A Sheep-Cropped Knoll

I began Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited last night and am now in the second chapter. I’ve only read Waugh’s Scoop, but enjoyed it and am looking forward to becoming ensconced in this one. Also, a friend whose literary tastes I trust said Brideshead is his favourite novel–that’s weighty coming from him.

I came across a striking sentence that I read a number of times for the sheer joy of it’s imagery and the smooth glide of its words–what a long sentence too! It comes from the scene where Charles and Sebastian travel to Brideshead for the first time and take a rest near a “clump” trees to enjoy a glass of wine and strawberries. Here it is, Charles is the narrator:

On a sheep-cropped knoll under a clump of elms we ate the strawberries and drank the wine – as Sebastian promised, they were delicious together – and we lit fat, Turkish cigarettes and lay on our backs, Sebastian’s eyes on the`leaves above him, mine on his profile, while the blue-grey smoke rose, untroubled by any wind, to the blue-green shadows of foliage, and the sweet scent of the tobacco merged with the sweet summer scents around us and the fumes of the sweet, golden wine seemed to lift us a finger’s breadth above the turf and hold us suspended.

Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1981), 32-33.

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