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be. True enough, Don stands: no birds could run in such stuff, for it's hard to walk in it: having nothing better to do, they rise, and a leash of them fall. Away go the rest: where? Why into the beans below. Capital! now we shall have them! standing beans nothing I enjoy like standing beans. Muzzleton did'nt look happy: "I'm afraid we can't go there: Old Peastraw's not fond of seeing anyone in them, and here he comes; let's ask him; say you know exactly where they "Good mornin', gentlemen, good mornin': walk in and take a snack?" "No, not at present." "Well! happy to see you: what sport?" "Not very good." "Well! there is birds, there is birds surelie : see four yesterday myself: hope you'll go all over the land, only spare the crop-spare the crop, gentlemen." Muzzleton had got his mouth open, and this speech of the old farmer's shut it again, without getting out the intended request. Then we had an hour's walk in the turnips and mangold-wurzel, where we shot a brace of barren birds; a large covey was flushed in a green-sward field without our getting a shot. We sit down to luncheon under a broiling sun-our greatest satisfaction; intolerable thirst, with the capability of quenching it with bitter beer, or cold brandy-and-water. They're all in those confounded beans," says Muzzleton, as he lights his cigar and pours out a glass of dinner sherry; "they'll all be cut next week, and then we shall get at them." After our siesta we proceed, with very indifferent luck, as it seems to me: Muzzleton thought better of it, when, by dint of downright slavery and not missing a bird, we had killed six brace. The day was waning, but Noakes's farm always had birds, and he has only been once this season. Three coveys in one field; nothing less: we'll kill our twelve brace to-day those beans are too high to shoot in, and there's only one or two coveys on this farm. Noakes's was the land of promise: for two mortal hours we slaved over Noakes's; it was the land of nothing else: no fulfilment of promise: not a feather to see which way the wind blew. Out of stubbles, into turnips, up and down beans (Noakes was liberal), even to the sixty-acre pastures, but not a bird. Muzzleton mopp'd his face, and stood the picture of despair. "Why I saw them myself, a week ago; fifty brace of them, if there was a bird. Hallo! you sir, young 'un, are there any birds about here." "Birds, aye, lots on 'em; Mr. Giles was a-shooting on 'em this morning like winkin'; he killed ever so many, and druv' two large coveys down into Lord Turniptop's beans; the keeper's been a-shooting there this afternoon." This was pleasant intelligence; this comes of taking the outside beat, and of trusting to Noakes and his men to preserve your game. And so it went on every day; when the beans were cut, we did'nt find them; when the beans were up, we could'nt look for them. What with the Gileses, and the want of scent, and Lord Turniptop's keeper, and the gentlemen from the canal, and the professional netters, half-a-dozen brace seems to be an average bag at Muzzleton's.
Uncle S.-Enough of dogs.
Neph. That's not complimentary to Muzzleton.
Uncle S.-Nor to yourself, perhaps, had I said puppies. However, take another glass of port wine, and pass the bottle: we'll drown the puppy, and be silent on the amiable weaknesses of youth, which are, after all, more excusable than the garrulity of age.
Neph. With pleasure, sir,
"Quid juvat errores merså jam puppe fateri."
Unhappily for you, my tether is but a short one-from dogs and guns, to hounds and horses. The shortening days and frost-bitten dahlias proelaim the beginning of another season. We shall shortly see whether our expectations of the jumping young one are to be disappointed, or more than realized. I want your advice about a small stud for a light weight and a light purse.
Uncle S.-You shall have it; but first let me know the locality in which their talents are to be exercised. Is it over the large racing pastures of Leicestershire and Market Harboro', in the Vale of Beauvoir (where they have already had some good sport, I hear; thirty minutes, and turned up an old 'un in the open), in the deep ridge-and-furrow of Northamptonshire, over the light plough and big ditches of the Holderness, or among the cramped fences and small fields of Essex, or the home counties? because it makes all the difference in the world what sort of animal you bestride in every one of these. Ask the officers, who some years ago were quartered at Tilbury Fort, and who having passed a winter at Weedon Barracks, fancied themselves and their horses fit for anything or any country-just ask those gallant young men what they think of the part of Essex which at that time was called Lord Petre's country, and has since been hunted by an excellent sportsman, I believe of the name of Newman (not the celebrated Charlie of that name). I saw them down there with nice thorough-bred horses, with tackle on their heads; and your old uncle, then a younger man, said to himself, "that looks like going into the second ditch of a double, or doing it all at a fly." Bless you, my boy, those gentlemen spent the greater part of their days walking or running about in wet turnips, or (if fortunately placed) among the stubbles and partridges. A really fast man would have stationed a man with a gun at certain fences, for it was a certain fall with these devils, and he might have shot his way to his horse: If you are going there, buy old ones, screws if you like, but made hunters; let them have the use of their hind legs, and mind and be particular about the way they carry their heads, or they'll down you, Martingales wont help you much there, and horses that require them should be avoided in slow and cramped countries. When I go out hunting, I go for a ride, and not for a walk, so the fewer falls I get, the better pleased I am. To say nothing of the chance of being hurt, it is also undignified. An English gentleman, who, after a certain time of life, and in a certain position of society, not only does not repudiate tumbling down and eating dirt, but actually courts it by riding a horse unfitted to the country, Allah Mashallah! has an amount of moral courage which is thrown away in the hunting field. So tell me, my boy, when you intend to exhibit, so that across the country may not prove on the flat-of your back-to you; and that you may profit, if possible, by the family experience.
