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gentle reader, at these statements, or condemn them as over-coloured. The influence of a wealthy and unscrupulous land-owner within his own sphere is—whether for good or evil-overwhelming. Dr. Pokes now made his appearance on the scene. He animadverted in strong terms on the deserted appearance of the church ; and on the disunion but too visible in the parish. He then expressed his profound regret that his curate should have incurred the displeasure of Lord Eastrington. “That was, indeed, lamentable!”
“But unavoidable, under the circumstances,” Mr. Osterly rejoined quietly.
“I am given to understand,” said Dr. Pokes with ominous gravity, “that you insulted him!”
“There are plain, old-fashioned people in this very parish,” replied Osterly, “who are so unsophisticated as to think that his lordship insulted me.”
“When and where?”
“And his lordship's civilities were thus rejected—thus publicly, peremptorily, and decisively !" cried Dr. Pokes, with evident vexa. tion. " Explanation is impossible. No intervention of mine can avail. The breach is irreparable. A most unfortunate invitation; and truly lamentable in its results !”
“How would you have acted, sir,” humbly asked the curate, “in my position? Would you have sat at table with that objectionable person?”
"Nr. Osterly,” exclaimed the rector with evident amazement, “what can be your notions of propriety? I that am a family man? I that have grown-up daughters ? I that am so particular about my society, where I dine and with whom? You amaze me, sir, in supposing it possible that such an invitation could be given to me.”
“Our profession is the same,” returned Osterly meekly, vows are the same-our engagements the same.”
Yes-yes, I know all that ; don't bore me with it,” returned the Doctor, somewhat peevishly ; “but you are a single man-you are not hemmed in by petticoats. That makes a difference—a most material difference—all the difference.”
You condemn my conduct, then?" “I condemn you not : I praise you not. But I will have no war with Lord Eastrington. The most convenient course, sir, will be for you to resign the curacy." “I think your suggestion harsh,” was Mr. Osterly's reply;
" and the more, since you affirm
you do not blame
conduct." “I blame nobody," cried the rector stoutly;'“ but I will not live in hot water with Lord Eastrington; and I will not consent that my church shall be deserted. The proper course is—you must see it yourself—a resignation."
“You sacrifice, then, your curate to your patron ?"
“I sacrifice nobody,” persisted Dr. Pokes; “but I will not be sacrificed myself! A pretty life I should lead with Lord Eastrington for my foe! Once more, I say, good Mr. Osterly do resign - pray resign."
“I did so," said the victim he himself gave me the leading features of his history,—"and,” continued he, “thanks to the bounty of a deceased relative, without being wholly beggared by the act.
You can feel slight surprise that after such treatment I was in no hurry to seek another curacy ; nor can you wonder that, as the oppressor invariably feels a strong distaste towards the person he has injured, I am aptly described by your visiting justice as a party to whom Lord Eastrington has a particular objection. But I will cheerfully undertake your clerical duties. My services may possibly be endurable at the gaol, though utterly distasteful at Gareham. At all events, there no dinner invitations await me; nor can I give mortal offence by declining claret and venison. Consider, therefore, the matter of a substitute as settled. Away with ye! and enjoy your holiday while your many masters are in the mood that you should have one!”
GAME PRESERVERS. " The lust of dominion innovates so imperceptibly, that we become complete despots before our wanton abuse of power is perceived: the tyranny first exercised in the nursery is exhibited in various shapes and degrees in every stage of our existence.”—ZIMMERMAN.
THERE must exist a class of men in this country to whom, strange as it may appear, unpopularity is grateful; men who revel in the execration of their fellows, and glory in incurring a formidable share of public odium. Upon this principle may be understood the selfcomplacency of game preservers. A greater curse to a community cannot exist in an agricultural district; and those most conversant with the poor-with their privations, habits, feelings, and temptations will be the first to exclaim, “If you wish to ruin a village population; if you desire rapidly to introduce among them demoralization and insubordination ; if your aim be to brutalize them—to make them bad fathers and bad husbands-insolent to their employers and disaffected to their superiors-worthless and desperatepersuade some landed proprietor to come amongst them who is a stickler for the game laws, and resolved at all risks to have his covers strictly preserved.”
