Here lies, bowl'd out by Death's unerring ball, A cricketer renowned, by name John Small; But though his name was small, yet great was his fame, For nobly did he play the'noble game'. His life was like his inningslong and good; Full ninety summers had Death withstood, At length the ninetieth winter camewhen (Fate Not leaving him one solitary mate) This last of Hambledonians, old John Small, Gave up his bat and ballhis leather, wax and all.
Who would think that a little bit of leather, and two pieces of wood, had such a delightful and delighting power!
For a long time we dreamed of a real leather ball, and at last my brother had one for his birthday. The feel of the leather, the stitching round it, the faint gold letters stamped upon it, the touch of the seam, the smell of it, all affected me so deeply that I still have that ache of beauty when I hold a cricket ball.
Words should be an intense pleasure, just as leather should be to a shoemaker.
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