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The Long Day Running

From: Jean A
Sent: Wednesday, September 06, 2000 9:03 AM

I read it last night.

Not nightmarish, like many of the others. Thought it quite straightforward. Kirk is black, but as a well-known doctor, appears to be treated decently by the others in the hunt. His decision not to reveal the presence of the fox could have been predicted.

The best part of the story, as far as I am concerned, is his minute and detailed description of slogging through the Welsh mountains. He has obviously done it.

Did he feel isolated, a foreigner, not part of the crowd as, perhaps, Kirk, as a black man, did?

Was he Kirk?

After all, he and Mary did not stay long in Wales.

I recall the photo in the Dean King biography of POB in country clothes, holding a gun, on skis, with a couple of birds dangling from his wrist. This could have been Maturin in his role as a marksman,to the life.

Jean A.


From: Susan Wenger
Sent: Sunday, September 10, 2000 1:37 PM

I don't have a reliable chronology of when each story was written - some of the stories seem to draw on his experiences in France, many are obviously based in Wales. I guess he drew on everything in every story. I wonder if he felt a bond with the fox?

- Susan


From: Don Seltzer
Sent: Sunday, September 10, 2000 5:14 PM

Like Jean, I thought it to be a normal, straightforward narrative, similar to some of the first hunting/fishing stories, but without any bizarre or obscure twist at the end. Very much like The Slope of the High Mountain, but with less sense of symbolism involved. Which raises the question of why he decided to include both stories in the collection. And why wasn't it grouped with the others of its ilk, at the beginning? Looking ahead to the titles of the next few stories, it seems that he is trying to "come full circle".

And why so long, seemingly dragging us up and down every rock that Kirk encountered? Perhaps to make us feel weary at the end, like the characters?

"The Long Day Running" was among his first short stories, published in 1950, about the time that he left Wales for France. It was dedicated to Walter Greenway, a friend from his London days who visited and hunted with him in Wales.

Don Seltzer


From: Susan Wenger
Sent: Wednesday, September 13, 2000 9:38 AM

This story mentions the song "John Peel." Here is the song:

And perhaps those who have seen O'Brian's poems will gawk at the word "Ranter" in this song, and say a quiet "oh."

Do ye ken John Peel with his coat so grey?*
Do ye ken John Peel at the break of day?
Do ye ken John Peel when he's far, far away
With his hounds and his horn in the morning

Twas the sound of his horn brought me from my bed
And the cry of his hounds has me oftimes led
For Peel's view holloa would wake the dead
Or a fox from his lair in the morning

Do ye ken that hound whose voice is death?
Do ye ken her sons of peerless faith
Do ye ken that a fox with his last breath
Cursed them all as he died in the morning?

Yes, I ken John Peel and auld Ruby, too
Ranter and Royal and Bellman so true
From the drag to the chase, from the chase to the view
From the view to the death in the morning

And I've followed John Peel both often and far
O'er the rasper fence and the gate and the bar
From Low Denton Holme to the Scratchmere Scar
When we vied for the brush in the morning

Then here's to John Peel with my heart and soul
Come fill, fill to him a brimming bowl
For we'll follow John Peel thro fair or thro foul
While we're waked by his horn in the morning.

Attention Newbies: we've been discussing Patrick O'Brian's short stories in this forum for this past year. Feel free to jump in any time with comments about the current story ("The Long Day Running") or any story already discussed. We've been following the sequence in "The Rendezvous and Other Short Stories."

- Susan


From: Jean A
Sent: Wednesday, September 13, 2000 10:31 AM

Thanks to Susan for the text of "John Peel", but I we sang, in grammar school, "...in his coat so gay", not grey.

Of course, it would be red, thus the "gayness"

Jean A.


From: Stephen Chambers
Sent: Wednesday, September 13, 2000 4:08 PM

Of course, it would be red, thus the "gayness".

Contrary to popular opinion not all huntsman's coats are hunting pink or red. Apparently John Peel's coat would have been grey as this was/is normal in what was Cumberland and Westmoreland (now Cumbria) otherwise known as the Lake District. Unlike Jack's experience the hunt was also undertaken on foot due to the nature of the land, most foxes would take to the high land where a horse couldn't follow and in many cases it isn't all that easy for a man on foot to follow either.

Stephen Chambers
51* 33' 18" N
0* 21' 33" W
When the pin is pulled Mr Grenade is no longer our friend.


