The writer Mary Roberts (1788–1864) developed an interest in natural history while growing up in the Gloucestershire countryside. This work of observations on wildlife, plants and the weather, though written while she was living in the village of Sheepscombe, near Painswick, was not published until 1831, some time after she had moved to London with her widowed mother and was a published author. Each chapter is devoted to a month of the year, and Roberts’ acute observation of nature is enhanced by her considerable knowledge: she cites Withering and Cuvier (both also reissued in the Cambridge Library Collection) as her reference sources for plants and animals respectively. Her motive is ‘a sincere desire to interest the dwellers among rural scenes in the … natural objects that surround them’, and there is plenty to interest the modern reader in this charming account of the ecology of a remote rural hamlet.
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