The Project Gutenberg eBook, One of Ours, by Willa Cather

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Title: One of Ours

Author: Willa Cather

Release Date: November 20, 2004 [eBook #2369]

[Date last updated: April 11, 2006]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII


One of Ours

by Willa Cather

Book One: On Lovely Creek


Claude Wheeler opened his eyes before the sun was up and

vigorously shook his younger brother, who lay in the other half

of the same bed.

“Ralph, Ralph, get awake! Come down and help me wash the car.”

“What for?”

“Why, aren’t we going to the circus today?”

“Car’s all right. Let me alone.” The boy turned over and pulled

the sheet up to his face, to shut out the light which was

beginning to come through the curtainless windows.

Claude rose and dressed,—a simple operation which took very

little time. He crept down two flights of stairs, feeling his way

in the dusk, his red hair standing up in peaks, like a cock’s

comb. He went through the kitchen into the adjoining washroom,

which held two porcelain stands with running water. Everybody had

washed before going to bed, apparently, and the bowls were ringed

with a dark sediment which the hard, alkaline water had not

dissolved. Shutting the door on this disorder, he turned back to

the kitchen, took Mahailey’s tin basin, doused his face and head

in cold water, and began to plaster down his wet hair.

Old Mahailey herself came in from the yard, with her apron full

of corn-cobs to start a fire in the kitchen stove. She smiled at

him in the foolish fond way she often had with him when they were


“What air you gittin’ up for a-ready, boy? You goin’ to the

circus before breakfast? Don’t you make no noise, else you’ll

have ‘em all down here before I git my fire a-goin’.”

“All right, Mahailey.” Claude caught up his cap and ran out of

doors, down the hillside toward the barn. The sun popped up over

the edge of the prairie like a broad, smiling face; the light

poured across the close-cropped August pastures and the hilly,

timbered windings of Lovely Creek, a clear little stream with a

sand bottom, that curled and twisted playfully about through the

south section of the big Wheeler ranch. It was a fine day to go

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