<< 1 2 3 4 >>

The Eulogy of Richard Jefferies
Walter Besant

"Now the strangeness of the thing was in this way: Iden set traps for mice in the cellar and the larder, and slew them there without mercy. He picked up the trap, swung it round, opening the door at the same instant, and the wretched captive was dashed to death upon the stone flags of the floor. So he hated them and persecuted them in one place, and fed them in another.

"From the merest thin slit, as it were, between his eyelids, Iden watched the mice feed and run about his knees till, having eaten every crumb, they descended his leg to the floor."

This portrait is not true in all its details. For instance, the elder Jefferies had small and shapely hands and feet – not the massive hands described in "Amaryllis."

Another slighter portrait of his father is found in "After London." It is that of the Baron:

"As he pointed to the tree above, the muscles, as the limb moved, displayed themselves in knots, at which the courtier himself could not refrain from glancing. Those mighty arms, had they clasped him about the waist, could have crushed his bending ribs. The heaviest blow that he could have struck upon that broad chest would have produced no more effect than a hollow sound; it would not even have shaken that powerful frame.

"He felt the steel blue eyes, bright as the sky of midsummer, glance into his very mind. The high forehead bare, for the Baron had his hat in his hand, mocked at him in its humility. The Baron bared his head in honour of the courtier's office and the Prince who had sent him. The beard, though streaked with white, spoke little of age; it rather indicated an abundant, a luxuriant vitality."

And I have before me a letter which contains the following passage concerning the elder Jefferies:

"The garden, the orchard, the hedges of the fields were always his chief delight; he had planted many a tree round and about his farm. Not a single bird that flew but he knew, and could tell its history; if you walked with him, as Dick often did, and as I have occasionally done, through the fields, and heard him expatiate – quietly enough – on the trees and flowers, you would not be surprised at the turn taken by his son's genius."

Thus, then, the boy was born; in an ancient farmhouse beautiful to look upon, with beautiful fields and gardens round it; in the midst of a most singular and interesting country, wilder than any other part of England except the Peak and Dartmoor; encouraged by his father to observe and to remember; taught by him to read the Book of Nature. What better beginning could the boy have had? There wanted but one thing to complete his happiness – a little more ease as regards money. I fear that one of the earliest things the boy could remember must have been connected with pecuniary embarrassment.

While still a child, four years of age, he was taken to live under the charge of an aunt, Mrs. Harrild, at Sydenham. He stayed with her for some years, going home to Coate every summer for a month. At Sydenham he went to a preparatory school kept by a lady. He was then at the age of seven, but he had learned to read long before. He does not seem to have gained the character of precocity or exceptional cleverness at school, but Mrs. Harrild remembers that he was always as a child reading and drawing, and would amuse himself for hours at a time over some old volume of "Punch," or the "Illustrated London News," or, indeed, anything he could get. He had a splendid memory, was even so early a great observer, and was always a most truthful child, strong in his likes and dislikes. But he possessed a highly nervous and sensitive temperament, was hasty and quick-tempered, impulsive, and, withal, very reserved. All these qualities remained with Richard Jefferies to the end; he was always reserved, always sensitive, always nervous, always quick-tempered. In his case, indeed, the child was truly father to the man. It is pleasant to record that he repaid the kindness of his aunt with the affection of a son, keeping up a constant correspondence with her. His letters, indeed, are sometimes like a diary of his life, as will be seen from the extracts I shall presently make from them.

At the age of nine the boy went home for good. He was then sent to school at Swindon.

A letter from which I have already quoted thus speaks of him at the age of ten:

"There was a summer-house of conical shape in one corner paved with 'kidney' stones. This was used by the boys as a treasure-house, where darts, bows and arrows, wooden swords, and other instruments used in mimic warfare were kept. Two favourite pastimes were those of living on a desert island, and of waging war with wild Indians. Dick was of a masterful temperament, and though less strong than several of us in a bodily sense, his force of will was such that we had to succumb to whatever plans he chose to dictate, never choosing to be second even in the most trivial thing. His temper was not amiable, but there was always a gentleness about him which saved him from the reproach of wishing to ride rough-shod over the feelings of others. I do not recollect his ever joining in the usual boy's sports – cricket or football – he preferred less athletic, if more adventurous, means of enjoyment. He was a great reader, and I remember a sunny parlour window, almost like a room, where many books of adventure and fairy tales were read by him. Close to his home was the 'Reservoir,' a prettily-situated lake surrounded by trees, and with many romantic nooks on the banks. Here we often used to go on exploring expeditions in quest of curiosities or wild Indians."

