No Handicap: A Novel

Benziger Brothers
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Publisher
Benziger Brothers
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Published on
Dec 31, 1922
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Pages
360
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Language
English
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This content is DRM protected.
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A young girl, brown-haired, blue-eyed, with a sweet seriousness that was neither joy nor sorrow upon her fair pale face, leaned against the mast on theÊMayflower'sÊdeck watching the bustle of the final preparations for setting sail westward.

A boy somewhat older than she stood beside her whittling an arrow from a bit of beechwood, whistling through his teeth, his tongue pressed against them, a livelier air than a pilgrim boy from Leyden was supposed to know, and sullenly scorning to betray interest in the excitement ashore and aboard.

A little girl clung to the pretty young girl's skirt; the unlikeness between them, though they were sisters, was explained by their being but half sisters. Little Damaris was like her mother, Constance's stepmother, while Constance herself reflected the delicate loveliness of her own and her brother Giles's mother, dead in early youth and lying now at rest in a green English churchyard while her children were setting forth into the unknown.

Two boysÑone older than Constance, Giles's age, the other younger than the girlÑcame rushing down the deck with such impetuosity, plus the younger lad's head used as a battering ram, that the men at work stowing away hampers and barrels, trying to clear a way for the start, gave place to the rough onslaught.

Several looked after the pair in a way that suggested something more vigorous than a look had it not been that fear of the pilgrim leaders restrained swearing. Not a whit did the charging lads care for the wrath they aroused. The elder stopped himself by clutching the rope which Constance Hopkins idly swung, while the younger caught Giles around the waist and nearly pulled him over.

A young girl, brown-haired, blue-eyed, with a sweet seriousness that was neither joy nor sorrow upon her fair pale face, leaned against the mast on theÊMayflower'sÊdeck watching the bustle of the final preparations for setting sail westward.

A boy somewhat older than she stood beside her whittling an arrow from a bit of beechwood, whistling through his teeth, his tongue pressed against them, a livelier air than a pilgrim boy from Leyden was supposed to know, and sullenly scorning to betray interest in the excitement ashore and aboard.

A little girl clung to the pretty young girl's skirt; the unlikeness between them, though they were sisters, was explained by their being but half sisters. Little Damaris was like her mother, Constance's stepmother, while Constance herself reflected the delicate loveliness of her own and her brother Giles's mother, dead in early youth and lying now at rest in a green English churchyard while her children were setting forth into the unknown.

Two boysÑone older than Constance, Giles's age, the other younger than the girlÑcame rushing down the deck with such impetuosity, plus the younger lad's head used as a battering ram, that the men at work stowing away hampers and barrels, trying to clear a way for the start, gave place to the rough onslaught.

Several looked after the pair in a way that suggested something more vigorous than a look had it not been that fear of the pilgrim leaders restrained swearing. Not a whit did the charging lads care for the wrath they aroused. The elder stopped himself by clutching the rope which Constance Hopkins idly swung, while the younger caught Giles around the waist and nearly pulled him over.

Example in this ebook


CHAPTER I

THE FOURTH FLOOR, EAST

"How can you get twelve feet into eight feet, no matter how good you are in arithmetic?" asked Happie Scollard, a trifle impatiently.


"You'd have to be pretty poor in arithmetic to try it. Even home-taught children ought to know something about putting greater into lesser," observed Bob. "Would you mind telling us what you're driving at, Keren-happuch, my dear?"


Happie groaned. "This room is quite squeedged enough with us six Scollards in it, without crowding in my dreadful name, Robert, my dear," she retorted. "What I was driving at was a harmless little humorous joke. This kitchen is eight feet wide, and we have twelve feet, we six, haven't we? I was wishing we had more space to stand on; that's all."


"That's right; always make humorous jokes," approved Bob. "I've heard lots of jokes that hadn't a touch of humor. Yours isn't so very—but never mind! You know we needn't put all the twelve feet into the eight. This room is nine feet long. What's the matter with putting a few of our feet down the length of it? Say seven of the twelve, for instance?"


Happie laughed. "I hadn't thought of dividing them that way," she said. "But the worst of standing any of your feet lengthwise of the room is that it brings some of you in between the range and the sink, and then I can't stir the fudge. Though to be sure if you all stand widthwise I can't get to the closet."


"How could you put seven one way and five the other? They'd have to go in twos, because we've each got two feet, don't you see?" asked Polly suddenly. She had been turning Bob's suggestion over in her mind and had announced her discovery with her usual serious manner. In all her nine years of life with her nonsense-loving elder brother and sisters, Polly had not learned that they were not always to be taken literally.


"Good for you, pretty Polly!" exclaimed Bob. "I believe you're right! And you know how many are left when you take seven from twelve, don't you? What's the matter with Happie? Isn't she all right?"


"This is a dear little kitchen, Happie. We all said so when we came to look at the flat! And we were so glad it was sunny!" said Margery, the sweet seventeen years-old sister who mothered the little band during their mother's daily absence.


"I'm still glad, sweet Peggy," said Happie. "But when we looked at the flat, we didn't realize how very tiny this kitchen was—we hadn't put the saucepans and things into the cupboard, you see! But I'm not breaking my vows. I'm still thankful that we have our funny, cozy little drawn-out fourth floor home. But it is a little kitchen for six, and everybody always packs into it when I make fudge."


"You ought to be flattered," said Bob. "How is it coming on this time?"


"Not as fast as usual; there isn't much pressure on the gas," replied Happie, lifting her pan to peer anxiously at the fragrant brown mass it held.

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