'Trees aren't messy.' Una rose on her elbow. 'And what about firewood? I don't like coal.'

'Eh? You lie a piece more uphill and you'll lie more natural,' said Mr Dudeney, with his provoking deaf smile. 'Now press your face down and smell to the turf. That's Southdown thyme which makes our Southdown mutton beyond compare, and, my mother told me, 'twill cure anything except broken necks, or hearts. I forget which.'

They sniffed, and somehow forgot to lift their cheeks from the soft thymy cushions.

This is from "Rewards and Fairies" "The Knife and Naked Chalk Hill" http://pinkmonkey.com/dl/library1/digi300.pdf

I can't understand the meaning below "You lie a piece more uphill and you'll lie more natural,' "

Does it mean that she lies unnaturally?

I am glad if some one kindly teach me.

1 Answer 1


The line is not said by Una (she), but by Mr Dudeney.

Mr Dudeney is contrasting where Una and Dan live in the valley where the dense forest is

live amoung them messy trees in the Weald

with living on the top of a hill (from where he is speaking)

when he might ha' stayed here and look'd all about him

Mr Budeney's preference is to be on the hill with unobstructed views since he is a shepard

You lie a piece more uphill and you'll lie more natural
if you are higher up the hill, you'll feel more natural/comfortable

lie = position
piece = place
natural = natural / comfortable

More can be found here.

  • Thank you so much for your answer! It is so tough to grasp the meaning for non native. Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 5:33
  • 1
    I suspect this is almost impossible to grasp for a native speaker too. Kipling is trying to write in the Sussex dialect, a dialect that is now almost dead. I've lived here all my life, but never heard anyone using piece for place (but I'm sure Peter's answer is correct, from the context). You can hear the old sussex dialect if you listen to the songs of the Copper Family. thecopperfamily.com
    – James K
    Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 8:05
  • 1
    @JamesK Piece here doesn't signify "place" but "distance"--"a piece more uphill" means "further uphill". This idiom was still current when I was growing up in East Alabama in the 1950s and 60s. Commented Feb 16, 2017 at 1:12

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