excerpt from 'The Golden Sovereign' pp. 158–59 (355 words)

excerpt from 'The Golden Sovereign' pp. 158–59 (355 words)

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The Golden Sovereign

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Jack and I, on one of our Saturday cycle rides, entered the church to find the organ console open.  What followed, I have described in a book called Kent.  We left the church, and were about to ride on, when Jack remarked:

“Did you notice the score of Fauré’s Requiem Mass on the desk?”

                I knew what was coming, and I did not reply.  “I’d like to try that over.  There’s nobody about.”

                So we abandoned our bicycles again, and crept back to the empty church, where all was silent except for the tick-tock, tick-tack, of the ancient clock, that occasional shifting of vowel sound serving to make the silence almost visible.

                Then Jack switched on the pump, and began to play, while I sat, summer-sleepy, in a pew, listening.  I was half-way down the nave, lost in daydream and the welter of beautiful sound.  The wooden beams of the roof curved above me, framing the music with their shapely solidity.

                Suddenly I was aware that somebody had entered the church, and was tiptoeing toward the pew where I sat cuddled over my own arms, which were clasped round my stomach to prevent it from fluttering too violently under the emotional stress caused by the music. Then the intruder sat down beside me, ignoring my presence.  There we were, side by side, listening to my brother’s skilful foot-and-hand work.  At last it ended, the sadly serene beauty thinning out into echoes round the building, picking up the latent, historical melancholy of the old church, to add to its own.

                The vicar looked at me over his clerical collar.  “Who is that?” he said, severely.

                “My brother,” I replied.  “He saw the Fauré on the desk and could not resist it.”  Now I quote from my book on Kent: “Then something happened which I shall never forget.  The vicar got up, put his hand on my shoulder, and said very quietly: ‘Thank your brother for me, my boy,’ and walked out of the church.”

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excerpt from 'The Golden Sovereign' pp. 158–59 (355 words)


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