A Rural Idyll in Steady Decline

Critical Dispatches

The people of that plainly built farming town led simple lives and were proud of the hardship and forfeiture that rural existence assumed of them. They knew their place in that world and – as is customary in such isolated surroundings – they conducted themselves with the same sheltered constancy as so many of their forebears had abided for generations before. In the summer months, they worked on the bog, cutting and footing the turf as the midges ate at their faces and the sun reddened their necks. In autumn, they collected the dried turf in sacks and shifted the load onto rented wagons for bringing home. They burned the dried sod for fuel during the winter and prayed to the mother, the father, and the Holy Spirit in heaven that it would be a short cold this year and that spring would not be long in coming.

As soon as…

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