When a noise like the brushing skirt of a visitor was heard on the doorstep, it proved to be a scudding leaf; when a carriage seemed to be nearing the door, it was her father grinding his sickle on the stone in the garden for his favourite relaxation of trimming the box-tree borders to the plots. A sound like luggage thrown down from the coach was a gun far away at sea; and what looked like a tall man by the gate at dusk was a yew bush cut into a quaint and attenuated shape. There is no such solitude in country places now as there was in those old days.
T. Hardy, Wessex Tales, "The Melancholy Hussar of the German Legion", Macmillan, London, 1964, p. 46 - 49.
TIME: ca. 1810
CIRCUMSTANCES: Fear of Napoleonic invasion. German and Hungarian troops brought to England.