Tuesday, July 3, 2012

CLouds of Witness cont

Behind Riddlesdale Lodge the moor stretched starkly away and upward. The heather was brown and wet, and the little streams had no color in them. It was six o'clock, but there was no sunset. Only a paleness had moved behind the thick sky from east to west all day. Lord Peter, tramping back after a long and fruitless search for tidings of the man with the motor-cycle, voiced the dull suffering of his gregarious spirit. “I wish old Parker was here,” he muttered, and squelched down a sheep-track.

                He was making, not directly for the Lodge, but for a farmhouse about two and a half miles distant from it, known as Grider's Hole. It lay almost due north of Riddlesdale village, a lonely outpost on the edge of the moor, in a valley of fertile land between two wide swells of heather. The track wound down from the height called Whemmeling Fell, skirted a vile swamp, and crossed the little River Ridd about half a mile before reaching the farm.
“Fell” (from Old Norse fell, fjall, "mountain”) is a word used to refer to mountains, or certain types of mountainous landscape, in Scandinavia, the Isle of Man, and parts of northern England.         
 Peter had small hope of hearing any news at Grider's Hole, but he was filled with a sullen determination to leave no stone unturned.
(Every site I look at tells you the obvious – what it means. Not one tells you what the origin of it is!)
                Privately, however, he felt convinced that the motor-cycle had come by the high road, Parker's investigations notwithstanding, and perhaps passed directly through King's Fenton without stopping or attracting attention. Still, he had said he would search the neighborhood, and Grider's Hole was in the neighborhood. He paused to relight his pipe, then squelched steadily on. The path was marked with stout white posts at regular intervals, and presently with hurdles.
A hurdle is a moveable section of light fence. Traditionally they were made from wattle (woven split branches), but modern hurdles are often made of metal. Hurdles are used for handling livestock, as decorative fencing, for horse racing and in the track and field event of hurdling.
                The reason for this was apparent as one came to the bottom of the valley, for only a few yards on the left began the stretch of rough, reedy tussocks, with slobbering black bog between them, in which anything heavier than a water-wagtail would speedily suffer change into a succession of little bubbles.
Tussock grasses or bunch grasses are found as native plants in natural ecosystems, as forage in pastures, and as ornamental grasses in gardens. Flint Tussock and bunch grasses, in the Poaceae family, are grasses that usually grow as singular plants in clumps, tufts, or bunches, rather than forming a sod or lawn, in meadows, grasslands, and prairies. As perennial plants usually, they live more than one season

Many species have long roots that may reach 2-metre (6.6 ft) or more into the soil, which can aid slope stabilization, erosion control, and soil porosity for precipitation absorption. Also, their roots can reach moisture more deeply than other grasses and annual plants during seasonal or climatic droughts. The plants provide habitat and food for insects (including Lepidoptera), birds, small animals and larger herbivores, and support beneficial soil mycorrhiza. The leaves supply material, such as for basket weaving, for indigenous peoples and contemporary artists.

Tussock and bunch grasses occur in almost any habitat where other grasses are found, including: grasslands, savannas and prairies, wetlands and estuaries, riparian zones, shrublands and scrublands, woodlands and forests, montane and alpine zones, tundra and dunes, and deserts. 
Wimsey stooped for an empty sardine tin which lay, horribly battered, at his feet, and slung it idly into the quag.
The tin can was patented in 1809 by the French inventor Nicholas Appert. He did not produce any food cans himself, but sold his patent to two Englishmen, Bryan Donkin and John Hall[disambiguation needed], who set up a commercial canning factory, and by 1813 were producing their first canned goods for the British Army.

Early cans were sealed with lead soldering, which led to lead poisoning. Famously, in the 1845 Arctic expedition of Sir John Franklin, crew members suffered from severe lead poisoning after three years of eating canned food.

In 1901, the American Can Company was founded which, at the time, produced 90% of United States tin cans.

