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dull colour, some of them present the brightest hues in the vegetable kingdom, rivaling in grace and brilliance even the rose and the lily.
“I must not omit,” says an author we have very frequently quoted, “the great variety of fungi which flourish this month. These are of every size, shade, and hue, according to species and situation, from the slender filament of scarlet or yellow upon some decaying stump, to the bold, broad agaric of a foot in height and diameter, standing in the forest as a fitting table for King Oberon. No production of nature but is endowed with some portion of that beauty so lavishly diffused through creation; and these humble and despised vegetables, which the clown kicks away with his foot, will certainly appear to an attentive eye not destitute of their share. In roaming the ancient wilds of Sherwood Forest in the autumn of 1827, I was particularly struck with their varying character; some broad, tabular, and flaked with brown; some in the shade of trees, of a pearly whiteness ; others of a brilliant rose-colour; some white, delicate sur. faces studded with dark embossments, some fashioned like a Chinese parasol, others gibbous and grotesque; the mossy puff-ball
, which, before it becomes dry, has been known to weigh several pounds; the pestilent, scented, and ginger mushrooms, for all the world the exact resemblance of a simnel-cake."
SOMETHING ABOUT FIELD SPORTS.
On the first day of September (except when it falls on a Sunday) the shooting of partridges becomes lawful, and is joyfully entered on by a vast number of persons throughout the country. It generally forms the young shooter's first lesson at game, and in order to be successful he carefully notes the habits of the bird at different seasons, and under different sorts of weather, &c.
In the zeal for destruction which seems to pervade all ranks and classes of society at this particular period, it may seem out of place to speak of the usefulness of the animals which form the special object of the pursuit, or to offer a recommendation in their behalf, that the war against the species may be regulated and kept within due bounds, so that man may not reduce their numbers to his own injury. In the case of the partridge, as well as in that of many other birds, it is fully believed that if we understood their habits aright, we should often be disposed to cherish that which we are now zealous to destroy.
The common partridge seems in an especial manner to belong to an agricultural country. Wherever the soil is extensively cultivated, there it thrives and multiplies, and with all the persecutions to which it is subjected, we never find these birds driven to make their permanent abode in wild and solitary places. Their pertinacious adherence to the same turnip-field, or to the same clover-matted stubble, has aptly been compared to that of a mountain-tribe of human beings clinging to their fastnesses in a war of extir. pation.
The time of the year, the weather, and many other circumstances influence the practice of the partridge-shooter. The usual way of proceeding in search of these birds in September is to try the stubbles first, and then the potato and turnip-field, where the birds frequently bask when such fields lie contiguous to the stubble. When the shooter breaks
covey, he proceeds without loss of time to search after the dispersed birds, for the parents begin to call almost immediately on their alighting, the young ones answer, and in less than half an hour, if not prevented by the presence of the shooter and his dogs, the whole of the covey will be reassembled, probably in security in some snug corner, where the shooter least thinks of looking for them. The number of birds in a covey varies much, but is considered to average from ten to fifteen. The length of flight of a covey also differs according to the nature of the ground. In a fertile farm in a corn country, the sportsman has not any great distance to travel before he comes again upon his covey, sometimes the mere passing of a hedge will enable him to reach them, but in a very open country, where the birds have been used to a much more extensive range, a mile, or even more, has been traversed in following their flight.
Partridges are the most prolific of the wild gallinidæ, the eggs being seldom fewer than twelve in number, while they
are often as many as twenty, and have on several occasions greatly exceeded that number, as the following instances will show. In the year 1793 a partridge nest was found in a fallow field on the farm of Mr. Pratt, near Ferling, in Essex, with thirty-three eggs; twenty-three of the eggs were hatched, and the birds went off; the number of the eggs was ascertained before hatching, to decide a bet laid by a person who refused to credit so unusual a production. In order to cover the whole of the eggs, the female had piled up seven in a curious manner in the centre. Mr. Daniel tells us that upon a farm in Essex the following incident occurred. A partridge, instead of forming her nest as usual on the ground, chose the top of an oak pollard, and this tree too had one end of the bars of a stile fastened to it, so that the passengers along the footway, in getting over the stile, disturbed and uncovered the bird before she began to sit close. The farmer, whose name was Bell, apprised Mr. Daniel of the circumstance, which he laughed at as being the report of the workpeople, and said it was only a wood pigeon they had mistaken for a partridge; but the former, who had killed some hundreds of partridges, so positively affirmed his having beheld the bird upon the nest on the tree, and also having told the eggs to the number of sixteen, that Mr. Daniel was persuaded to ride to the spot, where the partridge was seen sitting: in a few days she hatched sixteen eggs; and her brood, scrambling down the short and rough boughs which grew around the trunk of the tree, reached the ground in safety.
