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helplessly drunk. The end of the squireen is melancholy ; his grocery trade having long gone to the dogs, he goes to the horses, or, in other words, after his palmy days are over, he becomes the associate of blacklegs, and, in fact, becomes one of those curious nondescript persons seen hanging about racing grounds and racing stables, sometimes well dressed and at others "out of luck.” He attends all places where anything like sporting is going on, not excepting his favourite -- steeple chases ; for though they are what ruined him, he still has a hankering after them. He would have been harmless in the “ field ” otherwise, and might never have been driven from it but for them ; it is, therefore, incumbent upon all true sportsmen to put down steeple-chases, as they are breeding a set of men that will in the end ruin fox-hunting and horseracing too, and those men I have chosen to call“ squireens.

Newcastle-upon-Tyne, June 16, 1846.




Some short time after our first expedition with Ponto, and several excellent days' subsequent sport at the more distant manors of our host, the period of our visit having expired, and being desirous to meet some other friends at Stilton, where we intended to try our fortune in snipe shooting, should the fens be in order for that kind of sport, my friend and myself, accompanied by Ponto, commenced our homeward journey in the gig of the former, taking with us to a friend's house---where we intended to pass a day or two in our way_a hare and a brace of partridges, game being extremely scarce in that neighbourhood. Our host, who also accompanied us, preferred riding on horseback, hoping to get a day's hunting with the fox-hounds, which were to meet the next day in the neighbourhood. Thither we accordingly went, travelling over a wild open country, until we got to the neighbourhood of Driffield, famous for its trout fishing. The first day's journey was a long one for a horse and gig, with three inside passengers ; for Ponto rode at the bottom, under the apron, the rain requiring us to have it up, and in company with the hare and partridges, intended as a present to our future host. During our progress we found a very uneasy and restless spirit of mind and body appeared to have possessed our fellow-traveller Ponto. Invisible as he was under the apron, we remonstrated loudly with him upon his troublesome conduct, which, with the aid of a sharp kick every now and then, given in good earnest, seemed to have some beneficial effect in tranquillizing him ; but after laying quiet a while, again Ponto roused himself into action, and appeared occupied in turning round and round, as dogs will do when making themselves a comfortable place to

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repose on. Upon again administering a fresh portion of scolding, with two or three hearty pokes with the but-end of the whip and an urgent recommendation “to mind what he was about,” Ponto was still again ; but ever and anon he began shuffling about as before ; and when this system of dog-fancies had been indulged in by him, and endured by us, for a very considerable time, my friend, whose dog it was, thinking the rain might have got down and annoyed him, stopped the gig, exclaiming, “D—1 seize the restless brute ; just see what is the matter with him, or he'll spoil the game." Upon getting out and letting down the apron, I found, as I had feared, that Ponto, true to his natural fondness for game, had contrived to eat up both partridges, barring heads and legs, and was about finishing the last remaining part of the hare, of which the extremes only were left visible to human sight. My companion and myself looked at each other (Ponto looked also), but neither of us spoke a word, until at length my friend's feelings allowed him, in a faint voice, to say, Turn him out, but don't speak to me any more to-day.And thus we proceeded in mournful silence and unsocial mood, except the culprit Ponto, who, with a hardihood of appearance the more provoking, cheerfully jogged along in self-congratulation, and thinking, no doubt, he had performed at any rate an excellent day's work for himself. A friendly reception and a cheerful dinner (but without the game) soon, however, banished my companion's gloom, and we enjoyed a laugh at the crafty way in which Ponto contrived to rob us, and supplied himself with creature comforts."

There was a large warren adjoining the house at which we were then staying, and while my friend and our new host went with the hounds, which met at no great distance off, I was accompanied over the warren by the warrener, who informed me that this most extensive warren furnished for the Hull and other neighbouring markets from 3,000 to 4,000 couple of rabbits a-year, and that the quantity of oats and hay necessary in the winter to keep up the stock was quite enormous. The warrener kept two or three warren dogs, as he termed them—a kind of lurcher in appearance, half-bred originally, I should think, between a greyhound and a Scotch terrier, with the shape and character of the former, but wire-haired, smaller, and with rather a short tail, keen-eyed and alert, but scowling and sullen to look at. It was really curious to witness the sagacity of these animals when taken into the warren, amidst hundreds of rabbits sitting or running about within a few yards of the dogs ; yet they never appeared to take the slightest notice of them, although I was told if a fox or a hare, which was sometimes the case, contrived to scale the embankment and get into the warren, woe betide it, for the moment the dogs were put upon the scent, they never left it, but stayed out night and day in pursuit until they either caught the interloper and brought it home, or drove it to take refuge in some of the larger burrows at which the dogs would remain until the arrival of the warrener, who speedily dug out the victim ; and yet these dogs when on the outside of the warren, if they there chanced to discover a rabbit, they instantly started off after it, without the slightest encouragement from their master, and were sure to capture it—unless, indeed, the rabbit had the good luck to first reach its burrow, of which there were very few out of the warren ; and if the rabbit did so escape, the dogs seemed greatly ashamed and chagrined at such being the case, and, with sulky looks,

