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BIRD BIRD

LIFE LORE

AND

BY

E.

BOSWORTH
OF TRINITY OF HARROW
"

SMITH
COLLEGE,
SCHOOL

LATE ASSISTANT AND

FELLOW MASTER

OXFORD, J
AND AUTHOR THE

AND OF
"

FORMERLV MOHAMMKI:

MOHAMMEDANISM,"
"THE
LIFE

CARTHAGE LORD

CARTHAGINIAN^,''
ETC,

OF

LAWRENCE,"

WITH

ILLUSTRATIONS

LONDON

JOHN

MUKEAY,

ALBEMAELE 1905

STKEET,

W.

";"

SL

:.-.."""

""
,
.

PREFACE

MOST

of

the
as

chapters
articles
in

in

this

book

appeared Century,

originally during
the the

the

Nineteenth and for I

years

1902-1904;

wish
kind

to

thank

editor,
to

Sir

James
them have

Knowles,
after all
a

his

sion permisthan
and

reprint They
many

shorter

interval

is usual.

been
recast

carefully
and

revised,
received

have,

in

places,
Of the

been other

large
upon

additions. "The
in

chapters, published,
The
account

one,

that
years

Wild

Duck,"

was

many of

ago, Short-

Baileys
Owl

Magazine. appeared,
of
a as

the

eared the
it in
was

recently
article October
in

as

August
the
a

last,

in

shape

separate
up
on

Outlook,
second

and

followed
same

in

by
of

article
To

the

paper, of

the

birds

Norfolk.
and

the
I

editors

both
to return

Baileys
my

Magazine

the

Outlook,
for the

have
leave

grateful
have

acknowledgments
me

which
v

they

given

to

reproduce

them.

886873

vi

PREFACE

The
and

remaining chapter, "The


its

Old
appears

Manor
now

House
for

Surroundings,"

which The
my

the of

first time,

explains itself.
Melcombe
is of
to

Old

Manor

House

Bingham's
to
"

in its relation later life,

birds, something
at

what

the

"Old

Thatched
was

Rectory
to

the

little villageof
;

West

Stafford,

my
serves,

earlier
among

years

and

the

chapter describing
to

it

other the
a

purposes,
one

give
"a

to

the local and and the

birds

of

which

next

treats,

habitation, and
its

name."
to to

Its

old

grey

walls

surroundings
to
some

seem

enhance

the the

charms,
habits their
of

even,

extent,

modify
;

birds lend music


repose

which

haunt

them

while

they, in

turn,

something
to

of of life,

of enjoyment, activity, of peace


to

of

the

atmosphere always
seems

and
over

undisturbed its ancient

which

hover

precincts.
It will

be

observed
on

that the

in

portion

of

two

of
on

the the

chapters,those
Manor

Thatched

Rectory, and
for the

House,
of

I have

dropped,
have

time, my
to

special subject bring


manners, out

birds, and
of of

endeavoured

something
and

the the

characteristics, the
country
in

the

ideas

folk.

Birds their often

have much
as

their human

surroundings, and,
powers

spite of
are

greater

natural

of locomotion,
as

local strictly

in their habits

the

themvillagers

PREFACE

vii

selves.

They

are,
sense

both
of

of

them,

"

attached

to

the

soil," in the best

that

phrase, by hereditary by
inclination.
in

instincts, by association
It is

of
one

ideas, and
who
to

natural, therefore, in
to

loves the country

all its aspects,


birds

endeavour

give

to

his favourite

something

of

human

setting or
are so

background, interesting
so

especially when
in

the and

inhabitants

themselves,

have,
rush
and

as

yet,
of

been

little
town

influenced life. Birds the

by the

crush

modern

have
of

been
a

to

me

the solace, the


more

recreation,
and

passion

lifetime, the
of

serious
in

continuous directions
;

work and in

which

has

lain

quite
I
am

other
what some-

now collecting,

that
of my

advanced

in and

years,

some

out-of-door

experiences,
literature
to

the

results

of

such
been

study
able

of
to

the

of the

subject as
of
a

I have

give
been

it, into the


:

form

book,

my
as

object has
far
as

twofold
to

first,to
some

communicate,

possible,

others,
the

portion
of

of

the has

enduring happiness given


my
more

which

love do

birds

to

me

and,

secondly, to
the those

all that
of and

lies in

power

towards

preservation

all

birds,

especially of
which
of
are

interesting

beautiful

species
many

habitually persecuted till, in


country,

parts

the
;

they

are

threatened

with

actual

extinction

viii

PREFACE

some

of

them,

through
an

the

mere

lust and often

of

killing,
its

others,

through

inordinate,
sport, which

selfish, and
defeats

short-sighted love
own

of

object.
Let
me,
must
even

at

the

risk

of

anticipating what
other
to

may

and

be of two,

said

repeatedly, in
endeavour
and

shapes, explain
my work

in other in
as
a

parts
or

the the
two

volume,
scope main

word

limits

of

regards

these
book

objects.
not

First, my
the
birds

does
can

aim

at

exhausting
even

all

knowledge
of which of

that

be
most

obtained

of

those
a

it treats
or

fully.

It

contains than
to

series

studies

of Nor

sketches
does

rather it

of

complete
"

pictures.
"

pretend
I

be

scientific
in

in

the

strict, perhaps
sense

might
word.

rather

say,

the
of

narrower

of

that

My
"

knowledge
and

anatomy

and

physiology, interesting
studies
are

essential

though
leaves
of the
a

these

to

"

scientific desired.

knowledge,
say

good

deal
or

to

be

nothing
or

weights
exact
a

of

the

measurements

of birds, could
not not

of the dissect

length
even

of their

feathers.
I would

bird,

if I would.

dissect

it,even

if I could. with the and the

My

book
;

deals,

not

with does
"

the

dead, but
with
"

living bird
that has for

least of all,
"stuffed"

it deal

bird

been
ever

hateful

word

confined

within

the

PREFACE

ix

uninviting prison
with
birds in

of

glass case.
of

It is the

conversant

the

freshness
in

prime,

in

their
the

noon-tide

dreams,
of

their
If

renewed

activity at

approach
its purpose,

evening.
it will take

it,in any

degree, answers
some

my in

readers,
a

of

them,
love
as

perhaps, for
for

the first time


"

newly study,

awakened
me

the

subject
been

even

as

it has
my
to

taken
in

back,

I have

writing
memories
or

in
"

imagination
to

and

in
to

happy

the

barn

or

the

fry, bel-

the marsh
the

to
to

the the

meadow,
cosiest

to

the heather
in

or

to

bracken, roof,
or

corner

the

thatched

to

the

barren
of

ledges
the

of

the

rifted
or

rock,
the

to

the

tangled
backs

thickets the
to

common,

to

"bare

of them

bushless the
or

downs." silence

Above of

all, it will take


solemn oak
or

deep
to

the
of

pine woods,
Scotch

those
in

clumps
more,

weather-beaten
I

which firs,

Dorset the

think, than

in

most

counties,

crown

knolls

or

form hilltops,

the

main

landmarks
most to

on

the

horizon,
scattered

bind, with

invisible

cords, the
each the

widely
of

portions of the
their

county,
on

each, and,
the

with past,

dreamy
also who often

outlook
on

centuries of

perhaps
in

the
know

centuries and

the

future, awake, well,


"

those
do

love
for

them tears."

