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SOME BOOKS FOR HOLIDAY-MAKERS.
to the fore this summer. We have hardly yet ceased laughing at the school-boy's delightful description of “that beautiful country, which is chielly noted for three principal classes of things, which is, namely, its great greenness, its big bogness, and its little shamrocks,” and we feel that we should like a little more detinite information about the inhabitants of that island than the statement that “The hearts of the Irish are all very warm. If you was walking out in the country and you met a poor man, you could easy tell whether he was an Irishman, for if he was an Irishman he would perhaps be in a pashion and have a pig with him." Holiday Ireland, too, has wrought up one of the morning papers into a state of ecstasy, which finds vent rather in glowing prose-poetry than in details likely to be of use to the average tourist. Our old friend, “ Adolescens Leo," Esq., of the D.T., is left many Irish miles behind in passages like this :--" It is no exaggeration to say that Cork county and her neighbour Kerry are a microcosm of all that is beautiful and grand in natural scenery river scenery, mountain scenery, sea scenery. Has not Cork her Irish Rhine,' a storied stream ; its ruined castles, telling of unhappy far-off things and battles long ago ?' The * Irish Rhine' land is a slowly-changing kaleidoscopic vision of emerald-green retreating meadows, wooded cliffs, and mountain masses. What a come-down from this picturesque word-painting to the humiliating confession couched in ordinary language, that “Not one English tourist in a hundred thousand has ever seen or heard of the Irish Rhine!” Reviving from his depressing bit of actual fact, the prose poet soars upward again and informs us that “ The balmy summer air of these Irish regions is life itself; the skies are, in dry weather, like the pearlyblue, dreamy sky of Italy;". One can imagine a cynical anti-Irishman asserting that the whole force of this passage lay in the three words, “in dry weather, and gravely inquiring how many instances of this peculiar meteorological combination have been known in historical times. But the cynical objector would be quite wrong, and the gushing describer, despite his gush, is very nearly right. It is a fact acknowledged by all those who have been able to compare Irish scenery with the very best that the Continent can show, that we far too often hurry abroad at great expense in search of beauties inferior to those which may be seen in the Sister Island, within a small compass and at a small cost.
This is now recognised and acted on by a gradually-increasing stream of tourists, who on their return fill the papers with praises of the beauty of the country and the invariable courtesy of the people. It is quite impossible for those who intend to
try Ireland” to have a better guide book, as far as practical advice for travelling goes, than that of Messrs. Ward and Baddeley, although it certainly cannot pretend to vie in style with the beautiful passages we have given above. The writer of this notice knows Ireland well. He has special acquaintance with two large Irish districts, one in the North and another in the South, which he has travelled over on foot, on horseback, and by carriage ; and he has been astonished by the accuracy, even in the minutest particulars, of the accounts given in the present guide-book. He cannot say, however, of this, as has been said by a high authority about some of the other books in the " Thorough Guide " Series, that “it is not possible to suggest an improvement.”. The historical and archæological portion of the book is not on a level with the topographical. There are omissions, misprints, and sometimes distinct errors in the historical statements. The writers, too, have been too prone to give gratuitous hints on matters political, a very great mistake in a subject which divides men's minds so sharply as Irish politics. It is clearly not an advantage in a guide-book that it should offend either section of those who use it. On the whole the " Thorough Guide ” to Ireland is a work which reflects very great credit on the industry and accuracy of its authors; it is very much the best practical guide for the Irish tourist in existence; and if it were submitted to the revision of some one with a competent knowledge of Irish history, and had all allusions showing political bias expunged, it would be very difficult to find in it any fault whatever.
We cannot afford so much space to the other books on our list. The Thorough Guide to Scotland, by the same authors, reaches us in its sixth edition, and is in some respects a better book than the companion “ Ireland.” The coloured contour maps, especially, are not excelled by anything in British cartography and give an idea of the relative altitudes of the various localities which it is innpossible to obtain in any other way.
Messrs. Dulau and Co. also send us a new edition (the fifth) of North Devon and North Cornwall, by Mr. C. S. Ward. We once practically tested this book very severely in an expedition along the sea coast from Clifton io the Land's End, and found that it was most admirable in its practical utility. The new edition is distinctly improved, some new and excellent maps are supplied, and in many instances the results of the recent survey are given in advance of the much wanted 1-inch revised Ordnance maps. We cannot leave these “ Thorough Guide” series of Messrs. Dulau without giving the result of our own experience of many years; whenever we have broken new ground in the British Isles, we have always enquired first of all whether there was a “ Thorough Guide" for the locality. If there was, we have invariably found it much superior to any other which came into our hands.
