Candy, p.1
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       Candy;, p.1

           Robb White
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  This book made available by the Internet Archive.

  'J-S. 665072

  Tnis took is aeaicatea to Pats













  dotty t. looked at candy sternly. 'Vhat's the meaning of this, candy pritchard? what are you up to?"





  The hurricane reached the Florida coast at Beachton eariy in the afternoon. The violence of it against land and sea fascinated Candy Pritchard and frightened her a little also. She stood at the window in her room and watched as rain on the glass made the world outside wavery and blurred.

  Out in the Bay, which Candy knew so well and which was usually so calm, blue, and inviting, the sea was savage. Even the water itself looked unfamiliar, for its color and softness were gone now and great, gray, battering waves swept in from the open ocean. Candy watched each one as it came into the Bay, poured across it, and crashed against the sea wall along Front Street. As the seas careened through the anchorage, the boats still out there reared like wild horses and were jerked back by their mooring lines.

  Candy had pulled her own boat, the Faraway, high up on the beach and had lashed it down but, as the hurricane's roar deepened, she began to worry. The sea wall wasn't stopping the waves any more; they were rolling right over it, and three feet of water ran down Front Street. But, she consoled herself, if nothing except water hit the Faraway there wouldn't be much damage.

  Candy kept watching a twin-screw cruiser anchored far out.

  The man who owned the boat hadn't bothered to double his hnes or anything, and had laughed when people had warned him about the hurricane. Now the cruiser was taking a terrible beating, with some of the waves going completely over it, drowning it.

  At last the cruiser's anchor chain broke. The boat was picked up by a huge wave and thrown backward down upon a schooner anchored astern. The schooner's moorings held for a second, then let go. Schooner and cruiser fell back through the anchorage, smashing into the other boats one by one.

  The boats tore loose like a row of dominoes falling, and it was terrible to watch. Ruined, they were rolled and tossed until, at last, the ones which didn't sink were thrown against the shore. As Candy watched, almost with tears in her eyes, the boats began to pile up in a jumbled heap along Front Street.

  Finally she could stand it no longer. As she turned away from the window she glanced at a picture of herself taken a month ago, on her thirteenth birthday. The picture showed her standing with a big grin on her face beside her latest boat. She had her hand on it exactly. Candy thought now, as mothers do when they put their hands on their children's heads.

  Out in the living room her mother was covering the piano. Already water had been driven into the house by the wind, so that Candy's feet splashed a little as she walked.

  ''All the boats are ruined," Candy said, having to talk above the constant growling sound the wind made. ''One of them broke loose and hit the others. Now they're on the beach."

  "How about the Faraway.^"

  "She's all right, I hope. I got her way up out of the water."

  "I'm glad of that. After working so hard to build it, it would be a shame to lose it like this."

  "Where's Dad?" Candy asked.

  "The warehouse." She went over to the window and looked out. "This is terrible, Candy. Suppose that old warehouse

  blows down? We'd lose everything. Do you think the wind's going to blow any harder?"

  ''I don't know, Mommy. It's already worse than I've ever seen it."

  It was hard to talk above the roar of the hurrieane. Candy and her mother mopped water up off the floor, tried to keep the furniture dry and, at last, opened some sardines and made some salad. Nothing would work, the lights were off, the phone was dead, and there was no running water.

  It was late at night when Candy's father at last came home. He pushed the door shut against the wind, then wiped the water from his faee.

  ''Well, she's gone," he said slowly, his voiee flat.

  ''Oh, Jinir Candy's mother said.'

  He nodded. "The roof went off in one pieee. Then the walls came down. Now groceries are running in the gutters." He pulled a soggy pack of cigarettes out of his pocket, looked at it, and put it back in his pocket. Then he said so quictlv that Candy barely heard him, "The bad part is that I had just transferred the insurance over to the new warehouse because we were going to move into it tomorrow. This hurricane came one day early."

  The candles Candy had lighted flickered even with the house completely shut up. In their wavery yellow light her father's face looked wear'. His eyes were tired, and his shoulders slumped.

  He turned to her and grinned. "Candy, you and I are the original hard-luck Harrys, aren't we? Something always happens to the boats you build and something always ruins my grocery business. Oh, well, if necessary you can start a new boat tomorrow and I'll start a new business."

  "How about the canned goods and the frozen stuff?" her mother asked.

  "We'll save some cans, but the labels will be gone. Tire frozen food will spoil—no power."

  Candy looked at him. ''Are we going to be very poor, Dad?"

  He nodded. ''Along with almost everybody else around here. The town's taking a shellacking. Most of the store fronts are gone, a lot of roofs and walls have blown away. And the fruit orchards must be a mess.''

  Her mother laughed a little. 'Tour groceries may be gone, but mine aren't, Jim, because as soon as I heard the radio warnings, I filled our kitchen with groceries. What would you like to eat that doesn't need cooking?"

  "Good for you, Cathy. With one sardine a day we can get through the winter."

