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Among Uncle Jack's mail on the morning of October twelfth was a letter from Ben. Uncle Jack opened the letter with surprise and read:
October 11, 1914. DEAR UNCLE JACK:
You have probably been wondering why we children have been getting home from school too late for your acéustomed afternoon story, and now I can tell you that we have been practicing every day for a Columbus Day program. Belle, May, and I are going to take part in the exercises, and we all hope that you can come to our entertainment in the Assembly Hall of the school, at half-past ten o'clock on the morning of October twelfth. We hope that you will enjoy it as much as we have enjoyed practicing for it. I am enclosing a program of the exercises. Your loving nephew,
Uncle Jack was very much pleased to receive this invitation, and quickly unfolded the program.
This is the program of the school exercises:
THE COLUMBUS STORY, A PLAY . . FIFTH GRADE
CAST OF CHARACTERS
Six other boys from
the Fifth Grade
RECITATION: COLUMBUS ... JOAQUIN MILLER
RECITATION: THE Boy COLUMBUS
POSTLUDE: A SPANISH DANCE . . . THIRD GRADE
Led by May and Alice
A few minutes before half-past ten that morning Uncle Jack found a good seat on the middle aisle of the Assembly Hall of the children's school. You are now going to read what he heard and saw at the Columbus Day exercises.
THE COLUMBUS STORY*
Wharf scene — sailors sitting on boxes and barrels. An oar, a coiled rope, and other things suggestive of sea life about.
FIRST SAILOR: The last time that I went to Ice
land we were nearly lost in a storm. If we had gone much farther west, I fear we should have come to the edge of the world;
then we surely would have fallen over. SECOND SAILOR: So you still believe that the
earth is flat, do you? I have heard that
some wise men are actually trying to make *From “Colonial Plays for the Schoolroom,” copyright by Educational Publishing Co., and used by their permission.
the people believe that the world is round,
(All laugh.) THIRD Sailor: Now, isn't that ridiculous when
you can see the edge of it right over there? (Points toward horizon.) Why, how could the world be round? If that were true the people on the other side would be walking
with their heads down. (All laugh.) FOURTH SAILOR: To-morrow we go on a trip
down the African coast. We may stop for
some negro slaves before we return. FIFTH SAILOR: Do any of you believe there is
any truth in this scheme of Henry the Navigator's to reach India by sailing around this
Africa? FIRST SAILOR: Why yes, I do, although most
people believe it can't be done. We've got to have a new route to India, and why not an ocean route? The Turks will surely
leave us alone then. SECOND SAILOR: Yes, we must have new routes
to India. 'Tis said that the Turks grow bolder every month now. Every caravan reports some trouble that they have had with the robbers. It grows harder and harder to make up caravan trains. Few men wish
to risk their lives between the Turks and
the desert. THIRD SAILOR: I don't see, though, how Henry
of Portugal expects his schemes to succeed.
think Henry's plan very dangerous. FOURTH SAILOR: I have been to Iceland and to
Africa also, and yet no terrible monsters have I seen. To-morrow I go to Africa
again and I am not afraid. COLUMBUS: (a barefoot boy, who has been listening
intently to the sailors' stories — jumps up and stands before the fourth sailor) O sir! Do you think that your Captain would let me sail with him to-morrow? My father is a wool-comber and we are so poor that I must do something to earn a living. I want to be a
sailor more than anything else in the world. FOURTH SAILOR: (rising) We'll ask the Captain,
my boy. Come down to the dock with me if you are willing to work. A sailor's life is a hard one these days.