Malleville's Night of Adventure by E. V. Lucas
The Story of Agnes
In a few minutes Beechnut returned with a large rocking-chair, which
he placed by the fire, on one side. He then took Malleville in his
arms, and carried her to the chair, and sat down. Next he asked Phonny
to go out into the entry, and look by the side of the door, and to
bring in what he should find there.
'What is it?' said Malleville.
'You will see,' replied Beechnut. So saying, he placed Malleville in
his lap in such a position that she could see the door and the fire.
Her head rested upon a small pillow which Beechnut had laid upon his
shoulder. By the time that Malleville was thus placed, Phonny came
back. He had in his hand a small sheet-iron pan, with three large and
rosy apples in it. Beechnut directed Phonny to put this pan down upon
the hearth where the apples would roast.
'Who are they for?' asked Malleville.
'One is for you,' replied Beechnut, 'one for Phonny, and one for me.
But we are not going to eat them till to-morrow morning.'
'There ought to be one for Hepzibah,' said Malleville.
'Why, Hepzibah can get as many apples as she wants,' said Beechnut,
'and roast them whenever she pleases. Only,' he continued, after a
moment's pause, 'perhaps it would please her to have us remember her,
and roast her one together with ours.'
'Yes,' said Phonny. 'I think it would.'
'Then,' said Beechnut, 'you may go, Phonny, and get her an apple.
You can make room for one more upon the pan.'
'Well,' said Phonny, 'but you must not begin the story until I come
So Phonny went away to get an apple for Hepzibah. In a short time he
returned, bringing with him a very large and beautiful apple, which he
put upon the pan with the rest. There was just room for it. He then set
the pan down before the fire, and took his own seat in the little
rocking-chair, which still stood in its place by the side of the
'Now, Beechnut,' said he, as soon as he was seated, 'now for the
'What sort of story shall I tell you, Malleville?' asked Beechnut.
'Shall it be the plain truth, or shall it be embellished?'
'Embellished,' said Malleville. 'I wish you would embellish it as
much as ever you can.'
'Well,' said Beechnut, 'I will tell you about Agnes.'
'Agnes!' repeated Phonny. 'Who was she?'
'You must not speak, Phonny,' said Malleville. 'Beechnut is going to
tell this story to me.'
'Yes,' said Beechnut, 'it is altogether for Malleville, and you must
not say a word about it from beginning to end.'
'One night,' continued Beechnut, 'about three weeks ago, I sat up
very late in my room, writing. It was just after I had got well from my
hurt, and as I had been kept away from my desk for a long time, I was
very glad to get back to it again, and I used to sit up quite late in
the evenings, writing and reading. The night that I am now speaking of,
I sat up even later than usual. It had been a very warm day, and the
evening air, as it came into my open window, was cool and delightful.
Besides, there was a bright moon, and it shone very brilliantly upon
the garden, and upon the fields and mountains beyond, as I looked upon
them from my window.
'At last I finished my writing just as the clock struck twelve, and
as I still did not feel sleepy, notwithstanding that it was so late,
and as the night was so magnificent, I thought that I would go out and
take a little walk. So I put my books and papers away, took my cap, and
put it upon my head, and then stepped out of the window upon the roof
of the shed, which, you know, is just below it. I thought it better to
go out that way rather than to go down the stairs, as by going down the
stairs I might possibly have disturbed somebody in the house.
'I walked along the roof of the shed, without meeting anybody or
seeing anybody except Moma. She was lying down asleep behind one of the
Moma was a large black cat belonging to Malleville.
'Poor Moma!' said Malleville. 'Has not she got any better place to
sleep in than that? I mean to make her a bed as soon as I get well.'
