Field And Hedgerow By Richard Jefferies


In April, six miles away in the valley, a vast cloud came down with
swan-shot of hail, black as - Page 60
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In April, Six Miles Away In The Valley, A Vast Cloud Came Down With Swan-Shot Of Hail, Black As

Blackest smoke, overwhelming house and wood, all gone and mixed with the sky; and behind the mass there followed a

White cloud, sunlit, dragging along the ground like a cumulus fallen to the earth. At sunset the sky cleared, and under the glowing rim of the sun a golden wind drove the host of vapour before it, scattering it to the right and left. Large pieces caught and tore themselves in the trees of the forest, and one curved fragment hurled from the ridge fell in the narrow coombe, lit up as it came down with golden sunset rays, standing out bright against the shadowed wood. Down it came slowly as it were with outstretched arms, both to fall, carrying the coloured light of the sky to the very surface of the earth.


Roses bloomed on every bush, and some of the great hawthorns up which the briars had climbed seemed all flowers. The white and pink-white petals of the June roses adhered all over them, almost as if they had been artificially gummed or papered on so as to hide the leaves. Such a profusion of wild-rose bloom is rarely seen. On the Sunday morning, as on a week-day morning, they were entirely unnoticed, and might be said in their turn to take no heed of the sanctified character of the day. With a rush like a sudden thought the white-barred eave-swallows came down the arid road and rose again into the air as easily as a man dives into the water.

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