Authors: Jacqueline Pearce
Copyright Â© 2004 Jacqueline Pearce
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher.
National Library of Canada Cataloguing in Publication Data
Pearce, Jacqueline, 1962-
Discovering Emily / Jacqueline Pearce.
(Orca young readers)
I. Title. II. Series.
PS8581.E26D58 2004Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â jC813'.6Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â C2004-904720-5
Library of Congress Control Number: 2004110935
At the age of eight, Emily Carr struggles to develop her artistic ability within a strict family and in a conservative time.
Free teachers' guide available.
Orca Book Publishers gratefully acknowledges the support for its publishing programs provided by the following agencies: the Government of Canada through the Book Publishing Industry Development Program (BPIDP), the Canada Council for the Arts, and the British Columbia Arts Council.
Typesetting and cover design by Lynn O'Rourke
Cover & interior illustrations by RennÃ© Benoit
Orca Book Publishers
1016 Balmoral Road
Victoria, BC Canada
In the United States:
Orca Book Publishers
PO Box 468
Custer, WA USA
07 06 05 04 â¢ 6 5 4 3 2 1
Printed and bound in Canada.
For my good friend, Jean-Pierre,
who has shared an interest in art
with me since we met in grade two;
for my daughter, Danielle,
who also likes to draw and paint;
and for all you readers who love art
Â Â Â Â Â Â
“It's so unfair!” Emily grumbled as she stood inside the cow yard fence, scratching the stiff hair on top the cow's head.
She glanced back at the house and scowled. All she'd done was slide down the banister and maybe sing out a bit as she sailed down. How was she to know that her oldest sister, Dede, was entertaining church ladies in the drawing room? Emily fumed at the memory of the scolding Dede had given her in front of the visitors. She could never do anything right in Dede's eyes. When Mother wasn't feeling well and Father was at work, Dede was in charge, and she took the job seriously. Dede, whose
given name was Edith, was fifteen years older than Emily. Sometimes it seemed she was even stricter and harder to please than Father.
Emily held out a handful of long grass, and the cow munched it slowly. The cow's warm breath touched Emily's fingers, and her big dark eyes seemed to regard Emily sympathetically. The chickens pecked in the dirt near Emily's feet, making their soothing clucking sounds. Emily sighed. She always felt better after visiting the cow yard. She picked up a stick and began drawing in the dirt. Lazy circles began to take the shape of the cow.
When she was smaller, Emily and her youngest sisters, Alice and Lizzie, had often played together in the cow yard. They'd visited the animals, fished for tadpoles in the pond and sailed paper boats down the little creek. But first Lizzie, then Alice, had tired of the cow yard. It was too dirty for them now. They liked to keep their frocks clean and pretend to be proper ladies. Emily had no interest in sitting around being a
lady. She would much rather be a farmer's wife, with lots of animals to take care of, or a circus horse rider who jumped through hoops of fire.
Emily looked over at the flower garden in front of the house where Alice and Lizzie were playing with dolls. Alice would be the mother, as usual, while Lizzie was probably pretending to be a missionary, quoting the Bible to everyone. Lizzie looked up.
“Milly!” she called, using the shortened name the family often called Emily. “Come out of there before you dirty your frock. Father will be home soon.”
Emily turned her back on Lizzie. How dull playing at ladies was. She set down her stick and gazed at the cow. She was no horse, but she was the right shape for riding. Emily hitched up her skirt and climbed onto the fence beside the cow.
“I'm a circus horse rider!” she called as she grabbed hold of the cow's neck and flung one leg out over her back. Suddenly, the slow, calm cow transformed into a bucking, kicking wild creature. Emily tried to hold
on, but she lasted only a moment before she was thrown off into the mud beside the creek.
Alice and Lizzie screamed and ran to the cow yard fence.
“Milly! Are you hurt?” Alice cried.
Emily got slowly to her feet, rubbing her bruised backside. The cow had run off kicking to the other side of the yard. Now she was calmly chewing again, her tail switching lazily.