say they

returned behind the warrener's heels, quite unwilling to be thought outwitted by the fortunate rabbit. Indeed, take them altogether, I never saw a more tractable and sagacious kind of dog, and I dare proved excellent poacher's assistants to those not unwilling so to use them for that purpose.

On the second day I went forth with Ponto in pursuit of a covey of partridges, said to have been seen about the farm, and which being eight hundred acres in itself, with a sheep-walk attached, and placed in a totally unenclosed country, appeared to extend for miles and miles on every side. However, off went Ponto and myself, when, by one of those fortunate events which in small matters in life sometimes befall individuals, at the corner of a stubble, and adjoining a field of near fifty acres of turnips, Ponto fell upon the covey of birds ; for the poor dog, in his anxiety to pull up betimes, twisted over on his side, and there lay as if shot. Up got the birds, thirteen in number, and after skimming away a short distance, scattered themselves all over the adjoining field of turnips. Now it was my turn, and most gingerly I went to work ; for, being October, I well knew in so open a country these birds might fly into the middle of to-morrow, if I missed a shot.

Ponto and myself looked unutterable things at one another—he to intimate he'd do his best, and I that if he didn't—but no words could express what. I soon bagged five birds, for they got up under my feet each time from Ponto's ever accurate point. At length it appeared like Major Crockett and the coons. It was a done thing, and of no use the birds trying to fly away, so they dropped whenever I fired, and finally we killed eleven, having missed but one shot ; and to crown our glory, we flushed a woodcock, which the second rise fell also.

On my return I was greeted by our host and a visitor, who had come to dine with us, with congratulations at the good sport in rabbit shooting I had had ; but when I undeceived them by producing, one by one, my eleven partridges and then the woodcock, their surprise was beyond bounds. This done in a country where it was supposed a man might shoot comfortably from the 1st of September to February, and never get above two brace in the whole five months ; and as to my getting five and a half brace in one day, the thing was impossible !

Unavailing were my assurances that there the birds were, and I had killed them. Poor Ponto wagged his tail, and tried to say

“But we two did, though!” The gentlemen would not believe their own eyes. It was useless, however, to argue the matter, for to this day, if alive, I believe one of the party persists in thinking I went purposely to a neighbouring town, seven miles out of my way, to purchase the partridges ; and when our host's wine had told upon our visitor's broad Yorkshire dialect, I was highly amused at his constantly saying, “Now, tell us, didn't thee buy the birds? Thou couldn’a kill 'em, any ways."

The following morning on we speeded towards Hull, which town we reached somewhat early in the day, and intending to dine there, and then cross the Humber in the evening, proceed further on our journey homewards. After putting up at what we were told (my mistake) was a good second-rate inn, we ordered dinner, and having seen a vast quantity of magnificent smelts, which in that place are quite extraordinary in size and flavour, being fresh caught from the Humber, as well as seeing snipes and wild fowl of every kind, for which this town is also famous,


we desired to be amply provided with the two former, and then took a short stroll through the town.

On our return, eager to attack the fine fish we anticipated so much enjoyment from, we rang the bell to hurry dinner, and speedily up came one of those servant-of-all-work-looking beings, whose appearance

seemed to indicate his father must have been a tallow-chandler's apprentice, and a scullery girl his mother-himself being greasy, sleepy, and stupid. Presently this substitute for activity, called “a waiter,” deposited before each of us a single plate, witb a tin night-cap-shaped cover over it, and under which we trusted to discover a good display of smelts, rather wondering at the style in which the good people of Hull were accustomed to serve up such things ; but as we supposed, in order that they might be “hot and hot,” as the London firemen say. Quickly the covers were removed, and the eye fell upon one solitary mutton-chop! My companion went off forthwith into a forty-horse-power state of excitement ; but I did better, and endeavoured to console him with the recollection of the snipes yet to come. Of course, upon being questioned, the waiter answered, as usual on such occasions, Did you order smelts, sir ?" Our mutton smelts were not so bad, and we had a second each. Up came a succession of tin-covered plates, with the snipes—our sole object of consolation for the missing smelts. Alas! it proved to be a third mutton chop!

