This precedes an account in which the remote gods called ‘grown ups’ casually promise a trip to the circus which they then ignore when something more to their taste comes along, a garden party, where one can wear one’s mauve gown. And worse, having let the children’s dreams crash and burn, they commit the compound sin of using those dreaded, hollow words: “Another time, dear”.
May life lie at your feet, always coloured and glistening.
‘Grown-up people really ought to be more careful. Among themselves it may seem but a small thing to give their word and take back their word. For them there are so many compensations. Life lies at their feet, a party-coloured india-rubber ball; they may kick it this way or kick it that, it turns up blue, yellow, or green, but always coloured and glistening. Thus one sees it happen almost every day, and, with a jest and a laugh, the thing is over, the disappointed one turns to fresh pleasure, lying ready to his hand. But with those who are below them, whose little globe is swayed by them, who rush to build star-pointing alhambras on their most casual word, they really ought to be more careful.’
Source: Kenneth Grahame, ‘Dies Irae’, Dream Days, illus. by Maxfield Parrish (Edin.: Paul Harris Publishing, 1983), p. 71