excerpt from 'The Hidden Roads: A Memoir of Childhood' pp. 66 (218 words)

excerpt from 'The Hidden Roads: A Memoir of Childhood' pp. 66 (218 words)

part of

The Hidden Roads: A Memoir of Childhood

original language

urn:iso:std:iso:639:ed-3:eng

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66

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text excerpt

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From time to time, [my sister] Sally and I sat and listened with my father to records (78s, of course) on the gramophone.  At Crosskeys, the house rule for listening to music of any kind was that we should do so attentively and in silence, and never, never, as background noise.  This is a practice I have observed to this day.  When my father was away, and we were making too much of a rumpus in our little cottage, my mother’s solution was not to send us to our rooms to read but to make us sit down and listen to music. 

Once, Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique was being played on the radio, and my mother said she’d give us threepence each – half my weekly pocket money – if we kept quiet, side by side on the sofa, until the end of the symphony. 

At the end of the jubilant, overwhelmingly exciting third movement, we fairly exploded across the room, leaping and waving. 

‘Very good!’ my mother congratulated us.  ‘Well done!’ 

Then the forlorn, stricken finale began … Adagio lamentoso, the work of a man only ten days before his death. 

Amused at her own ignorance and with an innate sense of fair play, my mother gave us each a threepenny bit and told us to ‘pipe down’.

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excerpt from 'The Hidden Roads: A Memoir of Childhood' pp. 66 (218 words)

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