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W. J 1.YS.
RIFLE AND THE HOUND
BY S. W. BAKER, ESQ.
WITH NUMEROUS ILLUSTRATIONS PRINTED IN COLOURS, AND
ENGRAVINGS ON WOOD.
LONGMAN, BROWN, GREEN, AND LONGMANS.
THE love of sport is a feeling inherent in most Englishmen, and whether in the chase, or with the rod or gun, they far excel all other nations. In fact, the definition of this feeling cannot be understood by many foreigners. We are frequently ridiculed for fox-hunting. "What for all dis people, dis horses, dis many dog? dis leetle (how you call him?) dis 'fox' for to catch? ha! you eat dis creature; he vary fat and fine?"
This is a foreigner's notion of the chase; he hunts for the pot; and by Englishmen alone is the glorious feeling shared of true, fair, and manly sport. The character of the nation is beautifully displayed in all our rules for hunting, shooting, fishing, fighting, &c.; a feeling of fair play pervades every amusement. Who would shoot a hare in form? who would net a trout stream? who would hit a man when down? A Frenchman would do all these things, and might be no bad fellow after all. It would be his way
of doing it. His notion would be to make use of an advantage when an opportunity offered. He would think it folly to give the hare a chance of running when he could shoot her sitting; he would make an excellent dish of all the trout he could snare; and as to hitting his man when down, he would think it madness to allow him to get up again until he had put him hors de combat by jumping on him. Their notions of sporting and ours, then, widely differ; they take every advantage, while we give every advantage; they delight in the certainty of killing, while our pleasure consists in the chance of the animal escaping.
I would always encourage the love of sport in a lad; guided by its true spirit of fair play, it is a feeling that will make him above doing a mean thing in every station of life, and will give him real feelings of humanity. I have had great experience in the characters of thorough sportsmen, and I can safely say that I never saw one that was not a straightforward honourable man, who would scorn to take a dirty advantage of man or animal. In fact, all real sportsmen that I have met have been really tender-hearted men; men who shun cruelty to an animal and who are easily moved by a tale of distress.