Plans discussed.Pleasures of camping-out, on fine nights.Ditto, wet nights.Compromise decided on.Montmorency, first impressions of.Fears lest he is too good for this world, fears subsequently dismissed as groundless.Meeting adjourns.
We pulled out the maps, and discussed plans.
We arranged to start on the following Saturday from Kingston. Harris and I would go down in the morning, and take the boat up to Chertsey, and George, who would not be able to get away from the City till the afternoon (George goes to sleep at a bank from ten to four each day, except Saturdays, when they wake him up and put him outside at two), would meet us there.
Should we camp out or sleep at inns?
George and I were for camping out. We said it would be so wild and free, so patriarchal like.
Slowly the golden memory of the dead sun fades from the hearts of the cold, sad clouds. Silent, like sorrowing children, the birds have ceased their song, and only the moorhens plaintive cry and the harsh croak of the corncrake stirs the awed hush around the couch of waters, where the dying day breathes out her last.
From the dim woods on either bank, Nights ghostly army, the grey shadows, creep out with noiseless tread to chase away the lingering rear-guard of the light, and pass, with noiseless, unseen feet, above the waving river-grass, and through the sighing rushes; and Night, upon her sombre throne, folds her black wings above the darkening world, and, from her phantom palace, lit by the pale stars, reigns in stillness.
Then we run our little boat into some quiet nook, and the tent is pitched, and the frugal supper cooked and eaten. Then the big pipes are filled and lighted, and the pleasant chat goes round in musical undertone; while, in the pauses of our talk, the river, playing round the boat, prattles strange old tales and secrets, sings low the old childs song that it has sung so many thousand yearswill sing so many thousand years to come, before its voice grows harsh and olda song that we, who have learnt to love its changing face, who have so often nestled on its yielding bosom, think, somehow, we understand, though we could not tell you in mere words the story that we listen to.
And we sit there, by its margin, while the moon, who loves it too, stoops down to kiss it with a sisters kiss, and throws her silver arms around it clingingly; and we watch it as it flows, ever singing, ever whispering, out to meet its king, the seatill our voices die away in silence, and the pipes go outtill we, common-place, everyday young men enough, feel strangely full of thoughts, half sad, half sweet, and do not care or want to speaktill we laugh, and, rising, knock the ashes from our burnt-out pipes, and say Good-night, and, lulled by the lapping water and the rustling trees, we fall asleep beneath the great, still stars, and dream that the world is young againyoung and sweet as she used to be ere the centuries of fret and care had furrowed her fair face, ere her childrens sins and follies had made old her loving