Edith Holden’s Writings from January 1906 Country Diary of An Edwardian Lady

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This is not one of my favorite of Holden’s illustrations; but it is one of the January 1906 Illustrations.

Below I am copying the January entries for Country Diary.  Notice that entries can be no more than a few words–just an observation.  They do not have to be epistles. Edith Holden does write longer and more elaborate entries, too.  In addition, she copies writings from other authors and poets.  Occasionally, she adds more scientific information.  Her entries vary. I have typed her spelling and grammar errors, as she printed them.

January 1 New Year’s Day.  Bright and cold with hard frost.

5 Great gale of wind and rain from the southwest.

11.  Visited a small wood on the canal ban, to get violet leaves.  On moving away some of the dead leaves lying beneath the trees, I discovered a Wild Arun plant, thrusting it’s white sheath up from the soil.  When I removed the outer covering, the pale yellow leaves with dark spots were quite discernable, rolled tightly round each other and beautifully packed away inside the white skin.  I noticed that many of the leaf-buds on the elderberry bushes had burst into green.

12.  Saw serveral Moorhens feeding on a newly ploughed field, not far from a pond.

14. Great gale of wind and rain

18. Today I saw a curious Oak-tree, growing in a field new Elmdon Park.  From a distance it looked as if half of the tree were dead the the other half covered with glossy green leaves.  On examination, the main trunk and two of the main branches proved to be of a species of oak, that has mossy acorn cups and large, deeply serrated leaves–leafless in winter.  Growing out of the crown of the trunk and forming fully half of the tree was an Ever-green or Cork Oak, in full foliage.  To join two trunks was scarcely perceptable.

June 23.  Sharp frost and thick fog in the early morning.  The fog cleared off ab out 9.30. a.m. and the sun shone brightly.  Went for a country walk.  Every twig on every tree and bush was outlied in silver tracery against the sky; some of the dead grasses and seed-vessels growing by the road-side were specially beautiful, every detail of them sparkling with frost-crystals in the sunshine.  I saw great flocks of Rooks and Starlings, down on the fields, and a pair of beautiful Bullfinches in a Hawhorn bush.  The Gorse was in blossom, till within a week or two ago, but the sharp frosts of the past week have nipped off the bloom.  The mild winter has brought out the Hazel catkins, wonderfully early, the small green flowers are fully expanded on some of the catkins, and the pretty little red stars of the female flowers are appearing.  The green leaves are out on the Woodbine too making little spots of green among the undergrowth.

Jan. 26. The last few weeks, our own and our neighbours’ gardens have been haunted by a very curious Robin.  The whole of the upper plumage, which in ordinary Robins is brown, shaded with olive green, is light silvery grey in this bird, so that when flying about it looks like a white bird with a scarlet breast.  I hear that it was seen about here last summer, it is so conspicuous, it is a wonder it has not fallen a victim to somebody’s gun. 

Jan. 27.  Primroses, Polyanthus, Winter Aconite, Mazereon and Snowdrops are all in flower in the garden.  Every mild morning now the birds are singing and they continue more or less throughout the day.

Jan. 29.  Today I picked some Daisies in a field and saw some Yew in blossom.  The young Nettles are shooting up and a number of herbaceous plants are shewing new green leaves, as Foxglove, Treacle Mustard, Ground Ivy etc.  The Groundsel is in flower too.

Ploughing, and hedging and ditching are going on everywhere.  This has been a wonderfully mild January

Following are Holden’s scientific or factual entries for January:

January – Named from the Roman god Janus, who is represented with two faces looking in opposite directions, –as retrospective to the past, and prospective, to the coming year.

Jan.1. New Year’s Day

Jan 6. Twelfth Day Epiphany

Following are her entries that she  classifies as Mottoes:

“A wet January A wet spring”

“The blackest month of all the year Is the month of Janiveer.”

Following are the Poems Holden entered for January 1906:

Wee, modest, crimson-tipped flow’r,
Thou’s met me in an evil hour;
For I maun crush amang the stoure
Thy slender stem:
To spare thee now is past my pow’r,
Thou bonie gem.

Alas! it’s no thy neebor sweet,
The bonie lark, companion meet!
Bending thee ‘mang the dewy weet!
Wi’ spreckl’d breast,
When upward-springing, blythe, to greet
The purpling east.

Cauld blew the bitter-biting north
Upon thy early, humble birth;
Yet cheerfully thou glinted forth
Amid the storm,
Scarce rear’d above the Parent-earth
Thy tender form.

The flaunting flow’rs our gardens yield,
High shelt’ring woods and wa’s maun shield;
But thou, beneath the random bield
O’ clod or stane,
Adorns the histie stibble-field,
Unseen, alane.

There, in thy scanty mantle clad,
Thy snawie bosom sun-ward spread,
Thou lifts thy unassuming head
In humble guise;
But now the share uptears thy bed,
And low thou lies!  – Edward Burns – To A Mountain Daisy

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“Above all flouris in the mede Than I love most those flouris white and rede: Soche that men call daisies in our towne” – Geoffrey Chaucer

“Daisies smelless, but most quaint.” – Fletcher

“Daisies, ye flowers of lowly birth Embroiderers of the carpet earth that gem of the velvet sod;”- Clare

“Wee, modest, crimson=tippet flower” – Burns

“Thee Winter in the garland wears
That thinly decks his few grey hairs;
Spring parts the clouds with softest airs,
That she may sun thee;
Whole Summer-fields are thine by right;
And Autumn, melancholy Wight!
Doth in thy crimson head delight
When rains are on thee.

In shoals and bands, a morrice train,
Thou greet’st the traveller in the lane;
Pleased at his greeting thee again;
Yet nothing daunted,
Nor grieved if thou be set at nought:
And oft alone in nooks remote
We meet thee, like a pleasant thought,
When such are wanted.

Child of the Year! that round dost run
Thy pleasant course,–when day’s begun
As ready to salute the sun
As lark or leveret,
Thy long-lost praise thou shalt regain;
Nor be less dear to future men
Than in old time;–thou not in vain
Art Nature’s favourite.” – William Wordsworth – To A Daisy

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“Daisies, those pearled areturi of the earth, The constellated  flowers that never set.” – Shelly
 
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About jackikellum

Jacki Kellum is a Fine Artist, a Designer, and also a writer. For one of her graduate programs, she wrote her thesis on William Blake. Like Blake, much of Kellum's work is about childhood and lost innocence. Also like Blake, Kellum strives to both write and illustrate her work. .
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