Blanchard, Amy E.
Delmarva Publications, Inc.
The Four Corners by Blanchard, Amy E. Summary
This book is part of the Corner Series. Excerpt from book: The town itself was one that stood at the foot of Virginia's blue mountains. The house where the Corners lived was on the edge of the town, facing a street which ended at the front gate. At the side of the garden another long street wound its way uphill and was called the old County Road when it began to go down grade. The house was a rambling old affair which had not been painted for some years and was, therefore, of an indescribable hue. One wing was shut up, but the remainder was made excellent use of by four lively girls, of whom the eldest was Nancy Weston. She was variously known as Nan, Nance or Nannie, though she greatly preferred Nannette and sometimes stealthily signed herself so. When she was, as her Cousin Phil expressed it, "on the bias," he often delighted to tease her by calling her Sharp Corner, but her Aunt Sarah often declared that West Corner suited her perfectly since from that quarter sprang up the briskest, as well as the most agreeable, of breezes. Next to Nan came Mary Lee. She was always called by both names as is a Virginia custom. After Mary Lee came Jacqueline, or Jack as she was called, and her twin sister, Jean. Mary Lee was very unlike Nan, and though there was less than two years difference in their ages, she seemed the older of the two. She was less impetuous, more quiet and reserved, though more self-absorbed and less thoughtful for others. Neither was she so original as Nan and generally followed some one's lead, most frequently that of her Cousin Phil Lewis who was her special comrade, for Mary Lee adored open-air sports, especially boyish ones. Nan liked these intermittently, though when she did enter into them she was liable to be more daring and impetuous than her sister. Phil lived scarce a block away and, since the confines of his own dooryard were limited, he preferred to spend much of his time within the larger range of his cousins' three acres. He and Mary Lee were about the same age and had many tastes in common; both were devoted to animals, and had a tendency to fads over which they became very enthusiastic for the time being. Phil was a wiry, dark, little fellow quite Mary Lee's opposite, she being fair-haired and blue-eyed with a slow drawl in speaking. Nan spoke more nervously when she was excited, though she, too, spoke with a lingering accent upon certain words. Nan's eyes were sometimes a grayish blue, sometimes almost a hazel, and at times showed the color of deep and tranquil pools of water, an indescribable hue. Their expression changed as did their color and when languidly drooped under their long dark lashes, seemed those of a sentimental romantic maid, but, when in moments of excitement, Nan opened them wide, they glowed like two stars. Her eyes were Nan's best feature. She did not possess a straight nose like Mary Lee's nor such a rosebud of a mouth, but her flashing smile showed even, white little teeth, and the oval of her face was perfect. The twins were much alike in coloring and feature, but in expression were so different that even the most casual observer could not fail to distinguish Jack from Jean. They had blue eyes like Mary Lee but were dark-haired like Nan. Jack was, as Aunt Sarah Dent expressed it, "a pickle." She had a dreamy pathetic countenance and wore a saintly expression when she was plotting her worst mischief. At her best she was angelic; at her worst she was impish, and just how she would eventually turn out no one could foretell. Jean was a sweet-tempered, affectionate child, gentle and obedient. Once in a while it seemed as if she felt it a duty to be naughty, but the naughtiness was always as if it were a pretense, and was more of a bluster than an exhibition of actual original sin. "There is no mistake that Jack is full of the old Adam," Aunt Sarah was wont to declare, "but Jean always acts to me as if she wasn't quite sure that she ought to be human."