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The Open Air   By: (1848-1887)

Book cover

First Page:

Malcolm Farmer, Juliet Sutherland, Tom Allen, Charles Franks and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team

THE OPEN AIR

RICHARD JEFFERIES

NOTE

For permission to collect these papers my thanks are due to the Editors of the following publications: The Standard , English Illustrated Magazine , Longman's Magazine , St. James's Gazette , Chambers's Journal , Manchester Guardian , Good Words , and Pall Mall Gazette . R.J.

CONTENTS

SAINT GUIDO

GOLDEN BROWN

WILD FLOWERS

SUNNY BRIGHTON

THE PINE WOOD

NATURE ON THE ROOF

ONE OF THE NEW VOTERS

THE MODERN THAMES

THE SINGLE BARREL GUN

THE HAUNT OF THE HARE

THE BATHING SEASON

UNDER THE ACORNS

DOWNS

FOREST

BEAUTY IN THE COUNTRY

OUT OF DOORS IN FEBRUARY

HAUNTS OF THE LAPWING

OUTSIDE LONDON

ON THE LONDON ROAD

RED ROOFS OF LONDON

A WET NIGHT IN LONDON

SAINT GUIDO

St. Guido ran out at the garden gate into a sandy lane, and down the lane till he came to a grassy bank. He caught hold of the bunches of grass and so pulled himself up. There was a footpath on the top which went straight in between fir trees, and as he ran along they stood on each side of him like green walls. They were very near together, and even at the top the space between them was so narrow that the sky seemed to come down, and the clouds to be sailing but just over them, as if they would catch and tear in the fir trees. The path was so little used that it had grown green, and as he ran he knocked dead branches out of his way. Just as he was getting tired of running he reached the end of the path, and came out into a wheat field. The wheat did not grow very closely, and the spaces were filled with azure corn flowers. St. Guido thought he was safe away now, so he stopped to look.

Those thoughts and feelings which are not sharply defined but have a haze of distance and beauty about them are always the dearest. His name was not really Guido, but those who loved him had called him so in order to try and express their hearts about him. For they thought if a great painter could be a little boy, then he would be something like this one. They were not very learned in the history of painters: they had heard of Raphael, but Raphael was too elevated, too much of the sky, and of Titian, but Titian was fond of feminine loveliness, and in the end somebody said Guido was a dreamy name, as if it belonged to one who was full of faith. Those golden curls shaking about his head as he ran and filling the air with radiance round his brow, looked like a Nimbus or circlet of glory. So they called him St. Guido, and a very, very wild saint he was.

St. Guido stopped in the cornfield, and looked all round. There were the fir trees behind him a thick wall of green hedges on the right and the left, and the wheat sloped down towards an ash copse in the hollow. No one was in the field, only the fir trees, the green hedges, the yellow wheat, and the sun overhead, Guido kept quite still, because he expected that in a minute the magic would begin, and something would speak to him. His cheeks which had been flushed with running grew less hot, but I cannot tell you the exact colour they were, for his skin was so white and clear, it would not tan under the sun, yet being always out of doors it had taken the faintest tint of golden brown mixed with rosiness. His blue eyes which had been wide open, as they always were when full of mischief, became softer, and his long eyelashes drooped over them. But as the magic did not begin, Guido walked on slowly into the wheat, which rose nearly to his head, though it was not yet so tall as it would be before the reapers came. He did not break any of the stalks, or bend them down and step on them; he passed between them, and they yielded on either side. The wheat ears were pale gold, having only just left off their green, and they surrounded him on all sides as if he were bathing.

A butterfly painted a velvety red with white spots came floating along the surface of the corn, and played round his cap, which was a little higher, and was so tinted by the sun that the butterfly was inclined to settle on it... Continue reading book >>




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