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“ To-ho! look out, sir," cried the keeper. Brandome walked up nervous and agitated.
“Take it easy, sir,- the birds are running. Heigh in there, Ponto !"
Ponto did heigh in, and by the motion of the beans, seemed to be drawing on the birds up the hill. Suddenly-whirrh !-up got a bird behind him.
“ Mark!” shouted the keeper.
Brandome put his gun to his shoulder, and pulled just as the bird was above the beans. Bang! down did not come the partridge, but up went poor Ponto some five yards in the air, and fell dead upon
Brandome was dreadfully shocked, bade the keeper bury the poor dog, and declined all further partridge shooting, although the owner of Ponto spoke lightly of his fate, as a mere accident, and begged of him to take the choice of his kennel and persevere. He would not, and limited his sport to murdering tom-tits and greenfinches—as I thought.
Having a spare day or two, I resolved to run down and see my friend, though I had not time to apprize him of my intention. I knew I should be welcome, so I mounted the box by the side of the coachman, who had driven me down on my first visit to the lodge.
In the course of our chat he turned round to me, and touching his hat, observed, that he thought I was the gentleman who was the friend of Squire Brandome's.
I said I was, of course. “ Sad business," said he. “Very,” said I; “ but every body knew he was no sportsman." “ But to go for to shoot him !"
“It was unfortunate, certainly," I replied, thinking of poor old Ponto.
“ Unfortunate! it was rascally, ungentlemanly! Its quite done him up with the county."
I got off the coach at the turnpike, and begged the man who kept the gate to carry my portmanteau to the house for me, across a couple of fields. He readily assented, and as we walked along, I asked him
friend “ Purty well in health, sir, but very low and moloncholic since that unfortunate business," replied the man.
" What, the shot-eh ?'
“Yees-he'd better 'a let un alone-he'll never be the man he was again. It was never done by a gentleman in our parts before. Parson haint a visited un sunce."
I thought it very hard of the vicar that he should cut his squire for shooting a pointer by mishap; but I said nothing further about it, and gave the man a trifle to drink my health, as he dropped my portmanteau at the hall-door. The butler opened it, and said he was very glad to see me, for master and mistress was very dull ever since that unfortunate
“ Shot ?" said 1.
“Exactly, sir, -I am glad you know all about it. Not a soul has called since, and they've never been out nowhere."
I found Davenport and his wife in the library. They welcomed me
with evident pleasure. I sat down by the fire and chatted with them as on my first visit, but a weight seemed to hang over them that at last oppressed me. We sunk gradually into an ominous silence.
“Of course you have heard all about it,” said Davenport, with a deep sigh. “Strange that such a thing should give offence to every
“I cannot understand why the destroying of a mere animal should cancel all former obligations, and make enemies of those who were once friends,” said Mrs. Brandome.
“ Pooh! pooh !” said I," it was an unlucky shot, but never mind, I will set it all right to-morrow—say no more about it.”
This reply seemed to cheer them, and as I had a very good old dog at home, i had made up my mind to part with it to the gentleman who owned, or rather had owned, poor Ponto, and thus relieve my friend of his difficulties.
In the morning I borrowed a pony to ride over on my errand of peace. I went to the stable-yard to mount him. In my way I met the gardener, and as I always talk to every body, I asked him about the state of the pine-pits and melon-beds. He told me nothing could be going on better ; that he should have more than enough to supply all the neighbourhood, but that he supposed no one would accept of them now.
“Why?" said I.
“That unfortunate shot! He'd better have stuck to tom-tits and greenfinches!”
“ Bah!” said I, as the gardener walked away.
“ If you're agoing to Squire Lumpton's, you'd better leave our powny at gate,” said the coachman, « or I'm blessed if you gets admittance.”
“Shot-eh ? Never mind—I am going to set that all to rights,” said 1, jumping on the pony's back.
“ It" arn't in mortal man to do it," I heard as I quitted the yard.
Mr. Lumpton was at home, and when he got my card, desired that I might be shown in. He received me very stiffy at first, but after awhile became very gracious. He asked how long I meant to stay in the country. I told him. He said he should be very happy to see me to dinner, and was only sorry he could not ask Mr. Davenport Brandome to meet me.
“ But after what has occurred,” said he, looking awfully dignified, "you must be satisfied—for you are a sportsman—that it-is-absolutely-out-of-the-question.”
“ I came over,” said I, “ to explain that unlucky business, and to compensate you for your loss. I have an excellent old Spanish pointer-”
“ Pointer ?-compensate?—what do you mean? Nothing can compensate such a proceeding. I am very sorry-deeply grieved. I did not think that any man, calling himself a gentleman, could ever have shot_”
“It was a mere accident,” shouted I.
“ Accident! why he was seen to lean his gun on a gate, and take a deliberate aim before he fired.”
“A mere exaggeration, sir. It was an accident that might have happened to any one."
“ You will excuse me, sir, if I ring the bell and order your horse. I thought you had been more of a sportsman than to attempt to palliate, much less excuse, such a deed. Good morning, sir." I regret the loss of Mr. Brandome's friendship-for we always voted together but after such an act—however--good morning, sir.
I was too indignant to say a word more. I had a great mind, however to ride back, after I had ridden half a mile, to call him out; but I thought that the man who could quarrel with a friend merely because he had committed canicide by mishap, was too contemptible a character to waste another serious thought upon.
