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Of course recreations, be they either rural or urban, ought not to be the business, but the amusement of life ; and now that the brutal and disgusting sports that once disgraced our country have nearly been put an end to, we may, as a nation, feel proud of our manly exercises. The month of August is a busy month for the sportsman, as grouse. shooting, deer-stalking, fishing, yachting, cricketing, racing, and archery may be thoroughly enjoyed.
Grousc-shootivg to the gunner is what foxhunting is to the modern Nimrods; and the month of August is therefore looked forward to with great anxiety by all who have a moor of their own, or who can pay à visit to a friend possessing one in Yorkshire, Cumberland, Northumberland, Ireland, or Scotiand. Grouse-shooting knocks up dogs sooner than any other kind of shooting. The sportsman ought, therefore, to have plenty of them. One brace of good ones at a time will be enough to hunt, to be properly attended to. After running them threc or four hours, let go a fresh brace, and send the others home, in order (if you have but two brace) to allow the first proper rest; that is, if you wish to continue shooting in the afternoon : but if you have three brace or more, the dogs you send home had better not be hunted until the next morning.
In grouse-shooting always take the wind of the hills, and be sure to try the sides of such as are most sheltered. If it blows hard, you will certainly find the birds where the heath is the longest ; and they will then generally take long flights, particularly if they go down the wind, to which, it has always been observed, they seem more partial, most other sorts of game usually going against it.
The best time for shooting grouse is on a fine sunshiny day, from about nine o'clock till four or five in August or September, and from about ten to three later in the season, as they are then very wild, and will only lie tolerably well during the few hours which are favoured by a warm sun. Turn we to another Highland sport.
Deer-stalking for wild and intense interest cannot be exceeded; it is even more exciting than a Leicestershire run with the Quorn, or an African lion bunt. A writer, not as well known to fame as he deserves to be, thus describes it : “ Stalking, or as it was called in olden hunting, 'killing at the stalk,' is stealing up to the deer when they are lying or feeding, and is that part of deer hunting which requires the greatest skill, experience, and judgment. The use of the rifle is a subordinate art, for it is of no purpose to shoot well if the hunter does not know where to look for or how to approach the deer. For this he must possess a keen eye, much prompitude and vigilance, and a thorough knowledge of the habits of the animal. Stalking is of two kinds—in the wood or on the open hill or moor.
In both the first and greatest precaution is the observation of the wind; the sight is a secondary con. sideration, for deer may safely be crossed or approached within a range of view at which they would immediately take the scent of the stalker, and probably if near the march leave not only the ground but the forest. •Above all things,' was an old deer-stalker's warning to a novice, above all things never trifle with a deer's nose ; you may cross his sight, walk up to bim in a grey coat, or if standing against a tree or a rock near your own colour wait till he walks up to you, but you cannot cross his nose, even at an incredible distance, but he will
feel the tainted air. Colours and forms may be deceptive or alike; there are grey, brown, and green rocks and stocks as well as men, and all these may be equivocal ; but there is but one scent of man, and that he never doubts or mistakes-that is filled with danger and terror -and one wbiff of its poison at a mile off, and, whether feeding or lying, his head is instantly up, his nose to the wind, and in the next moment his broad antlers turn, his 'single' is tossed in your face, and he is away to the hill or the wood, and if there are no green corn, peas, or potatoes in the neighbourhood he may not be seen on the same side of the forest for a month. In hill-stalking, after the observation of the wind, the next care is to avoid ever showing even the head, far less the person, against the sky. Many a stag is lost by the neglect of this caution, especially in coming raslly round the summit of a craig, or over the ridge of a laraich.' The eye of a deer, always in motion and taking in large angles of sight, is immediately struck by any sudden movement or prominent object where it ought not to be, and he immediately shifts his ground. If not conspicuous by any glaring or very dark colour, the stalker may walk along the face of the hill or the ridges of craigs without raising any alarm ; but when it is absolutely necessary to cross the sky-line of a hill in the sight of deer it must be done at the 'creep' or the trail' according to their distance. In traversing deep, heathery braes, or heaps and hollows, beware also of 'Fustleachs or Feadags' (e.i., plovers), and no less of grouse and woodcock, which, going away whistling and whirring and crowing down the hill, will probably rouse and send off some fat yell hind or solitary old stag, with a head as big as a tree, who was lying alone in the heather just out of your sight or shot. For this reason, though you should not see the glimpse of a horn or a pair of ears, you ought to walk for ever with a stealthy and quiet pace, which should not disturb either bird or beast, till you nearly kicked the one out of his bush or threw your shadow over the back of the other.'