The hatred with which such parties are regarded by the lower orders generally, is smothered, but intense. The clergy alone are cognizant of its extent. The game preserver is looked upon as a tyrant—cruel
, implacable, covetous, remorseless. No argument that any clergyman can use—no representation that any clergyman can make-ever avails to convince the humblest of his flock that a convicted poacher is justiy punished. “What!”-is the general and reiterated cry among the working classes—“What! send a poor fellow to gaol; deprive him of his liberty for knocking down a wild bird of the air-one that Aies in the open firmament of heaven-that was given to man for his use—that properly belongs to no one, but ought to be food common to all-make that a crime ! Appoint a punishment for it!—and call it justice! It may be so-it may be so in man's judgment, but not in His who is LORD OF ALL!"
Woe be to that clergyman-damaged, utterly and irretrievably, will be his usefulness—who would venture to maintain in any labourer's cottage the game laws as a righteous enactment. To a plain man, moreover, it seems marvellous that the masses should submit so willingly to be taxed—and that right heavily-for the costly amusement of the few.
The labourer, be it remembered, from the moment in which he stands committed for an infraction of the game laws, proceeds onward, step by step, at the public expense. He is conveyed to gaol at the public expense: he is kept there at the public expense. The county feeds and clothes him. His family become instantly burdens on the public industry. The doors of the Union House are opened to them; and there they have to be maintained at the expense of their respective parishes.
What an equitable, honest, and reasonable arrangement ! The many heavily burdened for the amusement of the few !
Now, surely, as game is preserved for the special amusement of the country gentry,—an amusement in which they will tolerate no participation on the part of the multitude,-common sense suggests that “the exclusives” are the parties who ought to pay “for their fun.” But then it is urged by those who hold Lord Eastrington's views, “Game is entitled to protection; and ought most fully to receive it because it is property.” Indeed! Has it the responsibilities of other property? Unless this can be established, there is manifest injustice in the conclusion that it ought to receive similar protection. In point of fact, game preservers inflict infinite damage on a community. They are, in many points of view, obnoxious to its welfare. Farmers incur heavy loss by the depredations of game. Labourers suffer injury by the want of employment, since it is a well-established and notorious fact that in any district where there is much game, it is an utter impossibility to have good farming. The community, as a body, is injured ; first, by the destruction of food which game occasions; and next by the facilities and temptations to crime which game affords. An agricultural labourer earns nine shillings a-week. A single night's poaching will bring him twenty, Is it wonderful that gaols require new wings, and that the crowded state of our prisons calls for a winter assize? The cause of this perpetual increase of misery and crime—where is it to be found ? In the laws enacted and maintained for the amusement of the country gentry. These last are the parties who convert their fellow creatures into criminals. The disappointed poacher is, by rapid and easy progress, converted into a robber. Precluded by the vigilance of keepers, or by an unexpected augmentation of watchers from taking game, the agricultural labourer will enter his master's fold, and take a sheep; or he will stealthily climb into a neighbour's barn, and take his corn. A poacher's calling and habits have depraved him. He has lost all sense of right and wrong. But who has caused this sad and wondrous change in his character? Let the game preserver supply the answer.
At a late hour, in a small but luxuriously furnished breakfast-room, looking over a sunny terrace into a noble park, sat a lady and gentle
The latter seemed out of sorts, peevish, and irritable; and the former distrait and ill at ease, as if at a loss for a topic that would accord with the moody humour of her fretful companion.
“Make no further attempts to mislead me," said the gentleman; “ I heard shots in the Rectory Preserve about one this morning. My mind is made up on the point. I could not be deceived.”
“ The night was very boisterous," suggested the lady timidly; "and the wind among the trees-”
“Bore the sharp report of fire-arms towards my dressing-room. I
ought not to heed the sound, I admit,” continued the speaker bitter. ly, " for it is of nightly recurrence, and my people seem thoroughly indifferent. They will probably attach to it more importance this day three weeks when I send them one and all adrift, as I shall do to a certainty.”
