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but you may make it fact if you can spare a thousand dollars, and buy Jim. In the engraving antecedent, which we had rather illustrate with powder and shot and wet boots, than with pen and ink, is exhibited a variation of the exciting toil.
Scolopax is there heaven-bound. Doubly so; for there is a messenger after him to bring him to—by hiin--an undesired Paradise. He, may, unless he can fly faster than the leaden missive which you see preparing to pursue him, suck his julep by night-fall in another elysium than his own sheltered wood-lake. The setters seem to be at fault, and have, probably, flushed the fugitive. The distance, however, is short, the sight is unobstructed, and the bird is doomed 10 a deliberate death. Ye, who have not known the beatitude of Scolopaxian collineation, look on with wonder and mute admiration!
There are some unlucky people, who have never enjoyed the acquaintance of Sc. minor. To them we say, cut him not, unless with a delicate knife after he has been embalıned upon a bed of toasted milk-biscuit, with his head resting upon a minute slice of Floridan orange. He belongs to the best society, and is worthy of your recognition. The books of ornithological heraldry give him emblazonment. Take Wilson for the authority of your introduction, and learn 10 know him well. Read this advertisement of his quality, and mistake him not :
“Ten inches and a half long, and sixteen inches in extent ; bill a brownish flesh color, black towards the tip, the upper inandible ending in a slight nob, that projects about one tenih of an inch beyond the lower ; each grooved, and in length somewhat more than two inches and a half; forehead, line over the eye, and whole lower parts, reddish tawny: sides of the neck inclining to ash; between the eye and bill a slight streak of dark brown ; crown from the forepart of the eye backwards, black, crossed by three narrow bands of brownish white ; cheeks marked with a bar of black, variegated with light brown ; edges of the back, and of the scapulars, pale bluish white; back and scapulars deep black, each feather tipped or marbled with light brown and bright ferruginous, with nume. rous fine zig-zag lizes of black crossing the lighter parts ; quills plain dusky brown; tail black, each seather marked along the outer edge with sınall spots of pale brown, and ending in narrow tips of a pale drab color above, and silvery white below ; lining of the wing bright rust ; legs and feet a pale reddish flesh color ; eye very full and black, seated high, and very far back in the head; weight five ounces and a half, sometimes six."
Why every feather of his head is counted and labelled. Such is the honorable estiration in which Master Scolopax hath been held amung the aristocracy of ornithologists.
Sc. minor is a sort of citizen, although he only rusticates and squats among our cedars, or in our deep swamps, as in a summer country-seat. He could bring an action of trespass and recover damages, for his frequent dispossession, if he could only persuade the sheriff to summon a jury "de medietate linguæ.” But that mercy is abolished by the Revised Statutes, and he has to take his chance of escape from “ forcible entry and detainer,” with the rest of the unfortunate proprietors who hold under doubtful titles. He arrives here from the South during the month of February, or just so soon as the thawing mud-puddles will yield to his hungry mandible, and permit him to bore for the delicate larvæ beginning to wake up from their winter's sleep. Love, nidification, and good eating, are then his chief employment. At morning and evening twilight he amuses himself with a spiral flutteration above the tree-tops, murmuring an epithalamic song which none but a snipe could compose," dulce modulamine inulcct,”—while she, his mate, below, nourishes in the rude oak-leaf nest, the young victims whorn both parents so sedulously prepare for your killing in next July. Fatal first ! how the weak-winged chickens tumble! The survivors, in the succeeding month, seek securer and cooler waters further North. Approaching winter brings them back in clusters. Then resound the woods with echoing volleys. October heaps up slaughtered hecatombs. Alas? for the love of - blood! The month has come, and our Westley Richards is ready!
