Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

noon away, gazing at the sporting picture on brought up the subject of the robbery, and the cover of the copy-book, thinking what a poor John was questioned about the state of glorious thing it must be to catch a salmon and his nerves. He was never very strong at any shoot a grouse ; after long years of toil, not time, and his remarkably small appetite, unmixed with sorrow, here we were, out on the joined to an inveterate habit of fasting, always grouse hills, realising boyhood's charming day- kept him weak in strength and low in condidream. Childhood touched us once more : it tion. Would he not take a little whisky does not touch us often ; but oh, it is divinely medicinally? The Baron gave

the
poor

fellow sweet to feel the spirit of other days stealing whisky and whisky instead of whisky and over us, the heart for a fleeting hour trans- water. formed into boyhood's soul so light and free, It was time to start homewards, and there free as the freshening breeze upon the sunny were several places which had been scarcely shot hills.

over during the season. We were much less We had agreed to meet Overeager for fatigued than on the previous day, and the luncheon at a shepherd's hut : of course he was Baron obligingly slackened his speed for our there before us, and had made the necessary especial accommodation. We had nearly forinquiries for the hamper and the claret bottles. gotten to say, that before starting the Baron The day was so fine that we had the spread asked the shepherd's wife how the pig killed, on the grass ; cold fowl, sandwiches, cheese, and whether she found any shot in his bacon. claret, and whisky were well discussed ; and As we went along, we asked the Baron to tell amid the curling fumes of some capital cigars, us about this pig. He related the following Overeager told us a tale. A gentleman once adventure. " I once lunched at yonder hut, wanted a pointer, and it happened at the same when my attention was attracted by a very time that a collier in a neighbouring village lively pig. I could not help admiring his active had one to sell. The doy was sent for and intelligence, and threw him several pieces of tried, he had an excellent nose and pointed bread. After walking more than a mile from exceedingly well, but the moment the gun was the hut, I found, to my astonishment, that the fired he invariably ran in. Flogging effected pig was after me; and, what was worse, all his no cure, the dog was incurable. The collier intelligence forsook him in his obstinate refuwas sent for, and on the fault being explained sals to be driven home again. I walked on to him, he admitted that it was very bad. for a considerable distance, had several shots, However, the pitman thought that he could and still the pig followed. The keeper tried make his dog down charge, and as that was the what he could do with the animal, but, pig only thing required, the gentleman agreed to like, he would neither be coaxed nor driven. give the pointer another trial in presence of Wherever I went the pig followed, and the the miner. Out in the fields they soon found thing was so ridiculous, that I sometimes game. The gentleman shot and called out“down laughed and sometimes stormed with vexation. charge,” but away the heedless pointer went, | At last we had a good point with both dogs, wilder than a March hare. The collier owned and I thought no more of the pig. Before we that such bad behaviour would never do, but could draw up to the dogs our swinish compasaid he to the gentleman,"The dog doant under- nion rushed ahead, and doubled on the pointers honner. Doant

yer

talk to him next with a terrific grunt, and flushed the covey. One toime ; let me talk to him.” They soon had barrel I gave to the birds, and the other conanother find, and as the gentleman drew tributed to the pig's hind-quarters, just as he up to the point, the miner said again, was in the act of kicking up his heels for a “Doant speak to him, yer honner.” When chase after the dogs. The shot was effectual, the gun went off, the collier shook his fist he started off for his stye at full speed, and I savagely at the dog, and shouted, “ Squat ye saw him no more,” beggar.” The dog down charged in an instant, We had not gone very far on our way and the experiment was several times repeated homeward, before the report of Overeager's with the same results. Of course the gentle. gun was heard, but this time he was out of man could not purchase the dog ; to use such a bounds. The Baron was displeased, and at vulgar version of “down charge” would ruin any night he did not forget to rebuke the keenest man's sporting character. “But,” said the Baron sportsman that ever planted his foot upon the laughingly to Overeager, “why didn't you say heather. The shooting was very good all the squat ye beggar,' to the donkey last night way home, plenty of game coming to bag. when he ran in up the brook, with you for his Heavy charges began to tell upon the shoulder, startled game ?” No, no,” said Overeager, and the Baron complained that our gun made reddening with anger, Quello non era uno too much noise. Not liking to let him know scherzo. Cattivo ! Troppo cattivo." This the very heavy charges we were firing, we had

stand yer

a

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

near.

recourse to French for an answer to his ques- Overeager entered the road about half a tion : “Why in the world does your gun mile in advance of us, driving, as usual, at a make so much noise ?" « Mon mal d'épaule very rapid rate. The Baron hoped that “Old pourrait le mieux répondre à votre question. Adam” would stand the rough roads, and On entend toujours mieux le fusil qu'un autre convey the Jehu safely to the lodge. But tire que celui qu'on tire soi-même. Victoire à why the name of “Old Adam ?

