Originally published in the Manchester Guardian on 18 August 1917
From a Southern County, 16 August
A wind which sets thistle-down flying across the lane shakes the wheat sheaves lightly; you can hear ever so slight a singing as it searches between the stooks and in the hollow of the straws. On this upland a waggon is at work and children are gleaning – leasing, as we call it here; – not so many of them, as years ago, for there is no water-mill by the river where a small sack could be ground after the corn had been beaten out in a corner of the barn. This season grain has ripened quickly, ears drop yellow in the sunshine; fowls disperse themselves far across the stubble, ducks wander in a long line dabbling their beaks in the hollows, a cock pheasant, his tail glittering as it sways in the breeze, leads two hens, and is approached easily; hares sit composedly in a clump of red clover on the edge of the field.
Along the bottom of the hill clusters of scarlet berries on the mountain ash hang above the lane so ripe that they crush in the-farm boy’s hand when, riding on the straw, he tears off a bunch or two. Fruit will be abundant on the hedges; hips are yellow and the haws show their first delicate red in the mild evening haze. The bramble, particularly the low-scrambling bushes which bear the bigger berries, is covered with bunches; acorns are yellowing along the brim of the cups upon the oaks. The wood is very still; except for stray butterflies, a few dark red peacocks on the verge among them, there is scarcely any sign of moving life, and no sound from the small birds. It is nearly all warm colour now, patches of pale purple in the dwarf thistles on the down.