Few writers have raised to its fullest spring-tide height the passion for field sports or bestowed the zeal of the lover of them with so skilful a hand as Christopher North. His imaginations are no less vivid and prolific than are his local embodiments real and tangible, and he possesses that admirable and peculiar talent of making pictures with his pen. The “ Recreations of this learned professor are those of an inquiring spirit, of a religious mind, and of a healthsul intelligence. As samples of the truth of this assertion I extract the following passages : “The dawn is softly, slowly stealing upon day, for the uprisen sun (though here the edge of his disc as yet be invisible) is diffusing abroad the sweet hour of prime,' and all the eastern region is tinged with crimson, faint and fine as that which sleeps within the wreaths of the sea-sounding shells. Hark! the eagle's earliest cry, yet, in his eyry ! another hour and he and his giant mate will be seen spirally ascending the skies in many a glorious gyration, tutoring their offspring to dally with the sunshine, that when their plumes are stronger they may dally with the storm. Oh! Forest of Dalness ! how sweet is thy name! Hundreds of red deer are now lying, half-asleep, among the fern and heather, with their antlers, could our eyes now behold them, motionless as the birch tree branches with which they are blended in their lair. At the signal-telling of their king- hero unconquered in a hundred
fights--the whole herd rises at once like a grove, and, with their stately heads lifted aloft on the weather-gleam, snuff the sweet scent of the morning air, far and wide surcharged with the honey dew yet unmelting on the heather, and eye with the looks of liberty the glad daylight that mantles the Black Mount with a many-coloured garment. Ha ! the first plunge of the salmon in the Rowan-tree Pool! There again he shoots into the air, white as silver, fresh run from the sea !” After a most spirited eulogium upon deer-stalking, the author thus proceeds : “ Shooting grouse after red deer is for a while at first felt to be like writing an anagram in a lady's album after having given the finishing touch to a tragedy or an epic poem. 'Tis like taking to catching shrimps in the sand with one's toes on one's return from Davis's Straits in a whaler that arrived at Peterhead with sixteen fish, each calculated at ten tun of oil. A tarn! a tarn! with but a small circle of unbroken water in the centre, and all the rest of its shallowness bristling in every bay with reeds and rushes, and surrounded all about the mossy flat with marshes and quagmires. What a breeding-place !-procreant cradle' for waterfowl ! now comes thy turn, O'Bronte - for famous is thy name almost as thy sire's among the flappers. Crawl down to leeward, Hamish, that you may pepper them--should they take to flight overhead to the loch. Dogs, heel-heel ! and now let us steal, behind that knoll, and open a sudden fire on the swimmers. Long Gun! who oft to the tore-finger of Colonel Hawker has swept the night-barbour of Poole, all alive with widgeons, be true to the trust now reposed in thee by Kit North ! And though these be neither geese, nor swans, nor hoopers, yet send the leaden shower among them, feeding in their play, till all the air be afloat with specks, as if at the shaking of a featherbed that had burst the ticking, and the tarn covered with sprawling mawsees and mallards, in death-throes among the ducklings! There it lies on its rest—like a telescope no eye bas discovered the invention -keen as those wild eyes are of the plowterors on the shallows. Lightning and thunder! to which all the echoes roar. But we, meanwhile are on our back; for of all the recoils that ever shook a shoulder that one was the severest—but t'will probably cure our rheumatism, and-well done-nobly, gloriously done O'Bronte! How otter-like he swims! Ha, Hamish! you have cut off the retreat of that airy voyager-you have given it him in his stern, Hamish--and are reloading for the flappers, one at a time in your mirth, O'Bronte! Put about with that tail for a rudder-and make for theshore. What a stately creature! as he comes issuing from the shallows, and, bearing the old mallard breast high, walks all dripping along the green sward, and then shakes from his curled ebony the flashing spray-mist. He gives us one look as we crown the knoll, and then in again, with a spang and a plunge, far into the tarn, caring no more for the reeds than for so many winlestraes, and fast as a sea-serpent is among the heart of the killed and wounded. In unerring instinct he always seizes the deadand now a devil's dozen lies along the shore. Come hither, O'Bronte, and caress thy old master-y--that showed a fine feeling-did that long shake, that be-drizzled the sunshine. Put thy paws over our shoulders, and round our neck, true son of thy sire ! oh! that he were but alive to see and share thy achievements.
How splendidly has another Scotch writer, Professor Wilson, described the wild deer in the following lines :
“ Magnificent creature! so stately and bright!
