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Thus, Madam, have I given you a faithful account of my satisfactions and sorrows, the latter of which are mostly uppermost. You are a lady, I understand, of much sensibility; let me therefore make my case your own in the following manner, and then you will judge of my feelings: suppose you were to be kidnapped away to-morrow in the bloom of your life to a land of tortoises, and were never to see again a human face for fifty years!!! Think on this, dear lady, and pity,

Your sorrowful Reptile,


This much is known of Mr. White. Further particulars of him must be sought in his Diaries, his History of Selborne, and in his Correspondence. He was, strictly speaking, an out-door naturalist, following the pursuit with unwearied diligence, and enjoying the charms of rural scenery with unbounded admiration.

"Me far above the rest, Selbornian scenes,

The pendant forests, and the mountain greens,
Strike with delight: there spreads the distant view,
That gradual fades till sunk in misty blue;
Here nature hangs her slopy woods to sight;
Rills hurl between and dart a quivering light."


His Diaries were kept with unremitting diligence; and in his annual migrations to Oriel College, and other places, his man Thomas, who seems to have been well qualified for the office, recorded the weather journal. The state of the thermometer, barometer, and the variations of the wind are noted, as well as the quantity of rain. which fell. We have daily accounts of the weather, whether hot or cold, sunny or cloudy: we have, also information of the first tree in leaf, and even of the appearance of the first fungi, and of the plants first in blossom. We are told when mosses vegetate, and when

insects first appear and disappear. There are also remarks with regard to fish and other animals; with miscellaneous observations and memoranda on various subjects. For instance, we are told that on the 21st of June, house-martins, which had laid their eggs in an old nest, had hatched them, and that when this is the case they get the start of those that build new ones by ten days or a fortnight. He speaks with some degree of triumph to having ricked his meadow hay in delicate order, and that Thomas had seen a pole-cat run across his garden. He records the circumstance of boys playing at taw on the Plestor; and that he had set Gunnery, one of his bantam hens, on nine of her own eggs. He complains that dogs come into his garden at night and eat his gooseberries, and gives a useful hint to farmers and others, when he says that rooks and crows destroy an immense number of chaffers, and that were it not for these birds the chaffers would destroy everything.

In addition to his remarks on Natural History, Mr. White recorded in his diaries the visits which were occasionally paid him, and carefully notes down the births of his numerous nephews and nieces, (amounting to about sixty-three at the time his diary closed,) as they respectively came into the world. He “chronicled” his ale and beer, as they were brewed by his man Thomas, who appears to have been his valet, gardener, and assistant naturalist. He takes notice of the quantity of port wine which came to his share when he divided a pipe of it with some of his neighbours; and he makes frequent mention of his crops, his fine and early cucumbers, and the flavour of his Cardilliac peas,―he evidently passing much of his time in his garden. The appearance of his neighbours' hops, the beginning and ending of their harvests, their bees, pigs, and poultry, are also noticed in succession, and appear to have added to the interest he took in rural life.

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Insignificant as these little details may appear, they were not thought to be so by a man whose mind was evidently stored with considerable learning, who possessed a cultivated and elegant taste for what is beautiful in nature, and who has left behind him one of the most delightful works in the English language, a work which will be read as long as that language lasts, and which is equally remarkable for its extreme accuracy, its pleasing style, and the agreeable and varied information it contains.

In order to enable our readers to enter more fully into the merits of the "Natural History of Selborne," some account of that village, its neighbourhood, and of Mr. White's residence, is now given.

