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the monstrous torsos of their giant neighbours. At Knockholt the beeches are living entirely alone.
Let us stroll beneath the branches. In these dells around us holiday-makers are wont to encamp. The soil here and there is exposed, as if by sanguine hunters for truffles. We see that the trees are rooted in the chalk. The Burnham trees we remember are growing in a light and gravelly soil. The ground beneath us is thickly strewed at this Autumn season with the bristly cupules and the three-cornered nuts that have fallen out of the husks. In this brambly dell, at the foot of one of the maturer trees, we may study with advantage, if we choose, the distinctive form and habit of the beech. The trunk is quite smooth. It does not detain the eye with the ridged and furrowed surface that the artist loves to copy in elm or oak; it soars at once aloft. How beautiful is the olivegrey colour of the bark! Some of the trunks are mottled with a greener hue; it is of these that the painter and naturalist exclaim,
Sacred to me the lichens on the bark,
A study in tree-deportment are these unpolled specimens of the beech! Here at Knockholt the tree is no stunted and mutilated giant as at Burnham, with arms wildly groping like a Samson bereft of sight. Here the beech truly looks the Adonis of our sylva, as at Burnham it is equally the Hercules.
It is a remark of Gilpin, the author of Forest Scenery, that no bark tempts the lover so much as the beech to make it the tablet for his mistress's name. Such inscriptions convey a happy emblem :
Crescent illæ crescetis amores.
Unhappily, we seem at Knockholt to have fallen upon less Arca
* How beautiful and how ancient from her for ever, now she writes to are the associations of this practice! him, “ The beeches still preserve my “There is a man,” exclaims one of name, carved by your hand, and, Shakspeare's immortal characters, Enone, the work of your pruning“ there is a man haunts the forest, knife, is read upon their bark. As the that abuses our young trees, carving trunks increase the letters still diROSALIND on their barks.” Twenty- late; they grow and rise as testifive centuries before then lived Paris monies of my just claim upon your and Enone. Enone and Paris had love." The Trees of Old England, by been playmates and lovers. Gone L. H. GRINDON. F. Pitman, London. * The head of the famous King's Beech at Knole Park, Sevenoaks, is 352 feet in diameter, the largest apparently in England.-Flora of the British Islands. DR. HOOKER. [Excellent photographs of this gigantic
age or size.
dian times. The beech-trunks truly bear the marks of laborious lettering, but the names are not those of Enone or Rosalind. As at Burnham, so at Knockholt; Paris cuts his own name in the beechen rind, and not that of the faithful Enone.
The tall, auburn-headed foresters before us are still entertaining us and waving their tresses in the yellow sunlight, when an evident native of Knockholt, dressed in shepherd's smock, approaches us. We ask him if these few unimportant trees are the Knockholt Beeches. He tells us they are. But there are plenty of finer beeches round about, especially at Sevenoaks,* near the Pawle's Arms. These Knockholt trees, he thinks, are of no account for
Some of the largest were blown down a few years since, and the sailors missed them at sea. These beeches, as you can tell, are mostly young ones.
Knockholt Beeches, then, we find to be a conspicuous landmark on a wide-stretching horizon, and not a group of trees remarkable in themselves. They are simply average beeches on a lofty knoll of a beautiful Kentish landscape. Knockholt landscape rather than Knockholt Beeches will reward the tourist of our London. environs 'who may purpose a visit to this spot. Look at it as it now lies resting in the mellow haze of this mild October sunlight. It has all the well-known aspects of the landscapes of the Chalk. Flowing contours of hill and branching ridge rise around us, and run in natural ramparts against the near horizon, save where their fluent softness is broken by a seirated sky-line of trees. The hollows, too, have the deeper shadows peculiar to the chalky soil. That bolder hill, where great bastions run down to the broad and shallow valley of the Weald, tells us where the North Downs raise their escarpments. In such a landscape, and at such a season,
. the bony framework of Nature, no longer hidden by the ample foliage of trees, begins to reveal itself. The earth in her profile looks aged and worn, and how much older is earth than we think,
tree are to be had at Sevenoaks.]
