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Tufts of Furze

Once again, ORbits offers you the opportunity to test your knowledge of all things literary. To mark last Thursday’s festivities, this week’s passage comes from a novel which interweaves Guy Fawkes’s pyre with feral landscapes and simmering passion:

Her course was in the direction of the small undying fire which had drawn the attention of the men…in the valley below. A faint illumination from its rays began to grow upon her face, and it increased in definiteness as she drew nearer. The fire soon revealed itself to be lit, not on the level ground, but on a salient corner or redan of earth, at the junction of two converging bank fences. Outside was a ditch, dry except immediately under the fire, where there was a large pool, bearded all round by heather and rushes. In the smooth water of the pool the fire appeared upside down.

The banks meeting behind were bare of a hedge, save such as was formed by disconnected tufts of furze, standing upon stems along the top, like impaled heads above a city wall. A white mast, fitted up with spars and other nautical tackle, could be seen rising against the dark clouds whenever the flames played brightly enough to reach it. Altogether the scene had much the appearance of a fortification upon which had been kindled a beacon fire.

The answer to last week’s challenge was The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson.

This week’s answer, and another challenge, on ORbits next week.