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Round About a Great Estate   By: (1848-1887)

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ROUND ABOUT A GREAT ESTATE

BY

RICHARD JEFFERIES

AUTHOR OF

'THE GAMEKEEPER AT HOME' 'WILD LIFE IN A SOUTHERN COUNTY' 'THE AMATEUR POACHER' 'GREEN FERNE FARM' 'HODGE AND HIS MASTERS'

LONDON SMITH, ELDER, & CO., 15 WATERLOO PLACE 1880

[ All rights reserved ]

PREFACE.

There is an old story which in respect of a modern application may bear re telling. Once upon a time in a lonely 'coombe bottom' of the Downs, where there was neither church, chapel, nor public building of any kind, there lived a cottage girl who had never seen anything of civilisation. A friend, however, having gone out to service in a market town some few miles distant, she one day walked in to see her, and was shown the wonders of the place, the railway, the post office, the hotels, and so forth. In the evening the friend accompanied her a short way on the return journey, and as they went out of the town, they passed the church. Looking suddenly up at the tower, the visitor exclaimed, 'Lard a mussy! you've got another moon here. Yourn have got figures all round un!' In her excitement, and prepared to see marvels, she had mistaken the large dial of the church clock for a moon of a different kind to the one which shone upon her native home. This old tale, familiar to country folk as an illustration of simplicity, has to day a wider meaning. Until recent years the population dwelling in villages and hamlets, and even in little rural towns, saw indeed the sun by day and the moon by night, and learned the traditions and customs of their forefathers, such as had been handed down for generations. But now a new illumination has fallen upon these far away places. The cottager is no longer ignorant, and his child is well grounded in rudimentary education, reads and writes with facility, and is not without knowledge of the higher sort. Thus there is now another moon with the figures of education all round it. In this book some notes have been made of the former state of things before it passes away entirely. But I would not have it therefore thought that I wish it to continue or return. My sympathies and hopes are with the light of the future, only I should like it to come from nature. The clock should be read by the sunshine, not the sun timed by the clock. The latter is indeed impossible, for though all the clocks in the world should declare the hour of dawn to be midnight, the sun will presently rise just the same.

RICHARD JEFFERIES.

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER PAGE

I. OKEBOURNE CHACE. FELLING TREES. 1

II. CICELY. THE BROOK. 20

III. A PACK OF STOATS. BIRDS. 42

IV. HAMLET FOLK. 61

V. WIND ANEMONES. THE FISHPOND. 82

VI. A FARMER OF THE OLDEN TIMES. 103

VII. THE CUCKOO FIELDS. 125

VIII. CICELY'S DAIRY. HILARY'S TALK. 144

IX. THE WATER MILL. FIELD NAMES. 163

X. THE COOMBE BOTTOM. CONCLUSION. 183

ROUND ABOUT A GREAT ESTATE.

CHAPTER I.

OKEBOURNE CHACE. FELLING TREES.

The great house at Okebourne Chace stands in the midst of the park, and from the southern windows no dwellings are visible. Near at hand the trees appear isolated, but further away insensibly gather together, and above them rises the distant Down crowned with four tumuli. Among several private paths which traverse the park there is one that, passing through a belt of ash wood, enters the meadows. Sometimes following the hedges and sometimes crossing the angles, this path finally ends, after about a mile, in the garden surrounding a large thatched farmhouse. In the maps of the parish it has probably another name, but from being so long inhabited by the Lucketts it is always spoken of as Lucketts' Place... Continue reading book >>




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