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night they have all been swept down
fair as the shoulder of our own be loved-and lies at last in all her glorious length and breadth of beaming beauty, fit prey for giant or demigod angling before the Flood!
"The child is father of the man, And I would wish my days to be Bound each to each by natural piety !" So much for the Angler. The Shooter, again, he begins with his pop or pipe-gun, formed of the last year's growth of a branch of the plane-tree
-the beautiful dark-green-leaved and fragrant-flowered plane-tree, that stands straight in stem and round in head, visible and audible too from afar the bee-resounding umbrage, alike on stormy sea-coast and in sheltered inland vale, still loving the roof of the fisherman's or peasant's cottage.
Then comes, perhaps, the city popgun, in shape like a very musket, such as soldiers bear-a Christmas present from parent, once a Colonel of volunteers-nor feeble to discharge the peabullet or barley-shot, formidable to face and eyes; nor yet unfelt, at six paces, by hinder-end of playmate, scornfully yet fearfully exposed. But the shooter soon tires of such ineffectual trigger-and his soul, as well as his hair, is set on fire by that extraordinary compound-Gunpowder. He begins with burning off his eyebrows on the King's birth-day-squibs and crackers follow-and all the pleasures of the pluff. But he soon longs to let off a gun-" and follows to the field some warlike lord"-in hopes of being allowed to discharge one of the double-barrels, after Ponto has made his last point, and the half-hidden chimneys of home are again seen smoking among the trees. This is his first practice in fire-arms, and from that hour he is-a Shooter.
Then there is in most rural parishes and of rural parishes alone do we condescend to speak-a pistol, a horse one, with a bit of silver on the buttperhaps one that originally served in the Scots Greys. It is bought, or borrowed, by the young shooter, who be gins firing, first at barn-doors, then at trees, and then at living things-a strange cur, who, from his lolling tongue, may be supposed to have the hydrophobia-a cat that has purred herself asleep on the sunny churchyard wall, or is watching mice at their hole-mouths among the graves water-rat in the mill-lead-or weasel
that, running to his retreat in the wall, always turns round to look at youa goose wandered from his common in disappointed love-or brown duck, easily mistaken by the unscrupulous for a wild one, in pond remote from human dwelling, or on meadow by the river side, away from the clack of the muter-mill. The corby-crow, too, shouted out of his nest on some tree lower than usual, is a good flying mark to the more advanced class; or morning magpie, a-chatter at skreigh of day close to the cottage door among the chickens; or a flock of pigeons wheeling overhead on the stubble field, or sitting so thick together that every stook is blue with tempting plumage.
But the pistol is discharged for a fowling-piece-brown and rusty, with a slight crack probably in the muzzle, and a lock out of all proportion to the barrel. Then the young shooter aspires at halfpennies thrown up into the air-and generally hit, for there is never wanting an apparent dent in copper metal; and thence he mounts to the glancing and skimming swallow, a household bird, and therefore to be held sacred, but shot at on the excuse of its being next to impossible to hit him, an opinion strengthened into belief by several summers' practice. But the small brown and white marten wheeling through below the bridge, or along the many-holed red-sand bank, is admitted by all boys to be fair game -and still more, the long-winged legless black devilet, that, if it falls to the ground, cannot rise again, and therefore screams wheeling round the corners and battlements of towers and castles, or far out even of cannon-shot, gambols in companies of hundreds, and regiments of a thousand, aloft in the evening ether, with in the orbit of the eagle's flight. It seems to boyish eyes, that the creatures near the earth, when but little blue sky is seen between the specks and the wallflowers growing on the coign of vantage the signal is given to fire, but the devilets are too high in heaven to smell the sulphur. The starling whips with a shrill cry into his nest, and nothing falls to the ground but a tiny bit of mossy mortar, inhabited by a spider!
