Captain HoraceSophie May / History & Fiction
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LITTLE PRUDY'S STORIES.
BY SOPHIE MAY
LITTLE PRUDY'S CAPTAIN HORACE.
LEE & SHEPARD BOSTON
LITTLE PRUDY SERIES.
BOSTON 1893LEE AND SHEPARD PUBLISHERS10 MILK STREET NEXT THE OLD SOUTH MEETING HOUSE
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1864, byLEE & SHEPARD,In the Clerk's Office of the District Courtof the District of Massachusetts.
COPYRIGHT, 1892, BY REBECCA S. CLARKE.
LITTLE PRUDY'S CAPTAIN HORACE.
MY LITTLE NEPHEW
FROM HIS AFFECTIONATE
You wide-awake little boys, who make whistles of willow, and go fishingand training,--Horace is very much like you, I suppose. He is by nomeans perfect, but he is brave and kind, and scorns a lie. I hope youand he will shake hands and be friends.
I. MAKING CANDY, 5
II. CAMPING OUT, 15
III. TAKING A JOURNEY, 33
IV. AT GRANDPA PARLIN'S, 49
V. CAPTAIN OF A COMPANY, 68
VI. SUSY AND PRUDY, 87
VII. IN THE WOODS, 99
VIII. CAPTAIN CLIFFORD, 117
IX. THE BLUE BOOK, 128
X. TRYING TO GET RICH, 141
XI. THE LITTLE INDIAN, 149
XII. A PLEASANT SURPRISE, 167
Grace and Horace Clifford lived in Indiana, and so were calledHoosiers.
Their home, with its charming grounds, was a little way out of town, andfrom the front windows of the house you could look out on the broadOhio, a river which would be very beautiful, if its yellow waters wereonly once settled. As far as the eye could see, the earth was one vastplain, and, in order to touch it, the sky seemed to stoop very low;whereas, in New England, the gray-headed mountains appear to go up partway to meet the sky.
One fine evening in May, brown-eyed Horace and blue-eyed Grace stood onthe balcony, leaning against the iron railing, watching the stars, andchatting together.
One thing is very sure: they never dreamed that from this evening theirsayings and doings--particularly Horace's--were to be printed in a book.If any one had whispered such a thing, how dumb Horace would have grown,his chin snuggling down into a hollow place in his neck! and hownervously Grace would have laughed! walking about very fast, andsaying,--
O, it's too bad, to put Horace and me in a book! I say it's too bad!Tell them to wait till my hair is curled, and I have my new pink dresson! And tell them to make Horace talk better! He plays so much with theDutch boys. O, Horace isn't fit to print!
This is what she might have said if she had thought of being put in abook; but as she knew nothing at all about it, she only stood veryquietly leaning against the balcony-railing, and looking up at theevening sky, merry with stars.
What a shiny night, Horace! What do the stars look like? Is it diamondrings?
I'll tell you, Gracie; it's cigars they look like--just the ends ofcigars when somebody is smoking.
At that moment the cluster called the Seven Sisters was drowned in asoft, white cloud.
Look, said Grace; there are some little twinkles gone to sleep, alltucked up in a coverlet. I don't see what makes you think of dirtycigars! They look to me like little specks of gold harps ever so faroff, so you can't hear the music. O, Horace, don't you want to be anangel, and play on a beautiful harp?
I don't know, said her brother, knitting his brows, and thinking amoment; when I can't live any longer, you know, then I'd like to go upto heaven; but now, I'd a heap sooner be a _soldier_!
O, Horace, you'd ought to rather be an angel! Besides, you're toolittle for a soldier!
But I grow. Just look at my hands; they're bigger than yours, thisminute!
Why, Horace Clifford, what makes them so black?
O, _that's_ no account! I did it climbin' trees. Barby tried to scourit off, but it sticks. I don't care--soldiers' hands ain't white, arethey, Pincher?
The pretty dog at Horace's feet shook his ears, meaning to say,--
I should think not, little master; soldiers have very dirty hands, ifyou say so.