Words were of no avail with my friend ; his spirit was broken, and he merely begged of me to come along, and let us leave the accursed place, and cross the ferry at once, and before it was quite dark. Having settled our bill, we got into the gig, drove to the waterside, and there embarked, together with many other passengers, who had arrived for the same purpose in gigs and on horseback.

By the time we had embarked and disembarked on the other side the water, it had become quite dark, and there was a general scramble by the passengers to get their respective horses and gigs, so as to depart before the lateness of the hour shut out all chance of obtaining a bed at the end of the next long stage. After much trouble, we finally got the ostler to harness our horse to the gig first, and off we started, my friend's mind being still much depressed and grieved at the loss of his smelts and snipes.

Having proceeded for about a mile, and the evening every moment getting darker and darker, with a fourteen-miles' stage before us, the horse seemed to go by no means satisfactorily, and my friend's whip was of little avail, though his horse was a high-spirited eighty-guinea animal by old Sultan, and not likely to want the whip; but finding something was wrong, my companion gave me the reins, and got down to examine what was the matter, as well as the absence of light would admit him to do so, and in a short time I heard him give a heavy, long-drawn sigh, and then exclaim “ I'll be dd if they haven't put in somebody else's horse in the gig!"

This proved to have been the case in the hurry and darkness of the evening. We had then to go back and get our own horse, and but for the fortunate circumstance that our horse was worth any three of the other passengers', we should have had to explain it was really a mistake, and " we were not horse-stealers by profession.”

We did not reach a place to sleep at till it was so late that no supper or other refroshment could be had, and my friend and myself were obliged to separate for the night, hungry and dejected at the loss of our much-prized dinner and with no substitute. In this state he went to his room, where I could hear him for a considerable time muttering something which sounded to me not at all like his prayers.

A quiet night's rest, aided by a good breakfast the next morning, brought about a more cheerful feeling, and dispelled the gloom arising from our previous day's various disappointments, and my companion and myself journeyed onwards until we finally arrived at Stilton, where we were to meet two other friends, and after trying what sport we could obtain in the fens—snipe-shooting, as we had previously agreed we were then to proceed a short day's journey further to where we knew we should get some excellent rabbit shooting. It is unnecessary to describe the Lincolnshire fens and those in the neighbourhood of Whittlesey Meer, farther than saying, a more desolate and wretched-looking country cannot be imagined than these fens present in the winter season. Miles and miles of wet, boggy land, though in some parts dry enough for cattle in the summer months, extend down to the sea coast, intersected by dykes full of water, and which from their width and the bad taking off on the sides are very difficult to jump. Not a human being, except now and then a solitary fenman, carrying reeds in his frail boat, and looking over his dyke-nets, set for pike, or a plover-catcher, is to be seen as far as the eye can reach, and no sound breaks upon the ear but the occasional cry of the plover or the distant booming of the bittern in its concealment, sounding close though really at a distance. Now and then a couple or perhaps a team of ducks, or other water-fowl, might be seen high up, and afar off in the air, hurrying onward ; and the heavy flapping of a heron's wing, as it slowly soared away, gave a little change to the dead monotony of all around.

The cold north-east wind in these fens, there being no shelter of any kind to protect the body, cuts through the shooter's clothes keen as any knife ; and but for frequent applications to the cherry-brandy flask, and a vigorous determination not to be idle and stand still, no one could bear it for many hours together. I have frequently been in these fons with good hardy sportemen, and with dogs said to be able to endure any degree of cold, but I never yet saw either that were not speedily beat, excepting those long accustomed to this kind of sport, and particularly the dogs, who, having crossed a dyke or two, and felt the sharp wind driving the cold into their very vitals as it were, would sit down and howl in the most piteous manner possible, and it required the greatest difficulty often to get the poor things home again ; neither are they of any, or very little, use in this kind of shooting.

The best dress for this work, where you have constantly to cross dykes, the leaping-pole often being totally useless, and you are obliged to protect your ammunition by placing your powder-flask in your hat, holding your gun over your head, and wading through the water, which often reaches above the shoulders and to within a few inches of your chin, and then having to stand exposed to the razor-like cutting of the wind is a pair of sailor's strong cloth trowsers, well lined round the waist and down to the knees with rough flannel or blanketing, worsted stockings, and strong shooting shoes, in preference to any boots, which only fill with water, and holds the sportsman down when jumping. A man with a


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