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The Log House by the Lake A Tale of Canada   By: (1814-1880)

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The Log House by the Lake, A Tale of Canada, by William H G Kingston.

A well to do English family, with inherited wealth, find that this situation is challenged in the law courts. They lose the case, and, as with Marryat's "Settlers in Canada" in a similar situation, decide to emigrate to Canada. This they do, and have enough money to settle there, but not in a grand house: it is only the Log House by the Lake.

There are various adventures with sailing and canoeing on the lake, but when the winter comes on, the lake freezes over, and the boys get themselves into a dangerous predicament, from which they only just escape.

Unlike with the Marryat story, the decision by the court was valid but the cousin who won the case was a useless administrator of his fortune, and lost it all through bad advice and dishonest acquaintances.

What do the family do about it? Read the book, or listen to it, and find out. It's a short book, only three hours to read, and there's a surprise ending for you!

One oddity about the book is that throughout it conversations are merged into single paragraphs. This made it a little hard to get the paragraphing correct in our rendition, but we think we have got it almost right now.



It was late in the afternoon when Mr Philip Ashton walked up to the door of his residence in Portman square. His hand touched the knocker irresolutely. "It must be done," he said to himself. "May strength be given to all of them to bear the blow!" His hand shook as he rapped. The hall door flew open, a servant in handsome livery stood ready to take his hat and gloves. As he entered the drawing room his wife and daughters rose to welcome him, with affection beaming in their eyes, as did his three sons, who had just arrived at home from different directions.

"Dear papa, you are not well," exclaimed Sophy, his eldest daughter, leading him to a seat.

"Philip, what is the matter?" asked his wife, leaning over him.

"Sit down, dears, and I will tell you," he answered, pressing her hand. "A severe trial has come upon us, but "

"Dear Leonard, nothing has happened to him, I pray?" gasped out Mrs Ashton. Leonard was a sailor son, the only one now absent.

"Thank Heaven he is well; I had a letter from him only to day," answered Mr Ashton. "Many mercies are granted us, and I trust, therefore, that you will all submit to be deprived, without murmuring, of the wealth we hitherto have thought our own. Dear ones, the law suit has been decided against us!"

The young Ashtons were silent for some minutes, but presently recovered themselves.

"We can all work," exclaimed the three sons, in a breath.

"Our happiness does not consist in this," said Sophy, glancing round the room, "We will make the smallest cottage comfortable for you, mamma."

"I am sure we can, and do all the work ourselves," cried Fanny, her next sister.

"I can make a pudding, and churn, and could soon learn how to milk a cow," said Agnes, the third daughter, laughing. "I have always wished to live in a cottage in the country."

"I've arranged it," said Fanny. "Agnes shall be cook, I will be waiting maid, Sophy housekeeper, Philip bailiff, Harry gardener, and Charley oh, let me consider general farm servant: won't that be excellent?"

"But you place your mother and me on the shelf," said Mr Ashton, his spirits reviving from seeing the way in which his children bore the announcement he had so dreaded making. "What are we to do?"

"O papa, of course you and mamma are to do nothing. We are all to work for you," exclaimed Harry, a fine youth of fourteen, who looked as if there was indeed work in him.

"Of course," added Charley. "How we ought to thank you, papa, for having us taught carpentering, and that we all have such a fancy for gardening... Continue reading book >>

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