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A HUMAN ANIMAL, AND THE OTHER

EXTREME.

W

E met the other day with the following description of an

animal of quality, in a Biographical Dictionary that

was published in the year 1767, and whicla is one of the most amusing and spirited publications of the kind that we remember to have seen. The writer does not give his authority for this particular memoir, so that it was probably furnished from his own knowledge ; but that the account is a true one, is evident. Indeed, with the exception of one or two eccentricities of prudence which rather lean to the side of an excess of instinct, it is but an individual description referring to a numerous class of the same nature that once flourished with horn and hound in this country, and specimens of which are no doubt to be found here and there still, especially towards the north.* The title we have put at the head of it is not quite correct and exclusive enough as a definition; since, properly speaking, we lords of the creation are all human animals; but the mere animal, or living and breathing, faculty is united in us more or less with intellect and sentiment ; and of these refinements of the perception, few bipeds that have arrived at the dignity of a coat and boots have partaken so little as the noble squire before us

* Since writing this, we have found that our zoographical original is in Hutchins's History of Dorsetshire.” See Gilpin's “Forest Scenery,” or Drake's “Shakspeare and his Times."

How far some of us, who take ourselves for very rational persons, do or do not go beyond him, we shall perhaps see in the course of our remarks.

“ The Honourable William Hastings, a gentleman of a very singular character," says our informant, "lived in the year 1638, and by his quality was son, brother, and uncle, to the Earls of Huntingdon. He was peradventure an original in our age, or rather the copy of our ancient nobility, in hunting, not in warlike times.

“He was very low, very strong, and very active, of a reddish flaxen hair ; his clothes green cloth, and never all worth, when new, five pounds.

“His house was perfectly of the old fashion, in the midst of a large park well stocked with deer, and near the house rabbits to serve his kitchen; many fish-ponds; great store of wood and timber ; a bowling-green in it, long, but narrow, and full of high ridges; it being never levelled since it was ploughed : they used round sand bowls; and it had a banqueting-house like a stand, a large one, built in a tree.

“ He kept all manner of sport-hounds, that run buck, fox, hare, otter, and badger; and hawks, long and short-winged. He had all sorts of nets for fish; he had a walk in the New Forest, and in the manor of Christ Church : this last supplied him with red deer, sea and river-fish. And indeed all his neighbours' grounds and royalties were free to him ; who bestowed all his time on these sports, but what he borrowed, to caress his neighbours' wives and daughters; there being not a woman, in all his walks, of the degiee of a yeoman's wife, and under the age of forty, but it was extremely her fault if he was not intimately acquainted with her. This made him very popular ; always speaking kindly to the husband, brother, or father, who was to boot very wel. come to his house whenever he came.

“There he found beef, pudding, and small beer, in great plenty ; a house not so neatly kept as to shame him or his dusty shoes; the great hall strewed with marrow-bones, full of hawks'

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perches, hounds, spaniels, and terriers ; the upper side of the hall hung with the fox-skins of this and the last year's killing ; here and there a poll-cat intermixed; game-keepers, and hunters' poles in great abundance.

“ The parlour was a great room, as properly furnished. On a great hearth, paved with brick, lay some terriers, and the choicest hounds and spaniels. Seldom but two of the great chairs had litters of young cats in em, which were not to be disturbed; he having always three or four attending him at dinner, and a little white round stick, of fourteen inches long, lying by his trencher, that he might defend such meat as he had no mind to part with to them.

The windows, which were very large, served for places to lay his arrows, cross-bows, stone-bows, and other such like accoutrements. The corners of the room, full of the best-chose hunting and hawking-poles. An oyster-table at the lower end ; which was of constant use, twice a day, all the year round. For he never failed to eat oysters, before dinner and supper, through all seasons : the neighbouring town of Pool supplied him with them.