Neph. I contemplate nothing so slow as a home county: Jorrocks in Surrey, or Briggs in Kent; but the Scribbles have souls above buttons; besides which, I quite agree with Hieover that there is nothing so uncomfortable to ride as a slow, standing, cat-jumping horse, except
one that wont jump at all. They positively frighten me. Up you come, prepared to find yourself in the next field; and by the time that you ought to be half-way across it, you have got four legs on a bank in the compass of a hat-crown, and a neck three-parts over a sort of gulley, which looks only uglier from your incapability of seeing the bottom of it. Besides which, as half one's enjoyment arises from anticipation, my hunting existence can be better conceived than appreciated, when I state that on such horses I'm always expecting a fall; and when the fall does come, it's an inglorious fall. Nothing brilliant, like a good rattler; but a heavy, long, slog-dolaging sort of tumble, such as a beef-eater or the Knave of Clubs might be expected to get, if he went out hunting. To the roothings of Essex, or the fallows of the Holderness, I've no objection; the latter is a little wide of the metropolis, and when a frost comes or goes, it takes about a fortnight's hay and corn to get backwards and forwards. No, sir, it strikes me that a young gentleman with so charming a relative as yourself in existence, would do well to pitch his tent about a cheroot or regalia's distance from-
Uncle S.-A what? this is a new system of measurement.
Neph-Exactly. I'm glad you remark it, and hope you admire it. You know I've taken to reading lately, and have been charmed with that obsolete drama-"The Rivals." As Bob Acres has his oath referential or sentimental swearing, it occurred to me that a measurement referential, according to one's habits, would be a very pretty introduction into the sportsman's vocabulary-"How far is to cover, Smith?" "Not more than a couple of cheroots." Fellows lie so terribly when they talk about miles. Now, if you know of a nice little box about one regalia from you, I think I could make myself comfortable with three good horses and a hack.
Uncle S.-The hack I think is unnecessary. You can either afford three or four; but have hunters: no man wants a hack with so small a stud. Get up half-an-hour earlier, and take that much more time on the road; and if your hunters are sound and good-constitutioned, you may always be carried to cover on one of them. I dare say Í may be able to find a place for you. It so happens that her Most Gracious Majesty, with a proper appreciation of the military ardour of her country gentlemen, has called into active service the gallant regiment of Stickathome Militia, who are gone somewhere to quell a riot-or to make one; and as the places of these preservers of our country and our foxes must be supplied, we shall probably have a great supply of strange leather breeches amongst us this winter. I know nothing so comfortable for a single man as quarters in a country inn or hotel. Nothing to do but to call for what you want, and to pay for it. The inconvenience of servants alone ought to deter any man from keeping house, who can do without it. Have your own groom and your own body-servant, valet, or whatever you please to call him and let your landlord find helpers.
