For Christmas last year, my MIL gave me a copy of Stories from the Old Squire's Farm by C A Stephens (compiled and edited by Charles G Waugh and Eric-Jon Waugh). Since it is a collection of short stories, we've decided to make it our next Famly Read Aloud during soccer season. We've only read the introduction, but even that has some beautiful, delicate phrasing.
Away down east in the Pine Tree State, there is a lake dearer to my heart than all other waters of this fair earth, for its shores were the scenes of my boyhood, when life was young and the world a romance still unread. (pg 1)
Stephens talks about his great grandparents and how they came to the lake:
While going through the forest from the lake up to the clearing, a distance of a mile or more, they lost their way, for night had fallen and after wandering for an hour, were obliged to sleep in the woods beneath the boughs of a pine; and it was not till the next forenoon that they found the clearing and the little log house in which my great-grandmother began her humble housekeeping.
Other settlers made their way hither, and other farms were cleared. Indians and moose departed and came no more. Then followed half a century of robust, agricultural life on a virgin soil. The boys grew large and tall; the girls were strong and handsome. It was a hearty and happy era. (pg 2)
and then, how he and his cousins grew up at the lake when their fathers died during the Civil War:
Much as we added to the burdens of our grandparents, I can now see that our coming lent fresh zest to their lives: they had something new to live for; they took hold of life again for another fifteen years.This introduction has given me a taste for the stories in the book! I'm excited.
Fifteen years of youth.
It was life's happy era with us, full of hopes and plans for the future, full too of those many jolts that young folks get from inexperience, nor yet free from those mistakes that all of us make when we first set off on life's journey. Like some bright panorama it passes on memory's walls, so many pictures of that hopeful young life of ours at the old farm as we grew up together ... (pg 3-4)
What are you reading?