At first it did not seem that the Lost Diamond had brought luck to any one at New Moon. The very evening of its finding Aunt Elizabeth broke her leg. Shawled and bonnetted for a call on a sick neighbour—bonnets had long gone out of fashion even for elderly ladies, but Aunt Elizabeth wore them still—she had started down cellar to get a jar of black currant jam for the invalid, had tripped in some way and fallen. When she was taken up it was found that her leg was broken and Aunt Elizabeth faced the fact that for the first time in her life she was to spend weeks in bed.
Of course New Moon got on without her, though she believed it couldn't. But the problem of amusing her was a more serious one than the running of New Moon. Aunt Elizabeth fretted and pined over her enforced inactivity—could not read much herself—didn't like to be read to—was sure everything was going to the dogs—was sure she was going to be lame and useless all the rest of her life—was sure Dr. Burnley was an old fool—was sure Laura would never get the apples packed properly—was sure the hired boy would cheat Cousin Jimmy.
"Would you like to hear the little story I finished to-day, Aunt Elizabeth?" asked Emily one evening. "It might amuse you."
"Is there any silly love-making in it?" demanded Aunt Elizabeth ungraciously.
"No love-making of any kind. It's pure comedy."
"Well, let me hear it. It may pass the time."
Emily read the story. Aunt Elizabeth made no comment whatever. But the next afternoon she said, hesitatingly, "Is there—any more—of that story you read last night?"
"Well, if there was—I wouldn't mind hearing it. It kind of took my thoughts away from myself. The folks seemed—sort of—real to me. I suppose that is why I feel as if I want to know what happens to them," concluded Aunt Elizabeth as if apologizing for her weakness.
"I'll write another story about them for you," promised Emily.
When this was read Aunt Elizabeth remarked that she didn't care if she heard a third one.
"Those Applegaths are amusing," she said. "I've known people like them. And that little chap, Jerry Stowe. What happens to him when he grows up, poor child?"