I.—THE MEDICINE BOTTLE.
the close of the Civil War, which
A wrought sad havoe in our family, it
became necessary that several of us
of the younger generation should go to live
at the home of our grandparents in Maine.
There were six of us, all first cousins, rang-
ing in age from nine to fifteen, who were thus
brought together under one roof; and our
grandparents, for the second time in their
lives, were obliged to undertake the care and
support of a young fami
We came from five different States of the
Union, and two of uys had never before
even seen the others. It is, therefore,” not
remarkable that at first there were some
small disagreements, due to our different
ideas of things. On the whole, however, we
got on very well together.
The quaint, rural life had many charms
for us, and after recovering from our be-
reavement and homesickness we enjoyed it
immensely. We were, of course, a great
burden upon the old people, who were com-
pelled to begin life over again on our account.
At the age of si five grandfather set
himself to till the farm on a larger scale, and
to renew his lumbering operations in the
winter. Grandmother, too, was constrained
to increase her dairy, her flocks of geese and
other poultry, and to begin anew the Jabor
of spinning and knitting.
1t is but fair to say, however, that we all
ith one exception, perhaps—had a decent
sense of the obligations we incured, and on
most occasions, I believe, we did what we
could to aid in all the labors of the farm.
It wag v eozy old farmhouse, filled with
everything which New England people
accumulated two generations ago, and we
were not long in taking full possession of it
in the name of home. Much as we added
to the burdens of our grandparents, I can
now see that our coming lent fresh zest to
their lives; they had something new to live
Of course everything did not always go
smoothly ; we often had our small rights and
wrongs to think about. Grievance
now and then, and one of them wa
black bottle. This contained an ancestral
eoncoction of herbs, which grandmother
regarded as a specific for all the ailments of
children. Whenever any one of us had
taken cold of committed youthful indiscretions | preceded by a storm of tears and supplications.
in diet, grandmother prescribed a spoonful of | Addison, who was the oldest of all and gener-
this sovereign remedy, which was always fol- | ally well, had Jong grinned in a superior way
lowed four hours later by two great spoonfuls ' at the grimaces of us who were younger. But
of castor-oil. The castor-oil of that period was | shortly after our first Thanksgiving day at the
the genuine, oily, rank abomination, crude | farm he, too, fell sick, and failed to come down
from the bean, and as for the specific—of all | to breakfast. When his absence was noted,
greenish-black, loathsome nostrums, it was grandmother went up to inquire into his
the most nauseous to swallow. plight, and it was with a sense of exultation
Whenever any one of us appeared at the | rather than proper pity, I fear, that Ialstead
breakfast-table looking a little “pindling”” and | and T saw her come down-sta presently and
without appetite, grandmother would survey | get the medicine bottle. We heard Addison
the unfortunate critically, with commiseration | expostulating and arguing for some minutes,
on her placid countenance, and exclaim, “Poor | but he lost the case. Wealtha, who had stolen
child, you must take a dose of medicine!” | up-stairs on tiptoe to view the dénouement,
Excuses, prayers, sudden assumptions of liveli- | informed us later, in great glee, that Addison
ness or exhibitions of ravenous appetite availed | had attempted, by a sudden side movement, to
nothing. Grandmother would rise from the | eject the nauseous mouthful, but that grand-
table, walk calnly to the medicine cupboard, | mother had clapped one hand under his chin
and bring out that dreaded bottle and spoon. and pinched his nose with the thumb and
With a species of f on the victim would | finger of the other, until he was compelled to
watceh her turn out the hideous, sticky liquid, | swallow in order to breathe.
until the tablespoon was full to overflowing. My cousin Addison, although a pretty good
“Now shut your eyesand open yourmouth,” | boy in the main, was a crafty one, and I am
she would say, and when the awful dose was under the impression that he quietly vowed
in, “Swallow! swallow hard!” Then up | never to take another dose of grandmother’s
would come her luge, soft, firm hand under | medicine, There was another large, fl
my chin, tilting my head back like a chicken’s. | shaped Dbottle in the same capboard, about
There was no escape. | nalf-full of elderberry wine, old and quite thick,
On one occasion Talstead bolted while the | which grandmother had made years before.
medicine was being poured out, and escaped | It was used only “for sickness,” or on other
to the sheep barn; but he had to go without | occasions of emergency, and was always kept
his breakfast, and when he appeared at the | on the upper shelf. We knew what it was,
dinner-table, bottle and spoon were waiting | however; by the time we had been there three
for him. months there were not, in that or any other
Theodora, one of the best and most consid- | cupboard, many bottles of which we had not
erate of girls, used to try to take her medicine | tasted.
without timmmuring, stipulating only that she | The medicine and the old elderberry wine
might go out into the kitchen to swallow it. | looked mot a little alike, and what Addison
But with Wealtha and FEllen, who were | must have done, although he never fairly
vounger, the spoonful of medicine was usually | owned up to it was to shift the thick, dark
WOULD WATCH HER TURN OUT THE
HIDEOUS, STICKY LIQUID.”
““WITH A SPECIES OF FASCINATION THE VICTIM
Vorume 75. Numser 49.
