I choose this because it is a sensitive and highly finished piece of writing which represents my characteristic feeling for the past and gives a good picture of English country life as it was before 1914. W. is an evocation of my youthful self which seems to me to have the delicacy, warmth and depth at which I aim in my prose writing.
DURING THESE GENTLE REVISITATIONS of the days that are no more I sometimes enliven my imagination by resorting to an Ordnance Survey map of those parts of Kent and Sussex with which I am concerned. The Survey was made in 1866 and brought up to date and the map re-engraved in 1893; so it enables me to lose sight of the arterial road makings and other tyrannies of mechanized trafficry which have since altered the character of so much of the countyside. Far back in the '90's my mother had acquired it for finding her way to distant meets of the hounds; and in later years I myself never failed to unfold it after a day's hunting. It is therefore an old and valued friend, and no map could be more imbued with memorial associations and finger-marks.
My most recent porings over it have been for the purpose of measuring a few of the distances I drove with friends at whose houses I stayed for balls, in the days before motor-cars were much in use. For I was an enthusiastic dancer, though I can't claim ever to have been to more than about half-a-dozen important ones in a twelve-month. An earnest rather than volatile performer with my patent-leather pumps, I never "sat out" anything--not even "The Lancers"--and I was hard at it until the band had played its final bar--unless some beckoning and unevadable chaperon decreed that her party must leave before the finish. "Such a long way home for
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: 105 Greatest Living Authors Present the World's Best Stories, Humor, Drama, Biography, History, Essays, Poetry. Contributors: Whit Burnett - Editor. Publisher: Dial Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1950. Page number: 529.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.