thoughts
with
and

that the

lie

too

deep

It deals times
a

homes

and

haunts

of

birds, their

PREFACE

their seasons,
and merry intense

their eggs their

and

their and

nests,

their

notes

their

food,

loves their

their

hates,

their

courtships and
local
and

parental anxieties,
and

their
their In
as

family attachments,
instincts
at

still other
may
so

more

imperious
it aims

of

migration.
as

words, be, behind

penetrating,
eyes
" "

far eyes

the

bright
of
a

and

few

are

bright
the

as

those
lissom
to

bird

behind the

the

graceful
mask

shapes,
of

movements,

beautiful

feathers,

the

eager but

little life,vivid, attractive,


not,

mysterious, almost,
which
aims
at

think, quite impenetrable,


all.

underlies
an

them

By

so

doing,

it

creating
which,
to
a

interest
once

in

birds,

sympathy

with
never

them

if

awakened,
;

will, perchance,
a

go

sleep again
kind of

but

like
sense

love
to

of

flowers,

will

give
a

sixth
to

its
to

possessor, copse, ing, appear-

lending
to

fresh

charm

every

walk,

every
ever

every
ever

hedgerow, peopling disappearing,


unnoticed
see

them
"

with
friends
"

friends

who

were

hitherto eye
to
to

and it has it has

unknown
never

and

enabling
seen,

the
ear

what

properly

the and

hear

what
to

never

fully heard,
itself what

the
never

imagination

picture

to

it has

consciously imagined
It

before. that
most

will be

observed

many, attracted

indeed
me,

most

of I

the

birds

which

have

which

PREFACE

xi

have

had

most

opportunity
described

of

observing, and
such fully, the

which,
as

therefore, I have
raven,

most

the

the

various

species of
the

owl, the
the also

magpie,

the

rook, the jackdaw,


the

cuckoo,
are

swallow, the
those
on

kingfisherand
have

woodpecker

which

had

the the

most

enduring
the

influence the

the

thoughts,
of in
man.

hopes,
have

fears, and
a

out-lookings
in

They
in

played

large part
and
work it has
to

history,

poetry,

painting, in sculpture,in folk-lore,in


and

legend,
the least

sacred

profane
of

been

not
to

interestingpart
this close somewhat

my

attempt
of

bring
with

out man,

historical

connection

birds from every been

by
and

copious quotations
drawn from I

the

poets,

by
or

illustrations

quarter,
able
to

ancient obtain

modern,

to

which

have

access.

Secondly,
earnest

and that

as

the

result

of the tend of

first,it is my
towards all birds I
;

hope

the

book

may

the
and

better
most
some

protectionand
of

preservation
which
to

all, of those indeed,


have such the
their

need

it most.

have

reason,

believe, from
me

tions communicaof

which

reached has
result

from

all parts
a

the

country,

that

been of

already, to
the
more

able consideras

extent,

articles,

they

appeared
The

in

originaland
all its

fugitiveshape.
tortures,

with pole-trap,

unspeakable

has,

xii

PREFACE

since

my

paper

on

owls I

was

first

published,been
it

ished abol-

by
in

law.
of in

have

thought
of
the

well, however,
to

spite

the

passing

Bill,
it
two

leave
as

the

passages

which
and eyes

I denounced

exactly
reasons.

they
First,

originallystood,
because
in

that
of

for

the have

lovers
a

of

birds, they may,

perchance,
cause

acquired, as
a

humble

contributing
torical hisand into
see

to

so

happy
of

result, some
their
own

little additional
;

interest

and,
to

secondly,
a

much
law

more

important,

because the
same

pass

Bill
as

is, unfortunately,not
out,

thing
means

to

it carried it
are

when especially
easy, and

the when

of

evading

comparatively
of

the
of

permanent

forces
or

ignorance, of selfishness,
to

laissez
"

faire,
is the
or

of

indifference
with
most
some

animal-suffering
and

as

case

game-preservers,
"

many,
on

indeed
side.

gamekeepers
must

are

arrayed

the
on

other the the is

Much
and energy

depend, henceforward,
of

zeal

the the

county county
out.

magistrates, of police,if
Almost
as

county
to

councils, of

the

law

be

properly
from
a

carried

I write, I

hear

brother he
saw,
not ;
a

who
on

has the
open

just

returned
a

from

Scotland
"naked

that
and

moor,

pole-trap,
hideous
two

yet
there

ashamed,"

in
a

full and
or

operation
I

and,

only
on

month the

ago, of the

heard

from

friend

borders

PREFACE

xiii

county
presume,

of

Dorset,
he
up

that
no

gamekeeper

finding, I
impunity
to

that

could

longer,with
of

himself, put
had induced
one

pole-traps on gardener
a

his master's

ground,
which the
in

the

large garden
covers,
to

adjoined
forbidden the
few

of his owl-haunted
of
was

plant

instrument

torture

there,
to
seven

and

that,
it

weeks
and

it

allowed
to

remain,
owls

had

caught
kinds
"

lacerated

death
in

of various

for every has


or

week,

fact, an
of

owl

!
various

Much
bodies

been

done

late, by
towards
as

public

private individuals,
to

inculcating
as

greater

kindness The

animals,
for
"

wild

well

cated. domestiof

Society
"

the

Prevention Protection
as

Cruelty

to

Animals

and

that

for "the
a

of Birds," it would of

have, each
seem,
an

of
ever

them, done

noble, and,
work.

extending

The
in
;
some

horrors
measure,

the

slaughter-house have
by
now

been,

diminished

moral the

influences Commission their

and
on

it

is

to

be

hoped,
have,
not at

that

the that

subject
it will
are,
as

length, published long


before

Report,

be
as

the

remaining
away

abuses law.

far

possible, swept
like
Mr Mr

by

Admirable
Ward

books

those

by

Richard
Mr

Mr Jeffries,

Fowler,

Cornish,
Hudson,
a

Dixon,
Mr

Sir

Herbert
not to

Maxwell,
mention

and others

Kearton,
of the
same

half

dozen

type,

xiv

PREFACE

have animal
remains

awakened

new

and

keener

sympathy
But
must

with much
be

life, and
to

specially with
done. much
In

birds.

be

particular, it
I

remembered

that
of the

that
may,

have
mutatis

said

in

nunciatio de"

poletrap, degree,
of

mutandis which
are

be

said, in lesser
full

of other

modes,
or

still in animals. The


most

employment,

capturing

wild killing

heart

of been
in the its

my

book,

the

germ
to

from be Old

which

of it has not, and

developed, is chapter
"

found, if I
Thatched of

mistake

on

The

Rectory
the truth the best
"

Birds."
soon

In

the

rapid changes only


too

years,
"

it may
in

be

said of

with

much
knew

even

the

county

Dorset,
and

which

value
in

of the

Stafford words
ever

Rectory
of
one

its associations
most

of

the

exquisitely
"on
"

pathetic poems
the

written, that

by Cowper
of Norfolk

receiptof
"

his mother's

picture out
little known

Tis That

now once

become
we

history
the

called

pastoral-house
do

our

own."

But

short-lived

memories
to to

not

necessarily
also
;

make
if I

good
may

influences allowed with


in

be do

short-lived
so,

and,

be

I would

thankfully
that
if there

acknowledge,
be

all filial reverence,

anything

this

book

which, in

spite

of

all

PREFACE

xv

its half

shortcomings,
so

of

which

indeed leads

no

one

can

be

conscious

as

myself,
or

to

closer

vation obser-

of

Nature,
with the

to

deeper
it is

and

more

living
its

sympathy
at

animal influences

life,

due,

in

origin
"

least,
Thatched

to

which

permeated

The

Old

Rectory."

