Vines begin to blossom: corn-flags blow. My brother trenched his field, & sowed it with barley: but the corn seems as if it would be too big, & begins already to lodge. My brother has set up a may-pole 55 feet in height: it is constructed out of two slender deal-spars, & for support cramped to the corner of a garden wall.
Saw several grey crows on the downs between Winchester, & Andover; & four pheasants feeding at the corner of Whorwel-wood. Green wheat beautiful on the downs, but not forward sown. The Fyfield Comedians performed Much Ado About Nothing, with the Romp.
The poor make quite a second harvest by gathering of acorns. Timothy Turner has purchased upwards of 40 bushels. Two truflers came with their dogs to hunt our hangers, & beechen woods in search of truffles; several of which they found in the deep narrow part of the hill between coney-croft-hanger, & the high wood; & again on each side of the hollow road up the high-wood, known by the name of coach-road.
Two of my brother Henry’s gold-fish have been sick, & cannot live with the rest in the glass-bowl but in a tin-bucket by themselves they soon become lively, & vigorous. They were perhaps too much crouded in the bowl. When a fish sickens it’s head gets lowest; so that by degrees it stands as it were ont it’s head; ’till getting weaker & losing all poise, the tail turns over; & at last it floats on the water with it’s belly uppermost. Gold & silver-fishes seem to want no aliment, but what they can collect from pure water frequently changed. They will eat crumbs, but do better without; because the water is soon corrupted by the pieced of bread, & turns sour. Tho’ they seem to take nothing, yet the consequences of eating frequently drop from them: so that they must find many animalcula, & other nourishment. With their pinnae pectorales they gently protrude themselves forward or backward: but it is with their strong muscular tails only that Fishes move with such inconceivable rapidity.
It has been said that the eyes of fishes are immoveable: but these apparently turn them forward or backward in their sockets as their occasions require. They take little notice of a lighted candle, though applied close to their heads, but flounce and seem much frightened by a sudden stroke of the hand against the support whereon the bowl is hung; especially when they have been motionless, and are perhaps asleep. As fishes have no eyelids, it is not easy to discern when they are sleeping or not, because their eyes are always open.
Nothing can be more amusing than a glass bowl containing such
fishes: the double refractions of the glass and water represent them, when moving, in a shifting and changeable variety of dimensions, shades, and colours; while the two mediums, assisted by the concavo-convex shape of the vessel, magnify and distort them vastly; not to mention that the introduction of another element and its inhabitants into our parlours engages the fancy in a very agreeable manner.
The arbutus casts it’s blossoms & discloses the rudiments of its fruit. In thses two instances fructifcation goes on the winter through. Three martins in the street. Gossamer on every bent. *Bynstede, the name of a parish near us, signifies locus cultus, vel habitatus. This barish abuts on a wild woodland district, which is a royal forest, & is called the Holt. This parish was probably cultivated when all around were nothing but woodlands, & forests.
The storm on thursday night tore all the remaining flowers to pieces. *With us the country people call coppices, or brush-wood, ris, or rice: now hris in Saxon signifies frondes, & is no doubt whence our provincial term originates. Hraed hriz is frondes celeres: hence probably Red Rice, the name of a hunting-seat standing in the midst of a coppice at Andover.