'When I reached the end of the shed,' continued Beechnut, 'I climbed
down by the great trellis to the fence, and from the fence to the
ground. I went along the yard to the steps of the south platform, and
sat down there. It looked very pleasant in the garden, and I went in
there. I walked through the garden, and out at the back gate into the
woods, and so up the glen. I rambled along different glens and valleys
for half an hour, until at last I came to a most beautiful place among
groves and thickets where there was a large spring boiling out from
under some mossy rocks. This spring was in a deep shady place, and was
overhung with beautiful trees. In front of the spring was a large basin
of water, half as large as this room. The water was very clear, and as
the moonlight shone upon it through the interstices of the trees, I
could see that the bottom was covered with yellow sands, while
beautiful shells and pebbles lined the shore.
'The water fell down into the basin from the spring in a beautiful
cascade. All around there were a great many tall wild flowers growing.
It seemed to me the most beautiful place I ever saw. I sat down upon a
large round stone which projected out from a grassy bank just below
this little dell, where I could see the basin of water and the spring,
and the flowers upon its banks, and could hear the sound of the water
falling over the cascade.
'There was a very large oak-tree growing near the basin on the one
side. I could only see the lower part of the stem of it. The top was
high in the air, and was concealed from view by the foliage of the
thickets. The stem of the tree was very large indeed, and it had a very
ancient and venerable appearance. There was a hollow place in this tree
very near the ground, which had in some degree the appearance of a
door, arched above. The sides of this opening were fringed with
beautiful green moss, which hung down within like a curtain, and there
were a great many beautiful flowers growing upon each side of it.
Another thing which attracted my attention and excited my curiosity
very strongly, was that there seemed to be a little path leading from
this door down to the margin of the water.
'While I was wondering what this could mean, I suddenly observed
that there was a waving motion in the long moss which hung down within
the opening in the trunk of the tree, and presently I saw a beautiful
little face peeping out. I was, of course, very much astonished, but I
determined to sit perfectly still, and see what would happen.
'I was in such a place that the person to whom the face belonged
could not see me, though I could see her perfectly. After looking about
for a minute or two timidly, she came out. She was very beautiful
indeed, with her dark hair hanging in curls upon her neck and
shoulders. Her dress was very simple, and yet it was very rich and
'What did she have on?' asked Malleville.
'Why, I don't know that I can describe it very well,' said Beechnut.
'I am not much accustomed to describe ladies' dresses. It was, however,
the dress of a child. She had in her hand a very long feather, like a
peacock's feather, only, instead of being of many colours, it was
white, like silver, and had the lustre of silver. I verily believe it
must have been made of silver.'
'I don't believe it would be possible,' said Phonny, 'to make a
feather of silver.'
'Why not?' asked Beechnut, 'as well as to make a tassel of glass?
However, it looked like silver, and it was extremely graceful
and brilliant as she held it in her hands waving in the moonbeams.
'After looking about for a minute or two, and seeing nobody, she
began to dance down the little path to the brink of the basin, and when
she reached it she began to speak. Now, said she, I'll freeze the
fountain, and then I'll have a dance.
'As she said this, she stood upon the pebbles of the shore, and
began gently to draw the tip of her long feather over the surface of
the water, and I saw, to my amazement, that wherever the feather passed
it changed the surface of the water into ice. Long feathery crystals
began to shoot in every direction over the basin wherever Agnes moved
'Was her name Agnes?' asked Malleville.
'Yes,' said Beechnut.
'How do you know?' asked Malleville.
'Oh, she told me afterwards,' replied Beechnut. 'You will hear how
presently. When she had got the surface of the water frozen, she
stepped cautiously upon it to see if it would bear.'
'Would it?' asked Malleville.
'Yes,' replied Beechnut, 'it bore her perfectly. She advanced to the
middle of it, springing up and down upon her feet to try the strength
of the ice as she proceeded. She found that it was very strong.
'Now, said she, for the cascade.
'So saying, she began to draw her silver feather down the cascade,
and immediately the same effect was produced which I had observed upon
the water. The noise of the waterfall was immediately hushed. Beautiful
stalactites and icicles were formed in the place of the pouring and
foaming water. I should have thought that the cascade had been wholly
congealed were it not that I could see in some places by the moonlight
that the water was still gurgling down behind the ice, just as it
usually does when cascades and waterfalls are frozen by natural cold.'
