|About the Book|
an excerpt from the beginning: QUENTIN DE WARD was rather a nice little boy, but he had never been with other little boys, and that made him in some ways a little different from other little boys. His father was in India, and he and his mother livedMorean excerpt from the beginning: QUENTIN DE WARD was rather a nice little boy, but he had never been with other little boys, and that made him in some ways a little different from other little boys. His father was in India, and he and his mother lived in a little house in the New Forest. The house—it was a cottage really, but even a cottage is a house, isnt it?—was very pretty and thatched and had a porch covered with honeysuckle and ivy and white roses, and straight red hollyhocks were trained to stand up in a row against the south wall of it. The two lived quite alone, and as they had no one else to talk to they talked to each other a good deal. Mrs. de Ward read a great many books, and she used to tell Quentin about them afterwards. They were usually books about out of the way things, for Mrs. de Ward was interested in all the things that people are not quite sure about—the things that are hidden and secret, wonderful and mysterious—the things people make discoveries about. So that when the two were having their tea on the little brick terrace in front of the hollyhocks, with the white cloth flapping in the breeze, and the wasps hovering round the jam-pot, it was no uncommon thing for Quentin to say thickly through his bread and jam:-- I say, mother, tell me some more about Atlantis. Or, Mother, tell me some more about ancient Egypt and the little toy-boats they made for their little boys. Or, Mother, tell me about the people who think Lord Bacon wrote Shakespeare. And his mother always told him as much as she thought he could understand, and he always understood quite half of what she told him. They always talked the things out thoroughly, and thus he learned to be fond of arguing, and to enjoy using his brains, just as you enjoy using your muscles in the football field or the gymnasium. Also he came to know quite a lot of odd, out of the way things, and to have opinions of his own concerning the lost Kingdom of Atlantis, and the Man with the Iron Mask, the building of Stonehenge, the Pre-dynastic Egyptians, cuneiform writings and Assyrian sculptures, the Mexican pyramids and the shipping activities of Tyre and Sidon.