(notes by Philip Holberton
and John Radcliffe)
"An Habitation Enforced" is soaked in summer air, and the heart-beat that steadies the Chapins is the pulse of nature, of rural society and, to quote Mr Eliot, of the past in the present.Background
Sophie, delighted and growing daily into closer comradeship with her husband, thrusts her roots at once into the good soil; George, more uncertain of himself and suspicious of his surroundings, takes longer to yield to acclimatization, but the birth of his son and the restoration of the derelict estate he buys in the Weald combine to fix him. These agencies are the magical elements of "A Charm", with which Kipling introduced Rewards and Fairies.
We are told to take a double handful of English earth, praying meanwhile for the `mere uncounted folk' that lie beneath it, and lay it upon the heart.
It shall sweeten and make whole(as it did with George Chapin) while the English flowers, sought through their seasons,
Fevered breath and festered soul;
It shall mightily restrain
Over-busy hand and brain,Shall restore a failing sight.(as they were to do to Frankwell Midmore in "`My Son's Wife"'). The bodily terms of the verses are seen to be metaphors; the inward-turning eye is the eye of the self-absorbed, misdirected by melancholy or vanity; and in most of the tales of healing both body and mind are involved.
These shall cleanse and purify
Webbed and inward-turning eye;
These shall show thee treasures hid,
Thy familiar fields amid,
The two aspects are found apart in Rewards and Fairies. `Marklake Witches' is built round the invention of the stethoscope and "A Doctor of Medicine" round an outbreak of plague, while in "The Wrong Thing" a disease of the mind, an obsession of inferiority and hatred, is dissolved.
Puck laughed. “I know it’s your meadow, but there’s a great deal more in it than you or your father ever guessed.”