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trout is more cruelly encompassed by art than by nature? that the salmon dieth harder with a brown hackle to his chin-comeliest "imperial" that ever ornamented sweet under-lip-than between the jaws of that amphibious epicure who picks out the tit-bits and leaves the tail to die at its leisure? To say nothing of the physique--will the mere morale of being munched by a villanous otter bear comparison with the glorious end of a clean-run fish of a dozen pounds avoirdupois?
"Look on this picture, and on this.”
"Her snout is southwards-right up the middle of the main current of the hill-born river-as if she would seek its very source, where she was spawned. Stand out of the way, you son of a sea-cook-you in the tattered blue breeches, with the tail of your shirt hanging out. If we lose this fish at six o'clock, then suicide at seven. Methinks we could fain and fond kiss thy silver side, languidly lying afloat on the foam, as if all further resistance now were vain, and gracefully thou wert surrendering thyself to death. Scrope, Bainbridge, Mauleprinces among anglers-oh, that ye were here! Where the devil is Sir Humphrey?"... ... We say nothing of the dolphin, poetic emblem of ichthyology, with a shark at its terminus, whence the sea glutton takes a mouthful now, and another anon, till the friend of Arion descends to Hades in the guise of a jowl. We need no extreme cases; but we say, without fear of contradiction, that Fate has provided no easier passage from this world to the next for the finny family than in a creel suspended at the sportsman's side; no more honourable lying in state than when, supine on a silver dish, they take their appointed places at his second course.
From the flood turn we to the field. What is that whirling in liquid gyrations there, in the poetry of motion, performing its matutinal exercises? Is that graceful creature abroad on business or on pleasure? The reaper's task is done, and over the scene of his labours it floats as in dreamy extacy. Ah! see, it plunges into the yellow stubble-and now it soars again, by the beard of St. Hubert-if he wore one-with a young plump partridge in its talons. We tell you that hawk is out of range-there-missed, of course-we said you would! But softly; he pitches, to enjoy his breakfast behind that wood-stack. Stalk him warily! Now, should he rise-there he goes-down with him. Egad! dead as Domitian: serve him right! The relics of his feast cannot be far off. Ah! here they be: in sooth a sorry sight. Here is half the villain's meal unconsumed, and with more than half its life still in it. Sportsman! give it one merciful knock on the head. Why did thy friendly tube not ring the wretch's knell half an hour since? Oh, Joe Manton! art thou not the philanthropist of the feathered family?.. We think we heard you throw in something about the cruelty of the chase. Now, at any time when you are rambling about the Elysian Fields, and happen to encounter "Swinley," just interrogate him as to the life he led on earth put the same question to the shade of any miscellaneous stag you fall in with from any quarter of the globe where man and civilization are unknown; and we leave it to your honour to declare which appeared to you the
state most likely to afford ease and comfort to a deer-that in which Charles Davis feeds him like an alderman, and takes him out once a week to exercise in the company of nobles and gentles, or that in which Dame Nature supplies his ordinary from the carte of a Poorlaw Union, and claps a wilderness of wolves and jackals on his haunches from the rising of the moon to the setting of the sun.... Oh! ye grandmammas of both sexes, why call ye the sportsman's occupation cruel or unkind! Believe me that the path by which the pheasant finds its way to your table is indeed one of roses, compared with the fiery ordeal through which the sirloin or the loin comes to smoke upon your boards. That haunch scarce quivered with the lightning pang which let out the wild deer's life. Your rifle does its office quick and well: that loin was three days in extremis, for veal must bleed to death by successive stages to ensure its whiteness....
If game must die, as naturalists declare,
The decline and fall of the five bottle era, which introduced into England a better sample of the squirearchy than had hitherto prevailed, also witnessed the slow but sure decay of the brutal exhibitions to which that race was prone, and by which they were upheld. That such atrocious scenes should ever have been tolerated in this country, as we read in "Stow's Survey" were common in London in the fourteenth century, is an anomaly that it might puzzle the subtlest logician to find an apology for. But leaving such attempts, we turn with pleasure to the amended catalogue of our national sports, and hail the fast approach of the day when it shall be without cause of offence to the humane, or for the fastidious. All change is the work of time rather than of reason or conviction. The generation that no longer could bear the cruelty of horse-baiting relished bullrunning amazingly and later, when the custom of baiting animals of any kind became unpopular, matching them together in mortal combat was looked upon as a very manly pastime. Of this taste the practice of prize-fighting was at once the most barbarous and most indecent descendant. Years ago I felt it my duty to call public attention to the true character of the ring and its professors, and in this work long since I denounced the system as infamous and unworthy the time in which we live. Letting bygones be bygones, it is enough for me here to record that those who were then its uncompromising champions have since seen cause to adopt my opinions. The day of the hired gladiator is passed; and should the occasion occur, so shall that saying be proved a foul libel which asserted that it was from the ring Englishmen imbibed their courage and their sense of fair play-the chivalry of the heart! As the principle of woodcraft is proved by the naturalist to be free from all cruelty, so the spirit of our national sports now, whatever it might have been,
is without approach to coarseness or cause of reproach. Show me in the turf, pursued as a recreation, aught of which the gentleman need be ashamed? Is not hunting a sport befitting the gentle? and is not yachting a pastime of which an English noble may well be proud? How boon and manly is our game of cricket! and is there one among us, even to the uttermost of those grandmammas already apostrophized, who would not rather see the only begotten heir of their house and name rowing a wager match in a gale of wind from Westminster to Putney, with less than the substance of a pill-box between him and eternity, than a smooth proper prig, with his hair always combed down on his forehead, hands always clean, and without spot or blemish on his white thread stockings? We had fain see the cause of manliness and natural tastes flourish and increase; and we are the pledged advocates of our popular pastimes, because we believe they work to that end. As we have already written elsewhere, weed out from them all that is base or mean: let them be frank and gentle, and our word for it they find a friend in every English heart, whether it beat beneath a sober drab or gallant "pink." Abate no jot of their hardy character: let their properties be difficulty, distress, danger; but not the struggle on which one looks, while another suffers. The spirit of English sporting more nearly realizes that of which chivalry was the ideal, than any system, probably, that has yet obtained among mankind. It is for the days in which we live to perfect this glorious work. Will they not earn such immortality?
R. M. JAQUES, ESQ,
EASBY ABBEY, NEAR RICHMOND, YORKSHIRE.
ENGRAVED BY H. BECKWITH, FROM A PAINTING BY T. PHILLIPS, R.A.
The rules and habits of society in this country are regulated by a system almost peculiarly its own. Dukes, lords, and so forth, have, to be sure, certain public rights and privileges appertaining to their titles, and a certain public respect paid to that title, which, at the first superficial glance, might be supposed to confer on their holders a general superiority in no wise to be questioned or interfered with. For the strict full-dress order of precedence such a notion may be correct and serviceable enough; but in the really social society of England it is an exclusiveness, at any rate, never openly acknowledged or acted on. Let a man only have the education, the conduct, and the introduction of a gentleman, and what is there to prevent him from enjoying to as great an extent, without "a title," all those pleasures and pursuits he might have entered on with one? To make this a little more definite, we can take no better instance than that for which this periodical is proud to appear as the agent-our national sports, collectively or individually, according to the matter of the moment. In the chase we find the simple squire amongst the