From: Jean A
Sent: Friday, September 15, 2000 2:07 PM

When I wrote, in reply to Susan's rendering of the text of the old song "John Peel", that I had learned it as "...D'ye ken John Peel in his coat so gay..", rather than in"his coat so grey", Stephen wrote back:

"Contrary to popular opinion not all huntsman's coats are hunting pink or red. Apparently John Peel's coat would have been grey as this was/is normal in what was Cumberland and Westmoreland (now Cumbria) otherwise known as the Lake District.)"

I could not find, on a visit to the library, any rendering of the song which says that his coat is "so grey." One of the books mentioned that the song originated in Cumberland, but did not correct the color. The song has been a favorite of children's illustrators from Victorian times, and he is always pictured in "hunting pinks" or red. I was certain that the great Victorian illustrator, Randolph Caldecott, had drawn John Peel, but the library no longer had the books I looked for. (But they did have his great illustrations for "John Gilpin"s Ride, so the trip was not a complete waste.)

And why would a coat be discribed as being "so grey?" On the other hand, a there are many vibrant "gay" shades of red! I am intrigued, Stephen!

Jean A.
(Or are you doing some leg-pulling?)


From: u1c04803
Sent: Friday, September 15, 2000 2:28 PM

Jean, there's a lot of text here

http://www.stevebulman.f9.co.uk/cumbria/john_peel.html

but reading it will provide a pretty convincing case that if John Peel's character wasn't grey, his coat was.

And I love what his son says when asked about his availability for hunting a following week: "A patron was asking him about the arrangements for the coming week, 'Weel,'said Young John, 'we can hunt Monda', an' we can hunt Wednesda', but we can't hunt Tuesda' becos' we're goin' to bury muther.'"

Lois


From: Jean A
Sent: Sunday, September 17, 2000 11:16 AM

Pursuing my curiosity as to whether John Peel's coat was red or gray, I followed Lois' advice and tried to visit Steve Bulman's website. I could not get through, for some reason, and went to Google, which produced what is probably the much the same information. (http://home.mweb.co.za/sa/sa/bu/John Peel.html)

I found a quote from "The American Song Treasury - 100 Footnotes" by Theodore Rolph. (Dover, 1986)

"His coat so grey not "gay" as is sometimes recorded, refers to the grey cloth woven from the fleece of the Herdwick sheep grazed in the area."

( I remember a selection of knitwear, greys and browns, knitted from Herdwick sheep at a shop near Beatrix Potter's house in Sawrey in the Lake Country. She was a noted sheep- raiser in her later life.)

Here are quotes from one of two long narrative poems on the site:

The Horn of the Hunter

No broadcloth of scarlet adorned him,
No buckskin as white as the snow.
Of plain Skiddaw gray was his garment,
And he wore it for work, not for show."

So Susan and Steve are vindicated and I have learned something new!

Jean A.


From: u1c04803
Sent: Sunday, September 17, 2000 12:18 PM

Jean

Here's what it said about John Peel's enterprising nature, which apparently wasn't "grey":

In his marriage Peel was as impetuous as in his horsemanship; for having at the age of twenty fallen in love with Mary White, the eighteen-year-old daughter of a neighbouring yeoman at Uldale, he put up the banns in Caldbeck Church; and, when the would-be bride's mother interrupted their dream of bliss by exclaiming, "I forbid the banns. They're far ower young," he borrowed his father's fleetest steed, "Binsey," received Mary from her window at midnight, and bore her off in triumph to Gretna Green. This marriage received the Church's blessing at Caldbeck on 18th December, 1797, and is duly recorded in the parish register there.

And here's some much-snipped text about him and his grey coat:

John Peel's personal appearance is strikingly portrayed by Mr. Simpson, and it would seem likely that his picture will in future take place as the standard likeness of the huntsman. Various accounts agree that his stature was over six feet, his frame erect and powerful, his features well chiselled, and his eyes blue and sparkling.

