The Happy Adventurers

Language: English
Published: 1 month ago
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How it Began

"Dear, dear!" said Grannie, "woes cluster, as my mother used to say."

"Let us hope that this is the last woe, and that now the luck will turn," said Aunt Mary.

Mollie did not say anything. She had smiled the Guides' smile valiantly through the worst of her misfortunes, but now she was so tired that she felt nothing short of a hammer and two tacks could fasten that smile on to her face any longer. So she closed her eyes and lay back on the cushions, feeling that Fate had done its worst and that no more blows were possible in the immediate future.

Grannie fetched an eiderdown and tucked it cosily round the patient, who looked pale and chilly even on this fine warm day in June, while Aunt Mary tidied away the remains of lotions and bandages left by the doctor.

"The best thing now will be a little sleep," said Grannie, looking down with kind old eyes at her granddaughter, "a little quiet sleep and then a nice tea, with the first strawberries from the garden. I saw quite a number of red ones this morning, and Susan shall give us some cream."

Mollie opened her eyes again and tried to look pleased, but even the thought of strawberries and cream could not make her feel really happy in her heart; for one thing, she still felt rather sick.

"That will be lovely," she said, as gratefully as she could, "and now I think I will try to go to sleep, and perhaps forget things for a little while—" and, in spite of all her efforts, a few tears insisted upon rolling down her cheeks as she thought of home, and Mother's disappointment, and the dull time that lay before her.

Mollie Gordon's home was in London, in the somewhat dull district of North Kensington, where her father, Dr. Gordon, had a large but not particularly lucrative practice, and her mother cheerfully made the best of things from Monday morning till Sunday night. There were five children: Mollie and her twin brother Dick; Jean, Billy, and Bob. They lived in a large, ugly house, one of a long row of ugly houses in a dull gardenless street, where the sidewalks were paved, and the plane trees which bordered the road were stunted and dusty. In the near neighbourhood ran a railway line, a car line, and four bus routes, so that noise and dust were familiar elements in the Gordons' lives—so familiar, indeed, that they passed unnoticed.

A month ago Mollie had been in the full swing of mid-term. Every moment of her life had been taken up with lessons, games, and Guiding; the days had been too short for all she wanted to get into them, and, if she had been allowed, she would certainly have followed the poet's advice to "steal a few hours from the night", but, fortunately for herself, she had a sensible mother whose views did not coincide with the poet's.

And then in the midst of all her busyness, just when she thought herself quite indispensable to the school play, the hockey team, and her Patrol, she fell ill with measles. She was not very ill, so far as measles went, but her eyes remained obstinately weak, and so it was decided that she should be sent down to the country to stay with Grannie, do no lessons at all, and spend as much time as possible in the open air....