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THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY
OF CALIFORNIA



PRESENTED BY

PROF. CHARLES A. KOFOID AND
MRS. PRUDENCE W. KOFOID



HAMPSHIRE DAYS



BY THE SAME AUTHOR



NATURE IN DOWNLAND. With
12 Plates and 14 Illustrations in the Text.
8vo, IQS. 6d. net.

BIRDS IN LONDON. With 17 Plates
and 15 Illustrations in the Text. 8vo, i2s.

BIRDS AND MAN. Large crown 8vo,
6.y. net.

BRITISH BIRDS. With a Chapter on
Structure and Classification by FRANK E.
BEDDARD, F.R.S. With 16 Plates (8 of
which are Coloured), and over 100 Illustra-
tions in the Text. Crown 8vo, gilt edges,
6s. net.



LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO.

LONDON, NEW YORK, AND BOMBAY




REDSHANK ON WILLOW



HAMPSHIRE DAYS



BY



W. H. HUDSON

AUTHOR OF
'BIRDS AND MAN," "NATURE IN DOWNLAND," ETC.




WITH ILLUSTRATES ^ \



LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO

39 PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON

NEW YORK AND BOMBAY

1903



All rights reserved



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*




INSCRIBED

TO
SIR EDWARD AND LADY GREY

NORTHUMBRIANS
WITH HAMPSHIRE WRITTEN IN THEIR HEARTS



The greater part of the matter contained in this
volume has not appeared before. In the first half
of the book use has been made of an article on
" Summer in the Forest " from Longman's Maga-
zine ; in the second half I have drawn on articles
from the same periodical, on " Wolmer Forest,"
tl A Summers End on the lichen" and " Selborne
Revisited " / and I have also made use of an
article entitled " A More or Less Happy Family "
from the Badminton Magazine.



CONTENTS



CHAPTER I

PAGES

Autumn in the New Forest Red colour in mammals
November mildness A bouse by the Boldre An ideal spot
for small birds Abundance of nests Small mammals and the
weasel's part Voles and mice Hornet and bank-vole Young
shrews A squirrel's visit Green woodpecker's drumming-tree
Drumming of other species Beauty of great spotted wood-
pecker The cuckoo controversy A cuckoo in a robin's nest
Behaviour of the cuckoo Extreme irritability Manner of
ejecting eggs and birds from the nest Loss of irritability
Insensibility of the parent robins Discourse on mistaken
kindness, pain and death in nature, the annual destruction of
bird life, and the young cuckoo's instinct . , . . 1-30



CHAPTER II

Between the Boldre and the Exe Abuse of the New Forest
Character of the population New Forest code and con-
science A radical change foreshadowed Tenacity of the
Forest fly Oak woods of Beaulieu Swallow and pike Charm
of Beaulieu Instinctive love of open spaces A fragrant heath
Nightjars Snipe Redshanks Peewits Cause of sympathy
with animals Grasshopper and spider A rapacious fly Melan-
choly moods Evening on the heath "World-strangeness"
Pixie mounds Death and burial The dead in the barrows
The dead and the living 31-56



CHAPTER III

A favourite New Forest haunt Summertide Young black-
bird's call Abundance of blackbirds and thrushes, and de-
struction of young Starlings breeding The good done by

ix



x CONTENTS

PAGES

starlings Perfume of the honeysuckle Beauty of the hedge
rose Cult of the rose Lesser whitethroat His low song-
Common and lesser whitethroat In the woods A sheet of
bracken Effect of broken surfaces Roman mosaics at Silches-
ter Why mosaics give pleasure Woodland birds Sound of
insect life Abundance of flies Sufferings of cattle Dark
Water Biting and teasing flies Feeding the fishes and
fiddlers with flies . 57-74

CHAPTER IV

The stag-beetle Evening flight Appearance on the wing
Seeking a mate Stag and. doe in a hedge The ploughman
and the beetle A stag-beetle's fate Concerning tenacity of
life Life appearances after death A serpent's skin A dead
glow-worm's light Little summer tragedies A snaky spot An
adder's basking place Watching adders The adder's senses
Adder's habits not well known A pair of anxious peewits
A dead young peewit Animals without knowledge of death
Removal of the dead by ants Gould's observations on ants . 75-97

