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natural history of the Alps with that of our London environs. The face of Nature is indeed

As a book,
Wherein men may read strange matters.

And who will doubt that her tables of stone have been written for our learning!

But has Nature for us Londoners no grand surprises and no holiday entertainment nearer home than the Alps, or even the Highlands of Scotland and the mountains of Wales? Need we always resort to the sea-coast when our annual holiday comes round ? If Switzerland and Palestine are denied to us, and we are even restricted for our enjoyments to the inland scenes of Kent, or Surrey, or Middlesex, must we therefore repine? How many of our fellow-beneficiaries of the Saturday Half-holiday in London have yet to be surprised by scenery which lies within half-an-hour's ride of the metropolis ? Let us advise such at once to redeem the time. Let us show them the diverse charms of Nature wild and barren amid Nature domesticated and fruitful which await their coming. These delights lie within our metropolitan counties. They are

To those in populous cities pent
Glimpses of wild and beauteous Nature lent.

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Having once enjoyed them, we shall say, as did Sancho Panza to Don Quixote, “How many a footstep the inquisitive traveller has measured, to see sights and look into discoveries all which they might have seen dry-shod at home!”

In one of the counties in which London stands, we have been lately rambling under the brightest of autumnal suns the live-long day. This county is a land in which Nature shows side by side perhaps her greatest contrasts of sterility and fruitfulness. It is a land of wild upland moors, covered with the purplest heather or bare with the flintiest sand. On its extensive heaths you may startle the black game from their covert. You may yet meet with those who will recollect when the Twelfth of August was as religiously observed on these moors, within thirty and odd miles of London, as it now is in the grouse districts of Yorkshire and the

Highlands of Scotland. So wild is the place that you may yet perhaps meet there the

Brown man of the moors, who dwells
Beneath the heather bell.

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The Hutmen are said still to survive on some of the heaths, leading the life of Ishmael of old towards mankind at large, and living in rude cabins partly hollowed out of the ground, and roofed in with sods and turf. In some districts, at a height of 900 feet, you may find the sandy surface nearly as barren as it may be conceived to have been when it was first uncovered by the retiring sea.

It is a land in which, within the county's border, there are no less than 250 distinct tracts of wild and unenclosed soil, comprising, as has lately been estimated, about 100,000 acres.

And then the scene is changed. You look on a good and fruitful land, a land of brooks and rivers of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills," a land of woods and giant trees, and leafy lanes and park-girt mansions ; of corn, and esculent roots, and marketgardens; of flower-farms which scent the country for miles around. It is also “a land whose stones are iron.” You may one of its hills, about five-and-twenty miles from London, and see the place where the metal for the iron balustrade of St. Paul's Cathedral, with its 2,500 rails, was dug, and smelted, and cast. To the naturalist-not to the microscopist, but to such naturalists as we can all find time to become—it is the land of Sylvan Aubrey, of Fitton, of Mantell, of Creswick and Hook, and Birket Foster.

And this is Surrey. And how much more is Surrey than this ! These are but some of the natural charms which await you in the southern environs of London. To how many of us hitherto have these Surrey hills been a mere topographical phrase, or a thoroughfare to scenes more distant, more reputed, and more fashionable !

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It is a mellow Autumn morning, and we take our ticket at Waterloo Bridge for a station on the South-Western Railway, just beyond the North Downs. In holiday mood, we look around for our fellow-travellers. On the platform are the tourists of the period, n every variety of equipment and disguise. Here, at this SouthWestern Terminus, you may see in unusual force the conventional travellers whom Sterne has described. They are part of that peregrine army of martyrs who duly exile themselves from home as the fashionable season comes round. Loyal to custom, they bravely resign themselves to be bored with Nature at home or abroad, and pay to the uttermost farthing the debt that Society demands. How soon on the railway platform each species of excursionist, by a kind of natural selection, espies its fellows, and begins an acquaintance! Who are these lads, accoutred like sappers and miners for an expedition, but armed with blue gauze nets to boot? We find they are in charge of their schoolmaster. He has taught them the fascinations of fossil-seeking and butterfly-hunting, and is now treating them to a week of naturalising at the Isle of Wight. They open their wallets in the railway-carriage to compare their hammers, saws, and chisels, with which they will work on the rocks. They tell of the achievements their trusty weapons have wrought at Black Gang and elsewhere, and of fortunate findings at the base of the crumbling cliffs. Close by is another specimen of the travelling geologist, bound for the South—a commercial collector of fossils for the London market, who settles down for a week at a pit, a quarry, or a cliff, and works at his task in a practical, business-like

way.

