Witley, May 18, 1917

chaffinch nest Notts ExMiner flickrFriday         Rained practically all day.  did not do much [all day]. A light headache [all day]. Found my first nest Chaffinch 5 eggs No mail yet this week.  Reading “The Broad Highway”

The chaffinch is common in woodlands, hedgerows and gardens; its nest is a beautiful thing lined with feathers.

Jeffery Farnol’s historical novel was published in 1911; it concerns a young man who, on being left next-to-penniless by his uncle (his parents are long dead), decides to take a walking tour through the southern counties of England. He is driven, he says, by “an overmastering desire, a great longing for field and meadow and hedgerow, for wood and coppice and shady stream, for sequestered inns and wide, wind-swept heaths, and ever the broad highway in front.”(1) It is not at all unlike When a Man’s a Man in its theme of honest work and true manhood. Young Peter Vibart declares his willingness to undertake honest employment, even manual labour, despite his standing as a scholar and a gentleman, avowing that “the man who sweats over a spade or follows the tail of a plough is far nobler and higher in the Scheme of Things than any of your young ‘bloods’ driving his coach and four to Brighton to the danger of all and sundry.”(1)

(1) Farnol, Jeffery. The Broad Highway. Chapter 1. The text is available through Project Gutenberg.

Copyright 2017. See “More about this project.”

 

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