A quag(mire) is water infused earth or a bog. Solid ground may turn to quagmire following substantial rainfall.
                It struck the surface with a noise like a wet kiss, and vanished instantly. With that instinct which prompts one, when depressed, to wallow in every circumstance of gloom, Peter leaned sadly upon the hurdles and abandoned himself to a variety of shallow considerations upon (1) The vanity of human wishes; (2) Mutability; (3) First love; (4) The decay of idealism; (5) The aftermath of the Great War; (6) Birth-control; and (7) The fallacy of free-will. This was his nadir, however.
Why is birth control so frowned upon?
In modern Europe, knowledge of herbal abortifacients and contraceptives to regulate fertility has largely been lost.[50] Historian John M. Riddle found that this remarkable loss of basic knowledge can be attributed to attempts of the early modern European states to "repopulate" Europe after dramatic losses following the plague epidemics that started in 1348. According to Riddle, one of the policies implemented by the church and supported by feudal lords to destroy the knowledge of birth control included the initiation of witch hunts against midwives, who had knowledge of herbal abortifacients and contraceptives.

On December 5, 1484, Pope Innocent VIII issued the Summis desiderantes affectibus, a papal bull in which he recognized the existence of witches and gave full papal approval for the Inquisition to proceed "correcting, imprisoning, punishing and chastising" witches "according to their deserts." In the bull, which is sometimes referred to as the "Witch-Bull of 1484", the witches were explicitly accused of having "slain infants yet in the mother's womb" (abortion) and of "hindering men from performing the sexual act and women from conceiving" (contraception).[53] Famous texts that served to guide the witch hunt and instruct magistrates on how to find and convict so-called "witches" include the Malleus Maleficarum, and Jean Bodin's De la demonomanie des sorciers.[54] The Malleus Maleficarum was written by the priest J. Sprenger (born in Rheinfelden, today Switzerland), who was appointed by Pope Innocent VIII as the General Inquisitor for Germany around 1475, and H. Institoris, who at the time was inquisitor for Tyrol, Salzburg, Bohemia and Moravia. The authors accused witches, among other things, of infanticide and having the power to steal men's penises.

Barrier methods such as the condom have been around much longer, but were seen primarily as a means of preventing sexually transmitted diseases, not pregnancy. Casanova in the 18th century was one of the first reported using "assurance caps" to prevent impregnating his mistresses.
                Realizing that his feet were cold and his stomach empty, and that he had still some miles to go, he crossed the stream on a row of slippery stepping-stones and approached the gate of the farm, which was not an ordinary five-barred one, but solid and uncompromising. 

                A man was leaning over it, sucking a straw. He made no attempt to move at Wimsey's approach. “Good evening,” said that nobleman in a sprightly manner, laying his hand on the catch. “Chilly, ain't it?”
                The man made no reply, but leaned more heavily, and breathed. He wore a rough coat and breeches, and his leggings were covered with manure.

                “Seasonable, of course, what?” said Peter. “Good for the sheep, I daresay. Makes their wool curl, and so on.”

                The man removed the straw and spat in the direction of Peter's right boot.

                “Do you lose many animals in the bog?” went on Peter, carelessly unlatching the gate, and leaning upon it in the opposite direction. “I see you have a good wall all round the house. Must be a bit dangerous in the dark, what, if you're thinkin' of takin' a little evenin' stroll with a friend?”

                The man spat again, pulled his hat over his forehead, and said briefly:

                “What doost 'a want?”

                “Well,” said Peter, “I thought of payin' a little friendly call on Mr.—on the owner of this farm, that is to say. Country neighbors, and all that. Lonely kind of country, don't you see. Is he in, d'ye think?”

                The man grunted.

                “I'm glad to hear it,” said Peter; “it's so uncommonly jolly findin' all you Yorkshire people so kind and hospitable, what? Never mind who you are, always a seat at the fireside and that kind of thing. Excuse me, but do you know you're leanin' on the gate so as I can't open it? I'm sure it's a pure oversight, only you mayn't realize that just where you're standin' you get the maximum of leverage. What an awfully charmin' house this is, isn't it? All so jolly stark and grim and all the rest of it. No creepers or little rose-grown porches or anything suburban of that sort. Who lives in it?”

                The man surveyed him up and down for some moments, and replied, “Mester Grimethorpe.”

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