It was celui qui est habile et brave."

indicative of the great age of the vehicle. It Brighton has a capital eye for marking certainly never could have been made in the down, and scarcely made a mistake during the memory of man, for it was about the most whole day. Towards evening we found our- antique-looking thing that ever crossed a fell. selves

upon the summit of the last hill in pursuit The Baron's misgivings were not superfluous. of a wounded bird, Juno was soon on the Down in the next valley we came up with scent, and it was beautiful to see the manner what proved to be the ruins of Old Adam. in which she footed her game into a sinall Overeager and the servant John had driven bunch of heather ; the bird lay so close that furiously against a large stone, and the vehicle one might have touched it with the gun- was broken to pieces. Neither of the passenmuzzle : there she lay unmoved, although we gers was hurt, although thrown out somewere within a yard of her. When she did what violently upon the heath. Poor John's take wing we were in a very awkward position whisky and whisky had made him oblivious of immediately behind the Baron. He fired both danger ; he sparred at the upright shaft of the barrels and missed ; we then stepped to the old gig, as if it were a robber.

“ I'll sh-sh-oot front, fired a volley, and the bird still went ye ; ye rascal.” Overeager loaded his goods in on. Both of us were standing very awkwardly our dog-cart, tied the broken harness of his and close together, so that the slightest mis- horse, jumped upon its back, and dashed take might have been attended with fatal con- ahead, first as usual. John came slowly after sequences ; the common danger made both us, very merry, bidding defiance to all robbers, nervous, and if the game had been as big as and threatening to shoot every tree he came an elephant neither of us could have hit it. Brighton was standing on the edge of a deep When the guests made their appearance at gorge, and as the bird crossed the valley he the dinner-table none of them were so fatigued also gave her both barrels.

The unerring eye as on the previous evening ; we had some merry of the game-keeper marked her down at an talk before we put our pipes out and retired enormous distance, and as it was the last shot for the night. Two custards were left after of the evening he determined to retrieve, and, dinner, and before they were removed the descending into the valley with Juno at his Baron was facetiously inclined for another heels, he left us to empty the guns and start lark. “ Heads or tails ;” he would toss, and for home.

the man who lost should be compelled to eat It was very pleasant to mount the dogcart both custards. The loss fell to us, but to eat and trot leisurely across the moorland in the any more was impossible. Overeager kindly light of the setting sun.

It needed no very

acted the part of deputy, and when he had poetical nature to enjoy the golden clouds which completed the gastronomic duty, his enormous shone resplendent beyond the western hills. appetite seemed to revive, and he began to The calm soft light seemed to subdue the sense | inquire for the uncut game pie. This was too of weariness, and the lonely stillness of our much for the endurance and irritability of the journey was only broken by an occasional Baron's aged sister : she declared that no man flight of grouse from their last disturbauco in should burst himself in her presence. Overthe coming twilight. Many a weary sports- eager was snubbed and effectually put down. man had passed through the same valleys, and The moor and its improvement formed the watched the same retreating of the light as it principal subject of the evening's conversation. faded into the western sky; but their feet no Heather burning had already caused much longer tread the heather: they enjoyed them- mischief, the people abusing good nature, and selves, they are gone, and other feet must step burning too late in the season ; no burning the blooming heather in the same pilgrimage should be allowed after the 25th of March, of life. Other guns shall rattle among these and the moor had been burnt so much that it hills, and other eyes shall sparkle at the sight needed three or four years' rest. Overeager of falling birds, when these orbs of vision are gave it as his decided opinion that the best closed in the long lone sleep which comes method of improving and increasing the grouse behind the curtain of death. Let it be so. would be to cross the breed. The importation We are content. Here's to the happiness of of a number of hens from the Scotch moors the coming time when we are out of it ! would be of the greatest use. It would only be

