Bees in my Bonnet / Short Story / Sullatober Dalton / Uncategorized

Out in the country

IN Hugh Thomson’s The Green Road into the Trees, I came across a mention of Richard Jefferies and dug up a book of his, The Gamekeeper at Home, from the library. The book was first published in 1878, which put me off a bit and the title sounded dull but here is a small bit as Jefferies describes where the gamekeeper works …

“Outside the wood, where the downland begins to rise gradually there stretches a broad expanse of furze growing luxuriantly on the thin barren soil, and a mile or more in width. It has a beauty of its own when in full yellow blossom – a sea of flower, scenting the air with an almost overpowering odour of a courser pineapple, and full pf the drowsy hum of bees busy in the interspersed thyme. It has another beauty later on when the thick undergrowth of heath is in bloom, and a pale purple carpet spreads around. Here rabbits breed and sport, and hares hide, and the curious furze-chats fly to and fro; and lastly, but not leastly, my lord Reynard the Fox loves to take his ease, till he finally meets his fate in the jaws of clamouring hounds, or is assassinated with the aid of “villainous saltpetre.” He is not easily shot, and will stand a charge fired broadside at a short distance without the slightest injury or apparent notice, beyond a slight Quickening of his pace. His thick fur and tough skin turn the pellets.”

One reason for writing this is that I keep a file of descriptions that paint atmospheric pictures and this will go into that file. There’s such a breadth of imagery making the scene live and, like a good country boy, I want to study how it’s done at leisure.

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