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given to understand that the weapons and their wielders are as conservative as ever. Also the paragraph in the local papers, under the heading of 'Shooting Fatality,' which must be kept in permanent type, though less regular than those at the end of the season with the usual list of persons slain or maimed at the farmers' rabbiting parties, where just the same crowd attends, shows that matters are not much altered, and that Mr. Wirkle and Mr. Tupman are still annually in the field. Once, when partridge-shooting on an estate in Somersetshire, I became more and more astonished at the non-professional demeanour of certain walkers and beaters who had turned out not ill-equipped for the business in hand, but who talked cheerfully when birds were being approached in turnips. Occasionally one of the keepers would call out, Don't 'ee chackle so, Jan Duck,' or whoever it might be; to which the free and independent walker rejoined, 'Don't 'ee chackle so thyself, Job Potter.' As this quest for the greatest happiness of the greatest number, including the partridges, was not exactly what I came out for, I asked one of the talkers whether he were a keeper. The man, who was most polite, touching his hat, said, 'Oh, no, zur, I beant keeper, zur, I be the gravedigger, zur; but the Squire he likes we all to come and enjoy ourselves.' The Squire was a very kind man; but taking the gravedigger out shooting was a humorous touch I had not reckoned upon. Next year, after the annual farmers' rabbitshooting, he was wanted. The keeper was accidentally shot dead.

Though keeping aloof from 'estate rook-shootings,' I had the opportunity last year of seeing the kind of weapons still used at some of them. It was on Christmas Eve, in a little town or big village in Suffolk, in the shop of the local handy-man, who does anything from mending bicycles to taking photographs of married couples after church, who was having a turn at gun-mending in his most untidy shop. An assistant was also hard at work, and the two had each of them a gun-barrel or a pair of gun-barrels in the vice in front of him. The latter was screwing the breech off an ancient single-barrelled muzzle-loader, which was 'bunged up,' probably because there was a damp unfired charge in it. The other had a cheap 31. Liège double-barrel before him, a horridlooking caricature of a gun, with a stock the colour of pie-crust. In the corners of the shop were old muzzle-loaders, single-barrelled, and some of them evidently converted from flint-locks, the projecting side bolt for taking the flash of the cap showing the




There were double-barrelled muzzle-loaders too, one of them loaded in one barrel and with the copper cap on. This, I was told, was the shopkeeper's property, for shooting birds down the garden.' On asking what all these antique weapons were assembled for, I was told there was to be a Boxing-day pigeon match. They had all come in for repair for this. But,' the amateur gunsmith added, they were all, or nearly all, in use once a year besides, for the rook-shooting, where powder and shot did not come as expensive as cartridges.' The two really sporting weapons in use by gentlemen who cared for rook-shooting, up to the middle of this century and even later, were the crossbow, and the air-gun or air-rifle. Very few people have ever seen either, as then used, though it would be difficult to say how either was destroyed, for they were steel, all but the butt, in each case. As arrows are too easily lost when shot up in cover, the crossbows were made to carry a bullet. The bow itself was of steel, and the string of steel wire or catgut. This was wound back with a winch, and hitched on to the catch, which was loosened by a trigger in the ordinary way. The bullet was dropped down the barrel, and was driven violently out by a wooden plunger, working free, with its outer end projecting far enough to be struck a violent blow by the bowstring when released. The same crossbow would shoot bolts, but these were used for rabbit-potting in the open. The air-guns were of various patterns. The commonest had a ball of steel under them into which the air was pumped. There was some danger that if over-pumped this reservoir might burst: occasionally it did-like a hand grenade. Also the charge grew weaker as the compression was relaxed by firing. But the air-gun was a neat and noiseless weapon, never recoiling, and, firing a bullet from a rifled barrel, allowed the user to take a pardonable pride in his achievements.

At the present moment rifle-shooting is rather to the fore. We might have rifle picnics' as they do in India, where the ladies as well as the gentlemen guests could compete. The weapon for this is clearly the rook-rifle, which carries with perfect accuracy, makes little noise and no recoil, is light enough for ladies to handle, and straight-shooting enough for one of Fenimore Cooper's scouts to drive nails into a tree with. One tried at a distance of fifty yards made twenty-nine bull's-eyes out of thirty shots on a one and a-half inch bull's-eye, with open V sporting sights. Accidents with these weapons are inexcusable when once the mechanism

is learnt, but until that is done they are dangerous. They seem such toys that people are not properly careful with them. In addition they are now all hammerless. The action is concealed, they have often very small indicators to show when the triggers are at safe, and they will kill a man as certainly as will a Mauser. In Holland's best rifles the bore is by no means small, nor are the very small bores, though accurate enough, quite satisfactory for rooks and rabbits. They kill the former, but sometimes fail to stop the latter. Not many years ago a noted cricketer and sportsman was shot through the back by a friend using one of these weapons for the first time. Fortunately the bullet did not touch his spine, his heart, or his lungs, and after making a hole clean through him left no lasting injury.

