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and was preserved by Mr. Long, who fed some hundreds of sheep on the same, as a hare warren, where coursing matches were annually held. The flocks of golden plover and dotterel were numerous hereabout, and it seldom happened that, during a day's sporting excursion, I did not bring home with me twelve or more couple of the above birds. They were all over the grounds, and were constantly shifting their quarters throughout the day, so that they might be said to be almost continually on the wing, making their aërial transits past the sportsman within twenty yards of his person, insomuch that, at every discharge of his fowlingpiece, the plover fell six and seven at one time. Nor was this all. It so occurred that, if the gunner had the precaution to admit of his killed and wounded victims to remain upon the spot where they fell, the main body would not readily abandon it, but return, and wing their flight to and fro over their disabled comrades, courting their own destruction by evincing too fond an attachment to the mates they appeared to mourn for.
When the early presence of spring visited these champagne lands, the flights of plover and dotterel simultaneously disappeared, and not a single bird of either kind was to be noticed in that part of the country until the following autumn, when, as the early frosts manifested themselves, the above wanderers revisited our downs and sheep-walks.
There was an old distich in use among the shepherds in these parts, in past times, which runs thus :
"When the weather opens clear,
Then dotterel do appear;
But when the snow lies on the ground,
The London poultry salesmen have uniformly looked upon both the golden plover and the dotterel as desirable features in the market. Some few years back, a couple of the former would readily fetch three to four shillings, whilst the latter were priced according to their scarcity.
I shall annex to the aforenamed specimens of the plover tribe the common pewit or lapwing (Charadrius vanellus). These birds, unlike their congeners, are not held in such modern repute as an article of dietary excellence; but their eggs are highly esteemed, and fetch, during the spring, corresponding prices with the value set upon them.
The pewit is a bird so well known to all those who have been in the practice of traversing our heaths and moors, that a description of the same might be deemed almost unnecessary. Rising on the wing, and flying around the obtruding ploughman, or any person who might venture upon its accustomed haunts, reiterating its plaintive cry, and tantalizing the observing beholder by its grotesque gesticulations, it becomes a creature quite familiar to the notice of the sportsman. Few, however, bearing the character or title of the latter, would condescend to take an advantage of so helpless and confiding a bird as to destroy it. In the winter season, when the soil is moist, the pewit affects fallow lands, where it feeds upon worms, grubs, and other vermicular and insect life. It is seldom recognized as an object worthy the notice of the true-bred sportsman; but "pot shooters frequently commit sad depredations among these birds, which are of a secondary character as a table feature. They are, however, occasionally exposed for sale in our London markets, and fetch from fourpence to sixpence a-piece.
The sea snipe, or ox-eye bird (Charadrius minimus), is to be met with in large flocks on our coasts: it may be regarded as a sandpiper ; but it congregates with the plover family, and feeds after the same manIn the pursuit of this particular class of sport, No. 6 shot should be resorted to, as the sea snipe is brought down by a slight shock; and these birds flock in such large numbers, that they bear, at a short distance off, a strict resemblance to a dark cloud, propelled with vast velocity by an after-current of wind. Twenty or more may be secured at one discharge of the shoulder-piece; but, when bagged, they are more calculated for inmates of pastry confinement than for an introduction to the spit. The sea snipe is to be met with in salt-pans; they abound in Cheshire, Hampshire, and other parts of our coasts: I never detected one of these birds in our London markets. Plovers I have recognized in all the tropical and temperate countries where I have been, but not in the frozen regions. Being a soft-billed bird, it requires moist surfaces wherewith to penetrate the soil in quest of its natural' food. That, like the gralla, it is a bird of passage, to some extent, there exists but little doubt, resorting to various climates at such seasons as nature advises. The Ibis of Egypt is one of the Charadrius family (the scarlet curlew), known by the ancients as the phoenix. Throughout the East Indies, curlews of different complexions and formations abound in a large variety, whilst the distinct families of the plovers swarm over the face of that extensive peninsula. The latter are chiefly to be seen in the locality of estuaries, where they find a neverfailing subsistence all the year round. In tropical countries they are seldom regarded as objects worthy the fowler's attention, and are never eaten but under circumstances of peculiar and pressing emergency.
PUBLIC AMUSEMENTS OF THE METROPOLIS.
"I belong to the unpopular family of Telltruths, and would not flatter Apollo for his lyre."-Rob Roy.
With all the dazzling splendour of a summer's sun, it would be difficult to select any suburban retreat offering more seasonable attraction than THE CRYSTAL PALACE. The building itself is rich in material and attraction; the several courts presenting infinite variety for the curious in matters historical, architectural, archæological, mediæval, classic, and the fine arts generally. Dull indeed must be the imagination that cannot realize some enjoyment from such a collection. In addition to this combination, which, from its infinite variety, almost causes an embarras de richesses, the grounds have their specialities. There are flowers, fountains; shaded retreats, to flirt in; open fields, to play the manly game of cricket in ; and harmless inoffensive butts, as usual, for those who love to draw the longbow. So, with all these incentives, it is by no means difficult to know how to spend a pleasant day at Sydenham.
With other places of out-door amusement there has been no lack of energy on the part of the directors to cater for the taste of the day.
