Morning: a Collection

Night was nearly gone. All slept in the beautiful bright city of Osaka. The harsh cry of the sentinels, calling one to another on the ramparts, broke the silence, unruffled otherwise save for the distant murmur of the sea as it swept into the bay.

Above the great dark mass formed by the palace and gardens of the Shogun a star was fading slowly. Dawn trembled in the air, and the tree-tops were more plainly outlined against the sky, which grew bluer every moment. Soon a pale glimmer touched the highest branches, slipped between the boughs and their leaves, and filtered downward to the ground. Then, in the gardens of the Prince, alleys thick with brambles displayed their dim perspective; the grass resumed its emerald hue; a tuft of poppies renewed the splendor of its sumptuous flowers, and a snowy flight of steps was faintly visible through the mist, down a distant avenue.

At last, suddenly, the sky grew purple; arrows of light athwart the bushes made every drop of water on the leaves sparkle. A pheasant alighted heavily; a crane shook her white wings, and with a long cry flew slowly upwards; while the earth smoked like a caldron, and the birds loudly hailed the rising sun.

As soon as the divine luminary rose from the horizon, the sound of a gong was heard. It was struck with a monotonous rhythm of overpowering melancholy,—four heavy strokes, four light strokes; four heavy strokes, and so on. It was the salute to the coming day, and the call to morning prayers.

From ‘The Usurper’ by Judith Gautier

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‘Morning’ by Caspar David Friedrich

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The days slipped past, bright ships, sailing out far beyond remembrance. It was morning, a very faint young morning, cold and chaste past belief. The sky was as flat as wax and as green as a leaf. The day had only just forgotten its last pursuing star and the birds’ July singing strained like tiny, creaking wheels in the stillness.

Easter sat up in bed, waking immediately and unregretfully. The alarm clock on the chair by Nanny’s bed could have told her that two hours must still go by before it was time to get up, but Easter could not quite read a clock and tell the time by it—an ignorance of which she felt ashamed and concealed with feverish duplicity.

But it was light. Easter sat upon the edge of her bed swinging her bare shanks. Why at this enchant-ing hour was everything forbidden ? Books, pictures, toys, walks abroad, everything that failed to dis-tract or amuse in its proper hour would entrance at this live forbidden moment.

Easter sighed. A waxy eye on the heap that was Nanny slumbering, and her foot reached down to the linoleum—colder than glass. A small shrill wind blew in at the open window, billowing the thin curtains, coming like a knife through the thick, shrunk placket band of Easter’s flannel nightdress and setting its long skirts to swirl about her legs. There is a time of life when we do not feel the cold, when adventure is high and purpose Dares to won fulfilment.

Good bed toys are difficult to find. A book, now, with satisfying detail of picture, pictures that told you lots and suggested more. Easter had such a book, it was large and heavy, bound in brown and gold, and within, enriched with the tales of “Bluebeard” and the “Sleeping Beauty” were illustrations of surpassing choiceness and exactitude. In one picture a macaw swung in a thin loop of gold, while Fatima and her girl friends sat gossiping and eating sweets (drawn and coloured so plain that one could count them where they lay in their dishes) and fruit, every seed of which was clearly to be seen. The very rings on their fingers, and the embroidery of their clothes was painted with unstinted labour.

It was the work of a moment only to scramble on to the heavy table from which she could, with a certain amount of effort, reach up to the top of the book-shelf.

From ‘Mad Puppetstown’ by Molly Keane

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‘Morning at Lamorna Cove, Cornwall’ by Samuel John ‘Lamorna’ Birch

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The hands on the hall-clock pointed to half-past six in the morning. The house was a country residence in West Somersetshire, called Combe-Raven. The day was the fourth of March, and the year was eighteen hundred and forty-six.

No sounds but the steady ticking of the clock, and the lumpish snoring of a large dog stretched on a mat outside the dining-room door, disturbed the mysterious morning stillness of hall and staircase. Who were the sleepers hidden in the upper regions? Let the house reveal its own secrets; and, one by one, as they descend the stairs from their beds, let the sleepers disclose themselves.