CHAPTER V

Cessation of song Oak woods less silent than others
Mixed gatherings of birds in oak woods Abundance of
caterpillars Rapacious insects Wood ants Alarm cries of
woodland birds Weasel and small birds Fascination Weasel
and short-tailed vole Account of Egyptian cats fascinated
by fire Rabbits and stoats Mystery of fascination Cases of
pre-natal suggestion Hampshire pigs fascinated by fire Con-
jectures as to the origin of fascination A dead squirrel A
squirrel's fatal leap Fleas large and small Shrew and fleas
Fleas in woods The squirrel's disposition Food -hiding
habit in animals Memory in squirrels and dogs The lower
kind of memory . ' . . . . ... 98-120

CHAPTER VI

Insects in Britain Meadow ants The indoor view of insect
life Insects in visible nature The humming-bird hawk-moth,
and the parson Lepidopterist Rarity of death's-head moth
Hawk-moth and meadow-pipit Silver-washed fritillaries on
bracken Flight of the white admiral butterfly Dragon-flies
Want of English names A water-keeper on dragon-flies



CONTENTS xi

PAGES

Moses Harris Why moths have English names Origin of the
dragon-fly's bad reputation Cordulegaster annulatus Calo-
pteryx virgo Dragon flies congregated Glow-worm Firefly
and glow-worm compared Variability in light The insect's
attitude when shining Supposed use of the light Hornets
A long-remembered sting The hornet local in England A
splendid insect Insects on ivy blossoms in autumn . . 121-144

CHAPTER VII

Great and greatest among insects Our feeling for insect
music Crickets and grasshoppers Cicada anglica Locusta
viridissima Character of its music Colony of green grass-
hoppers Harewood Forest Purple emperor Grasshoppers'
musical contests The naturalist mocked Female viridissima
Over-elaboration in the male Habits of female Wooing of the
male by the female . 145-166

CHAPTER VIII

Hampshire, north and south A spot abounding in life
Lyndhurst A white spider Wooing spider's antics A New
Forest little boy Blonde gipsies The boy and the spider
A distant world of spiders Selborne and its visitors Selborne
revisited An owl at Alton A wagtail at the Wakes The
cockerel and the martin Heat at Selborne House crickets
Gilbert White on crickets A colony of field crickets Water
plants Musk mallow Girl buntings at Selborne Evening
gatherings of swifts at Selborne Locustidse Thamnotrizon
cinereus English names wanted Black grasshopper's habits
and disposition Its abundance at Selborne .... 167-197

CHAPTER IX

The Selborne atmosphere Unhealthy faces Selborne Com-
mon Character of scenery Wheatham Hill Hampshire village
churches Gilbert White's strictures Churches big and little
The peasants' religious feeling Charm of old village churches
Seeking Priors Dean Privett Church Blackmoor Church
Churchyards Change in gravestones Beauty of old grave-
stones Ked alga on gravestones Yew trees in churchyards
British dragon-tree Farringdon village and yew Crowhurst
yew Hurst bourne Priors yew How yew trees are injured . 198-222



xii CONTENTS

CHAPTER X

PAGES

Wolmer Forest Charm of contrast and novelty in scenery
Aspect of Wolmer Heath and pine Colour of water and soil
An old woman's recollections Story of the " Selborne
mob" Past and present times compared Hollywater Clump
Age of trees Bird life in the forest Teal in their breeding
haunts Boys in the forest Story of the horn-blower . . 223-240

CHAPTER XI

The Hampshire people Racial differences in neighbouring
counties A neglected subject Inhabitants of towns Gentry
and peasantry Four distinct types The common blonde type
Lean women Deleterious effects of tea-drinking A shep-
herd's testimony A mixed race The Anglo-Saxon Case of
reversion of type Un-Saxon character of the British Dark-
eyed Hampshire people Racial feeling with regard to eye-
colours The Iberian type Its persistence Character of the
small dark man Dark and blonde children A dark village
child ... 241-264

