England - Through Devonshire
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
On a train in Devonshire, Monday, July 31, I wrote : "Just now we are passing through indescribably lovely scenes; I feel I must write of them. The little fields, all hedge-enclosed; the red-coated sheep in them, sometimes on the poorer hillsides, grazing among big ferns; the big red cows and the bits of deep, rich, dark forests, of beech and oak, with ferns beneath and gorse on the outskirts—all these things far too lovely for mere words. A valley of deep shadows leads off ; hedges run up hill-sides green with gorse and heather; hillsides which at the head of the valley become so high that the clouds come down to meet them. Clouds hang very low. The ancient farmhouses of stone with their gay little flower gardens and their few mossy old apple trees and their prim patches of potatoes are captivating. Here is a narrow, sweet, country lane; red cows, driven by a boy are passing. It is all so good and so lovely that it warms my heart and makes me long to make Woodland Farm even more lovely than it now is. See the rye in prim, old-maiden shocks, the center of the field yet uncut. I have all the compartment to myself; the others go first-class or second-class; I am in third. One of my friends is in the first-class, in the same car as mine. I examined with interest his compartment; the sole difference that I can see is that there is a sort of division between the seats. I love to be alone this morning.
"The red cows look good to me. I think that when my laddies go to farming, we will have South Devon cattle for one thing. The naughty rooks in the grainfields ; the high earthen banks with hedges on their crests; the small blooming red clover, bespeaking drouth (now happily broken) ; the nicely thatched ricks of hay, small, but doubtless, of perfect quality; the great draught mares and foals at pasture—these things interest me. It is as though I had died and was come to life again. Oh, what's the use writing? No one who has not been in exile for a long time can understand what it all means. Now we are in a nice, cool, damp tunnel, with a fine, earthy odor and no smoke ; there is an orchard of cider apples with sheep lying in its shade. I see now a hillside covered with bracken."