BINGHAM'S

MELCOMBE,
1904.

November,

CONTENTS

CHAP.

PAGE

I.

OWLS
.

-.'"'.
,
. ,

II.

THE

RAVEN"

DESCRIPTIVE

'."

,V"

;*
,

75

III.

THE

RAVEN FOLK-LORE

IN

POETRY,
.

HISTORY,
,
.

HAGIOLOGY,
. .

AND

.107

IV.

THE

RAVEN"

PERSONAL

EXPERIENCES
.

.141

V.

THE

OLD

THATCHED

RECTORY

AND

ITS

BIRDS
.

184

VI.

THE

WILD

DUCK
.

.."..

..

;.

238

VII.

DAY

ON

NORFOLK

MERE
.

262
.
.

VIII.

THE

MAGPIE
.
. .

281
. .

IX.

THE

OLD

MANOR

HOUSE

AND

ITS

SURROUNDINGS
.

333

X.

BIRD

LIFE

AT

BINGHAM'S

MELCOMBE
.

369

APPENDIX
. .

419

xvii

BIRD

LIFE

AND

BIRD

LORE

CHAPTER

OWLS

THERE

is

no

bird

which,
its

in

view and

of

its

strange cries,
the

and

solitary
grotesque
honoured
round ancient

character,

weird
of its

hollow

the time-

solemnity
beliefs
and

appearance,

superstitions
part
as

which
in

cluster

it,
and

the

large
modern,

it

has

played
in its

poetry,
arts, of

well

as

sister

sculpture
its
structure

anH

painting,
to

the
of

marvellous

adaptations
its I

its above

mode

life,

or

mode
to

of

life

to

its these
of

structure
"

all, perhaps

ought
and

add,
armies

in

days destroying

of

agricultural
rats

depression
mice,
its

of

and

usefulness soil
"

to

the

struggling peculiar
and
a

cultivator

of
and

the

possesses
so

so

fascination,
a

ought
as

to

enjoy

jealous
of

zealous owl.

protection,

the

various

species

the

OWLS

I
some

purpose

in

this

chapter

to

touch the

lightlyon
hope
that
some

of be

these able of

points of interest, in
to

may

impart

to

those

who
a

read

it

fragments

the

pleasure which
of its

loving and
to

long lifeand

observation
may

subject has given


are

me,

induce

all the

who

connected befriend
some a

directly or
bird

with indirectly

land,

to

which,

in
to

spite of
the
man.

many

prejudices and
is, in the
truest

appearances

contrary,

sense,

the

friend

of

I will

premise only

that
to

my

field of

observation
of

has
to
was

been

chieflyconfined
of

the

county

Dorset,
I
;

the

neighbourhood
and

the little village in which

born

bred, West
school of

Stafford,
at

near

Dorchester where and whose

to

the

grammar the

Blandford

received

first part the


Rev.

my

education,

headmaster,

J. Penny, encouraged
and of of main I

all his
in

pupils,both
their
measure,

by precept
observers House the

example,
Nature
"

to

become,
and
to

the
in
a

old-world

Manor
now

Bingham's Melcombe,
work
of
to

which,
master
a

that

my

life,as
my of I

at

Harrow,

is over, of I shall four


more

hope

end
and

days,
"my
to

veritable

sanctuary
friends." the
to

wild

life

feathered
say bird

confine

what

have
of

chieflyto
which
are

familiar in

varieties
"

the

be

found

England

the

white,

GENERAL

CHARACTERISTICS

the

brown,

the

long-eared, and
but

the

short-eared.
;

Nature

varies
is true

indeed,
the owl

within

strict limits of

and is

what
true,

of

in the

county

Dorset,
owl

with
of

very

slightmodifications,
and, indeed,
in

of the

in all of

parts
world.

England"
have

all parts

the

All owls
in of

much
"

in

common.

The the

difference
some

their appearance their

caused for

by

fact that the

number,

as,

instance,

eagle, the
have
little

long-eared, and
tufts
of
can

the
on

short-eared the

owl,
their

feathers
raise
ears,
or

top
at
or

of

heads, which
which

they
look

depress
horns,

pleasure,and
egrets
are,
"

like

or

is

merely
all of

difference. superficial

They

each
A

and

them,
never

unlike
seen one

all

other
in

birds.
a

child who

who

has

except
any

picture,and beyond
the

knows,
the

perhaps, hardly
robin, and
to

birds

sparrow,

the
an

barndoor owl.
say
;

fowl,
An

never

fails

instantly
I of

recognise
rather and
a
"

English child, perhaps


"

ought
man

to

for

the

child

is father

the

German
an

child could
at

hardly
it be

be

expected
as

to

recognise
told
a me

owl

sight, if
friend
on

true,

the goes,

story,
that who

by

my

Canon
a

Ainger,

German somehow
up

professor
his

visit to

England,
an

had

succeeded

in

shooting

owl,

holding

trophy

in

triumph,

exclaimed,

OWLS

"

Zee,

have

shot

schnipe
of

mit

einem

face

Push-cats." The nocturnal


movements

the owl

tribe

the

upright position
themselves
;

in

which

they habitually
head when
;

hold

the

big, rounded
which, except
you

the

full, round,
are

prominent
with
reason

eyes,

they

glazed simple
are

look sleep,

full in those

the
of

face, for the

that, unlike
in

other
at

birds, they
the side soft
of

planted
head
which
so

front, rather
successive the
bands eye,

than
of

the

the

short

feathers and but

surround it the

all
as

pointing inwards,
not

making
many

centre,
;

it were,

of
of

one,

of

circles make
"

the

fluffyfeathers
appear twice

the

body,
as

which

the
an

whole

as

large
or

it
to

reallyis
gorge,
a

for

owl, though he will gorge,


rat,

try

fair-sized skin and

is

always
and

thin

"

nothing, in
;

fact, but
air of made Pallas

bones
or

feathers

the

sleepy
bird
of

contemplation
the Athenians
;

of

wisdom it
as

which the sacred which


over

probably

regard
behind
now

the
now

eyelid
one,

eyelid
another,

passes

swiftly,

the

eye, and
a

shielding tempering

it

from

the

garish light
gravity
of its

of

day,

the apparent

thought by
to

suspicious though
wink
;

superficialresemblance
subject of
birds. this

all mark

off the

chapter,in

all

its

species,from

all other

WHITE

OWL

AT

HOME

The whole of

white

owl

is

so

called

because,
a

though
buff

the
or

his upper with

plumage
grey,
is the
as

is of

delicate
name,

yellow speckled flammea

his Latin white the


or

Strix lower sails

implies,it
which
most
a

pure

of
as

the he
a

plumage
He
"

strikes

eye,

noiselesslyover
is known

stubble
as

field
barn of of

along
the favourite

hedge.
owl
;

also owl owl unlike

the
one

and

screech

the the

barn

from

his his

haunts

screech
so

because
to

rasping, piercing
musical hoot
so

shriek,
of his he

the

deep, mellow,
As

nearest

relations. worth When

he is the best known, and the


most
as

is the

best

knowing,

useful he

of all his tribe.


