Зображення сторінки

thing I require of it in the most profound silence. My landlady and her daughters are so well acquainted with my hours of exercise, that they never

come into my room to disturb me whilst I am 5 ringing.

When I was some years younger than I am at present, I used to employ myself in a more laborious diversion, which I learned from a Latin treatise of

exercises that is written with a great deal of erudi10 tion : it is there called the oklopaxla, or the fighting

with a man's own shadow, and consists in the brandishing of two short sticks grasped in each hand, and loaded with plugs of lead at either end.

This opens the chest, exercises the limbs, and gives 15 a man all the pleasure of boxing, without the blows.

I could wish that several learned men would lay out that time which they employ in controversies and disputes about nothing, in this method of

fighting with their own shadows. It might conduce 20 very much to evaporate the spleen, which makes them uneasy to the public as well as to themselves.

To conclude, — As I am a compound of soul and body, I consider myself as obliged to a double

scheme of duties; and think I have not fulfilled the 25 business of the day when I do not thus employ the

one in labor and exercise, as well as the other in study and contemplation.


No. 15. Sir Roger Hunting
SPECTATOR No. 116. Friday, July 13, 1711

Vocat ingenti clamore Citharon,
Taygetique canes

Virg. Georg. iii. 43.


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 man has such an active principle in him, that he will find out something to employ himself 5 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 3 seven years; during which time he amused himself in scattering a few small pins about his chamber, gathering them up 10 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.

15 After what has been said, I need not inform my readers, 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 20 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 5 with a line consisting but of a single hair. The

constant thanks and good wishes of the neighborhood always attended him, on account of his remarkable enmity towards foxes; having destroyed

more of those vermin in one year, than it was 10 thought the whole country 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 15 he used to turn loose about the country 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 stone20 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 25 and got a pack of stop-hounds. What these want

in speed, he endeavors 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 5 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 Shakspere, 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, So flew'd,8 so sanded;' and their heads are hung With ears that sweep away the morning dew. Crook-knee'd and dew-lapp'd10 like Thessalian bulls, Slow in pursuit, but match'd in mouths like bells, Each under each. A cry more tunable Was never halloo'd to, nor cheer'd with horn."11 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 me his easy pad, I was prevailed on yesterday morning to make one of the company. I was extremely pleased, as 15 we rid along, to observe the general benevolence of all the neighborhood towards my friend. The farmer's sons thought themselves happy if they could open a gate for the good old knight as he passed by; which he generally requited with a nod 20 or a smile, and a kind inquiry after their fathers or uncles.

After we had rid about a mile from home, we

came upon a large heath, and the sportsmen began to beat. They had done so for some time, when, as I was at a little distance from the rest of the

company, I saw a hare pop out from a small furze5 brake almost under my horse's feet. I marked the

way she took, which I endeavored to make the company sensible of by extending my arm; but to no purpose, till Sir Roger, who knows that none of

my extraordinary motions are insignificant, rode up 10 to me, and asked me if puss was gone that way?

Upon my answering yes, he immediately called in the dogs, and put them upon the scent. As they were going off, I heard one of the country-fellows

muttering to his companion, "That 'twas a wonder 15 they had not lost all their sport, for want of the silent gentleman's crying, Stole away."

This, with my aversion to leaping hedges, made me withdraw to a rising ground, from whence I

could have the pleasure of the whole chase, without 20 the fatigue of keeping in with the hounds. The

hare immediately threw them above a mile behind her; but I was pleased to find, that instead of running straight forwards, or in hunter's language,

“flying the country," as I was afraid she might have 25 done, she wheeled about, and described a sort of

circle round the hill where I had taken my station, in such a manner as gave me a very distinct view of the sport. I could see her first pass by, and the dogs some time afterwards unraveling the whole

« НазадПродовжити »