Saturday, October 28, 2017

  The following piece by Arthur Benson describes childhood like few things I've ever read. I love to reminisce, to understand and when occasion arises, to teach children.  

  "Personal relations, then, had scarcely existed for Hugh as a child. Older and bigger people, armed with a vague authority, had to be obeyed, and the boy had no theory which could account for their inconsequent behavior; they were amiable or ill-humored, just or unjust; he never attempted to criticize or condemn them by a moral standard; he simply accepted them as they were, and kept as much as possible out of the way of those who manifested sharpness or indifference.
  Once or twice he went away from home on a visit, and because he wept on his departure, he was supposed to have a tender and emotional nature; it was not tenderness, at least not tenderness for others, that made him weep. It was partly the terror of the unknown and the unfamiliar; it was partly the interruption to the even tenor of his life and the customary engagements of his day; and in this respect the boy had what may be called a middle-aged temperament, an intense dislike of any interference with his own ways; he had no enterprise, none of the high-hearted enjoyment of novelty, unless he was surrounded by a bulwark of familiar personalities; but partly, too, his love was all given to inanimate things; and as he drove out of the gate on one of these visits, the thought that the larches of the copse should be putting out their rosy buds, the rhododendrons thrusting out their gummy, spiky cases, the stream passing slowly through its deep pools, the beehive in the little birch avenue beginning to wake to life, and that he should not be there to go his accustomed rounds, and explore all the minute events of his dear domain: it was this that brought out the tears afresh, with a bitter, uncomforted sense of loss and bereavement.

So the early years passed for the boy, in a dream full to the brim of small wonders and fragrant mysteries. How pleasant it was to sink to sleep on summer evenings with the imagination of voyaging all night in a little boat or carriage; how delightful to wake, with the morning sun streaming in at the window, to hear the casement ivy tap on the pane, and to rehearse in the mind all the tiny pleasures of the long day. His short lessons were easy enough for the boy; he was quick and acute, and had a good memory; but he took not the smallest interest in them, except the interest of making a situation go smoothly; the only interest was in the thought of the unmolested lonely play that was to follow. He cared little for games, though they had a certain bitter excitement, the desire of emulation, the joy of triumph about them. He loved best an aimless wending from haunt to haunt, an accumulation of small treasures in places unknown to others; and, most of all, the rich sense of observation of a hundred curious and delicate things; the nests of birds in the shrubbery, the glossy cones of the young pines, the green, uncurling fingers of the bracken, the fresh green sword-grass that grew beneath the firs; he did not care to know the nature of the reasons of these things; it was enough simply to see them, to explore them with restless fingers, to recognize their scents, hues, and savors, with the sharp and unblunted perceptions of childhood."

1 comment:

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hello Fred,
Very interesting.
Best wishes