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passed beyond, as thus we lay secluded in that retired spot, we cannot here recount, inasmuch as a monthly volume of the “ Colonial Library' would not admit of it. But as long as the breath of life remains to us —and we would wish to speak our natural feelings, though many may
--we shall never forget that day. Half an hour elapsed in pleasing dialogue, in a sort of demi-tone. A joke was passedsmothered laugh-the proposal to light a cigar. The deer will smell the smoke : their scent is very acute! Nevertheless, we both wished it. How dreadfully cold !-Never mind, a shot will warm you. We sink knee-deep in wet !-Ah! that's nothing when you're used it : be patient. Well we might : an hour elapsed, and not a sound. be well placed ?-Decidedly so-none better. We are frozen ! Never mind.
Hark! a shout-bang. The sound died away. We started up held the rifle firmly. Look out! A blackcock passed us. Dthose blackcocks ! at any other time how welcome. Another shout another bang! Half an hour more elapsed ; we could scarcely brave it longer. Frozen-half drowned--the first hour's merriment began to flag. Had we only been allowed a cigar! but then red deer are not fond of the smell of baccy. We coughed.--You must not cough! We sneezed.----No sneezing! We danced.—You must not dance! This is forest deer-shooting.--Is it ? A jungle for all we cared. Alas ! how long we had desired such luck ; but then, like the child who cries for a toy, having obtained it, we could have flung the treasure away. But as yet we had not obtained it. Two hours had we remained in this damp and cold seclusion, when, lo! a louder report saluted our anxious ears ; close at hand the echo came, and all our miseries were about to cease.
“ Be patient--for Heaven's sake be calm," said our young companion, will miss him."
We have heard the whistling ball, which tells of danger past, fly harmless o'er our head in scenes of bloodshed and danger ; we have heard the shriek of agony occasioned by its paralysing stroke ; we have seen Death busy in the ranks of men, and have known the hour of agony and pain ; in such moments we have thought of home and loved ones far away, and the heart has beat quick, and the nerves have been unstrung. We have also felt the joys of pride and pleasure, and knew, which many ne'er can count, moments of joy and excitement which repay, and
for long, long hours of bitterness and anxiety. Yet, though folly may it be to declare it, never have we felt half the feverish excitement that was caused us at the moment when, looking up the open forest side, which lay in our front, we beheld the approach of about twenty red-deer coming towards us at full speed. Perhaps it was the cold, perhaps the wet, or the long waiting, we know not which, but 80 nervous were we that scarcely could we lift the rifle to our shoulder. We managed, however, to shake off partially this feeling which unnerved us, and, bringing the rifle to the shoulder, prepared for the coming deer. The quick eye of our young companion, however, accustomed to such sport, immediately perceived that the herd were composed of hinds, some having calves still by their sides, and not an antler was among them.
He therefore seized the arm which, in another instant, would perhaps have pulled the trigger, and, by destroying the mother, at
the same time have murdered the son. And, lo ! they passed, a noble group; to us they appeared as a drove of oxen, so large they loomed in the shades of the forest, and magnified by the excited state of our nerves. They passed, however, rapidly on, and were lost to view. We know not why, but this scene totally revived us ; we recovered nerve, felt that we had acted with patience, if not foresight. Altogether, we were recalled to the fact that we desired to kill a stag ; what we might have done had not our young friend been at hand we know not, but probably we should have wounded a hind. As for him, we hope ere this he has bagged a brace of elephants and lordly tigers. But our patience and forbearance were amply rewarded. A brief time elapsed ere again the murderous voice of powder proclaimed the deer at hand; and with nerves well knit we prepared ourselves for action. Once more the opening was darkened by the coming deer ; in this instance the number was far less, but the antlers, the forked antlers adorned their lofty heads. “Take the leader,” said our young chieftain,
16 and hit him in the heart. I shall not fire."
