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The Open Air

by Richard Jefferies

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John Richard Jefferies was an English nature writer, essayist and journalist. He wrote fiction mainly based on farming and rural life. From early in life he showed a great love of the countryside, but was temperamentally unsuited to follow his father as a farmer, and in 1866 he found employment as a newspaper reporter for the North Wiltshire Herald and the Swindon Advertiser. In late 1877 he moved to Surbiton to be nearer the hub of literary England. His new surroundings defined him, as a country writer. Articles drawing on Jefferies' Wiltshire experiences were snapped up by the Pall Mall Gazette, to be followed by similar collections of essays, like Round About a Great Estate (1880). About this time he wrote his extraordinary autobiography, The Story of My Heart: An Autobiography (1883).

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St. Guido ran out at the garden gate into a sandy lane, and down the lane till he came to a grassy bank. He caught hold of the bunches of grass and so pulled himself up. There was a footpath on the top which went straight in between fir-trees, and as he ran along they stood on each side of him like green walls. They were very near together, and even at the top the space between them was so narrow that the sky seemed to come down, and the clouds to be sailing but just over them, as if they would catch and tear in the fir-trees. The path was so little used that it had grown green, and as he ran he knocked dead branches out of his way. Just as he was getting tired of running he reached the end of the path, and came out into a wheat-field. The wheat did not grow very closely, and the spaces were filled with azure corn-flowers. St. Guido thought he was safe away now, so he stopped to look.



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