Since the song "D'ye ken John Peel" was first published, Peel's "coat so gray" has been a puzzle to folks who do not know Cumberland; and from time to time northerners have been instructed, sometimes condescendingly, sometimes with ridicule, that this reading is wrong. No M.F.H.3, we are told, could ever have been guilty of following hounds in a coat that was not of pink,

Fellsiders, when tackled in this way, behave as is their wont - they "niver say nowt, but laugh"; except that occasionally some one does make a reply, and an explanation. But it is of no avail, for, as surely as the sun rises in the east, before long we hear of John Peel's "coat so gay." "D'ye ken John Peel in his coat so gay. !" Why, John would not have kenn't hissel'4 in a pink cwoat; and if he had turned up at a "meet" in such a rig-out, I can imagine the astonishment of his followers".

snips

I have seen a painting of John Peel showing him dressed in the orthodox red coat, but evidently the artist was not sufficiently acquainted with the song, which runs -

Yes, I ken'd John Peel, with his coat so gray, He lived at Caldeck [sic] once on a day, But now he's gone and he's far, far away; And we shall ne'er hear his horn in the morning."

The opening line of the original song - " D'ye ken John Peel with his coat so gray" - would have been a better choice, as the example selected is taken from a song that was written some thirty or forty years afterwards. Still it is useful, as displaying that up to that later date, Graves was unrepentant, and still maintained that the coat was gray.

snips

However, the old phantom with the pink coat was about due again, and it was forthcoming in a letter, whose writer thinks "that the chief interest lies in the [commercial] traveller's inaccuracy. For, says he "Yes I ken'd John Peel with his coat so gray," should have been rendered "so gay." Therefore the artist was wholly correct in picturing John Peel in pink - or, as the traveller prefers to call it, "a red coat." Poor Peel would probably have preferred death to turning up in the field in a grey coat !

So that's that !

Of course Cumbrians know that John Peel's coat was gray, and why it was gray, and all about it, but the proof does not always lie to hand when wiseacres state the contrary; so it may be well to place on record here some clinchers wherewith to meet the fallacy of the pink one.

In the first place John Woodcock Graves, who wrote the song, hunted with John Peel continually, and must have known what his coat was like. There are plenty of undoubtedly authentic autographic copies by him, all of which have "gray." Was Graves colour-blind ?

Then the late Sir Wilfrid Lawson, who in 1850 "joined John Peel, keeping a few hounds of his own, the hounds often hunting together," wrote I have seen John Peel in the flesh, and have hunted with him. He was a tall, bony Cumbrian, who, when I knew him, used to ride a pony called "Dunny", from its light colour. . . . Peel's gray coat is no more a myth than himself, for I well remember the long, rough, grey garment which almost came down to his knees.

snips

Finally as all Cumberland folk know, there was an excellent reason why Peel's coat should he gray, for "hodden gray" was the everyday wear of Cumbrians of his class and period, it being woven from the farmers' own wool, a mixture of undyed black and white. It was a mill for that purpose which John Woodcock Graves ran at Caldbeck, and the probability is that he himself wove there the cloth for the "coat so gray" about which he sang.

The picture "John Peel and his Hounds," painted by John Woodcock Graves himself, shows Peel in a long gray coat, and, on Graves's suggestion, Mr. Metcalfe printed a copy of that picture, in colours, on his "John Peel March." In this we have the "coat so gray."

etc


From: Ray Martin
Sent: Sunday, September 17, 2000 3:02 PM

Sherkin @aol writes of John Peel

Finally as all Cumberland folk know, there was an excellent reason why Peel's coat should he gray, for "hodden gray" was the everyday wear of Cumbrians of his class and period, it being woven from the farmers' own wool, a mixture of undyed black and white.

There is a reference to "hodden grey" in Robbie Burns' poem "a man's a man for a' that" (which I cannot remember the exact line)

What hasn't I think been mentioned so far about Peel is that the Cumbrian foxhunters did/do not use horses in the high fells, but pursue their quarry on foot, as the terrain is unsuitable for horses. The description of John Peel as tall and bony is just right. English Lissuns might envisage Jackie Charlton (famous footballer) as the physical archetype of the Borders man.

Worth mentioning, too is that some years ago anti foxhunting demonstators attempted to desecrate Peel's grave, the idea being to display his bones, presumably as a warning to modern day foxhunters.

For what it's worth (and I have never ridden a horse or hunted a fox) I tend to think that foxhunting is good for the species, but tough on the individual foxes. The antis seem to me to be incurably Beatrix Pottery about life and death in the countryside, and to imagine that gassing, shooting or poisoning the fox is somhow more humane than hunting with hounds is naive. I suspect that they hate the hunters far more than they care for the fox.

Incidentally, under New Labour's proposed anti hunting bill, if one of my dogs chases a rabbit, I am okay, if the other joins the chase I am liable to go to prison: for a seven year old spaniel and his arthritic sister constitute a "pack" under this proposed legislation. If even one dog chases a hare, then I am in big trouble. (Memo: give dogs lessons in differentiating hares from rabbits asap).