Selborne is situated in the extreme eastern corner of Hampshire, bordering on Sussex. It is about fifty miles from London, and between the towns of Alton and Petersfield. It is evident (whatever may be the case at present) that in Mr. White's time the village was not readily approached by carriages. The charming deep sandy lanes in that part of Hampshire and Sussex, overgrown as they are with stunted oaks, hazels, hawthorns, and dog-roses, and the banks covered with wild strawberries, primroses, and pretty ferns, would in winter be filled with mud, to say nothing of the cart-ruts. I find amongst Mr. White's papers the following pleasing lines, addressed to one of his nieces, Mrs. J. White, by her father, and signed G. T., and which will give some idea of the roads of Selborne :


"From henceforth, my dear M- I'll no longer complain
Of your ruts and your rocks, of your roads and your rain;
Here's a proverb that suits with your cottage most pat,
'When a thing's of most worth, 'tis most hard to get at.'

And besides, where to find such another retreat
As the shades of old Selborne, so lonely and sweet,
Where the lover so freely may languish and sigh,
Where the student may read, and the Christian may die?

But as now neither lover nor student am I,
(I'm a Christian, I hope, but I wish not to die,)
So nor books, nor a mistress, nor zeal have inspired
My muse to commend what she ne'er has admired.

Yet as mind gives a comfort to deserts and dens,
Makes a turnpike of bogs, and a garden of glens;
So affection, kind chemist! I feel, can convert
To the sweetest of sweets what I thought to be dirt.

Be then welcome, dear Selborne, as welcome can be,
As the primrose of May, or the hawthorn to me;
For 'tis there (may they ever be blest from above!)
Dwell a daughter and son, and the children I love."*

As Selborne is approached from Alton, the beauty of its valley is seen as it bursts suddenly into view, and affords a prospect of great rural beauty. A foot-bridge is thrown across a deep ravine of rocky bank, at the bottom of which a little streamlet runs over a road, which is at once its channel and the carriage-way to the village. From this spot the precipitous beechen hangers may be seen, so often referred to by Mr. White; the white tower of the village church; the snug parsonage, and the pretty cottages, sprinkled over the landscape.

Farm-houses, with their barns and straw-yards, hop-lands, and corn-fields, and what is seldom seen in these degenerate days, a may-pole, add to the beauty of the scenery.

And here I may be allowed to quote a passage or two from an article which appeared some years ago in the New Monthly Magazine, on the village of Selborne, written by one who appears to have visited it out of pure love for the memory of Mr. White, and from the pleasure he had derived from his writings.


"The traveller who would view fair Selborne aright,' should humour the caprices of our fickle climate, and visit

* [These lines were written by Mr. Gabriel Tahourdin.]


it only when its fields and foliage are clothed in their summer verdure, or autumnal russet, and lighted up in genial sunshine; for its beauty is of the joyous seasons, fitted neither to be observed by the sullen influence of a rainy day, nor torn by the rude hand of winter. Descending into the single straggling street' of which the village consists, my steps were instinctively directed towards the hanger, and I soon found myself climbing the winding path which was cut through the beech-wood in the time of Gilbert White. A sweeter spot than the interior of this thick covert, with its craggy slopes, and 'graceful pendulous foliage,' it is impossible to conceive. The effect on entering its cool shades, and deep twilight gloom, after the full blaze of the glowing sunshine, was most refreshing, and stole over the senses with a peculiar delight. The stillness which reigned around was here only broken by the hum of insects, and the tinkling of the bells from a herd of cattle, which, the woodland being part of the village common ground, were turned in to graze. The charm of the scene was much increased by this rural music, borne through the glades in the hanger. "Mr. White's own house, the successive abode of several generations of his family, is, of course, the first object of the traveller's inquiry. It stands not very far from the church, and is an irregular, unpretending edifice, which has evidently been enlarged at different periods, with more care of interior comfort than of architectural symmetry. Aided by the old-fashioned neatness of its lawns and gravel walks, the house preserves the staid aspect of bygone days, and has apparently undergone no alteration since the death of the naturalist. It was impossible to gaze on the spot without recalling to memory those hundred little passages in his book which, with so pleasing and beautiful an association, have identified the intellectual pursuits of the man, with the tasteful purity of his mind, with the every beauty of his

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