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A Traveller In Little Things

by W. H. Hudson

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"You are a traveller in little things--in something very small--which takes you into the villages and hamlets, where you meet and converse with small farmers, innkeepers, labourers and their wives, with other persons who live on the land. In this way you get to hear a good deal about rent and cost of living, and what the people are able and not able to do." Thus was described William Henry Hudson, who was delighted with this portrayal. Hudson was a writer, naturalist, and trained ornithologist from Argentina, a son of Anglo-American parents who wrote exclusively in English. While many of his books dealt with South American life--including Green Mansions, The Purple Land, and the autobiographical Far Away and Long Ago--he also focused on Britain, to which he emigrated in 1874. A Traveller in Little Things is one such title, a collection of essays and sketches, many of which were originally printed in The New Statesman, The Saturday Review, The Nation, and The Cornhill Magazine. Throughout, Hudson's keen observations, lively writing, and charming anecdotes make this a delightful collection of "little things" from one of the most unique writers of his generation.

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Some vague speculations passed through my mind as to how old the village might be. I had heard some person remark that it had formerly been much more populous, that many of its people had from time to time drifted away to the towns; their old empty cottages pulled down and no new ones built. The road was deep and the cottages on either side stood six to eight or nine feet above it. Where a cottage stood close to the edge of the road and faced it, the door was reached by a flight of stone or brick steps; at such cottages the landing above the steps was like a balcony, where one could stand and look down upon a passing cart, or the daily long straggling procession of children going to or returning from the village school.



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