Here we get at the origin of "Bevis." Those who have read that romance – which, if it were better proportioned and shorter, would be the most delightful boy's book in the world – will remember how the lads played and made pretence upon the shores and waters of the lake. Now they are travellers in the jungle of wild Africa; now they come upon a crocodile; now they hear close by the roar of a lion; now they discern traces of savages; now they go into hiding; now they discover a great inland sea; now they build a hut and live upon a desert island. The man at thirty-six recalls every day of his childhood, and makes a story out of it for other children.

One of the things which he did was to make a canoe for himself with which to explore the lake. To make a canoe would be beyond the powers of most boys; but then most boys are brought up in a crowd, and can do nothing except play cricket and football. The shaping of the canoe is described in "After London":

"He had chosen the black poplar for the canoe because it was the lightest wood, and would float best. To fell so large a tree had been a great labour, for the axes were of poor quality, cut badly, and often required sharpening. He could easily have ordered half a dozen men to throw the tree, and they would have obeyed immediately; but then the individuality and interest of the work would have been lost. Unless he did it himself its importance and value to him would have been diminished. It had now been down some weeks, had been hewn into outward shape, and the larger part of the interior slowly dug away with chisel and gouge.

"He had commenced while the hawthorn was just putting forth its first spray, when the thickets and the trees were yet bare. Now the May bloom scented the air, the forest was green, and his work approached completion. There remained, indeed, but some final shaping and rounding off, and the construction, or rather cutting out, of a secret locker in the stern. This locker was nothing more than a square aperture chiselled out like a mortise, entering not from above, but parallel with the bottom, and was to be closed with a tight-fitting piece of wood driven in by force of mallet.

"A little paint would then conceal the slight chinks, and the boat might be examined in every possible way without any trace of this hiding-place being observed. The canoe was some eleven feet long, and nearly three feet in the beam; it tapered at either end, so that it might be propelled backwards or forwards without turning, and stem and stern (interchangeable definitions in this case) each rose a few inches higher than the general gunwale. The sides were about two inches thick, the bottom three, so that although dug out from light wood, the canoe was rather heavy."

"As a boy," to quote again from the same letter, "he was no great talker; but if we could get him in the humour, he would tell us racy and blood-curdling romances. There was one particular spot on the Coate road – many years ago a quarry, afterwards deserted – upon which he wove many fancies, with murders and ghosts. Always, in going home after one of our visits to the farm, we used to think we heard the clanking chains or ringing hoof of the phantom horse careering after us, and we would rush on in full flight from the fateful spot."

His principal companion in boyhood was his next brother, younger than himself by one year only, but very different in manners, appearance, and in tastes. He describes both himself and his brother in "After London." Felix is himself; Oliver is his brother.

This is Felix:

"Independent and determined to the last degree, Felix ran any risk rather than surrender that which he had found, and which he deemed his own. This unbending independence and pride of spirit, together with scarce-concealed contempt for others, had resulted in almost isolating him from the youth of his own age, and had caused him to be regarded with dislike by the elders. He was rarely, if ever, asked to join the chase, and still more rarely invited to the festivities and amusements provided in adjacent houses, or to the grander entertainments of the higher nobles. Too quick to take offence where none was really intended, he fancied that many bore him ill-will who had scarcely given him a passing thought. He could not forgive the coarse jokes uttered upon his personal appearance by men of heavier build, who despised so slender a stripling.

"He would rather be alone than join their company, and would not compete with them in any of their sports, so that, when his absence from the arena was noticed, it was attributed to weakness or cowardice. These imputations stung him deeply, driving him to brood within himself."

And this is Oliver:

"Oliver's whole delight was in exercise and sport. The boldest rider, the best swimmer, the best at leaping, at hurling the dart or the heavy hammer, ever ready for tilt or tournament, his whole life was spent with horse, sword, and lance. A year younger than Felix, he was at least ten years physically older. He measured several inches more round the chest; his massive shoulders and immense arms, brown and hairy, his powerful limbs, tower-like neck, and somewhat square jaw were the natural concomitants of enormous physical strength.

