Sir Herbert Maxwell
Release Date: 01 October 2007
Format: Paperback / softback
Memories of the Months - 1901 - PREFACE - How often one may hear people who enjoy command of their own time complain of the dulness of life in the country. Poets, children, lovers, and a few other abnormal individuals, derive constant solace from the seasons but modern life in England has been arranged mith studied indifference to them. Man - slowest among vertebrate animals to attain maturity, yet whose years are but a span compared mith those of the oak or lowly lichen-man, leaden-footed among beasts, wingless among fowls-a poor climber-a bad swimmer - has shown his discontent with Nature by devising a scheme of civilisation to make him independent of Iier infinite changefulness. Artificial illuminants have rendered him indifferent to the radiance of rising and setting suns neither storm nor shine are allowed to interrupt the monotony of counting-house, factory, or mine while, strangest of all, fashion has decreed that the fairest half of the year can only be spent in an overgrown, smoky tom, built chiefly on swampy ground, lying along a muddy estuary. Nevertheless, even the competitive exactions of business and social pleasure have their reaction. An increasing number of people are turning with interest to the eternal industry in Natures workshop, willing to listen to those who will talk about it. This is a hopeful sign to those who believe that the social health and physical standard of the nation depend in Iarge measure on affection for country life, and that it mould be an evil thing should field and flood cease to afford attractions for active minds. It is the conviction that the surest relief to dulness in the country may be found in diverting our attention from theimperfections of our neighbours to the endless variety of animated nature, and to the wealth of story associated with almost every parish, which has induced me to put together the following passages from a very slipshod note-book Some parts of them have appeared from time to time in various newspapers any permanent merit they may be found to possess lies in the fact that they were jotted down in presence of the objects described. No head is constructed to carry about an explanation of half the things noticed in the course of s single mornings walk but if notes are made at the moment of what attracts the eye, be it 3 landscape, a ruin, s battlefield, n living creature or a flower, recourse may be had at home to the information abundantly stored in books, and the significance of what seemed commonplace or trivial becomes evident at once. Without attempting to become, z specialist himself, each man has at command the nccumulated fruits of the labours of specialists. Historians, naturalists, bo tnaists, geologists-all the devoted harvesters of human knowleclge-have laid up store of unfailing re nedies for ennui, and some part of their secret, it is hopecl, Inay be found in the following pages. - CONTENTS - PAGE I. BIRD MIGRATION . 1 11. TIIE PO ITER OF BIRDS TO ENDURE COLD . 7 111. A LAKE SAXCTUARY . 8 I. THE C-QSrlDMh POND-WEE . . 11 A-. TIIE SHOVELLEE . . 14 VI. TIIE SCAUP DCCK . . 15 VII. T l I E GHE ZT CRESTED GKE13E . . 16 1-111. s1 LtIlcG SALMON . 18 I S . VIXTER FLOWERS . 31 S. VEST COAST nIETEOKOLOGY . 2 3 XI. THE GOTTIrE-TIT . . 3 XII. VEATHERED POLICE ., 28 SIII. REVIVAL OF PRIMITIVE IAI. S. l . 20 SIV. ANGLO-SAX04 BIOSTH SAJIES . . 32 SV. THE R I V E R O F . TIIOY. . 33 SVI. AWINTER DAY IN CAITIISLSS . . . 35 XVII. ELAVRNISC ROOKS . . 37 SVIII. ROI ERT DICI . . 40 SIX. SYOWED I P . . 42 SS. TITE IIIGIILASDS I S WISTEI . . 45 S X I . THE FROZEN RIL7KR . . 47 I S I I . TILE FOES OF SALNOT . 48 XXIII. TIIIS SJlELT . . 49 XSIV...
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