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“ Potatoes and peaches the rather,” argues her own gude man, the best judge of a dinner, and a bottle of wine after it, in the county.
" Yacht-club cups and commodore's compliments, par excellence,” affirms our esteemed friend Mr. Smith, who makes no secret of his success, although we all know his success is the Secret.
“ If it must be a secret," joins in Leatherlungs, "let's have the favour of a strong pot for the Leger, or anything in that line between this and Christmas.
Or a Wye salmon, fresh caught and carriage free.
Or the haunch of a Houghton buck, on just the same ditto ditto terms.
On an introduction to Ibrahim Pasha.
Or the last number of the magazine, or anything you like, from an invitation from Osborne-house to a ticket for soup to Jullien's grand finale masquerade.
So you see, after all, the brace or two of grouse is scarcely quite as much a matter of course as Messrs. Hancock and IIacker, or Young Norval on the Grampians, would have us suppose. The fact is, this said month of August is mighty propitious in all that's enjoyable, though still we are free to confess that few things can come more grateful to hand about the fourteenth or fifteenth than the originals of our illustration. Game brought to bag or to table with the silver shot never can eat well, while the simple sense of the compliment, per contra, gives a dainty relish even to birds that have been kept a week or so too long.
Think of that, Master Brook, as you prepare the nice new wedding-cake looking box, with a stall a piece for every head you mean to inclose in it; think of the honour implied in a first offering, and argue the point right manfully ere you dispose of so important a question. Shall it be the editor? Can even a box of grouse touch the heart of so systematic a stoic, and will it really add a guinea a page to “ the Gillie Guide” we are bound down to him for? But avaunt with such selfish give-and-take kind of pleading, and hand us over a card at once to write out the direction for that good fellow the Reverend Curate of Beacon Regis, whose fair daughters, we rather reckon, will guess at the II. C. we have insinuated into one corner. Ay, Sam, start it off just as it is, and don't bother us any more with your prior claims of friends and relations. What is an editor, we should like to know, but he may give place and be talked over like any other man? And as to aunt Deborah and her three
per cents., let her do her worst, and dic and be—buried forthwith, leaving the personals," as we are pretty certain they will be sooner or later equally divided between Pompey the old poodle, and Evans the head butler.
If railroads, as the oracles assure us, will eventually put the stopper on fox-hunting, they will as certain sure rub off no little of the wild and the wonderful in, what it is the fashion to class as the companion-sport, grouse-shooting. The moors no longer entertain the select few for whom, not many years since, it seemed they were especially invented ; but are rapidly sinking to the same level as Boulogne, up the Rhine, Herne Bay, and such like steam-approachable places of public amusement. The “ City, Bank” sportsman now-a-days, instead of biding his time for the brown 'uns in Sussex and September, leaves the same hour as my Lord Tom Noddy to open on the real black game of the Highlands on the first rising of the twelfth. Cockneys and Gillies instead of now regarding each other as the hear-say never-see curiosities of their respective regions, exchange the slang of the day and the compliments of the season, like brothers born. The William Rufus roofed * neebor lad,” who carries the accompaniments and leads the way, shall set himself going to the burden of “Lucy Neal,” when a civil gentleman on Ludgate-hill shall stick a scarf into you, “ in his own experience of the country”, as a bonà fide Drummond. How different all this from the days of the oldest inhabitant, when slow coaches and rough roads made a visit to the laird and his lands an event indeed, even to the most adventurous of Southerns, and when his clan stared at his friends as something of a cross between the infernal and the incomprehensible ! About that era some friends of ours, who had pitched a tent and passed the night in the heart of “the heather-bloom," discovered in the hazy light of a Highland morning, a shepherd (at some distance) intent upon their proceedings. At first the more they invited him to approach, the farther he receded—the more they harangued, the more he seemed inclined to distrust ; until at length the sight of a small whiskey measure did all that good words and signs had offered in vain. This, like the gibbet on the seashore to the shipwrecked mariner, at once satisfied him of the mortal condition of the invaders ; and with this for an interpreter, he commenced an acquaintance that ended, as it began, in an acknowledgment of the many virtues in “ mountain dew.” But for this he might have returned to his cot to “ dream of the good people,” or perhaps the devil himself, instead of in that “fast and furious mirth which rendered him, like Tam O'Shanter, so superior to the ills of life, either real or ideal.
For our own part, despite the petty sneer at London sportsmen, which is, in fact, more a bad habit than anything else, we are by no means disposed to quarrel with this rapid march of civilization. As the cheap newspaper people advocate general knowledge, with the sound logic of the more people there are able to read, the more likely will they be to sell their paper, so we flatter ourselves the more men have been on the moors, the more likely their appreciation of our August offering. It is a beautiful plate, though we say it who should not ; and if it but induce one novice to attempt the reality, we think we have reason for adding, the chances are all in his favour. The Scotch and Welsh
abound with reports on the abundance of grouse ; so there must be plenty, if not room for
every one. The season is early, all the world over, and the sport, consequently, even by the twelfth, should be something like strong work. The means of transfer are many and moderate, and the accommodation generally “no bad.” Our invitation to “walk up and judge for yourselves," must end here. In the whole fair we know of no exhibition more worthy of the public attention, while we are sure “no h'intelligent h'individual will h’allow so h’unequalled h’an h’opportunity to h’escape his h'inspection. Walk up once more, and all in to begin!”–(Ecit barker, to set the first scene).
