honey suckle

honey suckle



"Penelope Taberner Cameron is a solitary and a sickly child, a reader and a dreamer. Her mother, indeed, is of the opinion that the girl has grown all too attached to the products of her imagination and decides to send her away from London for a restorative dose of fresh country air. But staying at Thackers, in remote Derbyshire, Penelope is soon caught up in a new mystery, as she finds herself transported at unforeseeable intervals back and forth from modern to Elizabethan times. There she becomes part of a remarkable family that is, Penelope realizes, in terrible danger as they plot to free Mary, Queen of Scots, from the prison in which Queen Elizabeth has confined her.

Penelope knows the tragic end that awaits the Scottish queen but she can neither change the course of events nor persuade her new family of the hopelessness of their cause, which love, loyalty, and justice all compel them to embrace. Caught between present and past, Penelope is ever more torn by questions of freedom and fate. To travel in time, Penelope discovers, is to be very much alone. And yet the slow recurrent rhythms of the natural world, beautifully captured by Alison Uttley, also speak of a greater ongoing life that transcends the passage of years."
(quoted from New York Review Books) 

Alison Uttley (1884–1976) , the author of this novel, was born Alice Jane Taylor in Derbyshire, England, into a tenant-farming family that had lived on the same land for two hundred years. By the end of her life, Uttley had written some one hundred books of fiction and nonfiction and become one of twentieth-century Britain’s most popular children’s writers. 

I found an introductory article of this novel in the Japanese gardening magazine 'Bises' several years ago.  It was introduced as a novel with many descriptions about gardening at Elizabethan time.  The article interested me and I bought one copy of the novel translated in Japanese a couple of years ago.  

It was very easy to read.  Country life and gardening in the Elizabethan time, as well as the history about Mary, Queen of Scots, and Queen Elizabeth I were so interesting.  

Now, I am trying to read the novel in English, however, I am struggling with many special words that I don't know.  

 私は、花壇をめぐる、迷路のようにいりくんだ細道をあっちこっちへと歩きました。ツゲの生け垣で一つ一つ区切られたたくさんの花壇は、もうすぐ花々で美しくかがやこうとしていました。青白いスズランと血のように赤いプリムラはもう咲いていて、庭のむこうの石の台にならんだ巣からきたミツバチが、ぶんぶん飛びまわっていました。背の高いオレンジ色の百合は青銅でできているように見えるつぼみをつけて、花壇を守る兵士のように立っていて、その上を青いツバメがすいすい飛んでいました。・・・」 (松野正子 訳)

"...So I gathered the pungent grey-green herbs which grew on many small bushes in the Thackers herb patch where I had been before, and I sniffed the strong, clean smells which were those which permeated the Thackers kitchen, where bunches hung from the beams and walls.  As I filled my large basket with the sprays and leaves I looked round at the flowers in surprise, for although my  Aunt Tissie's garden had many abloom as I knew very well, for I went there every day for a posy, this garden was more carefully tended, and lay in straight lines and squares like a patterned quilt.  There were the same small daffodils, which my aunt called "daffodown-dillies" growing in masses by the walls, and white violets in snowdrifts filling the crannies of the path.  Gillyvers striped and yellow sprung from the mossy walls, where a cat crouched eyeing me balefully.  The beds were bordered with little low hedges of box, smooth as green walls, cut into trim shapes like the hedge.  There were bushes of Lad's-Love which sent out their rich fragrance, and lanes of lavender, and clumps of spraying rosemary, with many a rose-tree frowing alongside, already in full leaf.
 I wandered about on the narrow paths which led e in amaze in and out and round about a dozen flower-beds which would soon be ablaze, each one bounded by the box hedge.  Pale lilies-of-the-valley and blood-red primulas were out with bees hovering round them from the straw skeps perched on stone stools farther up the garden.  Tall orang lilies, bronze-budded, stood like soldiers guarding them, and overhead darted the blue swallows...."

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