As the clock pointed to a quarter to seven, the dog woke and shook himself. After waiting in vain for the footman, who was accustomed to let him out, the animal wandered restlessly from one closed door to another on the ground-floor; and, returning to his mat in great perplexity, appealed to the sleeping family with a long and melancholy howl.

Before the last notes of the dog’s remonstrance had died away, the oaken stairs in the higher regions of the house creaked under slowly-descending footsteps. In a minute more the first of the female servants made her appearance, with a dingy woolen shawl over her shoulders—for the March morning was bleak; and rheumatism and the cook were old acquaintances.

Receiving the dog’s first cordial advances with the worst possible grace, the cook slowly opened the hall door and let the animal out. It was a wild morning. Over a spacious lawn, and behind a black plantation of firs, the rising sun rent its way upward through piles of ragged gray cloud; heavy drops of rain fell few and far between; the March wind shuddered round the corners of the house, and the wet trees swayed wearily.

Seven o’clock struck; and the signs of domestic life began to show themselves in more rapid succession ….

From ‘No Name’ by Wilkie Collins

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Morning 1926 Dod Procter 1892-1972 Presented by the Daily Mail 1927 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/N04270

‘Morning’ by Dod Procter

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WHEN I woke, the sapphire sky
Through the panes was gazing;
Bright the wind was waving by
The chestnuts’ yellow blazing.

When I went abroad, the land
Proclaimed a new dominion,
The slow black lanes which ploughs had planned
Shone vital and virginian.

Where the last night’s seething rain
Lay in my neighbour’s hiring,
It glittered mist and fire amain,
Sun-desired, desiring.

Old hares limped from frond to frond,
With joy half-mastering terror,
And lonely trees blushed rose beyond
Like Venus in a mirror.

Oak-woods that heard the rill-like gush
Of western wind’s compassion
Let fall their leaves, and then fell hush
For new annunciation.

I who had drooped the last eve’s hours
To think the year forsaken
Saw all the air bloom with fine flowers,
And laughed to have been mistaken.

‘A Budding Morrow’ by Edmund Charles Blunden

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‘Morning by the Sea’ by Kurt Jackson

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Mr Salteena was an elderly man of 42 and was fond of asking peaple to stay with him. He had quite a young girl staying with him of 17 named Ethel Monticue. Mr Salteena had dark short hair and mustache and wiskers which were very black and twisty. He was middle sized and he had very pale blue eyes. He had a pale brown suit but on Sundays he had a black one and he had a topper every day as he thorght it more becoming. Ethel Monticue had fair hair done on the top and blue eyes. She had a blue velvit frock which had grown rarther short in the sleeves. She had a black straw hat and kid gloves.

One morning Mr Salteena came down to brekfast and found Ethel had come down first which was strange. Is the tea made Ethel he said rubbing his hands. Yes said Ethel and such a quear shaped parcel has come for you Yes indeed it was a quear shape parcel it was a hat box tied down very tight and a letter stuffed between the string. Well well said Mr Salteena parcels do turn quear I will read the letter first and so saying he tore open the letter and this is what it said

My dear Alfred.
I want you to come for a stop with me so I have sent you a top hat wraped up in tishu paper inside the box. Will you wear it staying with me because it is very uncommon. Please bring one of your young ladies whichever is the prettiest in the face.
I remain Yours truely
Bernard Clark.

Well said Mr Salteena I shall take you to stay Ethel and fancy him sending me a top hat. Then Mr S. opened the box and there lay the most splendid top hat of a lovly rich tone rarther like grapes with a ribbon round compleat.

Well said Mr Salteena peevishly I dont know if I shall like it the bow of the ribbon is too flighty for my age. Then he sat down and eat the egg which Ethel had so kindly laid for him. After he had finished his meal he got down and began to write to Bernard Clark he ran up stairs on his fat legs and took out his blotter with a loud sniff and this is what he wrote.