to

left unmolested, domestic


or

ought
habits,
in

be, he

becomes
around

almost the

in

his

cruising
search

rickyard
and

the

homestead

of

his

prey,

often

taking temporary
in

refuge, should
any
resort

the

morning
which

light surprise him,


is
near

tumble-down which
barn
straw,

shed he
in

at

hand.
is
a

The
dark

most

frequents
corn,
:

cobwebbed threshed
scores

which

or

newly
troop

or

badly
rats

is stored

for

thither and the

by

and

mice

by hundreds,
foe, is
the

there, ready for


farmer's
truest

the

farmer's

greatest
to

friend, eager

destroy

destroyers.
on one

There

he

stands, bolt

upright,perched
some

leg, perfectly
on

motionless, in

dark

niche

or

some

lofty

OWLS

rafter,to all
with
one

appearance
or one ear

fast

asleep.
There

But

he
is
;
a

sleeps slight slight


straw

eye

open.

movement,

invisible
to

to

the

human
ear,

eye in

rustle, inaudible
below.
In
a

the he the
;

human

the
ear.

moment

is all eye,

all

The
is

tucked-up leg joins


forward with which
an

other the

the

head

bent gaze from

and

downward

dark

bright eyes
the
or

almost the rustle in his


a

painful intensityon
comes.

spot
rat
one

The

mouse

shows
ment move-

and itself,
of

moment

again,
without his his his
prey.

without
one

wings
upon
;

and

tremor

of

the
a

air, he

"

drops"
a

There

is

hardly

struggle or
"

cry

long,
size talons he
to

strong,
such have flies his
of

sharp

talons such the

and

no

bird such

of

has
"

long,
met

strong,
vitals

and
of

sharp

in

his

victim, and them,

back

with of
tage van-

it,

grasped
;
or

tightly in
a

coign

after
to

fittinginterval
it

meditation,

bolts

tries

bolt rustle

whole,

and

then such

patiently waits
a

for another
stored and
water,

below.
and

From well

retreat,

well
rats

with

grain

garrisoned
purposes is almost

with
of

mice, he
needs
in
or

rarely, except
to

for he

getting

stir.

But

equally at
oak
or

home ash dozed

the

hollow where

of he
or

some

immemorial his

elm,
for

or

forefathers
or

have
in

decades

for

centuries,

the

OWLS

belfry is
out

no

for resting-place

him

and

his ?

I throw may be

these

suggestions merely
found
to

for what

they

worth. When
from
at

home,
an

he

moves

his head ineffable Should


a

slowly gravity.
he be
of

side

side, with
was

air of
to

Burleigh's nod
a

nothing
with

it.

more

combative
or

he disposition,

utters

prolonged
and

hiss,
himself
fasten

snaps
on

loudly

his

beak,
drawn

flings
to

his

back, with
hand

claws

up,

ready
or

them

in the

of with When

his

"

interviewer,"
if

in

the

thick

leather

glove
his

which,
he has

prudent,

he

will have

enveloped it.
has

planted
submits his

them with

there, he
an

done Christian falls

little best, and

almost

resignation asleep
the
in

to

fate, and
Now
of

straightway
is the

fast

your

hand. mechanism
view

time

to

examine
is

marvellous
from

the

ear,

which
which
;

entirelyhidden
it.

by
you

the

feathers
to

encompass

It will take

long

find

but

blow

the

feathers those
your

apart,

just beyond
in the eye,

the
and
to

outermost

circle of
find

which

gird

you it all

will

that

fingershave
will
find in
a

been

close
square
as

the

time.
times

You
as

large

orifice, many
human and
a

large
skin

proportion

the

ear,

with

flap of

guarding

the entrance,
wards, into

ring of

little downy and

feathers

gently curving

closely set,

thus, doubtless, serving

EAR

OF

WHITE

OWL

9 sound

carry

the
and

most

delicate

pulsationsof
brain.

to

the

large
may may,
moment

highly developed
disturbed slightly have half
will

The

blowing
he the

have

his

equanimity, and
one

perhaps,

opened
find

eye

but

it stops, you in

that, like the

famous

fat

boy
When

Pickwick,
his will

he

is
a

"fast
tree at

asleepagain."
with
the
a

home often

is in find

large
bottom

hollow of the
a

in

it,you
is
a

that

hole bushel balls

soft

conglomerate
what

mass,
were once

perhaps
neat

half

in
or

quantity, of

oblong

pelletscontaining
"

the

portions indigestible
and

of his food
of

the

fur and

bones has
"

feathers, that is,


These
case
a

the

animals

which

he

swallowed.
as

wonderful
few

provision of

Nature

in

the

of

other

birds, like the


their food

kestrel whole and

and
"

the enables

kingfisher,
him
to

which

bolt with
;

disgorge,
his throat

violent

repeated efforts,
examined,

from

and,

when
even

they

give
or

incontestable

proof, which
cannot
man

game-preserver
of

gamekeeper
services
to

fail
and

to

understand,

his great of
and

of

his
of been in

complete
young

innocence

the

sins, the

destruction have
found

partridges
to

pheasants,
These

which

laid
more

his

charge.

pellets are
on

their the

perfect oval
in

shape
female

the

branches
on

of the

tree

which

the well

is

nesting, or

ground

round

it,as

10

OWLS

as

on

the

branches
mate

of

the

adjoining
watch
of

tree

in which ward. In I of
a

her
this

faithful

keeps
concrete

and fur and

small, soft, damp


found

bones

have, sometimes,
the hard

imbedded beetles would


or

large
of have The

numbers

wing-cases
prey of

of

cockchafers,

species of
white owl

which
much

few

suspected
Germans

the
are

affecting.
a

great

statisticians, and
has

German
a

naturalist,

Dr of

Altum,*
owl found
and

carefullyanalysed
706
of

large
the

number owl

pellets. In
the remains

pellets of
2525
were

barn

he

rats,

mice, shrews,

bats,

voles, while
small

there

fragments
those
in the it is

of

only
;

twenty-two
and

birds, and
similar
A

chieflysparrows
case

the

results

were

of
cannot

the other
remain

species of
in fur

the owl.

dog,

said,

good
of

health
rats

without

bones

; and

the

bones

and

and
a

mice,

however
aid
to

selves, indigestiblethemthe

seem

necessary
a

digestive process
on

in

an

owl. these
away

Feed have
die.

tame

white

owl and

flesh he
will

from
soon

which

been

removed,

pine

and

The
a

method then which

in which

tame
a

white
one
"

owl

"

and

if
a

tame,

probably
he
or

also

wild

disposes of
He

mouse

has
two,

caught, is
by
its

curious.

holds
a

it,

for

minute
*

middle, then, by
Birds,
vol. i.

quick

Quoted

by Yarrell,British

OWL

PELLETS

11

jerk
it

of

the head, throws A second

it into

the air, and


sends

catches most, fore-

by its head.
down

jerk
the
for

it,head
the

his throat, with

exception of
another

tail,
or

which
two

remains of

hanging

out

minute
on a

appropriate contemplation, when,

third

jerk, it disappears.
Another mentioned she sometimes
but may
at

peculiarityof
here.

the
I

barn

owl

may

be

Alone,

believe, among
not

birds,

lays her

eggs

continuously,day
of
on

by day,
it first, will sit

considerable

intervals
two ;

time. which
more

At

be, she
a

lays
or so

eggs,

she
;

for

week

then,
the
may

two

and

then, when
another hard
in

she

has So

hatched that
and you young

first two, find

perhaps,
eggs,

three. seated

fresh

eggs,
nest.