As he sits within ear-shot of the young naturalists before him, he is by no means heedless of their talk, or indifferent to tidings of well-stored fossil-grounds. In this company, then, we travel. The youngsters recount the successes and failures of last year's trip to the Island, and speculate on the strata through which we are passing. At last the tracts of Bagshot Sand which have so long embanked us on either side are at an end. At Guildford the flanks of the chalk greet the eye. We pass through the

. tunnel under the North Downs (thus perforating the southern rim of the London Basin), and at Godalming, four miles beyond, we settle down for a fortnight, determined to prove what is that good and acceptable scenery of Surrey of which we have spoken.

Do you desire wide and panoramic views over Nature, and does your eye seek for beauty of colour in your landscape scenery! Then try the Surrey hills in Autumn. It is true, as regards height, they are hardly a thousand feet above the level of the sea. But

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how often have you found, even in your favourite mountainous resorts, that mere height is no guarantee for extent of prospect or for beauty of scenery! How often has the view you have sought for been obstructed and confined by the hills and mountains around ! how often the picture has been wanting when the height which should command it has been gained ! But from

Where the landmark tower of Leith
Sentinels its purple heath,

an area of country of 200 miles in circumference is visible. Perhaps the largest valley in the world, the valley of the Weald, lies at your feet. Towards the north and over the Downs the spires of forty-one churches in London have been counted from this spot, and towards the south the sea opens upon you through a cleft in the hills. And look from these heath-covered heights at the colours which lie in the landscape around! From the heights of Hindhead and from Leith Hill you see mile after mile of the purplest of heather. What colours in the Highlands can excel the glowing hues which purple the Surrey landscape here around us ! From these heathery scenes let us now look from Blackdown on the oak-covered valley of the Wealden below. From the monotonous masses of evergreen and flowerless vegetation which prevail in equatorial regions, and even in Australia, with what delight do our travelled naturalists return to these many-tinted, deciduous scenes !

Would you see near London some gigantic specimens of your favourite trees-monumental chestnut, cedar, oak, beech, and yew ! Let us report to you what Titanic trees we have seen in Surrey.

The chestnuts at Burgate were our first solicitude. It was not the horse-chestnut we were in search of, whose charms engaged us. in Kensington Gardens in an earlier ramble, but the chestnut-the tree of Salvator Rosa, so prominent a feature in his Calabrian landscapes.* We started from Godalming to find Burgate. But

* Gilpin notices how this painter breaking and disposing it in a thou. delighted in the chestnut, which flour- sand beautiful shapes, as the exigen. ished in the Calabrian mountains, cies of his composition required. where he studied it in all its forms,

we determined to take Hascombe Beeches on our way, and so get a sight of our favourite chalk-loving foresters. Passing Hascombe Church, and ascending the slope on which Hascombe Wood is planted, we made our way to the beeches. Near the summit (of Shanklin Sand), which commands a grand view of the Weald below, we found the most famous of the Hascombe trees. A board suspended from its trunk attracts the eye of the wayfarer; it tells us that as far back as the year 1722 this was a remarkable tree, We measured its girth about five feet from the ground, and found it (as near as we could tell without our well-worn tape) fully eighteen feet.

This Hascombe Beech is not then the average “ remarkable tree” of the guide books,—the legendary tree of the village, bloated with unwieldy corpulence, collapsing with age and infirmity, and falling piecemeal away. It is a mature, well-grown, symmetrical and handsome beech-a portrait-beech for the photographer. On this wooded summit at Hascombe we sat for a time, to take in through a rent in the trees the prospect of the wide-stretching Wealden below us, and then advanced to Burgate.

At Burgate, in search of the chestnuts, we found ourselves in a narrow coombe off the high-road. The place was one where oldworld vegetable forms might almost be expected to linger. By travellers the spot is described as a bit of Spain, not to be equalled on this side of the Pyrenees. We were prepared for a beautiful and venerable sight, nor were we disappointed. The chestnuts are about twenty in number, and are scattered over a broken ground. So rashly did we approach them, so suddenly did we enter their presence, that

we at once fell back from the scene like guilty intruders, and looked on in silence and wonder from a distance. Some of the enormous trunks up-coiling before us seemed to stand

* Murray mentions an enormous Deepdene, among its numerous and beech-tree at Haslemere, on the high- extraordinary trees, contains a fine road, about three-quarters of a mile avenue of beeches, and Norbury north of the village, 20 feet in girth Park, too, contains some beeches of at 5 feet from the ground. The tree, enormous size. One is said to be he says, is well worth the walk from 160 feet in height. Haslemere, for it is the “ lion" of the village.

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