Through the broad vale that borders Buckinghamshire harvest waggons crossed the stubble, women and children were in the fields gleaning – or “leasing,” as we call it in the South, where cattle are turned sometimes into the leasow, – their arms full with gathered sheaves. In the mild haze that followed a night of dew they moved about in the distance like dim figures set in a cloud. Away across the river, on the Surrey uplands, corn is still ripening, but this week of fine weather has browned the wheat. And now almost the last of the hay that has lain for nearly a month past is stacked, mellow enough yet, as the ripe scent told when with rakes and forks the cocks mere piled. Geese, finding a way into the field through an open gateway, crane their necks and warn you off the rich grass, that has a thicker undergrowth than in spring. On the other side of the lane a second crop, rich in clover, has just been cut. The earth is full of riches all round.
Along this lane and in the wood hazels have for some years been left to grow. The nuts are a good crop and well formed. There are even ripe blackberries where the high brambles face the south. Intermittent rain, dew, and sunshine have put colour into all the hedge and tree fruit; red bunches swing over from the guelder rose and the wayfaring tree; haws are almost purple; clusters of arum are in the foot of the hedge. This week the wild clematis is climbing and flowering where it will; also the yellow bedstraw and green bearbind. All are here, and among them a few great “nightcaps” of bindweed and the twined wild hop.
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