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"Where shall we go now, sir?"


And quite right, too. If Mr. Millionaire with four horses out has not had enough of it he can get one of his men to lead a lark back, and this will answer his purpose quite as well as a second fox.

There is such a thing as knowing when to leave well alone, and we have seen the effect of many a brilliant finish obliterated by the Master not showing strength of mind enough to call a go.

The chief objection to leaving off early is, as to what is to be done for the rest of the day. We hate to hear a man say that after killing their fox he got back to his office or his merchandise in time to do a good day's work. A hunting day should be held sacred as a high holiday. We might pardon a man writing a letter or two before dinner, or doing a little farming on his way home, but it is something like desecration to get into harness on the same afternoon; and of the two we had rather devote it like the Cheltenham dandy, or Brighton swell to sunning ourselves in all the glory of scarlet, boots and leathers, before the much admiring fair.

How weary, and yet how self-satisfied men, horses, and hounds look as they come upon us round the corner. They have had a run we will pound it, and with a who-whoop at the end of it.

"A very good day indeed, sir."



As the partridge makes her roughly-constructed nest on the ground, so does the pheasant. The former in a corn--field, among brush-wood or grass will find some slight depression, and then, scratching together a few dead leaves and stalks, deposit her eggs. The pheasant has a preference for moist and thick clover bottoms for her scantily-furnished nest, and, strange to say, her eggs are occasionally found in that of the partridge, an impression also prevailing that two hen pheasants will lay in one nest. We are unable to illustrate by any anecdotes the care of the hen pheasant for her eggs and love for her young; but she is not wanting in maternal cunning when sitting, Waterton remarking that in the wild state, when wearied Nature calls for relaxation, she first covers her eggs, and then directly takes wing, not running from the nest, and on returning, still on the wing, drops suddenly down upon it. "By this instinctive precaution," he says "by rising imme. diately from the nest on the bird's departure and its dropping on it at return, there is neither scent produced nor track made in the neighbourhood, by which an enemy might have a clew to find it out and rob it of its treasure. These little wiles are the very safety of the nest, and I suspect they are put into practice by most birds which have their nests on the ground." And it was to these wiles, in part, before gangs of poachers desolated his district, that he attributed the increase of his pheasants, though they were surrounded by hawks, jays, crows, and magpies, "which had all large families to maintain and bring up."

Mr. Waterton takes the opportunity here of protesting against keepers and others disturbing game, whether pheasants or partridges by searching for them, the track they leave often being followed up by the cat, fox, or weasel, the keeper himself probably driving the bird from the nest. The period when the pheasant was introduced here is not known; but that it was naturalized several centuries since is very certain, the bird, from the beauty of its plumage and the flavour of its flesh, having at all times been highly prized. Daniels in his Rural Sports tells us it was brought into Europe by the Argonauts 1,250 years before the Christian era. It was served at the banquets of both Greeks and Romans, though the assertion that the cock birds had a preference given them by the ancients is, we think, founded upon erroneous conclusions. As "cockerels" pheasants and poultry may

have been accepted; indeed the famous physician Galen recommended them when properly fattened, but they must have been young enough never to have crowed, that being the signal which announces their flesh becoming dry. Lampredius especially records the fact of Alexander Severus and Helogabalus having hens and pullets only at their repasts. The circumstance, too, of cocks nourished with food steeped in milk, manifests an evasion of a law or custom that hens alone should be eaten, and at one period there was what was called the Hen-law. Aristophanes, Aristotle, Athenæus, and other celebrated authors refer to the pheasant, but although a well-known bird, it has obviously never been common enough for any table save those of the wealthy, either in ages past or time present.

In Edward the First's reign (1272-1307) the price of a pheasant was 4d., Echard showing that sum in 1299 as the charge, an entry in the Earl of Northumberland's house-book putting them at 12d. each; Sir John Nevile, in the seventeenth year of Henry the Eighth (1526) being charged 24s. for eighteen, and three years after 20s. for twelve.

In the household book and privy-purse accounts of the Lestrange's, of Hunstanton, dating from 1519 to 1578, an entry jots to "Mr. Asheley's servant, for brynging of a feasant cocke and four woodcocks, in reward, fourpence," an indication of the value of the present borne by him.

In this househould book of the Lestrange's two or three of the ways in which birds were killed, appear; thus, 66 a feasant kylled with a goshawake," is entered, and another day, "two feasants and two partridges were killed with the hawkes.'

The weight of the pheasant varies considerably, and mainly depends upon the abundance of good feeding and the quietude of the preserves, two pounds and-a-half being given as the ordinary weight, by a recent writer; but Gilbert White alludes to the weight of a large full-grown cock being three pounds three ounces and a-half. Mr. Bennett, in editing the last edition of the "History of Selborne," ac cepting this, and noting that a hen pheasant usually weighs two pounds

ten ounces.