[Illustration: Wherever the feather passed it changed the surface
of the water.Page 302.]
'Yes,' said Phonny, 'I have watched it very often on the brook.'
'On what brook?' asked Malleville.
'On the pasture brook,' said Phonny.
Beechnut took no notice of Phonny's remark, but went on with his
narrative as follows:
'Agnes then walked back and forth upon the ice, and began to draw
the tip of her long silver feather over the branches of the trees that
overhung the basin, and over the mossy banks and the tall grass and
flowers. Everything that she touched turned into the most beautiful
frost-work. The branches of the trees were loaded with snow, the banks
hung with icicles, and the tall grass and flowers seemed to turn white
and transparent, and they glittered in the moonbeams as if they were
encrusted with diamonds. I never saw anything so resplendent and
'At last she looked round upon it all and said: There, that will
do. I wonder now if the ice is strong enough.
'Then she went into the middle of the ice, and standing upon it on
tiptoe, she sprang up into the air, and then came down upon it again,
as if she were trying its strength. At the same instant she said or
sung in a beautiful silvery voice, like a bird, the word, Peep!
'When she had done this, she stopped for a moment to listen. I sat
perfectly still, so as not to let her know that I was near. Presently
she leaped up again twice in succession, singing, Peep! Peep!
'Then, after pausing a moment more, she began to dance away with the
utmost agility and grace, singing all the time a little song, the music
of which kept time with her dancing. This was the song:
'Peep! peep! chippeda dee,
Playing in the moonlightnobody to see;
The boys and girls are gone away,
They've had their playtime in the day,
And now the night is left to me.
Peep! peep! chippeda dee!'
'That's a pretty song,' said Malleville.
'Yes,' said Beechnut, 'and you cannot imagine how beautifully she
sang it, and how gracefully she danced upon the ice while she was
singing. I was so delighted that I could not sit perfectly still, but
made some movement that caused a little rustling. Agnes stopped a
moment to listen. I was very much afraid that she would see me. She did
not see me, however, and so she began the second verse of her song:
'Peep! peep! chippeda dee!
The moon is for the mountains, the sun is for the sea!
'When she had got so far,' continued Beechnut, 'she suddenly
stopped. She saw me. The fact was, I was trying to move back a little
farther, so as to be out of sight, and I made a little rustling, which
she heard. The instant she saw me, she ran off the ice, and up her
little path to the opening in the oak, and in a moment disappeared.
Presently, however, I saw the fringe of moss moving again, and she
began to peep out.
'Beechnut, said she, how came you here?
'Why, I was taking a walk, said I, and I came along this path.
Don't you want me to be here?
'No, said she.
'Oh, then I will go away, said I. But how came you to know me?
'Oh, I know you very well, said she. Your name is Beechnut.
'And do you know Malleville? said I.
'Yes, said she. I know her very well. I like Malleville very
much. I like her better than I do you.
'Ah, said I; I am sorry for that. Why do you like her better than
you do me?
'Because she is a girl, said Agnes.
'That is a good reason, said I, I confess. I like girls myself
better than I do boys. But how came you to know Malleville?
'Oh, I have seen her a great many times, said she, peeping into
her windows by moonlight, when she was asleep.
'Well, said I, I will tell Malleville about you, and she will
want to come and see you.
'No, said Agnes, she must not come and see me; but she may write
me a letter.
'But she is not old enough to write letters, said I.
'Then, said she, she must tell you what to write, and you
must write it for her.'
Beechnut observed that, though Phonny and Malleville neither of them
spoke, they were both extremely interested, and somewhat excited by the
story, and that he was far from accomplishing the object which he had
in view at first in telling a story, namely, lulling Malleville to
sleep. He therefore said to Malleville that, though he had a great deal
more to tell her about Agnes, he thought it would be better not to tell
her any more then; but that he would sing Agnes's song to her, to the
same tune that Agnes herself sung it. He would sing it several times,
he said, and she might listen, laying her head upon his shoulder.
