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greatly fear, will but faintly do him justice ; nevertheless, though long years have passed since I looked on his manly form, and he has numbered among the dead, yet he stands out so clear in my mind's eye that I fear not to be enabled at least to sketch him as he appeared on that memorable evening at Brooklands, inasmuch as it was the era which commenced those events which cleared the stables of its gallant hunters, the woodlands of game, the hall of generous hospitality-breaking the best of parents' hearts, and leaving, eventually, little or nothing to those who remained, but firm affection the one for the other. The Brooklands were sold, and mortgaged entails cut off ; the hall let. And those who had been nursed in the lap of luxury, and educated in all the generous principles of human nature, became professional wanderers.
But the dining-room door is thrown open, and Jack Forster is announced by Brandyface, the butler.
“Come in, Jack," said the squire ; “put your spoil on the side-board, and drink — The King, God bless him.”
Now Jack, or old Jack, sometimes dear old Jack, as we familiarly termed him, stood exactly six feet two without his shoes, and was proportionably strongly built, though an ounce of flesh could scarcely be found on his body, whatever the amount of muscle. His hands and feet were large and strong, though not ill-formed, while his face was one of the handsomest and most benevolent I ever beheld_eyes brilliant and merry, with a smile about his mouth which many a fair woman might have envied ; for all that, kind though his disposition, with temper gentle as a lamb, he was firm in his duty as keeper, brave as a lion, and, moreover, an admirable sportsman and very fair shot. Jack, in truth, was much esteemed by the whole family, as was he in the neighbourhood-a fact which went farther to prevent poaching than his wellknown courage and active zeal. He had lived with two generations at Brookland Hall, and died in their service. Jack did as he was told, laid the game on the sideboard, and, advancing to the table, stood as erect as a life-guardsman saluting “ the duke"--as noble a specimen of the animal man as man's eyes ever looked on, or woman's either. The squire of Brooklands filled a bumper—the glasses in those days were not quite so ridiculously small as they were subsequently, or quite so large or so greatly improved as they now are ; so raising the thimblefull to his lips, he said, in broad Somersetshire dialect--for he was a Somersetshire man-looking full in the face of dear Mary, whom he had held in his arms as a baby, and looked on as an angel in petticoats
“Here's a health to the king, God bless him, and Miss Mary in particular.”
“Very well,” said the good squire, “very well, Jack ; but his majesty's health should always be drunk alone, and in reverence. So here,” filling another bumper, “ toss this off according to your own desire-two such glasses only make one for such as you.”
“ Well, your magisterial honour”-he had the greatest respect for his master's magisterial dignity, possibly from constantly threatening people who were poaching or trespassing to take them before his honour, the magistrate at Brooklands" I'll just drink Miss Mary again, missus, and all the family at home.”
“And a right good-hearted toast, my man ; but now, Jack, what have we done to-day?”
" Done, your worship—why nothing worthy of a magistrate. I'm stagnated”—this was a favourite word of his "I'm stagnated if your honour did not miss two cocks most promiscuously. I've see'd your worship kill dead many livelier birds nor they, and the distance was not at them of the morn.”
“Well, Jack, never mind what I missed, but let the ladies see what we killed.”
“Well, I'm stagnated, your honour, but there was not much to-day for a sporting magistrate, and him the Squire of Brooklands ; for, let who will say nay, I, Jack, who'se lived well nigh two score years in the family, will back him-either with flint or these new-fashioned capsto beat e'er a lad in the two counties.”
“ There-let us see the bag of to-day.”
“Well, your worship, there is as nice a couple of young birds as ’are fell to powder. Handle them, Miss Mary ; beautiful plumage, fat, and fit for the spit, I'm stagnated if they are not. There are two couple and a-half more to match, a couple of ducks, two brace of pheasants, a brace of hares, and nine rabbits ; and, what's more, your honour, we viewed away a fine young dog fox from one of our best preserves, therefore the boys cannot complain of old Jack ; I'm stagnated—but I mean the young gentlemen.”
At this correction we all laughed heartily, while the squire added
“I should regret to see the day when the hounds draw the Brookland coverts without finding. And after all-missing or killing—I think our sport was tolerable this morning."
"Well, your worshipful honour, well, I'm stagnated, but I recollects the day when your honour never led to Low Bottom Copse without a bag full of cocks, and not a miss ; to-day you only bagged two couple and a-half, and missed three fairish shots. Master Ned brought t'other couple to bag, and hares and rabbits counts for little or nothing in Brookland Vale."