At Campsey Ash, in Suffolk, a cock pheasant was killed, weighing four pounds and a-half,; Yarrell in his valuable work mentioning a brace which, together, weighed above nine pounds. "The lighter bird of the two just turned the scale against four pounds and a-half; the other bird took the scale down at once." The weights, he adds, were accurately ascertained in the presence of several friends, to decide a wager, of which he himself was the loser.

Young pheasants, of both sexes, in their plumage of their first year resemble the females. The females, as a phenomenon, occasionally will assume that of the male, together with other secondary characteristics; though this is not peculiar to the pheasant tribe, as fowls, partridges, pea-hens, ducks, and other birds, when old, diseased or operated upon, may manifest the secondary male attributes of their

species, Isadore Geoffrey Saint Hilaire, quoted by Mr. Darwin, naming ten sorts of birds. Generally they are incapable of laying eggs, nevertheless isolated instances occur to the contrary. At Sir Philip Egerton's seat, Oulton Park, in Cheshire, a hen bird which had very nearly gained the aspect of a cock laid a nest full of eggs, the people who sought to satisfy their curiosity at a cock's laying eggs, eventually driving her away. She then laid another nest full, and undisturbed we may suppose, hatched them, but the young all died. According to M. Salerne it is not until the hen pheasant has done laying or sitting that she gets the distinctive externals of the cock, and, therefore, the instance to the contrary is of course exceptionally rare. The pheasant will readily breed with several gallinaceous birds, the turkey, guinea-fowl, black grouse, and others, a cross with ordinary poultry being frequently effected. Hybrids, however, have, in some instances, mightily puzzled ornithologists, and our faith in the discovery of some new specimen announced by travellers is, we confess, seldom implicit, the data so positively laid down by authorities, and obstinately adhered to by followers in respect to habits, misleading the judgment. Naturalists in their ardour to declare the discovery of a new species- should well sift exceptional possibilities. Ordinary rules for ordinary purposes suffice, and when the sportsman goes partridge shooting, he does not need cast his eyes upwards at the trees, and yet we could give an instance of a partridge building her nest at some height from the ground, in the hollow of a pollard oak.

Pheasants do not constantly roost in trees, though they generally do, selecting the smaller kind, and settling upon the branches near the stem. They do not pair, and except during the spring the males and females do not even associate. During the shooting season the males are found together, being far more wary and on the alert than the hens. An old cock pheasant directly he hears a dog give tongue in wood or copse will be off, running away to the nearest corner; but the hen, though cognisant of danger, trusting to her brown earthy colour to escape detection, squats in some bit of long grass for cover, and, notwithstanding her enemies are close to her, may escape, a marvellous amount of self-possession and instinct being thus conferred on the poor bird in her extremity. White and pied pheasants, by reason of the readiness with which they may be espied on their nests are objected to, the ordinary-coloured hen being difficult to discern as she sits.





We had now arrived once more, "safe and sound," at the old Royal Burgh of Lochmaben, from which, as we stated in a former number, we had been so hurriedly summoned on the sad errand of death.

We had been unavoidably detained in hot broiling London on business, but even had we been in spirits to enjoy the anglers' recreation, the long continued drought would have marred our prospects; and we found on our return that to use the common expression, "nothing had been done," which was only a reiteration of the statements of " the Lake District." Nothing can be kinder than the landed proprietors in the neighbourhood of Lochmahew, in most readily granting permission to any respectable applicant to fish the waters on their property; in fact, we never were in any locality where we met with such liberality in this respect. We soon obtained leave on the Ae, the Kinnel, and the Annan (of which the two former are tributaries), including some very fine water in the latter river belonging to the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry. Although the fishing on the Annan opens legally on the 10th of February, yet some of the proprietors do not give leave until later, in consequence of the great number of kelts or unclean fish in the water early in the season. An occasional clean fish is sometimes killed, but it is quite the exception. The Annan, besides salmon, contains yellow trout, red in the flesh, and of excellent quality; sea trout and grilses, as well as herlings, ascend it in their season, provided there be sufficient water to enable them to do so.

Besides the above-named fish, it contains fine pike, perch, eels, bream, and chub, or, as they are always termed in this locality, skellies.

The Kinnel produces all the above-named fish, while the Ae, from its natural conformation of fine streams and pools, is eminently suited to the angler's pursuit of grilse, yellow trout, or sea-trout, with fly, minnow, or worm. This water affords the double advantage of being

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