birds, fairlygrown,
is

the

same

What

the
as

reason

of
as

this

peculiarity a
"

almost peculiarity

strange
in

that

of

the

cuckoo, which
nest,

by laying
them

its eggs
to

another
and

bird's

and

leaving

be

hatched

reared

by

the

has foster-parent,
seems

attracted
a

universal
in

attention, and

to

make Is

real

breach

the the the

continuity of
later warmth
eggs of
to

Nature be

it that in

by leaving
at

hatched,
young

part

least, by
more

the

birds, she
to

has

leisure,

by
her

an

absence, all-night's
voracious brood ? The

satisfy the cravings of


owlets, thickly covered

12

OWLS

with
many

the

softest

white

down,

and dark
many

looking
eyes

like

so

with puff-balls
in
care

brilliant
nest

inserted

in
are

them, remain
the often

the of

for

weeks, and
birds.

unceasing
loves

the parent of her


most
to

mother
are

best

those

children trouble shift

who and

most

undutiful, who
Most within life
ceases

give
birds
or

her

anxiety.

young
a

begin
two

for

themselves

week

of

their
or

birth, and
two

family again,

altogether a
case

week few
or

later

except
or

in the

of

birds, like the


endure
next

titmouse

the

magpie,
of
a

which

enjoy

the

pleasurable
comes

pains
round. the
to

family
few

till the

spring

Some

birds, like the young


the
as

partridge,
begin
born.

young "kick
run

peewit, and
over

young
soon

wild-duck,
as

the
as

traces" the

they
the

are

They
on

off,

saying is,
rush
or

with
over

egg-shell
or

their backs.
water,

They
up

about

the grass

the into

pick

grubs
or

gnats,
away

and

squat
the

down
nearest

their

smallest,
at

scuttle first
note

into alarm

place of refuge
the
ever

the

of

given by
on

anxious which

mother.
I have

Young
the

owls,

the

contrary,
at

left in
at

nest, I

newly born,
have
found

Bingham's
nest

Melcombe,
and unable

Easter,

still in the
I

or

unwilling to fly,when
a

have

returned nine
or

there, after
ten

summer

term
true

at

Harrow,

weeks

later.

If it be

that

BROWN

OR

TAWNY

OWL.

{Seepage 55.)

BARN From
a

OWLS.
E.

Drawing by G.

Lodge.
[To face p. 12

14

OWLS

stand
over

on

an a

eminence

and

see

them

beat

the

fields in the
my

like
or

setting-dog,often
I have

dropping
these have
or

down

grass watch

corn.
an

minuted

birds

with

for
return
once on

hour
to

together, and
the
one

found of the animal

that

they
about time

their nest,

other

them,
same

in

five minutes, adroitness


as

reflectingat
that
every

the of

is

possessed
itself and

far

as

they
their their

show be

think,

offspring. But when they return in passed over


their their their
nest ascent
on

regards the a piece of


loaded silence.
so

well-being of
address should
As

which
not,

they
feet

take

with prey claws to


in

claws,
:

they
as

carry

it with
are

but under

the the

necessary

constantly perch
and that shift the the
on * mouse

first

from be
as

tiles, they the roof of the chancel, their claws their bill, to
the the

feet the

may

at

plate
eaves.

wall

libertyto take hold of they are rising under

How redolent nameless has made

simple
of the charm the and
name

is

this

record, how
instinct

fresh, how
with that which
a name

countryside, how
which
of

defies Gilbert with and

analysis, but
White
to

be

of honour

of love has

all the

English-speaking
continue

and peoples,
to

made,

will,doubtless,

make,
its

his

little

Hampshire
its

village of Selborne,
its

with

Wakes,
*

Plestor,

beech-crowned

White's

Selborne, letter liii.

GILBERT

WHITE

15

Hanger,
"

its Wolmer

Pond

and

its Wolmer

Forest

above
"

all, the
inscribed
of

simple
upon

tombstone it
"

with
a

the

letters

G.

W."
aye,

to

be

place of pilgrimage,
all lovers

almost
ever

religious pilgrimage to
!

of Nature The

for eggs

of

the

owl
;

tribe, like
but while
no

those

of

the
ever

pigeon, are lays


eggs and
more

always
than while those

white the eggs of


in

pigeon
four
are

two,

owl of

lays
the

from

to

six

and

the

pigeon
are a

bright

glossy,
so

the
texture

owl

dull, chalky

white,

rough
can

that

an

experienced
before he
at
sees

bird's-nester

tell
of

by feelingalone, prize
he has

them,
bottom The
cry
are

the of

nature
a

the

reached

the

hole. of animals which have


;
a

names

distinctive
is to cry. say,

almost
more

always onomatopoeic
or

that

they
the

imitate of

less
in

the successfully its various

And
so

cries

the

owl,
as

species,are
at

strange,

and, heard
take such be

they generallyare
hold
of the

dead

of

they night,
that would
sonorous one

strong
sure

imagination,
the bird
or

might

beforehand various

that

receive, among
names.

peoples,many
to

apt
a

Such of

names,

take

only

few

from without

the

vocabularies

widely

scattered

nations,

the species, are distinguishing

the CTKCO^ the the Greeks


;

yXavg, the

wKTiKopag

(night-raven)of

16

OWLS

the

strix, the
the

bubo, the
the

ulula

of

the
of

Romans the
or

the
;

kos,

kippdz,
of the the

yamshooph
;

Hebrews

the hibou the

French

the and

hornugle
the

storugleof
;

Danes,
or

Swedes,
of the

Norwegians
;

the
of

bufo
the of the

mofo
;

Portuguese

the

allocco

Italians Arabs.

and, best

perhaps

of

all, the bu-ru-ru

squawks,
that he

hisses

but

it is now,

think, established

never

hoots. he
is
on

He

utters

his
in

piercing shrieks
the

chieflywhen
The the other young

the

wing

gloaming.
they

sounds brood
or

I believe, from proceed generally, of


are

different

ages

while

are

still in the nest,

perching on

the branches
are

hard
to

by,
make

and
some

when,
of

in

the

they owl-light,
essays
at

about

their earliest

flight.

Little dusk

wonder this
from

is it that

country
of
or

folk, hearing in the


strange
a

uncanny
an

medley
tower

noises oak

proceeding
or

ivied hear

primeval

beech,
and the

should should bird all

them the

with

something
and
it has in
as

akin the
more

to

awe,

regard
which and

appearance
comes
"

cry
or

of

from
times

it

as

less,at
of of

places, and
regarded
and
"

every

species

literature, been

the

harbinger
habits

calamity, of disease,
The interest

of

death.

attaching to

the

actual

of

THE

BIBLE

ON

OWLS is not

17

the owl,

as

we

know

him
a

now,

lessened,it is
what and
man

enhanced,

by knowing
him

little of times

has

thought about
treated
"

in former

how

he has

him.
on

Out

ye

owls," says
the

the
to

usurping murderer,
messengers
to

King
one

Richard

Third,

the

who,

after another, like the messengers


in
ever

Job, bring

him

fresh

tidings
"

of

deserved

danger,

desertion, and
"

disaster
ye

Out

on

owls, nothing but songs

of death."

