Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/320

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whence we may hope sufficient light has emanated to make certain practices pursued by the rude forefathers of the hamlet, and described by White, long since things of the past.

At the end of the street we come suddenly upon a square space of no great extent, round which the interest of the village to most visitors doubtless, as to ourselves, centres. It is the Plestor, about which antiquarians have had so much to say in the various editions of the Natural History of Selborne, gathering-place of the rustics, perhaps from Saxon times. In the middle of it is a sycamore of no great size, the successor of "the vast oak, the delight of young and old," which stood here till "the amazing tempest of 1703 overturned it at once to the infinite regret of the inhabitants."

That long and rather irregularly built house, facing the road upon the south side of the Plestor, we have no difficulty in recognising, in spite of its new red-brick front, as "the Wakes," formerly the home of the naturalist. Though partly rebuilt, its look of old-fashioned comfort and quiet prosperity has not been disturbed. To the right is the high wall of the kitchen garden, which restricted the wanderings of Timothy the tortoise, till one sunny morning "he found the wicket open, eluded the vigilance of the gardener, and escaped into the sainfoin, and thence into the beans."

No doubt this is the wall which in 1773 produced "ten dozen lovely peaches and nectarines." Turning