The Hills and the Vale

The Hills and the Vale

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The Hills and the Vale by Richard Jefferies

Published:

1909

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The Hills and the Vale

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Book Excerpt

ll not pay?... The answer is simple enough. It is because the earth is idle one-third of the year.' He looks round a January field and sees 'not an animal in sight, not a single machine for making money, not a penny being turned.' He wishes to know, 'What would a manufacturer think of a business in which he was compelled to let his engines rest for a third of the year?' Then he falls upon the miserable Down-land because that is still more idle and still less productive. 'With all its progress,' he cries, 'how little real advance has agriculture made! All because of the stubborn, idle earth.' It is a genuine cry, to be paralleled by 'Life is short, art long,' and by his own wonder that 'in twelve thousand written years the world has not yet built itself a House, unfilled a Granary, nor organized itself for its own comfort,' by his contempt for 'this little petty life of seventy years,' and for the short sleep permitted to men.

The editor of Longman's had to explain that, in publishing 'After th

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