CHAPTER XII

Test and Itcheu Vegetation Riverside villages The
cottage by the river Itchen valley Blossoming limes Bird
visitors Goldfinch Cirl bunting Song Plumage Three
common river birds Coots Moor-hen and nest Little grebes'
struggles Male grebe's devotion Parent coot's wisdom A
more or less happy family Dogged little grebes Grebes train-
ing their young Fishing birds and fascination . . . 265-288

CHAPTER XIII

Morning in the valley Abundance of swifts Unlikeness to
other birds Mayfly and swallows Mayfly and swift Bad
weather and hail Swallows in the rain Sand martins An
orphaned blackbird Tamed by feeding Survival of gregarious
instinct in young blackbirds Blackbird's good-night Cirl
buntings Breeding habits and language Habits of the young
Reed bunting Beautiful weather The oak in August . 289-308



CONTENTS xiii

CHAPTER XIV

PAGES

Yellow flowers Family likeness in flavours and scents
Mimulus luteus Flowers in church decoration Effect of as-
sociation Mimulus luteus as a British plant A rule as to
naturalised plants wanted A visit to Swarraton Changes
since Gilbert White's day "Wild musk" Bird life on the
downs Turtle-dove nestlings Blue skin in doves A boy
naturalist Birds at the cottage The wren's sun-bath Wild
fruits ripen An old chalk pit Birds and elderberries Past and
present times compared Calm days Migration of swallows
Conclusion . 309-336