Malleville said that she should like very much to hear Beechnut sing
the song, but that after he had sung it, she hoped he would tell her a
little more about Agnes that night. She liked to hear about her,
she said, very much indeed.
So Beechnut changed Malleville's position, placing her in such a
manner that her head reclined upon his shoulder.
'Shut your eyes now,' said he, 'and form in your mind a picture of
the little dell and fountain, with the frost-work beaming in the
moonlight, and Agnes dancing on the ice while I sing.'
Then Beechnut began to sing the first verse of the song to a very
lively and a pretty tune. He could not sing the second verse, he said,
because he had not heard it all. But the first verse he sung over and
'Peep! peep! chippeda dee!
Playing in the moonlight, nobody to see;
The boys and girls have gone away.
They've had their playtime in the day,
And now the night is left for me.
Peep! peep! chippeda dee!'
Malleville lay very still, listening to the song for about five
minutes, and then Beechnut found that she was fast asleep. He then rose
very gently, and carried her to her bed. He laid her in the bed, and
Phonny, who stood by, covered her with the clothes. He and Phonny then
crept softly out of the room.
A Sound Sleeper
About nine o'clock, Hepzibah, having finished her work for the day,
covered up the kitchen fire, and fastened the outer doors. Beechnut had
gone to bed, and so had Phonny. Hepzibah went into Phonny's room to see
if all was safe, and to get the light. She then went into Malleville's
The room had a very pleasant aspect, although the fire had nearly
gone down. The lamp was burning on the stand at the foot of the bed
where Phonny had left it. Hepzibah advanced softly to the bedside.
Malleville was lying asleep there, with her cheek upon her hand.
'Poor child!' said Hepzibah to herself. 'She has gone to sleep. What
a pity that I have got to wake her up by-and-by, and give her some
Hepzibah then looked at a clock which stood upon the mantel-shelf,
and saw that it was a little past nine. It was an hour or more before
it would be time to give Malleville the drops. Hepzibah thought that if
she went to bed, she should fall asleep, and not wake up again until
morning, for she always slept very soundly. She determined, therefore,
that she would sit up until half-past ten, and then, after giving
Malleville the medicine, go to bed. She accordingly went and got her
knitting-work, intending to keep herself awake while she sat up by
knitting. When she came back into the room, she began to look for a
comfortable seat. She finally decided on taking the sofa.
Mary Bell, after using the sofa for Malleville while she was making
the bed, had put it back into its place by the side of the room.
Hepzibah, however, easily brought it forward again, for it trundled
very smooth and noiselessly upon its castors. Hepzibah brought the sofa
up to the fire, placing one end of it near to the stand, in order that
she might have the benefit of the lamp in case of dropping a stitch.
She prepared the medicine for Malleville by mixing it properly with
water in a little cup, and put it upon the stand, so that it should be
all ready to be administered when the time should come, and then sat
down upon the sofa, next to the sofa cushions, which were upon the end
of the sofa, between herself and the light.
Things went on very well for almost half an hour, but then Hepzibah,
being pretty tired in consequence of her long day's work, and of her
want of rest the night before, began to grow sleepy. Twice her
knitting-work dropped out of her hands. The dropping of the
knitting-work waked her the first and second time that it occurred. But
the third time it did not wake her. After falling half over and
recovering herself two or three times, she at length sank down upon the
cushions, with her head upon the uppermost of them, and there in a
short time she was fast asleep.
She remained in this condition for nearly two hours, Malleville in
her bed sleeping all the time quietly too. When Malleville went to
sleep, she did so resolving not to wake up for her medicine. She did
not resolve not to take it, if any one else waked her up for it,
but she determined not to wake up for it of her own accord. Whether
this had any influence in prolonging her sleep it would be difficult to
say. She did, however, sleep very soundly, and without changing her
position at all, until a little after eleven o'clock, when she began to
move her head and her arms a little, and presently she opened her eyes.
She looked around the room and saw nobody. The light was burning,
though rather dimly, and the fire had nearly gone out. She sat up in
the bed, and after a few minutes' pause, she said in a gentle voice, as
if speaking to herself:
'I wish there was somebody here to give me a drink of water.' Then,
after waiting for a moment, she added, 'but I can just as well get down
and find it myself.'
