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 Excerpts from the Books of
Albert Payson Terhune
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Selections:
Sunnybank

"To My Ten Best Friends"

Collie excerpts:

Andeen
Beth
Bobby
Bruce
Bunty
Chaeroplane
Explorer
Fair Ellen
Gray Dawn
Jean
Jock
King Coal
Lady
Lad
Sandy
Sigurdson
Thane
Treve
Wolf

 


The Master and Mistress with Bruce, Bobby, and Wolf

 

 

 

 

 




". . . a magazine writer sought to describe it (Sunnybank), after a visit here."

pages 19-21 in The Book of Sunnybank

Sunnybank:
"There is an atmosphere of peace and tranquility, an air of indescribable loveliness, a nameless spell."

"There were woods running down from the road—just woods. Not a dinky park. And a drive wound down through them, a furlong or so, to a gray old stucco house with dark woodwork and with wisteria all over it and a comfy green barn set back in the trees.

"There was a glorious big collie asleep on the steps, and there were glowing flowers in tubs and boxes on the gray veranda, and flowers and vines everywhere and stretches of shade-dappled grass.

"Then from the house a great lawn sloped down to the lake—about another hundred and fifty yards. There were huge old oaks on the lawn, too, and evergreen trees, and there was a rustic boathouse in the cove to one side.

"The lawn was on a kind of point that ran out into the lake; and all around the lake were soft green hills with bluish mountains beyond. They circled The Place as if they loved it and as if they were guarding it from harm.

"The sun was setting. It was setting over the other side of the lake. There were wonderful long shadows stretching up across the lawns. The dear old house was bathed in amber glow. That was the House of Peace, if ever there was one.

"And down to the left, close by the lake, there was a line of weeping willow trees. They were trailing their leaves into the blue water. Over the whole Place a strange light seemed to hover just then. Perhaps it was only the sunset. Or perhaps  it was the blessing of God!"[1]

Terhune adds, "I make no apologies for quoting this rhapsodic word picture. To me, it is Sunnybank, to the life."

In Wolf, Chapter 1, pages 11-12, Terhune writes,

 

"There is a fire-blue little lake in the North Jersey hinterland; with soft  green hills that encircle it as though they loved it. On its eastern shore, facing the sunset across the water, a point of sloping land runs out; a point that is a hillside lawn, girdled by gnarled and mighty oak trees, more than two hundred years old.

"On a plateau framed in giant oaks, above the Point, is an old rambling vine-clad gray stucco house, red-roofed and trimmed with black-brown timbers. Behind the house and behind the barns which lie in a hollow a hundred yards from it, the oak-grove hillside rises gently again, for a furlong, with the driveway winding through it; until it ends in the stone wall that borders the highroad. Beyond the wall and the road stretch anew the meadows and the woodlands of The Place, with the mountain forests behind them.

"Here, with the Mistress and the Master whose chum he was, dwelt Sunnybank Lad; glorious mahogany-and-snow collie, whose eyes had a Soul back of them.

"Here Lad lived out his sixteen years of staunch hero-life and of d'Artagnan-like adventure. Here he died, in the fullness of serene old age. Here he sleeps, near the house he loved and guarded."

"To The Best Of My Memory," from The Albert Payson Terhune Omnibus, Harper & Brothers 1937, P. 32

"Every year we come back to Sunnybank from our short winter exile in time to witness each separate detail of the spring miracle. Here we stay until January.

It is good, on winter evenings to lounge in front of the big hearth fire with the housedogs asleep around us; and to listen to the roar of the storm or to the scratch of snow against the windows; to hear, on bitter nights, the rifle-crack of mile-wide splitting ice on the lake, or the groan of battingly imprisoned air under the twenty-inch-thick ice sheet.

It is good to tramp over the frosty hills at sunrise in the tingling cold, a swirl of collies dancing about us, the sun in our faces, the dawn-wind in our eyes.

It is good to feel the tug of the rod and the hear the hum of the reel, in shadowy pools on hot summer days. It is good to row lazily homeward across a sunset-scarlet lake.

It is good to loaf on our deep veranda, the drowsing collies at our feet, on moon-drenched spring nights; the soft air heavy with the scent of wisteria and honeysuckle.

It is good to talk and to laugh here with the many friends whom the years have left us, and who seem to like us and to like this dear home of ours.

It is all good, incredibly good, a happiness that never has palled. It is our golden Indian Summer."

From Bruce, E.P. Dutton, 1920


"Indeed, life was always wondrous pleasant there at The Place for humans and for animals alike. A fire-blue lake bordered the grounds on two sides. Behind stretched the forest. And on every side arose the soft green mountains, hemming in and brooding over The Place as though they loved it. In the winter evenings there was the huge library hearth with its blaze and warmth; and a disreputable fur rug in front of it that might have been ordained expressly for tired dogs to drowse on. And there were the Mistress and the Master. Especially the Mistress: The Mistress somehow had a way of making all the world seem worthwhile."

 

 

"Sunnybank Is Still The Place"
 
by Kristina Thomas Marshall

The lake is no longer fire-blue. The cities have crept too close for anyone to call the area a hinterland. The rambling house was razed thirty years ago, and the barns with it. The meadows and woodlands across the highroad are now a housing development.

 But the mountains are eternal. The sun still sets across the lake from the Point, and the stone seat where the Master and Mistress of The Place used to sit to watch the light fade remains on its knoll above the water. Descendents of the wisteria vines that once climbed the gray stucco house grow on the arbors of the rose walk. The oak trees have become only more mighty in the seven decades since Terhune wrote about them, and the driveway still winds up the wooded hill side, so that your car takes the same curves Terhunes did. The stone wall is there even today to separate the hillside from the highroad.

 This is still The Place.  If youve ever read one of Albert Payson Terhunes books, youll recognize it when you come. You'll know the lake and the mountains, the sweep of lawn down to the water, the surrounding arms of the woods. And you'll know the simple graves that star the grounds.

 You can stand at the top of the plateau and picture the swirling rush of Collies on their way down to the lake. You can walk around the rim of the Lily Pool, now a jungle-lush bed of plants, and remember Jack the bullfrog, one of The Places beloved Little People. You can lean over the fence of the restored puppy run, and imagine the cold little Collie noses nuzzling up toward your hand. You can stand at the grave of Lad and thank him for the good memories, say a prayer over Wolf the hero, and give a smile to Gray Dawn. You can still feel that this place is Sunnybank.

 Sunnybank is a place where we can be sentimental and not be ashamed of it. . . where we can believe in heroes; where we can recapture our childhood. . . where we can remember why we love Collies. Sunnybank is still The Place.

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