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opportunities of observing where the birds are building and likely to lay, or the usual runs and rendezvous of hares or rabbits. A stone-breaker's hammer has been found useful as a disguise— in combination with sufficiently shabby clothes. A man so equipped can walk calmly along any road, whether on the lookout for sport or carrying prey already Secured, and sitting down suddenly by a heap of stones be steadily engaged thereon if he hears a step which he has reason to fear forebodes danger. These heaps are also good places for hiding nets, nooses, and other paraphernalia. A Quaker's costume is well adapted for game carrying, the long frock-coat affording fine cover for big pockets. Better still from its very boldness was the device of a certain parish clerk who carried illicit spoils in the black bag usually reserved for the pall; while a hearse has before now afforded a safe conveyance for similar goods. Of all the means by which the Poacher carries on his precarious occupation his dog, commonly called a “lurcher,’ is by far the most valuable. A cross between a greyhound and a sheep-dog is the best, being gifted with the scent and silence of the one and the endurance and intelligence of the other. When well-trained these animals can almost conduct operations by themselves. Moreover, so dependent are poachers on the capacity of their dogs for finding and securing game as well as for discovering and announcing by pre-arranged signals the approach or presence of danger, that one of the surest ways of breaking up a gang, or, at all events, of disabling it completely for several months, is to shoot the dogs. Ground game, no less than feathered fowl, affords ample opportunity at once for the enterprise of the Poacher and the keeper's baffling ingenuity. Any one might notice quite innocently a hare or rabbit going in or out of some hedge or other, and, as all country-bred persons know, these animals always travel by the same paths. How natural, then, is it just to set a snare there some evening 2 The matter is, however, complicated by the fact that the keeper will probably have observed the same thing, and will carefully make a number of exactly similar ‘runs’ side by side. The clever little animals, of course, know their own runs, and avoid the artificial ones, while the Poacher cannot tell the difference, and the chances are that he will set snares in the wrong ones, where no game goes. The setting of the snare is a matter of great nicety. It must be adjusted at slightly different heights, according as the quarry be hare or rabbit; and it is a good plan to place two snares at a short distance apart, for a cunning old buck will often see and jump one snare only to find himself pulled up by the second. As far as possible the smell of the hand should not pass over the trap, nor the surrounding ground or grass be much trodden. Puss is very quick to detect danger, and very wary in avoiding it. This quality again is taken advantage of by the keepers, who will sometimes catch all the ground game they can in nets and subsequently liberate them. Animals that have gone through this experience will take great pains to avoid, being again caught, and so render unprofitable one of the favourite devices of poachers, viz. Setting a net at the bottom of a gate much used by hares or rabbits—their constant passing makes a track very easy to notice—and then sending a dog to range the field and make everything bolt that way. If they have once been netted the little creatures will be much quicker to notice the net, and will make every possible attempt to avoid it. *
Space will not permit of any further account of the expedients and wiles of the mistaken enthusiast known to local justice as poacher, nor of the skill and steadfastness by which he is foiled. It may, however, be mentioned that in this, as in other cases, Art has not quite conquered Nature, and that the common facts and occurrences of out-door life, so many of which he trades upon and turns to his own uses, often tell heavily against the Poacher. For instance, he does not like a frost, though Mrs. Humphrey Ward does make Hurd conduct one of his most determined onslaughts on his employer's rabbits when the ground is hard as iron. Digging operations are terribly arduous then, and it is very difficult to hide the traces afterwards. Yet the Poacher will go out in an ordinary black frost if necessary, and in any kind of weather except when snow has lately ceased falling or there is a “ duck's frost,’ i.e. a slight rime on the ground, footsteps on which will, when the sun comes out, tell sad tales by showing up in staring black. Finally, if Rome was saved by geese in days gone by, the ends of justice have been in these latter days furthered, and poachers have been lost many a time, owing to a much smaller bird. The keeper's attention is often very effectually directed to the scene of wrong-doing by long, shrill screams, uttered in protest against untimely disturbance by the lightest sleeper in the world—the common lapwing.
WE THAT SAY AS WE G().