The agony, her


"as,

Hebrew his native

prophet pictures, with


Babylon, given
as

patriotic

pride, cityJerusalem,with patriotic


over

oppressor

to

be

inhabited

indeed, it still is, and


are

places like Jericho,


owls
:

Petra, Baalbek, Palmyra


he

"by

and

by what

regards as
Their

their proper shall dwell be

associates

houses
shall the owl

full of doleful

creatures

and

owls
...

there, and
the be
.

satyrs
raven

shall

dance
in

there
it
...

also and
an

shall dwell
of

and
a

it shall

habitation
and

dragons,
shall
cry

and

court

for

owls
.

his fellow ; the screech owl to and find for herself a place of great owl make her her
nest,
:

satyr also shall rest There shall the


her mate.5*

the

there,

rest.

shall the

and

lay,and

hatch, and
vultures

gather
also be

under

shadow
one

there
with

gathered, every
*

Isaiah

xiii. 21

and

xxxiv.

11-15.
B

18

OWLS

When Caesarsea

Herod

Agrippa
as

entered

the

Theatre

at

clad,
a

the of

Jewish

historian
on

Josephus
the
an sun

puts
shone which and had

it,in
down

robe with

silver

tissue,

which
was

all his

radiance, it
a

owl

suddenly perched
warned befallen the him of the Roman his

upon

rope

above
"

his head end which

coming

end

the

Syrian

conqueror,

Antiochus
own

Epiphanes,
Herod the

Sulla, and
which
was

his
to

ancestor

Great, and
most

befall,in later
II. of

times, that
of

unlovable
most

of of
worms,

kings, Philip
all deaths,
"

Spain

"

the

terrible alive

that

being
death."
And the
army

devoured

by

the

tyrant's

in

region
and
to its

still the

more

remote,

the the

plainsof
Roman
an

Euphrates
was

Tigris, when
battle
at

about within
one

give

Carrhae,
them
ever

owl

appeared
was

ranks, and

warned blows death

of what inflicted mutilation

to

prove

of

the greatest

upon of of

Roman

imperial pride,the
richest
army

and the

Crassus,
the
Roman

of

mortal

men,

annihilation

by
hands

horde

of

Parthians, and
were

above
to

all,the loss of the


in

Roman
of

eagles,which
barbarians,
the them

remain

the

the

in till, of

the

world-peace

which

accompanied

reign
to

Augustus, they voluntarily restored


proper
owners.

their

THE

CLASSICS

ON

OWLS

19

The

owl

fares ill, too,


most

in

Classical

countries

and deed, in-

throughout
was an

of classical literature. the


"

Athens,

exception,for
more

little passerine owl," active


was

which than there


an

is much others

and lively

in his motions
so common

of
"

his
to
our

species, and
Athens "coals of its
"

that

owls
as

became
to

as

proverbial
was

expression

Newcastle,"
"

possiblybecause regarded,
eyes,
as

flashing glaucous"
to

like those

which bird

were

attributed
"

the

goddess,

the sacred
"

of Athena
solemn

Athena's

snapping

fowls

"

"

and

its

figurewas
which
were

stamped

on

the silver coins


reason,

of

the country, of is Laurium." believed


an

called,for that
than been the
true

"owls herself

More
to

this, the
sometimes

goddess

have

represented
some

with

owl's of

head,
the

meaning,

have

surmised,

famous

Homeric

epithet for
the

her

"

yXawcwTriy (glaucopis).
But

if Athens

was

an

exception
was

to
an

general

prejudices about
which

the the

owl, it

only

exception

proved

rule.

"Loathsome,"
"

"moping,"
the
an

"unclean,"

"ill-omened"
are

such it.
upon

are

stock

epithetswhich

applied to
the

It

was

owl,

as

Virgil sings, that, perching

the

housetop

at

Carthage, predicted

desertion, the

desolation,

20

OWLS

the other

death

of

Dido.

It

was

an

owl of

that, amongst

portents, predicted the death


"

Julius Caesar.

yesterday the bird of night did sit, the market-place, Even at noonday, upon Hooting and shrieking."
And

It

was

into had

the
come,

form

of

an

owl, when

the

day

of

destiny

that

the

Fury,

sent

by

Juno,
shrieks

transformed before
upon

herself, and face, and

with by flitting with her

the the

by flapping
ill-fated he
was

wings

shield, of the
terror,

Turnus,
about
to

paralysed
enter
on

him his

with

just

as

final conflict with

^Eneas,

for the

plightedhand
deemed owl"

of Lavinia. No incantation be
assent.

in

mediaeval

times the

was

likely to
shrieked
an

successful, unless
The the
"

"boding
"

owlet's

wing

was

as

potent
nose

as ingredient or

blind
or lips,

worm's the

sting,or
liver of

the

of Turk

Tartar's

blaspheming
on

Jew,

in

the hell-broth Forres


was

of the witches' And when

caldron the

the of

"blasted" darkness

Heath. but

deed

all the
the

perpetrated, in

Macbeth's

castle, upon
"

sleeping Duncan,
owl that shrieked
;
a

It

was

fatal bellman

Which

gives the when

stern'st

good-night."
"

Once

more,

that

deformed ill-digest,

22

OWLS

caused is
some

her

to

divulge
the

her

secrets.

To
owes

this its

day,

it

probable
parts

that of

white
to

owl the

safety, in
it has
year,

England,

belief

that last

something supernaturalabout
in the

it.

Only
in South

little villageof Thurlestone, owls barn


an are common

Devon,

where
in both

and

are

carefullyprotected
the Rev. Frank

and old

the belfry,
my

rector,
own,
was

Coope,
his

pupil of

explaining to
of
"

Sunday-school
when ?
"

children
to

the him

clauses
to

the

Te
are

Deum,
Cherubim
'

it occurred

ask,

What

The

answer

promptly
revealed he
a

came

back,
his have then ?
"

'White

owls, sir,"and
of which
"

belief

among

parishioners
remained
"

might
are

otherwise

ignorant.
owls, sir."

What

Seraphim,
you
mean

Brown

"What

do

by
cry

'To ?
' '

Thee "It

Cherubim
means

and

Seraphim continuallydo
owls
are

that the brown


not

the white owls

always

ing, screechGod."
to

and The

always hooting before


to

belief is

confined
a

Thurlestone,
of

or

the

present

day

for

book the

Sporting Anecdotes,
century,
and

published early
preserved
a

in

last

still

at

Horsmonden entitled
"

Rectory, Kent,
Cherubim

contains Two

chapter

shooting."
in

Cockney
down
a

sportsmen
white

have
a

succeeded

bringing
seen

owl,

bird

they

had

never

before.

It throws

itself

against a bank,

and

draw-

CHERUBIM

23

ing
its

up

its claws, into the

as

its

manner

is, and

contracting
and

body

smallest

dimensions, possible
seems,

spreading its largewings,


symbolical figure,once Jewish
many

like the in

mysterious
and
in

familiar

Egyptian
seen

tabernacles
our

or

temples,and
to

still to be
eyes

of

churches,
that with the
one

be the

"all

and

wings."
end,

Little fled

wonder

of

would-be and hair had

sportsmen
on

away

upliftedhands
act

affrightedat
while Heaven The
to

of

he sacrilege
out,
"

committed,
creature,
*

his

companion forgive him,

cried he has

Ah, poor
a

shot

Cherubim."
a

magnificent Snowy England.


in

owl, is

very

rare

tant visihave them


to

Two

specimens, however,
recent

been
I
was

seen

Dorset, in

times.

