« AnteriorContinuar »
I would not lift your humble face
Your little life were happier sped
Ben. Oh, mother, what a jolly day! such a hard frost, and it is Saturday—a whole holiday! I am going to slide on the farm pond, and Pat Maloney has promised to teach me to skate, and will lend me his skates, just to learn.
Mother. Oh, dear me! do you think the ice will bear? there was no frost till yesterday.
Ben. To be sure it will bear : it is as hard as iron. We shall have awful fun.
Mother. Stop, Ben; I shall be frightened to let you go on the ice unless father says you may. Run to Jervis's, where he's at work I believe, and ask him.
Ben. All right; only I know he will say I may. I'll bet you anything he will.
Mother. Oh, don't go to bet, pray; I can't bear betting.
* Whenever any bad grammar occurs in these dialogues, the class should be invited to correct it, and to state the reasons for such corrections.
Mrs. Thompson. Oh, Mrs. Jones, make hastethey've brought word your Ben is drowned in the farm pond; they've told me to fetch you. · Mrs. Jones. Oh, what ever was father about to let him go! What ever is to be done ? Oh, for pity's sake hold my baby for me; I must run.
Mrs. Thompson. My good woman, don't take on so; perhaps it isn't true, or perhaps he will come to. Hope the best.
Mrs. Thompson. Do step in, Mrs. Smith ; I'm so upset. Here's Ben Jones gone and got drowned ; what ever is to be done ? his mother is gone distracted. She's run to fetch him home.
Mrs. Smith. Oh, he mayn't be quite dead, and there's a many ways people have of bringing them to again. I've heard my grandmother say, and she was a very aged person, and very experienced, that rolling a drowned person in a cask, their heels a little higher than their head, is a wonderful cure. You see it fetches the water out of them.
Mrs. Thompson. Indeed! Where ever could one get a cask? We have a waterbutt. Should we get it ready, do you think ? Poor thing! his mother is so upset, and she mayn't have the thought. Ob, see ! here she is, and poor Ben too, carried home in a clothes-basket.
Mrs. Jones. Oh, what ever is to be done ? Oh, if father were but at home! I've sent and sent; why ever don't he come? But the dear boy is gone! no sense in him! Oh, what shall I do?
Mrs. Smith. Here, my good woman, compose your
self; I've got a cask to roll him in, to fetch the water out of him, or else we'll hang him by the heels for a few minutes.
Mrs. Thompson. But has nobody sent for the doctor, I wonder ?
Mrs. Jones. It isn't of any use, the dear child is gone; but I believe Pat Maloney did run for Doctor Williams. Not that I will ever forgive Pat for enticing him on the ice ; he's murdered him, he has.
Mrs. Thompson. And here he comes, riding as if for his life.
Dr. Williams. A case of drowning, is it? My * good woman, why have not you undressed the poor boy? Cut his clothes off quickly, and put him between hot blankets, quick!
Mrs. Smith. Beg pardon, sir, for interrupting, but we were going to roll him in a barrel, it's said to be a very fine thing
Dr. Williams. It would be certain death, if that's what you want. There, get him into bed, and two of you warm your hands and flour them, and rub his body and legs gently. Raise his head a little, and then lift up his arms slowly and gently above his head, and then down again, to try to get him to breathe.
Mrs. Smith. But, sir, the water that has drowned him ? how is that to be got out?
Dr. Williams. Nonsense; swallowing water don't drown, it's the want of air in the lungs. Because the water irritates the top of the windpipe, and it shuts, no air can get in. Now just move the arms again. I fancy I saw the chest move.
Mrs. Jones. Oh, pray, sir, pray do persevere, sir, and do all you can to save my poor dear boy! I know, sir, we do owe you a long bill as it is, but father and I will work day and night, we will, and live on bread and water to pay it, if you do but bring him to. Oh, my poor child ! speak to me, do, or I shall leave my senses, I shall.
Dr. Williams. My good woman, I am not thinking about my bill; but you must not go on so. If he can hear you, and I'm not sure he cannot, nothing is so bad for him as to be agitated like that. Now suppose you go into the kitchen to your baby.
Mrs. Jones. But I am his mother, sir; nobody can do for a child like his own mother. It's so natural to him to have me about him.
Dr. Williams. But you must keep from kissing and crying over him so. I do think his chest moves really, thank God !
Mrs. Jones. Oh, thank God indeed, sir! and you too, sir ! but you'll let me stop with my dying child, sir? Oh, here's father! Oh, father, how could you let this precious child go on the ice? You've been and murdered him, you have, you and Pat Maloney, between you.
Mr. Jones. Hush, mother, you are out of your senses. I've never seen the poor boy since yesterday, nor Pat either. I was on Willings’s farm.
Dr. Williams. I fear, Jones, that your poor wife has been too much upset to be fit to stop with Ben, who must be very quietly and carefully attended to. Nurse Wilson is at Willings's, but Mrs. Willings is doing very well, and would, I am sure, spare her for a night. If he is left to her, and she follows my orders till to-morrow, I believe that, please God, all is safe.
Mrs. Jones. Oh, father, you will never let my precious child be took from me, when he's only just come out of the water! I am his mother; nobody can do for a child like its own mother.
Mr. Jones. Hush, my dear; we must be ruled by the doctor, or, if he dies, how we shall reflect on ourselves. Depend on it, he knows. If you think well, sir, I'll step to Willings.
Dr. Williams. Do, I'll stay till you bring back a nurse. Stop, though! your poor wife has had no dinner, and, nursing her baby and all, she's quite upset. Here's a shilling; get a little bit of bacon and a couple of eggs, and get her to make you some tea by the time you come back. I will try whether your boy can't swallow a spoonful or two.
Mrs. Jones. Wouldn't a drop of gin be more reviving, sir?
Dr. Williams. I fear it would choke him at once; pray don't think of it.
Dr. Williams. Well, my boy, how are you? all right again ?
Ben. Yes, sir, thank you. I don't feel any the worse.
Dr. Williams. If not the worse, I hope you are the better, and that you have learnt what comes of disobedience.
Mother. Beg pardon, sir, for speaking a word, but