Weatherwatch: dark curtains of rain fall on GK Chesterton


Gilbert Keith Chesterton marches through the “ghostly and colourless” countryside around Oxford. “The fields that should have been green were as grey as the skies; the tree-tops that should have been green were as grey as the clouds and as cloudy,” he wrote in The Secret of a Train, for his Daily News column, collected in Tremendous Trifles (1909).

“And when I had walked for some hours the evening was closing in. A sickly sunset clung weakly to the horizon, as if pale with reluctance to leave the world in the dark. And as it faded more and more the skies seemed to come closer and threaten. The clouds which had been merely sullen became swollen; and then they loosened and let down the dark curtains of the rain.”

He seeks and finds a railway station. “I do not think I have ever seen such a type of time and sadness and scepticism and everything devilish as that station was: it looked as though it had always been raining there ever since the creation of the world. The water streamed from the soaking wood of it as if it were not water at all, but some loathsome liquid creation of the wood itself; as if the solid station were eternally falling to pieces and pouring away in filth.”


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