Wheat-ears begin to burst-out. Boys bring hornets. The planet Venus is just become an evening star: but being now in the descending signs; that is, the end of Virgo, where it now is, being a lower part of the Zodiac than the end of Leo, where the sun is; Venus does not continue up an hour after the sun, & therefore must be always in a strong twilight. It sets at present N. of the west; but will be in the S.W. but not set an hour after the sun ’til Octr. from which time it will make a good figure ’til March in the S.W., W., & a little to the N. of the W.
This day has been at Selborne the honey market: for a person from Chert came over with a cart, to whom all the villagers round about brought their hives, & sold their contents. This year has proved a good one to the upland bee-gardens, but not to those near the forest. Combs were sold last year at about 3 3/4d per pound; this year from 3 1/2-4d. Women pick up acorns, & sell them for 1s pr bushel. A splendid meteor seen at half hour past six in the evening; but not so large as that on the 18th of August.
Gathered-in the white pippins, a great crop. Cleansed-out the zig-zag. Tho. Holt White, & Henry Holt White came. Bessy White, Sam White, & Ben Woods came from Fyfield. The Virginian Creeper is grown up to the eaves; but will probably shoot no farther, as the leaves at bottom begin to turn red. Total eclipse of the moon.
The Colchicum, or autumnal crocus blows. On the evening of this day, at about a quarter after nine o’the clock, a luminous meteor of extraordinary bulk, & shape was seen traversing the sky from N.W. to S.E. It was observed at Edinburg, & several other Ern. parts of this Island. No accounts of it, that I have seen, have been published from any of the western counties. It was also taken notice of at Ostend. This meteor, I find since, was seen at Coventry, & Chester. 4 swifts at Guildford; 1 swift at Meroe; 1 swift at Dorking.
Much smut in some fields of wheat. Goody Hampton left the garden to go gleaning. Barley cut about the forest-side. We shot in all about 30 blackbirds. Vast shooting star from E. to N. My nephew Sam Barker came from Rutland thro’ London by the coaches.
The conjunction of Jupiter & Saturn is over; & the former, which lately was just below the latter, is now to the E. of him, & in a line parallel with the horizon. These planets are so near the sun at setting as to be visible but a small time: & are so low as not to be seen at all at Selborne, because of the hill.
Many wasps at Lydon in Rutland, tho’ none in the great heats of autumn 1781. So there is some mystery in their breeding that we do not understand. * At the autumnal aequinox, the evenings are remarkably dark, because the sun at that time sets more in a right angle to the horizon, than at any other season. But of late these uncomfortable glooms have been much softened by frequent N. Auroras. This circumstance of autumnal darkness did not escape the poet of nature: who says,
“Now black, & deep the night begins to fall,/
A shade immense. Sunk in the quenching gloom/
Magnificent & vast are heaven & earth/
Order confounded lies; all beauty void;/
Distinction lost; & gay variety/
One universal blot: such the fair power
Of light, to kindle, & create the whole.”
Jupiter makes, & has made for some weeks past a beautiful & resplendent appearance every evening to the S.E. Saturn, who is very near, is much obscured by the brilliancy of the former. The sun at setting shines along the hanger in these long days, & tinges the stems of the tall beeches of a golden colour in a most picturesque, & amusing manner!! Just at the summer solstice the sun at setting shines directly up my broad walk against the urn, & tall fir. Fox-gloves, thistles, butterfly-orchids, blow in the high wood. In the garden roses, corn-flags, Iris’s red valerian, lychniss’s, &c. blow.