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toast, muffins, marmalade, and eggs; while another side-board displays game, fowl, tongue, meat-pies; and the attentive servants bring round hot luxuries in the forms of rognons au vin de champagne, mutton cutlets, grilled chickens, broiled haddocks, dried salmon, and omelettes aux fines herbes.

Breakfast is over-you have equipped yourself for shooting. The conveyances are at the door, consisting of the van, Irish jaunting car, "phaton chay," and some half-dozen ponies. The arms and ammunition are sent forward with the keeper; and, entering the avenue of elm and horse-chestnuts, which form a vista from the house to the lodge, you pass through the extensive park, richly clustered with the most picturesque oak and stately beeches, and reach the keeper's house. There may be seen that stalwart hero, the terror of the neighbouring poachers, surrounded by his merry men in Lincoln green, and a host of rustics to act as beaters; they have already been "told off"-I use a military phrase-and each keeper, loader, and beater has a number in his hat. The list of the sportsmen is read over. No. 1 is, say, the host; as his name and number are pronounced, the men--a keeper, loader, boy with ammunition, and three beaters-marked No. 1, fall out and join him; and so on to every sportsman. When all have passed muster, you are placed in line by the head-keeper, the men having strict injunctions to keep with their numbered master all day. You enter the preserve; a whirring noise is heard-bang, bang! go a dozen guns-the "bold pheasantry" are falling in every direction. At the end of the cover the game is laid together, each gunner claiming his share. How often does it happen that, out of a dozen birds, two sportsmen at least claim having each shot eight or nine! Then the keeper loudly asserts his master for the day has killed the most.

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While on this subject, I cannot refrain from telling an anecdote which happened to me when shooting at *, the seat of I won't fill up the hiatus, as I love to be mysterious. My place throughout the day happened to be with the noble owner, who, though a good shot, was not a first-rate one. Whenever we happened to be together, every bird that fell, every hare that was shot, was claimed for my host: "I claims that for my lord!" shouted the head keeper, who accompanied his lord and master. Whenever we came to reckon the game, so much was claimed for my companion, that I was left generally with a shattered hen pheasant and a brace of hares. "Where are the two pheasants I shot in the turnips?" I exclaimed. Echo answered-where? The following day, being again appointed to the post of honour with my host, I at an early hour went to the neighbouring town, where, with some silver shot, I bagged a couple of woodcocks. During the morning, the keeper kept on with his lion's share, leaving me almost worse off than on the previous occasion. After luncheon, during which I purposely led to the subject of woodcocks, every sportsman declared that it would be a feather in anybody's cap that could at so early a period bag a couple. I was silent. Towards the evening, just as it was getting dusk, and when within a few yards of my host, I shouted "cock!" threw my two purchased birds into the hedge, fired both barrels, ran forward,

picked up the "long-bills," and placed them in the game-bag. Almost at the very moment I fired, my lord's keeper, hearing my exclamation, shouted "Cock, my lord, to your right!" His lordship pulled both triggers, and, I need not add, brought down nothing. In the meantime, I was warmly congratulated by the delighted beaters upon my "kopital shot." Upon reaching the lodge, where our vehicles were in waiting, the bags, with the produce of the slaughter in the last copse, were opened: hares, pheasants, partridges, rabbits, and last, not least, the two woodcocks were laid out on the grass. "Let's see," said the head keeper, taking out his notched stick, and casting a longing eye on the produce of the market-" I claims, in the last copse, six pheasants, four hares, and them two woodcocks, for my lord."

I was dumb-founded-regularly flabbergasted. I must, however, do the right noble sportsman the justice to say that he never backed his keeper up, freely awarding the palm to me, which I wore unblushingly until after dinner, when I amused the company (including my host) not a little with the real version of the transaction.

I have digressed. To resume, I left my party in the well-stocked preserves; the shooting is carried on for nearly five hours, during which time the sportsmen enjoy a "stand-up" luncheon, the loaders being provided with the best edibles and buvables (Anglicé, eatables and drinkables) for such an occasion-namely, French rolls with the crumb out, and slices of chicken or game inserted, and a flagon of whiskey, or brandy and seltzer water. Upon their return home, the produce of the day is displayed upon the lawn in front of the house, and the following may be looked upon as a tolerable fair sample:

216 Pheasants.

312 Hares.

10 Partridges.
2 Woodcocks.
60 Rabbits.

Total, 600 head.

