In the essay Mr. Benson is at his best, and here he is in his best vein. An atmosphere of rest and tranquil thoughtfulness envelops the reader, as he peruses this book so full of sage reflection, humor, shrewd observation, and serviceable thought; so fluent, accurate, and beautiful in style; so pleasingly varied in cadence.
wo great Levels, as straight as a line for many miles, up which the tide pulsates day by day; between them lies a wide tract of pasture called the Wash, which in summer is a vast grazing-ground for herds, in rainy weather a waste of waters, like a great estuary--north and south it runs, crossed by a few roads or black-timbered bridges, the fen- water pouring down to the sea. It is a great place for birds this. The other day I disturbed a brood of redshanks here, the parent birds flying round and round, piping mournfully, almost within reach of my hand. A little further down, not many months ago, there was observed a great commotion in the stream, as of some big beast swimming slowly; the level was netted, and they hauled out a great sturgeon, who had somehow lost his way, and was trying to find a spawning-ground. There is an ancient custom that all sturgeon, netted in English waters, belong by right to the sovereign; but no claim was advanced in this case. The line between Ely and March crosses the level, fur