Click here to Download The Golden Age PDF Book by Kenneth Grahame Language English having PDF Size 1 MB and No of Pages 74.
The masterful wind was up and out, shouting and chasing, the lord of the morning. Poplars swayed and tossed with a roaring swish; dead leaves sprang aloft, and whirled into space; and all the clear-swept heaven seemed to thrill with sound like a great harp. It was one of the first awakenings of the year.
The Golden Age PDF Book by Kenneth Grahame
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|No of Pages||74|
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The earth stretched herself, smiling in her sleep; and everything leapt and pulsed to the stir of the giant’s movement. With us it was a whole holiday; the occasion a birthday—it matters not whose. Some one of us had had presents, and pretty conventional speeches, and had glowed with that sense of heroism which is no less sweet that nothing has been done to deserve it.
But the holiday was for all, the rapture of awakening Nature for all, the various outdoor joys of puddles and sun and hedge-breaking for all. Colt-like I ran through the meadows, frisking happy heels in the face of Nature laughing responsive. Above, the sky was bluest of the blue; wide pools left by the winter’s floods flashed the colour back.
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True and brilliant; and the soft air thrilled with the germinating touch that seemed to kindle something in my own small person as well as in the rash primrose already lurking in sheltered haunts. Out into the brimming sun-bathed world I sped, free of lessons, free of discipline and correction, for one day at least.
My legs ran of themselves, and though I heard my name called faint and shrill behind, there was no stopping for me. It was only Harold, I concluded, and his legs, though shorter than mine, were good for a longer spurt than this. Then I heard it called again, but this time more faintly, with a pathetic break in the middle; and I pulled up short, recognising Charlotte’s plaintive note.
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She panted up anon, and dropped on the turf beside me. Neither had any desire for talk; the glow and the glory of existing on this perfect morning were satisfaction full and sufficient. “Where’s Harold;” I asked presently. “Oh, he’s just playin’ muffin-man, as usual,” said Charlotte with petulance. “Fancy wanting to be a muffin-man on a whole holiday!”
It was a strange craze, certainly; but Harold, who invented his own games and played them without assistance, always stuck staunchly to a new fad, till he had worn it quite out. Just at present he was a muffin-man, and day and night he went through passages and up and down staircases, ringing a noiseless bell and offering phantom muffins to invisible wayfarers.
It sounds a poor sort of sport; and yet—to pass along busy streets of your own building, for ever ringing an imaginary bell and offering airy muffins of your own make to a bustling thronging crowd of your own creation—there were points about the game, it cannot be denied, though it seemed scarce in harmony with this radiant windswept morning! The Golden Age PDF Book
Then once more in this country’s story the mail-clad knights paced through the greenwood shaw, questing adventure, redressing wrong; and bandits, five to one, broke and fled discomfited to their caves. Once again were damsels rescued, dragons disembowelled, and giants, in every corner of the orchard, deprived of their already superfluous number of heads.
While Palamides the Saracen waited for us by the well, and Sir Breuse Saunce Pite vanished in craven flight before the skilled spear that was his terror and his bane. Once more the lists were dight in Camelot, and all was gay with shimmer of silk and gold; the earth shook with thunder of horses, ash-staves flew in splinters; and the firmament rang to the clash of sword on helm.
The varying fortune of the day swung doubtful—now on this side, now on that; till at last Lancelot, grim and great, thrusting through the press, unhorsed Sir Tristram (an easy task), and bestrode her, threatening doom; while the Cornish knight, forgetting hard-won fame of old, cried piteously, “You’re hurting me, I tell you! and you’re tearing my frock!” The Golden Age PDF Book
Then it happed that Sir Kay, hurtling to the rescue, stopped short in his stride, catching sight suddenly, through apple-boughs, of a gleam of scarlet afar off; while the confused tramp of many horses, mingled with talk and laughter, was borne to our ears. “What is it?” inquired Tristram, sitting up and shaking out her curls; while Lancelot forsook the clanging lists and trotted nimbly to the hedge.
I stood spell-bound for a moment longer, and then, with a cry of “Soldiers!” I was off to the hedge, Charlotte picking herself up and scurrying after. Down the road they came, two and two, at an easy walk; scarlet flamed in the eye, bits jingled and saddles squeaked delightfully; while the men, in a halo of dust, smoked their short clays like the heroes they were.
In a swirl of intoxicating glory the troop clinked and clattered by, while we shouted and waved, jumping up and down, and the big jolly horsemen acknowledged the salute with easy condescension. The moment they were past we were through the hedge and after them. Soldiers were not the common stuff of everyday life. The Golden Age PDF Book
There had been nothing like this since the winter before last, when on a certain afternoon—bare of leaf and monochrome in its hue of sodden fallow and frost-nipt copse— suddenly the hounds had burst through the fence with their mellow cry, and all the paddock was for the minute reverberant of thudding hoof and dotted with glancing red. But this was better.
Since it could only mean that blows and bloodshed were in the air. “Is there going to be a battle?” panted Harold, hardly able to keep up for excitement. “Of course there is,” I replied. “We’re just in time. Come on!” Perhaps I ought to have known better; and yet—— The pigs and poultry, with whom we chiefly consorted, could instruct us little concerning the peace that in these latter days lapped this sea-girt realm.
