Hollowdell Grange - Holiday Hours in a Country Home
129 Pages
English
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Hollowdell Grange - Holiday Hours in a Country Home

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129 Pages
English

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Published 08 December 2010
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Language English

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Hollowdell Grange, by George Manville Fenn This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org Title: Hollowdell Grange Holiday Hours in a Country Home Author: George Manville Fenn Release Date: March 26, 2008 [EBook #24918] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK HOLLOWDELL GRANGE *** Produced by Nick Hodson of London, England George Manville Fenn "Hollowdell Grange" Chapter One. A Fish out of Water. It was such a fine hot Midsummer day at Hollowdell station, that the porter had grown tired of teasing the truck-driver’s dog, and fallen fast asleep—an example which the dog had tried to follow, but could not, because there was only one shady spot within the station-gates, and that had been taken possession of by the porter; so the poor dog had tried first one place, and then another, but they were all so hot and stifling, and the flies kept buzzing about him so teasingly, that he grew quite cross, and barked and snapped so at the tiresome insects, that at last he woke Jem Barnes, the porter, who got up, stretched himself, yawned very rudely and loudly, and then, looking in at the station-clock, he saw that the 2:30 train from London was nearly due, so he made up his mind not to go to sleep again until it had passed. It was a hot day—so hot that the great black tarpaulins over the goods-waggons were quite soft, and came off all black upon Jem Barnes’s hands. The air down the road seemed to quiver and dance over the white chalky dust; while all the leaves upon the trees, and the grass in the meadows, drooped beneath the heat of the sun. As to the river, it shone like a band of silver as it wound in and out, and here and there; and when you looked you could see the reflection of the great dragon-flies as they flitted and raced about over the glassy surface. The reeds on the bank were quite motionless; while, out in the middle, the fat old chub could be seen basking in the sunshine, wagging their great broad fantails in the sluggish stream, too lazy even to snap up the flies that passed over their heads. All along the shallows the roach and dace lay in shoals, flashing about, every now and then, in the transparent water like gleams of silver light. Down in the meadows, where the ponds were, and the shady trees grew, the cows were so hot that they stood up to their knees in the muddy water, chewing their grass with half-shut eyes, and whisking their long tails about to keep the flies at a distance. But it was of no use to whisk, for every now and then a nasty, spiteful, hungry fly would get on some poor cow’s back, creep beneath the hair, and force its horny trunk into the skin so sharply, that the poor animal would burst out into a doleful lowing, and, sticking its tail up, go galloping and plunging through the meadow in such a clumsy way as only a cow can display. A few fields off the grass was being cut, and the sharp scythes of the mowers went tearing through the tall, rich, green crop, and laid it low in long rows as the men, with their regular strokes, went down the long meadows. Every now and then, too, they would make the wood-side re-echo with the musical ringing sound of the scythes, as the gritty rubbers glided over the keen edges of the bright tools. Hot, hot, hot!—how the sun glowed in the bright blue sky! and how the down train puffed and panted, while the heat of the weather made even the steam from the funnel transparent as it streamed backwards over the engine’s green back! The driver and stoker were melting, for they had the great roaring fire of the engine just in front of them, and the sun scorching their backs; the guard was hot with stopping at so many stations, and putting out so much luggage; while the passengers, in the carriages said they were almost stifled, and looked out with longing eyes at the shady green woods they passed. One passenger in particular, a sharp-featured and rather sallow youth about twelve years old, kept looking at the time-table, and wondering how long it would be before he arrived at Hollowdell, for that was the name printed upon the ticket Fred Morris held in his hand. But just at this time there were other people travelling towards Hollowdell station, and that too by the long dusty chalky road that came through the woods and over the wooden bridge right up to the railway crossing; and these people were no others than Fred Morris’s country cousins, and the old man-servant—half groom, half gardener—who was driving the pony chaise with Harry Inglis by his side, while Fred’s other cousin Philip was cantering along upon his donkey close behind—such a donkey! with thin legs, and a thin tail that he kept closely tucked in between the hind pair, as if he was afraid the crupper would pull it off. He wanted no beating, although he could be obstinate enough when he liked, and refuse to pass the green paddock where he grazed; but he wanted no beating, while with his young master on his back: he would trot off with his little hoofs going pitter-patter, twinkle-twinkle over the road, at a rate that it used to puzzle old Dumpling, the fat pony, to keep up with. Harry and Philip Inglis were rather different-looking boys to their cousin, for, stouter in build, they bore upon their good-tempered faces the brown marks made by many a summer’s sun. And now, upon this occasion, they were all impatience to get to the station to meet Cousin Fred, who was coming down to spend the Midsummer holidays. The visit had been long talked about, and now the boys were in a state of the greatest excitement lest any disappointment might take place. “Oh! do drive faster, Sam,” said Harry, making a snatch at the reins; “I know he’ll be there first. Tiresome old thing, you! Why didn’t you start an hour sooner?” “What for?” said Sam, grumbling, and holding tightly to the reins; “what was I to come an hour sooner for? Think I don’t know how