The Garden of Spices
First sentence: Jims tried the door of the blue room. Yes, it was locked. He had hoped Aunt Augusta might have forgotten to lock it; but when did Aunt Augusta forget anything?
Premise/plot: Jims (James Brander Churchill) is being raised by his Uncle Walter and his Half-Aunt Augusta. (Augusta is Walter's half-sister). He's having a rough time of it. Aunt Augusta doesn't understand little boys and their ways. Uncle Walter is too busy doctoring to notice that Jims isn't happy. He's punished by being locked in the blue room. But one day, tempted by a Very Handsome Cat, Jims trys the window and escapes. He makes a friend--the cat and its owner, Miss Avery. Jims loves, loves, loves his new friends--though they remain a secret for a while. Will he get his happily ever after ending?
My thoughts: WHAT A GREAT STORY. I enjoyed it very much.
- Whole aunts probably had more convenient memories.
- Jims hated being shut up alone—especially in the blue room. Its bigness and dimness and silence filled his sensitive little soul with vague horror. Sometimes he became almost sick with fear in it. To do Aunt Augusta justice, she never suspected this. If she had she would not have decreed this particular punishment, because she knew Jims was delicate and must not be subjected to any great physical or mental strain. That was why she shut him up instead of whipping him. But how was she to know it? Aunt Augusta was one of those people who never know anything unless it is told them in plain language and then hammered into their heads.
- Jims did not feel quite so frightened as usual because he was very angry. As he put it, he was very mad at Aunt Augusta. He hadn't meant to spill his pudding over the floor and the tablecloth and his clothes; and how such a little bit of pudding—Aunt Augusta was mean with desserts—could ever have spread itself over so much territory Jims could not understand.
- The cat, having lured Jims to where he wanted him, sat down and began to lick his paws. He was quite willing to be caught now; but Jims had no longer any idea of catching him. He stood very still, looking at the lady. She did not see him then and Jims could only see her profile, which he thought very beautiful. She had wonderful ropes of blue-black hair wound around her head. She looked so sweet that Jims' heart beat.
- "I like cats," explained Jims, "and I have nothing but a gobbler. This is such a Very Handsome Cat. What is his name, please?" "Black Prince. He loves me," said the lady. "He always comes to my bed in the morning and wakes me by patting my face with his paw. He doesn't mind my being ugly."
- "But you are not ugly," he said. "Oh, I am ugly—I am ugly," she cried. "Just look at me—right at me. Doesn't it hurt you to look at me?" Jims looked at her gravely and dispassionately. "No, it doesn't," he said. "Not a bit," he added, after some further exploration of his consciousness.
- "We'll just be chums, Jims," she said. "That's really better than being relations, after all. Come and have tea."
- There was such a lot of good things on the table and nobody to say "You have had enough, James." James ate until he thought he had enough.
- Jims, two hours ago I didn't know there was such a person in the world as you—and now I love you—I love you."
- Jims' heart filled with a great warm gush of gladness. He had always wanted to be loved. And no living creature, he felt sure, loved him, except his gobbler—and a gobbler's love is not very satisfying, though it is better than nothing.
- How they loved each other, those two! And how they understood each other!
- To love is easy, and therefore common; but to understand—how rare that is!
First sentence: When I heard that Peter Austin was in Vancouver I hunted him up. I had met Peter ten years before when I had gone east to visit my father's people and had spent a few weeks with an uncle in Croyden.
My thoughts: The man takes a photograph, tries to find out who the girl is, obtains permission to write her, and after a long correspondence decides to propose. But who IS the girl in the photograph?
This story is VERY silly. But it's pleasant enough.