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In the High Valley by Susan Coolidge

In the High Valley

Being the fifth and last volume of the Katy Did series


subjects: Children's Family & Home Stories

series: Carr Family (#5)

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Lionel Young and his sister, Imogen, set out for the picturesque but remote High Valley in Colorado, leaving their hometown in Devonshire, England behind. Lionel wants to take the share in Geoffrey Templestowe’s cattle business. Imogen, owing to her prejudices against America and the American way of life, finds it hard to adjust to life over there. Clover Templestowe, now happily married and living in the High Valley, at first finds it very trying to get on with Imogen. A lot of events ensure in the course of which we meet again with Rose Red, get news from Cousin Helen and of course meet Katy again…

197 pages with a reading time of ~3 hours (49386 words), and first published in 1890. This DRM-Free edition published by epubBooks, .

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It was a morning of late May, and the sunshine, though rather watery, after the fashion of South-of-England suns, was real sunshine still, and glinted and glittered bravely on the dew-soaked fields about Copplestone Grange.

This was an ancient house of red brick, dating back to the last half of the sixteenth century, and still bearing testimony in its sturdy bulk to the honest and durable work put upon it by its builders. Not a joist had bent, not a girder started in the long course of its two hundred and odd years of life. The brick-work of its twisted chimney-stacks was intact, and the stone carving over its doorways and window frames; only the immense growth of the ivy on its side walls attested to its age. It takes longer to build ivy five feet thick than many castles, and though new masonry by trick and artifice may be made to look like old, there is no secret known to man by which a plant or tree can be induced to simulate an antiquity which does not rightfully belong to it. Innumerable sparrows and tomtits had built in the thick mats of the old ivy, and their cries and twitters blended in shrill and happy chorus as they flew in and out of their nests.

The Grange had been a place of importance, in Queen Elizabeth’s time, as the home of an old Devon family which was finally run out and extinguished. It was now little more than a superior sort of farm-house. The broad acres of meadow and pleasaunce and woodland which had given it consequence in former days had been gradually parted with, as misfortunes and losses came to its original owners. The woods had been felled, the pleasure grounds now made part of other people’s farms, and the once wide domain had contracted, until the ancient house stood with only a few acres about it, and wore something the air of an old-time belle who has been forcibly divested of her ample farthingale and hooped-petticoat, and made to wear the scant kirtle of a village maid.

Orchards of pear and apple flanked the building to east and west. Behind was a field or two crowning a little upland where sedate cows fed demurely; and in front, toward the south, which was the side of entrance, lay a narrow walled garden, with box-bordered beds full of early flowers, mimulus, sweet-peas, mignonette, stock gillies, and blush and damask roses, carefully tended and making a blaze of color on the face of the bright morning. The whole front of the house was draped with a luxuriant vine of Gloire de Dijon, whose long, pink-yellow buds and cream-flushed cups sent wafts of delicate sweetness with every puff of wind.

Seventy years before the May morning of which we write, Copplestone Grange had fallen at public sale to Edward Young, a well-to-do banker of Bideford. He was a descendant in direct line of that valiant Young who, together with his fellow-seaman Prowse, undertook the dangerous task of steering down and igniting the seven fire-ships which sent the Spanish armada “lumbering off” to sea, and saved England for Queen Elizabeth and the Protestant succession.

Edward Young lived twenty years in peace and honor to enjoy his purchase, and his oldest son James now reigned in his stead, having reared within the old walls a numerous brood of sons and daughters, now scattered over the surface of the world in general, after the sturdy British fashion, till only three or four remained at home, waiting their turn to fly.

One of these now stood at the gate. It was Imogen Young, oldest but one of the four daughters. She was evidently waiting for some one, and waiting rather impatiently.

“We shall certainly be late,” she said aloud, “and it’s quite too bad of Lion.” Then, glancing at the little silver watch in her belt, she began to call, “Lion! Lionel! Oh, Lion! do make haste! It’s gone twenty past, and we shall never be there in time.”

“Coming,” shouted a voice from an upper window; “I’m just washing my hands. Coming in a jiffy, Moggy.”

“Jiffy!” murmured Imogen. “How very American Lion has got to be. He’s always ‘guessing’ and ‘calculating’ and ‘reckoning.’ It seems as if he did it on purpose to startle and annoy me. I suppose one has got to get used to it if you’re over there, but really it’s beastly bad form, and I shall keep on telling Lion so.”