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As soon as the sermon is finished, nobody presumes to stir till sir Roger is gone out of the church. The knight walks down from his seat in the chancel between a double row of his tenants, that stand bowing to him on each side ; and every now and then inquires how such an one's wife, or mother, or son, or father do, whom he does not see at church; which is understood as a secret reprimand to the person that is absent.
The chaplain has often told me, that upon a catechizing day, when sir Roger has been pleased with a boy that answers well, he has ordered a Bible to be given him next day for his encouragement ; and sometimes accompanies it with a flitch of bacon to his mother. Sir Roger has likewise added five pounds a-year to the clerk’s place; and, that he may encou
fellows to make themselves perfect in the church-service, has promised, upon the death of the present incumbent, who is very old, to bestow it according to merit.
The fair understanding between sir Roger and his chaplain, and their mutual concurrence in doing good, is the more remarkable, because the very next village is famous for the differences and contentions that rise between the parson and the 'squire, who live in a perpetual state of war. The parson is always preaching at the 'squire; and the 'squire, to be revenged on the parson, never comes to church. The 'squire has made all his tenants atheists and tythe-stealers; while the parson instructs them every Sunday in the dignity of his order, and insinuates to them, in almost every sermon, that he is a better man than his patron. In short, matters are come to such an extremity, that the 'squire has not said his prayers, either in public or
private, private, this half-year; and that the parson threatens him, if he does not mend his manners, to pray for himn iu the face of the whole congregation,
Fends of this nature, though too frequent in the country, are very fatal to the ordinary people; who are so used to be dazzled with riches, that they pay as much cleference to the understanding of a man of an estate as of a man of learning ; and are very hardly brought to regard any truth, how important soever it may be, that is preached to them, when they know there are several mien of five hundred a-year who do not believe it.
ON THE EXERCISE OF HUNTING. No. 115.
Bodily labour is of two kinds ; either that which a man submits to for his livelihood, or that which he undergoes for his pleasure. The latter of them generally changes the name of labour for that of exercise, but differs only from ordinary labour, as it rises from another motive.
A country life abounds in both these kinds of labour, and for that reason gives a man a greater stock of health, and consequently a more perfect enjoynxent of himself, than any other way of life.
My friend sir Roger has been an indefatigable man är business.of this kind, and has hung several parts of his house with the trophies of his former labours. The walls of his great hall are covered with the horgs of several kinds of deer that he has killed in the chace, which he thinks the most valuable furniture of his house, as they afford him frequent topics of discourse,
and show that he has not been idle. At the lower end of the hall is a large utter's skin stuffed with hay, which his mother ordered to be hung up in that manner, and the knight looks upon with great satisfaction, because, it seems, he was but nine years old when his dog killed him. A little room adjoining to the hall is a kind of arsenal filled with guns of several sizes and inventions, with which the knight has made great havoc in the woods, and destroyed many thousands of pheasants, partridges, and woodcocks. His stable-doors are patched with noses that belonged to foxes of the knight's own hunting down. Sir Roger showed me one of them, that for distinction sake has a brass nail struck through it, which cost him about fifteen hours riding, carried him through half a dozen counties, killed him a brace of geldings, and lost above half his dogs. This the knight looks upon as one of the greatest exploits of his life. The perverse widow, whom I have given some account of, was the death of several foxes : for sir Roger has told me, that in the course of his amours he patched the western door of his stable. Whenever the widow was cruel, the foxes were sure to pay for it. In proportion as his passion for the widow abated, and old age came on, he left off foxhunting; but a hare is not yet safe that sits within ten miles of his house.
ON HARE-HUNTING. No, 116.
THOSE who have searched into human nature observe that nothing so much shows the nobleness of the soul, as that its felicity consists in action. Every VOL. I. х
man has such an active principle in him, that he wilf find out something to employ himself upon, in whatever place or state of life he is posted. I have heard of a gentleman who was under close confinement in the Bastile seven years; during which time he amused himself in scattering a few small pins about his chamber, gathering them up again, and placing them in different figures on the arm of a great chair. He often told his friends afterwards, that, unless he had found out this piece of exercise, he verily believed he should have lost his senses.
After what has been said, I need not inform mya readcrs, that sir Roger, with whose character I hope they are at present pretty well acquainted, has in his youth gone through the whole course of those rural diversions which the country abounds in ; and which seem to be extremely well suited to that laborious industry a man may observe here in a far greater degree than in towns and cities. I have before hinted at some of my friend's exploits : he has in his youthful days taken forty coveys of partridges in a season, and tired many a salmon with a line consisting but of a single hair. The constant thanks and good wishes of the neighbourhood always attended him, on account of his remarkable enmity towards foxes; having destroyed more of those vermin in one year than it was thought the whole county could have produced. Indeed the knight does not scruple to own among
his most intimate friends, that, in order to establish his reputation this way, he has secretly sent for great numbers of them out of other counties, which he used to turn loose about the county by night, that he might the better signalize himself in their destruction the next day. His hunting-horses were the finest and best managed in all these parts. His tenants are still full of the praises of a gray stone-horse that unhappily staked himself several years since, and was buried with great solemnity in the orchard.
Sir Roger, being at present too old for fox-hunting, to keep himself in action, has disposed of his beagles, and got a pack of stop-hounds. What these want in speed, he endeavours to make amends for by the deepness of their mouths and the variety of their notes, which are suited in such manner to each other, that the whole cry makes up a complete concert. He is so nice in this particular, that, a gentleman having made him a present of a very fine hound the other day, the knight returned it by the servant with a great many expressions of civility; but desired him to tell his master, that the dog he had sent was indeed a most excellent bass, but that at present he only wanted a counter-tenor. Could I believe my friend had ever read Shakespear, I should certainly conclude he had taken the hint from Theseus in the Midsummer Night's Dream:
My hounds are bred out of the Spartan kind,
Was never halloo'd to, nor cheer'd with horn. Sir Roger is so keen at this sport, that he has been out almost every day since I came down; and
upon the chaplain's offering to lend mę his easy pad, I was prevailed on yesterday inorning to make one of the
* Mouthed, chapped.
+ Marked with small spots. X 2