Do you know, I’m starting to feel a little festive. I think it might have been the mulled cider in my local last night. I’m coming over all Dickensian, and so would love for you all to pop over to the OUPblog, where I have posted the opening section of one of Dickens’s perhaps lesser known Christmas Books, The Battle of Life.
Once upon a time, it matters little when, and in stalwart England, it matters little where, a fierce battle was fought. It was fought upon a long summer day when the waving grass was green. Many a wild flower formed by the Almighty Hand to be a perfumed goblet for the dew, felt its enamelled cup filled high with blood that day, and shrinking dropped. Many an insect deriving its delicate colour from harmless leaves and herbs, was stained anew that day by dying men, and marked its frightened way with an unnatural track. The painted butterfly took blood into the air upon the edges of its wings. The stream ran red. The trodden ground became a quagmire, whence, from sullen pools collected in the prints of human feet and horses’ hoofs, the one prevailing hue still lowered and glimmered at the sun.