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slice of plain roast beef: the champagne or punch is cool as a refrigerator can make it ; and a cigar from Fribourg or Pontet forms the climax of a shooter's luncheon, while the seat of heather is felt as luxurious to the frame as the highly-ornamented morocco, or satin-covered chair.
The setters having so well performed their morning's work, as a relief to them, and as likely to suffer less from the mid-day sun in August, the pointers now take their turn. They seem to fly over the brown heath; their quick and busy working offering little hope of escape to the “pack," if once within the keen scenting range of their detecting enemies.
Whether the setter or pointer is to be most admired is a matter of taste : they have each their advocates. Though no regular or enthusiastic disciple of the gun myself, I highly admire either animal ; the setter I should call the most imposing in his appearance going, or standing; but the elegance of attitude of some pointers is a model for a sculptor. Sincerely do I wish good sport this and every season to all “ good men and true", as gunners. Ever and always be it remembered, I tack to the wish this proviso, that they do not disturb foxes in covers before hounds have drawn them.
Even that most unpretending of all anusements, that by stretch of imagination can be called sport, bottom-river fishing, sends many a line into the water this month; and under the arches of some bridge, or in some well-known deep, the patient fisher feels his hopes and fears as much excited by the nibble of a two-ounce roach, and his anxiety for a catch as great, as the foxhunter's for a kill after as good a run as hounds ever went. And let not the richer man or the sneering critic set down him as puerile in all his ideas because he derivcs amusement from that which, to those who have means to enjoy more expensive sports, may appear as a puerile pursuit. If the angler has known no higher amusement, and is amused with his rod and line, the man with a dozen hunters is no more. If he has known better—but this is the best he can now enjoy-he shows his sense in deriving amusement from what he can do without injurious effects to himself or others. But if he really preferred angling to fox-hunting, or shoving a punt about to a four-in-hand, he might still be a very sociable and very clever man, though I must allow I should call him a mighty “slow coach.”
August is one of the months dear to the cricketer's heart, and those interested in so fine and manly a game now are gratified to their hearts' content, by seeing, participating in, or reading of matches and return matches innumerable. As a boy, of course, I played at cricket, and among the muffs I played with, was held to be quite first-rate as a bowler ; but the reader will judge of what my pretensions to a cricketer must have been from what occurred a few weeks since
Passing Lord's cricket-ground, I felt inclined for a sandwich, and turned in there ; but to my surprise I found the way to the coffee-room barred up.
“I want a sandwich,” said I, “but I cannot get into the coffecroom.”
“Of course not till four o'clock," said the presiding deity at the bar; “May I ask why not?” said I. “ Because the match will not be over beforo." “ Match !" said I, " what match ?”
She mentioned some great match between the somethings and somebodies.
“D-n the match !” thought I, but merely said, “ Am I to go without my sandwich on that account ?"
“Oh no,” said the deity ; “ by paying sixpence you can go in, and ean see the match from the window."
“ If,” said I, “I must pay sixpence extra for my lunch, so be it ; but I would not give sixpence for a free entrance to all the matches that ever will be played while I have eyes to see. Now," said 1, "if you can give me · Bell's Life,' a sandwich, and glass of ale, in some room where I can by no possibility see the match, it will just suit me, for there I conclude I can read my paper, and eat my lunch without interruption."
I suppose she thought me too tasteless a savage to be worth accomodating ; for, giving me a look that if I had been made of penetrable stuff would have annihilated me, she turned to a gentleman in a flannel shirt and wide-awake hat, and gave him a smile that would have melted a cricket-bat. I walked off.
August calls many a youthful but sinewy arm to the soull; and manly youths-scions of a noble stock - now send the frail-looking wager-boat flying through its limpid element, bringing health and strength to the participators in manly contest. A beautiful sight it is! and many a statesman remembers with pleasurable feelings the days when he was “stroke oar” among his brother Etonians. I scarcely know a more gratifying sight than a set of these fine youths at this their favourite diversion—the more so when with it we associate the idea that in a few short years these youths will, as men, be perhaps leading the armies of their country ; propounding, and carrying out her laws; or by their counsel, as statesmen, keeping her—where may she ever be -a distinguished star in the horoscope of nations!
A busy month, despite the five preceding ones, is August with the silk-attired jockey ; for in it we have a goodly array of some dozen and a half meetings. True it is a month of respite to the turf of Newmarket ; but the jockey of that place may possibly be scen even some three hundred and fifty miles from home riding at Stirling. But Great Britain is far too circumscribed an area to satisfy our racing propensities : and as the good Boulognese brought forward in this month foreign cracks to gratify our expatriated countrymen by a little racing, so we sent English nags to gratify our foreign neighbours by giving their crack a thrashing : and however sceptical they might have been as to this being achieved by John Bull, they found it could be, and was done by Sam Hood -- his countrywoman playing an equally distinguished part.