His companion looked surprised, but hazarded no reply.
“I am surrounded by mercenaries,” continued the speaker sarcastically, "mercenaries in heart as well as calling."
The rising colour of the lady proved this taunt did not escape her.
“ The bond—” resumed his lordship-Lord Eastrington was the speaker-"the sole bond acknowledged at the present day is that loathsome one-money;",
The diatribe finished, he rang the bell smartly.
“ Beamish, my lord, is below," said the servant who obeyed the summons, “ and begs to see your lordship when you are at leisure.”
“I am at leisure, now," said the peer, with that lowering brow, and in that muffled tone, which generally were the precursors of reproof and dismissal. Beamish, however, thought differently, for he stepped lightly into his lordship’s presence, and looked up at his employer with a frank and well-assured air, as if convinced a wel. come awaited his tidings.
“Any new disaster, keeper?" was Lord Eastrington's inquiry, in a tone partly irritable, partly careless.
“None, my lord; rather the contrary. I have discovered a sly hand—a very sly hand-near home.”
Indeed !” and the peer's moody manner gave way to an expression of eagerness.
"I found, my lord, last night, a leash of birds, a pheasant, and a hare, in a cottage not fifty yards distant from the Forest Lodge Gate, -all of them, I'll be sworn, from our covers: in fact the fellow admitted as much; I teazed it out of him.”
“Good !" exclaimed his lordship; " and his gun?"
“That I found hid between the sacking and mattress of his bed ; and for a poor man, a very tidy gun it is.”
“Well and cleverly managed !” cried his lordship; "you shall find your account in this, Beamish: now for the name of the offender.” “ Marcot, my
lord.” “ Marcot!" repeated the peer musingly : “Marcot ! that man has had work--constant work throughout the winter. Want has nothing to do with his crime. What are his wages ?"
“Nine shillings a-week, my lord; has a wife and four children; the eldest rising six. Rent, four pounds ten. Maintains an old mother besides.”
“Nine shillings a-week !" ejaculated the peer solemnly; "nine shillings per week !" he repeated, as if lost in the contemplation of so enormous an income. “I shall treasure up this case in
recollection, continued the noble, with an air of profound reflection: “I shall advert to it in public: I shall, perhaps, submit it in detail to the consideration of the House. It supports the view I have always taken, that the agricultural labourer is not driven to become a poacher by want." “ Marcot
He told me, my lord, with tears in his eyes, that he and his family couldn't live upon
much more find house rent and firing out of them. Want, he says, made him a poacher, and nothing else. He was starving; and took to the woods.”
“A subterfuge-a vile, audacious subterfuge," said his lordship with dignity. “Poaching, Beamish, arises from loose notions of morality." Beamish made an acquiescent bow, as was his duty. “Want, the cause of poaching! Absurd! Immorality is its cause. It is spreading rapidly and abominably among the lower classes. It is lamentable to view the hold it gains on them. We are becoming an immoral people."
“We are, my lord,” said Beamish humbly. His eye glanced at the lady opposite him, who looked disconcerted enough. His noble master observed the look and its result, and abruptly closed the interview.
Was it shame, or pride, or wounded feeling, or a determination to “sin on" that caused him to mutter, as the door closed on the confused keeper,
“That fellow grows saucy,-has an opinion of his own,-I 'll be rid of him the first opportunity.”
BY WILLIAM JONES.
Companion of his lonely state,
With honest worth and thee !
All honour to the patriot bold,
Thy leaf to Britain's shore !
The valiant knight of yore!
Let poets rhyme of what they will,
My theme shall be tobacco !
The source of ev'ry pleasure !
breast, Forth sprang the plant, and then was
bless'd, As man's chief treasure ! Throughout the world who knows thee
The universal guest !
And soothe us into rest !
The curse of penury! .
Ay, Raleigh ! thou wilt live till Time
The fruitful theme of story!
And dimm'd her ancient glory!
And thou, O leaf ! shalt keep his name
And teach us to remember;
Made summer of December !