So saying, she climbed down from the bed, and put on her shoes and
stockings, singing gently all the time, 'Peep! peep! chippeda dee!'
This was all of Agnes's song that she could remember.
She went toward the fire, wondering who had drawn out the sofa and
what for, and on passing round before it, her wonder was changed into
amazement at finding Hepzibah asleep upon it.
'Why,' she exclaimed, in a very low and gentle tone, just above a
whisper, 'here is Hepzibah. I suppose she is sitting up to watch with
me. How tired she is.'
She stood looking at Hepzibah a minute or two in silence, and then
said, speaking in the same tone and manner as before:
'She is not comfortable. I mean to put her feet upon the sofa.'
So saying, Malleville stooped down, and clasping Hepzibah's feet
with both her arms, she lifted them up as gently as she could, and put
them upon the sofa. Hepzibah's sound sleep was not at all disturbed by
this. In fact, her position being now much more easy than before, she
sank away soon into a slumber deeper and more profound than ever.
Malleville, finding that her first attempt to render Hepzibah a
service was so successful, immediately began to feel a strong interest
in taking care of her, and, observing that her feet were not very well
covered as she lay upon the sofa, she thought it would be a good plan
to go and find something to cover them up. So she went to a bureau
which was standing in the room, and began to open one drawer after
another, in search of a small blanket which was sometimes used for such
a purpose. She found the blanket at length in the lowermost drawer of
'Ah! here it is,' said she. 'I knew it was somewhere in this
Saying this, she took out the blanket, and carried it to the sofa,
doing everything in as noiseless a manner as possible. She spread the
blanket over Hepzibah's feet, tucking the edges under very gently and
carefully all around.
'Now,' said Malleville to herself, 'I will make up the fire a
little, so that she shall not catch cold.'
There were two sticks remaining of those which Beechnut had brought
up, and they were lying upon the carpet by the side of the fire, near
the rocking-chair in which Beechnut had rocked Malleville to sleep. The
wood which had been put upon the fire had burned entirely down, nothing
being left of them but a few brands in the corners. Malleville took up
the two sticks, one after another, and laid them upon the andirons, one
for a back-stick and the other for a fore-stick, as she had often seen
Phonny do. She then brought up a little cricket in front of the
andirons, and sitting down upon it there, she took the tongs and began
to pick up the brands and coals, and to put them into the interstice
which was left between the two sticks. She did all this in a very
noiseless and gentle manner, so as not to disturb Hepzibah; and she
stopped very frequently to look round and see if Hepzibah was still
The air soon began to draw up through the coals which Malleville had
placed between the sticks of wood, and thus fanning them, it brightened
them into a glow. The brands began to smoke, and presently there
appeared in one part a small flickering flame.
'There!' said Malleville, in a tone of great satisfaction, 'it is
burning. Phonny said that I could not make a fire, but I knew that I
Malleville had been very careful all the time not to allow her
night-dress to get near the fire, and now, as the fire was beginning to
burn, she thought that she must move still further away. She
accordingly rose, and moved the cricket back. The fire burned more and
more brightly, and Malleville observed that the light of it was
flashing upon Hepzibah's face.
'I must make a screen for her,' said she, 'or the flashes will wake
So she went to the bureau again, and brought forth a shawl, one
which she had often seen her aunt Henry use for this purpose. Then,
putting a chair between the sofa and the fire, she spread the shawl
upon the back of it, and found that it produced the effect of keeping
the flashes of light from Hepzibah's face entirely to her satisfaction.
Malleville then began to wonder whether it was not time for her to
take her medicine. She looked at the clock, to see if she could tell
what o'clock it was. She could not, of course, for she had never
learned to tell the time by the clock. Accordingly, after looking at
the hands and figures a few minutes in silence, and listening to the
ticking, she said:
'I cannot tell what o'clock it is, but it looks pretty late. I have
a great mind to take my medicine myself.'