That our hills and vales may not languish during this month of heat and dust, for the welcome notes of the opening hound, the otter, so insidiously sliding through the stream, affords occasion for our valleys to echo again the music of the hardy and game otter-pack ; and (setting the riding part of hunting aside) there is no more exhilarating chace, and coming at a season when our ears are tired of being stupned with Jullien's monster bands, the natural music of the pack comes on our senses with redoubled relish, still more softened by surrounding echoes.
This is a month, too, when the experienced stud groom eyes his horses with most searching ken ; they are all well through their physic, early morning-exercise is going on, and each leg is scrupulously watched prior to his horses getting something like work. The young four-year-old horse, whose form prognosticates his becoming the pride of the stable, is being made handy in his fencing, and being got somewhat fit to go prior to his being introduced to hounds cub-hunting. How he bears the light work given him, or in racing phrase, whether he "trains on” is each day carefully examined ; and if the stud-groom is worthy the name of one, his pride is on the alert to show his stud in six weeks from this time fresh, blooming, and “fit to go.”
Huntsmen and whips are again mounted- not on their hunters, but on the kennel hacks. The young hounds, so soon to be entered to their game, now call forth every attention; they and the pack are walked on the roads to harden their feet, and to teach the young ones not puppy-like to run dismayed from the objects they may encounter. The park or forest is traversed, where the timid hare starts from her form, and the startled hind and her fawn rise from the covering fern, and bound across the green swarth. Woe to the young hound, and deeper woe to the old one, should he disregard the “ Ware haunch !" of the whip! But we will not anticipate in a crack pack such an atrocity as likely to occur among the hunting hounds ; and if a young one has encountered an enraged whipper-in once, he rarely forgets his lesson in this particular. Earth stoppers who have watched, and know each different earth that held its litter, gladden the huntsman by the news that cubs are strong, healthy, and in plenty. Treacherous is man in all his ways; while the huntsman rejoices in hearing of the well-doing of each litter, he calculates at the same time on the number of noses he hopes to see grace his boarded list.
Keepers, whose midnight winter rambles have kept the poacher from the preserve, now watch the increasing strength on wing of the young partridge. More than keeper must he be if he does not also personally test whether their flavour is as good as last season : if he does, but does not trade in game, hard would be the master that would severely visit such occasional offence. The frequent turning from a warm bed to face a winter's night in a solitary and often dangerous walk may with great reason claim some little indulgence. He is now busy with his dogs, finishing the breaking young ones, and bringing those of last season into their accustomed condition ; and though the condition of the pointer is not of the serious importance as is that of the hunter, and still far less so than the form of the race-horse, still on it depends much of the sport, and all the pride and pleasure of the shooter. We have only a fortnight before dawn of day will find the keen partridge-shot in the field : he looks over his shooting paraphernalia ; and any havoc in it-the effects of the preceding season-is thoroughly put to-rights. Caps, wadding, powder, and shot are laid in ; the accustomed accuracy of the Mantons, and the steadiness of the arms, hands, and eye of their master, are proved as the swallow turns in her circling round ; and now the only drawback on the shooter's joys is the necessary patience till the last toll of the midnight clock on the 31st of August proclaims the hour arrived that sanctions the approaching onslaught.
Messrs. Tattersalls have now a goodly display of second-rate ponies, Galloways, park hacks, and all such horses as were purchased for the season ; and “ Ile is to be sold !” is heard from the rostrum with veracious emphasis. Job-masters send their most objectionable, but good-looking horses to the same place. Better ones, but of less appearance, are turned over to do duty in omnibuses. Messrs. So-and-So send their stock that have been working in jobs, as brougham horses, or in pairs, during the season, to Aldridge's or Robinson's. “ Among them will be found some clever,” &c. &c.
Riding masters betake themselves to watering-places, and accommodate third-rate young ladies with fifth-rate nags: and quite good enough too for being scorched by the sun and smothered by the dust, where the scanty mockery of shade by a stunted thorn is hailed as umbrageous
Dealers have thinned their stables, and would as readily look at a giraffe as a horse-glad to get out of such as have been unlucky, at a low price, to some needy buyers for the foreign market.