Cheers!

Ray@the Bay

55:02.35 North
1:29.35 West


From: Thistle Farm
Sent: Sunday, September 17, 2000 3:55 PM

In a message dated 9/17/00 5:24:20 PM Central Daylight Time, ray@rm58.freeserve.co.uk writes:

The antis seem to me to be incurably Beatrix Pottery about life and death in the countryside, and to imagine that gassing, shooting or poisoning the fox is somehow more humane than hunting with hounds is naive.

Say, didn't Beatrix boil down local dead animals (even her dead pets?) to see how the bones went together so as better to draw her pictures? I've always thought of her as a sensible country woman, no shrinking violet.*

Sarah

(*shrinking violet?, fainting daisy? wilting petunia-- what *is* this term, you know what I mean, something botanical.)


From: Jean A
Sent: Sunday, September 17, 2000 5:25 PM

Sarah wrote:

"Say, didn't Beatrix boil down local dead animals ( even her dead pets?) to see how the bones went together so as better to draw her pictures? I've always thought of her as a sensible country woman, no shrinking violet."

Right on, Sarah.

She was also a scientist when it was not fashionable for upper class young woman to aspire to it. As a young woman she proposed a theory about fungi, which was rejected at the time, but has proved to be correct. (The details can be found in any biography.)

Her stuffy, wealthy family spent their summers in the Lake Country, where she and her brother "naturalized" with a local clergyman. They did indeed boil a dead fox to reconstruct its skeleton.

Her animal characters are decidedly not sentimental, but true to their animal natures, as one can plainly discern by reading her books.

When she had earned enough money from her writing to be independent, she bought the house at Sawrey. She married a local soliciter and became a leading sheep farmer until her death during WWII. She bought thousands of acres of Lake Country land and gave it to the National Trust.

Altogether an admirable person.

Jean A.


From: Martin Watts
Sent: Monday, September 18, 2000 2:57 AM

Jean wrote:

Her animal characters are decidedly not sentimental, but true to their animal natures, as one can plainly discern by reading her books.

Case in point: Jemima Puddleduck. The foxhounds chase the fox away from her eggs - then come back and eat the eggs themselves.

Martin Watts
50 45' N 1 55' W.
The Borough and County of the Town of Poole


From: Ray Martin
Sent: Monday, September 18, 2000 11:42 AM

Humble pie time again. When I described the anti-foxhunting lobby as "Beatrix Pottery", I wasn't attacking the woman herself. As Jean and others point out, she was a sheep farmer who could not have entertained many illusions about nature being "red in tooth and claw". however, I would contend that her characters (rather than her books) being so anthropomorphised, did a lot to support the view that animals are merely little people.

The shops in Ambleside and other Lake District towns have more than their fair share of twee "Beatrix Potter" tea rooms, with Mrs Tiggwinkle and Jemimah Puddleduck pottery to make one despair.

Cheers!

Ray@the Bay

55:02.35 North
1:29.35 West


From: P. Richman
Sent: Monday, September 18, 2000 4:52 PM

John Peel's personal appearance is strikingly portrayed by Mr. Simpson, and it would seem likely that his picture will in future take place as the standard likeness of the huntsman. Various accounts agree that his stature was over six feet, his frame erect and powerful, his features well chiselled, and his eyes blue and sparkling.

This is very interesting. Can someone explain the relevance of this song to the story? Why did the story open with this song?

I notice that Kirk made the palm-trees tremble with his view haloo. This is echoed in the story when the dogs sing: "Melody bawled out with passionate conviction, then four or five more all together, and they were away with a splendid wild crash of music." The singing of the hounds is a theme in the story. But why this particular song, "John Peel?"


From: Ted Browne
Sent: Monday, September 18, 2000 7:09 PM

Beatrix Potter wrote stories for children. I can see nothing wrong in small children retaining their innocence. Certainly, it is probably, on the whole, better than wiping their faces with the tails of dead foxes, often bred by what Oscar Wilde once memorably descibed as 'the unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable'

Ted
(red in tooth & claw as only a human can be) ;)

=====
"They are the scum of the earth, all enlisted for drink, but it is marvelous the fine fellows we have made them." Wellington (the Iron Duke) on his Army at Waterloo.
"After a battle lost the most melancholy thing is a battle won." Wellington on battlefields.
"I don't know what they do to the enemy, but they put the fear of God into me" Wellington on British soldiers.


