Page:The Zoologist, 4th series, vol 5 (1901).djvu/256

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'Durham Household Book,' 1530-34, Mr. Harting proposes to change the name of Dunlin to Dunling. The weights of many birds are also given, information not always easily procurable. Our own idea is to have this work interleaved and bound up in two volumes, and used not only as a reference book for British birds—which it undoubtedly is—but to make it an even greater storehouse by the addition of our gleanings and memoranda. A well annotated volume is always a compliment to the book itself. The coloured illustrations, reproduced from original drawings by the late Prof. Schlegel, represent the heads of two hundred and sixty-two species (male and female), and will no doubt prove a boon to many observers and incipient ornithologists.

The Life and Letters of Gilbert White of Selborne. By his Great-grand-nephew, Rashleigh Holt-White.John Murray.

It is a coincidence that two English classics—and yet how diverse!—appeared almost simultaneously: we allude to the 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,' and the 'Natural History of Selborne.' The writer of this interesting book has avoided the mention of this literary twinship. White was born in 1730, and died in 1793; Gibbon's birth took place in 1737, and his death in 1794. The 'Natural History of Selborne' was published in 1788, the same year as Gibbon's concluding volumes were given to the world. With the almost certainty that both books will last with the language, and that they have nothing in common, the parallel may be considered closed.

We have had so many editions of the work, that the life of its writer was almost a demand of letters. These two volumes lift much of the veil, and probably tell us all we shall ever know on the subject. We can see that Gilbert White was a genius in the sense of the not universally accepted definition, that that much-used word is the equivalent of the art of taking pains. He was an ardent naturalist—-born to that vocation—a man of thrift, an old-time clergyman of the Established Church, a courteous gentleman, and one who certainly did not excel in the gentle art of making enemies. Besides this, he ever studied the method of dignified composition, a circumstance, almost as much as its natural history, which has rendered his book a classic.