We are almost too sentimental to be a good shot. Doubtless, the fear of guiltiness of volucricide may account for
many, otherwise unpardonable, misses we have committed, when we have nearly trod upon a bevy of quail; or when a sudden partridge whirred like lightning over a neighboring thicket, and our fluttering forefinger scattered too long lingering missives among the innocent bushes. On the whole, although a man must do his duty, “painful as it is,”—as a Judge would say to a felon whom he is going to sentence to death,-yet it would be better for a collineomaniac to think, now and then, of the desolation he is bringing down upon happy nests ; of how many little broods he may cause to starve; of how many robbed mates he will send, nubivagant, whistling and singing tremulous love notes through the air, vainly searching and calling for their lost spouses, never, never to return! To do so, would have a powerful moral effect upon every sportsman. It would increase the size of his organ of veneration, and diminish the detestable bumps of destructiveness and acquisitive
He would not kill more than were needful for his family, a few immediate friends, and his own honor. He would also augment his organ of pity in two ways; First, by his forbearance, and regret for those doomed birds whom he cannot help cut down ; and, secondly, by his consideration for other murderers who are to come after him next day, and who, like him, have wives or sweethearts, and pride. In this latter view of the matter, he would learn another noble lesson. Pity is not only " akin to love,” but its sister or brother. The
sex, here, is probably masculine.--He would learn to "love his neighbor as himself;" and not like a grasping glutton, bag all. By all our hopes ! we hold that villain a dangerous citizen, who heaps up mounds of unnecessary carcases, and brags of the numbers he has slaughtered. We distrust his honesty, and think of the potency of silver shot put into the hands of country boys who watch by dusk at ponds. He would shoot at a covey of partridges skulking by the side of an old log, upon the ground! He is a cockney, and no true sportsman, and should be condemned to set snares and shoot for market.
We are thinking now of the breeders and whistlers of our own fields and woods ; not of the travelling passengers who merely dip into our waters, and marshes, on their way to the northern springs, and on their return to tropical bayous and hammocks, and who are cosmopolites, and no fellow-countrymen. They are strangers and may be taken in. Shoot and kill. Yet even for some of these we plead. Break not up the feeding places of the Brant, nor dig a hole near the sanding spot of the goose. Let them have some quiet water-lot, free from taxes, where they may repose after a weary flight, and do not rout them from every broad shallow and hidden nook. If the passion for collineation rages, insatiable, get Raynor Rock, or one of his boys, to row you out into the breakers, and bang away at Scoter, Surf, and Velvet ducks, whom Long Island baymen, unlawfully, call" Coot." "Number 2," and heavy loads, and a whiffing skiff, will soon lame your shoulder, and gratity your ambition.
A sportsman is not proven by the numbers he produces, but by the telling of his shots, and by his time. No true gentleman ought to labor on the uplands, soaking his fustian with day-light dew, and dragging weary legs through twilight mud. There might be an honest match made, we admit, touching
the number of Cock on a given day. But the event would depend not only upon the skill, coolness, and good dog of the performer, but upon the length and strength of legs, and all the ordinary capacities of a foot-racer. He who walks three miles, and kills eighteen birds out of twenty, in four hours, and comes home before noon, is entitled to the palm in preference to the painful toiler, who tramps all day and blunders down fifty wingtips, missing at every other shot.
Nevertheless, we have been in the solemn woods all day, and have dallied with solitary nature, until dusky evening whispered in our ear, to skip and jump down the rough oxcart precipices, called roads, and when sombre clouds and interwoven branches of tall trees shut out even the light of the flashing torch of the lightning, except when once it shivered, ten yards before us, an enormous oak, to whose hypocritical welcome of towery leaves we were hastening for protection from the beginning hail storm, and when the thunderbolt that burst upon
the stricken giant, stunned our fearful ears, and threw us trembling back upon a sharp rock which quivered in its tottering tenancy of the edge of a deep ravine, and then plunged down the precipice, leaving us clinging and climbing with desperate strength upon the uncertain sand and crumbling clay. Bear witness, ye mountains of Haverstraw! Did not the storm scream, and the trees groan, and the cataracts of mixed hail-stones and torrent rain-water sweep down the hill side ? Did we not imbibe a hot brandy sling when we ar. rived at Job's, and put on a dry shirt and go to bed ?-But, were we beating for birds all day? No, no. Eleven o'clock, A. M., found us, not weary but languid, by a leaping stream, clear and pure as our Mary's eyes, and of a similar color; and we took out our smitten prey, and smoothed their 'feathers down, and arranged them in a row, and looked at them, and