Dust Upon God's Fair Earth

A short story from the Thomas Linacre School magazine 1960.

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picDust upon God's Fair Earth
An article from the 1960 Thomas Linacre School Wigan magazine, by a 5th year pupil with an emerging literary talent.

  • Thomas Linacre School Wigan
  • An extract from school magazine 1960
  • Progrediamur (may we advance)

Editor's Note : An unusual exercise in imaginative writing, this short story demonstrates a powerful command of language and represents perhaps the blossoming of a remarkable literary talent. Written by fifth year pupil J Taylor, it is transcribed here from the summer 1960 edition of the Thomas Linacre School (Wigan) magazine.

       That portion of earth was still and quiet, appearing never to have uttered a sound or moved since creation. The earth wore a heavy garment of mist which hid its lively form, and pressed so hard upon it that it was bent and twisted under the strain into many unusual and strange shapes. It was cold, so cold, so that a small stream clearing its way through the ground had given up its will to run and now lay lifeless and mute.
       Pale light filtered through the trees and cast itself on a figure which seemed not in keeping with the natural surroundings. The figure was wreathed in mist which clung to it and enveloped it in white swirling wisps like so many long fingers. The figure was that of a man - if such a dejected and misplaced being could be called one. Necessity had attired him in a dress no less useful than bizarre, and thus he appeared before the world.
       Two large boots offered shelter to his feet, originally one brown and the other black but now so covered in dust and dirt from their constant use as to appear of a singularly grimy hue. The latter boot with half the sole off and no laces clung as best it could to the unfortunate foot. No socks were to be found upon his person nor had been for many a day. His trousers bore evidence of the work of some careful and patient hand, not his own, for nearly all the original cloth was replaced by patches of various shades of grey, all neatly stitched and the whole in an advanced stage of wear.
pic        His trousers bordered in a wide black belt of great strength with a polished brass buckle in the front for good taste. The belt stooped a little round his waist and appeared to be rather in favour of supporting a large stomach than a fragile pair of trousers. His shirt was of the blue and white striped variety, showing a similar lack of cleanliness as its owner but having the advantage of being the most wholesome article upon him. Around this he wore a waistcoat, complete with chain and medals and a small coat with several tears, held upon by such a small allowance of buttons that it was a wonder it remained on him. A grey, once white, silk scarf around his neck completed his dress.
pic        The little of his face not covered by hair had a ruddy tinge about it, caused by the constant touch of nature and helped in better times by a little alcohol. Dark whiskers almost covered the lower half of his face. He had a rubicund nose which lightened his countenance considerably. His eyes were blue and deep set beneath bushy eyebrows. His eyes gave the whole character to his person. They were weary eyes and their clear blueness was sad. Hope, joy could not be found there; true life had departed from them. They were a mockery to him, a mirror reflecting his true self.
       He arose slowly; his breath fused into white wisps in the coldness and disappeared. He was misplaced among nature as well as his fellow men. His contribution to life was an apology. The time yet lacked several hours to mid-day, but for him time was not. His body shambled on its way; his mind moved not. Nothing he was, nothing he would be, until as the dust upon God's fair earth, he would roam free.

J Taylor 5B


Further Reading

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Local Interest: Richmond Hill Dairies; Mind Your Language; John Lancaster Wigan MP; Thomas Aspinwall Miners Agent; Thomas Aspinwall Obituary; Upholland Telephone Exchange; Thomas Linacre School Wigan; God's Choir; Scot Lane School Wigan; The Lindsays of Haigh; Dust Upon God’s Fair Earth; The Nurburgring 1960; Wigan Advertisements 1960; Wigan Soldier Missing in Action; It’s a Funny Life; Private Thomas Whitham VC; Isaac Watts 1674 - 1748; Wigan Old Bank 1792; The Brocklebank Line; John Byrom 1692 - 1793; The Holy City Liverpool; Jubilee Park Memorial, Ashton in Makerfield; Little Ships at War 1918; A Cricket Calypso; Not Much of a Warrior; Peveril of the Peak.


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Walking & Cycling: Moss Eccles Tarn; Abbey Lakes to Coppull Moor; Chorley Ice Cream Walk; Douglas Valley Dawdle; Three Counties Cycle Ride; Haigh to Borsdane Wood; A Lancshire Linear Walk; Blackrod or Bust; Cycle the Sankey Valley; Cycle the Monsal Trail; Wigan Circular by Bike; Freshfield to Crosby; Irwell Valley Trail (Bury to Rawtenstall); Irwell Valley (Bury to Salford).



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Words & Poetry: Wisdom; Only a Cranky Owd Foo'; Martin Chuzzlewit; Dover Harbour; Rogue Herries; The Heart of Midlothian; King Cotton; The Family Man; The Pickwick Papers; The Fair Rosamond; The Fair Rosamond Comic; A Legend of Montrose; When Winds Breathe Soft; The Wreck of the Hesperus; God Bless these Poor Wimmen that's Childer; Dombey and Son; Aw've Turned me bit O' Garden O'er; On Th' Hills; Four Favourite Poems; The Darkling Thrush; The Glory of the Garden; The Rolling English Road; The Antiquary; Hymn Before Action; Dust upon God's Fair Earth; Mind Your Language; Jeff Unsworth's dialect poetry; Martyrs of the Arena; Th' Coartin' Neet; Boat Song; Toddlin' Whoam; A Lancashire Mon; Calm is the Sea; The Bride of Lammermoor; Redgauntlet; A Tale of Two Cities.


Wallgate Chronicles: Little Dorrit; Hugo Boss comes to Wigan; In the footsteps of the Manchester Rambler; Fun with Trigonometry; Surprise at the Philharmonic; The Marriage of Figaro; Cat Bells; A Walk in the Hills; Eay Times Uv Changed; Fidelio; The Ravioli Room; Desert Island Discs; Travels in Time 1960; Travels in Time 2010; The Spectroscope; The Bohemian Girl; Bookcase; Barnaby Rudge; Romance on a Budget; The Battle of Solferino; The Getaway Car; The Switchroom Wigan; The Force of Destiny; Adolphe Adam; The Fair Maid of Perth; Ivanhoe; Semele; Lohengrin; The Old Curiosity Shop; Hard Times.

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Photographs (top to bottom):
A frozen Basingstoke Canal in Farnborough; Basingstoke Canal; Weavers, Pagefield Mill Wigan; Rosemoor Garden South Devon; Millgate Wigan; Pit Brow Lass Wigan.