In the pride of thy spirit pursuing thy flight ;
Unto footsteps so flect, and so fearless as thine !" From Highland sports let us turn to English fishing, and here I would remark that there is no county in England better adapted for angling than Derbyshire ; the principal rivers of which are the Trent, the Erwash, the Blyth, the Tame, the Dove, the Manifold, the Derwent, and the Wye. The Trent, Erwash, and Blyth are famed for their trout; the Dove, on whose picturesque banks Izaak Walton and his friend Cotton frequently roamed, has been immortalized in verse by the latter :
" Such streams Rome's yellow Tiber cannot show,
The Iberian Tagus, or Liqurian Po;
And lay their trophies at thy silver feet.” The Dove abounds with graylings, of excellent quality, and large size. Some have been taken weighing four pounds. The Derwent rises from the hilly parts of Derbyshire, and runs through many beautiful vales, joining the Trent a short distance from Shardlow Bridge. There are a great number of angling stations on this river-Baslow, Rowsby Bridge, and Matlock are the principal—and excellent sport may be found at all these places.
The whole course of this river is upwards of sixty miles. “In the space of forty miles," says a writer, which includes the whole course of this river from the highest and wildest part of the Peak to the town of Derby, scenery more richly diversified with beauty can hardly any. where be found. Generally, its banks are luxuriously wooded; the oak, the elm, the alder, and the ash flourish abundantly along its course, beneath the sbade of whose united branches the Derwent is sometimes secluded from the eye of the traveller, and becomes a companion for the ear alone ; then suddenly emerging into day, it spreads
through a more open valley, or winding round some huge mountain or rocky precipice, reflects their dark sides as it glides beneath. Some. times this ever-varying and ever-pleasing stream precipitates its foaming waters over the rugged projections and rocky fragments that interrupt its way; again the ruffled waves subside, and the current steals smoothly and gently through the vale, clear and almost imperceptible in motion.”
The Manifold, which flows into the Dove, is a good trout stream; while the Wye for scenery can scarcely be excelled : it is joined near Haddon Hall by a singularly romantic stream called Lathkill. The Derbyshire men are famed for their skill as fly-fishers, and we recommend all who are anxious to ensure good sport, to provide themselves with local piscatorial guides, who will put them in the way ing their tackle, give them hints as to the most killing flies, and point out the most likely haunts of the finny tribe.
Yachting must next claim our attention; and beyond a question Cowes is the most perfect spot in Great Britain for a yachtsman to make his head quarters. There he will find excellent hotels, good lodgings, and the best of society. Moreover, through the liberality of the members of the Royal Squadron, he may become an honorary member of the Club-house. There is, too, another advantage, which is, that should he wish occasionally to change the scene, and instead of always sailing “o'er the glad waters of the dark blue sea” prefer a land tour, he can be conveyed by rail, or in a carriage, through the beautiful island, teeming with the most picturesque landscapes, the richest verdure, overhanging woods, and variegated gardens. Then, from the shore, wherever we look-to harbour, roadstead, or offing-vessels innumerable are bending their canvas, like birds that flap their wings for aërial flight. Tiny Heets of holiday boats freighted with pleasureseekers being rowed in and about the harbour, the waterman pointing out the yachts most worthy of note; passenger steam-boats from Portsmouth, Ryde, and Southamptou are constantly fitting by ; small fishing craft are fluttering to seaward to return ere the sun goes down laden with the finny tribe ; while everywhere are dotted about vessels of every description—the noble merchanıman, gay in summer paint, bound for the blue Mediterranean, the wild shores of the West Indies, or the rapid St. Lawrence ; the scaworthy pilot-boat, the fast revenue cruiser, the splendid steamers, raking schooners, and buoyant cutters of almost every yacht club within Her Majesty's domains. All these may here be seen to the very greatest advantage, with flags of every nation fluttering in the breeze. To those who do not possess yachts, Cowes is the best place, for all who, like Johnny Gilpin's wife, though on pleasure bent” have“ frugal min.ls,” for vessels of all classes from a cutter of five-and-twenty ton, a wherry of eighteen ton, down to a small open boat can be bired by the day, week, or month.
In a day's sailing excursion, steering through the west channel, the temporary owner of a craft may have a magnificent view of Newtown, Yarmouth, Alum Bay, and the Needles ; Freshwater and Chale Bays, Blackgang Chine, the rocks of St. Catherine; the Undercliffe,ihe dark Dunnose, formerly famed for smugglers, Bambridge Point, and St. Helen's Roads. Another “cruise" should be to Southampton, where a view of the New Forest may be had, and Calehot Castle,