Here they are met by the ladies and the ladies' men, who have devoted their day to little nothings and idlings-strolling in the flower-garden and shrubberies, copying music, trying over the latest quadrilles, playing at bagatelle, turning over portfolios of autographs and "H.B.'s" political caricatures, and who had just returned from the neighbouring town, where they had been leaving cards and shopping, much to the delight of the females who presided over the provincial Howell and James's, and who, from the fashionable company from the park, declared it to be "quite a Bond Street day in

*

Another social evening passes; after dinner, and during the absence of the ladies, the covers are shot over again; each descants on his own, or the merits of his Manton, Moore, Westley Richards, or Egg. Some squire, "all of the olden time," advocates flint and steel, and early hours (at least in the morning); talks of the sport of his youthful days, when at daybreak, accompanied by his dogs, he

took the field, walked up the game, and concludes his harangue with an anathema against modern battues, which he likens to killing so many barn-door fowls in a farm-yard. In rejoinder, a young exquisite ridicules the flint, or McAdam system, as he calls it, which he pronounces to be quite Gothish. A match is then made between the respective parties, as to who shall bag the most game in a given number of hours, which ends on the following day in the auld squire being successful; more, however, owing to his own exertions than to the merit of his "fowling piece," as he still calls it. Whilst on the subject of shooting I must mention an anecdote that occurred in Staffordshire, and which created a good laugh at the hero of it. Upon one occasion when two noble lords-perhaps two of the best shots in England, nay, in the world-were going out "gunning," the Yankees call it, they were accompanied by a friend, who being, like young Norval, "the flower of modesty," replied to a question as to whether he was a good shot, "Oh, yes, I can shoot as well as my neighbours." "Can you really?" said one of the noble lords, looking at the youth, who was riding between them. "As well as your neighbours; considering -- and I are not the worst shots in the world, you don't place yourself in a very low form."

The next morning was devoted to visiting an old castle, which had flourished in the days of the seventh Henry, now a ruin. The walls which then echoed with the sound of the song, the dance, and minstrelsy, now exhibited a desolate appearance.

"And there they stand as stands a lofty mind,
Worn, but unstooping to the baser crowd;
All tenantless, save by the crannying wind,

Or holding dark communion with the cloud."

The tilting-yard, dated 1485, was all that remained perfect of the ancient edifice, and that brought vividly to the "mind's eye" the chivalrous deeds of by gone-days. Chivalry was indeed one of the chief amusements of the reign of Henry VII.; but in the following reign, though its influence diminished daily, it still subsisted as a splendid spectacle, supported by the mutual emulation of princes, their enthusiastic gallantry, or their predilection for arms and exploits of valour. Henry VIII. delighted in chivalry; its spirit neither perverted his judgment nor improved his heart; but its tournaments gratified his taste for magnificence, and his passion for arms. On these amusements, in which he engaged as a constant combatant, his father's treasures were profusely expended. His weapons sometimes were unusual, at least at tourneys the battle-axe, and two-handed sword; but these were blunted, as were the spears with which the combatants were furnished.

At his interview with Francis the First, in the field of the cloth of gold, his strength and dexterity were both conspicuous. In a tournament, perhaps the most splendid of the age, the two kings, who with fourteen companions had undertaken to encounter all who challenged, entered the lists with their assistants, sumptuously arrayed in the richest tissues, and in the presence of their queens, waited the appearance of those knights whom the fame of their

tournament was supposed to have attracted. Their opponents were ready-twelve gentlemen, richly habited. Francis began, and after performing several courses, and breaking several spears, was succeeded by Henry, who shivered his spear at the first encounter; at the second demolished his antagonist's helmet. Their joustings were continued for five days, with equal splendour and similar success.