"All the blood and bone and thew and sinew of the house seemed to have fallen to his share; all the fiery, restless spirit and defiant temper; all the utter recklessness and warrior's instinct. He stood every inch a man, with dark, curling, short-cut hair, brown cheek and Roman chin, trimmed moustache, brown eye, shaded by long eyelashes and well-marked brows; every inch a natural king of men. That very physical preponderance and animal beauty was perhaps his bane, for his comrades were so many, and his love adventures so innumerable, that they left him no time for serious ambition.

"Between the brothers there was the strangest mixture of affection and repulsion. The elder smiled at the excitement and energy of the younger; the younger openly despised the studious habits and solitary life of the elder. In time of real trouble and difficulty they would have been drawn together; as it was, there was little communion; the one went his way, and the other his. There was perhaps rather an inclination to detract from each other's achievements than to praise them, a species of jealousy or envy without personal dislike, if that can be understood. They were good friends, and yet kept apart.

"Oliver made friends of all, and thwacked and banged his enemies into respectful silence. Felix made friends of none, and was equally despised by nominal friends and actual enemies. Oliver was open and jovial; Felix reserved and contemptuous, or sarcastic in manner. His slender frame, too tall for his width, was against him; he could neither lift the weights nor undergo the muscular strain readily borne by Oliver. It was easy to see that Felix, although nominally the eldest, had not yet reached his full development. A light complexion, fair hair and eyes, were also against him; where Oliver made conquests, Felix was unregarded. He laughed, but perhaps his secret pride was hurt."

After his return from Sydenham the boy, as I have said, went to school for a year or two at Swindon. Then he presently began to read. He had always delighted in books, especially in illustrated books; now he began to read everything that he could get.

The boy who reads everything, the boy who takes out his younger brothers and his cousins and makes them all pretend as he pleases, see what he orders them to see, and shudder at his bidding and at the creatures of his own imagination – what sort of future is in store for that boy? And think of what his life might have become had he been forced into clerkery or into trade: how crippled, miserable, and cramped! It is indeed miserable to think of the thousands designed for a life of art, of letters, of open air, or of science, wasted and thrown away in labouring at the useless desk or the hateful counter.

This boy therefore read everything. Presently, when he had read all that there was at Coate, and all that his grandfather had to lend him, he began to borrow of everybody and to buy. It is perfectly wonderful, as everybody knows, how a boy who never seems to get any money manages to buy books. The fact is that all boys get money, but the boy who wants books saves his pennies. For twopence you can very often pick up a book that you want; for sixpence you can have a choice; a shilling will tempt a second-hand bookseller to part with what seems a really valuable book; half-a-crown – but such a boy never even sees a half-crown piece. Richard Jefferies differed in one respect from most boys who read everything. They live in the world of books; the outer world does not exist for them; the birds sing, the lambs spring, the flowers blossom, but they heed them not; they grow short-sighted over the small print; they become more and more enamoured of phrase, captivated by words, charmed by style, so that they forget the things around them. When they go abroad they enact the fable of "Eyes and No Eyes," playing the less desirable part. Jefferies, on the other hand, was preserved from this danger. His father, the reserved and meditative man, took him into the fields and turned over page after page with him of the book of Nature, expounding, teaching, showing him how to use his eyes, and continually reading to him out of that great book.

So a strange thing came to pass. Most of us who go away from our native place forget it, or we only remember it from time to time; the memory grows dim; when we go back we are astonished to find how much we have forgotten, and how distorted are the memories which remain. Richard Jefferies, however, who presently left Coate, never forgot the old place. It remained with him – every tree, every field, every hill, every patch of wild thyme – all through his life, clear and distinct, as if he had left it but an hour before. In almost everything he wrote Coate is in his mind. Even in his book of "Wild Life Round London" the reader thinks sometimes that he is on the wild Wiltshire Downs, while the wind whistles in his ears, and the lark is singing in the sky, and far, far away the sheep-bells tinkle.