King's Beech, Ashridge, trunk, 118 feet. Bicton Beech, Devon, girth 29 feet. The beech flourishes most in chalk and limestone from Cheshire southwards.”—Ibid.
the great chalk tumuli around us could tell. The woodland landscape of Dryad, Satyr, and Faun affords no longer a leafy umbrage to a sylvan people. The newly-bared shoals and flats of the ancient sea have resumed their place—barren as when they emerged at the first from the ebbing waters, and unclad as yet with herb and tree. Thus far back to the cosmic ages of our world does the glimmering twilight scene transport us.
Sounds of music of a not unpastoral kind disturb our vision of this beautiful Kentish scene. From the field between the Knockholt Beeches and the wayside inn comes a noise—a sound
Such as the jocund flute, or gamesome pipe,
It is disenchanting to find that the noise proceeds from a London pic-nic party, full of jest and youthful jollity. They are celebrating, with flageolet and dance on the greensward, and perchance with draughts of Cooper and other unclassical beverages, a holiday trip to Knockholt.
On leaving Knockholt Beeches you may learn to shorten the distance to Chelsfield by diverging to the left of the main road, and taking Randall's Lane rather than Knockholt Street for the first part of your journey. We gladly take the nearer way. The daylight is fast departing, and the sun has shot his last beam towards the dusky pole.
The gray-hooded even,
Rose from the hindmost wheel of Phæbus' wain, and the faint stars began to appear. We passed Knockholt Church and took a farewell glance at that solitary yew by the highway.
Prophet-like that lone one stood
in the twilight. It was the last object we had time to note in the darkening scene as we pressed on to Chelsfield Station.
0-DAY we are the guests of the Quekett Microscopica]
Club, upon one of its Saturday afternoon field-excursions.
Who has not heard of “The Quekett ?" Among the rising Londoners of to-day who give themselves to microscopic recreation and study, The Quekett is a great institution. The work it is doing among young men in London who have evening and Saturday afternoon leisure has got for it a name. The Quekett is the republic of London microscopists and naturalists. It is the popular, teaching, and working microscopic club of this metropolis. About eight hundred members strong, it is rapidly popularising natural history as a field-pursuit in the summer months, and making the microscope a fireside companion in the winter in many a home. With the North London Naturalists' Field Club, and the Old Change Microscopical Society, The Quekett is fast removing the reproach which London has suffered from the naturalists of the north. A Manchester visitor to our collecting-grounds to-day may find plenty of kindred enthusiasts for Nature on the Saturday afternoon. Not to know of The Quekett and its work is to have a limited acquaintance with the Londoners of the rising generation, and of the place the microscope is taking in the pleasures and studies of the period. Let us see whether an afternoon in the field with The Quekett will commend it still further to our interest !
Once more, then, on a Saturday afternoon we exchange the City for some of those green landscapes which lie around our smoky London, encircling it
Like emeralds round a brooch of jet.
Our destination to-day is Elstree. But where is Elstree, and why should a party of Londoners go there to spend a summer Saturday afternoon ? Elstree is just over the northern border of Middlesex, in Hertfordshire. It lies on the new Midland route to St. Albans, and is only nine miles from St. Pancras Station. Elstree Reservoir is well known to London ornithologists and anglers. The Reservoir is, in fact, the great attraction of the place. It is said to be a beautiful lake, nearly 100 acres in extent, embosomed in grassy hills, secluded with aquatic trees, and the haunt of many species of wild fowl. Another attraction which Elstree has for a naturalists' club is that the geology thereabout is transitional, so that one can escape from the monotonous Middlesex clay. Stanmore Heath, too (for the botanists and entomologists), is within an easy walk of Elstree, and at Stanmore Hill (492 feet) we all know there are great landscape prospects, London being there overlooked from a spot higher than Highgate or Hampstead.
We leave the City by the Metropolitan Railway in a Midland train. At Finchley Road we begin to emerge upon a wide horizon, with grassy Middlesex landscapes all around us. Harrow to our left and Hampstead to our right are conspicuous landmarks. Here is Hendon, where a number of our fellow-travellers alight for an afternoon's fishing at the waters of the renowned Welsh Harp. The lake which we see stretching away to our left is said