THE SPORTSMAN'S DRESSING-ROOM ;
OR, A FEW WORDS ABOUT Hunting Coats, BREECHES, Boots, Spurs,
SADDLES, AND Guns.
The mutabilities of the present age are unspeakably great : time was, and at no great distance either, when slang and vulgarity overspread the larger part even of the higher orders of British sportsmen. But a brighter day has dawned ; and with the “ three bottle" heroes have vanished the groom's dialect, the coachman's slang, and the low-bred bullying swagger of the prize-ring.
Amongst the many features by which a sportsman and a gentleman are distinguished, perhaps there is not one which is more likely to stamp him, either alpha or omega, in “ the eyes of the world"' than his dress, or, in other words, after what fashion a man turns himself out, according to the amusement or calling he is about to pursue.
That a peculiar style of dress is necessary for each of our national recreations must be admitted by every one more civilized than the denizen of the wilds of North America ; but to dictate to any one the exact mode in which he is to dress himself, would be a piece of presumption which I should suppose the most arrogant minister of fashion would hardly dare to assume. The description of habiliments which would become one person, would, in all probability, sit like the lion's skin upon any other, and render the wearer the most perfect object of ridicule. Fancy Squire Osbaldeston“ lavishly got up" like the Count D'Orsay, screaming to his hounds, when he had them, by the side of a Pytchley gorse cover, or the master of the Quorn kigged out in the tights and wrinkled Hessians of Romeo Contes. Still such absurdities as the last-mentioned gentleman have absolutely shown themselves in the hunting field of the Royal Buckhounds, and the vanity and self-love of the exhibiter led him to suppose that the Prince of Wales was struck with the neatness of the fit, and adopted the peculiar style of this pseudofashionable West Indian*Lord Chesterfield, of Nepotic-literary renown, has said that a man ought to be rather over than under dressed ; in fact, according to Ude, dressed to a turn. His lordship, immoral as some persons may esteem him, was not altogether a bad judge, considering the times he lived in ; however, I never much fancied him myself—that is, his writings. He was guilty of one gross breach of decorum and taste, in my humble opinion—he sneered at foxhunters. But we are now talking about coats and boots and breeches, and not hounds, so let it pass.
The celebrated Romeo Coates had the vanity to declare that he was the first person who set the fashion of wearing the boots pushed down in wrinkles, and which were afterwards much worn by the dandies of that day. Mr. Coates's boots had, however, one original recommendation, that was, of being waterproof; being inade without a seam, of the skia of a horse's leg, blocked iuto shape,
A sloven in dress, nine times in ten, is the same listless performer of the ordinary or extraordinary duties of life. Again, a man may be got up with as much trouble and expense as the most correct dandy who perambulates the streets of London, and yet be the mere exhibiter of the most outrè taste and habiliments that it is possible to conceive ; in fact, he may be what has been so expressively denominated a “ Bucknasty," redolent of a mixture of frouziness and perfume, and eminently expressive of a taste at once jaunty and plebeian, dingy and yet tigerish in the most superlative degree.
Badly-cut habiliments certainly denote poverty of taste, if they do not of the pocket ; and I never meet with a man whose clothes are, as it were, chopped out in the country by the parish clerk, that I am not impressed with the idea that he is fondly wearing out the treasured heirlooms of his great-grandfather, or at best that he is some Sabine in easy circumstances, the homeliness of his garb keeping pace with the crudeness of his ideas, and who has summed up courage to emerge from the chrysalis state of his solitude to stare with wonder and astonishment at the more glittering objects of a new and refined world.
Although imitators in every branch in the arts and sciences are to be met with, in even the most remote districts of the globe, the mighty ** Babylon” alone is the emporium where clothes of all descriptions, as well as each species and genus of implement used by flood and field, are to be obtained in that degree of perfection that can ensure satisfaction or success in the use of them to the purchaser ; and this, with little exception, within one mile of the once favourite lounge, the White Horse Cellar, in Piccadilly.
How extraordinary it is that, in a country like England, where good sense has generally predominated over whim, and where the useful and comfortable have, in most instances, been preferred to the mere expe. dients adopted by the eccentric or parsimonious, the hunting-coat should have been allowed to retain a shape, during so many years, the most unsightly and comfortless that can encumber the back of a sportsman ! The fashion of wearing evening coats in the field is certainly a custom the most absurd, as that part which ought necessarily to be as well protected from the cold and wet, as even the back itself, viz., the lower regions of the stomach and groin, are necessarily left exposed to the weather ; and I am well convinced that no one who had ever been in the habit of wearing the old-fashioned and now nearly exploded huntsman's frock, with its close fitting and weather-proof flaps, would ever wish to exchange so great a comfort for the ridiculous swallow-tailed affair of comparatively modern invention. In these extra-refined days of universal dandyism and rage for fancy uniforms, if the old coat above alluded to may be deemed too vulgar and antediluvian to be allowed to grace the back of the modern foxhunter, why not have something invented in which might be coinbined comfort as well as appearance? A garment so truly “simplex munditiis"
simplex munditiis” as the coat worn by her Majesty's watermen, with a few trifling alterations, would afford a pattern for a dress at once the most agreeable and appropriate that could be conceived for a horseman's use.
There is one very remarkable thing with regard to the cutting of all kinds of coats, taking the whole list of tailors from Dan to Beersheba, from the legion in Conduit-street or Bond-street, to the indefatigable