Norfolk Life

by Lilias Rider Haggard and Henry Williamson. Hardback, Faber & Faber, first edition, 1943.

Book condition: good, lacking dust wrapper.
Price: £3.00


A Note at the beginning of the book explains: 'Many of the notes and descriptions making up this book first appeared in The Eastern Daily Press, and I would like to thank the Editor of that newspaper for the hospitality they found within its friendly columns. L.R.H.'


Lilias Rider Haggard dies aged 75 on 9 January 1968. Her obituary in The Times the next day includes the following paragraph: 'From early years she took a deep interest in the life and lore of the Norfolk countryside. The traditions of the past and the realities of the present, ancient housewifery and mechanized farming, the breeding of dogs and the modernization of cottages appealed to her equally. She drew upon this store of knowledge for a long series of contributions, in diary form, to the Eastern Daily Press, under the pseudonym of "The Countrywoman". Selections from these were reprinted in three volumes which achieved a more than local success – Norfolk Life (1943) in which Mr. Henry Williamson collaborated, Norfolk Notebook (1946) and A Country Scrapbook (1949). She had previously edited two volumes of reminiscences by Norfolk characters, I Walked by Night (1935) and The Rabbitskin Cap (1939), both of which were illustrated by Mr. Edward Seago. In 1951 she published The Cloak that I Left, an intimate biography of her father.'


The first chapter of Norfolk Life acts as an 'introduction' by Henry Williamson, and includes the following: 'With what appreciation did I read Lilias Rider Haggard's journal of her everyday actions and thoughts . . . and with what eagerness did I urge that the notes should be published, and offer the use of what small skill and experience I possessed to help shape them into a book.


'My part, then, has been in clarifying and arranging the various entries and subjects of the journal – sub-editing, in fact – and here and there adding a running commentary in the pedal notes . . .


'If I had not the freedom to write myself, the next best thing I could do was to help get this chronicle read by those who hunger for news of their Motherland, for it is truly a book of England and of the English. Now let us to a new page, and it is Lilias Haggard writing.'