In a Green Shade by Maurice Hewlett


Main
- books.jibble.org



My Books
- IRC Hacks

Misc. Articles
- Meaning of Jibble
- M4 Su Doku
- Computer Scrapbooking
- Setting up Java
- Bootable Java
- Cookies in Java
- Dynamic Graphs
- Social Shakespeare

External Links
- Paul Mutton
- Jibble Photo Gallery
- Jibble Forums
- Google Landmarks
- Jibble Shop
- Free Books
- Intershot Ltd

books.jibble.org

Previous Page | Next Page

Page 1




IN A GREEN SHADE

ROUND ABOUT A PREFACE


The title has become equivocal, since there are more green shades in
employment now than were dreamed of by Andrew Marvell. Science is a
great maker of homophones, without respect for the poets. There is,
for instance, the demilune of lined buckram borne by the weak-eyed on
their foreheads, the phylactery of the have-beens--I lay myself open
to be believed a cripple, or to look an old fool. A vivacious reviewer
in _Punch's_ "Booking Office," will have a vision of me as a babbling
elder peering at society from below a green pent. However--I must
risk it. It says exactly what I mean; and what I have written I have
written.

The point is that, having worked hard for a good many years, I can now
consider my latter end under conditions favourable to leisurely and
extended thought, sometimes in a garden made, if rightly made, in my
own image, sometimes in a house which was built aforetime, in a day
when men wrought for posterity as well as for themselves. In such
seed-plots it is impossible that one's thoughts should not take colour
as they rise. Whithersoever I look I see as much permanency as is good
for any sojourner upon earth; I see embodied tradition, respect for
Nature's laws, attention to beauty, subservience to use; all this
within doors. Outside, the trees, the flowers are my calendar;
the birds chime the hours; periodically the church-bell calls the
travellers home. Between all these friendly monitors it is hard if
one cannot keep the mean. If the passing-bell tempts me to moralise
overmuch I may turn to the creatures, and learn to live for the
moment. I should be slow to confess how much worldly wisdom I have
won from what we choose to call the lower orders of creation, because
nobody willingly betrays the whereabouts of his buried treasure, or
the amount of it. Mr. Pepys, I remember, forgot both on a certain
occasion, and had a devil of a time until he recovered his hoard. But
my wealth was not made with hands, or not with my hands.

My house is fortunately placed, too, in the village street, so that I
am in touch with my neighbours and their daily concerns, which I make
mine so far as they are pleased to allow it. I am aware of them all
day long by half a hundred signs; I know the trot of their horses, the
horns of their motor-cars--that shows that there are not too many of
them--the voices of their children, the death-shrieks of their pigs,
the barking of their dogs. Not a day passes but one or other is in,
to have some paper signed, to air a grievance, or to ask advice. The
vicar and the minister are my good friends, and, I am glad to say,
each other's. The farmers understand my ways (it is as much as I can
expect of them), and the labourers like them. All this keeps the
pores of the mind open; you cannot stagnate if you are useful to
other people. Nor--unless you are a fool--can you be strict with your
categories. The more you know of men and systems the more overlapping
you see. I could not now, for my life, pigeonhole my acquaintance
in this village of five hundred souls. "I have now been in Italy two
days," Goethe wrote, "and I think I know my Italians pretty well!"
When he had been there two years he knew better.

If ever there is a time for sententiousness it is when one is elderly,
leisured and comfortable; that is the time to set down one's thoughts
as they come, not inviting anybody to read them, but promising to
those who do, that they will find a commentary upon life as it passes,
either because it may be useful or because it may have been earned. I
hope I have neither prejudice nor afterthought; I know that I have,
as we say now, neither axe to grind nor log to roll. Politics! None.
I want people to be happy; and whether Mr. George make them so, or the
Trade Unions, whether Christ or Sir Conan Doyle, it's all one to me.
I have my pet nostrums, of course. I believe in Poverty, Love, and
England, and am convinced that only through the first will the other
two thrive. I want men to be gentlemen and women to be modest. I want
men to have work and women to have children. Any check on production,
Trade-Union, war, or something else, will get no good words from me.
As for war, after our late experience, I confess that I could be a Mr.
Dick with it, but we are not apt in the country to dwell overmuch on
war now it is over. We honour our beloved dead; those of us who have
returned unbattered go now about our work with cooler, more critical
eyes, but mostly with lips closed against our three or four years'
experience. Khaki has disappeared; the war is over; let us forget
it. If there is a people to be pitied, swarming and groping on this
tormented earth, we say, it is the German people; but that seems an

is a human being, and very likely Mr. Bottomley is one too, and not a
big-head in a pantomime; such also may be Mrs. Partington's nephew and
the editor of the _Morning Post_. There does not seem much difference
between them, and we must be charitable.

Previous Page | Next Page


Books | Photos | Paul Mutton | Thu 22nd Aug 2019, 3:39