More about Pixie by Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey (1903)

Feeling alone in the world can be a depression spiral. Being with one of three surviving family members while sick with an illness that leaves you bedridden would be difficult for anyone. It is even harder if you are young and away from the home of your childhood with an Aunt who is a stickler for rules and really no fun to be around. When we are young time seems to slip more quickly through our hands. The young feel more strongly that they are missing out and work themselves into a fever with worry. Being ill must be more difficult for the young nowadays; they feel as though they are missing out on experiences that their friends tell them about, that they read in books, and that they see on social media. As we age we learn that time always plods along at the same pace; you can neither speed it up nor slow it down. The elderly at least have memories of full vibrant mischievous youth with which to comfort themselves. Don’t worry! Pixie isn’t sick. It’s a new friend, Sylvia.

Four years later the entire O’Shaugnessy family is tucked away in a small house, though still slightly beyond their means, in the London suburbs. The entire family lives here except for Esmeralda who is back at Knock Castle with her new husband still enjoying his riches. She finds many amusing and extravagant uses for the overflowing money. Pixie is still in France practicing the language and learning the customs from that dear French teacher she met in school. But the rest of the family is tucked into this small London suburb. Across the street, they meet Sylvia, a crippled girl of 21 years, who is still recovering from illness. Soon after their first meeting, Bridgie starts to treat Sylvia as part of the family and her companionship takes away the pitiful loneliness from that young sick woman’s life. Bridgie entertains Sylvia by telling many hilarious family stories. Now Sylvia wants to know More About Pixie.

 

free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/21122

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Pixie O’Shaugnessy by Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey (1902)

When we are kids our parents tell us that physical beauty is not what’s most important. More important is inner beauty. We all nod along and say that we understand. But do we really understand? Do we really judge people on how they act and what they do instead of their clothes and face?  I know I’ve judged people wrongly based upon their appearance. Its hard for me to separate the physical appearance from someones personality. It must be interesting traveling through the world without sight because one must “see” people in a completely different light. All that superficial stuff is out the window and you can only judge people on what they do, what they say, and how they say it. I’d like to think I’d come out ahead if people couldn’t see me before they made their first impression. But who knows? Maybe my appearance and personality are equally off-putting.

Pixie is the youngest daughter of six children and is the baby, the favorite. Yet she isn’t beautiful like her older siblings. In fact she is a sort of ugly duckling. Her nose is a small speck while her huge mouth crowds out all other features. She has something much more important: charm. People move towards her, follow her, respect her almost immediately. It isn’t an ancient Irish ritual nor is she a sorceress; she is humble, honest, and fun to be around which attracts her peers and her elders to her side. At the moment, Pixie is about to go off to school, the first in her family to get the opportunity. On her death bed Pixie’s mother implored the family to give her baby the opportunity of higher education. Off Pixie goes to a boarding school in London away from her dear Irish castle. Be ready for the mischief of Pixie O’Shaugnessy.

 

free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/21101

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Uncle William: The Man Who Was Shif’less by Jennette Lee (1906)

The current rapid pace of technological change has created the idea that human beings are also evolving to be faster and more efficient. That is unfortunately not the case. Most human beings are stuck living and learning at the same slow pace at which humans have always learned. Collectively we can make discoveries more quickly but individually we are still stuck in the slow lane. Keep in mind that those discoveries will not occur more rapidly because human beings are able to think more quickly or multitask better than previously. Instead advancement in human ideas has largely picked up because the speed of information has increased dramatically. International communication is near instantaneous and machines make testing new ideas much easier. Audiences can read books sooner allowing them to comment and expand upon ideas with greater speed. Keep in mind that humans are still slow thinkers. It’s best not to rush because the rushed get stressed and may not even beat the tortoise to the finish line.

Uncle William is a funny old sailor living in the sparsely populated region of Nova Scotia called Arichat. He lives with his cat, Juno overlooking the formidable Atlantic Ocean, and is neighbors with his lifelong friend Andy. He is not a wealthy man nor is his life easy though he makes it seem so. He is shif’less eschewing work and toil until necessary moving through life slowly but surely. His major fault, as Andy would attest to, is that he helps others too willingly without obvious hope of reward or profit. At the moment, he and his cat are not alone in the tiny, cozy shack by the seas he calls home. Perched on high rocks overlooking the ocean this little house is a temporary refuge for another younger man. A much different man it would be hard to find. Hailing from New York City and specializing in painting, one can’t call oneself a professional until ones been paid, one might assume Alan Woodworth has nothing in common with the old sailor other than a lack of funds. The young man enjoys the sea and the weather painting and sailing alongside Uncle William in the day and enjoying fresh chowder every supper. The eve before returning to New York the Alan ignores Andy’s advice and sails out into calm seas with evil looking clouds. Hours later Andy and Uncle William are obliged to save the struggling painter from a colossal storm. The painter lives another day but Uncle William’s boat dies in the process. What will the poor old sailor and the poor young painter do about the boat? Don’t worry about Uncle William: The Man is Shif’less.

 

free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/4634

Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott

The process of growing from child to adult is always fascinating. Change is by its nature uncomfortable in difficult. People frequently try to keep their habits the same. Yet, childhood cannot last physically, mentally, socially, philosophically or spiritually. Young ones are constantly prodded to change by changing surroundings and expectations. Some change for the better; others become rotten and fall off the vine. Rose shows a lovely example of a graceful journey from childhood to adulthood that many could copy to their benefit. On another note this book feels so familiar in tone, style and language that I find it hard to comprehend that is was written and published over 140 years ago. I guess great books stand the test of time because they feel universal. Be sure to first read Eight Cousins to fully enjoy this novel.

Rose and Phebe return to from their years abroad in Europe traveling alongside Uncle Alec. Both have grown in manner and intelligence while away from Rose’s seven cousins. Phebe has blossomed into an astounding singer and Rose has acquired expanded ideas about female independence and autonomy. In Europe, Rose decided to devote her life and inherited family fortune to charity. The idea of her squandering her fortune in this way instead of keeping it in the family by marrying one of the elder cousins frightens the rest of the family. Rose is appalled by this disrespect towards her own free will instead deciding not to immediately commit or entertain the idea of marriage. This mildly upsets the family who are taken aback by this young independent woman. Archie, who the Aunts had assumed would marry Rose, becomes smitten with Phebe after just one song. Later on Archie’s affection causes a controversy among the Aunts. To think that the eldest cousin would sully the family name by marrying a woman from the poor house. The family is back together for better or worse. If you wait for spring time, you will see Rose in Bloom.

 

free audiobook download: https://librivox.org/rose-in-bloom-by-louisa-may-alcott/

free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/2804

Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott ( 1875)

Uncle Mac may be the greatest exponent of practical philosophy for children. His philosophies are practical and all eight cousins benefited mightily by his presence. Novel ideas such as exercise and food as medicine dot the pages of this book. These small crumbs of advice sweeten a rollicking story in the perfect way, not too sugary. I wish I had internalized this advice as a young child. Life would have been easier.

Twelve year old Rose Campbell’s life has gone from happy to tragic. The death of her father, her only remaining parent, puts her in an uncontrollably gloomy mood. She muddles around the “Aunt House”, a house where many of her aunts live, without any verve or energy for life. Her dad was everything to her and now life seems to drag. Along comes her Uncle Mac determined to care for this poor child and teach her the ways of the world. His simple, real world advice endears him to her immediately. There father-daughter relationship blossoms as they both go to extreme lengths to make the other happy. In time, she gains more friends quickly growing chummy with the merry band of seven male cousins who live nearby. They take her on adventures and she mediates their feuds. Her dearest friend, Phebe, is ever dependable and supportive. In short, she learns to run, laugh and be happy again by taking Uncle Mac’s miracle course. The once sickly child now explores the world with vibrant curiosity. Don’t be shy; introduce yourself to the Eight Cousins.

 

free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/2726

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Molly Brown’s Senior Days by Nell Speed (1913)

Every time I enter a busy cafe or coffee shop I feel tired. Somehow the atmosphere puts me in sympathy with the employees and I feel as if I opened the store and have been working without a break for hours. The smell of coffee grounds and pastries can also be stifling not to mention the busy customers in need of a fix. My mind is slowly yielding on this point. Maybe creating a menu and trying out recipes would be exciting. Maybe by meeting new people constantly I would look forward to each day with newfound enthusiasm. Madeleine Petit and Judith Blount recount their summer spent running a tea room so they can afford to attend college. The change in Judith still astounds me. Going from rich and entitled to focused and humble is extremely difficult. Plus, Ms. Petit has always been the busy bee I aspire to be.

The queens girls arrive back for their final year to learn some bad news. Professor Green overworked himself during the summer and has ended up ill in the hospital. Molly takes this news extremely hard. She has always looked up to Professor Green and she takes it even harder when she eventually learns that he worked to pay off debts incurred in buying her families apple orchard. This purchase gave Molly the money to continue attending college. Judy, the friend whisperer, makes friends with another destructive person and the rest of the queens girls feel like its a rerun. Will Judy’s new friend get her in trouble or will she realize her error before it’s too late? And who is the campus ghost that is frightening those who stay out late? Go back to school with Molly Brown’s Senior Days.

 

free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/24903

Molly Brown’s Junior Days by Nell Speed (1912)

Reading this series I’ve come to the conclusion, once again, that honesty and straightforwardness is the best policy. Numerous misunderstanding appear because some student assumes that they know all without asking. I’ll try in the future to give people the benefit of the doubt. Everyone should have the opportunity to explain themselves. I wonder how long this resolution will last. My resolutions are fickle.

Another exciting year away at college in Wellington. Molly, Nance, Judy and the rest of the Queens girls move into the Quadrangle leading to a string of dramatic and sweet moments. A mix up between these three almost results in their expulsion from the college. It gets so serious that the school president personally comes over to their dorm. A bunch of new students arrive and I found Minerva Higgins especially amusing. Minerva is a precocious freshman from a small town where she was the top honors student. She arrives on campus with a big ego that won’t stand down to anything. The upperclassman try to cut Minerva down to size but it still takes most of her freshman year for her to learn her lesson. Last but not least Judith Blount finally listens to Kendrick. Sit down, be humble. Madeleine Petit becomes her best friend and teaches her the advantages of hard work. Pack up your books and take the early train to Molly Brown’s Junior Days.

 

free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/36717