We did as he desired. Hidden by the trees, we calmly as circumstances would permit awaited the moment when the animal was well nigh abreast of our hiding place, and then fired as he rapidly advanced. Almost immediately after the report, at not more than thirty yards from where we stood, the deer fell on its knees, and then with a sudden bound recovered itself and fled through the forest. The gillie near at hand-for the moment we had forgotten him—and who held a fine deer hound, immediately slipped the noble animal, who at once gave chace to the wounded deer ; and we followed in eager and breathless hope of the result, which, however, we were not fated to know ere the light of day had closed the glen in darkness; and had that pleasure been afforded us by time and sufficient remaining strength to follow on his lengthened track, we could ill have related here that which has been so forcibly and beautifully described by abler pens in their accounts of wounded stags at bay. On our arrival at the hospitable Castle, a packet of letters, some not unimportant, apprised us that by daybreak we must start for the south ; and the feverish and sleepless night which followed our pleasures of the preceding day warned us to lose no time. Lucky for us that we acted with decision, or we might not now be living to tell the tale. A short time afterwards, we were greeted with a letter from our merry companion in the swampy hiding place, accompanied by a handsome pair of antlers--an extract from which we subscribe :
"You killed your first stag, or, at least, wounded it to the death, for it has been recovered : and I have the pleasure of sending you a haunch of venison and a fine pair of antlers. The latter you can hang up in your hall, if you have one ; if not, preserve them in recollection of the sports of the glen.”
We have thein still.
BIDSTON HILL, CHESHIR E.
BY G. W. B.
“Oh! what a scene is here !
How blithely might the bugle horn
LADY OF THE LAKE.
Never have I hunted with greater pleasure than a few years since, when in Liverpool, I ...... What! a hunt in Liverpool, “credat judæus Apella, non ego,” where the spirit of avarice rules with undisputed sovereignty ; where relaxation is a crime, and man is held in less estimation than the large kettle of boiling water-ycleped steamengine-becauses it produces more economically capital ! I confess I hate the whole class of political economists. Heartless and superficial, in their eyes, man, with his immortal soul, is a mere machine; and Brutus-like (what an appropriate name!) they would unconcernedly witness the scourging to death of their own children, if they believed them inclined to thwart their undigested and impracticable theories. Understand, however, there are two Liverpools, one on the Lancashire, and another on the Cheshire side of the Mersey. The Cheshire Liverpool, called Birkenhead, contains a population of more than forty-thousand souls, almost all in independent circumstances; yet, strange to say, this immense town has no place on the map of England. Commerce has superseded the baronial castle or consecrated abbey, in giving origin to towns.
It was in Radley's Hotel, on a fine April morning, that having nothing to do but wait the issue of a law-suit, I was striving to prolong my breakfast, when my eye fell accidentally on the Liverpool Journal, which announced as local news, that Sir Thomas Stanley's hounds would meet at Bidston Hill, at half-past ten o'clock on that day. Now, in my perambulations through the town on that very morning (for I am an early riser) I saw, with the aid of a telescope, a hill in Cheshire as bare of verdure as Fleet-street, but covered with trees divested of a single branch or leaf. While wondering to what order or genus they belonged, I saw a large ball ascending slowly from the ground, and resting on the top of one of these vegetable skeletons. My wonder soon abated on learning from a passer by that they were signal poles belonging to the shipowners and merchants. Of course I imagined there must be a second Bidston, and merely for conversation-sake I asked the proprietor, who is very civil and gentlemanly, how far distant was hunting Bidston. He answered, that it was a mile or two on the other side of the river, and added, that several gentlemen, whose horses had preceded them, were breakfasting in an adjoining room, and almost ready to depart. “By the saddle of Nimrod,” thought I, “these must be cockney sportsmen;"
and scarcely able to refrain from laughing outright, I asked what animal they expected to hunt. In the language of a sportsman he replied, that it was a sure find for a fox, that the cover was large, that the runs were good, and that the day seemed as if bespoken for the pleasures of the chase. The word cover staggered my belief; for as well as I could see, the hill was more bare of covering even than Fleet-street-it having a small portion at least covered by the city gate. I instantly sallied out, and on the steps of the hotel encountered, in full hunting caponicals, an old acquaintance, a thorough going sportsman, who was most recherché in his bill of fare for a hunt. What brought me there, what was I doing, what did I intend to do, and what I ought to do, were all asked, answered, and advised in a few moments. He saw I was suffering under a severe paroxysm of ennui, and this skilful physician prescribed for me a day's hunting—a remedy as specific in my case as quinine is in ague. Fortunately the medicine was within reach. I handed the prescriber the usual fee, one guinea; not for his advice (for that was gratuitous), but for the physic, which in twenty minutes was brought to the door of the hotel, neither in the shape of pill, bottle, blister, lancet, or other apothecary's stuff, but in the form of a tight, active bay mare. There was no occasion to label her in the usual way; for I read at a glance that if taken I must be well shaken. On our way to the steamer for Woodside, we passed the Town Hall, which the Mayor was just entering; and my friend remarked to me, how little value he and the whole corporation would be to us on the present occasion, compared to our own little four-footed animal. We were compelled to yield the way to the civic dignitary; but I revenged myself, and soothed the wounded feelings of horse-flesh, by repeating the well-known lines of Goldsmith to his horse :
"Was ever horse so well befitted ?