“All true, Jack, all true : now tell me how goes the weather to-night -more frost-or will the foxes have to fly for their lives again to-morrow ?"
“ Mild, your honour—mild as small beer, and fair-wind southerly. We shall have rain ere morning, methinks, but not much of it. His Grace of Gloucestershire meets near home, at the Crossways, and the earl at Broadways. 'Tis Saturday, if your worship minds; and them young fellows— I'm stagnated, beg your honor's pardon—master Ned and the duke's godson looks mightily as if they'd lonk to be at both hunts at the same time, and see both the varmints killed. But the duke meets at Harlington on Monday-I sposes you three be there cause I seed Blackwell a taking a hairing on Coxbean, and he told me he was just a winding on him, and taking the paces out of him, that he might lead the field on Monday; and James was on Silvertail, and the boy George, who looked affrighted, was on Friar Tuck, the new horse, and they all three started when I left them, and went across the park and over the hurdles and brook at the Waters Meet like antelopes.”
" The deuce they did, Jack !” said I. “Confound that fellow Blackwell; he promised me when next he gave the hunters a sweat across the park I should ride Friar Tuck myself, to try his paces.”
“ And so you shall, my lad, if events and weather permit, at Har
lington Gorse ; but recollect, boys, this must be the last hunt this season. And now, Jack, good night, for I see Miss Mary is getting sleepy; the boys and I will have a round or two at oronoco.” “So, once more, good night! And may sweet and uninterrupted sleep prepare your mind to enjoy the peace of the morrow's Sabbath.”
Whatever our intentions, however, in this bright world; though formed only on the night of Saturday to be put in practical force on Monday ; whatever, in fact, man may propose, it is God alone who decides. Therefore, all joyous as we were in the anticipation of another day's hunting, a hunting we did not go, solely that the following morning's post, harbinger of so much gladness and sorrow, brought intelligence which at once put an end to all thoughts of merriment. Our beloved dad's beloved and only brother, like himself fond of field sports, had met with a severe accident, and two hours afterwards had ceased to exist.
This sad intelligence came on us all most unexpectedly, and naturally cast a terrible gloom over the hitherto joyous circle at the old hall at home ; and ere the first feelings of sorrow had softened down, the period arrived when we were called on once more to bid adieu to the home circle, and resume our studies at Eton,
And now, brother sportsmen, I wish to tell you a little secret- bear with me; I have already whispered it to my friend Don Tomaso Tuxfordio del Toboso. When I first commenced these pages I was assisted by the notes of poor Fred Western, which notes were placed in my hands by his laughter-loving sister Gussy, who occasionally brought clear to my mind the sports of the Westerns, in their early days, by her own graphic description of Corbeau and Silvertail, the Stagnater and Barleycorn ; but she declares she will do no more than she has done already, without I give her some recompense for her labours. But as I now write in my bright little sanctum, she enters (it is Monday) with Bell's Life in her hand. It is really strange how well-bred women do devour Bell : but let her speak for herself,
Years have passed over her head—what then? her eyes are as brilliant as ever; her smile as full of affection, if not of merriment. She places her small hand on my shoulder, and thus addresses me—" What a scrall ! how I pity the printers! Always scribbling! Now do for once put by your papers.” And with this she seized the whole of my notes, and locked them up in a cabinet, pocketing the key, then seated herself by my side and commenced : “You promised to take me to Paris this spring ; look at the advertisement in Bell. Cheap trains to and fro, steamers included ; a review, a ball, cagles floating over the Champ de Mars and settling on the army ; Napoleon advancing on a piebald charger as • President,' returning on a skewbald as • Empereur.' How charming, how delicious !- go we must, indeed you have promised. I shall require a new pink satin drawn bonnet, a few dozen of French gloves, a white satin dress for the ball, and so forth-merely a few trifles. At all events, go or no go, you shall not have another sight of Fred's notes again, till you have promised.”
What could I do? Why simply what any other man would have done who watched Gussy at that moment, and admitted how well she would look in the pink bonnet : I submitted without a word, closed the bargain with a kiss, and straightway proceeded to obtain the railway tickets. And the only apology I have to make that I also close the field sports of the Western family is, that I intend, on my return, to submit for editorial consideration some most interesting papers, recently discovered at a manor house in the fair county of Devon, which are entitled
The Adventures of Timothy Gambado,
MY LIFE AND ADVENTURES.
