Read CHAPTER VII of The Right Knock A Story , free online book, by Helen Van-Anderson, on

“Like an AEolian harp, that wakes
No certain air, but overtakes
Far thought with music that it makes,

“Such seemed the whisper at my side;
‘What is’t thou knowest, sweet voice?’ I cried;
‘A hidden hope,’ the voice replied.”


The second morning after this Mrs. Hayden awoke, feeling much better than she had for months. A strange, happy feeling possessed her. All that had seemed dark and hopeless now appeared as nothing but gossamer fog-wreaths. The world seemed so joyous and beautiful. God seemed so near, so loving, so all-protecting. Why had she ever doubted the possibility of health? Surely it was easy to feel well when she felt happy; and yet, would this last? Had this delightful change any connection with Miss Greening’s treatment? No, surely not. It would be too unreasonable to expect any benefit so soon; besides, she was probably no better physically, that is, her lameness and dyspepsia were not touched as yet, if indeed they ever could be. Well, how it would astonish everybody if she really were cured, and could walk like her old self again. Her stiffened limb would have to undergo a marvelous change, but time would tell it seemed nothing was beyond reach of this extraordinary Power. Miss Greening was so sincere and earnest, she could not for a moment doubt the truth of her statements, besides Mr. Hayden himself confessed to having heard of the wonderful works, though he had never mentioned it before, strangely enough. At the time it probably appeared so vague and visionary, that he had thought best not to excite her curiosity and hope without cause.

How glad she was that he had at last allowed her to try this without ridiculing or scolding her. How beautiful this theory was, but it seemed too good to be true. She would not be carried away with it until she had demonstrated beyond doubt, until she could see the reason and understand it.

The clock struck nine. Why, it was time to rise, and she really felt hungry, so hungry that dry toast and hot water had no attractions for her. She wondered if there would be anything on the table she dared not eat; it would be hard to resist if there were. Thus musing she dressed with more alacrity and energy than she had displayed for many months.

Her husband stood in the doorway as she left her room, and remarked as they went down stairs:

“You must have had a good sleep last night, you are so bright and spry this morning.”

“Yes, indeed, I can scarcely remember when the night has passed so quickly and the morning seemed so exhilarating; please help me down this turn, won’t you? It is always so hard to get down stairs.”

The cane was brought into requisition, and with Mr. Hayden’s help the stairs were descended, but the refractory limb was forgotten again in the interest with which she viewed the breakfast table.

“Mamma, we’ve waited and waited till we thought we’d have to eat something, so we each took a doughnut to save time,” was the explanatory greeting of Fred, who acted as spokesman for the three hungry culprits, who had this time, at least, disobeyed the imperative injunction not to eat cake the first thing in the morning.

“Why, children, don’t you remember how Dr. Jackson ”

“Well, mamma, I heard that lady ’at was here, say ’twouldn’t hurt us to eat if you wasn’t so ’fraid ‘bout our stomachs; an’ she’s a doctor, too, an’ ladies know ’s much ’s men, ’cos you said so,” interrupted the irrepressible, as usual, with unanswerable argument.

“Well, we’ll see this time, but you must be more careful to remember what mamma wishes you to do,” said Mrs. Hayden more mildly than usual, while her eyes smiled a little.

The breakfast was brought in, and, much to the astonishment of all, she recklessly disregarded the dry toast and hot water, mutely appealing to her from the side of her plate, and ate heartily of beefsteak, potatoes, and pan cakes. “I am so hungry, and will risk it on the strength of Fred’s reminder,” she apologized, as she sent her plate the third time for cakes.

“Don’t tell me you’ve no faith in Fred’s newly-acquired wisdom,” laughed Mr. Hayden, and then added, with some concern, “but, really, my dear, you ought to be careful. Remember the condition of your stomach.”

“That is just what she told me to forget.”

“Well, it beats all how things can be turned upside down,” mused Mr. Hayden, as he rose from the table preparatory to going to the store.

“It certainly is strange about this, for you remember yesterday, I even walked over to Mrs. Reade’s and back without any unusual fatigue.”

“Oh, yes! I’ve noticed various daring breaches of the old code, and, more than all, I’ve seen the best color in your face that has been there for many a month,” and he went out with a thoughtful expression on his face.

“Mamma’s well now,” said little Jem, timidly, “’cos she puts me to bed.”

“Yes, an’ we can make a noise when we dress, an’ talk ’bout Christmas,” added Fred, as he was walking about, wiping his hands, in his usual restless manner.