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But when I had read that letter, when the barrier was removed, at which, overlooking all intermediate objects, I had so long gazed with melancholy apprehension, I turned to look and think upon the scene of my imprisonment, and was astonished at the varied loveliness I had hitherto passed unnoticed, or regarded with sullen indifference. I felt that as my stay was uncertain, I ought to see and learn what I could of the land I lived in; and I found when long years bad glided on which, though I regretted as unprofitably passed, I had never to reproach with slowness- I left it with a deep and melancholy attachment, such as we feel to what we cannot respect, but still wish to cling to -a sort of unhallowed love, which however it may accuse my taste, says something for the fascination that enthralled it. India is no land to live in from choice; but if we must live (as some unfortunates must) with what we dislike, it is as well to be able to learn to love it. Whether the letter, or the rifle, had most to do in teaching me this, I don't know, they worked together, and together I thank them. The antelopes at first were rather a voluntary decoy to me, than an object of sport. But after some time, I remarked that those who saw me going out, smiled as they asked on my return what I had killed ? and I found myself in the predicament (which is tolerably cominon in the world) that rendered it necessary for me to draw blood to prevent myself looking ridiculous. A continuation of ill-luck provoked me to a perseverance that at length was crowned with success. How proud I felt at that moment! I remember as I ran up to seize the fawn I had shot, three of our fellows galloped past me in pursuit of another, and I shouted-forgetting, I believe, that there was any other in creation but that I stood over-.“ Where the devil are you going? here he is !" Good shooting will not ensure antelopes; “it is but one of many essentials," as we said to a gentleman who aspired somewhat too dictatorially to the part of Falkland in the ". Rivals” on the strength of having a capitally built pair of black breeches. If the cover which may present itself do not effectually hide the sportsman, he will do well to let it alone, and walk openly forward as if on a path that passes near the antelopes. If he crouches, or shows design, they go at once. The best time to shoot them is about day-break, when they browse as if half asleep ; or in the middle of the day, when they seem unwilling to quit their shade or basking-spot. Our dress of drab assisted us in our approaches ; but we had to lay many a half-hour behind stones or tufts of grass, waiting for the move that would give us the few yards we wanted. A man should never show himself after his first shot, as the antelopes, when alarmed by it, run wildly a few paces, and then stop to look about. I have killed with my second barrel, when I had missed with my first, and more than once have killed right and left. Young sportsmen fire too soon, become irritated and nervous, and their anxiety ensures their ill-success. One shot within sixty, is better than ten at a hundred yards; for if the antelope is not struck through the head, neck, or loins, or has not two legs broken-unless the sportsman's horse and dogs be near, it usually escapes. A man must learn the sound his ball makes in striking, for though antelopes sometimes drop off the gun, they often take a wound without showing it. Their tenacity of life and power of endurance is wonderful. I once fired at a doe moving away, and as she continued her route, my companion, whose eyes had been fixed on her, cried “ You've missed." We followed her into the long grass, and found her dying; but she had gone two hundred yards, though the ball had traversed her from the haunch to the chest. When we were pitched amongst the ruins of Baugnagur, I fired from behind a pillar of the noble serai in which we had stabled our horses, and struck a buck. I had to follow it, and lost it in the grass. An antelope started from beneath the rock, I ascended to look out, and shot it. It proved to be my buck, through whom the first ball had passed within two inches of its heart. We were puzzled to account for a kind of coat which was on a ball we cut from his thigh ; it was thick and tough as a piece of parchment, but glutinous : some thought it was leather, in which the ball had been wrapped that had undergone this change, while others conjectured that it proceeded altogether from some provision of nature to secure the animal from the irritating effect of the ball, which purpose, however it came there, it effectually answered. I have lost many wounded antelopes, even when mounted. A ball of mine once passed through the body of a doe, and broke the leg of a second; I followed the latter, and as she passed a chasm, my horse and spear together obliged her to leap in. About a fortnight after, I was again on this ground, and found the doe I had first struck with a swelling on her side. It might excite a smile or a frown for one so wedded to pursuit, whose sport is death, to talk of a wish to put this poor creature out of pain; but, whatever was my motive, I rode after her with a spear, and, as I neared her, fright gave her speed and strength, and after heading me for a quarter of a mile, she reached some cover, and I lost her. I one morning fired at a buck that was staring at me, and he dropped off my gun, to all appearance stark and stiff. I loaded as I walked towards him. On ballooing to my people, he gave a few convulsive struggles, which I took for his death-throes; but in a few moments he gained his legs, and, the greyhounds being slipped, and . my horse brought up, led me and three prime dogs a furious gallop of a mile, till he got rid of us in a date tope. These anecdotes, and I could furnish many similar ones, will show how necessary is the aid of horse and dogs, and how indispensable the self-control which can reserve fire. The does are usually better meat than the bucks; but the latter, having the “fatal gift of beauty,” are more persecuted. This sport is the safest a man can follow in India; for the more leisurely he goes about it, the more certain is his success. He may sometimes run bimself, after a wounded antelope, into a state of fusion that it is frightful to think of, but he will soon learn to give this up.