  The hunicane did not die until nearly midnight. By morning, however, there was no trace of it in the sky. There was only a gentle wind, the rain had stopped, the Bay was calm even though the water was still muddy looking. The hurricane had only left its mark like a wound on the land.

  Candy hurried with straightening up her room and, after a breakfast of cold Vienna sausages and bread, she started to clean up in the kitchen.

  "You go see about the Faraway, darling," her mother said. "I don't need any help with the house."

  Candy went out the front door running—and almost broke her neck. The porch of their house had been ripped off and lay splintered in the yard.

  Everything seemed strange to her as she climbed over the porch and went out into what had been a familiar part of the street on which she lived. Trees were down, their roots sticking up like broken arms. One of them had fallen on a car and mashed the top in so that the doors bulged open. The whole place looked as though children the size of giants had played there and then wandered away, leaving their terrible mess behind them.

  Candy went straight to the Bay, but when she got there she couldn't believe it was the same bay she had played around

  most of her life. Every landmark was gone; even the pavilion was just a pile of junk.

  As she walked slowly along, she began to have a dreadful fear that the Faraway, after all, had not surivcd. llicre was still a thin mist clinging elose to the ground and the sea, and in it lay the boats. They looked as though they were huddling up together, protecting themselves against something.

  Slowly, beca
use her fear was growing. Candy walked in the quiet graveyard of the boats. They looked so sad, she thought. Oil spilling from some of them made ugly smears on the white paint, and the stuff from inside them—people's clothes, cushions, ropes, and sails—dribbled soggily from where the boats were broken open.

  The big ones had smashed the little ones, and the bigger ones had come down on the big ones. One schooner looked like a man leaning against something with his elbow, except that the schooner was leaning against a house with her stern on the ground and one mast sticking through the wall of the house.

  Candy almost went past the Faraway because she couldn't tell exactly where she was in the tangle of boats and junk.

  Then she saw the gold letters of the name shining in the early morning sun. They were so clean and gold, and she remembered the man who had given her the gold paint after he had finished naming his own boat.

  The word Faraway was split open between the ''r" and the ''a" and it looked almost like two words. The plank was hing all by itself on the sand.

  Candy walked over to it and stood, looking down. Slowly she looked along the sand until she found the rest of her boat. It was lying crushed under the cruiser which had first broken loose.

  She stooped and picked up the plank. She ran her fingertips across the cold-feeling, ice-smooth letters of the name. She didn't cr-, but inside cring was as hard as a stone.

  After a while, still carrying the plank, she went away from the beach toward her father's warehouse.

  One wall hadn't fallen down and her father with some other men were digging around in the mess, carrying stuff over and piling it against the one good wall.

  Candy didn't want to wade into the grayish, nasty-looking goo on the floor, and when her father saw her he came slogging over.

  ''Hello, skipper," he said.

  ''Hello, Dad."

  He pointed at a muddy blob seeping across the sidewalk. "That's four hundred dollars' worth of chocolate candy. And that's " He stopped as he saw the plank she was carrying.

  Quietly Candy turned it over so that he could see the gold letters.

  Then, suddenly, she felt the tears coming and her throat getting tight. She knew that she would cry if her father said the wrong thing or put his arm around her or anything like that.

  But her father said, "And the wind she blew."

  Candy managed to grin a little. "She blew," she said.



  Candy Pritchard was really named Catherine after her mother, but she had been nicknamed Candy when she was one year old and that was the only word she would say.

  Now Candy was thirteen and, although she wasn't aware of it, she was going to grow up to be a truly beautiful woman. She had a straight back with square, flat shoulders and long legs. Her hair was wavy and jet black. Her eyebrows and long lashes were also jet black, but her eyes were a clear, almost greenish gray. Candy's skin was smooth and healthy and always tanned to a light gold color by the sun. She had a big, good-looking mouth, which seemed to be on the verge of smiling most of the time. The dimple in her cheek wasn't natural—she hadn't ducked fast enough once and the boom of a sailboat had hit her. But when it healed and left the dimple. Candy was perfectly satisfied—although she always ducked faster after that.

  She had fallen in love with boats when she was six years old. On that birthday her father had taken her ocean fishing and ever since she had loved boats, the shore, and the sea. Everybody along the Bay knew Candy and, as she grew up, she was often asked to go sailing because she had a natural feel for the wind, sails, currents, and the sea itself.

  Candy's greatest wish was to own a boat—a real one. During the war, of course, she couldn't get one while her father was in the Navy. Then, when he got out, he had had to get the grocery business started, and that had taken all of the money.

  There had been nothing for her to do but build a boat so, when she was nine years old, she built her first one and named it the Mistress of the Seas. It was a barrel she sawed in half and it sank as soon as she put it into the water. She built a lot more boats before she discovered the beauty of tar. Candy would always remember that day. The boat she was building then was named the Wild Wave and a man had come along when it sank and said, 'Til give you some tar to put in the seams, Candy.''

