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Pageant of Summer - Richard Jefferies

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The Pageant of Summer by Richard Jefferies


I.



GREEN rushes, long and thick, standing up above the edge of the 
ditch, told the hour of the year as distinctly as the shadow on the 
dial the hour of the day.  Green and thick and sappy to the touch, 
they felt like summer, soft and elastic, as if full of life, mere 
rushes though they were.  On the fingers they left a green scent; 
rushes have a separate scent of green, so, too, have ferns, very 
different from that of grass or leaves.  Rising from brown sheaths, 
the tall stems enlarged a little in the middle, like classical 
columns, and heavy with their sap and freshness, leaned against the 
hawthorn sprays.  From the earth they had drawn its moisture, and 
made the ditch dry; some of the sweetness of the air had entered 
into their fibres, and the rushes - the common rushes - were full 
of beautiful summer.  The white pollen of early grasses growing on 
the edge was dusted from them each time the hawthorn boughs were 
shaken by a thrush.  These lower sprays came down in among the 
grass, and leaves and grass-blades touched.  Smooth round stems of 
angelica, big as a gun-barrel, hollow and strong, stood on the 
slope of the mound, their tiers of well-balanced branches rising 
like those of a tree.  Such a sturdy growth pushed back the ranks 
of hedge parsley in full white flower, which blocked every avenue 
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