Why, in the very last paper which he ever wrote – it appeared in Longman's Magazine two months after his death – his memory goes back to the hamlet where he was born. He recalls the cottage where John Brown lived – you can see it still, close to Coate – as well as that where Job lived who kept the shop and was always buying and selling; and of the water-bailiff who looked after the great pond:

"There were one or two old boats, and he used to leave the oars leaning against a wall at the side of the house. These oars looked like fragments of a wreck, broken and irregular. The right-hand scull was heavy as if made of ironwood, the blade broad and spoon-shaped, so as to have a most powerful grip of the water. The left-hand scull was light and slender, with a narrow blade like a marrow-scoop; so when you had the punt, you had to pull very hard with your left hand and gently with the right to get the forces equal. The punt had a list of its own, and no matter how you rowed, it would still make leeway. Those who did not know its character were perpetually trying to get this crooked wake straight, and consequently went round and round exactly like the whirligig beetle. Those who knew used to let the leeway proceed a good way and then alter it, so as to act in the other direction like an elongated zigzag. These sculls the old fellow would bring you as if they were great treasures, and watch you off in the punt as if he was parting with his dearest. At that date it was no little matter to coax him round to unchain his vessel. You had to take an interest in the garden, in the baits, and the weather, and be very humble; then perhaps he would tell you he did not want it for the trimmers, or the withy, or the flags, and you might have it for an hour as far as he could see; 'did not think my lord's steward would come over that morning; of course, if he did you must come in,' and so on; and if the stars were propitious, by-the-bye, the punt was got afloat."

Then the writer – he was a dying man – sings his song of lament because the past is past – and dead. All that is past, and that we shall never see again, is dead. The brook that used to leap and run and chatter – it is dead. The trees that used to put on new leaves every spring – they are dead. All is dead and swept away, hamlet and cottage, hillside and coppice, field and hedge.

"I think I have heard that the oaks are down. They may be standing or down, it matters nothing to me; the leaves I last saw upon them are gone for evermore, nor shall I ever see them come there again ruddy in spring. I would not see them again even if I could; they could never look again as they used to do. There are too many memories there. The happiest days become the saddest afterwards; let us never go back, lest we too die. There are no such oaks anywhere else, none so tall and straight, and with such massive heads, on which the sun used to shine as if on the globe of the earth, one side in shadow, the other in bright light. How often I have looked at oaks since, and yet have never been able to get the same effect from them! Like an old author printed in other type, the words are the same, but the sentiment is different. The brooks have ceased to run. There is no music now at the old hatch where we used to sit in danger of our lives, happy as kings, on the narrow bar over the deep water. The barred pike that used to come up in such numbers are no more among the flags. The perch used to drift down the stream, and then bring up again. The sun shone there for a very long time, and the water rippled and sang, and it always seemed to me that I could feel the rippling and the singing and the sparkling back through the centuries. The brook is dead, for when man goes nature ends. I dare say there is water there still, but it is not the brook; the brook is gone like John Brown's soul. There used to be clouds over the fields, white clouds in blue summer skies. I have lived a good deal on clouds; they have been meat to me often; they bring something to the spirit which even the trees do not. I see clouds now sometimes when the iron grip of hell permits for a minute or two; they are very different clouds, and speak differently. I long for some of the old clouds that had no memories. There were nights in those times over those fields, not darkness, but Night, full of glowing suns and glowing richness of life that sprang up to meet them. The nights are there still; they are everywhere, nothing local in the night; but it is not the Night to me seen through the window."

Nobody believes him, he says. People ask him if such a village ever existed – of course, it never existed. What beautiful picture ever really existed save in the sunrise and in the sunset sky? Those living in the place about which these wonderful things are written look at each other in amazement, and ask what they mean. All this about Coate? Why, here are only half a dozen cottages, mean and squalid, with thatched roofs; and beyond the hedge are only fields with a great pond and bare hills beyond. "No one else," says Jefferies, "seems to have seen the sparkle on the brook, or heard the music at the hatch, or to have felt back through the centuries; and when I try to describe these things to them they look at me with stolid incredulity. No one seems to understand how I got food from the clouds, nor what there was in the night, nor why it is not so good to look out of window. They turn their faces away from me, so that perhaps, after all, I was mistaken, and there never was any such place, or any such meadows, and I was never there. And perhaps in course of time I shall find out also, when I pass away physically, that as a matter of fact there never was any earth." That, indeed, will be the most curious discovery possible in the after-world. No earth – then no Coate; no "Wild Life in a Southern County," and no "Gamekeeper at Home," because there has never been any home for any gamekeeper.