From: Bill Nyden {at home}
Sent: Monday, September 18, 2000 8:21 PM

They may have been for children, but "Roly Poly Pudding" gave me nightmares at age three (I still have a loathing for rats and tight places.) I also suggest "The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin" and "The Fierce Bad Rabbit" for moral lessons of a "red in tooth and claw" nature.

-- Bill Nyden
a Rose by another name at home at
37 23' 29" N 122 04' 14" W


From: Thistle Farm
Sent: Wednesday, September 20, 2000 4:01 PM

In a message dated 9/18/00 9:14:12 PM Central Daylight Time, i_ron_d_uke@yahoo.com writes:

Beatrix Potter wrote stories for children. I can see nothing wrong in small children retaining their innocence. Certainly, it is probably, on the whole, better than wiping their faces with the tails of dead foxes,

Innocence schminocence. In reality they are bloodthirsty little brutes.

I present four arguments:

1) the pig, hand fed, petted daily, named Oreo. The children were told she would go to the locker so we could have bacon and pork chops. Witness five year old crying in the driveway...."But I wanted the Bacon today!"

2) My husband hunts. Children know that everything that is killed is eaten, because you do not kill for sport. Child # 3 crying desperately because she could not keep the head (which her father gave her as he was cleaning it) of the pheasant in her room. "but he's so *beautiful*! I *love* him!" She kissed it (ew! "*why* did you give her that!?")

3)Ferdy the steer, (yes, yes, he *did* used to be Ferdinand the bull) now having a lovely diet of grain, hay and hand fed carrots. When asked if they would rather keep him and not eat any beef, because that's where beef comes from, the children unanimously voted him off the island.(ie not a survivor)

4) The boy with the slingshot is very careful since we ate that sparrow.

Sarah


From: u1c04803
Sent: Wednesday, September 20, 2000 4:22 PM

My goodness, Sarah. I'd watch my rear if I were you.

Lois


From: Ted Browne
Sent: Wednesday, September 20, 2000 7:31 PM

I should hope they don't get too hungrey if I were you...

Ted

=====
"They are the scum of the earth, all enlisted for drink, but it is marvelous the fine fellows we have made them." Wellington (the Iron Duke) on his Army at Waterloo.
"After a battle lost the most melancholy thing is a battle won." Wellington on battlefields.
"I don't know what they do to the enemy, but they put the fear of God into me" Wellington on British soldiers.


From: John Finneran
Sent: Thursday, September 21, 2000 2:45 AM

P. Richman asked:

But why this particular song, "John Peel?"

I think there's three reasons:

1) Helps the readers identify with Kirk, since they presumably are also familiar with the song (I wasn't, but presumably an English audience would be), and would entertain fantasies about joining a hunt, at least while they are listening to the song.

2) Tells us something about Kirk: his original desire to hunt based on unrealistic childhood fantasy, like wanting to become a masked crime-fighter after reading "Batman".

3) Sets up the Peel-Russell pun I mention in my other post.


From: John Finneran
Sent: Thursday, September 21, 2000 2:59 AM

I think Don summed this story up very nicely with this assessment: "Very much like The Slope of the High Mountain, but with less sense of symbolism involved"

"Slope" concerned an Englishman named Brown, who joins a fox hunt in the Welsh mountains, becomes separated from the rest of the hunting party, and ends up imperiling his own life, atop one of the mountains. In the end, he escapes unharmed, as does the fox.

In "Day" a physician of unclear nationality (though presumably Scottish from his name; in any case, not Welsh) named Lemuel Kirk joins a fox hunt in the Welsh mountains, remains with the party for all but brief periods, through a long, arduous day. At several times the hunters almost catch the fox, but it always gets away. At the end of the story, when the hunters and dogs have given up, Kirk sees the fox hiding on a ledge above, but decides to say nothing.

In a certain sense, we could consider the two stories as one big story, each with the same potentialities, to use an O'Brian term, but different outcomes. The outsider Brown/Kirk joins the Welsh hunt and becomes separated from the others; he has a choice as to which way to turn. In the combined story, we see the reult of both choices. He turns one way and becomes completely separated ("Slope"); he turns the other way and re-encounters his fellow hunters ("Day").