VAUXHALL is once more amongst the notabilities of the time. Coming fresh as a daisy into the field, these Gardens present nearly all the features that were wont to distinguish them in the days of yore. The same Rotunda, with instrumental and vocal performers partaking of the good, bad, and indifferent: of the first-if it be not ungenerous to name it-there are but a sorry few. But there all that is lost in harmony is made up for in noise, so that the shilling disbursed at the doors is not altogether without its return. The old Circus, with its dot-and-go-one Rosinante, with bespangled shequestrians and prodigiously dull clowns, may be viewed in all its ancient glory, or otherwise, as taste inclines. The customary "extra" thousands of lamps burn with even more lustrous effect than ever. But an innovation of perhaps more importance is perceptible in the dimensions of the ham and beef slices, which, in justice to the cuisine, it should be observed, are not shaved with that delicate nicety of bygone occasions. Altogether, with its antiquity and innovation, Vauxhall in 'fifty-eight should be seen to be appreciated.
Another re-opening on the same side of the water is to be noted, THE SURREY GARDENS appealing once more for the popular shillings. Here the innovation consists in dancing being one of the recognized features of the place wherein Mr. Spurgeon and other lions have been accustomed to roar. The Hall of itself is pleasant to behold-a noble specimen of modern art. Not only are the acoustic properties unexceptionable, but the whole appearance of the building is of a light and elegant character.
On the Middlesex side of that ancient, but not overnice parent, Father Thames, the event at CREMORNE, has been the aristocratic fete, more talked of, abused, and upheld than it was really worth one way or the other. The evening turned out wet, and as nobody in a general way would have gone on such a night, nobody really could have been kept out of the gardens. Besides, the object was a good one; and, like a Fancy Fair, a Grand Concert, or an especially select Horticultural Show, John Bull does not object to pay two or three times over, more particularly when he is bringing charity into fashion.
Turning in-doors, there is not over-much to occupy attention during the weather that most persons are intent on entertaining the exact geographical position they shall occupy very shortly-whether it shall be a continental tour, a voyage to China, a run down to the sea-side, or a month on the moors. The new theatre has been carrying all before it, the arrangements of Mr. Gye having been of the most unexceptionable order. The promises held out at the beginning of the season of THE ROYAL ITALIAN OPERA have been more than fulfilled, more operas having been brought out than the subscribers were reasonably led to expect. The great success of "Don Giovanni," with its unrivalled cast, was preceded by another genuine success; the new opera of "Martha" having created very great interest: not that the music is of that classic character that would drive musicians into rhapsodies, but rather that it partakes of that agreeable and pleasing kind so calculated to interest opera goers, and to furnish them moreover with a pleasant theme for "gilded saloons." The singers, by their efficient rendering, of course contribute to the satisfactory verdict passed so unanimously on this composition. Madlle. Bosio, in particular, should be named, were it merely for the charm with which she invests "
Last Rose of Summer"—an air that is pleasingly introduced two or three times in the opera.
The closing of the old house calls for no other comment than that a season less remarkable for novelty than that on which the curtain has just fallen, it would be difficult to cite. One singer with an excellent musical education (Madlle. Titiens, who may well desire to be saved from her friends) and one very bad opera by Signor Verdi ("Luisa Miller") being the brace of novelties which distinguished the past season at HER MAJESTY'S THEATRE.
In many instances theatres are closed. The HAYMARKET company, whilst repairs are being made, have migrated to the North, and at Manchester their merits are justly appreciated. This feeling is particularly shown towards Miss Amy Sedgwick, who, having graduated there, is looked upon with a feeling of pride by the Manchester audiences, who are justly pleased that this favourite actress should have taken such high honours on the London stage. Of the other places of amusement a few words will tell their tale. At the PRINCESS's and the OLYMPIC the old bills are renewed, perhaps to run on with interest. The new ADELPHI is in process of construction. Mr. Webster and his company, after sojourning for a time at SADLER'S WELLS, are now carrying off flying colours at the NATIONAL STANDARD. Mr. and Mrs. Barney Williams are now bringing their metropolitan engagements to a termination, for a time at least; and the little theatre in the STRAND remains under the direction of Miss Swanborough, albeit she does not at present act. This chronicle would not be complete without reference being made to an event that has created nearly as much wonder as the invitation to the Queen to visit Cherbourg from the Emperor of the French-the LYCEUM has been opened. The new manager has thought proper to inflict upon the public another dose of the " Traviata:" in a milder form, it is true, than it has been hitherto administered. Still, weak as it is, it has proved to be too much. Mrs. Charles Young certainly does all that can be possibly done, but all to no purpose. Neither will the serious affair styled in the bills a burlesque, with the title of "The Lancashire Witches," go down. To all this, tragedy has been added. Tragedy in July and August! Mr. Ira Aldridge, an actor of colour, being the Othello for the occasion.
Equestrian performances are for the present confined to the Circus in Leicester-square, ASTLEY's being closed for alterations. To the other entertainments at the ALHAMBRA PALACE, the name of no less a personage than Tom Thumb has been added; and it is but fair to observe that he appears to be as well satisfied with the audiences as they are with him.
So much for the doings of the present lightsome hour: the dim future of those who make the present happy to many, surely claims the attention of all who would see "the players well bestowed." For the excellent purpose of providing an asylum for actors and actresses when in the "sere and yellow leaf," a worthy Squire in Berkshire, hight Dodd, has come nobly forward with the offer of five acres of ground for a DRAMATIC COLLEGE. Not only this good work has he performed, but a contribution of one hundred guineas has also been made by him. It is gratifying to find this excellent example has been responded to in a proper spirit, and that Messrs. Kean, Dickens, Webster, and others, are bestowing all becoming vigilance on the praiseworthy project.