$1.75 A Year. Sincie Copies 5 CENTs.
liquids from one bottle to the other, and | a month later, a dismal climax was caused by
restore the bottles to their usual places | the arrival of Elder Witham. There was
in the cupboard. | to be a “quarterly meeting” at the meeting-
Time went on, and I think that it was | hou Saturday afternoon and Sunday; and,
Ellen who had next to take a dose. 1t | as usual, the presiding elder came to grand-
was then remarked that she neither shed | father’s to stay till Monday morning.
tears nor made the usual wry faces; nor | Elder Witham was getting on in years, and
vet did she appear in haste to seize and | upon this occasion he had taken cold, and as
he was a lean, tall, bilious man, his appetite
was affected, Grandmother had prepared a
good supper on his account ; but I remember
that after we had sat down, and the elder
had asked the blessing, he straightened back
“Sister S., I see you’ve got a nice supper,
but T don’t believe I can eat a mouthful
to-night. I'm all out of fix. T'm afraid I
sha’n’t be able to preach to-morrow. ¥ If you
will not think it strange, I want to go back
into the sitting-room and lie down a bit on
your lounge, and see if I can’t feel better,”
Grandmother was much disturbed; she
followed the elder from the table, and we
overheard her talking of sending for a doctor.
But the elder said no; he guessed that he
should soon feel better.
“IWell, but, Brother Witham, isn’t there
something I can give you to take?” grand-
mother asked. “Some peppermint _or
Jamaica ginger, or something like that?"’% |
“ON, that is rather too fiery for me,” we
heard the elder say.
“Then how would a few swallows of my
elderberry wine do?” queried grandmother.
“But you know, Sister S., that I don’t
much approve of such things,”” the elder
“Still, T think really that it would do your
stomach good,” urged grandmother.
“Perhaps,” assented the elder; and we
Teard grandmother go to the medicine cup-
And “about that time,”” as the old almanac
used to say, several of us youngsters a§
the supper-table began to feel strangely
Addison glanexd across at Ellen, then
jumped up suddenly and took a step or two
toward the sitting-room, but changed his
mind and went hastily out through the
Kkitchen into the wood-shed. ~ After a moment
or two Ellen stole out after him. As for
myself, mental confusion had fallen on me.
1 looked at Ilalstead, but he was eating very
The trouble culminated speedily, for it
does not take long to pour out a small glass
of elderberry wine, or drink it, for that
matter. The elder did not drink it all,
however, Ile took one good swallow, then
jumped to his feet and ran to the wood-box.
. “What—what—what stufi’s this?” he
| swallow the! proffered diaft of consolatory | shouted, clearing his mouth as energetically
coffee whicK grandfather used to hold ready | as possible. “Sister S., you must’siave given
for us. - me bug poison by mistake—and 1’ve swallowed
“Why, Nellie girl, you are getting to be quite ' a lot of it!”
brave!” was the old gentleman’s approving | Inexpressibly shocked and alarmed, grand-
| comment, and Ellen, with a puzzled glance | mother could hardly trust the evidence of her *
[ around the table, laughed, looked earnestly af | s 5. She stared helplessly at first; then, all
grandmother, but said nothing; I thin shehad | in a tremble, snatched up the bottle, snielled
caught Addison’s eye fixed meaningly on her. | of it and tasted it.
1f recollection serves me right, I was the| “My sakes, Brother Witham!” she eried.
next whose morning symptoms indicated the | “But don’t be scared; it’s only the old family
need of medicine, and T remember the thill | cure-all?”
of amazement that went through me when | *“TI-s-s-sauh!” coughed the elder. “But it’s
the spoon upset its dark contents down the | nasty stuff, ain’t it?”
roots of my tongue, and grandmother’s cozy By this time grandfather had appeared on
hand came up under my chin, the scene with a cup of tea, to take the taste
grandma!” 1 spluttered. “This | out of the elder’s mouth. Ialstead snatched a
isn’t handfulof cookies from the table and decamped.
“Ilere, dear boy, take a goxl swallow of | I ventured into the sitting-room with Theodora
coffee. That’ll take the taste out of your|and Wealtha.
mouth,” grandfather interrupted, his own face | Our grandparents and Elder Witham were
drawn into a pucker of sympathetic disgust, | now holding a consultation. The elder had
and he clapped his cup tomy mouth, 1 drank, | taken a full swallow of the medicine, and at
but, still wondering, was about to break forth ‘ last yielded to the advice that the only safe
again, when a vigorous kick under the table |and proper thing forhim to do was to take two
Jed me to take second thought. Addison was | tablespoonfuls of castor-oil. This was accom-
regarding me in a queer way, and so was Ellen. | plished during the evening, but ours was a
T burst out laughing, but another Kick con- | strangely hushed and overawed household.
strained me to preserve silence. | Grandmother, indeed, was nearls prostrated
| For some reason we did not say anything to | with mortification. How grandfather felt was
one another about this, although 1 remember | not quite so clear. “As we milked that night
feeling very curious concerning that last dose. | I thought once that I saw him’ shaking
| Once after that, when medicine was mentioned, | strangely as he sat at his cow, which stood next
| Addison winked at me; we were nearly all ‘1,0 mine; but T was so shocked myself that I
aware that something wrong, as well as funny, | could hardly believe then that he was laughing.
had happened without grandmother’s knowl- | The next morning affairs had not brightened
edge. Theodora, however, knew nothing of it. | much. Nobody spoke at the breakfast-table.
Whether this reprehensible secrecy would have | The elder’s breakfast was carried to him, and
continued among the rest of us until we had | the result was that he did not preach tl
taken up the whole of the elderberry wine, I | afternoon ; another minister occupied the pulpit.
cannot say, but on a Friday night, about | Grandmother gave up going to that quarterly
Zouwp SUpWEH V 11