Settings: Edna Clarke-Hall's house near Upminster.
|A- Hare Hall B- Great House, Hall Lane.|
The relationship between Edward and Edna was always something I felt very tentative about: having first heard of it, then learned a little more from Alison Thomas's work, I based everything else on the poems, his and hers. Matthew Hollis had access to Edna's diary, so long after I had written my novel I was able to see that I hadn't been far out in my speculations - but the account in A Conscious Englishman is fiction, more speculative than anything else in the novel.
It was clear that Edward enjoyed her company - and what a welcome change from the bare barracks hut her house must have been!
|by Edward Thomas|
|Thinking of her had saddened me at first,|
Until I saw the sun on the celandines lie
Redoubled, and she stood up like a flame,
A living thing, not what before I nursed,
The shadow I was growing to love almost,
The phantom, not the creature with bright eye
That I had thought never to see, once lost.
She found the celandines of February
Always before us all. Her nature and name
Were like those flowers, and now immediately
For a short swift eternity back she came,
Beautiful, happy, simply as when she wore
Her brightest bloom among the winter hues
Of all the world; and I was happy too,
Seeing the blossoms and the maiden who
Had seen them with me Februarys before,
Bending to them as in and out she trod
And laughed, with locks sweeping the mossy sod.
But this was a dream; the flowers were not true,
Until I stooped to pluck from the grass there
One of five petals and I smelt the juice
Which made me sigh, remembering she was no more,
Gone like a never perfectly recalled air.
I was delighted to find two reviews on the Amazon site.
The Edward Thomas Fellowship Newsletter arrived today, with a flier about the book and an extract rather in need of proof-reading but never mind. Frank posted (from the Cherwell Boat House, lucky thing) that he was finding lots of orders suddenly arriving as a result.
I received a heart-warming message from Richard Goodman, an American author and teacher I admire and write to occasionally- author of that quietly perfect book, French Dirt, and of New York: a memoir and Bicycle Journeys: through New York after 9/11.
|My one-time lodger 'Keef''.|