The sports of the field too were carried on with vigour in the seventh and eighth Henry's reign. In England hunting had ever been a favourite diversion, and hawking had only been just superseded by the gun; but it was still practised with unabating ardour, and cultivated scientifically as a liberal art. Treatises were composed on the diet and discipline proper for the falcon; the genus was discriminated, like social life, and a species appropriated to every intermediate rank, from an emperor down to a peasant; nor were gentlemen more distinguished by the blazoning of heraldy, than by the particular hawks they were entitled to carry. The long bow was also employed in fowling, a sport in which much dexterity was requisite; but archery was even a female amusement, and it is recorded that Margaret, wife of James IV. of Scotland, on her journey to the north, killed a buck with an arrow in Alnwick Park.* The preservation of game was enforced in those days by a statute, the first that was enacted of those laws which have since accumulated into the present code.

In Scotland the monarchs hunted in the Highlands, sometimes in a state of eastern magnificence. For the reception of James V., the queen, his mother, and the pope's ambassador, the Earl of Athol constructed a palace or bower of green timber, interwoven with boughs, moted around, and provided with turrets, portcullis, and drawbridge, and furnished within with whatever was suitable for a royal abode. The hunting continued for three days, during which, independent of roes, wolves, and foxes, six hundred deer were captured-an incredible number, unless we suppose that a large district was surrounded, and the game driven into a narrow circle to be slain by the king and his retinue. On their departure, the earl set fire to the palace, an honour that excited the ambassador's surprise; but the king informed him that it was customary with Highlanders to burn those habitations they deserted. The earl's hospitality was estimated at the daily expense of a thousand pounds at present equivalent at least to three thousand pounds sterling.

With this long digression I shall conclude this chapter. The hounds a lawn meeting-a visit to the kennel-a wet day in the country, will form the subject of the ensuing one.

(To be continued.)

* In a former article, under the title of “ Sporting Reminiscences of the Con gress of Vienna," I described a royal chasse which the Emperor of Austria provided for the amusement of his guests, and which, being deprived of the noblest features of this manly amusement, degenerated into a cruel display of skill. I, however, omitted to mention a fact recorded by a most able historian, viz., that although all the monarchs were tolerably good sportsmen, none shot so well as the Empress of Austria, who always selected the hares as the smallest objects, and never failed to kill, with a single ball. The ladies of the court too entered with spirit into the sport.

A DAY'S PHEASANT SHOOTING IN

HEREFORDSHIRE.

BY ORNITHER.

"Devenere locos lætos, et amœna vireta
Fortunatorum nemorum, sedesque beatas."

VIRG.

To those whose lives are unstained by crime, uncorrupted by absolutely vicious pursuits, what a joyful privilege is the faculty of memory! By means of it we renew at will, and live over again, our pleasures; conjuring up in spiritual yet brilliant colours whatsoevercharming heretofore by novelty, beauty, or excitement-once impressed its features upon the soul. Wondrously delicate, and quick of response, too, are the threads that, from a vast storehouse of similar material, let down mysteriously before the intellectual eye, at a touch, the images of those things that in by-gone days for pleasure or for pain affected us.

There are times with all when the force of circumstances-the urgency, for instance, of family affairs, or the exigency of businessprecludes from us the enjoyment of those recreations in which we especially delight. On these occasions, in the absence of real, we fly not unfrequently to imaginary pleasures. Yes, often amid "the crowd, the hum, the shock of men"-in the noisy thoroughfares of busy life, or in the hush of our lonely chamber at dead of night, wearied with the occupation we have been engaged in, do we fondly turn back the inward eye and gaze upon memory's ethereal pictures of "the days that are gone." The forms that pass in swift succession over this magic speculum are full of colour and spirit: the dogs stand magnificently; the grouse, stricken mortally, flutters madly over the heather; the partridge falls plump among the stubbles, or the pheasant, expiring in the air, tumbles heavily through resisting bushes to the ground. Every incident of sport becomes presently invested with beauty; and feeling powerfully the superior charm that the actual pursuit affords, since the very remembrance of it imparts a vivid pleasure, we change the view, and hopefully and eagerly look forward to the welcome hour when again it shall be our happiness to follow it.

As at this moment we chance to be so situated, and may not for a fortnight-peradventure for a month to come, luxuriate to our heart's content in the

"Healthful pleasures of the plains,"

let us fall back on old experiences, and, selecting some particular occasion, construct such a narrative of pheasant-shooting-the sport that naturally occurs just now to the imagination-as shall convey to our indulgent and honoured readers a few of our notions on this subject. Daylight was just breaking on the second Monday in October

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