One

of

lucky enough myself,some


in the middle

thirtyyears

ago,

flush

of winter, in Puddletown
two

Heath.
I

It settled
was

again
to

about it up
bird

hundred

yards off,and

able

put
to

repeatedly,getting,each
in all its add

time,
other been

quite near
was seen
"

the

majesty.
that it had But eternal possess solemn
Select, by

The
not

I wish

I could
near

killed

"

at

Langton
the

Blandford. owl is the


to

the proper
snows

habitat the

of

Snowy

of

north, where
of

it is believed In the
most

peculiar

powers
*

prophecy.

assemblies
Amateur

Sporting Anecdotes, Original


Albion

and

an

Sportsman.

Press, 1804.

24

OWLS

of

the

North-American medicine-man within the


seer

Indians conceals and

it is said

that

the
and

priest or
shoulders

his skin.

own

head
a

its head
to

It is

fitting

garb

for

whose
more

prophetic insight the


visible than the This
remote

stirringpresent
past
bird and the

is not

dim
as

and the

distant Red

future.

is the

which,
cry,

Indian

believes, in

his the

sorrowful

uttered, night after night, from


"

deep
sorry,

fir forest, of

Koo

Koo laments

Skoos,"
the

"Oh Golden
one

am

Oh
men

am

sorry,"
animals do
now,

age,

when better in

and

understood

another

than

they
and their

while,

as

yet,
had the

they
not

lived been
never

amity, by

the

Great

Spirit beyond
friends

driven
to

differences become

seas,

return,
was

till they had such the


a

again.*

That
were

there still in
not

time,
when other

while
men

mythologies
and
any

making,
from each
as

animals such broad

were

divided

by
of
is

line and
many

of demarcation, revelation made divide

in

spite

the

revolution

by
them

Darwin

supposed

by

people

to

the study of Comparative still, lines of been

Religion and
show. And

all other if so,

investigationseem
well remarked

to

it has

that

Quoted

by

Rev. from

M.

G.

Walker Field

in

his

"

Natural

History
in

of the

Ancients,"

Adam's

and

Forest

Rambles

New

Brunswick,

p. 55.

THE

SNOWY

OWL

25

St the

Francis wolf

of Assisi, when and which have his dear would

he

spoke

of "his

brother

sister the have been

sheep," was
more

using

language
and his

intelligible, feelingsof
of his
own

might
remotest

expressed

better

the did

progenitors,than

they
Arabs,
every

contemporaries.
In

Morocco,
each their owl

the other belief is the the

Jews

and

who other

hate

and

differ from agree that shriek which


in

in almost

respect,
believe his

about bird

the of of

owl.

They
and
a

the

Satan,
infants
"

that

causes

death
to avert water

catastrophe
curses,
or

they

strive

by

reiterated
in in

by

copious
houses.*
the well

libations And

of

the his owl

courts

of

their

Ovid,

who,
of

Fasti, describes
in two
"

leading characteristics
as

the

lines

as

they

ever

have

been

described

"

Grande

caput ;

stantes

oculi

; rostra

apta rapinae;
adest
"

Canities

pennis, unguibus
tell us,
in

hamus

"

goes

on

to

curious

agreement
in

with times

the
at

superstitionsof Morocco,
Rome,
their it
was

how,
that

ancient
were

believed

witches themselves

able, by
into screech

magic
or

arts, to

transform
to

owls,

screech and
*

owls

transform the

themselves
window
v.

into of the

witches,

that, entering
Dresser's Birds

of Europe, vol.

26

OWLS

nursery

in

which

young
as

infants

were

asleep,they
their
to

sucked

their life-blood,

they lay

in

cradles.

Little wonder
an

that, with
owl which

such

sins laid

its
a

charge,
Roman
to

unlucky
was

blundered
and

into

house house

nailed,
to avert

alive the

struggling,
that
it would

the have

door,

evil

wrought.
We of such
may
acts

dismiss of

with

sigh

or

smile

the

record

hoping, perhaps, that stupid cruelty,


are

like other

things which they


less
may

said after

to

have

happened
true.

so

long

ago,

not,

all,be

But

is

the conduct
one

of the game-preserver

of the present
in

day

whit better
a

stupid

or

less cruel, when, he allows his

spiteof
to

our

knowledge,
upon
a

gamekeeper
and

set

trap
he
is

pole for anything


to

everything

that often while

pleased

call owl his


"

"winged
whose
prey,
to

vermin," leaving
it is,
any
"

the unfortunate
in

characteristic

pursuit
of

of

perch

upon

solitarypost perish
there unutterable
per

vantage

that with then

presents
head pays

itself

to

by inches, agonies,
and the

downwards,
him
so

in

much

head

for

ghastly trophiesof
as

his murderous
to

skill,nailed,
of his house, curious
use

if not,
at

the
to
an

Romans

did,

the

door The

least
on

adjoining gibbet ?
occasion, of
little
one

made,

one

of these
to

barbarous

trophies
"

but

thanks

the

28

OWLS

birds

of

the

day.

He

is branded

with

perpetual

infamy."
"

Not All But

bird

of the

forest

e'er mates

with

him, dim,

mock
at

him

outright by day,
the woods
grow

night,when

still and

The

boldest

will shrink

away/'*

Should his

he

be

disturbed, by any
he is

accident, from

by day, resting-place
a

straightway mobbed
birds
"

by

motley

crowd

of

clamorous

rooks,

missel thrushes, song-thrushes,blackbirds. starlings, Chaffinches and


too
come

bustling up
and

with
even

crests

erected

emphatic "pink, pink,"


and all

Tennyson's
"

"tits, wrens,

winged nothings," emboldened


in

by

numbers,
and

join

the The

"

hullabulloo owl sits the

of

approval disstill his

protest.
;

stock

amongst
ears

them

his

eyes

dazed

by

light;
"Hit

deafened
may
;

by

their cries ; his

feelingsoutraged,
him

we

well he has

believe, by their
no

insults.
to to

hard He shake molest

friends," seems
from
tree

be

their maxim. unable


cease

flies off

blundering
his till he

tree,
not tree

to to

persecutors,
can

who
a

do hollow

him,
from him
once

find
or

to

hide

himself make
*

their view,
more

till the

shades

of

evening

at

home.
in Notes
on

Quoted
no.

by

H.

G.

Bull

the Birds

of Hereford-

shire, p.

MOBBED

BY

SMALL

BIRDS

29

Folk-lore

is

the

debris

of

paganism, by early

often

colouringor legends or
four-footed in civilised

coloured

in its turn, The

Christian with
out

traditions.

folk-lore

connected

animals, is, unfortunately,fast dying


and Christian countries
reasons, ;

but

wise, it is other-

for pretty obvious


case,

with
at

birds, in whose

in

out-of-the-way districts Legends


or

least,it is stillhale
thick
;

and the the

vigorous.
more

still cluster

round

all

favourite

remarkable

birds
raven,

the cuckoo, the

woodpecker,
the

the

magpie,
wren.

the And about

gale, nightinhas, of
How the

robin, the
not

folk-lore the owl. of

course,

least the

to

say
outcast

does and but that

it does

explain
it

condition

owl,

throw line
is

any

light on
have

the

well-known tells
us

mysterious
"

of

Shakespeare, which
to

the
"

owl The

said birds

been
once

the upon
a

baker's

daughter ?
so runs

were,

time,
tiniest from

the

legend,without
to

fire.

