Double Spell

Double Spell by Janet Lunn

Book: Double Spell by Janet Lunn Read Free Book Online
Authors: Janet Lunn
never felt so frustrated. She understood Jane’s mood so well. Hadn’t she often been in black moods, moods Jane had never had any patience with? She knew now how Jane must have felt about them.
    “Let’s go home,” she said with resignation. And they left the ducks to eat somebody else’s toast crusts.
    Their mother, seeing them come up through the garden as she was making breakfast, said to their father, “I’m worried about Jane.”
    “Why?”
    “Well, she seems so pale and jumpy. Not a bit like Jane. And another thing,” she handed Papa a piece of toast, “have you ever seen Jane so wrapped up in a doll?”
    Mr. Hubbard admitted he hadn’t.
    “Even when the twins were tiny,” Mama said, “they, especially Jane, seldom looked at dolls, and now neither one of them can leave that antique alone for a single minute.”
    “They’ve developed an interest in history and antiques. They’re growing up.” Papa looked pleased.
    “Maybe,” said Mama. “But I think there’s something strange about it and I don’t like it. I’m going to try … Hello,” she said as the twins came in the door. “Fried or scrambled?” and whatever it was Mama intended to say about the twins’ strange behavior never got said. She put them to work that morning – to try to work out of the twins whatever it was that bothered them.
    Obediently they swept and dusted, but the things that happened only made them more frantic. Jane’s heavy black mood clung to her tighter and tighter as the morning progressed. She couldn’t help herself. And the heat of the last week seemed, this morning, to be gathered altogether in one lump, settling over their edge of the city. The sun was barely visible through the heat haze, but its effect wasin no way diminished. It was too hot to move. But Jane tried. As she worked things got worse.
    She was sweeping out the fireplace in the dining room when she heard a voice behind her say, “Sweep the corners, Nan, it’s bread day,” and thought she saw the edge of a long green dress disappear into the kitchen. But when she went into the kitchen there was only Mama there, not making bread but washing dishes. She gritted her teeth, finished her sweeping, and went into the garden to weed around Aunt Alice’s kitchen vegetable patch.
    Someone rushed past her, laughing, and whispered, “Whist! I’m for the barn. Here she comes.” Footsteps retreated in haste down the stone walk and when she looked up there was Hester coming toward her. She dropped the trowel from her perspiring hand and forced her shaking legs to stand. Hester vanished. Jane leaned weakly against the side of the house, pushing her wet hair from her hot forehead. She was shaking.
I’m going to be like old Mrs. Van der Zande,
she thought,
poor old Mrs. Van der Zande who could never remember if she was Mrs. Van der Zande or Mary Queen of Scots about to have her head cut off.
She tried to smile at the idea, but it wasn’t funny and her lips trembled at the attempt.
    Leaving her trowel where she had dropped it, she walked toward the house.
    Elizabeth watched her from behind the living room curtain. She was a bit shaken herself – and for the same reason. A few minutes earlier she had been cleaning the dining room windows when she heard someone singing. Ithad sounded like Jane, and since the song was “Barbara Allen,” a song Jane very often sang, she hadn’t thought anything of it at all. In fact she had even hummed along with it a way. The song had stopped and a voice, not Jane’s, had said, “If they come you’ll stay this time,” and then quite sternly, “do you hear, Liss?”
    She had felt an answer come to her own lips when Mama had called from the next room, “Elizabeth, Aunt Alice is on the phone and wants to know how high your doll is.” Elizabeth nearly cried. She had been so near something, she was sure she had, so near understanding something terribly important. She tried to get back into the memory but without

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