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The Hills and the Vale   By: (1848-1887)

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TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: In a few places the book has the letter T printed in a sans serif font to indicate the shape of the letter. This has been reproduced as [T] below.

THE HILLS AND THE VALE

All rights reserved

THE HILLS AND THE VALE

BY RICHARD JEFFERIES

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY EDWARD THOMAS

LONDON: DUCKWORTH & CO. 3 HENRIETTA STREET, COVENT GARDEN 1909

TO JOHN WILLIAMS OF WAUN WEN

CONTENTS

PAGE

INTRODUCTION ix

CHOOSING A GUN 1

SKATING 22

MARLBOROUGH FOREST 27

VILLAGE CHURCHES 35

BIRDS OF SPRING 43

THE SPRING OF THE YEAR 54

VIGNETTES FROM NATURE 70

A KING OF ACRES 79

THE STORY OF SWINDON 104

UNEQUAL AGRICULTURE 134

VILLAGE ORGANIZATION 151

THE IDLE EARTH 207

AFTER THE COUNTY FRANCHISE 224

THE WILTSHIRE LABOURER 247

ON THE DOWNS 270

THE SUN AND THE BROOK 280

NATURE AND ETERNITY 284

THE DAWN 306

INTRODUCTION

This book consists of three unpublished essays and of fifteen reprinted from Longman's Magazine , Fraser's Magazine , the New Quarterly , Knowledge , Chambers's Magazine , the Graphic , and the Standard , where they have probably been little noticed since the time of their appearance. Several more volumes of this size might have been made by collecting all the articles which were not reprinted in Jefferies' lifetime, or in 'Field and Hedgerow' and 'Toilers of the Field,' shortly after his death. But the work in such volumes could only have attracted those very few of the omnivorous lovers of Jefferies who have not already found it out. After the letters on the Wiltshire labourer, addressed to the Times in 1872, he wrote nothing that was not perhaps at the time his best, but, being a journalist, he had often to deal immediately, and in a transitory manner, with passing events, or to empty a page or two of his note books in response to an impulse assuredly no higher than habit or necessity. Many of these he passed over or rejected in making up volumes of essays for publication; some he certainly included. Of those he passed over, some are equal to the best, or all but the best, of those which he admitted, and I think these will be found in 'The Hills and the Vale.' There are others which need more excuse. The two early papers on 'Marlborough Forest' and 'Village Churches,' which were quoted in Besant's 'Eulogy,' are interesting on account of their earliness (1875), and charming enough to please those who read all Jefferies' books. 'The Story of Swindon,' 'Unequal Agriculture,' and 'Village Organization,' will be valued for their matter, and because they are examples of his writing, and of his interests and opinions, before he was thirty. That they are partly out of date is true, but they are worth remembering by the student of Jefferies and of his times; they do credit to his insight and even to his foresight; and there is still upon them, here and there, some ungathered fruit. The later agricultural articles, 'The Idle Earth,' 'After the County Franchise,' and 'The Wiltshire Labourer,' are the work of his ripe years. There were also several papers published not only after his death, but after the posthumous collections. I have included all of these, for none of them needs defence, while 'Nature and Eternity' ranks with his finest work. The three papers now for the first time printed might have been, but are not, admitted on that ground alone. 'On Choosing a Gun' and 'Skating' belong to the period of 'The Amateur Poacher,' and are still alive, and too good to destroy... Continue reading book >>




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