But the Day of Days arrives at last, when the school-boy-or rather the college-boy returning to his rural va
cation-for in Scotland college winters tread close-too close-on the heels of academies-has a Gun-a Gun in a case-a double-barrel too-of his own
and is provided with a licenseprobably without any other qualification than that of hit or miss. On some portentous morning he effulges with the sun in velveteen jacket and breeches of the same-many-buttoned gaiters, and an unkerchiefed throat. Tis the fourteenth of September, and lo! a pointer at his heels-Ponto of course -a game-bag like a beggar's wallet by his side-destined to be at eve as full of charity-and all the paraphernalia of an accomplished sportsman. Proud, were she to see the sight, would be the "mother that bore him ;" the heart of that old sportsman, his daddy, would sing for joy! The chained mastiff in the yard yowls his admiration; the servant-lassies uplift the pane of their garret, and, with suddenly withdrawn blushes, titter their delight in their rich paper curls and pure night-clothes. Rab Roger, who has been cleaning out the barn, comes forth to partake of the caulker; and away go the footsteps of the old poacher and his pupil through the autumnal rime, off to the uplands, where-for it is one of the earliest of harvests-there is scarcely a single acre of standing corn. The turnipfields are bright-green with hope and expectation-and coveys are couching on lazy beds beneath the potatoe-shaw. Every high hedge, ditch-guarded on either side, shelters its own broodimagination hears the whirr shaking the dew-drops from the broom on the brae-and first one bird and then another, and then the remaining number, in itself no contemptible covey, seems to fancy's ear to spring single, or in clouds, from the coppice-brushwood, with here and there an intercepting standard tree.
Poor Ponto is much to be pitied. Either having a cold in his nose, or having ante-breakfasted by stealth on a red-herring, he can scent nothing short of a badger, and, every other field, he starts in horror, shame, and amazement, to hear himself, without having attended to his points, inclosed in a whirring covey. He is still duly taken between those inexorable knees; out comes the speck-and-span new dog-whip heavy enough for a horse and the yowl of the patient is heard
into the water as high as his middle, in the hope of catching a fish which he sees rise, though he already has a pannier full!"
There is another pretty good pas sage in "Ninth Day"-Scene-the Fall of the Traun, Upper Austria.
"POIET. I admire in this country not only the mode of preserving, carrying, and dressing fish, but I am delighted, generally, with the habits of life of the peasants, and with their manners. It is a country in which I should like to live; the scenery is so beautiful, the people so amiable and good-natured, and their attention to strangers so marked by courtesy and disinte restedness.
"PHYS. They appear to me very amiable and good; but all classes seem little instructed.
"POIET. There are few philosophers amongst them, certainly; but they appear very happy, and
Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise.' We have neither seen nor heard of any instances of crime since we have been here. They fear their God, love their sovereign, are obedient to the laws, and seem perfectly contented. I know you would contrast them with the active and educated peasantry of the manufacturing districts of England; but I believe they are much happier, and I am sure they are generally better.
"PHYS.-I doubt this: the sphere of enjoyment, as well as of benevolence, is enlarged by education.
"POIET.-I am sorry to say I think the system carried too far in England. God forbid that any useful light should be extinguished! Let persons who wish for education receive it; but it appears to me that, in the great cities in England, it is, as it were, forced upon the population; and that sciences, which the lower classes can only very superficially acquire, are presented to them; in consequence of which they often become idle and conceited, and above their usual laborious occupations. The unripe fruit of the tree of knowledge is, I believe, always bitter or sour; and
scepticism and discontent-sickness of the mind are often the results of devouring it.
"HAL. Surely you cannot have a more religious, moral, or more improved population than that of Scotland?
"POIET.-Precisely so. In Scotland, education is not forced upon the peopleit is sought for, and it is connected with their forms of faith, acquired in the bosoms of their families, and generally pursued with a distinct object of prudence or interest: nor is that kind of education wanting in this country.
"PHYS. Where a book is rarely seen, a newspaper never.
"POIET.-Pardon me-there is not a cottage without a Prayer-book; and I am not sorry that these innocent and happy men are not made active and tumultuous subjects of King Press, whom I consider as the most capricious, depraved, and unprincipled tyrant that ever existed in England. Depraved for it is to be bought by great wealth; capricious-because it sometimes follows, and sometimes forms, the voice of the lowest mob; and unprincipled because, when its interests are concerned, it sets at defiance private feeling and private character, and neither regards their virtue, dignity, or purity.
"HAL. My friends, you are growing warm. I know you differ essentially on this subject; but surely you will allow that the full liberty of the press, even though it sometimes degenerates into licentiousness, and though it may sometimes be improperly used by the influence of wealth, power, or private favour, is yet highly advantageous, and even essential to the existence of a free country; and, useful as it may be to the population, it is still more useful to the government, to whom, as expressing the voice of the people, though not always vox Dei, it may be regarded as oracular or prophetic.-But let us change our conversation, which is neither in time nor place."
We have a million more remarks to make. But, Brethren of the Angle, farewell till next month, when we me ditate having A DOUBLE NUMBER.
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