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mington, he will find plenty of sporting liverymen, farmers, and horse-dealers, who for a fair consideration, and with the chance of selling, will furnish him with horses that can go the pace and do the trick. It was never my good fortune to be in Warwickshire during the period that Mr. Bradley's staghounds were in existence; but, by all accounts, they showed considerable sport, and their loss has been severely felt by many who merely wanted a gallop, and will not undertake all the trouble, labour, disappointment, and exertion of foxhunting. While upon the subject of " calf-hunting," I cannot refrain from giving an account of the last Epping hunt I was present at, and which for fun, life, and absurdity, beat anything I ever saw. The event came off some five-and-twenty years ago, o in the days of my hot youth, when George the Third was king.” I was then a subaltern officer in a crack regiment of cavalry, realizing the lines
of the song
“How happy 's the soldier that lives on his pay,
Who spends half-a-crown out of sixpence a day." Easter, as usual, had set in with its Easterly winds, and the Monday was a regular" cat and dog pouring day.". But the uncompromising appearance of the weather did not dismay the would-be sportsmen, for from nine till twelve o'clock the road from Whitechapel to Woodford was lined with carriages of every form and description, from the barouche-and-four down to the taxed cart, and an incredible number of horsemen, among whom were many cockney Nimrods, in smart red coats, corduroy breeches, top boots, and long spurs, each cantering his hired Bucephalus to attract the attention of the assembled multitude. A number of temporary booths for the sale of liquors, ham, beef, bread and cheese, periwinkles, buns, cakes, tarts, ginger-beer, imperial pop, cyder, were erected on the forest, each distinguished by a sporting sign—"The Hare and Hounds," “ Fox," “ Reindeer,” “White Hart, “ French Horn,” “ Stag,” &c. About twelve the deer, which had travelled in his own carriage from the “Bush” at Wanstead, was uncarted, his branching antlers being decorated with gaudy-coloured ribbons. After a few minutes' law the hounds were laid on. Away went horses, sportsmen, deer, and hounds towards Buckhurst Hill, from thence to Fair Mead Bottom, and on to Loughton Wood, from thence to Robinson's Range, and round the enclosures to Deadman's Wood, returned to Fair Mead Bottom, and on to Golden Hill, thence passing Queen Elizabeth's Lodge to the Bottom again. Here, the noble l'animal, being hardly pressed, plunged into Burleigh's pond, from which he was taken alive and reserved for another year's sport. Many of the equestrians followed the sport till their horses shut up; and there were the usual number of falls and accidents. Being admirably mounted myself, I saw the fun to the very greatest advantage. “There's nothing on the other side,” cried one of my “pals," as he went at an awful pace at a hedge, upon the outside of which was a yawning ditch. “Conie along !” I cried; “It's nothing;' and with this assurance I was folfowed by some half-dozen cockneys, who, not putting quite so much powder at it as we did, floundered all in the green and fatid water. # Catch my horse !” “Oh! I'm smothered !” “Help me out!” were
the cries of these would-be Nimrods, as they and their steeds were dragged out by the gaping clods. But I have not time to enlarge apon this subject in this present article, but may perhaps refer to it again, as no one of the present day can have any idea of the real fun at an Epping hunt of old.
A TALE OF CANADA.
BY THE AUTHOR OF “ THE SPORTSMAN IN FRANCE,” AND
In an unpretending little work of mine, which was introduced to an indulgent public by Mr. Newby, the eminent publisher of Mortimerstreet, in the early part of last year, allusion has been made to the excellence of the snipe-shooting in Lower Canada. To my predilection for this fascinating sport am I indebted for the following extraordinary narrative. A reference to the 5th chapter of the first volume of “ The Sportsman in Canada” will inform the reader as to the circumstances which led to my acquaintance with one Pierre Larosse, the undoubted proprietor of a substantial farm on that rendezvous for Canadian snipes— the imperishable Green Island, some seventy miles below Quebec.
The facts I am about to relate were communicated to me by this Canadian farmer in the year 1819. They made a deep impression upon me at the time, and I give the leading incidents from recollection, and as correctly as so great an interval will admit of.
In the volume already referred to, I have recorded one or two meetings which took place on this celebrated island. On each of these occasions I was accompanied by a couple of friends from the garrison. But these were not the only visits I paid in quest of my favourite amusement, for during the four years and a half that I was quartered in the Lower Province, I was in the habit of boating it down to old Pierre Larosse's four or five times during each season. Those of my countrymen and brother sportsmen, who have never left their native shores, can form no idea of the sublimity of Canadian scenery. Everything is on a magnificent scale ; the lakes, the rivers, the mountains, are of Brobdignagian proportions, while the forests present a mass of timber and varied foliage over an all but illimitable space, extending far beyond the reach of sight. North American scenery, however, has been so graphically and faithfully described by that fascinating and talented writer, Mr. Fennimore Cooper, that any attempt on my part to convey any idea of the stupendous works of nature on the other side of the Atlantic would not only be an act of presumption, but one of supererogation as well.