The affection shown by the partridge for its young is peculiarly strong and lively. Both parents seem equally assiduous, after the birds are hatched, in leading them out, and directing them to their proper food, and in protecting them by every means in their power from their enemies. Insects, larvæ" and eggs are the food of young partridges ; ant-eggs, in particular, seem necessary to their existence. At this period the male and female frequently sit close together and cover the young with their wings, exhibiting such evident marks of parental tenderness, that few persons would willingly disturb or injure them in such a situation. When they are accidentally discovered, or alarmed by a dog, they act in a manner thus described by an eye-witness :
"The male first gives the signal of alarm by a peculiar distressful cry, throwing himself at the same moment more immediately in the way of danger, in order to mislead the enemy; he flies or rather runs along the ground, hanging his wings and exhibiting every symptom of debility, whereby the dog is decoyed, by a too eager expectation of an easy prey, to run further from the covey. The female flies off in a contrary direction, and to a greater distance, but soon after secretly returning she finds her scattered brood closely squatted among the grass, and collecting them with haste by her jucking she leads them from the danger before the dog has had time to return from the pursuit."
Partridges are easily tamed, but do not breed in confinement. An instance is given of one of these birds becoming so familiar in a clergyman's family where it was reared, that it would attend the parlour at breakfast and other times, and would afterwards stretch itself before the fire, seeming to enjoy the warmth as if it were its natural bask on a sunny bank. The dogs of the house never molested it, but it at last fell under the paws of a strange cat and was killed. The eggs of partridges are frequently collected and hatched under domestic hens, the broods being afterwards turned into preserves for the purpose of stocking them. In this case, the food of the young birds should at first consist of the eggs of the small ant; afterwards they should be fed with fresh curds mixed with lettuce, chickweed, or groundsel. It will be some time before they can eat grain readily. Chronicle of the Seasons.
A WONDERFUL POINTER.
"Don was nearly twelve months old before he could be hunted with at all, and he then all at once became such a riotous rascal, I had almost given him up, and began to think he never would stand, when, having tried him out one day, as I was returning home he happened to drop upon a hen pheasant and made a most brilliant point. Certainly I had a world of trouble with him, but he has amply repaid me since. He was so quick that he would hunt a field
This was one
before another dog could think about it. remarkable point in him,-that, on entering a field, he
A WONDERFUL POINTER.
seemed to know by instinct where the birds would lie; for he would take a momentary survey, and then generally go straight up to them at once; an extremely pleasant dog for an idle man. You might sit on a gate while he hunted his field, and he would pretty soon tell you if there was any thing in it. His nose was so keen and good that I have seen him in a brisk wind find his birds a hundred and fifty yards off across the furrows; and this after birds were marked down, and it was known they could not have run. He was very tender-mouthed, and would always bring his game without the slightest injury. He could tell as well as myself, and sometimes better, whether a bird was hit, he would watch till he topped the hedge, and then if he once started, I always rested satisfied that I should have my bird. He would never chase a hare when she got up, unless he thought she was wounded, and then few greyhounds were fleeter.
"Some of my friends used to think I should spoil Don, from the variety of sport I used him for; such as pheasant, partridge, woodcock, snipe, hare, and any sort of waterfowl shooting, the latter especially he was very fond of. He has frequently stood a duck or a moor-hen, with the water running over his back at the time. If a rat was to be killed,