Excerpt from The Strong Hours The April sun shone full upon the easterly windows of Avonleigh Hall, transfiguring the stern, grizzled face of the house, where Blounts of Avonleigh had lived and died since the days of C ur de Lion; caressing it with light and warmth, as a child caresses the face of an old man to make him smile and play at being young again. And the house responded after its kind. Its rough stones looked a few shades less sombre than usual. Golden and wine-coloured leaf-buds gleamed, half-open, on the thorny traceries of the Gloire de Dijon that framed the three tall windows of Lady Avonleigh's morning room. Under the low, broad ledge daffodils made stars and splashes of brightness; and the centuries-old lawn, across the gravel pathway, was gay with grape hyacinth and blue scilla. The breeze brought a whiff of fresh-cut grass and a mowing machine purred steadily somewhere out of sight. The sun - that, for all his million years, alone possesses the secret of immortal youth - was luring the whole world to play at being young again on that radiant spring morning. Suddenly there broke upon the stillness a patter of scurrying feet followed by the vision of a slim sturdy figure, in a brown jersey suit, that dashed out of the shrubbery and sped along the gravel path toward the house. About the Publisher Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at www.forgottenbooks.com This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art techlogy to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.