A most careful manual, which ought to sell by tens of thousands to the British paterfamilias when he is engaged on the solution of his annually recurring problem of “Where shall we go this autumn ?". is Seaside Watering Places (L. Upcott Gill). The book is cheap, comprehensive, and so far as we have tested it, wonderfully accurate, considering the very large amount of information conyeyed. In some cases interesting information as to the fauna and flora of the locality makes the work doubly useful to Selbornians. The name of the editor of Seaside Watering Places is not given, but he deserves high praise for the industry and ability displayed in the compilation of what is practically a cyclopædia of the watering places on the English coast, dealing impartially with their often conflicting claims for supremacy:
We have also received the Tourist's Guide to Derbyshire, by R. N. Worth, one of a very useful series of county guide issued by Edward Stanford. Useful summaries are given of the botany, paleontology, and geology of the county, and attention is directed to all the spots of special interest and beauty which abound in Derby. shire, as, for example, the Valley of Miller's Dale, a plea for the protection of which, by Miss Ellen Hibbert, appeared in the May number of NATURE NOTES. The
map which accompanies the guide is on too small a scale, and we have failed to find in it several places for which we looked.
We have been gradually approaching the metropolis in our selection of localities for holiday makers. The last book on our list only comes in that place because it deals with a spot which is practically part of London itself. Hampstead Hill, by Professor J. Logan Lobley is a very pretty, nicely illustrated book, and one which is sure to be most useful to all nature lovers who are not too grand to “spend a ’appy day at 'Ampstead,” in the study of the natural history of that beautiful suburban spot. To most Londoners it will be a startling surprise to find that they may, almost at their own doors, find material for the discussion of interesting geological problems, and for very varied exploration both in the zoological and botanical domains. Mr. Lobley himself deals ably with the structure, materials and sculpturing of the Hill, and gives us much incidental information on the fossils of the London clay. Mr. J. E. Harting, an eminent ornithological authority, supplies a thoroughly trustworthy account of the birds of Hampstead, founded to some extent upon that given in his well-known Birds of Middlesex. The Rev. F. A. Walker and Mr. H. T. Wharton are responsible for less valuable guides to the insect fauna, and the flora of Hampstead. The book is an example of a really good idea well carried out, and we should be glad to see similar works published with reference to many similar localities in the neighbourhood of London.
Wild Nature Won by. Kindness, by Mrs. Brightwen, Vice-President of the Selborne Society : T. Fisher Unwin. (A notice of this work, which is for many reasons most interesting to Selbornians, is, for the present, unfortunately crowded out on account of the great pressure on our space.
Reviews of several other works have been for some time in type.]
Studies in Evolution and Biology, by Alice Bodington : Elliot Stock,
Mendreva ; a Dream, by Edward G. Aldridge, F.G.S., &c. : Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent and Ćo.
Our Cats, and all about them, by Harrison Weir : Simpkin and Marshall.
Father Perry, the Jesuit Astronomer, by the Rev. A. L. Cortie : Catholic Truth Society.
A Letter from Switzerland.-. Miss Wallis, of Richmond, who has established there by far the largest and most flourishing juvenile section of the Selborne Society, sends the following letter, primarily for the junior members of her own branch; but it will doubtless be read with interest by many other young Selbornians :-“ Hotel Rigi-Scheideck, August, 1890. Dear Children, -We are spending a few weeks in one of the loveliest parts of Switzerland, at the top of Mount Rigi, on Lake Lucerne. Our hotel is 5,400 feet above the level of the sea ; it is very difficult to imagine such a height, but you 'will understand it better when I tell you that the clouds, which are so high above your heads, are often very, very far beneath our feet. You will think we must have been very tired when we reached the top of the mountain ; not at all, for, impossible as it may seem, there is actually a railway the whole way up. Each train consists of only one carriage with an engine below it, and the wheels have cogs which catch in the lines to prevent the train from slipping backwards. The day after we came we went out for a climb, and saw so many lovely flowers that we determined to try how many we could find. We gathered sixty-four different kinds, many of which were old friends, such as daisies, buttercups, eyebright, monkshood, speedwell, sweet briar, sweet william, pinks, blue bells, honeysuckle, ragged robin, forget-ine-not, geranium, thyme, orchis, azalea, and strawberry, all of which we found growing wild. The colours of these were much brighter than in England, and some of them were very large indeed--the blue-bells are twice as large as ours, and one ox-eye daisy which we measured was eight and three-quarter inches round. We also found a great many beautiful mosses, ferns, and grasses. You would have been amused to see us laden with our spoils standing on the line waving a red flag to make the train stop for us. Imagine anyone standing on the railway lines in London waving a flag to stop the train !
