An excerpt from the beginning:


MY father was headmaster of Wellington College, where and when I was born, but of him there, in spite of his extraordinarily forcible personality, I have no clear memory, though the first precise and definite recollection that I retain at all, heaving out of nothingness,...
See more details below
Our Family Affairs

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
BN.com price


An excerpt from the beginning:


MY father was headmaster of Wellington College, where and when I was born, but of him there, in spite of his extraordinarily forcible personality, I have no clear memory, though the first precise and definite recollection that I retain at all, heaving out of nothingness, was connected with him, for it certainly was he, who, standing by the table in the window of the dining-room with an open newspaper in his hand, told me never to forget this day on which the Franco-German war came to an end. Otherwise as regards him, somebody swept by in an academic cap and gown, a figure not at all awe-inspiring as he became to me very soon after, but simply a rather distinguished natural phenomenon to be regarded in the same light as rain or wall-paper or sunshine. Cudgel my memory as I may, I can evoke no other figure of him at Wellington, except as something shining and swift; an external object whirling along on an orbit as inconjecturable as those of the stars, and wholly uninteresting. He had a study on the left of the front door into the Master's Lodge, where there was a big desk with a shiny circular cover. I know that I was taken in there to say good night to him, but the most remarkable thing there was the big desk with large handles, and perhaps a boy standing by it, mountainous in height and looking extremely polite and gentle. There was the same ceremony every evening: my father kissed me, put his hand on my head and said, "God bless you and make you a good boy always." The most significant detail of that ritual was that my father's face was rough, not smooth like the face of my mother and of Beth, and that there lingered round him or the room a smell of books and a smell of soap.

A little later on than that there came a period when for half an hour before bedtime my two sisters and I (for the present the youngest) used to visit him in that same study while he drew entrancing pictures for us, each in turn. One of these I found only the other day: it represents a hill crowned with a castle and a church, in front of which is a small knight waving his sword in the direction of a terrifying dragon, horned and tailed, who is flying across the sky. Below in minute capitals runs a rhyming legend. Or I went to the College chapel, though not often, and by way of a treat, and there was the same figure in a surplice, in a stall on the right hand of the door of entrance. I believe I was there on the last Sunday of his Headmastership and that they sang a hymn which he wrote.

Emotionally, I have no picture-book illustrated with memories of my first five years, but externally I have impressions that possess a haunting vividness comparable only to the texture of dreams, when dreams are tumultuously alive. All these (and I think the experience is universal) were external happenings, trivial in themselves, but far more lasting than emotional affairs in later life. Never shall I forget, though I have forgotten so much of far vaster import since then, the discovery of an adder on the croquet lawn outside the nursery windows. The gardener attacked it with the shears that he had been using for clipping the edges of the grass: he made fine chopping gestures, and presently disappeared into the belt of wood with the adder slung on the blades. There is the vignette: something terribly vivid but girt about with mist. I have no other knowledge of the gardener but that he killed an adder with his shears and went into the belt of wood with the corpse dangling thereon.

There was an evening when, having had my bath in the nursery I escaped from the hands of my nurse, slippery with soapy water, and looked out of the nursery window. Then a miracle burst upon my astounded eyes, for, though it was bedtime my mother was in the act of putting her foot on her own croquet ball, and with a smart stroke sending the adversary into the limbo of a flowerbed. That was allowed by the rule of 1870 or thereabouts, and it gave me the impression of consummate skill and energy. My mother, you must understand, stood quite still with her own ball in chancery below her foot. The concussion of her violent mallet sent the adversary into a flower-bed, and the calceolarias nodded. . . . Then Beth, my nurse, caught me, and rubbed me dry, and I went to bed with the delicious sense of my mother's magnificence, and the marvel of people still playing croquet in daylight when I had to go to bed. I think that this occasion was the first on which I recognised my mother as having a personality of her own. The next confused me again, for on some birthday of one of us, or at Christmas, Beth told me that Abracadabra was coming, and that I mustn't be frightened. I was then taken to see my mother, who was lying down in her bedroom, and said that she was very sleepy, and I returned to the nursery....
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940014866194
  • Publisher: OGB
  • Publication date: 8/12/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 523,342
  • File size: 460 KB

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)