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My Garden Acquaintance - James Russell Lowell

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My Garden Acquaintance
James Russell Lowell

ONE of the most delightful books in my father's library was
White's "Natural History of Selborne."  For me it has rather gained
in charm with years.  I used to read it without knowing the secret of
the pleasure I found in it, but as I grow older I begin to detect some
of the simple expedients of this natural magic.  Open the book
where you will, it takes you out of doors.  In our broiling July
weather one can walk out with this genially garrulous Fellow of
Oriel and find refreshment instead of fatigue.  You have no trouble
in keeping abreast of him as he ambles along on his hobby-horse,
now pointing to a pretty view, now stopping to watch the motions
of a bird or an insect, or to bag a specimen for the Honorable
Daines Barrington or Mr. Pennant.  In simplicity of taste and
natural refinement he reminds one of Walton; in tenderness toward
what he would have called the brute creation, of Cowper. I do not
know whether his descriptions of scenery are good or not, but they
have made me familiar with his neighborhood.  Since I first read
him, I have walked over some of his favorite haunts, but I still see
them through his eyes rather than by any recollection of actual and
personal vision.  The book has also the delightfulness of absolute
leisure.  Mr. White seems never to have had any harder work to do
than to study the habits of his feathered fellow-townsfolk, or to
watch the ripening of his peaches on the wall.  His volumes are the
journal of Adam in Paradise,

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