“It serves you right,” Lizzie said. “You have such silly ideas, Emily. Imagine, pretending the cow was a horse. You couldn't ride a horse, anyway.”
Emily scowled at Lizzie and turned back to the cow. It seemed that she wasn't good at anything. She walked over and stroked the cow's side.
“Sorry, cow,” she whispered. “I won't try that again.”
The cow looked at Emily with her soft eyes, her ordeal already forgotten. Sometimes animals were much nicer than people, Emily thought.
Emily hurried up the stairs into the kitchen at the back of the house. With all her strength, she pushed down on the handle of the pump at the kitchen sink. Water gushed out of the pump mouth and into the basin. She stopped pumping and scooped the cold water into her hands. Father would be home any minute, expecting to look over a row of clean, tidy children, and she was a mess.
Emily washed her hands and face quickly, and then raced from the room and up the stairs to the bedroom she shared with Alice and Lizzy. She didn't have time to change into a clean dress, but she tore off her soiled
pinafore and pulled on a fresh one. Then she ran back down the stairs, buttoning the pinafore behind her as she went.
Dede stood at the bottom of the stairs, hands on her hips.
“For heaven's sake, Emily, slow down to a civilized pace and walk quietly. Mother is resting.”
Emily slowed. She glanced up towards her mother's bedroom, which was upstairs at the front of the house. A faint cough made its way down to their ears, as if to emphasize Dede's words. Emily frowned. She hadn't wanted to disturb Mother. Sometimes she wished she could behave more like Dede and the others wanted her to. But it was hard always remembering to do this and do that and don't do this and don't do that.
Emily concentrated on walking in a quiet and ladylike manner out the front door to the garden. She took her place between Alice and their little brother, Richard, just as Father walked through the front gate.
Father strode up the walk between the rows of English flowers he'd planted.
Many were still blooming although winter was getting closer. He looked tall and important in his dark suit and hat. His eyes checked over the flowers. Then he seemed to notice the children for the first time, and he raised his walking cane slightly to greet them. He walked along the row of children, inspecting them like he had the flowers. Emily squirmed. Father stopped in front of her and frowned.
“That's not dirt I see on your face, is it, Emily?” he asked. He stepped closer and looked her over more carefully.
“There is dirt under your fingernails,” he pointed out with disapproval. Then, he nodded downward. “And what is that?”
He bent closer. Emily pulled her hands behind her back. She'd forgotten about the drawing she'd done this morning on the back of one hand. She must have washed only the palms.
“Hands in front!” Father ordered, thumping his cane on the ground in front of Emily.
Slowly, Emily drew her hands out from behind her back.
“What is that?” he demanded.
“It's a face,” Emily said, looking up past his tall black suit and square gray beard to meet his eyes. For a moment she thought she saw a twinkle of amusement there. Then Dede stepped up.
“I told her to stay clean,” Dede said. “But all she does is misbehave. She should go without supper tonight.”
“What!” exclaimed Emily. “All Dede does is boss, boss, boss. She should be the one to go without supper!”
“There!” Dede said. “That is the kind of insolence I have to put up with.”
Father stamped his cane on the ground once more. His eyes had darkened like the sky suddenly covered by storm clouds.
“Emily, I won't have any more of that kind of talk. I am afraid you will have to go without supper while you work at improving your manners. You must show your sister more respect.”
Emily looked down. Why couldn't anyone ever be on her side?
At supper, Emily had to sit at the table with everyone else, but she was given nothing to eat. She stared down at the blank space in front of her, keeping her eyes from the food that seemed to cover every other spot, but it was hard not to breathe in the smell of roast beef and potatoes and not to listen to the sound of the others chewing. Little Richard, who sat beside Emily on her left, was an especially noisy eater. Worse, pieces of food kept falling from his fork onto her section of the table. Emily glanced up at Father and Dede. They seemed to be busy with their own food. Emily's hand crept onto the table.