Thornycroft Farm seems to be the musical centre of the universe.
When I wake very early in the morning I lie in a drowsy sort of
trying to disentangle, one from the other, the various bird notes,
trills, coos, croons, chirps, chirrups, and warbles. Suddenly there
falls on the air a delicious, liquid, finished song; so pure, so
so joyous, that I go to the window and look out at the morning world,
half awakened, like myself.
There is I know not what charm in a window that does not push up,
opens its lattices out into the greenness. And mine is like a little
jewelled door, for the sun is shining from behind the chimneys and
lighting the tiny diamond panes with amber flashes.
A faint delicate haze lies over the meadow, and rising out of it,
soaring toward the blue is the lark, flinging out that matchless
song, so rich, so thrilling, so lavish! As the blithe melody fades
I hear the plaintive ballad-fragments of the robin on a curtsying
near my window; and there is always the liquid pipe of the thrush,
must quaff a fairy goblet of dew between his songs, I should think,
fresh and eternally young is his note.
There is another beautiful song that I follow whenever I hear it,
straining my eyes to the treetops, yet never finding a bird that
identify as the singer. Can it be the--
"Ousel-cock so black of hue,
With orange-tawny bill"?
He is called the poet-laureate of the primrose time, but I don't
whether he sings in midsummer, and I have not seen him hereabouts.
must write and ask my dear Man of the North. The Man of the North,
sometimes think, had a Fairy Grandmother who was a robin; and perhaps
made a nest of fresh moss and put him in the green wood when he
was a wee
bairnie, so that he waxed wise in bird-lore without knowing it.
events, describe to him the cock of a head, the glance of an eye,
up of a tail, or the sheen of a feather, and he will name you the
Near-sighted he is, too, the Man of the North, but that is only
The Square Baby and I have a new game.
I bought a doll's table and china tea-set in Buffington. We put
an apple-tree in the side garden, where the scarlet lightning grows
tall and the Madonna lilies stand so white against the flaming
background. We built a little fence around it, and every afternoon
tea-time we sprinkle seeds and crumbs in the dishes, water in the
cups, drop a cherry in each of the fruit-plates, and have a _the
chantant_ for the birdies. We sometimes invite an "invaleed"
or one of the baby rabbits, or the peacock, in which case the cards
The pleasure of your company is requested
Under the Apple Tree.
Music at five.
It is a charming game, as I say, but I'd far rather play it with
of the North; he is so much younger than the Square Baby, and so
more responsive, too.
Thornycroft Farm is a sweet place, too, of odours as well as sounds.
scent of the hay is for ever in the nostrils, the hedges are thick
wild honeysuckle, so deliciously fragrant, the last of the June
lingering to do their share, and blackberry blossoms and ripening
I have never known a place in which it is so easy to be good. I
said a word, nor scarcely harboured a thought, that was not lovely
virtuous since I entered these gates, and yet there are those who
me fantastic, difficult, hard to please, unreasonable!
I believe the saints must have lived in the country mostly (I am
they never tried Hydropathic hotels), and why anybody with a black
and natural love of wickedness should not simply buy a poultry farm
become an angel, I cannot understand.
Living with animals is really a very improving and wholesome kind
life, to the person who will allow himself to be influenced by their
sensible and high-minded ideals. When you come to think about it,
really the only animal that ever makes a fool of himself; the others
highly civilised, and never make mistakes. I am going to mention
when I write to somebody, sometime; I mean if I ever do. To be sure,
human life is much more complicated than theirs, and I believe when
other animals notice our errors of judgment they make allowances.
bee is as busy as a bee, and the beaver works like a beaver, but
their responsibility ends. The bee doesn't have to go about seeing
other bees are not crowded into unsanitary tenements or victimised
sweating system. When the beaver's day of toil is over he doesn't
to discuss the sphere, the rights, or the voting privileges of
beaveresses; all he has to do is to work like a beaver, and that