Harper's Young People, April 20, 1880 An Illustrated Weekly

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Excerpt The kite fever visited Hagarstown every year, and caught all the boys over five before it subsided. It generally crept in slowly, a boy and a kite at a time; but this year it came as if a big wind brought it. Yesterday there had been three kites up at one time in the main street, and Squire Jones's pony had been scared into a canter. The Squire, and Mrs. Jones, and the three Misses Jones, and Aunt Hephzibah had all been in the carry-all at the time, and they had all screamed when the pony began to canter. So the Squire had told the boys he "could not have any more of that dangerous nonsense in the streets," and they had all come out to Dr. Gay's pasture, on the side-hill, to-day, and they had eight kites among them. "Sim Vedder's coming, boys," said Parley Hooker. "He's been making a kite." "He?" exclaimed Joe Myers. "He's a grown-up man. What does he know about kites?" "There he comes now, anyway." They all turned toward the bars and looked, for not one of them had sent up his kite yet. "Oh, what a kite!" "It's as tall as he is." "No, it isn't. He's carrying it on his shoulder." "It's just an awful kite." Sim Vedder was the man who worked for Dr. Gay, and he was as thin as a fence rail. So was his face, and his hooked nose had a queer twist in it half way to the point. He was coming with what looked like an enormous kite trying all the while to get away from him. All the boys wanted to ask questions, but they didn't know exactly what to ask, so they kept still. "Kiting, are you? Well, just you let me look at your kites, and then you may look at mine. One at a time, now. Keep back. Make that kite yourself, Parley?" "Yes, I made it." "Had plenty of wood around your house, I guess. Your sticks are bigger than mine, and your kite is only two feet high, and mine's five. Look at it." He turned the back of his kite toward them as he spoke, and they saw that the frame-work of it was made of a number of very slender slips of what looked like ash or hickory wood. "Mine's made of pine," said Parley. "And yours'll break, too." "No, it won't. Well, maybe yours'll fly. Set it agoing. There's plenty of wind." Parley obeyed, and, mainly because there was indeed a good deal of wind, his heavy-made kite began to go up. "Joe," said Sim Vedder, "hand me that kite of yours." "Mine's a di'mond. I don't know how to make any other." "Do you suppose it'll stand steady, with those fore-bands so close together? No, it won't. Up with it, and see how it'll wiggle. Bob Jones, is that yours?" The third kite was meekly handed to him, for the more the boys stared at Sim's big kite, the more they believed he knew what he was talking about. "It isn't a bad kite, but those fore-bands are crossed too low. It'll dive all over." "There's plenty of tail, Sim. It can't dive." "Tail!—and a bunch of May-weed at the end of it! How's a kite of that size to lift it all? I'll show you," replied Sim. He was unfastening the fore-bands as he spoke, and now he crossed them again over his little finger, and moved them along till the kite swung under them, almost level. "That'll do. Now I'll tie 'em hard, and you can cut off your May-weed. There'll be tail enough without it. When I was in China—" "Was you ever in China?" "Yes, I was....
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