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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/819

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RECIPES FOR COOKING GAME

during his absence at the wars in France he took with him sixty couples of stag-hounds and as many hare-hounds, and every day amused himself either with hunting or hawking. Great in wisdom as the Scotch Solomon, James VI of Scotland and I of England, conceived himself to be, he was much addicted to the amusements of hunting, hawking and shooting. From his days down to the present, field-sports have continued to hold their high reputation, not only for the promotion of health, but also for the development of that manliness of character which enters so largely into the composition of the British race.

The late Duke of Grafton when hunting was, on one occasion, thrown into a ditch. A young curate, engaged in the same chase, cried out, "Lie still, my lord!" leapt over him, and pursued his sport. Such an apparent want of feeling might be expected to have been resented by the duke; but not so. On his being helped up by his attendant, he said, "That man shall have the first good living that falls to my disposal; had he stopped to have given me his sympathy, I never would have given him anything." Such was the manly sentiment of the duke, who delighted in the manifestation of a spirit as ardent as his own in sport, and superior to the baseness of an assumed sorrow.

That Hunting has in many instances been carried to an excess is well-known. The match given by the Prince Esterhazy, Regent of Hungary, on the signing of the treaty of peace with France, is not the least extraordinary instance upon record. On that occasion there were killed 160 deer, 100 wild boars, 300 hares and 80 foxes; this was the achievement of one day. Enormous, however, as this slaughter may appear, it is greatly inferior to that made by the contemporary King of Naples on a hunting expedition. That sovereign had a larger extent of ground at his command and a longer period for the exercise of his talents; consequently his sport, if it can be so called, was proportionably greater. It was pursued during his journey to Vienna, in Austria, Bohemia and Moravia; he killed 5 bears, 1,820 boars, 1,950 deer, 1,145 does, 1,625 roebucks, 11,121 rabbits, 13 wolves, 17 badgers, 16,354 hares and 354 foxes; of birds, during the same expedition, he killed 15,350 pheasants and 12,335 partridges. Such prodigious destruction can hardly be called sport; it resembles more the indiscriminate slaughter of a battlefield, where the scientific engines of civilized warfare are brought to bear upon defenceless savages.

Deer and Hares may be considered to be the only four-footed animals now hunted in Britain for the table; and even these are not followed with the same ardour as they were in bygone days. Still, there is no country in the world where the sport of hunting on horseback is carried on to such an extent as in Great Britain, and where the pleasures of the chase are so well understood and conducted on such purely scientific principles. The fox, of all "the beasts of the field," is now considered to afford the best sport. For this, it is infinitely superior to the stag;