The Little White Horse In 1842, newly orphaned Maria Merryweather, her governess, and dog arrive at her ancestral home in an enchanted village in England's West Country where the people's bliss is marred by a dark shadow. Full description
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A terrible sound . . .
In mid-gallop Maria was halted by a strange and terrible sound, a thin high screaming that came threading through the happy sounds of the wind and the crying gulls and Periwinkle’s galloping feet, and pushing into her heart like a sharp needle.
She pulled in her pony and sat listening, her heart beating fast with sudden fear. Away to her right, beyond a sombre belt of pine-trees, was a deep hollow filled with gorse and blackberry bushes, and from it came the frightening sound. Somewhere down there some child or animal was being hurt. She hesitated for only a moment, and then, gulping down the fear that had come up like a hard lump in her throat, she turned Periwinkle and rode hard for the hollow beyond the pines. . . .
“For imaginative readers . . . this tale will have a strong appeal. There are richness of detail and a lovely use of color and light—sunshine, moonlight, and shadows, symbolically contrasted—to catch the fancy, and a spiritual quality in this parable of greed and pride vanquished by innocence and goodwill.”
—The New York Times
“Fantasy and reality meet on equal terms in an exciting mystery story in which all of the characters, both humans and animals, come alive, and stay alive from start to finish.”
—The Horn Book
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Little White Horse
With my thanks
THE LITTLE WHITE HORSE
IT was under the white moon that I saw him,
The little white horse, with neck arched high in pride.
Lovely his pride, delicate, no taint of self
Staining the unconscious innocence denied
Knowledge of good and evil, burden of days
Of shame crouched beneath the flail of memory.
No past for you, little white horse, no regret,
No future of fear in this silver forest —
Only the perfect now in the white moon-dappled ride.
A flower-like body fashioned all of light,
For the speed of light, yet momently at rest,
Balanced on the sheer knife-edge of perfection;
Perfection of grass silver upon the crest
Of the hill, before the scythe falls, snow in sun,
Of the shaken human spirit when God speaks
In His still small voice and for a breath of time
All is hushed; gone in a sigh, that perfection,
Leaving the sharp knife-edge turning slowly in the breast.
The raised hoof, the proud poised head, the flowing mane,
The supreme moment of stillness before the flight,
The moment of farewell, of wordless pleading
For remembrance of things lost to earthly sight —
Then the half-turn under the trees, a motion
Fluid as the movement of light on water . . .
Stay, oh stay in the forest, little white horse! . . .
He is lost and gone and now I do not know
If it was a little white horse that I saw,
Or only a moonbeam astray in the silver night.
Table of Contents
THE carriage gave another lurch, and Maria Merryweather, Miss Heliotrope, and Wiggins once more fell into each other’s arms, sighed, gasped, righted themselves, and fixed their attention upon those objects which were for each of them at this trying moment the source of courage and strength.
Maria gazed at her boots. Miss Heliotrope restored her spectacles to their proper position, picked up the worn brown volume of French essays from the floor, popped a peppermint into her mouth, and peered once more in the dim light at the wiggly black print on the yellowed page. Wiggins meanwhile pursued with his tongue the taste of the long-since-digested dinner that still lingered among his whiskers.
Humanity can be roughly divided into three sorts of people — those who find comfort in literature, those who find comfort in personal adornment, and those who find comfort in food; and Miss Heliotrope, Maria, and Wiggins were typical representatives of their own sort of people.
Maria must be described first, because she is the heroine of this story. In this year of grace 1842 she was thirteen years old and was considered plain, with her queer silvery-grey eyes that were so disconcertingly penetrating, her straight reddish hair and thin pale face with its distressing freckles. Yet her little figure, small as that of a fairy’s child, with a backbone as straight as a poker, was very dignified, and she had exquisitely tiny feet, of which she was inordinately proud. They were her chief beauty, she knew, which was why she took, if possible, a more burning interest in her boots than in her mittens and gowns and bonnets.
And the boots she had on today were calculated to raise the lowest spirits, for they were made of the softest grey leather, sewn with crystal beads round the tops, and were lined with snow-white lamb’s-wool. The crystal beads, as it happened, could not be seen, because Maria’s grey silk dress and warm grey wool pelisse, also trimmed with white lamb’s-wool, reached to her ankles, but she herself knew they were there, and the thought of them gave her a moral strength that can scarcely be overestimated.
She rested herself against the thought of those beads, just as in a lesser degree she rested herself against the thought of the piece of purple ribbon that was wound about her slender waist beneath the pelisse, the little bunch of violets that was tucked so far away inside the recesses of her grey velvet bonnet that it was scarcely visible, and the grey silk mittens adorning the small hands that were hidden inside the big white muff. For Maria was one of your true aristocrats; the perfection of the hidden things was even more important to her than the outward show. Not that she did not like the outward show. She did. She was a showy little thing, even when dressed in the greys and purples of the bereaved.
For Maria was an orphan. Her mother had died in her babyhood and her father just two months ago, leaving so many debts that everything he possessed, including the beautiful London house with the fanlight over the door and the tall windows looking out over the garden of the quiet London Square, where Maria had lived throughout the whole of her short life, had had to be sold to pay them. When the lawyers had at last settled everything to their satisfaction, it was found that there was only just enough money left to convey her and Miss Heliotrope and Wiggins by coach to the West Country, a part of the world that they had never seen, where they were to live with Maria’s second cousin, her nearest living relative, Sir Benjamin Merryweather, whom they had never seen either, in his manor-house of Moonacre in the village of Silverydew.
But it was not her orphaned state that had depressed Maria and made her turn to the contemplation of her boots for comfort. Her mother she did not remember, her father, a soldier, who had nearly always been abroad with his regiment, and who did not care for children anyhow, had never had much hold upon her affections; not the hold that Miss Heliotrope had, who had come to her when she was only a few months old, had been first her nurse and then her governess, and had lavished upon her all the love that she had ever known. No, what was depressing Maria was the wretchedness of this journey and the discomfort of country life that it surely foreboded.
Maria knew nothing about the country. She was a London lady born and bred, and she loved luxury, and in that beautiful house looking out on the London Square she had had it; even though it had turned out at her father’s death that he really oughtn’t to have had it, because there had not been the money to pay for it.
And now? Judging by this carriage, there would not be many comforts at Moonacre Manor. It was an awful conveyance. It had met them at Exeter, and was even more uncomfortable than the stage-coach that had brought them from London. The cushions on the seat were hard and moth-eaten, and the floor had chickens’ feathers and bits of straw blowing about in the icy draughts that swept in through the ill-fitting doors. The two piebald horses, though they had shining coats and were obviously well loved and well cared-for, a fact which Maria noticed at once because she adored horses, were old and stout and moved slowly.
And the coachman was a wizened little old man who looked more like a gnome than a human creature, clothed in a many-caped greatcoat so patched that it was impossible even to guess at its original colour, and a huge curly-brimmed hat of worn beaver that was so much too large for him that it came right down over his face and rested upon the bridge of his nose, so that one could scarcely see anything of his face except his wide toothless smile and the grey stubble upon his ill-shaven chin. Yet he seemed amiable and had been full of conversation when he tucked them up in the carriage, covering their knees tenderly with a torn and tattered rug, only owing to his lack of teeth they had found it difficult to understand him. And now, in the thick February mist that shrouded the countryside, they could scarcely see him through the little window in the front of the carriage.
Nor could they see anything of the country through which they were passing. The only thing they knew about it was that the road was so full of ruts and pits that they were jolted from side to side and flung up and down as though the carriage were playing battledore and shuttle-cock with them. And soon it would be dark and there would be none of the fashionable new gas-lamps that nowadays illumined the London streets, only the deep black awful darkness of the country. And it was bitterly cold and they had been travelling for what seemed like a century, and still there seemed no sign of their ever getting there.
Miss Heliotrope raised her book of essays and held it within an inch of her nose, determined to get to the end of the one about endurance before darkness fell. She would read it many times in the months to come, she had no doubt, together with the one upon the love that never fails. This last essay, she remembered, she had read for the first time on the evening of the day when she had arrived to take charge of the motherless little Maria, and had found her charge the most unattractive specimen of a female infant that she had ever set eyes upon, with her queer silvery eyes and her air, even in babyhood, of knowing that her Blood was Blue and thinking a lot of herself in consequence. Nevertheless, after reading that essay she had made up her mind that she would love Maria, and that her love would never fail the child until death parted them.
At first Miss Heliotrope’s love for Maria had been somewhat forced. She had made and mended her clothes with grim determination and with a rather distressing lack of imagination, and however naughty she was had applied the cane only very sparingly, being more concerned with winning the child’s affection than with the welfare of her immortal soul. But gradually all that had changed. Her tenderness, when Maria was in any way afflicted, had become eager; the child’s clothes had been created with a fiery zeal that made of each small garment a work of art; and she herself had been whipped for her peccadilloes within an inch of her life, Miss Heliotrope caring now not two hoots whether Maria liked her or not, if only she could make of the child a fine and noble woman.
This is true love and Maria had known it; and even when her behind had been so sore that she could scarcely sit upon it, her affection for Miss Heliotrope had been no whit abated. And now that she was no longer a child but a young lady in her teens, it was the best thing in her life.
For Maria from babyhood had always known a good thing when she saw it. She always wanted the best, and was quick to recognize it even’ when, as in the case of Miss Heliotrope, the outer casket gave little indication of the gold within. She was, perhaps, the only person who had ever discovered what a dear person Miss Heliotrope really was; and that, no doubt, was why Miss Heliotrope’s feeling for her had become so eager.
Miss Heliotrope’s outer casket was really very odd, and it just shows how penetrating were Maria’s silvery eyes, that they had pierced through it so very soon. Most people when confronted with Miss Heliotrope’s nose and style of dress stopped there and could not get any further. Miss Heliotrope’s nose was hooked like an eagle’s beak, and in colour was a deep unbecoming puce which aroused most people’s instant suspicions. They thought she ate and drank too much and that that was why her nose was puce; but, as a matter of fact, Miss Heliotrope scarcely ate or drank anything at all, because she had such dreadful indigestion.
It was the indigestion that had ruined her nose, not overindulgence. She never complained of her indigestion, she just endured it, and it was because she never complained that she was so misunderstood by everyone except Maria. Not that she had ever mentioned her indigestion even to Maria, for she had been brought up by her mother to believe that it is the mark of a True Gentlewoman never to say anything to anybody about herself ever. But Miss Heliotrope’s passion for peppermints was in the course of time traced by the discerning Maria to its proper source.
So distressing was Miss Heliotrope’s nose, set in the surrounding pallor of her thin pale face, that the great beauty of her forget-me-not-blue eyes was not noticeable, nor the delicate arch of her fine dark eyebrows. Her scanty grey hair she wore in tight corkscrew ringlets all round her face, a mode of hairdressing which had been suitable when she had adopted it at the age of eighteen, but was not very becoming to her now that she was sixty.
Miss Heliotrope was tall and very thin, and stooped, but her thinness was not noticeable because she wore her old-fashioned dress of purple bombasine over a hoop, and winter and summer alike she wore a black shawl over her shoulders and crossed over her chest, so that she was well padded. Out of doors she always carried a large black umbrella and wore a voluminous shabby black cloak and a huge black poke bonnet with a purple feather in it, and indoors a snow-white mob-cap trimmed with black velvet ribbon. She always wore black silk mittens, and carried a black reticule containing a spotless white handkerchief scented with lavender, her spectacles and box of peppermints, and round her neck she wore a gold locket the size of a duck’s egg, that held Maria did not know what, because whenever she asked Miss Heliotrope what was inside her locket Miss Heliotrope made no answer. There was not much that Miss Heliotrope denied her beloved Mar...Présentation de l'éditeur :
"I absolutely adored The Little White Horse."--J.K. Rowling, creator of the Harry Potter series
Winner of the Carnegie Medal
When orphaned young Maria Merryweather arrives at Moonacre Manor, she feels as if she's entered Paradise. Her new guardian, her uncle Sir Benjamin, is kind and funny; the Manor itself feels like home right away; and every person and animal she meets is like an old friend. But there is something incredibly sad beneath all of this beauty and comfort--a tragedy that happened years ago, shadowing Moonacre Manor and the town around it--and Maria is determined to learn about it, change it, and give her own life story a happy ending. But what can one solitary girl do?
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Description du livre Penguin Young Readers Group, United States, 2001. Paperback. État : New. Reissue. 196 x 128 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. -I absolutely adored The Little White Horse.---J.K. Rowling, creator of the Harry Potter series Winner of the Carnegie Medal When orphaned young Maria Merryweather arrives at Moonacre Manor, she feels as if she s entered Paradise. Her new guardian, her uncle Sir Benjamin, is kind and funny; the Manor itself feels like home right away; and every person and animal she meets is like an old friend. But there is something incredibly sad beneath all of this beauty and comfort--a tragedy that happened years ago, shadowing Moonacre Manor and the town around it--and Maria is determined to learn about it, change it, and give her own life story a happy ending. But what can one solitary girl do?. N° de réf. du libraire ABZ9780142300275
Description du livre Penguin Random House. État : New. Brand New. N° de réf. du libraire 0142300276
Description du livre Penguin Young Readers Group, United States, 2001. Paperback. État : New. Reissue. 196 x 128 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. I absolutely adored The Little White Horse. --J.K. Rowling, creator of the Harry Potter series Winner of the Carnegie Medal When orphaned young Maria Merryweather arrives at Moonacre Manor, she feels as if she s entered Paradise. Her new guardian, her uncle Sir Benjamin, is kind and funny; the Manor itself feels like home right away; and every person and animal she meets is like an old friend. But there is something incredibly sad beneath all of this beauty and comfort--a tragedy that happened years ago, shadowing Moonacre Manor and the town around it--and Maria is determined to learn about it, change it, and give her own life story a happy ending. But what can one solitary girl do?. N° de réf. du libraire ABZ9780142300275
Description du livre Puffin Books. PAPERBACK. État : New. 0142300276 *BRAND NEW* Ships Same Day or Next!. N° de réf. du libraire SWATI2122083878
Description du livre Puffin Books, 2001. Paperback. État : New. N° de réf. du libraire 0142300276
Description du livre État : New. Depending on your location, this item may ship from the US or UK. N° de réf. du libraire 97801423002750000000
Description du livre Paperback. État : New. N° de réf. du libraire 815655
Description du livre Softcover. État : New. "I absolutely adored The Little White Horse."--J.K. Rowling, creator of the Harry Potter seriesWinner of the Carnegie MedalWhen orphaned young Maria Merryweather arrives at Moonacre Manor, she feels as if she's entered Paradise. Her new guardian, her uncle Sir Benjamin, is kind and funny; the Manor itself feels like home right away; and every person and animal she meets is like an old friend. But there is something incredibly sad beneath all of this beauty and comfort--a tragedy that happened years ago, shadowing Moonacre Manor and the town around it--and Maria is determined to learn about it, change it, and give her own life story a happy ending. But what can one solitary girl do?. N° de réf. du libraire 9126465
Description du livre Puffin. Paperback. État : New. Paperback. 240 pages. Dimensions: 7.7in. x 5.0in. x 0.9in.When orphan Maria arrives at Moonacre Manor, she feels as if shes come home. Her new guardian is kind and funny, and everyone there is like an old friend. But beneath the beauty and comfort lies a tragedy. Maria is determined to find out about it, change it, and give her own life story a happy ending. This new-fashioned story is just as satisfying and memorable as your favorite fairy tale. The theme is as old as the fairy tales, and it is written with a haunting beauty of wording and atmosphere . . . A book to cherish, to read again and again and again. (The Saturday Review ) This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. N° de réf. du libraire 9780142300275
Description du livre Paperback. État : New. 125mm x 16mm x 199mm. Paperback. In 1842, newly orphaned Maria Merryweather, her governess, and dog arrive at her ancestral home in an enchanted village in England's West Country where the people's bliss is mar.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 238 pages. 0.263. N° de réf. du libraire 9780142300275