  When she got home that evening, her mother took one look at her and went to the drugstore for turpentine because Candy had tar all over herself—even in her eyebrows.

  In her dreams Candy saw the boat she wanted. It was the most graceful boat under sail anyone had ever seen. The paint was so white she glistened in the blue water, and the varnish on the topside so smooth and clear you could see through it to the grain of the mahogany. The sails were like gull wings, and she swam through the water as though it were air.

  Now, as she walked along slowly, still carrying the stem plank of the Faraway, she felt empty. Nothing seemed to matter any more; she didn't care much what happened. The Faraway was ruined; it was only the beginning of summer—there was nothing to do, nothing to think about. There was no use trying to build another boat. To build even a boat such as the Faraway would cost a lot and, with her father's warehouse gone, there wouldn't be any money for boats.

  She wandered along the curving shore, leaving behind the town, the broken boats, the shattered houses. The beach was deserted except for crabs and sea gulls picking around in the stuff the sea had thrown down on the sand. Back among the trees the big houses of the winter visitors looked lonely and

  vacant with uncut lawns and weathered boards on the windows.

  Candy wasn't paying much attention to where she was going, and didn't even think about it when she walked around a large wooden sign which was still standing although the posts holding it up had been bent in the middle. The sign had glaring red letters saying Keep Out. Trespassers Will Be Prosecuted. Keep Out. She even stepped over some tangled wire, which had once been a high, forbidding fence.

  Suddenly, though, she stopped, as she realized that she was walking on Mr. Jenkins's land. She looked quickly around to see if anyone was coming to arrest her, but the beach looked as deserted and lonely there as anywhere else.

  She had never in her life been on this part of the beach, although she had sailed past it and looked at the straight rows of trees and the wide, grassy lawns. No one she knew ever came here either because Mr. Jenkins would have you put in jail if you came past his fence.

  Mr. Jenkins was famous for growing flowers and shrubs. Experts came from all over the world to see the things he grew, but no one who lived around here was allowed on his land. Candy remembered when her teacher had written asking Mr. Jenkins if the class could come and look at his flowers. He had written back, and all he said was, ''Certainly not."

  Ordinarily Candy would have turned around and gone back, but on this day she just didn't care. She decided that she didn't even care whether Mr. Jenkins caught her and put her in jail.

  As she walked on though, she felt a little tingle of excitement go up her spine and she kept watching the trees, expecting someone to jump out and catch her.

  Nothing happened. She came to a concrete sea wall, climbed up on it, and walked along the top. It was strangely quiet and peaceful there. It was hard to believe that only a few hours ago tremendous waves had been sweeping across the green lawns and running among the shady groves of trees. Candy noticed though that most of the leaves had been blown off the

  trees, and when she looked closely she could see a faint white dust of salt on the green grass.

  Back a little way from the sea wall there was a low, glass greenhouse. She was surprised to see that it was still standing after the hurricane, but then she realized that, since it was by itself in a grassy open place, no trees or anything else solid had hit it.

  Through the misty looking glass she could see a blur of colors, and she decided that since she was already on his land she might as well go see some of those flowers that made Mr. Jenkins so famous.

  Candy ha
d almost reached the greenhouse before she saw the sailboat resting on top of it.

  The boat looked so real that for a moment she thought it was, but then she reasoned that the thin frame of the greenhouse couldn't hold up a real boat that big. As she went closer to look at it, she wondered why Mr. Jenkins had put a fake boat up there.

  Then she noticed that some of the panes of glass around the boat were broken and the whole roof was sagging a little.

  Candy forgot all about Mr. Jenkins and went right over to the greenhouse and looked up at the boat. The stern hung out over the edge of the roof a little and the bow was slanted up. A broken anchor rope hung down the other side, and the mast of the boat was snapped off just below the gooseneck and hung over the side in a tangle of standing rigging.

  It wasn't a fake boat at all. It was solid wood, the rudder gudgeons were real brass, and it was a regulation Snipe class sailboat.

  She was standing there, staring up, her mouth wide open, when a man's voice from behind her said, "Me, too."

  Candy whirled, every muscle tensed to run.

  If this was Mr. Jenkins, then all the descriptions of him she had heard were wrong. Mr. Jenkins was supposed to look and


  act like a mad fiddler crab. She had heard that he was a.wiry, dried-up old man whose face would break in pieces if he ever smiled.

  This man wasn't like that at all. He was tall and lean and seemed about as old as her father. Candy liked his face because it looked so gentle and kind. He was smoking a big, droopy pipe and was smiling so that his teeth showed, holding the pipe.

  "Hello," he said. *'Vlio're you?"

  ''Candy—I mean Catherine Pritchard."

  **My name's Daniels." He held out his hand and she shook it. ''Is this your greenhouse?"

  "Oh no!" Candy said. 'This is Mr. Jenkins' greenhouse."

  "Who's Mr. Jenkins?"

  "He owns all this land and grows flowers and things. He's famous, I guess, but he'll put vou in jail if you come on his land."

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