“Besides these, there are some beautiful Alpine flowers. We have found three kinds of gentian-yellow, purple-red and brilliant blue, and also the Alpine rose, which is very pretty, but not at all like our rose ; it grows close to the ground and has several blossoms, which are bright red, close together at the top of the stalk. The edelweiss and ice-plant we have not found, as they grow amongst the ice and snow where we have not yet been. Some beautiful flowers were given to our hostess last Saturday, arranged to form the pattern of the Swiss arms—a white cross of daisies on a red ground of Alpine roses, with a wreath of other flowers all round it. Though there are so many flowers, we see and hear very few birds, but those there are seem wonderfully tame. We have also recognised seven or eight kinds of butterflies, but there are not nearly so many as in England. It is impossible to describe all the beauties of the place in this short letter, but I hope when you are older you will be able to come here and see them for yourselves.
" With best wishes for a happy holiday to you all, I am, your affectionate friend,
“ ANNIE WALLIS.”
SELBORNIANA. Strange Instance of Nest-building.-Mrs. Brightwen, Vice-President of the Selborne Society, sends us the_following interesting notes on birds? nests :-“In a shed at Oxhey Grange Farm the implements had been stowed away at the end of the haymaking season last year, amongst them a broken wooden rake, which was thrown behind an elevator, teeth upwards. Between these teeth fouir thrushes' nests have been built side by side, and in each nest were eggs-all of which have been unfortunately taken and the nests damaged, it is supposed by a labourer, much to the annoyance of the occupier of the Grange Farm, Mr. Bone. On the same farm while one of the men was clearing away some rubbish, a robin's nest with eggs in was found in an old kettle ; the man took the kettle and showed it to several people, but was persuaded to replace it where it was found, and the mother has taken to it again, and is now nestling the young ones."
Pheasants as Fowl- Rearers.-Mr. H. D. Skrine, President of the Bath Branch, writes to us from Claverton Manor :-“It may interest some of your readers to know that a hen pheasant in my woods has reared two chickens this season, whose parent must have laid her eggs in the pheasant's nest. That there should be only two birds hatched out is explained by the fact that the hen pheasant's eggs take several days longer than hen's eggs to hatch, and as a pheasant is not so good a sitter as a hen, it would seem that finding two live chicks under her she did not wait for the others to arrive in due course, and must have left them to spoil. In all probability these chickens will become as wild as the pheasants, and eventually a cross breed may be established in my woods. Have any of your readers had a similar experience ?
The Cheddar Pink.-Selbornians will be pleased to learn that, notwithstanding the tendency to destroy this interesting native plant, preservative instincts are also at work. About two years ago, whilst walking from Maesbury to Wells, in this county, I observed on the top of a high wall, a plant which looked very like the Cheddar pink. I managed to secure a small piece of the plant by the aid of my walking stick; I then discovered that my first impression was correct, and that Dianthus cæsius was not only growing, but looked quite at home on this old garden wall. A person who lives on the opposite side of the road had noticed my doings. He accosted me, and asked whether I knew the name of the plant I had been taking so much trouble about. Upon my answering that I believed it to be the Cheddar pink, he replied, “So it is, I brought the seed from Cheddar myself, and sowed it on that wall.” Some few years ago this rare plant was to be found on the walls of Prior Park, near Bath. I have sought for it in vain of late. A few days ago one of the courteous professors of Prior Park College showed me some flowers of a pink, and asked me whether I recognised them. I was afterwards informed that they had been sent from Scotland by a former pupil of the college, and that the seed which produced them had been gathered from plants which once grew on the park walls. The Northern habitat seemed to have suited the plant, for the flowers looked healthy and strong, whilst the colour of the petals was of a deeper hue than I had hitherto seen. About a week ago, whilst attending a garden party, given by one of the founders of the Bath Branch of the Selborne Society, I was delighted to find, on the inner side of one of the garden walls, a large clump of Dianthus eæsius. Several of our inembers were admiring the plant, and a question arose about its dimensions. I applied my foot rule, and found them to be close upon five feet by four feet. This clump is evidently the product of many years' growth. I feel sure that our host of Monday last would allow any Selbornian who wishes to assist in preserving this interesting species, to have some of the seed. Such a delightful garden of old fashioned ” flowers I have not seen for a long time, Thalictrum flavum, L. and Aristolochia Clematitis, L., amongst other plants, find a place in this charming old garden. Bath, July 21st, 1890.
