As Marjorie went on with her narrative, Grandma Sherwood began to understand that the children had been in real danger, and she clasped her little grandchild closer until her own dress was nearly as wet as the rest of them.
“And so you see, Grandma,” she proceeded, somewhat triumphantly, “it wasn’t mischief a bit! It was a—an accident that might have happened to anybody; and, oh, Grandma dear, wasn’t it a narrow squeak for Stella!”
“Howly saints!” ejaculated Eliza; “to think of them dear childer bein’ shtruck be thunder, an’ mighty near killed! Och, but ye’re the chrazy wans! Whyever did ye go to yer tree-top shanty in such a shtorm? Bad luck to the botherin’ little house!”
“Of course it didn’t rain when we went there,” said Marjorie, who was now dancing around Eliza, and flirting her wet ruffles at her, in an endeavor to tease the good-natured cook.
But even as they talked, Mrs. Sherwood and Eliza were taking precautions against ill effects of the storm.
Mrs. Sherwood devoted her attention to Stella, as the one needing it most, while Eliza looked after the other two.
The three children were treated to a hot bath and vigorous rubbings, and dry clothes, and in a short time, attired in various kimonos and dressing-gowns from Marjorie’s wardrobe, the three victims sat in front of the kitchen range, drinking hot lemonade and eating ginger cookies.
As Marjorie had said, there had been no wrongdoing; not even a mischievous prank, except, perhaps, the breaking down of the ladder, and yet it seemed a pity that Stella should have suffered the most, when she never would have dreamed of staying at the tree-house after it began to look like rain, had it not been for the others.
However, there was certainly no scolding or punishment merited by any one; and Grandma Sherwood was truly thankful that the three were safe under her roof.
After the storm had entirely cleared away, Carter carried Stella home, and Mrs. Sherwood went with them to explain matters. Molly went skipping home, rather pleased than otherwise, to have such an exciting adventure to relate to her mother.
When Uncle Steve came home he was greatly interested in Midget’s tale of the tragedy, and greatly pleased that small heroine of the occasion by complimenting her on her ingenuity in using the firecrackers. The breaking of the ladder, he declared, was an accident, and said a new and stronger one should be put up. Furthermore, he decreed that a telephone connection should be established between “Breezy Inn” and Grandma’s house, so that victims of any disaster could more easily summon aid.
“That will be lovely,” said Marjorie, “but they say telephones are dangerous in thunderstorms; so, perhaps, it’s just as well that we didn’t have one there to-day.”