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

1. REDSHANK ON WILLOW. J. S. . Frontispiece

2. WATER-KEEPER'S COTTAGE ON THE TEST. E. H. Title page

PAGE

3. A HOUSE ON THE BOLDRE. A. II. J. . . ; ' . : '. 1

4. BANK- VOLE AND HORNET. B. P. . . . to face 10

5. GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER. J. S. . . ...-.'. 14

6. CUCKOO EJECTING ROBIN FROM THE NEST. J. S. to face 22

7. BRIDGE AT BOLDRE. E. H. . . . . , . 30

8. BEAULIEU MILL. A. H. J. . ... . - ^ 38

9. THE BARROW ON THE HEATH. D. S. . . . to face 50

10. BEAULIEU ABBEY. E. H. . ... . .56

11. YOUNG THRUSH. J. S. ... . . 60

12. BRACKEN IN JUNE. D. S i , to face 68

13. AN ANGRY YAFFLE. J. S. . . . . . 71

14. STAG-BEETLE. J. S. . ,, . . 78

15. ADDERS. B. H. . . ,< . . to face 88

16. WEASEL FASCINATING SMALL BIRDS. J. S. . . 106

17. A DEAD SHREW. E. H. ... . . . 115

18. NEW FOREST HOLLIES. E. H 120

19. GLOW-WORMS. J. S. . . . . . to face 138

20. GRASSHOPPER HEATH. E. H 154

21. RIVAL GREAT GREEN GRASSHOPPERS. E. H. . . 157

22. MONUMENT IN HAREWOOD FOREST. E. H. . . . 166

23. FLOWER SPIDERS' ANTICS. J. S to face 170

24. SELBORNE FROM THE SHORT LYTH. E. H. . . . 177

25. MUSK MALLOW. E. H. . . 187



xvi LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

PAGE

26. BLACK GRASSHOPPERS. E. H 194

27. PRIORS DEAN CHURCH. E. H 202

28. PRIORS DEAN FARM-HOUSE. E. H 208

29. OLD GRAVESTONES. M. G 214

30. YEW AT HURSTBORNE PRIORS. E. H 221

31. HOLLTWATER CLUMP: WOLMER FOREST. B. H. . to face 230

32. WOLMER FOREST. E. H 240

33. COTTAGE AT EASTON : ITCHEN. E. H 243

34. A HAMPSHIRE GIRL. M. G 254

35. COTTAGE AT MARTYR WORTHY. E. H 263

36. A SCENE ON THE TEST. E. H 266

37. CIRL BUNTING. J. S 275

38. A MORE OR LESS HAPPY FAMILY. J. S. . . to face 280

39. OLD MILL HOUSE ON THE TEST. E. H. . . . 288

40. THE ITCHEN AT TWYFORD. E. H 292

41. AN ORPHANED BLACKBIRD. J. S. .... 297

42. KEED BUNTING. J. S 305

43. MIMULUS LUTEUS. E. H 311

44. "WILD MUSK." E. H 320

45. TIDBURY RING. E. H 323

46. WREN'S SUN-BATH. J. S 326

47. HARVESTMAN ON DANDELION CLOCK. E. H. . . 336

/. S., J. Smit; E. H., Mrs. E. Hubbard ; A. H. J., A. Hey wood
Jones; B. P., Miss Bertha Patmore ; D. S., Miss Dora Sulman ;
B. H., Bryan Hook; M. G., Miss Marion Gardiner.

Drawings No. 33, 35, and 40 are from ph<to<jraphs by W. T. Green
of Winchester.




HAMPSHIRE DAYS



CHAPTER I

Autumn in the New Forest Red colour in mammals November
mildness A house by the Boldre An ideal spot for small
birds Abundance of nests Small mammals and the weasel's
part Voles and mice Hornet and bank-vole Young shrews
A squirrel's visit Green woodpecker's drumming-tree
Drumming of other species Beauty of great spotted wood-
pecker The cuckoo controversy A cuckoo in a robin's nest
Behaviour of the cuckoo Extreme irritability Manner of
ejecting 1 eggs and birds from the nest Loss of irritability
Insensibility of the parent robins Discourse on mistaken
kindness, pain and death in nature, the annual destruction
of bird life, and the young cuckoo's instinct.

HERE, by chance, in the early days of December 1902,
at the very spot where my book begins, I am about
to bring it to an end.

A few days ago, coming hither from the higher
country at Silchester, where the trees were already
nearly bare, I was surprised to find the oak woods of



2 HAMPSHIKE DAYS

this lower southern part of the New Forest still in
their full autumnal foliage. Even now, so late in the
year, after many successive days and nights of rain
and wind, they are in leaf still: everywhere the woods
are yellow, here where the oak predominates ; the
stronger golden red and russet tints of the beech are
vanished. We have rain and wind on most days, or
rather mist and rain by day and wind with storms
of rain by night ; days, too, or parts of days, when it
is very dark and still, and when there is a universal
greyness in earth and sky. At such times, seen against
the distant slaty darkness or in the blue-grey misty
atmosphere, the yellow woods look almost more beauti-
ful than in fine weather.

The wet woodland roads and paths are everywhere
strewn, and in places buried deep in fallen leaves
yellow, red, and russet ; and this colour is continued
under the trees all through the woods, where the dead
bracken has now taken that deep tint which it will
keep so long as there is rain or mist to wet it for
the next four or five months. Dead bracken with
dead leaves on a reddish soil; and where the woods
are fir, the ground is carpeted with lately-fallen needles
of a chestnut red, which brightens almost to orange
in the rain. Now, at this season, in this universal
redness of the earth where trees and bracken grow,
we see that Nature is justified in having given that
colour red and reddish-yellow to all or to most of
her woodland mammals. Fox and foumart and weasel



AUTUMN IN THE NEW FOREST 3

and stoat; the hare too; the bright squirrel; the
dormouse and harvest-mouse; the bank- vole and the
wood-mouse. Even the common shrew and lesser
shrew, though they rarely come out by day, have a
reddish tinge on their fur. Water-shrew and water-
vole inhabit the banks of streams, and are safer
without such a colour ; the dark grey badger is strictly
a night rover.

Sometimes about noon the clouds grow thin in
that part of the sky, low down, where the sun is, and
a pale gleam of sunlight filters through ; even a patch
of lucid blue sky sometimes becomes visible for a while :
but the light soon fades; after mid-day the dimness
increases, and before long one begins to think that
evening has come. Withal it is singularly mild. One
could almost imagine in this season of mist and wet
and soft airs in late November that this is a land
where days grew short and dark indeed, but where
winter comes not, and the sensation of cold is un-
known. It is pleasant to be out of doors in such
weather, to stand in the coloured woods listening to
that autumn sound of tits and other little birds wan-
dering through the high trees in straggling parties,
talking and calling to one another in their small
sharp voices. Or to walk by the Boldre, or, as some
call it, the Lymington, a slow, tame stream in summer,
invisible till you are close to it ; but now, in flood,
the trees that grow on its banks and hid it in summer
are seen standing deep in a broad, rushing, noisy river.



