Marjorie’s head began to sway back and forth, and Molly, thoroughly frightened, seized her by the shoulder and shook her vigorously.
“Marjorie Maynard!” she exclaimed. “If you faint and tumble out of this bucket, I’ll never speak to you again as long as I live!”
Her excited tones roused Marjorie from the faintness that was beginning to steal over her.
“I don’t want to fall into the water,” she said, shuddering.
“Well, then, brace up and behave yourself! Stand up straight in your bucket and hang on to the chains. Don’t look down; that was what made you feel faint. We’re here and we must make the best of it. We can’t get out until somebody comes, so let’s be plucky and do the best we can.”
“Pooh! Molly Moss! I guess I can be as brave as you can! I’m not going to faint, or tumble into the water, or do anything silly! Now that I don’t have to stand on tiptoe, I could stand here all day,—and Carter’s bound to come for water for the cows.”
Then what did those two ridiculous girls do but bravely try to outdo each other in their exhibition of pluck!
Neither complained again of weariness or cramped muscles, and finally Marjorie proposed that they tell each other stories to make the time pass, pleasantly. The stories were not very interesting affairs, for both speaker and listener were really suffering from pain and chill.
At last Molly said: “Suppose we scream some more. If Carter should be passing by, you know, he might hear us.”
Marjorie was quite willing to adopt this plan, and after that they screamed at intervals on the chance of being heard.
Two mortal hours the girls hung in the well before help came, and then Carter, passing near the well, heard what seemed to him like a faint and muffled cry.
Scarcely thinking it could be the children, he paused and listened.
Again he heard a vague sound, which seemed as if it might be his own name called in despairing tones.
Guided more by instinct than reason, he went and looked over the well-curb, and was greeted with two jubilant voices, which called up to him:
“Oh, Carter, Carter, pull us up! We’re down the well, and we’re nearly dead!”
“Oh, my! oh, my!” groaned Carter. “Are ye drowned?”
AN EVENTFUL DAY
“Not a bit,” chirped Midget, who was determined to be plucky to the last; “we just came down here to get cooled off, and somehow we can’t get up.”
“Well, if ye aren’t a team of Terrors!” exclaimed the exasperated Carter. “I’ve a good mind to let ye stay down there and get cooled off!”
Carter was really frightened, but Marjorie’s voice was so reassuring that his mood turned to anger at the children’s foolishness. As he looked into the situation, however, and saw the girls clasping each other as they hung half-way down the well, his alarm returned.