Come, said Grace, who was tired of gazing at the far-off star-land;let's go down and see if Barbara hasn't made that candy: she said she'dbe ready in half an hour.
They went into the library, which opened upon the balcony, through thepassage, down the front stairs, and into the kitchen, Pincher followingclose at their heels.
It was a very tidy kitchen, whose white floor was scoured every day witha scrubbing-brush. Bright tin pans were shining upon the walls, and inone corner stood a highly polished cooking-stove, over which BarbaraKinckle, a rosy-cheeked German girl, was stooping to watch a kettle ofboiling molasses. Every now and then she raised the spoon with which shewas stirring it, and let the half-made candy drip back into the kettlein ropy streams. It looked very tempting, and gave out a delicious odor.Perhaps it was not strange that the children thought they were keptwaiting a long while.
Look here, Grace, muttered Horace, loud enough for Barbara to hear;don't you think she's just the slowest kind?
It'll sugar off, said Grace, calmly, as if she had made up her mindfor the worst; don't you know how it sugared off once when ma wasmaking it, and let the fire go 'most out'?
Now just hear them childers, said good-natured Barbara; where's thelittle boy and girl that wasn't to speak to me one word, if I biled 'emsome candies?
There, now, Barby, I wasn't speaking to you, said Horace; I mean Iwasn't talking to _her_, Grace. Look here: I've heard you spell, butyou didn't ask me my Joggerphy.
_Geography_, you mean, Horace.
Well, Ge-ography, then. Here's the book: we begin at the Mohammedans.
Horace could pronounce that long name very well, though he had no ideawhat it meant. He knew there was a book called the Koran, and would havetold you Mr. Mohammed wrote it; but so had Mr. Colburn written anArithmetic, and whether both these gentlemen were alive, or both dead,was more than he could say.
Hold up your head, said Grace, with dignity, and looking as much aspossible like tall Miss Allen, her teacher. Please repeat your verse.
The first sentence read, They consider Moses and Christ as trueprophets, but Mohammed as the greatest and last.
I'll tell you, said Horace: they think that Christ and Moses was goodenough prophets, but Mohammed was a heap better.
Why, Horace, it doesn't say any such think in the book! It begins,'_They consider_.'
I don't care, said the boy, Miss Jordan tells us to get the sense ofit. Ma, musn't I get the sense of it? he added, as Mrs. Cliffordentered the kitchen.
But, mamma, broke in Grace, eagerly, our teacher wants us to committhe verses: she says a great deal about committing the verses.
If you would give me time to answer, said Mrs. Clifford, smiling, Ishould say both your teachers are quite right. You should 'get the senseof it,' as Horace says, and after that commit the verses.
But, ma, do you think Horace should say 'heap,' and 'no account,' andsuch words?
It would certainly please me, said Mrs. Clifford, if he would try tospeak more correctly. My little boy knows how much I dislike some of hisexpressions.
There, Horace, cried Grace, triumphantly, I always said you talkedjust like the Dutch boys; and it's very, very improper!
But just then it became evident that the molasses was boiled enough, forBarbara poured it into a large buttered platter, and set it out of doorsto cool. After this, the children could do nothing but watch the candytill it was ready to pull.
Then there was quite a bustle to find an apron for Horace, and to makesure that his little stained hands were spandy clean, and fluffedall over with flour, from his wrists to the tips of his fingers. Gracesaid she wished it wasn't so much trouble to attend to boys; and, afterall, Horace only pulled a small piece of the candy, and dropped half ofthat on the nice white floor.
Barbara did the most of the pulling. She was quite a sculptor when shehad plastic candy in her hands. Some of it she cut into sticks, and someshe twisted into curious images, supposed to be boys and girls, horsesand sheep.
After Grace and Horace had eaten several of the boys and girls, to saynothing of handled baskets, and gentlemen's slippers, Barbarathought it high time they were sound abed and asleep.
So now, as they go up stairs, we will wish them a good night andpleasant dreams.