These books are, as I have mentioned, my great-grandfather's. I never knew him, but I believe he was not a fancy man; fancy men were not thick on the ground in the mill towns. It was for such people that the Harvard Classics were made, so that, in the words of the Daily Reading Guide, they "might bring to your side, in the comfort of your own home, a liberal education,, entertainment and counsel of the greatest men the world has ever seen."
I just don't know where this fits into that plan:
“MY poor flowers are quite dead!” said little Ida. “They were so pretty yesterday, and now all the leaves hang withered. Why do they do that?” she asked the Student, who sat on the sofa; for she liked him very much. He knew the prettiest stories, and could cut out the most amusing pictures.It's Hans Christian Andersen, boys and girls! I guess the idea at Collier's was that, by putting some Hans Christian Andersen in the Harvard Classics, you would have bedtime stories too, and it would be economical (for the celebrities of the early part of the last century had not yet learned that they should write children's books).
Or maybe the idea was that once we hit the warm May weather it would be too hot for Kant; this theory certainly seems appealing to me after watching my daughter's softball game in 90-degree weather today.
Whatever it is, "Little Ida's Flowers" is the type of writing that makes your mind immediately wander to anything else but what you're reading. I found it childish. I'm supposed to, of course, but if I think if I were smarter I would find a reason that it's the people who find it childish who are the real children.
It ends with the cutest li'l funeral, however:
“That shall be your pretty coffin,” said she, “and when my cousins come to visit me by and by they shall help me to bury you outside in the garden, so that you may grow again in summer, and become more beautiful than ever.”I do respect H.C.A. for throwing in the pretty coffin.