Common elements in both stories: the hunt, the Welsh mountains, the non-Welsh outsider new to the hunt, the listing of the hunting dogs's names (interestingly, the only dog names in common in both stories are Ranter and Ringwood; Ranter, as Susan has already pointed out, is also in the "John Peel" song mentioned at the beginning of "Day"), the remote, god-like Master of the Hunt (more developed in "Day". The physical descriptions sound like the same man: "He had a falcon's nose and eye, and his moustache curled with a magnificent arrogance" ("Slope" p. 40); "the Master himself was a spare, remote man with a hawk nose, a curling moutache and a piercing blue eye" (Day", p. 185)), one other hunter who stays close to the outsider (Gonville in "Slope", Gerallt Williams in "Day"), and the fox getting away in the end.

The most notable difference is the heavy symbolism prominent in "Slope" is almost entirely missing in "Day". (See http://www1.50megs.com/jfinnera/Slope.htm for our earlier discussion of "Slope", including the symbolism.)

"Day" it seems to me is much more of a surface story, focusing on the feeling of a long, arduous day's hunt: I ran a marathon once (with minimal preparation) and the feelings were much the same: now elation, now weariness, now despair, now determination, and the whole thing just going on and on and on. The sheer length of the story (18 pages) contributtes to these feelings. It would be interesting to know how PO'B wrote this story: if he wrote it all at one go (preferably standing up at a table, as John Henry Newman wrote), he'd be able to feel the marathon-like effects himself as he wrote.

Not to say symbolism is entirely lacking in "Day"; there is some of it, and some fun with names.

First, the theme of diabolism that has been present in the last several stories continues, though subtly. One of the dogs is named Lucifer. And there are two passages with diabolical references: "Its [the howling dog pack's] beauty had a devilish, pitiless quality, thought Kirk" (p. 193) and "[H]e told Kirk that they had run their fox in, that Bellman had marked him true for quite half an hour, and that it would be the Devil's own job to bolt him." (p.191)

This last quote sets up a pun a few pages later, as the fox escapes, and the Master blames Lucifer [i.e., the Devil] for it: "Ah you bloody rebels," he says. "Lucifer, Lucifer, you bloody sod. God damn and blast that bloody Lucifer." (p. 197) More wordplay here: the angel Lucifer rebelled against God and was damned and blasted for it.

The only bit of symbolism I could find in common between the two stories is that of the two ravens, which appears when the protagonist finds himself separated from the other hunters, facing possible danger. When Kirk finds himself out of sight of the other hunters (not for long, though he doesn't know it): "It was a world given over to the raven: a pair of them passed high over it, communicating through three miles of air, steadily croaking one to the other." (p. 190)

Similarly, in "Slope", it's just after Brown loses sight of Gonville and has a "dull, marooned feeling" that the ravens appear: "Two ravens flew out above him from Lliwedd over the lake, flying with steady wing-beats whose sound came down to him. The front one was almost silent, but the second bird spoke all the time in a guttural monotone, gaak gaak gaak: occassionally the front bird replied, deeply, gaak. They flew straight away from him in an undeviating line for his home." (p. 49)

Charlezzzz'z comments on the ravens in "Slope" seem operative for "Day" as well: "The ravens--symbols of death--Twa Corbies--fly away."

The characterization of the members of the hunting party in "Day" is interesting as well (all we're told in "Slope" is that there's "eight couples" (p.40)): there's the Master, the huntsman (Williams), the doctor (Kirk), the lady magistrate, the "tall soldier" (Major Boyd), "some other 'educated' men", "some local farmers and artisans", the schoolmaster, and the "hard-faced virgin" (pp. 185-186): a broad cross-section of types, all met together for a common purpose, much like the assorted pilgrims in the Canterbury Tales.

There's possible symbolism in Kirk's name. Kirk = Church, especially in Scotland.

Of Kirk, we learn that he is black, "the only black man in these parts" (p. 186), which I think refers not to skin color but to hair color (i.e., being black in the sense of the black Irish). This characterization is most interesting because it matches O'Brian's own self-description in his autobiographical essay, "Black, Choleric, and Married".

Jean has already noted that Kirk is black and she asked, "Was he [PO'B] Kirk?" It certainly sounds that way from the physical description. (In contrast to the walker from "The Walker", who is "a big, heavy man" (p.70), exactly the opposite physical type as O'Brian.)

The "black" description may also be a play on Brown, Kirk's counterpart in "Slope", which brings to mind the Dr. Seuss classic "Hop on Pop":

"Where is Brown?
There is Brown!
Mr. Brown is out of town.
Back Black.
Brown came back.
Brown came back with Mr. Black."