I have dwelt at some length upon these early years of Jefferies' life because they are all-important. They explain the whole of his after-life; they show how the book of Nature was laid open to this man in a way that it was never before presented to any man who had also the divine gift of utterance, namely, by a man who, though steeped in the wisdom of the field and forest – though he had read indeed in the book – could not read it aloud for all to hear.

In order to read this book aright, one must live apart from one's fellow-men and remain a stranger to their ambitions, ignorant of their crooked ways, their bickerings, and their pleasures. One must have quick and observant eyes, trained to watch and mark the infinite changes and variations in Nature, day by day; one must go to Nature's school from infancy in order to get this power. Nay; one must never cease to exercise this power, or it will be lost; it must be continually nourished and strengthened by being exercised. If one who has this power should go to live in the city, his eyes would grow as sluggish and as dim as ours; his ear would be blunted by the rolling of the carts, and his mind disturbed by the rush and the activity of the crowd. Again, if one who had this power should abandon the simple life, and should deaden his senses with luxury, sloth, and vice, he would quickly lose it. He must live apart from men; all day long the sun must burn his cheek, the wind must blow upon it, the rain must beat upon it; he must never be out of reach of the fragrant wild flowers and the call and cry of the birds. Of such men literature can show but two or three – Gilbert White, Thoreau, and Jefferies – but the greatest of them all is Jefferies. No one before him has so lived among the fields; no one has heard so clearly the song of the flowers and the weeds and the blades of grass. The million million blades of grass spoke to Jefferies as the Oak of Dodona spoke through its thousand leaves. When he went home he sat down and was inspired to translate that language, and to tell the world what the grass says and sings to him who can hear.

He who met the great God Pan face to face fell down dead. Still, even in these days, he who communes with the Sylvan Spirit presently dies to the ways of men, while his senses are opened to see the hidden things of hedge and meadow; while his soul is uplifted by the beauty and the variety and the order of the world; by the wondrous lives of the creatures, so full of peril, and so full of joy. Then, if he be permitted to reveal these things, what can we who receive this revelation give in exchange? What words of praise and gratitude can we find in return for this unfolding of the Book of Fleeting Life?

As for us, we listened to the voice of this master for ten years; we shall hear no more of his discourses; but the old ones remain; we can go back to them again and again. It is the quality of truthful work that it never grows old or stale; one can return to it again and again; there is always something fresh in it, something new. In a great poem the lines always bring some new thought to the mind; in great music, the harmonies always call forth some fresh emotion, and inspire some new thought; in a true book there is always some new truth to be discovered. If all the rest of the literature of this day prove ephemeral and is doomed to swift oblivion, the work of Jefferies shall not perish. Our fashions change, and the things of which we write become old and pass away. But the everlasting hills abide, and the meadows still lie green and flowery, and the roses and wild honeysuckle still blossom in the hedge. And those who have written of these are so few, and their words are so precious, that they shall not pass away, so long as their tongue endureth to be spoken and to be read.



At the age of sixteen, Richard Jefferies had an adventure – almost the only adventure of his quiet life. It was an adventure which could only happen to a youth of strong imagination, capable of seeing no difficulties or dangers, and refusing to accept the word "impossible."

At this time he was a long and loose-limbed lad, regarded by his own family as at least an uncommon youth and a subject of anxiety as to his future, a boy who talked eagerly of things far beyond the limits of the farm, who was self-willed and masterful, whose ideas astonished and even irritated those whose thoughts were accustomed to move in a narrow, unchanging groove. He was also a boy, as we have seen, who had the power of imposing his own imagination upon others, even those of sluggish temperament – as Don Quixote overpowered the slow brain of Sancho Panza.

Richard Jefferies then, at the age of sixteen, conceived a magnificent scheme, the like of which never before entered a boy's brain. Above all things he wanted to see foreign countries. He therefore proposed to another lad nothing less than to undertake a walk through the whole of Europe, as far as Moscow and back again. The project was discussed and debated long and seriously. At last it was referred to the decision of the dog as to an oracle. In this way: if the dog wagged his tail within a certain time, they would go; if the dog's tail remained quiet, it should be taken as a warning or premonition against the journey. Reliance should never, as a matter of fact, be placed in the oracle of the dog's tail; but this the lads were too young to understand. The tail wagged. The boys ran away. It was on November 11, in the year 1864. Now, here, certain details of the story are wanting. The novelist is never happy unless the whole machinery of his tale is clear in his own mind. And I confess that I know not how the two boys raised the money with which to pay their preliminary expenses. You may support yourself, as Oliver Goldsmith did, by a flute or a fiddle, you may depend upon the benefactions of unknown kind hearts in a strange land, but the steamship company and the railway company must be always paid beforehand. Where did the passage-money come from? Nay, as you will learn presently, there must have been quite a large bag of money to start with. Where did it come from? The other boy – the unknown – the innominatus– doubtless found that bag of gold.

