“Why, brownie! What has happened?” she cried, alarmed. “Dick, oh, poor old doggie, whatever have you been doing?”
Well she might ask, for poor Dick was covered with dust. He had a lump on his head, and a cut on his shoulder, and he could not help whining, as he made another effort to rise to greet her.
Then, amidst sobs and tears Huldah told her story, and Dick meanwhile looked up at her, a little protecting whimper escaping him from time to time. Now that the strain was over, and relief had come, Huldah broke down completely for a time. She was trembling in every limb, and was white to the lips. Miss Rose saw that the best thing for them both was to get them home as quickly as possible.
Half lifting Huldah, she helped her into the carriage. Then she put Dick in across her lap, and her basket at her feet, and finally got in herself.
“Now then,” she said, cheeringly, “we shall soon be home, and Dick shall have his bruises bathed and his poor leg bound up. Don’t cry any more, brownie, or you will frighten Mrs. Perry, and we mustn’t do that on any account, must we? Dick is going to be very brave—he always is—and you are going to be as plucky as Dick. See there, he is better already,” as the invalid gave a bark of excitement, at the sight of some sparrows in the road.
Huldah smiled, then laughed. If Dick was all right, nothing else seemed to matter. Dick turned his head and smiled up at her, to assure her he was better; and so, on the whole, it was quite a cheerful little party which drew up a few moments later before Mrs. Perry’s gate.
HULDAH GOES SHOPPING.
Though she made light of it to Mrs. Perry, the fright she had received kept Huldah in a very nervous state for many a day to come. She lived always in a constant dread of some harm coming to poor Dick, and she was never really easy if he was out of her sight. By day, her eyes were here, there, and everywhere, fearful that somewhere those two dreaded figures might be lurking about, waiting to attack or steal her Dick; and at night she lay awake hour after hour, thinking she heard sounds in the house or the garden. Half-a-dozen times she would get out of her bed, shaking with nervousness, yet unable to lie still, and peer out, to see if they really were getting over the garden wall or not, and always she longed for the night to be over. She felt safer when she was up and about, with Dick under her eye.
Miss Carew grew quite troubled about her—about them both, in fact, for Huldah’s nervousness, though she tried to keep it to herself, could scarcely be concealed from Mrs. Perry.
Something must be done to distract the child’s mind, she felt,—but what? And then, as though to solve the difficulty for her, came an order for half a dozen of Huldah’s pretty baskets.
No other cure she could have found would have been half so good. Huldah’s spirits went up to a pitch of delight such as she had never known before. She was full of gratitude and of eagerness to begin, and if Miss Rose had not been able to drive her in to Belmouth that very day to buy the raffia, there was, as Miss Rose said, no knowing what might have happened.