The Longest Journey - E.M. Forster

Forster's description of rain:

THE RAIN TILTED A LITTLE FROM the south-west. For the most part it fell from a gray cloud silently, but now and then the tilt increased, and a kind of sigh passed over the country as the drops lashed the walls, trees, shepherds, and other motionless objects that stood in their slanting career. At times the cloud would descend and visibly embrace the earth, to which it had only sent messages; and the earth itself would bring forth clouds – clouds of a whiter breed – which formed in the shallow valleys and followed the courses of the streams. It seemed the beginning of life. Again God said, ‘Shall we divide the waters from the land or not? Was not the firmament labour and glory sufficient?’ At all events it was the beginning of life pastoral, behind which imagination cannot travel.

Yet complicated people were getting wet – not only the shepherds. For instance, the piano-tuner was sopping. So was the vicar’s wife. So were the lieutenant and the peevish damsels in his Battlesden car. Gallantry, charity, and art pursued their various missions, perspiring and muddy, while out on the slopes beyond them stood the eternal man and the eternal dog, guarding eternal sheep until the world is vegetarian.




I'm sure it cannot be an accident that he chose a pastoral scene that could be straight out of Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd. 


Let me just say that this book is a treat for me. I love discovering why I love Forster all over again. 


‘My farm is a mystery to me,’ said the lady, stroking her fingers. ‘Some day you must really take me to see it. It must be like a Gilbert and Sullivan opera, with a chorus of agitated employers. How is it that I have escaped? Why have I never been summoned to milk the cows, or flay the pigs, or drive the young bullocks to the pasture?’

He looked at her with astonishingly blue eyes – the only dry things he had about him. He could not see into her: she would have puzzled an older and a cleverer man. He may have seen round her.