They got to Dover and they crossed the Channel, and they actually began their journey. But I know not how far they got, nor how long a time, exactly, they spent in France – about a week, it would seem. They very quickly, however, made the humiliating discovery that they could not understand a word that was said to them, nor could they, save by signs, make themselves understood. Therefore they relinquished the idea of walking to Moscow, and reluctantly returned. But they would not go home; perhaps, because they were still athirst for adventure; perhaps, because they were ashamed. They then saw an advertisement in a newspaper which fired their imaginations again. The advertiser undertook, for an absurdly small sum, to take them across to New York. The amount named was just within the compass of their money. They resolved to see America instead of Russia; they called at the agent's office and paid their fares. Their tickets took them free to Liverpool, whither they repaired. Unfortunately, when they reached Liverpool, they learned that the tickets did not include bedding of any kind, or provisions, so that if they went on board they would certainly be frozen and starved. What was to be done? They had no more money. They could not get their money returned. They were helpless. They resolved therefore to give up the whole project, and to go home again. Jefferies undertook to pawn their watches in order to get the money for the railway ticket. His appearance and manner, for some reason or other – pawning being doubtless a new thing with him – roused so much suspicion in the mind of the pawnbroker that he actually gave the lad into custody. Happily, the superintendent of police believed his story – probably a telegram to Swindon strengthened his faith; he himself advanced them the money, keeping the watches as security, and sent them home after an expedition which lasted a fortnight altogether. There is no doubt as to the facts of the case. The boys did actually start, with intent to march all the way across Europe as far as Russia and back again. But how they began, how they raised the money to pay the preliminary expenses, wants more light. Also, there is no record as to their reception after they got home again. One suspects somehow that on this occasion the fatted calf was allowed to go on growing.

It must have been about this time that the lad began to have his bookish learning remarked and respected, if not encouraged. One of the upper rooms of the farmhouse – the other was the cheese-room – was set apart for him alone. Here he had his books, his table, his desk, and his bed. This room was sacred. Here he read; here he spent all his leisure time in reading. He read during this period an immense quantity. Shakespeare, Chaucer, Scott, Byron, Dryden, Voltaire, Goethe – he was never tired of reading Faust – and it is said, but I think it must have been in translation, that he read most of the Greek and Latin masters. It is evident from his writings that he had read a great deal, yet he lacks the touch of the trained scholar. That cannot be attained by solitary and desultory reading, however omnivorous. His chief literary adviser in those days was Mr. William Morris, of Swindon, proprietor and editor of the North Wilts Advertiser. Mr. Morris is himself the author of several works, among others a "History of Swindon," and, as becomes a literary man with such surroundings, he is a well-known local antiquary. Mr. Morris allowed the boy, who was at school with his own son, the run of his own library; he lent him books, and he talked with him on subjects which, one can easily understand, were not topics of conversation at Coate. Afterwards, when Jefferies had already become reporter for the local press, it was the perusal of a descriptive paper by Mr. Morris, on the "Lakes of Killarney," which decided the lad upon seriously attempting the literary career.

What inclined the lad to become a journalist? First of all, the narrow family circumstances prevented his being brought up to one of the ordinary professions: he might have become a clerk; he might have gone to London, where he had friends in the printing business; he might have emigrated, as his brother afterwards did; he might have gone into some kind of trade. As for farming, he had no taste for it; the idea of becoming a farmer never seems to have occurred to him as possible. But he could not bear the indoor life; to be chained all day long to a desk would have been intolerable to him; it would have killed him; he needed such a life as would give him a great deal of time in the open air. Such he found in journalism. His friend, Mr. Morris, gave him the first start by printing for him certain sketches and descriptive papers. And he had the courage to learn shorthand.

He had already before this begun to write.
<< 1 2 3 4 >>