After the Civil War

Sarah and the Henhouse Guest II

Sarah and the Henhouse Guest II
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   high interest, readability grades 3 to 5
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   2.73

     challenging words:    bustled, cornfield, cuss, gonna, nightcap, nonsense, scalawag, sweaty, gotta, criminal, pounded, fetch, clutched, gracious, pistol, soul
     content words:    Samuel Calhoun

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Sarah and the Henhouse Guest II
By Toni Lee Robinson

1     "Open up!" Boots stomped angrily on the verandah. Fists pounded on the front door. "Open up, I say, or I'll break it down!" The shouts echoed through the front parlor.
2     Sarah clung to her mother's arm. "You can't let them in!" she whispered. Mrs. Calhoun frowned at Sarah. There was no time for long explanations. "Please! Elijah's hurt! In the henhouse, hiding! " Sarah blurted. "You have to send them away!"
3     Mrs. Calhoun looked at her daughter for a long moment. Meanwhile, the ruckus at the door got louder. "My dear, I must find out what they want." Gently, Mrs. Calhoun loosed her arm from Sarah's grasp. She walked calmly to the front door. Smoothing her apron, she pulled the door open and smiled.
4     "Why, it's our neighbor, Mr. Crumley! How nice of you to call. And I see you've brought friends! This is a nice surprise! Sarah, dear, fetch a pitcher of cold water." The men at the door were sweaty and dusty. Each clutched a rifle or pistol. But they stood mute, transfixed by Mrs. Calhoun's gracious fountain of words.
5     "I'm so sorry, Mr. Crumley! We can't offer you any lemonade," Mrs. Calhoun went on. "Such a bother, these shortages...But forgive me for prattling on. You all look done in. Please, sit down and have some cold water." Sarah handed Mother the tray with a pitcher and glasses.
6     Mr. Crumley owned a small farm on the southern edge of the county. He was known for mistreating his slaves. Sarah thought him ignorant and coarse, a mean, rude man. This group of men with him seemed cut from the same cloth.
7     "Now, you must stay for dinner." Mrs. Calhoun smiled at the men awkwardly seating themselves in the parlor. "We're just frying a nice plump hen." Sarah kept herself from gaping at her mother. What was she saying!? They were doing no such thing!
8     Finally, Mr. Crumley stirred himself to interrupt. "Nonsense!" he barked. "We've got important business here! We're trailin' a criminal! Oldest boy of that uppity darkie Sam. No ‘count black scalawag! Boastin' ‘bout the eddication they're agittin' now these stinkin' Yanks are in charge. Tellin' how they're gonna vote these scalawags in. Gonna be equal with white folk, they says!"

Paragraphs 9 to 19:
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After the Civil War

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