And frankly, I'm horrified at a couple of things.
At one point, the professor is trying to teach Nat, who is more or less the viewpoint character, not to lie. He tells a story about how his grandmother stopped him from lying. What did she do? Took her scissors and cut the tip of his tongue until it bled.
And he said she loved him.
(His own solution was something else again. The boy lied, the professor himself would be punished. Very effective since the boy loved him. And it was being hit by a ruler - a ruler wielded by a sickly twelve year old boy.)
The other part? Pattypans. I love that chapter. I'm sure many of you love that chapter. I even said that to myself when it came up on my Palm - "I love this chapter."
For those who don't know the story, at this point in the book there is exactly one little girl at a tiny school for boys. She's there because her aunt runs the school and her twin brother also attends. But she's bored. And she likes making "messes" in the kitchen, but that depends on the cook's humor.
So her aunt and her wealthy uncle buy her a minature but fully functional cookstove and set her up with her own tiny kitchen. Which is adorable. Except this is no EZBake oven. This is a cast-iron stove with a real fire inside that has to be fed and tended and made to be hot or cool. And that gets very very hot. And she cooks steak over hot coals, too.
She's "'mos ten." Which means she's nine.
And while she's carefully supervised the very first time she uses it, she's left alone to cook up a batch of flapjacks for herself and her brother at dinner time. At best, Aunt Jo pops by between hanging curtains, and leaves them for the school supper.
It's still a cute chapter and I know that nine year old girls did actual family cooking at that point on full-sized ranges, but my 21st C instincts kept shouting at me about fire and nine year olds. And knives and no supervision.