I hope you had a wonderful Christmas as I did with my family. If you live in the north you may have received a sled when you were young for Christmas. Below are some tidbits about sleds and sledding which they called Coasting. This comes from the "Fourth Reader of the Popular Series" by Marcius Wilson ©1883
Beacon Hill, east of the school-house. "Old Beacon," the boys called it; and "coasting," they called the sport.
3. The boys had sleds of many shapes, and sizes, and names, and colors. There were some thick, heavy plank sleds; and these, the boys said, were like the great and strong, but slow dray-horses down at the Forges. Then there were the lighter board sleds; and these were like the regular road-way wagon horses: but the prettiest of all were the light but strong frame sleds, made of the toughest timber; and these, the boys said, were the regular racers.
4. Among these latter sleds were the "Arrow," the "Eover," the "Racer," the "Swallow," the "Eagle," and many others. There were red sleds, and yellow sleds, and green sleds, and blue sleds; but Freddy Jones's sled, the "Eagle," was the favorite with all; and it was painted red, white, and blue.
5. "These are the colors of the flag of our country," said the teacher, who often joined the boys in their sports, and especially in coasting. "Your sled," said he to Freddy, "bears the name of our national bird, and ought never to be beaten."
6. When it was pleasant out of doors, and there was good coasting, the boys would invite the girls to go out and enjoy the sport with them; but the teacher would not allow the girls to go in rough, stormy weather.
7. One stormy, blustering day, when the boys went out to enjoy their sport, in the half hour of recess that the teacher had promised them, they found an immense snowdrift right across the track, near the foot of the hill-side, where the light snow had been blown during the night.
8. As Freddy's sled was the largest, as well as the swiftest, of the " racers," the other boys said they would wait, and % let him try the hill first; and if the "Eagle" could go through the drift, they would follow. But Freddy told the boys to get on to his sled. "It will carry half a dozen of you at least," he said; "and if you will only hold on when we strike the drift, I think it will take us all safely through."
9. So all that could get on Freddy's sled did so. "Now hold fast, and 'don't give up the ship,'" said Freddy. Then swiftly down—down the hill they went, on the ice, Freddy steering straight for the drift away down below. The "Eagle," with Freddy still at his post and bending low his head as he struck the drift, went through the "mountain of snow," as the boys called it, making a narrow passage, like a tunnel, through it, and then going on far beyond.
10. But the "crew," as Freddy called them, all deserted him, and fell from the sled, or were thrown from it, just as they had reached the point of danger, although some of them said Oiey would have gone through with Freddy, if they had not been pulled off by their companions. But all were thrown far into the drift, and were completely buried in the snow, from which they crawled forth well whitened—as, indeed, Freddy himself was—but without the least injury to any of them.
11. It was not long after this that the following account of this coasting scene, written in pencil, was found on the teacher's table in the school-room. As it is a part of the same story, and as the boys were much pleased with the good words that the teacher wrote about them, and with the interest that he took in their sports, it may form a part of the present chapter.