The upper and lower provinces abound in game. As regards variety, the former may be said to bear the palm ; but the latter carries the day
as far as the snipes are concerned, for I greatly err if the swamp of Chateau Richer, about sixteen miles below Quebec, on the northern shore, do not produce in the season more of these delicious migratories than are to be found from one end of the upper province to the other ; but whether on the banks of the noble St. Lawrence, or on the shores of Lake Huron, the sportsman cannot but admire the wonders which a Divine Providence has been pleased to collect together. An extremely interesting, as well as beautiful work, got up in the first style of excel. lence, by Mr. Willis, of literary celebrity, will give the reader a very good idea of Canadian scenery—the illustrations are admirable, and for fidelity, as well as in the execution, are not to be surpassed.
The farmer of moderate means, who finds it difficult to make “ both ends meet” in this country, and who can scrape together some three or four hundred pounds, cannot lay out his little capital to greater advantage than by emigrating to Canada, to settle down on the land apportioned to him in one of the numerous townships of the upper or lower province. His “ location” once cleared, he becomes an independent man; and if he happen to have perpetrated a little bit of poaching on his landlord's manor at home, and fond withal of his rod and gun, he can supply his table all the year round with fish, flesh, and fowl. Venison, ducks of sorts, wild turkeys, partridges (such as they are), wood-cocks, and snipes, are as plenty as blackberries ; while salmon, trout, pike, and Maskinongè, and every kind of fresh-water fish, are to be found in profusion.
The same remark holds good as regards the half-pay officer, or one retired from the service; for the amount realized by the sale of the latter's commission would far exceed the sum required to clear his“ grant,” prepare it for cultivation, and erect a comfortable dwelling, There are but few military men of the present day, who are not sportsman; and I know not a more attractive spot for an old officer, after having served his country, to pass the remainder of his days in, than a Canadian township. If, in the course of human events, circumstances and that fickle jade “Fortune ” permit, to Canada will I migrate, there to pitch my tent, and eke out the fag-end of a chequered existence. Some quarter of a century or more has passed since I had the good fortune to be quartered at Quebec ; but the sport I enjoyed in its neighbourhood, the society by which that sport was varied, and above all, the glorious works of Nature in her grandest garb, took so strong a hold of my imagination, that I look back to this happy period as if it were but of recent date ; and events which passed under my observation at the time, are brought back as vividly to the recollection as if they had occurred but yesterday,
Whenever I could be spared from my duties in the garrison, or obtain leave for a few days, I never missed running down to Chateau Richer, or Green Island. In these excursions I was frequently accompanied by one or two of my brother sportsmen, but it did sometimes occur that I had the fun all to myself. It came to pass on a certain day in September, 1819, that, not having been successful in enlisting a " Compagnon d'armes," on a crusade against the Green Island snipes, I paid a visit to our old friend Pierre Larosse all alone by myself, as a government boat had been placed at my disposal.
I reached the worthy Canadian's comfortable farm house before dark, and having dreamt of snipes and wild ducks, guns and powder-flasks,
was up betimes in the morning ready to deal death and destruction amongst the feathered visitors to this celebrated spot, and to realize, as I hoped, the anticipations my host had given rise to by his cheering report of the numerous becassines arrived in his marais. Many of my fellow knights of the trigger have, doubtless, discovered in the early part of their shooting career that they invariably shoot better alone than in company. An excitable and enthusiastic youngster, in his eagerness to bring down his bird, pulls his trigger before his aim is properly ascertained, and without the deliberation requisite to insure success. At the period I write of, I confess to not being sufficiently cool when in the swamp with one or more guns; indeed, to this day I could name one or two old hands aflicted with this feeling—although, single-handed (as we say of our dogs), they are scarcely to be equalled, in swamp, stubble, or cover. Our nerves are not all of the same quality : constitutions and temperaments differ, and every act of our life is swayed by them. shooting this is particularly to be remarked, and those of my mercurial readers who are the slaves of impulse would act wisely were they to do a bit of arithmetic ere they fire at random, by counting up to the number 5, or ascertaining how many 2 and 2 make, while adjusting their aim. Under any circumstances, however, I should say that the man who is anxious to make up "a bag,” had better adopt the "solitary system,” for the chances are that the head will be cool and the hand steady, inasmuch as no gentleman ever indulges in an “extra glass” overnight without a companion. It will nevertheless occasionally happen, when two or three jolly fellows are on a shooting excursion, that more wine and more whiskey toddy are imbibed while discussing the day's adventures, or making arrangements for the morrow's work, than prudence admits of. As far as I am concerned at least, I could never get through a pint of wine or one jorum of toddy at a sitting, when doomed to solitude, although some of my convivial friends can testify that when fairly in for a drinking bout I can take my“ broth ” as kindly as any of them. A pint of Hodgson's pale ale, and one glass of “hot with,” having been the extent of my allowance on the evening of my arrival at Pierre Larosse's, I never felt in better order for the day's operations than on the following morning.