:

Decessary to cut the pinion of one wing to After our departure the dog became very restprevent the foreigners from leaving their new less ; unfortunately, he had seen the gun case home. By this crossing of the breed the birds go out of the house, and this was quite suffiwould become much more numerous and healthy. cient to upset him. During the first day of The hares and “gray” needed more shelter. our absence he was distracted and inconsolable, There was room for at least three or four plan- he would eat nothing, he would not even enter tations; these would be of considerable service, the house ; the next morning the yard door particularly for moor game. The trout streams happened to be open, and he absconded. It are also in bad condition ; burn fishing at best was not until after two or three advertisements is by no means first-class sport, but in the that we obtained tidings of the runaway. We present instance the angling might be much had given him up for lost, and it was indeed improved at no very great cost. Francis good news to learn that he was in safe hands. would very soon transform those long, nar- Where does the reader imagine the truant was row, and thin streams into prolific homes found ? He had never been out on a shooting for the finny tribe ; a few dams, a few deep excursion in this part of England except twice holes, and resting places for the fish, together to one place, and thither he had gone both with the necessary supply of food in the shape times by train. When he saw the gun he of weeds, minnows, and insects, would greatly must have concluded in his own mind that his improve the moor fishing. The wonder is that master was gone to the field, and as he only the Baron's fast son, Tom, has not attended to knew one shooting place in this part of this before now ; but we suppose he is already England, he started for it, and found it. The too much occupied with the cares of his racing poor dog's sagacity and attachment, which stud, and his admiration of Cornish ladies. guided him successfully in a twenty miles'

We retired to rest early. During the night exploring expedition across the country, will a tremendous wind arose, which threatened to never be forgotten. blow the shooting box to atoms; we escaped, As for the general result of our two days on however, with the dismal noises of cracking the grouse hills, they may be stated in one timbers and creaking doors. The morning sentence. The best things of shooting are, was remarkably fine, and we set out for home immediate and full release from the usual cares well content with the past and hopeful for the and occupations of life, a quickened appetite, future. We had not gone far on the road the refreshment of the sun and wind, and the before the Baron and his aged sister passed augmented physical vigour which one finds

saw them no more for the after the exercise is over. day ; Overeager's horse was no match for the Baron's dashing pair, and we were left to jog

THE DACE. on far in the rear. We had a long chat about (A SHORT SUPPLEMENTARY PAPER TO the donkey and the robbery ; Overeager,

THE ROACH.") perhaps for the first time in his life, admitted A SHORT notice will suffice to say all that is that he was frightened. After asking for a necessary of this fish, which, in its habits as pledge of secrecy, which was given, he assured well as appearance, bears some resemblance to us that at first he thought St. Nicholas him- the roach. self had seized him, and was dragging him al The dace is one of the most beautiful of inferno. He felt some twinges of conscience, all our fresh-water fish, and though by no and some fears about the kind of reception he means so common or so popular with anglers should have in the next world, but he had not as is the roach, is yet usually to be found in time to go into the thing before he discovered most rivers where the latter is abundant. the length of the fiend's ears, and his not Dace are far more silvery-looking and more arrow-headed tail. The two days' exertion elegant in general contour than the roach, but on the grouse hills made one uncommonly have not the bright scarlet fins which constitute stiff, but through walking the heavy hills such an attraction of the last-mentioned fish ; the stiffness wore away.

the fins of the dace being, like its body, of a It was a pleasure to sit down in the study bright silver, slightly pencilled with dark grey once more, and the pleasure was increased by or olive green at the edges. a handsome cheque from a London publisher, The dace seldom exceeds one pound in But there is always some drawback to human weight, and rarely indeed runs so high as that, happiness. Carlo had gone off, and neither whilst roach are taken weighing two and somethe servant nor the police could discover any times three pounds. On a summer evening trace of him. What a pity we did not take dace often afford good sport to the fly-fisher, him with us to the moors, for then all this for, like chub, they are fond of lying on the expense

and vexation would have been spared. surface of the water, whence they rise eagerly

us, and

we

[ocr errors]