I met the vicar as I returned, and he, too, looked rather shy at me at first, but after a few minutes chat, invited me into his house. I declined, upon the plea of being limited for time. He then expressed his regret that he had no chance of meeting me at his former friend's table.
“ But," said he, “what can I do? If I speak to him, I shall be cut by the whole neighbourhood."
“ Merely because he shot—"
“ Certainly. In this county it is an offence which is never forgiven. To think that a gentleman, the owner of so good a cover--50 sure a find-should have shot a
“Good day, sir,” said I. “I only hope next time we meet I may find you
in a more charitable mood." I galloped off, chafed in temper and sorely irritated. In this mood I met the bailiff. He touched his hat to me as I pulled up.
Well, John, are all your neighbours mad?" said I. “Mad, sir ? what do you mean?” replied John.
* They seem to me to have lost what little sense they had, and to have discarded your master because he shot a dog by mistake."
" It worn't a dog," said John, groaning.
Why your master shot old Ponto, the pointer; did he not ?" “Yes, sir, but that worn't nothing-he shot a Fox!" replied John, looking as if his master had murdered a human being.
The murder, however, was out. Brandome had seen several of his pet pheasants carried off by what he thought was a dog with a very bushy tail. He got his gun, and laid up for it behind a gate by moonlight. The wind was in his face, and Mrs. Pug not suspecting an enemy at hand, came trotting up. Bang! A fine vixen in Cub lay weltering in her gore.
The proud gunner carried home his game in triumph, and boasted of his success.
Alas! the crime was never forgiven. Fairleigh-lodge was sold by public auction, and as far as the county of Wilts was concerned, Davenport Brandome was a LOST CHARACTER.
A DAY OF DISASTERS.
EXTRACTED FROM THE DIARY OF A FLY.
I awoke with the dawn, on a sheet of white lawn,
Where the night I had pleasantly wasted,
And pouted as if to be tasted.
And breathed a fresh perfume asunder,
That I ever survived is a wonder.
Full of liquor, I soon began sucking,
Dragged me out with no harm but a ducking.
Flew off by my danger admonishid,
I was stunn'd and extremely astonishid.
And foolishly peering about it,
And flew away nimbly without it.
And at us he so bluster'd and vapourd,
And bit both his legs till he caper'd.
Till within it appear'd such a riot,
And I hadn't one moment of quiet.
Came steaming my senses to flatter,
With her paw knock'd me into the platter.
Such scolding I heard and such flurry,
I was shocked, and flew off in a hurry.
Still baulk'd of all dainty refection,
I haven't the least recollection.
THE MONSTER MEETING.
I will show you a MONSTER.
MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR. Monsters and MONSTER-LANDS were never more in request.
SHAFTESBURY'S CHARACTERISTICS. In this race of authors he is ever completest, and of the first rank, who is able to speak of things the most unnatural and MONSTROUS.—Idem.
But chief, thou nurse of the Didactic Muse,
LOVES OF THE TRIANGLES.
LORD SHAFTESBURY was the discoverer of Monster-land.
It is a kind of peninsular island lying in 375° 23" east latitude, and 4930 37" south longitude, calculated from the tables of the Man in the Moon, after correcting for the variation and dip of the tailor's needle. Strabo does not seem to have visited this prodigious country; Pausanias probably never heard of it, and even Malte Brun has onnitted it in his geography. Many writers consider it the same as Rabelais' island of Medamothi, or Nowhere.
But let Monster-land be where it may, we have received advices from it, which we hasten to lay before the Public, requesting that gentleman, or corporation of gentlemen, to wait upon the Home Secretary, and acquaint him with the important facts here detailed
“ We look to be either earl or duke, we can assure you."
There has, then, been lately held a Monster-meeting in Monsterland, and the account that has been sent us of it is briefly as follows:
The assembly was convened by the roar of the Golden Lion, just as they call a meeting at Ballyragget by the sounding of horns. The Chimera arrived in a chariot and four night-mares (Flibbertigibbet postilion), and proposed that Polyphemus should take the chair (which, by the bye, was Cassiopeia's), but it was objected that it would be difficult to catch the
eye of a Cyclops, as he had only one, so it was moved and carried that Argus should preside.
Argus addressed the assembled monsters, and said the honour done him made him as proud as a peacock.
The Siamese twins were requested to act as joint secretaries, which highly offended the Learned Pig, and gave umbrage also to the Blue Boar of Holborn.
Argus called on the Sphynx to move the first resolution. The Sphynx had no resolution to propose, but would propose an enigma.
“ Hear, hear," bellowed the Minotaur.
“ No, no," shouted Mr. Nobody, a notorious English monster, who perpetrates with impunity ten thousand monstrous things every hour in the four-and-twenty.*
* That England is the land for monsters if not of monsters we have the high testimony of Shakspeare himself. What says Trinculo in the “ Tempest,"
“A strange fish! Were I in England now, and had but this fish painted, not a holiday fool there but would give me a piece of silver. There would this monster make a man. Any strange beast there makes a man. When they will not give a doit to relieve a lame beggar, they will lay out ten to see a dead Indian."
There can be no doubt that Monster-land is a province of the British empire.