Quotes Sussex places

December 3rd to 9th


The valley was so choked with fog that one could scarcely see a cow’s length across a field. Every blade, twig, bracken-frond, and hoof-print carried water, and the air was filled with the noise of rushing ditches and field-drains, all delivering to the brook below. A week’s November rain on water-logged land had gorged her to full flood, and she proclaimed it aloud. Two men in sackcloth aprons were considering an untrimmed hedge that ran down the hillside…


These are the opening lines of “Friendly Brook“. collected in A Diversity of Creatures..

As Jabez and Jesse begin to tame the old hedgerow, they  recall a dark tale of extortion and death.  The brook below them is ‘friendly’ because it has drowned a blackmailer.


There was not so much a roar as the purposeful drive of a tide across a jagged reef, which put down every other sound for twenty minutes. A wide sheet of water hurried up to the little terrace on which the house stood, pushed round either corner, rose again and stretched, as it were, yawning beneath the moonlight, joined other sheets waiting for them in unsuspected hollows, and lay out all in one. A puff of wind followed.


This is from “My Son’s Wife”  collected in A Diversity of Creatures. .

Frankwell  Midmore, Hampstead intellectual turned country squire, is seeing his first autumn flood. His  brook is rising with the November ains, , just as Kipling’s brook often di  at Bateman’s.

No-one is the least bit disconcerted.


The sea-fog rolled back from the cliff’s in trailed wreaths and dragged patches, as the sun rose and made the dead sea alive and splendid. The stillness of the morning held us both silent as we stepped on the balcony. A lark went up from the cliffs behind St. Cecilia, and we smelt a smell of cows in the lighthouse pastures below. Then we were both at liberty to thank the Lord for another day of clean and wholesome life.


This is the last passage of “The Disturber of Traffic”,collected in Many Inventions,  a strange story of a lonely light-house keeper in eastern waters,  who is driven crazy by the streaks  in the sea below him, which he thinks are caused by passing ships.

He blocks the strait with lights, and they have to come and take him away.  Back in England on a river boat in Gosport, he recovers his wits.