She then turned to the table, where the lamp and the medicines were
standing. The cup was there in which Hepzibah had prepared Malleville's
medicine. Malleville took it up, looked at it, and stirred it a little
with the spoon.
'I wonder if this is my medicine,' said she. 'I have a great mind to
take it. But, then perhaps, it is not my medicine. Perhaps it is
So she put the cup down upon the table again, glad, in fact, of a
plausible excuse for not taking the draught.
'I'll sit down in this rocking-chair,' he said, 'and wait till
Hepzibah wakes up. She will wake up pretty soon.'
So she went to the rocking-chair and sat down. She began to rock
herself to and fro, watching the little flames and the curling smoke
that were ascending from the fire. She remained thus for nearly a
quarter of an hour, and then she began to be a little tired.
'What a long night!' said she. 'I did not know that nights were so
long. I wish that Hepzibah would wake up. But I suppose she is very
tired. I mean to go and look out of the window, and see if the morning
is not coming. Beechnut said that we could always see it coming in the
east, at the end of the night.'
Malleville did not know which the east was, but she thought she
would at any rate go and look out of the window. She accordingly went
to the window, and pushing the curtains aside and opening the shutters,
she looked out. She saw the moon in the sky, and several stars, but
there were no appearances of morning.
There was a bronze ink-stand upon the table near the window, and
some pens upon it. The idea occurred to Malleville that perhaps she
might write a little while, to occupy the time till Hepzibah should
'If I only had some paper,' said she, 'I would write a letter to
Malleville carried the lamp now to the table by the window, and
taking great care to put it down in a place where it would not be at
all in danger of setting fire to the curtain, she took the pen and
began her writing. She worked patiently upon the task for half an hour.
The letter was then completed. Of course, it is impossible to give any
idea in a printed book of the appearance of the writing, but the letter
itself, as Malleville intended to express it, was as follows:
'I like you because Beechnut says you like me. Please to answer this
'Your affectionate friend,
Malleville only wrote M. instead of her whole name, Malleville, at
the bottom of her letter, because, just as she was finishing her work,
the lamp began to burn very dim. She was afraid that it was going out.
So she stopped with the M., saying to herself that Agnes would know who
it was from, and, besides, if she did not, Beechnut could tell her when
he gave it to her. She folded the note and slipped it into the
envelope, and then, hastily wetting a wafer, which she found in a small
compartment in the centre of the bronze ink-stand, she put it in its
place, and pressed down the flap of the envelope upon it. She then took
the lamp and went to find a pin to prick up the wick a little, to keep
it from going out.
She could not find any pin, and the lamp burned more and more dimly.
'I must go downstairs and find another lamp,' said Malleville, 'or
else Hepzibah will be left all in the dark.'
She turned and looked towards Hepzibah a moment as she said this,
and then added, 'Poor Hepzibah! How tired she must be to sleep so
She then took the lamp and walked softly out of the room. The stairs
creaked a little as she descended, though she stepped as carefully as
she could. When she reached the kitchen door, she found it shut. She
opened it and went in.
The kitchen was pretty warm, as there had been a fire in it all the
day, although the fire was now all covered up in the ashes. The
andirons were standing one across the other upon the hearth, idle and
useless. Malleville looked about the room for a lamp, but she did not
see any. The kitchen was in perfect order, everything being put
properly away in its place.
'I will look into the closets,' said Malleville.
So she opened a closet door and looked in. There were various
articles on the shelves, but no lamps. She then shut this door, and
opened another closet door at the back of the room. Here Malleville
found four lamps standing in a row upon the second shelf. She was very
much pleased to see them. She took one of them down and carried it to
the kitchen table, and then lighted it by means of a lamp-lighter,
which she obtained from a lamp-lighter case hanging up by the side of
the fireplace. She then blew out her own lamp, and carrying it into the
closet, she put it up upon the shelf in the place of the one which she
had taken away.
On the lower shelf Malleville saw, much to her satisfaction, a plate
of bread with some butter by the side of it. There was a little pitcher
near, too, and Malleville, on looking into it, found that it was half
full of milk.
