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Pageant of Summer by Richard Jefferies
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THE PAGEANT OF SUMMER




I.



GREEN rushes, long and thick, standing up above the edge of the
ditch, told the hour of the year as distinctly as the shadow on the
dial the hour of the day. Green and thick and sappy to the touch,
they felt like summer, soft and elastic, as if full of life, mere
rushes though they were. On the fingers they left a green scent;
rushes have a separate scent of green, so, too, have ferns, very
different from that of grass or leaves. Rising from brown sheaths,
the tall stems enlarged a little in the middle, like classical
columns, and heavy with their sap and freshness, leaned against the
hawthorn sprays. From the earth they had drawn its moisture, and
made the ditch dry; some of the sweetness of the air had entered
into their fibres, and the rushes - the common rushes - were full
of beautiful summer. The white pollen of early grasses growing on
the edge was dusted from them each time the hawthorn boughs were
shaken by a thrush. These lower sprays came down in among the
grass, and leaves and grass-blades touched. Smooth round stems of
angelica, big as a gun-barrel, hollow and strong, stood on the
slope of the mound, their tiers of well-balanced branches rising
like those of a tree. Such a sturdy growth pushed back the ranks
of hedge parsley in full white flower, which blocked every avenue
and winding bird's-path of the bank. But the "gix," or wild