The modern rook-rifle is so absolutely accurate, and so well balanced, that an expert shot, anxious to make a display of finished marksmanship, could not do better than to see what he can do in firing at young rooks on the wing with a single bullet. As they flap and drift over and round the trees, their slow outspread flight gives opportunity for fancy shooting of this kind, which is not nearly so difficult as might be imagined. The shots chosen

should be those in which the young rook is flapping to a given point, probably a group of trees some thirty yards away, in which case he travels fairly steadily, or else when circling overhead. Its progress is very slow, not more than ten yards a second at the most. The allowance ahead is greater than with a short gun, because the shot travels in a long column like the tail of a comet, into any part of which a bird may fly, while the bullet only represents the nose of the comet aforesaid. It is not wholly a modern accomplishment. John Day, in his Reminiscences of the Turf,' says that one of his patrons was an expert in this difficult feat of marksmanship.




EIGHT hundred a year! To the toiling clerk it seems unbounded wealth; to the woman of fashion a poor thing in pin-money; to those who usually start marriage on such an income, the professional man, or the younger son with a narrow berth in the Civil Service and vague prospects in the direction of a too healthily constituted uncle, it is a sum upon which the two ends which must annually be drawn together can be made to meet with comfortable success or inconvenient uncertainty, according to the requirements and habits of the couple who have the spending of it. Such a couple have usually to consider, to a certain extent, what is vaguely called keeping up appearances; that is to say, they belong to a society, a large number of the members of which are much wealthier than they themselves are, and the general level of whose social usages and demands they must, in as far as they mix in it, maintain. How much of the 800l. should be absorbed by the attractions and expenses of society is one of the questions they must decide. I consider, myself, that if daily comfort and a quiet mind are to be secured, society must take a back seat. My precise definition of a back seat I will defer till later on; in the meantime we will take a glance at the expenditure involved in positively necessary expenses.

First of all comes the house-rent, a figure which depends partly upon the size of the house, partly upon the locality in which it is situated. Now, I know that the accepted rule is to spend a tenth of income upon rent, but it is a rule which, if it is intended to be of universal application, has always seemed to me lacking in common sense. If you have 30,000l. a year, 3,000!. may be the right amount of it to spend in rent; if you have an income of 10,000l., the same proportion may hold good; but when you come to an income of 5,000l., 500l. is too high a rent to give; and when you come to one of 100l., 10l. is too little. Now 80l. a year for rent in an expenditure of 800l. is a reasonable enough sum, and yet I would advise our couple to set about their house-hunting prepared to give more. I remember one of the wisest men I ever knew saying to me that amongst the most important

factors in the happiness of daily life was a comfortable and attractive home, and that people starting married life should do their best to insure one, even at the sacrifice of certain other enjoyments and advantages which at first sight might appear more obviously desirable. Thus, he said, it is better to spend money on the home than on amusements which take you away from it; it is better to make your daily surroundings beautiful, pleasant, and convenient than to have frequent changes of air and scene; it is better to live in airy healthy rooms than to own a variety of garments or an extensive visiting list. Good sense I thought his propositions at the time, and experience and observation have convinced me that they are true wisdom. I would advise, then, a rent of over 80l.—say 901. or even a little more-holding that two people with an income of 800l. would be justified in spending at least 130l. of it on rent, rates, and taxes. In the choice of a house there are two things to be considered, the house itself and its locality. The advantages of the two are interdependent; that is to say that it may be necessary to sacrifice something in the first in order to gain something in the second and vice versa.

It is not wise, I am sure, to live at too great a distance from the haunts and habitations of the world to which one belongs; to do so draws down the curses of friends and increases expenditure in cab fares. Go right away, into a suburb or the country, beyond the range of London calls altogether, or choose a neighbourhood which, if visiting is to take place at all, does not involve too great a tax upon the strength and time of the wife and the purses and patience of her friends. In these days of women's clubs, it is, of course, fairly easy for a woman to maintain her circle of friends or acquaintances by receiving visits at her club one day in the week, and by spending another day weekly in London for the purpose of paying calls; but if she and her husband want to dine out at all, they must live within what I would call the dinnerparty radius. Fashionable neighbourhoods, naturally, do not come within the limits of possibility, or desirability either, for reasons other than the question of rent, one being that tradespeople charge much higher prices in such neighbourhoods; my radius is determined, therefore, by the solid reality of cab fares and the sum total of the weekly books, not by considerations of the social standing of one's front door. Thus Bayswater is within, but Shepherd's Bush without the circle; Kensington is included, but Hammersmith unadvisable; Bloomsbury, especially for

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