WHEN the Book of the Failures is written and published, it is not likely to find its way into circulating libraries, nor indeed to win golden popularity from people in general. A dictionary of Biography this book will surely be, and endless volumes would not contain the material at command. If, indeed, some celestial editor have charge of these records, his must be the very labour of Love. For imagine his headings, his sub-divisions ! There is the blossom which never comes to fruit; the life embittered and mistaken ; those who only seem to succeed and those to whom success comes too late. Some there are, worshipped as heroes before they can show themselves men ; some, who are broken in spirit; others, whose hearts are only hard ; and a few, who, having gone wrong, do not manage to right their poor little craft again, in the troublesome seas of experience. Yet there are people interested in the Failures-in-Life. There is the merely superficial observer—the needy writer, who revels by special privilege in the picturesque aspect of misfortune, and therefore comes into the company of the failures often enough. He cannot be too thankful when an incident falls to his pen, like a plum from the tree, ready and succulent. But there is another class interested in such doings and undoings: those who are foolish enough to have no ambition for themselves; persons so humble as to aspire to little beyond the inner friendship of a few, and so simple as to find, perhaps among the failures themselves, some of the most precious reminiscences of their lives. * No ambitions ! no aspirations ! no successes | Why, life does not, can not go on without these ! But, in a Book of the Failures, qualifying terms would be needed. Ambitions would be there, yes, but broken ones; aspirations, of course, but lost
or outlived ; successes, those craved for, but never attained, or ignoble ones, which only count on the wrong side. Skip the prologue, if you will ; may not one strict page gratify the graver fancy P
For it is only fancy after all.
The Failures do what the Successes mainly leave to others, they write their own biographies, and these are not inscribed in manuscript and print, but rather on those old-fashioned tablets— the hearts and lives of other men and women.
FEW sights give us a more distinguished impression than that of a noble house, set in beautiful surroundings—a home possessed of the dignity of architecture, and all the pleasantness of generous inimitable nature. A house like this acquires, even in one generation, nay, in a few years, an almost human character, and lends itself in some subtle way to the manner of life, the very thoughts and touch of those within its walls. How, then, describe, how convey the added beauty of the sweet spring days, when the violet shadows of winter change to the misty blues, and the hill outlines lie faint under filmy skies P Grouped by the eastern flank of such an house, and towering above it, the fir-trees had gained a new picturesqueness from contrast with the surrounding first tender greens of the year. And under them, where trimmer lawn and careless woodland meet, lay, Softly laughing to herself, a child—a little maid. To look at her, one would be ready to fancy an only child, ‘companionless, dreamy, and romantically named. But no ; her name suggested nothing in particular, and she came somewhere in the midst of a bevy of brothers and sisters. Nor does the name matter, for, by some freak or other, she had already earned that which ever after clung to her, as if she had been born to it by right. ‘Princess' she was, and ‘Princess' she remains to those who knew her, and who still hold her in fond memory. Whether this was due to some imperious element in the little person, or to some magnetic power she ever possessed over other people's hearts, no one can pretend to say. Nor can any pen describe the flow of soft, indefinite feelings, the solitary, harmonious sense of belonging to Nature, of being VOL. 89 (IX.—NEW SERIES). 38 NO. 531.
alone, yet happy, that passed through the child's mind, as she lay, singing now, and again silent, on the fresh embrowned turf. Above her, in the firs, there flew out and in two white doves, mated and nest-building ; and though from her window she could at all times watch them, her impressionable eye noted now the snowy contrast of their wings. She would kiss her hands to them, and impulsively long to touch the shy, gentle creatures. And, indeed, it is not a wonder that they showed no fear of her, for she was fair of face, and her heart as unsullied as the whitest of their plumes. Whence came this visionary of nature, this little fawn-like nymph full of quaint fancies P Gifted with an exquisite sense of humour—such as is supposed impossible in woman—this was tempered and sweetened in its flow by the welling up of another spontaneous spring, a clear and generous power of sympathy, so unerring that it needed neither the common reserve, nor the commoner disguises to give it direction and control. Within that merry household, how came this one of its memberhood to dwell apart 2 Explain it who can. Meanwhile in such dreams, such drinking in of the early unaided spiritual nature, did time pass on. Spring and Summer met ; and the doves watched over their nestlings, and saw them fly away : months became years. The child grew up, and none could resist the innocent charm she wrought. Then that happened which generally does happen. For there came to the Great House, one who loved this young girl more than anybody else; and how much that was, not even himself could tell. Still less could she. Was he brave and beautiful to look upon P Was he clever and honest? Was he good and true and tender-hearted P. She loved him, and believed all this of him as a matter of course. How happy were those days l For, you see, being by nature a Princess, she had the likings and foibles of one. And she enjoyed her discovery of this loyal knight, who would, in serving her lovingly, fight with the gallantry and faith of which she had dreamed, against the evil and ugly things in a world she did not know. That he might the better do this, she sent him away; not commissioned, like heroes of old, to do some surprising deed, and return to win her hand, but gifted with the first love of her life,