W. G. WHEATCROFT. “Insects as Ornaments in Gardens.”—It is to be hoped that all members of the Selborne Society who are entomologists, even in the most super
ficial degree, will act upon Mr. Kirby's suggestion, and endeavour to entice harmless insects to breed in their gardens.
In the Selborne Magazine, for March, 1889, I advocated the growing of nettles and rearing of butterflies in the town gardens, and should be glad to hear of any member who has succeeded. For my part, I must admit that I find the insects easier to rear than the nettles, which do not flourish in the confined “gardens of this semi-suburban district, as do the various lilies, purple clematis, &c., which, if permitted, would soon crowd them out.
This year I have been trying as garden ornaments another order of insects. viz., dragon flies, a much neglected family, and yet one of the most beautiful and interesting. Having prepared three or four small pools, I placed the larva in them, giving them occasionally minute worms, maggots, &c., the larger species finding sufficient food in the small earth worms that fall into the water, or on some tadpoles already hatched there.
A newly emerged dragon fly, clinging to a blade of grass or watercress, is a lovely sight on a sunny morning, much prettier than the blooms of “geraniums," of which we have far too many in our gardens. Upper Clapton.
R. MARSHMAN WATTSON. Another London Oasis Disappearing.-Can nothing be done to prevent the destruction of a little-known but very interesting spot in the Southwest of London? At present it possesses not only some delightful old architecture but a plot of greenery which is invaluable in the closely packed neighbourhood of Victoria, opposite the Soldiers' Home, lately opened in a narrow street. Near Buckingham Gate stand Lady Daire's Alms Houses ; old red brick buildings round three sides of a quadrangle, which on the fourth is enclosel by fine ironwork gates. This space is now open to the public, but it is doomed in the near future. The Charity Commissioners have said it must go, and the site will be used for building, and so another lung will be lost to London and another historic memento swept away. I have heard that the Lord Mayor has some influence in this matter; if so, possibly some of your readers may prevail on him to use it, and to save a little more breathing room for our crowded city.
MARGARET Bell. Papyrophagous Slugs.--Is it a common occurrence for slugs to eat paper? I have never heard of it before, but yesterday I went into my room, and on the table where a few books and plants were, I saw, on taking up last month's NATURE NOTES, that the leaves were eaten into along the top edge ; on looking more carefully at the book, I found it covered with slime, so concluded that it must have been the work of a snail or a slug. I then searched for some time hoping to find the perpetrator, but my search was in vain.
AGNES M. PARMENTER. A Bellicose Duck.--Mr. Arthur T. King, of High Barnet, sends us a note of the following amusing incident :- “We have on the long water at the end of the recreation ground, a brood of eight little ducklings, which are periodically paraded by an admiring mother duck, conscious of the attractions of her little charges, especially in the evening, when they are out as little flycatchers, and are very quick and clever in their movements. The mother duck on these occasions generally parades on dry land to guard the little ones against intruders, and very bold she is against any who would dare to interfere with her progeny. On Thursday evening she more than once deliberately attacked a fox terrier prowling around on mischief bent. Fortunately the dog was muzzled, or I am not prepared to say the manæuvre of the old lady would have been exactly discreet. As it
the dog swooped down upon her several times, and it was most laughable to see how on each occasion she went sor' the dog in the bollest fashion, ejaculating sundry and divers ‘quacks,' which, if translated, might mean something of a pean of victory, or perchance bad language at the unseemly interruption !”
Memorial to Richard Jefferies.- Miss Agnes Martelli, hon. secretary of the Northern Heights Branch of the Selborne Society, calls our attention to the following extract from a letter of Mr. Arthur Kinglake :—“July 21st, 1890. A wish has been expressed of late by many, that some memorial of Richard.