A Pride Of Tigers
Publisher: Penguin Books (1995)
Sybil Marshall was born in 1913 in one of the lowest and most isolated of the Black Fens in what was then Huntingdonshire. Apart from the Welsh blacksmith who arrived in Ramsay in about 1750 and founded the tribe of "Etherdses" there, all her antecedents except one can be traced to within a few miles of Ramsay, back at least to the beginning of the 18th century. She can, and does, claim to be a genuine fen tiger, one of the few still left of this endangered species. Being, as she puts it, "an afterthought" in her immediate family, "all eyes and ears", she grew up from babyhood looking and learning, absorbing and remembering. Fen tigers are inured to hardship and disappointment, but they rarely grumble and they never give up. Even so, Sybil considers herself especially blessed in being one of Will 'En's children - part of a clannish, warm, hospitable, gifted and laughter-loving family. It is about this particular pride of fen tigers that Sybil Marshall writes - her immediate family, her kin, and the friends and neighbours who all shared a life-style dictated by the environment and the isolation, and a philosophy part Christian and part immemorial superstition. Sybil herself is at the centre of this web of memories of personalities and peculiarities, triumphs and disasters, endurance and delight.
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