In the schoolroom we were just now dallying with the Wars of the Roses; and did not legends of the country-side inform us how Cavaliers had once galloped up and down these very lanes from their quarters in the village? Here, now, were soldiers unmistakable; and if their business was not fighting, what was it? The Golden Age PDF Book
Sniffing the joy of battle, we followed hard on their tracks. “Won’t Edward be sorry,” puffed Harold, “that he’s begun that beastly Latin?” It did, indeed, seem hard. Edward, the most martial spirit of us all, was drearily conjugating AMO (of all verbs) between four walls; while Selina, who ever thrilled ecstatic to a red coat, was struggling with the uncouth German tongue. “Age,” I reflected, “carries its penalties.”
After lunch I walked on the terrace with the Princess and my friend the Man, and was very proud. And I told him what I was going to be, and he told me what he was going to be; and then I remarked, “I suppose you two are going to get married?” He only laughed, after the Fairy fashion.
“Because if you aren’t,” I added, “you really ought to”: meaning only that a man who discovered a Princess, living in the right sort of Palace like this, and didn’t marry her there and then, was false to all recognised tradition. They laughed again, and my friend suggested I should go down to the pond and look at the gold-fish, while they went for a stroll. The Golden Age PDF Book Download
I was sleepy, and assented; but before they left me, the grown-up man put two half-crowns in my hand, for the purpose, he explained, of treating the other water-babies. I was so touched by this crowning mark of friendship that I nearly cried; and thought much more of his generosity than of the fact that the Princess; ere she moved away, stooped down and kissed me.
I watched them disappear down the path—how naturally arms seem to go round waists in Fairyland!—and then, my cheek on the cool marble, lulled by the trickle of water, I slipped into dreamland out of real and magic world alike. When I woke, the sun had gone in, a chill wind set all the leaves a-whispering, and the peacock on the lawn was harshly calling up the rain.
A wild unreasoning panic possessed me, and I sped out of the garden like a guilty thing, wriggled through the rabbit-run, and threaded my doubtful way homewards, hounded by nameless terrors. The half-crowns happily remained solid and real to the touch; but could I hope to bear such treasure safely through the brigand-haunted wood? The Golden Age PDF Book Download
It was a dirty, weary little object that entered its home, at nightfall, by the unassuming aid of the scullery-window: and only to be sent tealess to bed seemed infinite mercy to him. Officially tealess, that is; for, as was usual after such escapades, a sympathetic housemaid, coming delicately by backstairs, stayed him with chunks of cold pudding and condolence, till his small skin was tight as any drum.
Then, nature asserting herself, I passed into the comforting kingdom of sleep, where, a golden carp of fattest build, I oared it in translucent waters with a new half-crown snug under right fin and left; and thrust up a nose through water-lily leaves to be kissed by a rose-flushed Princess.
Charlotte looked almost reassured. The room was quieter now, for Edward had got the dragon down and was boring holes in him with a purring sound Harold was ascending the steps of the Athenaeum with a jaunty air—suggestive rather of the Junior Carlton. Outside, the tall elm-tops were hardly to be seen through the feathery storm. The Golden Age PDF Book Download
“The sky’s a-falling,” quoted Charlotte, softly; “I must go and tell the king.” The quotation suggested a fairy story, and I offered to read to her, reaching out for the book. But the Wee Folk were under a cloud; sceptical hints had embittered the chalice. So I was fain to fetch Arthur—second favourite with Charlotte for his dames riding errant.
And an easy first with us boys for his spear splintering crash of tourney and hurtle against hopeless odds. Here again, however, I proved unfortunate,—what ill-luck made the book open at the sorrowful history of Balin and Balan? “And he vanished anon,” I read: “and so he heard an horne blow, as it had been the death of a beast.
‘That blast,’ said Balin, ‘is blowen for me, for I am the prize, and yet am I not dead.’” Charlotte began to cry: she knew the rest too well. I shut the book in despair. Harold emerged from behind the arm-chair. He was sucking his thumb (a thing which members of the Reform are seldom seen to do), and he stared wide-eyed at his tear stained sister. The Golden Age PDF Book Free
Edward put off his histrionics, and rushed up to her as the consoler—a new part for him. “I know a jolly story,” he began. “Aunt Eliza told it me. It was when she was somewhere over in that beastly abroad”—(he had once spent a black month of misery at Dinan)—“and there was a fellow there who had got two storks. And one stork died—it was the she-stork.”
“What did it die of?” put in Harold. “And the other stork was quite sorry, and moped, and went on, and got very miserable. So they looked about and found a duck, and introduced it to the stork. The duck was a drake, but the stork didn’t mind, and they loved each other and were as jolly as could be.
By and by another duck came along,—a real she-duck this time, —and when the drake saw her he fell in love, and left the stork, and went and proposed to the duck: for she was very beautiful. But the poor stork who was left, he said nothing at all to anybody, but just pined and pined and pined away, till one morning he was found quite dead! But the ducks lived happily ever afterwards!” The Golden Age PDF Book Free
This was Edward’s idea of a jolly story! Down again went the corners of poor Charlotte’s mouth. Really Edward’s stupid inability to see the real point in anything was TOO annoying! It was always so. Years before, it being necessary to prepare his youthful mind for a domestic event that might lead to awkward questionings at a time when there was little leisure to invent appropriate answers.
It was delicately inquired of him whether he would like to have a little brother, or perhaps a little sister? He considered the matter carefully in all its bearings, and finally declared for a Newfoundland pup. Any boy more “gleg at the uptak” would have met his parents half-way, and eased their burden. As it was, the matter had to be approached all over again from a fresh standpoint.
And now, while Charlotte turned away sniffingly, with a hiccough that told of an overwrought soul, Edward, unconscious (like Sir Isaac’s Diamond) of the mischief he had done, wheeled round on Harold with a shout. The Golden Age PDF Book Free