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Harry Milvaine The Wanderings of a Wayward Boy   By: (1840-1910)

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Harry Milvaine The Wanderings of a Wayward Boy By Gordon Stables Published by Hodder and Stoughton, 27 Paternoster Row, London. This edition dated 1887.

Harry Milvaine, by Gordon Stables.





Young Harry Milvaine stood beside the water tank, and the water tank itself stood just outside the back kitchen door. He was hardly high enough, however, to look right over it and down into it, though it was full to the brim overflowing in fact, and the water still pouring in from the spout that led from the house top. But Harry was of an inventive turn of mind, young though he was, so he went and fetched a stable bucket, and very heavy he thought it; but when he turned this upside down and mounted on the bottom, he was possessed of a coign of vantage which was all that could be desired.

Harry had mastered the situation.

He now watched with intense interest the bright clear bubbles that were floating about on the surface. Bright clear bubbles they were and large as well, and in them was a miniature reflection of all the surroundings, the Portuguese laurel trees, the Austrian pines, the vases on the stone pillars of the gate, with their trailing drapery of blood red nasturtiums, the rose clad gable of the stable, and last but not least his own wondering face itself. And a queer little face it was, no saying what it might turn like in after life. Neither fat nor lean was it, certainly not chubby, regular in features, and somewhat pale. But it was Harry's eyes that people admired; that is, whenever Harry stood long enough still to permit of admiration, but he was a restless child. His eyes then were very dark and almost round, and there was a depth of expression in them which sometimes made him look positively old.

Yes, those beautiful bubbles were mirrors, and looking into them was just like peeping through a looking glass into fairyland. Harry clapped his tiny hands and crowed with delight. They went sailing about, here and there all over the surface; then a happy thought struck Harry and he called them his ships. The vat was the deep blue sea, and the bubbles were ships. Ships of war, mind you, and Harry was a king, and there were enemy's ships there also. Every now and then two or even three of these bubble ships would meet and join; then of course there would be a desperate fight going on, and presently one would disappear, and that meant victory for the other. Sometimes one of the bubble ships sailing all by itself would suddenly burst, and that meant a vessel gone down, perhaps with all hands; for Harry had heard his father speak of such things.

On the whole it was altogether as good as a play or a pantomime.

It was raining yes, it was pouring, and Harry was wet to the skin, and had been so for an hour or more. But he did not mind that a bit. In fact, I am not sure that he was even conscious of it; or if conscious of it, that he didn't prefer it. At any time, when a heavy shower came on, Harry loved to get out in it, and run about in it, and hold up his palms to catch the drops, and his face to feel them patter on it, only they fell on his eyes sometimes and made him wink.

Well, but one might get tired even of a pantomime after a while, so by and by Harry left the vat, and left his ships to shift for themselves.

"I won't be a king any more," he said to himself. "I'll go and be a forester. Good bye, ships," he cried, "I'm off for a run. By and by I'll come back again and see you if you're good."

Eily, his long haired Collie dog, who had been sitting wistfully watching her young master all the time that the naval warfare was going on, was quite as wet as he; and looked the picture of misery and forlornness; but when Harry proposed a romp and a run, she forgot her misery... Continue reading book >>

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