My dear Bernard
Certinly I shall come and stay with you next Monday I will bring Ethel Monticue commonly called Miss M. She is very active and pretty. I do hope I shall enjoy myself with you. I am fond of digging in the garden and I am parshial to ladies if they are nice I suppose it is my nature. I am not quite a gentleman but you would hardly notice it but cant be helped anyhow. We will come by the 3-15.
Your old and valud friend

Alfred Salteena.

Perhaps my readers will be wondering why Bernard Clark had asked Mr Salteena to stay with him. He was a lonely man in a remote spot and he liked peaple and partys but he did not know many. What rot muttered Bernard Clark as he read Mr Salteenas letter. He was rarther a presumshious man.

From ‘The Young Visiters’ by Daisy Ashford

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‘A Morning in Paris’ by Nicholas Hely Hutchinson

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One place she went to oftener than to any other. It was the long walk outside the gardens with the walls round them. There were bare flower-beds on either side of it and against the walls ivy grew thickly. There was one part of the wall where the creeping dark green leaves were more bushy than elsewhere. It seemed as if for a long time that part had been neglected. The rest of it had been clipped and made to look neat, but at this lower end of the walk it had not been trimmed at all.

A few days after she had talked to Ben Weatherstaff Mary stopped to notice this and wondered why it was so. She had just paused and was looking up at a long spray of ivy swinging in the wind when she saw a gleam of scarlet and heard a brilliant chirp, and there, on the top of the wall, perched Ben Weatherstaff’s robin redbreast, tilting forward to look at her with his small head on one side.

“Oh!” she cried out, “is it you—is it you?” And it did not seem at all queer to her that she spoke to him as if she was sure that he would understand and answer her.

He did answer. He twittered and chirped and hopped along the wall as if he were telling her all sorts of things. It seemed to Mistress Mary as if she understood him, too, though he was not speaking in words. It was as if he said:

“Good morning! Isn’t the wind nice? Isn’t the sun nice? Isn’t everything nice? Let us both chirp and hop and twitter. Come on! Come on!”

Mary began to laugh, and as he hopped and took little flights along the wall she ran after him. Poor little thin, sallow, ugly Mary—she actually looked almost pretty for a moment.

“I like you! I like you!” she cried out, pattering down the walk; and she chirped and tried to whistle, which last she did not know how to do in the least. But the robin seemed to be quite satisfied and chirped and whistled back at her. At last he spread his wings and made a darting flight to the top of a tree, where he perched and sang loudly.

That reminded Mary of the first time she had seen him. He had been swinging on a tree-top then and she had been standing in the orchard. Now she was on the other side of the orchard and standing in the path outside a wall—much lower down—and there was the same tree inside.

“It’s in the garden no one can go into,” she said to herself. “It’s the garden without a door. He lives in there. How I wish I could see what it is like!”

She ran up the walk to the green door she had entered the first morning. Then she ran down the path through the other door and then into the orchard, and when she stood and looked up there was the tree on the other side of the wall, and there was the robin just finishing his song and beginning to preen his feathers with his beak.

“It is the garden,” she said. “I am sure it is.”

From ‘The Secret Garden’ by Frances Hodgson-Burnett

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The Morning Sun by Harold Knight

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As the morning lengthened whole parties appeared over the sand-hills and came down on the beach to bathe. It was understood that at eleven o’clock the women and children of the summer colony had the sea to themselves. First the women undressed, pulled on their bathing dresses and covered their heads in hideous caps like sponge bags; then the children were unbuttoned. The beach was strewn with little heaps of clothes and shoes; the big summer hats, with stones on them to keep them from blowing away, looked like immense shells. It was strange that even the sea seemed to sound differently when all those leaping, laughing figures ran into the waves

From ‘At the Bay’ by Katherine Mansfield

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4 thoughts on “Morning: a Collection

  1. In one of those eerie coincidences, my eyes widened when I saw Dod Proctor’s painting ‘Morning’. I’m reading Carolyn Trant’s book Voyaging Out on British female artists and that’s the very painting I was admiring yesterday. At the time, it caused quite a sensation for its sensual nature…whatever the case, it’s beautiful!

    Like

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