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The trees, now in full leaf, cast rich shadows over the landscape, the wild roses were in bloom on the hedgerows, and tall foxgloves stood like crimson sentinels at the margins of the woods. The fields were white with moon-daisies, growing among the long, lush grass; and all the roadsides were a tangle of vetches, campion, bugle, trefoil and speedwells.

The ground was padded with pine-needles, briony berries shone in the hedgerows below, and hips and haws and rowans also rioted in red. Brambles were heavy with blue-black berries, and the bracken was battered and brown on the steep hill-side.

I think it is Mr Ruskin who speaks of our rural hedgerows as having been the pride and glory of our English fields, and the shame and disgrace of English husbandry. In the days I write of, they were veritable flower-gardens in their proper season.

The dusty highway lay all white betwixt the dark hedgerows, and along it walked four fellows like four shadows, the pat of their feet sounding loud, and their voices, as they talked, ringing clear upon the silence of the air. The great round moon was floating breathlessly up in the eastern sky when they saw before them the twinkling lights of Barnet Town, some ten or twelve miles from London.

Here fell silence awhile and then, "Oh, England England!" cried he. "D'ye mind how the road winds 'twixt the hedgerows a-down hill into Lamberhurst, Martin; d'ye mind the wonder of it all the green meadows, the dim woods full of bird song and fragrance you shall see it all again one day, but as for me ah, to breathe just once again the sweet smell of English earth! But God's will be done!"

A small cabinet pianoforte stood opposite the fireplace, and the window looked upon pleasant meads and tangled hedgerows, and the narrow windings of the blue rivulet. Burley sank down exhausted, and gazed wistfully from the casement. "You have not breakfasted?" said the hostess, anxiously. "No." "Well, the eggs are fresh laid, and you would like a rasher of bacon, Master John?

Passing over the stream the Hsiang-shui Ho, I believe I stepped out across the plain with one foot soaked, a pony having pulled me into the water as he drank. Peas and beans covered with snow adjoined a heart-breaking road which led up to a long, winding ascent through a glade overhung by frost-covered hedgerows, where the sun came gently through and breathed the sweet coming of the spring.

The slow, jolly life of England on either side of the high road turned leisurely as a wagon-wheel on its axle, while between hedgerows, past farm hamlets, church-towers and through the cobbled streets of market towns, he had sped and rattled with Collingwood's dispatch in his sealed case. The news had reached London with him.

Clouds of gnats rose in the mild air; and a light seemed to come back from the bronzed and purple hedgerows, making a gorgeous atmosphere, in which the quiet hill-top and the thinning trees swam transfigured. A green woodpecker was pecking industriously among some hedgerow oaks, and Pamela, who loved birds and watched them, caught every now and then the glitter of his flight.

Long strings of rusty, shaggy two-year-olds, unbroken, unkempt, the short Down grass still sweet on their tongues; full of fun, frolic, and wickedness, biting and pulling, casting longing eyes at the hedgerows. The boys appear to recognise them as kindred spirits, and are curiously forbearing and patient.

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