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'A Threshing Day for Esther'
Page Count
Word Count
John O'London's Weekly
Publication Year
Document Types
Original Manuscript (mss)
Girlhood, Farming, Coming of Age

A fifteen-year-old girl becomes enchanted with a dashing man in his thirties, an expert rat-killer, storyteller, hunter and poacher.

At the end of the threshing day, after receiving a kiss from him, she reflects on the long day's events; 'the memory of these things filled her soul suddenly with a flood of miraculous, sublime happiness difficult to bear.'

The Times Literary Supplement calls the story 'a delightful trifle...done so adequately, in places so charmingly, that most will be ready to agree that it is enough.' But Rebecca West, in The Daily Telegraph, writes that although he can write as beautiful a sentence, and even as beautiful a page, as all but a handful of his contemporaries, his work suffers from an obvious paucity of material. To cover this deficiency he has perfected a technical device which he has used again and again.'


  • Times Literary Supplement (October 1, 1931, p. 756, attached)
  • The Connoisseur (November, 1931, p. 344, attached)
  • Daily Telegraph (September 11, 1931, p. 16, Rebecca West, attached)

A holograph manuscript is held at the Cushing Memorial Library, Texas A&M University, USA (https://catalog.library.tamu.e...). Another is listed in the collection of the Lilly Library, Indiana University, USA. (

In John O'London's Weekly (October 11, 1930), The Black Boxer Tales (1932), Thirty Tales (1934), The Bride Comes to Evensford and Other Tales (1949), Selected Short Stories of H.E. Bates (1951), H.E. Bates (1975). Also in Capajon: Fifty-four Short Stories (London: Cape, 1933, reprinted as Capajon: Fifty-three Short Stories in 1937). Also published separately as A 'Threshing Day' (1931).


The below reviews and articles are available in PDF format.