to the angler's “ cast.” For this pastime a where the dace and bleak are basking. This small white fly is the best, as I think. Persons plan is called “ whipping,” and is very killing, fishing for roach commonly take dace also, as but it requires a light and delicate hand ; or a both varieties often feed together, but the fish gentle may be used instead of a fly, and taken will be in the proportion of one dace to dropped in like manner on the surface of the ten roach. In my paper on “ The Roach,” I wator. In this way the school-boy will have have given directions for this method of fish. no difficulty in filling his basket with bleak, ing, * and therefore need not repeat them here. dace, and small chub, and if he is careful to Dace frequent both rivers and ponds, but I fancy keep out of sight and not throw his shadow on prefer a clear stream running over a gravelly | the water, more than one good-sized chub or bottom in summer time. The largest dace I dace is likely to fall a victim to his devices. have ever taken have been caught in the Dace spawn at about the same time as the autumn months, and always near the arches of roach, viz., in April or May, and oftener in the some old bridge, as, for example, those of former than the latter month. They come Walton and Henley-on-Thames, and the weight into condition again early in June, and afford of the biggest of the species ever taken by my good sport to fishermen through the following own hand was precisely one pound two ounces, months of July, August, and September, biting which I consider good for a dace. I caught this best from sunset until dark, as do all fish in dace with a red worm, when taking gudgeons the hot season of the year. In autumn the for jack-fishing. In many rivers (the Trent for dace bites best at mid-day, when the baits to instance) the red worm is at certain seasons the be used are a gentle, a red worm, and a best bait for both dace and roach. The grayling. bullock’s pith and brains, which dace, like fisher either with fly or worm, will often add chub, are fond of. Occasionally the barbel. some good dace to his basket. But for the fisher using greaves will hook a dace. I do sport which they afford, dace are useless, and not think there is any other special remark to possess so little culinary excellence, that they are be made on this handsome fish, which, hownot worth the trouble of carrying to the cook. ever, from its one or two peculiarities I consiAs a bait, however, to the jack-fisher they are dered worthy of a page to itself, and have more valuable than most other small fish. therefore added this little supplement to my Almost all live-bait fishermen select the dace as paper on its popular relation--the roach. the most likely to lure jack. I think the

ASTLEY H. BALDWIN. gudgeon equally good, but perhaps the latter is to be preferred for trolling, and the dace for cork-float fishing. Dace, being very deli

THE KING'S DAUGHTER. cate fish, are apt, if used for trolling, to lose

(A LEGEND OF NORMANDY.) their silvery gloss on being dragged over the ground, an ordeal which the gudgeon goes

[The ballad of which the following verses are a

translation is to be found in the “Normandie; Tradi. through triumphantly.

tions et Legendes,” of Madlle. Amelie Bosquet, who Dace cannot exist in impure water. Of all fish states that it is still (1815) sung in the environs of they are perhaps the most fastidious in this re- Saint Valery-en-Caux. Madlle. Bosquet hazards a spect. I do not think that dace are to be found conjecture that it was written on the occasion of the in

marriage of the Princess Catharine, daughter of any quantity in the Thames nearer to London

Charles VI., with Henry V. of England -a singularly than Richmond, which, of course, is to be attri- infelicitous guess, considering that the Queen of Henry buted to the foul state of the river within its me- V. not only did not die on her wedding night, but outtropolitan boundaries. Years ago, dace were

lived her husband, and a second time married an

Englishman.) common enough between Westminster, Hungerford, Waterloo, Blackfriars, and Southwark bridges, down to London bridge, and even

The King has a daughter he fain would wed, below it.

And a Prince of England seeks her bed ;
Now the capture of a dace in those

But she turns away with a scornfu! glancewaters would be a curiosity. The localities

She will wed with none but a knight of France. mentioned, however, are from their filthy attributes the paradise of the eel, which has plenty of garbage and refuse to prey upon. I have

She has said to her suitor a baughty-Nay;

She has turn'd from her sire in tears away ; said that in summer dace may be taken with

But her sister comes to implore the maid, the fly, and a very good way of accomplishing “ 'Tis for peace to our wounded France,” she said. this, especially for boys, is to tie five or six flies on a line together at short intervals, and

I.

а

II.

And when she came to leave the land, lightly drop them on the top of the water

She tore the veil with a passionate hand :
Away," she cried, “;

nor check my glance* See Vol, x., p. 444.

My last--on the happy shores of France."

III.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »