Gentian Hill by Elizabeth Goudge


Closed Gentian, Bottle Gentian, (Gentiana andrewsii)

I just finished reading Gentian Hill by Elizabeth Goudge. I am still delighted with Goudge as an author. She developed so many interesting characters in this story.

“The story is a retelling of the legend of St. Michael’s Chapel at Torquay. Built in the thirteenth century, it was in existence until not so many years ago, and until the beginning to the nineteenth century any foreign vessels dropping anchor in Torbay, and possessing Roman Catholic crews, sent them on pilgrimages to the Chapel.”

The Village where Stella lives is now called Marldon, derived from Mergheldon, the  Hill where Gentians grow, and as I have been guilty of taking some liberties with it, I have called it Gentian Hill. ”

-Elizabeth Goudge

Some of the book is historical and the rest is imaginary. I highly recommend it and I’m including two paragraphs from the book that stood out to me.

From page 196 of Gentian Hill ~
“For a moment or two they enjoyed the delicate innuendo and elegant repartee of the art of conversation in which they had been trained, meanwhile watching, without appearing to do so, the gradual unfolding of this hour placed like a flower in their hands. For such was unconsciously the attitude of both of them towards the new phase of each new day – it was not unimportant, it had some discovery hidden within it for finding. It was the attitude of the trained mind collecting the evidence, in their case for the Christian thesis that all things, somehow, work together for good.”

And from page 208 ~
“For the first time since he had been at sea a brief thrill went through Zachary. There was a leap of joy in him, like a flame lighting up a dark lantern. At that moment he believed it was worth it. This moment of supreme beauty was worth all the wretchedness of the journey. It was always worth it. “For our light affliction which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” It was the central truth of existence, and all men knew it, though they might not know that they knew it. Each man followed his own star through so much pain because he knew it, and at journey’s end all the innumerable lights would glow into one.”

The following poem is not from Goudge’s book but from a Wildflower Book I own…


Fringed Gentian (Gentiana crinita)

“Finis coronet opus! Let the end crown all and the last be the best! Here is a lovely flower that often carries its beautiful and delicately fringed petals into the frosted foreground of oncoming Winter.”

Thou blossom, bright with Autumn dew,
And colored with the heaven’s own blue,
That openest when the quiet light
Succeeds the keen and frosty night;

Thou comest not when violets lean
O’er wandering brooks and springs unseen,
Or columbines, in purple dressed,
Nod o’er the ground-bird’s hidden nest.

Thou waitest late, and com’st alone,
When woods are bare and birds are flown,
And frosts and shortening days portend
The aged Year is near his end.

Then doth thy sweet and quiet eye
Look through its fringes to the sky,
Blue-blue-as if that sky let fall
A flower from it cerulean wall.

I  would that thus, when I shall see
The hour of death draw near to me,
Hope, blossoming within my heart,
May look to heaven as I depart.

Finis.

~William Cullen Bryant

 

3 thoughts on “Gentian Hill by Elizabeth Goudge

  1. Hi Ellen,

    Good morning. Thanks for the post. I enjoyed it. I am getting ready to read a book on the building of cathedrals and castles in the Medieval times… your post makes me want to start on the book RIGHT away. But I can’t…. I’d better do what I am supposed to do this morning – getting ready for my Bible Study later.

    Have a great day!

    Wendy@ivoryspring.wordpress.com

  2. Hi Ellen,

    I think we must be at each other’s blog right about the same time… 🙂 As soon as I had posted the first comment, I got a message from you on my blog. 🙂

    Thanks for the kind comment – I do love my new found hobby of quilting very much. To think I hadn’t even touched a sewing machine till about 3 years ago!

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