Quotes Farmers

May 12th to 18th


There was a murmur of voices—Madden’s and a deeper note—at the low, dark side door, and a ginger-headed, canvas-gaitered giant of the unmistakable tenant farmer type stumbled or was pushed in.

“Come to the fire, Mr. Turpin,” she said.

“If—if you please, Miss, I’ll—I’ll be quite as well by the door.” He clung to the latch as he spoke, like a frightened child. Of a sudden I realised that he was in the grip of some almost overpowering fear.


This is from ‘They’ and collected in Traffics and Discoveries.

The storyteller, driving across Sussex has happened on a lovely old house, set in a garden where many children are playing.

He meets the beautiful blind lady of the house, and as they sit by the fire one of her tenant farmers comes in for an interview.

The man is terrified, because the house, as the storyteller later discovers, is full of ghosts.

She opened a low door. ‘Oh, I forgot about Mr. Sidney! There he is.’ An enormous old man with rheumy red eyes that blinked under downy white eyebrows sat in an Empire chair, his cap in his hands. Rhoda withdrew sniffing. The man looked Midmore over in silence, then jerked a thumb towards the door. ‘I reckon she told you who I be,’ he began. ‘I’m the only farmer you’ve got. Nothin’ goes off my place ’thout it walks on its own feet. What about my pig-pound?’


This is from My Son’s Wife and collected in A Diversty of Creatures.

Frankwell Midmore, a Hampstead intellectual, inherits an estate in deepest Sussex, and in the course of the story, is converted to the life of a country squire. This is his first encounter with Sidney, his dissolute demanding  eccentric tenant farmer.

“All I say is that you can put up larch and make a temp’ry job of it; and by the time the young master’s married it’ll have to be done again. Now, I’ve brought down a couple of as sweet six-by-eight oak timbers as we’ve ever drawed. You put ’em in an’ it’s off your mind or good an’ all. T’other way—I don’t say it ain’t right, I’m only just sayin’ what I think—but t’other way, he’ll no sooner be married than we’ll have it all to do again. You’ve no call to regard my words, but you can’t get out of that.”
“No,” said George after a pause; “I’ve been realising that for some time. Make it oak then; we can’t get out of it!”


This is from An Habitation Enforced, collected in Actions and Reactions

George and Sophie Chapin, a wealthy young American couple, have bought a Sussex estate and are settling into a new life in the English countryside.

Here, bridging a stream, George encounters the deep seated belief of  English villagers that one should build to last from generation to generation.