Another pun comes with John Peel (a song in the story) and Jack Russell (a terrier). John Peel was a hunter (whom other people in this thread have commented on), but I think PO'B is also making a reference to Robert Peel, leader of the Tory Party, and sometime prime minister from the 1830s-1850s, best remembered today for founding the London municipal police (known as "bobbies" or "peelers" after him.) The leader of the Whig Party in the same era was Jack Russell. The historical Peel and Russell were mostly rivals, though occassionally they worked together.

Now if we think of Peel as the large mass of dogs (and here's where the song "John Peel" comes in: the song is all about a mass of dogs, with Ranter and Bellman, two of the prominent dogs in the story, mentioned by name) and Russell as the Jack Russell terrier, we can see the same dynamic at work. Most of the dogs (Peel) are going one way, while Russell is going the other, though at times they all work in unison.

All of which sets the stage for perhaps the cleverest pun of the story: the fox seems to be run to earth and the Master says, "That Tory had a grip on him now".(p. 199) Tory here being the name of a dog, but also a reference to Peel, leader of the Tory Party. But the fox escapes yet again, and the Jack Russell is after him: just like in the 19th Century: the Peel government falls, and Russell comes in as the new prime minister.

One final point, which is not particularly significant for this story, but is somewhat meaningful for "Slope". In that story, the fox was described as brown, which I speculated was meant to tie him to the character Brown. In "Day", the fox's color is not given, which tends to confirm my earlier speculation. (If there was also a brown fox in "Day", without a character named Brown, we might conclude that PO'B was just describing the natural color of foxes in the setting in both stories, or maybe he just likes brown foxes. On the other hand, if there was a black fox ...)

John Finneran


From: Susan Wenger
Sent: Thursday, September 21, 2000 3:21 PM

I think John has absolutely nailed "The Long Day Running." Beautiful work, John!


From: Ted Browne
Sent: Thursday, September 21, 2000 2:10 PM

Helps the readers identify with Kirk, since they presumably are also familiar with the song (I wasn't, but presumably an English audience would be)

I am not so sure a English, or British, readers would be so very familiar with 'John Peel'. Although I had heard of the chap I certainly did not know the song. Hunting with hounds is very, very, much a minority interest in the UK & becomes more so as time goes on.

Ted

=====
"They are the scum of the earth, all enlisted for drink, but it is marvelous the fine fellows we have made them." Wellington (the Iron Duke) on his Army at Waterloo.
"After a battle lost the most melancholy thing is a battle won." Wellington on battlefields.
"I don't know what they do to the enemy, but they put the fear of God into me" Wellington on British soldiers.


From: u1c04803
Sent: Thursday, September 21, 2000 2:17 PM

This tune and words were commonly in US grammar school songbooks and concerts, at least when and where I was in school. And there wasn't a "hunt" within a hundred miles of us.

What we sang only sometimes related to what we were.

Lois


From: Stephen Chambers
Sent: Thursday, September 21, 2000 4:14 PM

I agree. I have never hunted (other than for food) in my life, but at junior school John Peel made a regular appearance in music lessons. It had about as much relevance to our everyday lives as the country dancing lessons we also had every week. It was much later that I learnt who John Peel was and where he came from.

Stephen Chambers
51* 33' 18" N
0* 21' 33" W
When the pin is pulled Mr Grenade is no longer our friend.


From: Ted Browne
Sent: Thursday, September 21, 2000 5:26 PM

Well I can only say that 'John Peel' (the song) formed no part of what passed for a syllabus at Peckham Park Primary school in inner South East London, but then almost the only things I learnt at school were to swim & start playing cricket (the later due entirely to a West Indian teacher -Mr Greene- who could not believe that an English school played no cricket). Left to school I should have made a jolly fine labourer/gardener like my dear old Dad.

Ted

=====
"They are the scum of the earth, all enlisted for drink, but it is marvelous the fine fellows we have made them." Wellington (the Iron Duke) on his Army at Waterloo.
"After a battle lost the most melancholy thing is a battle won." Wellington on battlefields.
"I don't know what they do to the enemy, but they put the fear of God into me" Wellington on British soldiers.


