DIGGING IN PEACE IN SEFTON MEADOWS
" Come a-digging, Writer ? "
" A-digging, Reader ? "
" Yes, and you shall see youth is not all tennis and motoring in the summer. "
" That is no conviction of mine, Reader. Let me but see the real life, and I am happy to come even a-digging. "
So the faithful pair hied to one of Sefton's fair meadows, where the green grass grows all around, but for one patch where earth had been taken off to the depth of maybe three feet, where the clay was laid bare, and where the waste was being used to fill adjacent hollows.
A rugger ground was being made, and considerable levelling was necessary if three full-sized pitches were to be accommodated, together with room for sprinting, jumping, and other adjuncts concomitant with " keeping fit."
Reader conducted Writer about the ten acres, and explained the Great Scheme. The Great Scheme was, as usual, very simple. It depended mainly on the continued interest and practical endeavour of those most intimately concerned.
Of that interest and practical endeavour, Writer perceived the signs on returning to the site of excavation. A team of young men and men middle-aged, not all of them brawny, were throwing earth into tubs on rails, vigorously, silently, enthusiastically, all ferociously intent on their work.
They were members of the club, men to whom a spade was no familiar companion, yet were happy to get down to bedrock, call a spade a spade and apply it accordingly, for the sake of their sport.
The work to be done had been neatly adjusted. Lest the unaccustomed labour of much digging should pall, as even voluntary labour will, there were different teams for each evening, and it was astonishing what a dozen fresh men could accomplish.
True, they worked twice as feverishly as the steady everyday navvy would work, and accordingly exhausted themselve in half the time; but therein lay the virtue of the next night's team continuing the work. They worked hard by easy stages, as it were felt no loss, and kept the advantages.
" The height of human achievement ", said Writer sententiously. " is what others will do for one, plus what one will do for oneself."
At which Reader having changed into an old suit, took up a spade and laid into the earth. Writer, though normally an onlooker was not one to be idle while his friends worked. He also took up a spade. This digging was infectious.
A spade is a beautiful tool to wield, especially when it is bright and sharp. It cuts into the loam clean and deep, at pressure of the foot. There's a heave, a swing, a clod floats unerringly through the air, the tub fills and the poetry of the spade may grip one very forcibly.
That simple tool
Evoked by Tubal Cain to cleave the sod
Of Eden, man's first dwelling-
And his last.
Among the diggers where men developing their first blisters, their first segs of the spade. There were men, too, who had dug for their lives; men with holes in their bodies big enough to hold a fist- men of forty years and thereabouts.
Here the birds created the only sound above. The twittering swallows alone cleft the evening air. Only the sun flashed with blinding brilliance, and the thunder had gone before.
The facetious fellow- the fellow with the fund of fun and flowing eloquence- was there, happily: but this was digging in peace, dear peace.
The Great Scheme was splendid, thought Writer. BLEZ.
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