This painting “The Princes in the Tower” by John Everett Millais (1829-1896), along with the story to which it relates, was included in a book given to me when I was a schoolboy, and I remember that it made me quite sad.Edward and Richard were the sons of Edward IV. When he died in 1483, the two immediately went to the Tower of London to prepare for the coronation of the elder boy Edward. Because he was only 13, his uncle Richard, Duke of Gloucester was made Protector, but within a few months Parliament declared the boys illegitimate and Richard was crowned King. The two brothers were never seen again, and in 1674, when two skeletons of children were discovered in the Tower, it was assumed that these were the remains of the princes.
I’ve been trying to recall what other books I had as a boy. Arabian Nights was a collection of the well-known tales and was probably my favourite. I enjoyed Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, Treasure Island and Peter the Whaler by W.H.G. Kingston. We also had a Chatterbox Annual, a properly bound book, containing about 200 pages. This had belonged to someone in my father’s family, and it was full of stories, poems, pictures and paintings.
One of our books told the story of two children going to stay with an aunt with whom they didn’t expect to have much fun. However, she surprised them by producing a book which told Bible stories in an exciting way. And I remember that I kept re-reading that book.
I must mention that I first came across Shakespeare at home. My father had an old school copy of Hamlet, and I often read parts of it, but not really understanding what it was all about.
When I was secondary school age, I joined the local library, and the worlds of P.G. Wodehouse, Agatha Christie and John Dickson Carr were opened to me.
FORGOTTEN FAVOURITE - Cole Porter’s “True Love” which came from the film “High Society” was a very big hit for Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly.
SCOTTISH TALES FROM THE OTHER WORLD continue on Friday with “The Tailor who minded the bairn.”
Robert Louis Stevenson wrote a number of poems for young children, and this one I remember very well -
I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head,
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.
The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow -
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow,
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an indian rubber ball,
And he sometimes gets so little that there’s none of him at all.
He hasn’t got a notion of how children ought to play,
And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.
He stays so close beside me, he’s a coward you can see;
I’d think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me!
One morning, very early, before the sun was up,
I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup;
But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head,
Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.
yesterday was a special day for me -
three score years and ten
and then fourteen further years -
I don’t believe it!
another birthday -
old age crept up on me when
I wasn’t looking
I like those famous quotes -
I don’t feel 80. In fact I don’t feel anything till noon. Then it’s time for a nap. (Bob Hope)
The man who is too old to learn was probably always too old to learn. (Henry Haskins)
Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be! (Robert Browning)