His master drunk, himself committed !
You'll be a horse when he's no Mayor.” In less than five minutes we were in Cheshire, having prayed the entire voyage that the Lord would not have Mersey upon us. As the other animals were standing at the pier waiting the arrival of their masters, we were soon riding slowly towards Bidston light-house. There is a telegraph on the hill; and had reynard kept on friendly terms with the signal-man, the news of his motley coloured enemies would have been telegraphed to him, and his notions of living high would have been checked for that day : at present they were mortal enemies, for the previous week he had enticed away the father of the gosling chicks, and the bereaved orphans cackled aloud for vengeance. Reynard was a scamp, and no way ashamed of his forul propensities. He deceived his neighbours by asserting he led a very holy life; passed himself as a Londoner, for they did not, simple people, understand his equivocal expressions, when he boasted he lived at Cheapside-and cheap enough he made it-that he was well known in the Poultry; that he detested Houndsditch, therefore preferred stopping at the sign of the Cock; and that he was of an old family well known in Huntingdonshire, and related to a great statesman. It is an undoubted sign of the superiority of Ireland over England, that in the former country even the foxes are educated and deeply red. Power has praised the knowledge of the fox of Bally-Botherem (and knowledge is power), who ran over the newspapers every morning to learn where the hounds would meet, not to gratify them in their cruel sport by giving them a chance of worrying him, for he was a member of the Humane Society for Protecting Animals-rabbits and poultry excepted.
Winding round the base of the hill we suddenly came on a farmhouse, and in the yard we found the huntsman with his impatient charge, waiting the arrival of his master. The worthy and respectable baronet was too much the gentleman of the old school to detain his sporting friends, and within a few minutes of the appointed time his barouche, accommodating several intimates, rolled into the farmyard. He was of the middle size, and had filled out to the proper bulk which so much becomes one who has passed the middle period of life--attenuated frames are unerring criterions of ill temper or ill health-his
age about fifty, his countenance mild and benevolent, and his whole bearing that of the gentleman. Having greeted the gentlemen of the meet, he threw himself into the saddle, and directed the huntsman to throw the hounds into Bidston cover.
It was once remarked to me—and daily observation confirms the truth of the remark—that no sincere lover of the chase was ever either a bigot in religion or in politics; gloomy fanaticism and oppression of your fellow-creatures are incompatible with that joyous expansion of the heart and social cheerfulness which are the fruits of an exhilarating pleasure, no way diminished by being shared.
Some pelf-hunting manufacturer, with the bump of acquisitiveness largely developed, may open his soulless eyes, and express his amazement how a rational being can take pleasure in hunting a poor animal to death. But like little Peter Spyke, he has usually only one ideamoney—and even that, like Peter's, is oftentimes borrowed. The Norman dynasty, who devastated large tracts of this country to tenant it with game, took their pleasure in solitude and loneliness; they loosed the arrow or hurled the javelin; and their amusement should no more be called hunting than the battues of the present day. I confess, at the risk of being charged with heterodoxy, I love to see a clergyman mingling with the hunters; such a man is invariably beloved by his parishioners ; he is benevolent and charitable, always happy and cheerful; and this latter quality shows a mind at ease with itself. “ For I think,” said Sterne's French peasant, “ that a cheerful mind is the best offering an illiterate peasant can make to his God; or a learned prelate either, said I.”
The word to cover was now passed, and in a moment the whole field was in motion. We ascended the bare hill, and our delusions as to cover were instantly dissipated. Ah! the black and white shield is no fable; there are two sides to a hill, as well as two sides to a question. On the side towards Liverpool t'was literally, as sailors would say, under bare poles ; but the other seemed as if nature and art had combined to afford a sketcher a model for exercising his pencil for the picturesque in all the various divisions of hunting scenes. As I rode along the hill, I thought I never beheld so beautiful, so interesting, and so varied a sight. I was at the foot of the light-house; and above