4 HAMPSHIRE DAYS

The woodpecker's laugh has the same careless
happy sound as in summer: it is scarcely light in
the morning before the small wren pours out his
sharp bright lyric outside my window ; it is time, he
tells me, to light my candle and get up. The starlings
are about the house all day long, vocal even in the
rain, carrying on their perpetual starling conversation
talk and song and recitative ; a sort of bird- Yiddish,
with fluty fragments of melody stolen from the black-
bird, and whistle and click and the music of the triangle
thrown in to give variety. So mild is it that in the
blackness of night I sometimes wander into the forest
paths and by furzy heaths and hedges to listen for the
delicate shrill music of our late chirper in the thickets,
our Thamnotrizon, about which I shall write later ; and
look, too, for a late glow-worm shining in some wet
green place. Late in October I found one in daylight,
creeping about in the grass on Selborne Hill ; and some
few, left unmarried, may shine much later. And as to
the shade-loving grasshopper or leaf cricket, he sings,
we know, on mild evenings hi November. But I saw
no green lamp in the herbage, and I heard only that
nightly music of the tawny owl, fluting and hallooing
far and near, bird answering bird in the oak woods
all along the swollen stream from Brockenhurst to
Boldre.

This race of wood owls perhaps have exceptionally
strong voices : Wise, in his book on the New Forest,
says that their hooting can be heard on a still autumn



A HOUSE BY THE BOLDRE 5

evening a distance of two miles. I have no doubt
they can be heard a good mile.

But it is of this, to a bird lover, delectable spot in
the best bird-months of April, May, and June that I
have to write. The house, too, that gave me shelter
must be spoken of; for never have I known any
human habitation in a land where people are dis-
covered dwelling in so many secret, green, out-of-the-
world places, which had so much of nature in and
about it. Grown-up and young people were in it,
and children too, but they were girls, and had always
quite spontaneously practised what I had preached
pet nothing and persecute nothing. There was no
boy to disturb the wild creatures with his hunting
instincts and loud noises; no dog, no cat, nor any
domestic creature except the placid cows and fowls
which supplied the household with milk and eggs.
A small old picturesque red-brick house with high-
pitched roof and tall chimneys, a great part of it
overrun with ivy and creepers, the walls and tiled
roof stained by time and many-coloured lichen to a
richly variegated greyish red. The date of the house,
cut in a stone tablet in one of the rooms, was 1692.
In front there was no lawn, but a walled plot of
ground with old once ornamental trees and bushes
symmetrically placed yews, both spreading and
cypress-shaped Irish yew, and tall tapering jumper,
and arbor vitas ; it was a sort of formal garden which
had long thrown off its formality. In a corner of



6 HAMPSHIRE DAYS

the ground by the side of these dark plants were
laurel, syringa, and lilac bushes, and among these
such wildings as thorn, elder, and bramble had grown
up, flourishing greatly, and making of that flowery
spot a tangled thicket. At the side of the house
there was another plot of ground, grass-grown, which
had once been the orchard, and still had a few
ancient apple and pear trees, nearly past bearing,
with good nesting -holes for the tits and starlings in
their decayed mossy trunks. There were also a few old
ivied shade -trees chestnuts, fir, and evergreen oak.

