THE OLD CHUECH
I followed him deep into the pine-forest. Neither of us said much while yet the sacred gloom of it closed us round. We came to larger and yet larger trees-older, and more individual, some of them grotesque with age. Then the forest grew thinner.
' You see that hawthorn ?' said my guide at length, pointing with his beak.
I looked where the wood melted away on the edge of an open heath.
' I see a gnarled old man, with a great white head,' I answered.
'Look again,' he rejoined : ' it is a hawthorn.'
' It seems indeed an ancient hawthorn ; but this is not the season for the hawthorn to blossom !' I objected.
I The season for the hawthorn to blossom,' he replied, ' is when the hawthorn blossoms. That tree is in the ruins of the church on your home-farm. You were going to give some directions to the bailiff about its churchyard, were you not, the morning of the thunder?'
'I was going to tell him I wanted it turned into a wilderness of rose-trees, and that the plough must never come within three yards of it.'