From: Marian Van Til
Sent: Friday, September 22, 2000 8:12 AM

Perhaps it depends on where you went to school. I never learned the song, and I went to a school (25 miles southeast of Chicago) that gave me a good musical education and was in general pretty good at informing us about the rest of the world, including the teaching of world geography -- in which some (many) U.S. schools have been woefully inadequate.

However, in one tony pseudo-rural suburb of Chicago, the horsey set used to stage hunts (without the messy business of actually slaughtering a fox). And they would undoubtedly have sniffed derisively at John Peel's gray/grey coat.

Marian


From: Jean A
Sent: Friday, September 22, 2000 11:20 AM

I second Susan's accolades to John Finneran's interpretation of The Long Day Running!

I have a dissenting opinion, however, on the following:

"Of Kirk, we learn that he is black, "the only black man in these parts" (p 186), which I think refers not to skin color but to hair color ( i.e.,being black in the sense of the black Irish). This characterization is most interesting because it matches O'Brian's own self-description in his autobiographical essay, "Black, Choleric, and Married". Jean has already noted that Kirk is black and she asked,"Was he (PO'B) Kirk?" It certainly sounds that way from the physical description. "

I don't think that he means "black" in the sense of having dark hair, like PO'B. I am convinced that Kirk is "black" in the sense of being of African descent .

A black-haired or dark-haired Welshman would certainly not stand out, since a very large proportion of the Welsh are dark-haired and dark-eyed. (I've known a few myself.) After all, the Welsh held off those blond Anglo-Saxon invaders ! (There were, as a matter of fact, a great many Irish who settled in Wales during the "Dark Ages", which were not really as dark as all that!)

"Black", in the sense of PO'B being, as he wrote, "Black, choleric, and married," has a meaning that is not generally known outside the UK. I don't think that he would apply such a specialized meaning without some explanation.

(But that does not detract at all from John's excellent article!)

Jean A.


From: Jean A
Sent: Friday, September 22, 2000 10:59 AM

As I mentioned before, I learned to sing "John Peel" in a Catholic school in Massachusetts in the forties.

( It had an exceptionally good music curriculum, and a terrific teacher in Sister Teresita.)

Jean A.


From: Stephen Chambers
Sent: Friday, September 22, 2000 2:26 PM

I went to school in Pinner on the outskirts of London, I don't believe that this would make much difference though as the song books we used were just normal school issue and nothing special. Maybe it has something to do with the time

I assume from one of your first posts to the group that you are a few years older than me, I started infants at Easter in '68, were you significantly earlier?

Stephen Chambers
51* 33' 18" N
0* 21' 33" W
When the pin is pulled Mr Grenade is no longer our friend.


From: Stephen Chambers
Sent: Friday, September 22, 2000 2:29 PM

"Black", in the sense of PO'B being, as he wrote, "Black, choleric, and married," has a meaning that is not generally known outside the UK.

It is not that generally known IN the UK these days and had me puzzled the first time I read of it.

Stephen Chambers
51* 33' 18" N
0* 21' 33" W
When the pin is pulled Mr Grenade is no longer our friend.


From: Martin Watts
Sent: Monday, September 25, 2000 5:57 AM

Jean wrote, and Stephen replied:

"Black", in the sense of PO'B being, as he wrote, "Black, choleric, and married," has a meaning that is not generally known outside the UK.

It is not that generally known IN the UK these days and had me puzzled the first time I read of it.

I agree with Stephen; in fact I am not 100% sure what the specialised meaning is. I've read of "black Irishmen" and "black Norwegians", which I presume merely refers to hair colour. Is there more to it than that? My dictionary has "black-a-vised" meaning "swarthy", perhaps from the French for "black in the face".

I took Kirk's description, and the reference to palm trees, to simply mean that he was of African or Afro-Caribbean origin.

Jean is right about the Welsh tendency to dark hair and eyes. A black doctor in those parts, in that time, with Kirk's dreams of joining the hunt would be a rarity indeed. I wonder how he would have got on with the mounted hunts in England?

As for "John Peel" we never learned the song in school. I started at school in 1962. Schools were a lot less uniform in those days and we had a music teacher who wanted to get everybody playing something, even if it was just the dreaded chime bar (I graduated to them from the castanets), or else singing in the choir, to a range of new songs and hymns written specially for school use and ideal for sound bite type opportunities on the local television station. I came out of this with more of an aversion to music than anything else. The aversion has now gone, but I can only listen - Suzanne blocks my mouth when I try to sing to her!

Martin Watts
50 45' N 1 55' W.
The Borough and County of the Town of Poole


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