'I am very glad that I have found this,' said she, 'for now I can
have some supper. I wanted something, and I could not tell what. I know
now. I was hungry.'
She brought out the bread and butter and the milk to the kitchen
table, and then drawing up a chair, she began to eat her supper,
feeling a most excellent appetite.
She went on very prosperously for a time, having eaten two slices of
bread and drank nearly all the milk, when suddenly her attention was
arrested by a movement at the head of the kitchen stairs. These stairs
ascended from very near the door where Malleville had entered the
kitchen, and as Malleville had left the door open, the light from her
lamp shone out into the entry, and she could also, while in the
kitchen, hear any sound upon the stairs. The sound which attracted her
attention was like that of a person opening a door and coming out.
Malleville immediately stopped drinking from her pitcher and listened.
'Who is that down in the kitchen?' said a voice. Malleville
immediately recognised the voice as that of Beechnut.
'I,' said Malleville.
'I?' repeated Beechnut. 'Who do you mean? Is it Malleville.'
'Yes,' replied Malleville.
'Why, Malleville,' exclaimed Beechnut, in a tone of profound
astonishment, 'what are you doing in the kitchen?'
'I am eating some supper,' said Malleville.
'But, Malleville,' exclaimed Beechnut, 'you ought not to be down
there eating supper at this time of night. How came you to go down?'
'Oh, I came down,' replied Malleville, 'to get a lamp for Hepzibah.'
'For Hepzibah!' repeated Beechnut. 'Did she send you down there for
'Oh, no,' said Malleville, 'I came myself.'
'Where is Hepzibah?' asked Beechnut.
'She is asleep,' said Malleville, 'and you must not speak so loud or
you will wake her up.'
Malleville could now hear Beechnut laughing most immoderately,
though evidently making great efforts to suppress the sound of his
laughter. Presently he regained his composure in a sufficient degree to
speak, and Malleville heard his voice again, calling:
'What?' said Malleville.
'Have you nearly finished your supper?' asked Beechnut.
'Yes,' replied Malleville. 'I have only got a little more milk to
'Well,' said Beechnut, 'when you have drank your milk, you had
better go directly back to your room again, and get into bed and go to
'And what shall I do with Hepzibah?' said Malleville.
'Where is Hepzibah?' asked Beechnut. 'Is she asleep in your room?'
'Yes,' replied Malleville.
'On the sofa?' asked Beechnut.
'Yes,' replied Malleville.
'Then leave her where she is,' replied Beechnut, 'and go to bed and
go to sleep. If you do not get to sleep in half an hour, ring your
bell, and I will dress myself, and come and see what to do.'
'Well,' said Malleville, 'I will.' So, taking her new lamp, she went
upstairs again to her room. Hepzibah was sleeping as soundly as ever.
Malleville, in obedience to Beechnut's directions, after putting her
lamp upon the stand, went directly to her bed and lay down. She shut
her eyes to try to go to sleep, thinking of Beechnut's injunction to
ring the bell if she did not get to sleep in half an hour, and
wondering how she was to determine when the half hour would be ended.
Long, however, before she had decided this perplexing question, she was
The next morning Hepzibah awoke at half-past five, which was her
usual time of rising. She started up, amazed to find that it was
morning, and that she had been asleep all night upon the sofa in
Malleville's room. Her amazement was increased at finding her feet
enveloped in a blanket, and a screen placed carefully between her face
and the remains of the fire. She went hastily to Malleville's bedside,
and finding that the little patient was there safe and well, she ran
off to her own room, hoping that Phonny and Beechnut would never hear
the story of her watching, and tell it to the men; for if they did, the
men, she said to herself, would tease her almost to death about it.
When the doctor came the next morning, and they told him about
Malleville's supper, he laughed very heartily, and said that food was
better for convalescents than physic after all, and that, though
patients often made very sad mistakes in taking their case into their
own hands, yet he must admit that it proved sometimes that they could
prescribe for themselves better than the doctor.