—When on the plain, the sportsman will probably see bustards stalking in their stately camellike fashion. They are almost unapproachable. When one comes within a quarter of a mile of them, they straighten their stiff white necks, and, after staring some time at their disturber, turn and stalk away with most aristocratical solemnity. As long as walking will keep the requisite distance between them and their enemy, they confine themselves to that exertion ; but when danger approaches within musket-shot, they stretch out their necks and wings, and, stepping forward, quicken their pace into a run, (like a stiff officer going from quick to double time,) and flap their wings till they raise themselves into the air, and take a flight that fully accounts for their unwillingness to commence it. I never killed but two of them; one I was passing
by at a distance, for I had long given up following them, when he plumped himself down in a tuft of grass, and lay there till I had walked up within ten yards, when he rose, and was knocked over. I have heard that the ostrich and pea-fowl do fooleries of this sort, but I never found the latter so accommodating. As I was creeping up a nullah bed to get near my second victim, I turned an angle of it, and found myself within a few yards of four wolves, who rose to receive me. These gentry incommoded me. They did not appear inclined to go away, and I dared not make a noise to frighten them, for fear of alarming the bustards, so I began a series of most expressive gestures with hand, foot, and gun, all intended to signify “ Get out o' that entirely;" and when in their surprise, looking at each other and then at me, they would move a pace or two, I advanced as much, and having by these evolutions won from them the ground I wanted, I fired. The bustard dropped, and my four friends fled like race-horses. I confess, had I known them as I now do, I would have killed one of them; but having only two balls, I was apprehensive this arrangement might not have been altogether agreeable to the survivors of the party. Bustards are prized by epicures, but age and season make a great difference in them; and the one I have just mentioned so little satisfied the expectation of my friends, that for a long time, on my days of catering, it was made a particular request that I would not trouble myself to provide delicacies. The shots fired on the plain at wolves, hyenas, and hogs, that, as they come for mischief, have their eyes about them, will necessarily be random ones; but the latter may be shot at the tanks, where they drink as they pass from the jungle. I was somewhat singular in my fondness for this sport; but there was a pleasure in it, and a possibility of success, that was reason enough to me for the sacrifice of rest and the risk of health. I could have sat all night to look on the brilliantly-studded deep blue sky, with its full cool moon, and to listen to the wild and musical sounds that broke the stillness of these beautiful nights. As I stood behind the banks, and drew close my boat-cloak, carefully concealing the light of my segar, I always thought of the dykes of another land, bebind which, on nights like these, I talked and hoped like a boy amid the gallant fellows who are now as quietly at rest as the hopes they used to laugh at. I like these night-thoughts; mine were usually broken in upon by some motion in our uncertain horizon, which kept me breathless with attention, till I could distinguish the silvery ripples that a boar and his sounder would raise as they splashed towards me,—or the droves moving in the distance, their black bodies gliding so swiftly yet so silently along, looking like the legion of infernal spirits that we are told took refuge in the carcases of their ancestry. They seemed still to us to inherit the luck which a favourite adage of ours ascribes to Satan and his favourites; for though I have been lying motionless, waiting till they would walk on the sight which was not five yards from them, and though I have struck them when not more than double that distance from me, very little pork indeed was produced by this night-work. Unless a person loves the bonny moon, he will be better in bed, than smoking segars and sowing the seeds of fever in his system between tanks and rice-fields, under the pretence of hog-shooting. The antelopes will find sport enough for any one who confines himself to the rifle and the plain ; and as our petulance is a
mere laughing matter, where there is no one to laugh at it, a man may shoot them and have a chance of retaining some pretensions to temper. Provided there is no party interested in the maintenance of the present system of ball-practice, I would suggest that people should fire at a spot on a perpendicular line, up which the piece should be raised, rather than at a round target. I think it would make much more deadly shots; and when I remember the bones, walking-sticks, and roastingspits I have seen fly, not to mention more than one snake divided as it glided away, I am inclined to think when Locksley chose his north country mark, his archery was not the only north country qualification in which he surpassed the gentleman whose “grandfather drew a good bow at Hastings.”
