Chapter 8 Dance at Grandmother & Grandfather's House
Part 3 - The Wildman
Grandmother made room for a huge brass-metal pot on the stove. Her father and grandfather poured the syrup into the brass pot, it was so large that it held all the syrup from the four big buckets. Then Uncle George came with a smaller bucket of maple syrup and everybody ate the hot hasty pudding with maple syrup for supper.
Uncle George was home from the army. He wore his blue army coat with the brass buttons and he had bold, merry blue eyes. He was big and broad and he walked proudly.
Laura looked at him all the time she was eating her hasty pudding, because she had heard her father say to her mother that he was wild.
"George is wild, since he came back from the war," Her father had said, shaking his head. Her father and mother did not approve of wars; they were a puritanical Christian family. Uncle George had run away from home to be a drummer boy in the army when he was fourteen years old. He played the drum to make music for soldiers and to keep time for soldiers to march. (Also, possibly, he might be asked to use the drum to send secret messages on the battlefield.)
Laura had never seen a wild man before. She did not know whether she was afraid of Uncle George or not.
When supper was over, Uncle George went outside the door and blew his army bugle, long and loud. (A bugle is a type of musical horn.) It made a lovely, ringing sound, far away through the big forest. The forest was dark and silent and the trees stood still as though they were listening. Then from very far away the sound came echoing back, thin and clear and small, like a little bugle answering the big one.
"Listen," Uncle George said, "isn't that pretty?" Laura looked at him but she did not say anything and when Uncle George stopped blowing the army bugle she ran into the house.