J. S. Fletcher: The Paradise Mystery

Отправлено 27 февр. 2016 г., 03:27 пользователем Sven Karsten   [ обновлено 27 февр. 2016 г., 03:27 ]

MERICAN TOURISTS, sure ap­pre­ci­a­tors of all that is an­cient and pic­turesque in Eng­land, in­vari­ably come to a halt, hold­ing their breath in a sud­den catch of won­der, as they pass through the half-ru­inous gate­way which ad­mits to the Close of Wrychester. Nowhere else in Eng­land is there a fairer prospect of old-world peace. There be­fore their eyes, set in the cen­tre of a great green sward, fringed by tall elms and giant beeches, rises the vast fab­ric of the thir­teenth-cen­tury Cathe­dral, its high spire pierc­ing the skies in which rooks are for ever cir­cling and call­ing. The time-worn stone, at a lit­tle dis­tance del­i­cate as lace­work, is trans­formed at dif­fer­ent hours of the day into shift­ing shades of colour, vary­ing from grey to pur­ple: the mas­sive­ness of the great nave and transepts con­trasts im­pres­sively with the grad­ual ta­per­ing of the spire, ris­ing so high above tur­ret and clerestory that it at last be­comes a mere line against the ether. In morn­ing, as in af­ter­noon, or in evening, here is a per­pet­ual at­mos­phere of rest; and not around the great church alone, but in the quaint and an­cient houses which fence in the Close. Lit­tle less old than the mighty mass of stone on which their ivy-framed win­dows look, these houses make the ca­sual ob­server feel that here, if any­where in the world, life must needs run smoothly. Under those high gables, be­hind those mul­lioned win­dows, in the beau­ti­ful old gar­dens lying be­tween the stone porches and the elm-shad­owed lawn, noth­ing, one would think, could pos­si­bly exist but leisured and pleas­ant ex­is­tence: even the busy streets of the old city, out­side the crum­bling gate­way, seem, for the mo­ment, far off.

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