The Legend of Madeline Sheers
By Emily Froula
It was but only 7:00 P.M. (the year of 1896) in the Sheers household, they had just finished supper, when Mrs. Sheers had caught the scarlet fever. Madeline, the only child (known as Maddy), was sitting with her Mother in the parlor, on the sofa.
Soon, Maddy noticed that her Mother looked dreary.
“Is something wrong, Mama?” Maddy asked her.
“Well…I am not feeling well.”
“Go up to bed and rest. I and Papa will clean the kitchen for you, and if you need anything, we will be at service.”
“Oh, no, Maddy—“
“Alright, I do suppose I need some rest…”
Maddy smiled. “That’s it, now go on! Remember to call us if you need anything at all!”
Mama smiled back and gave her thanks, and walked up the wooden stairs. She looked pale and Maddy was worried. Maddy told Papa (who was in the other room, smoking) that Mama was not feeling well and he answered, “Oh dear! I hope it is not bad. Come along now, let us clean the kitchen.”
While Maddy and Papa washed dishes together at the sink, Maddy asked Papa, “Will Mama need a doctor?”
“Well, if she is still ill by dawn, then I suppose she will.”
Then, everyone was silent through the rest if the night.
By early dawn, Maddy and Papa checked Mama for the thousandth time. She was still sweating and tossing her head and closing her eyes.
Papa quickly said to Maddy, “You are old enough to go to town and fetch the doctor. Go immediately!”
As Maddy’s eyes filled with tears, she ran down the stairs and out the door.
Soon enough, she was back with Doctor Larman. She showed him to the patient as quickly as she could.
The doctor gave Mama a short checkup and then leaned back in his chair and told Papa, “I am very sorry, but, your wife seems to have a very bad case of the scarlet fever.”
Maddy immediately burst into tears and Papa was close to crying.
The doctor said, “I suggest that your little daughter here goes away…anywhere, just out of this town, because the scarlet fever is very contagious, especially for little children.”
“But I have to stay with my wife in case she needs anything. She will have to go away with someone else, but I don’t know whom,” Papa remarked.
The doctor didn’t know what to say, but he knew he had to say something. “I am very sorry, Sir. Perhaps an elder relative near?”
“Perhaps, I will try…”
The doctor smiled, then gave Mama special drugs and medicine. “I recommend bedrest and fluids, and take this medicine every single day, without fail.” He said and held up a medicine bottle.
“Of course,” answered Papa. “Thank you very much.”
“You are all very welcome and good day to you, Sir! I send you my best wishes and luck!” Papa smiled and the doctor left.
Two days later, Papa sent Maddy with her Aunt to London.
Two months after they left, Maddy and Aunt Molly got a letter from Papa’s oldest and best friend saying that a week after they left to London, Mama had passed away, and after that, Papa had caught it, and he was dead soon after.