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country to a wood or copse on a steep slope, is the only portion of Selborne Hill that is seen, except the terminating slope eastwards, the upper part of which, the Hanger approaches but does not altogether reach, and on the interinediate part there appears a few scattered trees, which tell more distinctly against the sky than one would expect from their distance. The treeless portion of the surface is variegated with low brush-wood, and scattered grass, and cattle runs, and winding paths; but when seen from the road these are indistinct, and merely take off the tameness which a uniform surface would give to it.
The more distant hill is Nore Hill, and its character contrasts well with that of Selborne Hill. Like that, it is wooded, but the wood is of a different character. Selborne Hanger is one unbroken mass of the most luxuriant foliage, in which, at a distance, no division of parts or distinction of tree from tree can be observed. The trees on Nore Hill, on the other hand, are clumpy, broken into distinct masses even where thickest, and melting away into scattered individual trees or bushes of smaller dimensions. On a sunny evening the light must tell beautifully on those hills, from the position in which they stand. Selborne Hill must then be in that indescribable shade of purplish green which is shown by the shadow upon very rich places; the eastern part and the same side of the clumps upon Nore Hill must partake of the gray; and then the sun beating brightly upon the naked part of Nore Hill westward, streaming in through the openings between, and touching a point here and a point there with mellowed light, till the whole fades away into the subdued tint of the eastern part, must present a chiar' oscuro at which an artist who can feel the natural grouping of lights in a landscape would be perfectly delighted. Such is the first, or, as we may call it, the 'Pisgah" view that the pilgrim thitherward obtains of Selborne. After this foretaste of the anticipated beauties of Selborne, slight though it be, one whose principal object is the further exploring of it can have little inducement to linger long at Alton; yet Alton is a very pretty place, pleasantly situated on a hill sloping southward, clean, snug, and comfortable, with a fine little stream in the bottom of the valley, and pleasant grounds on the opposite bank. Indeed there is a grouping about the general scenery in this part of the country which, whatever may be its more individual character, prevents it from monotony. The fields are open, and the woods are clustered and placed in the situations
where one likes best to find them, that is, where the trees thrive best, and yet occupy those portions of the soil which from steepness or other qualities are least available for agricultural purposes.
The carriage road from Alton to Selborne is rather circuitous. It is the Southampton road for about five miles to Tisted; and then there is a winding country road of between three and four miles more to Selborne. The Southampton road is good, but the country road is very bad, lying along a winding hollow from which little or nothing can be seen; and by this approach there is no view of Selborne till one arrives at the village itself, and even there one can scarcely believe that it is a village at all, until the Playstow and the church are arrived at. Even here the twist of the road, or street as it is termed, takes off every thing like a view, and thus, if one wishes to receive the meanest first impression possible of Selborne, the most certain way of succeeding is to come to it by this the carriage road. The old carriage road across the hills from Alton is rather worse. It enters the village at the same point with the road from Tisted;, and all the way from Harteley, which is at least two miles, the traveller sees little, save a narrow stripe of the sky, and steep banks, almost perpendicular, so near to each other that one carriage cannot pass another except at particular points, and presenting a mass of tangled roots interspersed with shivered rocks. This is one of the "deep lanes" described by White as being peculiarly characteristic of this part of the country. It is indeed the deepest of the whole, being eighteen or twenty feet near the Selborne end, and it continues not less than ten feet until Selborne is fairly out of view. The other approach from the eastward, from Woolmer Forest across the Temple farm, is also in a deep lane, not quite so deep as the former, and not so much tangled with brushwood; but still deep enough to put the obtaining of a general view of Selborne out of the question. The only road at all available for a carriage, from which the village or any part of it can be seen, is that from the south, which comes twining round the south-eastern extremity of Selborne Hill, but from this the village is not worth looking at; so that, though viewed as a whole Selborne is a very beautiful place, there is no possibility of obtaining even a tolerable first or general view of it and at the same time enjoying the luxury of a carriage. Hence, to understand and enjoy Selborne properly, the visitor must con
sent to be a pedestrian across the hills, or rather swelling grounds, from Alton, the distance being about from four to five miles.
From the nature of the soil, which is generally speaking very tough and retentive, winter travelling along the foot-path here must be a work of "difficulty and labour hard," as Milton expresses it; and even after a summer shower the path is greasy withal. It is also beset with a great number of stiles, with no steps to facilitate the crossing; but one journeying toward Selborne must not mind those little matters, and, as the foot-path is one of ups and downs, it is never very deep, or very long in drying after a shower. It is first up the slope from Alton, then down again to Trunchion, and so gradually up another slope by West Wordleham and Hartley Farm, which last slope is long but not steep, but all the while there is no appearance of Selborne. After the last long slope is turned, however, and the descent, which is also gradual, is so far made, Selborne, of which the hills have again been seen from the top of the slope, makes its appearance in exactly the manner which one would wish in order to have a general impression of it unbroken by details. A hedge I forms the immediate fore-ground, over which the church and steeple, and a portion of the vicarage house, make their appearance. Clumps of trees conceal the village, but display over the vicarage a very finely wooded park of about twenty acres, which
We have been somewhat minute in describing this general view of the village of Selborne, because this is the only one which gives a correct notion of the combined beauties of the place;
Conceal the e houses
the sketch by Grimm inserted in the quarto edition of White's Selborne, published in 1789, and copied on a reduced scale for an edition superintended by Sir William Jardine in 1833, is calcu lated to give quite a wrong impression, as it makes the village appear to stand on the brow of a hill, omits the Nore Hill altogether, and reduces Selborne Hill absolutely to nothing.
As the above sketch brings before the reader, at one view, all the grand features of Selborne as described by its faithful historian, we shall recapitulate the leading points of it. The point of view is from a field, we believe on the farm of Harteley. The hedge separating the immediate foreground is one of those bordering the deep lane along which the carriage-road from Selborne to Harteley, or the old road from Selborne to Alton, passes; and, if the heights of the hedges are taken into account, no kind of carriage can be seen passing along the lane even by one situated within a few yards of its margin. Beyond this lane the ground ascends into what may be called the dell of Selborne, along which the north-western branch of the "Borne," or "Bourne," flows. This branch consists entirely of surface water, without any deep-seated springs; and consequently, as Mr. White remarks, it becomes dry in seasons of great drought.
Beyond this concealed dell the church appears, though only in part; and to the reader's right of the church there is seen a small portion of the vicarage. The trees around these completely conceal the village, which is rather an advantage, inasmuch as the houses are so straggling that they cannot be grouped with pictorial effect; and the consequence is that, in the sketch made by Grimm, and already alluded to, Selborne appears a scene of desolation, which is the very opposite of its real character; for, setting altogether aside the magical, and we may say immortal charm, with which the sylvan wand of the most delightful of enchanters has invested it, Selborne is a lovely place. Nor ought we to omit observing that a portion of that mantle which sat so gracefully upon Gilbert White appears to have been caught and retained by the population generally; for there is not, perhaps, on the face of the earth a rustic population more orderly in their conduct, more suave in their manners, or better informed in their minds, than at Selborne. Some visitors have asserted that this place is abandoned to wild nature,— doubtless meaning thereby to imply that improvement has not found its way there. Nothing can be more unfounded-more