ENGLAND HAVE MY BONES by T. H. White

ENGLAND HAVE MY BONES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Brief reflections--mainly on hunting and fishing and early aeronautics (!)--written in 1934 by the late English author of The Once and Future King. After a salute to rural ways in general and his own Shire in particular (where ""the people are gentle without being sleepy""), White details days of fishing in thunder, lightning, rain--and more rain. The many fish ""kills"" evoke a pinprick of conscience: ""It is a bad thought that these lovely silver creatures are killed by an agony worse than a toothache."" But when the happily pub-bound White observes a toiling, crippled, turnip-topper, conscience is flicked out of sight: ""How much happier than he I was. Of course the rational remedy is communism; and for the agonies of the fish, to give up fishing. So much for reason."" Then White decides to take up flying: ""I am afraid of aeroplanes. . . the winds, the struts and wires. . . . Because I am afraid of things, I have to attempt them."" There follows a lesson-by-lesson account of increasing mastery--climaxing in that first spin of seven hundred feet when ""my ancestral self-preservationist swooned away."" Then come tales of hunting--the stalks, the running-to-ground--interspersed with asides on pub society, how to take a hip bath, the pleasures of dilettante farming, and more. Particularly delightful is an appreciation of White's former pets, garden snakes: ""The plates of the jaw are fixed in an antediluvian irony. . . they move in silence pouring themselves over obstacles."" Chiefly for Field-and-Stream folk--but a find (if they find it) for old-air-plane buffs.

Pub Date: March 18th, 1982
Publisher: Putnam