and Aunt Stanshy referred Charlie’s case to him. Old Dr. Pillipot bent his sharp, gray eyes down toward Charlie and made up a horrid face as he growled, “Let me see your tongue, young man. Hem! Looks quite well. Let me feel your pulse. So! Quite good. The weather has changed, and as it is mild and sunny, he might walk down to school this—afternoon.
“O dear!” groaned Charlie, when the doctor had left. “I wish I had scared his horse off when I saw him coming down the lane. You and I, aunty, did have such a nice time!”
O, the trials of this life!
Charlie, though, had a dose of comfort from Aunt Stanshy. She told him he need not go to school until the next day, and when the morning came, she said:
“I believe the Neponset took a cargo on board in the night.”
There in the shadow of the mast-head was a column of doughnuts!
“You may take them all to school with you, Charlie.”
Now he was glad that he was not sick. He disposed of six doughnuts that forenoon, and as these, if tied together, would have made good chain-shot for the monitor, and yet did not affect him unfavorably, it was proof that Charlie was restored to health.
THE NAILED DOOR AND WINDOW.