Master Skylark: A Story of Shakspere's Time

      John Bennett
Master Skylark: A Story of Shaksperes Time

Top 100 Books Master Skylark - A Story of Shakspere's Time by John Bennett There was an unwonted buzzing in the east end of Stratford on that next to the last day of April, 1596. It was as if some one had thrust a stick into a hive of bees and they had come whirling out to see. The low stone guard-wall of old Clopton bridge, built a hundred years before by rich Sir Hugh, sometime Mayor of London, was lined with straddling boys, like strawberries upon a spear of grass, and along the low causeway from the west across the lowland to the town, brown-faced, barefoot youngsters sat beside the roadway with their chubby legs a-dangle down the mossy stones, staring away into the south across the grassy levels of the valley of the Stour. Punts were poling slowly up the Avon to the bridge; and at the outlets of the town, where the streets came down to the waterside among the weeds, little knots of men and serving-maids stood looking into the south and listening. Some had waited for an hour, some for two; yet still there was no sound but the piping of the birds in white-thorn hedges, the hollow lowing of kine knee-deep in grassy meadows, and the long rush of the river through the sedge beside the pebbly shore; and naught to see but quiet valleys, primrose lanes, and Warwick orchards white with bloom, stretching away to the misty hills. But still they stood and looked and listened. The wind came stealing up out of the south, soft and warm and sweet and still, moving the ripples upon the river with gray gusts; and, scudding free before the wind, a dog came trotting up the road with wet pink tongue and sidelong gait. At the throat of Clopton bridge he stopped and scanned the way with dubious eye, then clapped his tail between his legs and bolted for the town. The laughing shout that followed him into the Warwick road seemed not to die away, but to linger in the air like the drowsy hum of bees--a hum that came and went at intervals upon the shifting wind, and grew by littles, taking body till it came unbroken as a long, low, distance-muffled murmur from the south, so faint as scarcely to be heard.
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