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A Nature Calendar

Nature volume 88, page 584 (29 February 1912) | Download Citation



THIS beautiful facsimile, published by the Selborne Society, reproduces a record for the year 1766 of botanical observations made chiefly at Selborne, with an occasional note on birds or insects. This record, of which the MS. is in the possession of Mr. Webb, has never been before published, and is not to be confused with the so-called “Naturalist's Calendar,” often printed at the end of the “Natural History of Selborne.” The printing, paper, and binding of this large volume are all admirable, and the brief introduction is adequate; it is a superb volume to lie on a drawing-room table and be admired by the chance visitor, who will, it may be hoped, at least be struck by the strong, firm, and legible handwriting of the famous naturalist. White himself would be amazed at the magnificent dress in which his humble notes were destined eventually to appear; no man could know better than he that in no sense whatever could they form even the material for a book. Yet Mr. Webb claims that “now after an, interval of a hundred and twenty-three years a second book makes its appearance in the shape of the present volume.” White published but one bpok, and that an incomparable one. Mr. Webb publishes for him a second one, under the auspices of the Selborne Society. Making all allowance for enthusiasm, and for the carefulness of the editing (of which the excellent index is perhaps the best part), those who know how real books can only be built up on a foundation of lengthy studies, and how unwilling an author is to have such studies exposed to the gaze of the curious, will feel some regret that this rather meagre diary should have been thus magnificently produced.

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