Men who keep hunting stables for the accommodation of customers who reside in town, now find their stalls filling, the London scason being over when the hunter did duty in Hyde Park ; but now being in the way, he is sent out of it to these hunting stables : and far better to do so than to take the London-kept hunter fifty miles by rail, to meet hounds, and then to be worried by being shook fifty miles back, to enjoy the blessings of a close London stable, and London smoke and fog, for the benefit of his lungs when taken out to exercise.
Trainers begin to prepare their loose boxes for race-horses to return to, after a summer's campaign. Jockeys, tired of their long abstinence, wish all they expect to get between now and the closing Houghton was in their pocket, and that last meeting over.
Vans now, with their curtains of red stripe--so red that it makes one as hot, to look at them, as the unfortunate horses who draw them-compounding for a Sunday's rest by a journey of some two or three and twenty miles, to and from Hampton Court, with more than as many passengers to drag after them. Poor wretches! they call for some relaxation after a week's labour, with somewhat greater justice than a pack of country postmasters, to save whom an hour or two's occupation, tens of thousands of persons were destined to sustain serious inconvenience, and often disappointment or privation, of a heart-rending nature.
August sends boat after boat, loaded with hundreds upon hundreds of “ pious souls,' down the canal on the Uxbridge side of London, who, if they have availed themselves of the regulations (their ontcry for opportunity “ to attend to their religious duties"), have produced must, in sooth, have performed them early, as at nine o'clock the aquatic conveyance moves off. True it returns at the sober hour of nine or ten- that is, the hour is sober, and so is the horse who draws the million ; but as there are houses quite convenient to the landing place, not a few choice parties may be heard somewhat later serenading the neighbourhood with
"We won't go home till morning!" the ladies joining the chorus in alt. Well ! if the gentlemen will be so gallant as to force the “cold without," and the yielding few take it within, who shall dare impugn the yielding softness of woman's nature ? and if they forgot to pray, why we will pray for them--only let such hilarious souls have the candour to allow, that if they did not break the striet rules promulgated by the saints in power, of not touching any useful occupation on the seventh day, from not doing that, they got jolly-well drunk the day after the sixth.
But we have not done yet : for the accommodation of some of these choice spirits, whose nobler souls disdain to do things by halves, these same capacious barks start again on the Monday to keep the thing alive. Now this is quite right and proper in an economical point of view ; for as numbers, from the effect of the Sunday excursion, are still only half sober when they start on the Monday, they get right royal at a trifling further outlay; and if, thinking that by Tuesday after breakfast it will be time to set about their usual occupation, they do return at a reasonable hour, such a favourite is the habitual refrain, that they again, en passant, assure us
“ They won't yo home till morning !" But have the rich and great no little rural feasts and excursions in this month, when all that can be had of out-door amusement is hailed with earnest desire ? Yes, they have, though somewhat of a different taste. Déjeuners, pic-nics, archery, dancing, excursions in all sorts of vehicles, and on all-sized animals, where case and safety are combined, are resorted to. Verily, these amusements “al fresco," and consequent rambles on foot, are wickedly mischievous to young and ardent hearts ; for, somehow, on such occasions there is an absence of that restraint so rigidly kept up in the town mansion. The shortest stroll, though in sight of hundreds, has often brought about a declaration long before its expected time. A young and lovely girl, in all the absence of affectation (sure accompaniment to high birth) laughs at the difficulties of some unbeaten path ; her footstep fails ; the supporting arm of her companion saves her. Can we blame him, if he contrives to encircle so fair a form in his arms more closely than the case requires ? Can we blame him if, in the inspiration of the moment, he cries“Would I could hold thee here for ever !” The fair one starts as if electrified, from the supporting arm ; and with a real or feigned cool and high look of astonishment, draws herself up to more than her usual height. Yes, my fine fellow, be you who you may, you are in for it. It was insult, uuless, be you a duke, your coronet be offered in explanation of the act and speech. Happy he who, by possession of such a comparative bauble, is authorized to scek, and destined to gain, the bright and beautiful of nature's beings!
But varied as are the joys and amusements of this month to many, does it bring a proportion of them to all ? No, thousands in this great metropolis only feel the change it brings to them in increased deprivation from diminished means of obtaining the necessaries of existence. See that attenuated female form, mechanically watching a sickly plant at her window-a mockery on vegetation and sad emblem of her sinking hcalth. For her August brings neither joy nor hope. She has ceased to sigh for the fresh breezes of the country, knowing such sighs are vain ; but in hopeless despondency bears, as best sho may, the weary months that, bringing health and joy to others, bring no joy to her.
Reader, there are thousands that, if not in precisely such situation,