Best of all (for the birds) were the small old half-
ruined outhouses which had remained from the distant
days when the place, originally a manor, had been
turned into a farm-house. They were here and there,
scattered about, outside the enclosure, ivy-grown, each
looking as old and weather-stained and in harmony
with its surroundings as the house itself the small
tumble-down barns, the cow-sheds, the pig-house, the
granary with open door and the wooden staircase
falling to pieces. All was surrounded by old oak
woods, and the river was close by. It was an ideal
spot for small birds. I have never in England seen so
many breeding close together. The commoner species
were extraordinarily abundant. Chaffinch and green-
finch; blackbird, throstle, and missel-thrush; swallow
and martin, and common and lesser whitethroat; garden
warbler and blackcap; robin, dunnock, wren, flycatcher,
pied wagtail, starling, and sparrow ; one could go round



ABUNDANCE OF NESTS 7

and put one's hand into half-a-dozen nests of almost any
of these species. And very many of them had become
partial to the old buildings: even in closed rooms
where it was nearly dark, not only wrens, robins, tits,
and wagtails, but blackbirds and throstles and chaf-
finches were breeding, building on beams and in or
on the old nests of swallows and martins. The haw-
finch and bullfinch were also there, the last rearing
its brood within eight yards of the front door. One
of his two nearest neighbours was a gold -crested
wren. When the minute bird was sitting on her
eggs, in her little cradle-nest suspended to a spray of
the yew, every day I would pull the branch down so
that we might all enjoy the sight of the little fairy
bird in her fairy nest which she refused to quit. The
other next-door neighbour of the bullfinch was the
long-tailed tit, which built its beautiful little nest on
a terminal spray of another yew, ten or twelve yards
from the door; and this small creature would also
let us pull the branch down and peep into her well-
feathered interior.

It seemed that from long immunity from persecution,
all these small birds had quite lost their fear of human
beings; but in late May and in June, when many
young birds were out of the nest, one had to walk
warily in the grass for fear of putting a foot on some
little speckled creature patiently waiting to be visited
and fed by its parents.

Nor were there birds only. Little beasties were also



8 HAMPSHIRE DAYS

quite abundant ; but they were of species that did no
harm (at all events there), and the weasel would come
from time to time to thin them down. Money is paid
to mole-catcher and rat-catcher ; the weasel charges you
nothing: he takes it out in kind. And even as the
jungle tiger, burning bright, and the roaring lion
strike with panic the wild cattle and antelopes and
herds of swine, so does this miniature carnivore,
this fairy tiger of English homesteads and hedges,
fill with trepidation the small deer he hunts and
slays with his needle teeth Nature's scourge sent
out among her too prolific small rodents; her little
blood-letter who relieves her and restores the balance.
And therefore he, too, with his flat serpent head and
fiery killing soul, is a " dear " creature, being, like the
poet's web-footed beasts of an earlier epoch, "part of
a general plan."

The most abundant of the small furred creatures
were the two short -tailed voles field -vole and
bank -vole; the last, in his bright chestnut-red, the
prettiest. Whenever I sat down for a few minutes
in the porch I would see one or more run across the
stones from one side, where masses of periwinkle grew
against the house, to the other side, where Virginia
creeper, rose, and an old magnolia tree covered the
wall. One day at the back of the house by the
scullery door I noticed a swaying movement in a
tall seeded stem of dock, and looking down spied a
wee harvest-mouse running and climbing nimbly on



HORNET AND BANK-VOLE 9

the slender branchlets, feeding daintily on the seed, and
looking like a miniature squirrel on a miniature bush.

Just there, close to the door, was a wood-pile, and
the hornets had made their nest in it. The year
before they had made it in a loft in the house, and
before that hi the old barn. The splendid insects were
coming and going all day, interfering with nobody and
nobody interfering with them ; and when I put a plate
of honey for them on the logs close to their entrance
they took no notice of it; but by -and -by bank -voles
and wood -mice came stealing out from among the
logs and fed on it until it was all gone.

I was surprised, and could only suppose that the
hornets did not notice or discover the honey, because
no such good thing was looked for so close to their
door. Away from home the hornet was quick to dis-
cover anything sweet to the taste, and very ready to
resent the presence of any other creature at the table.

At the riverside, a few hundred yards from the house,
I was sitting in the shade of a large elm tree one day
when I was visited by a big hornet, who swept noisily
down and settled on the trunk, four or five feet above
the ground. A quantity of sap had oozed out into
a deep cleft of the rough bark and had congealed
there, and the hornet had discovered it. Before he
had been long feeding on it I saw a little bank- vole
come out from the roots of the tree and run up the
trunk, looking very pretty in his bright chestnut fur
as he came into the sunlight. Stealing up to the



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