Manners and customs of ye Englyshe/A Partie of Sportsmen ovt a Shvtynge.

Illustrated by Richard Doyle

Manners and Customs of ye Englyshe in 1849. No. 30.

A Partie of Sportsmen ovt a Shvtynge.


A Partie of Sportsmen ovt a Shvtynge.

[Monday, October 1, 1849.]

UP mighty betimes, and to Bruſwood for a Day's Shooting, by Invitation from Mr. Tibbitts, whoſe Father, the rich Furrier, did die the other Day, and leave him a Fortune, and now he hath rented Bruſhwood Manor to moot over for the Seaſon. But Lack, what a ſet of young Rogues I found there of Tibbitts his Acquaintance, a-ſmoking of Cigars and ſhort Pipes, and a-drinking of Ale and bottled Stout at 10 o'clock of the Morning! Mighty aſhamed of, though diverted with, my Company, to hear their looſe and idle Converſation, and how none of them could pronounce the letter H, and to think what an unlettered vulgar Fellow Tibbitts is, and that I ſhould demean myſelf to aſſociate with ſuch a Companion only becauſe of his Riches, and Wine, and Dinners. One of the Party, Wiggyns, did tell me we mould have a prime Lark, which, this being the firſt Day of Pheaſant-Shooting, I did think droll; but divers Larks, indeed, were ſhot before the Day was over. So we into the Fields, and a Keeper following us with the Dogs, and, whenever I did look over my Shoulder, did catch him grinning and making Faces behind our Backs. But ſtrange, to ſee how much better the Rogues did ſhoot than I expected, though firing at Tom-Tits, or anything almoſt, and do underſtand they got this Skill at the Red Houſe, Batterſea, through popping at Pigeons and Sparrows let looſe from a Trap; which do ſeem but a cruel and barbarous kind of Sport. But little Birds were not all they ſhot, for one Higges aiming at a Hare did miſs, and inſtead of the Hare hit one of the Dogges, and ſent him yelping and limping Home. But good Lack, to ſee how careleſs the Fellows were with their Fire-Arms, carrying their Guns, full-cocked, pointing right in one another's Faces, and one, dragging his Piece through a Hedge after him, it went off, but finding it had only carried off the Skirt of his Shooting-Coat, we had a good Laugh of it. Another, with a double-barrelled Gun, having ſhot off one Barrel at a Blackbird, I did ſee reloading; the other Barrel being ſtill loaded and at full Cock. He, forcing down the Ramrod with all his Might, I did catch him by the Elbow, and point to the Cock of the Gun, and methinks I did never ſee a Man on a Sudden tremble ſo terribly, or grow ſo pale. Getting beyond Bruſhwood, into a Field hard by, Mr. Wiggyns did let fly at ſome Ducks, for one of thoſe Larks he had been talking of, which did bring down upon us the Farmer, with his Bull-Dog, and cauſe us to make off with all the Speed we could. I in mighty Dread of being ſeized as an Accomplice in ſhooting the Duck, fearing the Farmer, who is horridly enraged with the Game-Preſerving at Bruſhwood, for that the Game do eat up his Crops; and, truly, the Game Laws are a great Nuiſance. Home from our Shooting, with our Bag, carried by Tibbitts his Tiger-Boy, very full, with a Brace or two of Pheaſants and Partridges, but many more Brace of Chaffinches, and Yellow-Hammers, and Robin-Redbreaſts, and ſo to Dinner, where all very merry, and ſo to Bed.