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The Weathercock Being the Adventures of a Boy with a Bias   By: (1831-1909)

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The Weathercock, Being the Adventures of a Boy with a Bias, by George Manville Fenn.

There is actually another title to this book, "The Boy Inventer", and that is just the character of our sixteen year old hero. He is living with his uncle, who is a doctor in a small Lincolnshire village. He is friendly, after a fashion, with three boys who are living in the Rector's house, where they are being educated.

Our hero, Vane Lee, is also a bit of a naturalist, as is the author of this book. But some of his inventions have a way of going wrong, as for example when he decides to make the defective church clock work. He takes it all to pieces, cleans all the parts up, and puts it all together again with the exception of two vital wheels. In the middle of the night the clock's bell begins to strike without cease the signal in the village for a fire. Everybody turns out and rushes about with fire hoses looking for the fire, and it takes a while before they find out that there never was a fire at all.

But one day Vane is set upon by two gipsy boys, and beaten nearly to death. Nobody knows who did the deed, as Vane is for a long while unconscious. Eventually he comes round, and things become a little bit clearer, but exactly how I will not reveal here.

The typography of the book we used was not very good, and there were a number of spelling inconsistencies. For instance "gipsy" is sometimes spelt "gipsey" and sometimes "gypsy". And the unfortunate Mr Deering is sometimes spelt "Dearing" and sometimes "Dereing". I hope we have ironed these things out, as well as making the hyphenation more consistent throughout the book.

Read it, or listen to it you'll enjoy it.




"Oh, I say, here's a game! What's he up to now?"

"Hi! Vane! Old weathercock! Hold hard!"

"Do you hear? Which way does the wind blow?"

Three salutations shouted at a lad of about sixteen, who had just shown himself at the edge of a wood on the sunny slope of the Southwolds, one glorious September morning, when the spider webs were still glittering with iridescent colours, as if every tiny strand were strung with diamonds, emeralds and amethysts, and the thick green moss that clothed the nut stubbs was one glorious sheen of topaz, sapphire and gold. Down in the valley the mist still hung in thick patches, but the sun's rays were piercing it in many directions, and there was every promise of a hot day, such as would make the shade of the great forest with its acorn laden oaks welcome, and the whole place tempting to one who cared to fill pocket or basket with the bearded hazelnuts, already beginning to show colour in the pale green husks, while the acorns, too, were changing tint slightly, and growing too big for their cups.

The boy, who stood with his feet deep in moss, was framed by the long lithe hazel stems, and his sun browned face looked darker in the shade as, bareheaded, his cap being tucked in the band of his Norfolk jacket, he passed one hand through his short curly hair, to remove a dead leaf or two, while the other held a little basket full of something of a bright orange gold; and as he glanced at the three youths in the road, he hurriedly bent down to rub a little loam from the knees of his knickerbockers loam freshly gathered from some bank in the wood.

"Morning," he said, as the momentary annoyance caused by the encounter passed off. "How is it you chaps are out so early?"

"Searching after you, of course," said the first speaker. "What have you got there?"

"These," said the lad, holding up his basket, as he stepped down amongst the dewy grass at the side of the road. "Have some?"

"Have some? Toadstools?"

"Toad's grandmothers!" cried the lad... Continue reading book >>

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