The Centenary of Gilbert White

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    THE wonted tranquillity of the little Hampshire village of Selborne was disturbed on Saturday by the invasion of a band of pilgrims who came to look upon the shrine of Gilbert White, and by the sight obtained a renewed love of nature. Drawn by a feeling of regard, members of the Selborne Society, and other disciples of White, congregated from all parts of the country, and paid homage to their master. Never within the memory of the oldest inhabitant had so many people been gathered together at Selborne, and we doubt not that the villagers failed to realise what attraction there could be in a man whose characteristics, according to an old woman who remembered him, were that “he would walk about the lanes tap-tapping at the trees, and stooping every now and then to wipe the dust off his shoes.” But one thing marred the enjoyment of Saturday's meeting. A band of gipsies, with a terrible barrel-organ, and all the paraphernalia of a country fair, had installed themselves not a stone's-throw from the house in which Gilbert White lived his peaceful life. And, worst of all, they possessed a steam-syren, the shriek and screech of which penetrated everywhere, even to the high Hangers, in which the Selborne naturalist supposed that swallows hibernated.

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    The Centenary of Gilbert White. Nature 48, 212 (1893) doi:10.1038/048212a0

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