A grass-bank beyond,
A blue sky of spring,
White clouds on the wing;
What a little thing
To remember for years—
To remember with tears!
............................... William Allingham
I know that there are more than four ducks in this picture — but this poem came to my mind when I saw it.
The illustrations in this book fire my imagination, makes me want to leave at once to see if I can find the places and if they look the same today as they did in 1920.
East of Exe River and south of those rolling heaths crowned by the encampment of Woodberry, there lies a green valley surrounded by forest and hill. Beyond it rise great bluffs that break in precipices upon the sea. They are dimmed to sky colour by a gentle wind from the east, for Eurus, however fierce his message, sweeps a fair garment about him. Out of the blue mists that hide distance the definition brightens and lesser hills range themselves, their knolls dark with pine, their bosoms rounded under forest of golden green oak and beech; while beneath them a mosaic of meadow and tilth spreads in pure sunshine. One field is brushed with crimson clover; another with dull red of sorrel through the green meadow grass; another shines daisy-clad and drops to the green of wheat. Some crofts glow with the good red earth of Devon, and no growing things sprout as yet upon them; but they hold seed of roots and their hidden wealth will soon answer the rain.
In the heart of the vale a brook twinkles and buttercups lie in pools of gold, where lambs are playing together.
Elms set bossy signets on the land and throng the hedgerows, their round tops full of sunshine; under them the hawthorns sparkle very white against the riot of the green. From the lifted spinneys and coverts, where bluebells fling their amethyst at the woodland edge, pheasants are croaking, and silver-bright against the blue aloft, wheel gulls, to link the lush valley with the invisible and not far distant sea. They cry and musically mew from their high place; and beneath them the cuckoo answers.
Don't you want to pack your knapsack and take off, to see it all for yourself, when you read things like this?
It's a perfect day to get lost among Gutenberg's books. It's raining, but it isn't cold (around 18°C, 64°F) so we're sitting on the tiny veranda — the darling sleeping on his cushion between us.
I think I was about eleven or twelve years old when I first read Angela Brazil's "The School by the Sea", in Swedish (Skolan vid havet). The book came out in 1914, which explains why the girls suspects one of the students to be a German spy. As a girl my mother bought most of her books second hand — books that I got as soon as I was old enough to read them. Sometimes I wonder how (if) this has affected me, growing up with the ideals of family girls around the turn of the century — and not the last turn of the century!
Anyway, I liked the book a lot — and because of the book I had to get out a map of England to find out where Cornwall was. I even found a lot of the places that are mentioned in the book. Of course I had to reread the book when I found it in English at Gutenberg.
And talking about schoolgirls, "Appropriate Clothes for the High School Girl" from 1917 is very interesting.