Neph.-But about the hounds? How many cigars distant from the meets, what sort of country, and, above all, what sort of horses? Uucle S.-For a light weight to see sport, I should recommend some place, and there are plenty, where you may get to the Pytchley, the Quorn, with oocasional days with Lord Southampton, the Warwickshire, and Mr. Drake. Follow the North Western line, not too
far from London, and yet far enough from the metropolitan swells: stag-hounds will do better for them. With the Pytchley or Quorn you must have a hunter, and plenty of pace; and Lord Southampton has, if possible, a more difficult country than either of them-many a bottom, as we call them, and not Shuffler's Bottoms either. It's a country in which a man learns never to despise a gate. Never be deceived by the notion that knowledge of a country makes a bad rider. Here it is of the greatest possible advantage; besides which, no one but a blockhead can hunt long without acquiring it, and profiting by it. A friend of mine, who would have been great as a sportman but for a deficiency in all points that make one, great over the mahogany, used to abuse the Pytchley country for its quantity of gates: I don't think he ever found one too many-I never did. The fields, extensively and numerically, are large, and the fences to be negociated with a good will, or not at all. Leicestershire is somewhat easier; but the pace is severe, and an ox-fence is an awkward customer to look at. Mr. Lowndes, with a bad country, is likely to show sport; for he has a first-rate pack of hounds, and is a genuine sportsman himself. Oxfordshire is fortunate in having still got Mr. Drake at the head of his establishment: his father's own son every inch of him. There's a choice of localities for you.
Neph. And for horses, a good bold young one or two.
Uncle S.-A good bold one or two would be better. However, if unmade, they acquire a knowledge of business sooner over slashing fences, than where they are more cramped. I am no advocate for teaching horses to jump by getting falls: young horses generally jump far enough, and if they find themselves safe on the other side generally, they recover from an occasional fall, which must happen, more easily. Mind they can jump, after galloping; in other words, when a little beat. When they are done to a turn, avoid fencing much, unless you wish to kill yourself and the horse too; and look a-head for sound ground-that's one of the most sensible things Nimrod ever wrote. A perfectly-made hunter-sound and fast, that can carry 13 stone, about 8 years old, is worth "Mygdonian riches :" one of four years old may be as good, at half the money; but you must take your chance.
Neph.-And where am I to go for the animal?
Uncle S.-Oxford against the world for screws-condition and talent included: and no wonder. If they can go with the hands they have generally behind them, they can go anyhow. For a better class of horse, young, fresh, and good, you may also try Oxford-Charles Simmonds, for instance, or any good dealers: Kench, Potter, and the London men. You have heard me speak, too, of Mr. Hall's establishment at Neasdon, from which young horses are draughted, and sent to Kilsby, in Northamptonshire, to learn their business: those are the sort fitted for a light weight over a first-rate country-almost thoroughbred, many quite. Perhaps he may have none of the twentyfour that I saw for sale: when he has, ask the price. Gentlemen sometimes have a good horse or two for sale, as well as dealers.
Neph.-Now about the covers, foxes, fences, andUncle S.-Another time. One more glass of that's right: I like moderation.
Neph.-Apropos of moderation, do you know, Sir, that you have given great offence to a gentleman, a contributor to the N.S.M. under the euphonious appellation which distinguishes the junior branches of the Noble House of Burghley?
Uncle S.-Yes, so I hear. And no one can regret more than I do that what was meant for a passing pleasantry, and, as you may see, was written ironically, should have been so literally interpreted, or have for a moment hurt the feelings of a contributor and sportsman. Those who join in so glorious a pastime should be the last to quarrel about its quality. However, there's an end of it. If you won't take more wine, let's join the ladies.
Oct. 9, 1854.
The lamentable death of Mr. Bagshawe, of Wormhill Hall, near Buxton, and of The Oaks, near Sheffield, by the hands of poachers, which has plunged a large and esteemed family into the deepest sorrow and affliction, as well as spread a gloom over the whole of North Derbyshire, and created a feeling of universal regret for his unhappy fate, has drawn attention to, and many enquiries have been made respecting, the mode of spearing fish, pursued by a gang of daring fellows, who, perfectly reckless of their own lives, are ferocious against those who venture upon an attack for the purpose of capturing them.
Before, however, proceeding to describe the plan adopted by these midnight adventurers to secure their plunder in defiance of all laws, the recital of a few particulars respecting the fatal encounter on Thursday morning, the 19th of July, by which the unfortunate young gentleman was deprived of existence, may be deemed necessary; although the tale is fraught with melancholy interest now, and will be remembered with pain and sorrow hereafter. Nor, as an instance of the poaching propensities of the present day, will it be deemed unfit to be placed on record in these pages.
Mr. Bagshawe was only twenty-six years of age. Last summer he took a tour on the continent, visiting Egypt and other countries, and had only returned home about two months previous to the occurrence of the sad calamity. He took up his abode for the fishing season at his beautiful residence of Wormhill Hall, situated about two miles and a half south of Tideswell, upon the river Wye, which runs through a delightfully romantic district, Miller's Dale, Cressbrook Dale, and Monsall Dale, to Bakewell. Mr. Bagshawe, who was devotedly attached to field sports, possessed indomitable courage and unflinching resolution,