HIS LOVING UNCLE
I THE BIRTHDAY
II THE FAMILY DOG
III CHRISTMAS PANTOMIME
IV MISS JONES
V THE SEA-CAPTAIN
VI FAMILY PRIDE
VIII TO COW FARM
IX THE AWAKENING OF CHARLOTTE
XI THE MERRY-GO-ROUND
XII HAMLET WAITS
"It is due to him to say that he was
an obedient boy and a boy whose word
could be depended on . . ."
About thirty years ago there was at the top of the right-hand side
of Orange Street in Polchester a large stone house. I say "was";
the shell of it is still there and the people who now live in it
are quite unaware I suppose that anything has happened to the
inside of it except that they are certainly assured that their
furniture is vastly superior to the furniture of their predecessors.
They have a gramophone a pianola and a lift to bring the plates
from the kitchen into the dining-room and a small motor garage at
the back where the old pump used to be and a very modern rock
garden where once was the pond with the fountain that never worked.
Let them cherish their satisfaction. No one grudges it to them. The
Coles were by modern standards old-fashioned people and the Stone
House was an old-fashioned house.
Young Jeremy Cole was born there in the year 1884 very early in the
morning of December 8th. He was still there very early in the
morning of December 8th 1892. He was sitting up in bed. The cuckoo
clock had just struck five and he was aware that he was at this
very moment for the first time in his life eight years old. He had
gone to bed at eight o'clock on the preceding evening with the
choking consciousness that he would awake in the morning a different
creature. Although he had slept there had permeated the texture of
his dreams that same choking excitement and now wide awake as
though he had asked the cuckoo to call him in order that he might
not be late for the great occasion he stared into the black
distance of his bedroom and reflected with a beating heart upon
the great event. He was eight years old and he had as much right
now to the nursery arm-chair with a hole in it as Helen had.
That was his first definite realisation of approaching triumph.
Throughout the whole of his seventh year he had fought with Helen
who was most unjustly a year older than he and persistently proud of
that injustice as to his right to use the wicker arm-chair
whensoever it pleased him. So destructive of the general peace of
the house had these incessant battles been so unavailing the
suggestions of elderly relations that gentlemen always yielded to
ladies that a compromise had been arrived at. When Jeremy was eight
he should have equal rights with Helen. Well and good. Jeremy had
yielded to that. It was the only decent chair in the nursery. Into
the place where the wicker yielding to rude and impulsive pressure
had fallen away one's body might be most happily fitted. It was of
exactly the right height; it made the handsomest creaking noises
when one rocked in it--and in any case Helen was only a girl.
But the sense of his triumph had not yet fully descended upon him.
As he sat up in bed yawning with a tickle in the middle of his
back and his throat very dry; he was disappointingly aware that he
was still the same Jeremy of yesterday. He did not know what it was
exactly that he had expected but he did not feel at present that
confident proud glory for which he had been prepared. Perhaps it was
He turned round curled his head into his arm and with a half-
muttered half-dreamt statement about the wicker chair he was once