BY HARRY HIEOVER.
I have often thought that a Biographical Society would be a most useful institution, if well organised and conducted; and a Society of Truth-tellers would be another. The latter would have particularly one leading feature in it that in these days always commands immediate attention—it would be most decidedly quite novel : such a society of persons never has existed, at least so I believe, and most certainly does not exist now. The Truth-tellers I would have composed of a given number of men, bound, in virtue of their office, to speak the truth ; I would in no way wish to confine the members to any given number, indeed this would be quite unnecessary: the only difficulty likely to arise in this particular would be to find men in sufficient number to form a society, the leading feature of which would be a peculiarity so contrary to the usual practice of general society. These gentlemen should be like chamber counsel; that is, individuals to whom we could apply for information, but with this additional novel advantage that we should be certain of a direct and conscientious reply to our questions.
The great and indeed vital importance and advantage that the Truthtellers would be to society will become at once apparent if we consider how very rarely a man really knows his own characteristics-how rarely he is a judge of the propriety, impropriety, justice, or injustice of his proceedings, and more rare still is it for a man to know how he stands in the estimation of the world or society in general. It is true, if a man is poor and helpless, he may very fairly calculate on being told of all his faults and failings ; but then he will never be made conscious of any virtues he may possess, for no one will think it worth their while to inform him of them; and in fact, being poor, the quantum of virtue the world will give him credit for will not certainly be « hid uniler a bushel:" why should it, when a reversed tea-cup would be ample to hide all that it will be conceived possible such a poor dal could possess ?
Now the powerful and opulent man is in the same predicament as the poor one, so far as regards getting at his true character ; every one of the average good qualities he may possess in common with his fellowman will be lauded as god-like attributes; and though the world may be clear-sighted enough to see his faults who will tell him of them ? most certainly no one but one of my Truth-tellers. There are many men high in rank, who know no more how their character, as regards heart and disposition, stands in the estimation of the world they live in, than they do of how it may stand in the opinion of the man in the moon. I have one in my mind's eye now, who I should suppose is in that state of blissful iguorance—at least it is to be hoped that he is so, or his bliss would be but little, unless it consists in being detested. Is it to be supposed, it may be asked, that constant salutations will attend one so disliked ? aye, would they, if he was a devil, provided at the same time he was a duke. Now with my confidential and truth-telling counsel, such a man would be candidly told why he was in such bad odour with his fellow-man, and no one else would tell him.
A man shunned by society may not know why he is so—how is he to remedy faults and causes that he “wots not of”?
A young lady wishes much, and very naturally wishes, to know why no chance of the desired question has been put to her by any eligible one among her acquaintance. Imagine her consternation on the chamber counsel, in a quiet business way, and with imperturbable gravity and quietude, informing her— "When men address a lady as lovers, they are always actuated by some motive commendable or foolish, as it may be. They seek high family connexion, fortune, beauty, mind, and high attainments in education and accomplishments, or great amiability of disposition : you, unfortunately, possess none of these, but a great deal of affectation and undue self-appreciation, and have not been fortunate enough to find a man who hold the two latter attributes as compensatory for all the rest.” If this is not enough for a guinea, which I propose as the ordinary fee, I really know not what would be.
Return we now to the Biographers. One of these, who would write the life of a man while living, so far as it went, would do more good to the public, and to the individual, be it who it may, than a dozen posthumous criticisms or laudatory works. If we are to act on the principle de mortuis nil nisi bonum, we should never learn the true character of any one; and it really is a work of supererogation to tell of a man's faults when, not being able to hear, he can no more mend them ; and on the other hand, if he merits the love, respect, and applause of the world, it is unfair to deprive him of the well-earned satisfaction of knowing while living that he is thus estimated. It is no use telling us whom we should court or whom avoid after the object is beyond our reach: let us judge of this while it is of use to us. Biographers of the living would be like the press to authors: it would keep them in order-it would encourage those who strove to deserve encouragement, and very properly punish those who were careless, obstinate, or radically bad : and like that press, I would vote the members of my Biographic and Truth-telling Societies to be privileged persons, against whose opinion and decision it would be as improper as futile to rebel or take offence.
I have given a hint of what might be: whether it ever will be, is another affair ; but this I know--if it ever should be, it would put a good many on the qui vide..
In writing my own adventures, and being my own biographer, I will endeavour to show by my candour that I have the germ in me that would qualify me to be chosen a member of the societies I have