“ The upper part of the room had two small tables and a desk, on the one side of which was a Church Bible, and, on the other, the Book of Martyrs. On the tables were hawks-hoods, bells, and such like ; two or three old green hats, with their crowns thrust in, so as to hold ten or a dozen eggs, which were of a pheasant kind of poultry, which he took much care of, and fed himself. In the whole of the desk were store of tobacco-pipes that had been used.

“On one side of this end of the room was the door of a closet, wherein stood the strong beer and the wine, which never came thence but in single glasses, that being the rule of the house, exactly observed. For he never exceeded in drink, or permitted it.

“On the other side was the door into an old chapel, not used for devotion. The pulpit, as the safest place, was never want

ing of a cold chine of beef, venison-pasty, gammon of bacon, or great apple-pye, with thick crust extremely baked. His table cost him not much, though it was good to eat at.

“His sports supplied all but beef and mutton ; except Fridays, when he had the best of salt fish (as well as other fish) he could get; and was the day his neighbours of best quality most visited him. He never wanted a London pudding, and always sung it in with, “My part lies therein-a.' He drank a glass or two of wine at meals; very often syrup of gillyflowers in his sack; and had always a tun glass, without feet, stood by him, holding a pint of small beer, which he often stirred with rosemary.

“He was well-natured, but soon angry; calling his servants bastards and cuckoldy knaves; in one of which he often spoke truth to his own knowledge, and sometimes in both, though of the same man. He lived to be an hundred; never lost his eyesight, but always wrote and read without spectacles; and got on horseback without help. Until past fourscore, he rode to the death of a stag as well as any."

It is very clear that this worthy personage was nothing more than a kind of beaver or badger in human shape. We imagine him haunting the neighbourhood in which he lived like a pet creature, who had acquired a certain Egyptian godship among the natives ; now hunting for his fish, now for his flesh, now fawning after his uncouth fashion upon a pretty girl, and now snarling and contesting a point with his cats. We imagine him the animal principle personified; a symbol on horseback; a jolly dog sitting upright at dinner, like a hieroglyphic on a pedestal.

Buffon has a subtle answer to those who argue for the rationality of bees. He says, that the extreme order of their proceedings, and the undeviating apparent forethought with which they even anticipate and provide for a certain geometrical necessity in a part of the structure of their hives, are only additional proofs of the force of instinct. They have an instinct for the order, and an instinct for the anticipation; and they prove that

it is not reason, by never striking out anything new or different. The same thing is observable in our human animal. What would be reason or choice in another man, is justly to be set down in him to poverty of ideas. If Tasso had been asked the reason of his always wearing black, he would probably have surprised the inquirer by a series of quaint and deep observations on colour, and dignity, and melancholy, and the darkness of his fate; but if Petrarch or Boccaccio had discussed the matter with him, he might have changed it to purple. A lady, in the same manner, wears black, because it suits her complexion, or is elegant at all times, or because it is at once piquant and superior. But in spring she may choose to put on the colours of the season, and in summer to be gaudier with the butterfly Our squire had an instinct towards the colour of green, because he saw it about him. He took it from what he lived in, like a chameleon, and never changed it, because he could live in no other sphere. We see that his green suit was never worth five pounds; and nothing, we dare say, could have induced him to let it mount up to that sum. He would have it grow upon him, if he could, like a green monkey. Thus, again, with his bowling-green. It was not penuriousness that hindered him from altering it ; but he had no more idea of changing the place than the place itself. As change of habit is frightful to some men, from vivacity of affection or imagination, and the strangeness which they anticipate in the novelty, so he was never tempted out of a custom, because he had no idea of anything else. He would no more think of altering the place he burrowed in than a tortoise or a wild rabbit. He was feræ natura,-a regular beast of prey ; though he mingled something of the generosity of the lion with the lurking of the fox and the mischievous sporting of the cat. He would let other animals feed with him, only warning them off occasionally with that switch of his, instead of a claw. He had the same liberality of instinct towards the young of other creatures as we see in the hen and the goat. He would take care of their eggs, if lie had

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