My worthy host having volunteered to accompany me to the marais, we set forth, after an early breakfast, with the never-failing " addendum" of a “goutte” of “eau-de-vie,” by way of a "retainer,” as the lawyers say, and a few minutes' walk soon disclosed to me the gratifying fact of there being plenty of work cut out for my dog and myself in the swamp. Now whether it was owing to a well-conducted stomach (for no man can shoot straight while labouring under an indigestion), the cool head, well-braced nerves, or good luck, this deponent sayeth not; but certain it is that, for a youngster at the sport, I never shot better in my life. At noon a luncheon was brought down to the “hutte ” on the Lagoon, where, the year before, Mr. Wood, of the artillery, and Mr. Grant, had, by mistake, shot the worthy farmer's decoy ducks (vide “ The Sportsman in Canada," vol. I, chap. 5); and having discussed our meal with great “gusto," I lost no time in following up my good fortune, and before dusk I had killed some five or six and thirty couple of snipe. Just before leaving off, I was lucky enough to knock over a couple right and left, both of which were difficult shots. “Sapristi !” exclaimed Pierre Larosse, “ Vous êtes bien adroit, Monsieur;” and he added in French—at least his Canadian “patois,” which on the other side of the Atlantic passes muster for it, and which jargon I will tako the liberty of translating for the benefit of my readers—" You almost equal François Dumesnil, who was the most celebrated snipe shot in the Canadas, or even the far west.”
“ And who was François Dumesnil ?" I inquired.
“He was the son of an old friend of my grandfather's,” replied Larosse: “his father was a small farmer in the parish of St. Nicolas, on the south bank of the river, about half way between this island and Quebec. His mother was an Indian, and one of the most beautiful of her tribe ; her family were Hurons, and François' father having been sent up the country to superintend the transport of a raft of timber down the Ottawa, saw, and became enamoured of, the young Indian maid, whose affections he gained, and whom, after no slight remonstrance and objections on the part of his parents, he subsequently married. The fruit of this union was my snipe-shooting hero—the renowned François, who, having at an early age accompanied his tawny mother on a visit to her family on the other side of Lake Huron, became familiarized with, and attached to, the wild life of the tribes with whom he associated. He accompanied the chiefs on their hunting parties, and to this circumstance must be attributed the extraordinary skill he attained in the use of the rifle and fowling-piece. Before he was sixteen he could split the skull of a goose or duck with a rifle ball at a distance of a hundred yards, and he could drive a dollar into the bark of a tree with equal certainty. When I first knew François he was much older than myself ; but though comparatively a youth, I could appreciate his skill as a chasseur, and many is the day that I have accompanied him when shooting in this island, and in the swamps of Chateau Richer, a spot you know, Monsieur, as well as I do. We are now near home, but if Monsieur pleases, after dinner I will tell you a tale recounted to me by François one evening, in the very room where Monsicur (meaning myself) will eat his repast."
Having got rid of the Green Island mud by sousing my anatomy in one of Madame Larosse's washing-tubs, and exchanged my damp and soiled habiliments for dry and clean clothing, I came down to the farmer's salon, where a blazing wood fire, and a table laid for dinner, gave promise of warmth and good cheer for the evening. After a satisfactory day's sport, I know of nothing which gladdens the heart of man more than a change from wet garments to clean linen and warm hose, a cheerful fire, and wherewithal to appease thirst and hunger.
On the evening in question I had the full measure of these sublunary enjoyments. My servant, who had accompanied me from the garrison, was an old and experienced campaigner, and always had an eye to his master's (and his own) comforts. A couple of boiled shads (a very nice fish by the way), a savoury mess of mutton, potatoes, and onions (not a bad imitation of an Irish stew), and a couple of snipe, composed the bill of fare ; and a few glasses of old Madeira, and a bottle of pale ale, were equally satisfactory ; and feeling warm and comfortable, though lacking a companion to share the enjoyment, I bethought me of Pierre Larosse, and his friend the celebrated shot. My communicative host was not long in obeying the expected summons, and having brewed him a huge