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Don was sure to be ready, and as good as any terrier at a rat’s-bole. To crown all, he was a rare dog for an otter, and has played a good part at the taking of two or three. In short, nothing could spoil him. He always knew his business ; and, although he would rattle a wood like a lion, he was perfectly steady again the next minute out of cover. I have seen him stand two hours without blenching; and at the same time looking as eager as if he would dash in every moment. In high turnips his action was very good; he would always contrive to show himself; standing sometimes on bis hind-legs only, so that his head and fore-quarters might be seen; he would never drop on his game unless it was close to him. On one occasion I was shooting with a friend, when Don came at full speed so suddenly upon a hare, that he slipped up, and laid nearly on his back; would not move, and my friend thought he was in a fit, till madam jumped up, when she was killed, and Don righted himself. So extremely punctilious was he in backing another dog ; when game was found, at the moment of jumping a stile, and actually balanced himself on the stile for several seconds till he fell. But he was seldom called on to back; for if two or three of his brethren were out with him, he pretty generally found all the game himself. He would, what is termed, point single; that is, if birds lay well in potatoes or turnips, for instance, and got up one by one, he would not leave his point till all were gone, unless by a turn of the head, or a step, to show where the next bird lay: I have in this way had seven shots to him without his moving a leg. He generally stood very handsomely, with his head and stern well up, and remarkably firm and bold; as if he was conscious of his own beauty and worth.
“ There are many sportsmen who sally forth solely with the idea of getting as much game as they can, and care little for their dogs as long as they do but get birds; I should term these gentlemen what that best of sportsmen, Colonel Hawker would call them, pot-hunters.' For my own part I think the action of my dogs constitutes one-half of the enjoyment; and if the circumstances of a dog pointing at all be considered abstractedly, it is a matter of great admiration.
A WONDERFUL POINTER.
“What dog is there possessing the singular self-denial of the pointer or setter? The hound gives full play to his feelings; chases and battles and kicks up as much riot as he likes, provided he is true to his game; the spaniel has no restraint, excepting being kept within gunshot; the greyhound has it all his own way as soon as he is loosed ; and the terrier watches at a rat's hole because he can't get into it; but the pointer, at the moment that other dogs satisfy themselves and rush upon their game, suddenly stops and points with almost breathless anxiety to that which we might naturally suppose he would eagerly seize. No; this is my master's, and not mine! To-ho's, the word, and here I am till he comes up or the birds are off of themselves. They run, he creeps after cautiously and carefully, stopping at intervals lest by a sudden movement he should spring them too soon; and then observe and admire his delight when his anxiety, for it is anxiety, is crowned with success, when the bird falls and he lays it joyfully at his master's feet. Oh! a pointer should never be ill-used, he is too much like one of us; he has more head-piece than all the rest of the dog tribe put together. Narrowly watch a steady pointer on his game and see how he holds his breath. It is evident he must stand in a certain degree of pain, for we all know how quickly a dog respires; and when he comes up to you in the field he puffs and blows, and the tongue is invariably hanging out of the mouth. You never see this on a point, and to check it suddenly must give the dog pain; the effort to be quiet, with fetching the breath deeply, causes at intervals a sudden hysteric gasp, which he cannot by any possibility prevent till he can breathe freely again. I have often thought of the burning sensation a dog must have at his chest just at this time. I cannot help, therefore, looking on the pointer as the most perfect artist of the canine race; and any one who has studied the sundry callings of our sundry dogs, must, I think agree with me.
“On two occasions Don signalised himself particularly before two or three friends; the first of these would appear almost incredible, but it is fact: late in the month of August, 1826, I was hunting him with a puppy that was then in the field for the second or third time, as I wanted to show him birds previous to the season; Don found some
birds very handsomely about the middle of the field; the puppy had been jumping and gambolling about with no great hunt in him, and upon seeing the old dog stand ran playfully up to him, when Don deliberately seized him by the neck, gave him a good shaking that sent him back howling to me, and then turned round and steadied himself on his point without moving scarcely a yard.
“At another time I was shooting with a friend in the Isle of Sheppey, where the birds were very plentiful that season ; had a brace of dogs out, Don and a white setter. In one field, which was nearly forty acres, we had found several coveys, when Don taking the hedge-row stood very staunch nearly at the end of the field. As we were walking up the setter stood between us and Don about two hundred yards from the latter; we at first thought that he was backing the other, but upon coming near to him we found be bad birds of his own, and first come first served. We walked to him, when the birds rose, and we both killed: the old dog turned his head upon hearing the guns, and actually saw the birds fall; but knowing he was right himself he stuck to his own game and continued perfectly steady.-Scott's Field Sports."
The following curious incident regarding a snake-fancier is extracted from Jesse's Natural History.
“A respectable land-surveyor informed me, that while he was making a survey of some property, he was attended by a man who had the character among his neighbours of being a shrewd fellow; but what more particularly entitled him to distinction was his extraordinary intimacy with snakes. On being questioned on the subject, the man said he would soon show the party more than they had ever seen before. It was a sunny spring morning, and they were running a line through a copse. The snake-fancier suddenly dropped the chain handle, and jumped upon a bank. The next moment he came forward with two full-sized snakes writhing about his hands and wrists. After viewing them some time with much affection and admiration, he said, 'Why, bless you, sir, I know their ways as well as they do themselves.'
He ODE TO THE WEST WIND.
then stepped to a road which was near at hand, and placed one of the snakes on the hard ground; taking a thin twig, he tapped the reptile very gently on the head. It immediately darted towards him, when he presented his hand to its open mouth, and continued to play with it, now and then gently tapping it on the head with the twig. He then said that it should counterfeit death, and soon afterwards the snake, to all appearance, lay dead. Those who were standing by thought that this was actually the case ; but the snakefancier said that it would soon become sprack again, if they left off looking at it; and accordingly, on their removing to a distance of between twenty and thirty yards, the snake was observed to glide speedily into the nearest hedge. On one occasion, and upon one only, the same person saw a snake in the act of casting his skin. He said, to use his own words, that it reminded him of a labouring man drawing his smock-frock over his head. The new skin was perfect in colour and appearance: but the snake appeared in a very languid and exhausted state."
O wild west wind, thou breath of autumn's being,
Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,
Thou, on whose stream, ʼmid the deep sky's commotion,
Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams