Youth's Magazine,  3rd ser. 6 (1833), 50–56.

The Summer House  [1/2]

M M S, pseud.  [Mary M Sherwood] *


Short Fiction, Serial


Amusement, Natural History, Taxonomy, Botany, Collecting, Piety

    As a boy, the narrator made a redundant summer-house on his father's estate into his special retreat, where he amused himself with reading, drawing, and writing. At the age of seventeen he was introduced to natural history by a 'celebrated naturalist' who visited his father, and who initiated him 'into some of the wonderful mysteries of natural philosophy', instructing him 'how to class and arrange the various animals' with which he was surrounded and encouraging him to study botany (53). He soon covered the shelves in the summer-house with 'dried specimens of plants, carefully arranged within sheets of blotting paper'. He sought to explain some of the 'natural wonders' which he observed to his former nurse. She was profoundly ignorant of science, but her remarks on such occasions 'were of infinitely more importance' to him 'as an immortal creature' than all the lessons he received from his 'learned classical tutor' or the visiting naturalist, for she led his thoughts to his creator. (54)

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