THE TOYMAN IS ABROAD. En fait d'inutilités, il ne faut que le nécessaire."-CHAMPFORT. There is no term in political philosophy more ambiguous and lax in its meaning than Luxury. In Ireland, salt with a potatoe is, by the peasant, placed in this category. Among the Cossacks, a clean shirt is more than a luxury- it is an effeminacy; and a Scotch nobleman is reported to have declared, that the act of scratching one's self is a luxury too great for any thing under royalty. The Russians (there is no disputing on tastes) hold train-oil to be a prime luxury; and I remember seeing a group of them following an exciseman on the quays at Dover to plunder the oil-casks, as they were successively opened for his operations. A poor Finland woman, who for her sins had married an Englishman and followed bim to this country, was very glad to avail herself of her husband's death to leave a land where the people were so unhappy as to be without a regular supply of seal's flesh for their dinner. While the good nian lived, her affection for him somewhat balanced her hankering after this native luxury—just as Lord Eldon's love of Protestantism may be supposed to have reconciled him to his resignation of the seals ; but no sooner was the husband dead, than her lawyer-like propensity re-assumed its full force, and, like Proteus released from his chains,* she abandoned civilized life to get back to her favourite shores, to liberty, and the animals of her predilection. “If I were rich," said a poor farmer's boy, “I would eat fat pudding, and ride all day on a gate," which was evidently his highest idea of human luxury. But it is less with the quality of our indulgences, than their extent, that I have now to treat. Diogenes, who prided himself on cutting his coat according to his cloth, and thought himself a greater man, in proportion as he diminished his wants, placed his luxuries in idleness and sunshine, and seems to have relished these enjoyments with as much sensuality as Plato did his fine house and delicate fare. Even he was more reasonable than those sectarians, who have prevailed in almost all religions, and who, believing that the Deity created man for the express purpose of inflicting upon him every species of torture, have inveighed against the most innocent gratifications, and have erected luxury into a deadly sin. These theologians will not allow a man to
eat his breakfast with a relish ; and impute it as a vice if he smacks his lips, though it be but after a draught of water. Nay, there have been some who have thought good roots and Adam's ale too great luxuries for a Christian lawfully to indulge in; and they have purposely illcooked their vegetables, and mixed them with ashes, and even more disgusting things, to mortify the flesh, as they called it-i. c. to offer a sacrifice of their natural feelings to the demon of which they have made a god. They manage these things much better among the modern saints, who by no means put the creature-comforts under a ban, whatever objections they may entertain against the luxury of a dance, or a laugh at Liston. Among the orthodox clergy, port-wine, roasted pig, beef, and pudding, are deemed necessaries of life; and there are those who hint that these articles of religion are especially understood, whenever the University of Oxford, and other true Protestants, are seized with a sudden paroxysm of zeal, and vociferate with all their energy that the Church is in danger. Whatever may be the extent of such differences, however opposite may be the notions of luxury entertained by the anchorite and the Protestant pluralist, yet they both agree in using the term, on all occasions, in a bad sense, and in reprobating the thing, “ be the same more or less." Not so the political economists, who, being mostly either atheists, or, what is worse, dissenters, stoutly maintain that luxury is not mulum in se ; that consumption (thereby meaning enjoyment) is the great business of human life; and that whatever a man vehemently desires is to him a necessary, and is sinful in the use only when he cannot afford to pay for it. Between these extremes there is an infinite variety of middle terms, in which different individuals rejoice; insomuch that scarcely two persons can be found to unite in their definition of what is necessary, and what luxurious. On this point, if we are to believe our John Bulls, the French and English disagree toto cælo; the French utterly despising those things which we consider primary necessaries, and esteeming necessaries those indulgences which we deem wholly superfluous. This leading difference, it is confidently maintained, presides over and gives a decided bias to the industry and ingenuity of the two nations. I have the authority of my nurse for declaring, that the French invented ruffles and the English the shirt ; that the English improved on the feather by adding to it the hat; and many old ladies, of higher literary pretension than the honest woman from whom I derived these facts, assign this as a reason why the artists of Paris are expert in gilding and gewgaws, without being able to construct a lock for their doors, or a fastening for their windows, fit to be seen in a Christian country. (Vide the loyal English tourists passim.) All this I most potently believe ; for a man of sense, says Rabelais, believes every thing that he is told ;* and moreover Voltaire himself bears evidence to the fact, when he declares the superfluous a most necessary consideration;t but I am not the less disposed to assert, that the English are making great strides to overtake their neighbours; and are growing as fond of superfluities as the finest Frenchman can be, for the soul of him. Of late years, more especially, our ideas on this subject have much enlarged; and all ranks
*" Un homme de bon sens croit toujours ce qu'on lui dit, et qu'il trouve par écrit.”
+ " Le superflu, chose très necessaire."