The it

wren,

of

them

all, volunteered
all the
rest

bring

down

heaven, when
in her her

demurred.
were

She

succeeded off
one

errand, but all her feathers


The

scorched each the


one,

body.
a

birds contributed, grateful


of

of them, The
was

feather

its
;

own

to

make
not

up spare

loss. he
sequence, con-

owl
so

alone

refused

he He

could
was

cold
to

in winter. be

condemned,
and

in

always

cold

always solitary.

30

OWLS

Hence he
"in

his

cry,

"whoo,
his

whoo,"

which St

implies that
Agnes
his

is cold.

Hence all his his he

shiveringon

Eve,

spite of
and

feathers."

Hence

isolation
and the catch the goes,

by day,

solitary flights by night,


suffers, if his
enemies what the
ever

persecution

sight

of

him

in

daylight.

And
as

about

"baker's

daughter?"
hungered beg
her
into
one

Christ,

legend
into
a

feeling an

day,
of

went

baker's
was

shop
and the

to

for
to

bit

bread. his

The

baker

ready enough
when

give it, but


father,
the
oven

daughter
her

demurred

in

spite of
and it

protests,
to
a

put

dough

began
with

swell, she "whoo,


to

murmured

again
whoo,"
that
cry
a

at

the

waste,

whoo,
Saviour whose should bread One

sound should

which be
most

suggested
turned into

the bird she

she

the lest
to

her

protest
others
or

resembled,
her
to

encourage
to

by

example,
the naked

refuse

the
more

hungry
that the
is

clothes
if

!
may birds

proof,

such

be

needed,

be
are

given
enemies
once

here
to

barn enemy

owl, if other
to most

him,
to

no

them.

What

was

thought
the clearest

be
out,

the
on

damning

evidence

against him,
be

turns

further

to investigation,

testimony

in his behalf.

It has

long

been

known
one

that he sometimes of those

selects for his habitation dovecots which


are

picturesque

FOLK-LORE

31

among houses Gilbert

the
of

chief

charms
;

of
no meaner

the

old-world
an

manor

England
was

and

observer

than

White of

inclined young
He

to

put down

the wholesale it
to

destruction self-invited
one

the

pigeons occupied, so
that

within it
was

this

guest.
in the the

thought, might
feed

niche
on

columbarium, occupants
observer remembered the
true

he the

freely
niches who lovers

young another be

of

adjoining
Waterton,

But

of Nature, with

will of

always

gratitude by
on

birds, for

protection which, principle,of


the
to
as

the let

the principle,

only
so

"live of

and

live," and
he gave
on

of

preserving
own

balance

Nature,

his

estate

those hawks

and interesting and

beautiful which careful barn saddle the

birds
were

of prey,

such

magpies,
by pair of
"

persecuted
of

elsewhere,

showed
a

observation owls had had been that there

his dovecote,
as

which
own,

adopted
laid he
was on

their wrong
to

that

the

the

horse."

From from of owls

moment

was

able
no

exclude
massacre

rats

his dovecote, innocents


;

further both

the
and and

and, thenceforward,
laid

barn

pigeons lived, and


reared their

their eggs,
as

and of

hatched
one

young, do

members mob the

happy
owl him who well.
a

family. Pigeons
lives Other

not

barn

amongst
birds

them,
do

because

they

know

mob

him,

because,

being

32

OWLS

bird

of

night
know

and
at

quite
all. who

unlike A

themselves,
at
a

they
who
own,

hardly
and
too
a

him other

boy
takes

school

is

quite unlike
has often bad

boys,

line of his

higher
to likely

interests be dubbed

than
as

those
"

of athletics,is and
;
to

mad,"

have

time

of it among
not

his

companions
ahead
a

and

birds,

in this

are particular,

much
upon

of
so

boys.
aloof and other that
a

It

is

little hard
as

bird

inoffensive

the

owl,

so

often

molested them

by

birds, and
it should of the

so

seldom been

molesting
selected he

in return,
as

have

by Tennyson
to

type yet

critics whom he
:
"

affected
to

despise,and
his life
a

whom
to

too

often

allowed

make

burden

him

While When

I I

the live,

owls

die, the
enemy

GHOULS."

From
more,
to

the the

arch
rats

of

the

rat, I

pass,

once

themselves, that
of
my
own,

I may
a

relate
years

curious
near

experience
my

of

few

ago, the
as

present
the
for

home.
to extent

One who

advantage
care

of

cycle
well
cover,

of

day
the
way

those of which

for Nature, which

as

ground

they
its

can

is the

in

it enables which

rider

to to

steal watch. and

quietlyon
He
as

the

wild

creatures

he loves

may

pass,

noticing but quite unnoticed,


within
a

pause

he

passes,

few

feet

of

the

NESTOR

AMONG

RATS

33

hare,

the

rabbit,
a

or

the of

weasel, of

covey of
a

of

of partridges, of
own.

flock watch

wood-pigeons,
them
at

family
and his

magpies,
I
was

and

their
one

ease

homeward, tricycling
near

evening, from
I in front
a

the
saw

of Puddletown, village

Dorchester, when
lane of me,

passing slowly
one

across

the
up

down which

steep
first

bank

and

another,

creature

at

completely puzzled me.


and old Its

It had

long,
it
may

shaggy, grizzled hair,


betokened well than
it must
extreme

everything
the
time

about

age.
at

long hair, it
to

be, made
it

it appear

be I

bigger

reallywas,
be
a
a

and, for the moment,


I
now

thought
it to

speciesof pole-cat.
rat, but
a

believe
"

have who three

been had

Nestor

among

rats

Nestor
some

lived, like

its prototype,
I

through
my

generations of

its kind.

stopped
creature

tricycle
could be.

short, wondering what


It
as was

this strange

closelyfollowed
it
were a

by

an

ordinary
Pied

rat, and

then,

though
another

second

Piper

of Hamelin,

by
I

and

another, and
in twos
some or

yet another, sometimes

sometimes singly,

threes, and

of all ages.

watched, for
was a

time, the ragged regiment till


in tufts

there

pause the bank

it, and
of

then, dismounting,
or

gently
nettles

stirred
on

long grass
it
came.

clumps

of

the

whence
one

They
rat
or a

cealed, con-

nearly every

of them,

mouse,

34

OWLS

The could

bank have

was

alive
a

with dozen
in
a

them.
or

With
more.

stick, I
were

killed

They
it is known congener, under

evidently migrating they


sometimes
on

body,
as

as

that the the

do,
an

and
enormous

their

lemming, does,
most

scale and
in

mysterious circumstances,
into the
sea

Norway,
and
so,

till they
of their

plunge
own

by thousands,
the balance

free motion,
But

redress the

of Nature. of their uncanny


it may

what

was

explanation
one

leader ? Animals

I will hazard which from have live Homer


some

for what

be worth. have been wards, down-

in and
sort

communities the of

observed,
to

Cyclops' cave
government
bull the that

amongst
lords
a

themselves.
over

There

is
ram

generallya
that of leads the it is

it

the is

herd,
the

flock,
Bees

stag

that
course,

monarch
queen

glen.
not

have, of
the

their

; and

the

lusty and
as

dashing, but
describes

the

ragged-winged

and,

Tennyson

it,
many-wintered rookery
home." which leads the

"

The

crow

clanging

Why
sort

should of
or

rats

who
in

take
an

up

their

abode, house,
as

in
or

some

community,
in
a

old country
and

in

barn,

rickyard,
shown,

who

have,

Frank

Buckland

has

very

considerable

intelligence

36

OWLS

hypothesis, in
read the from
upon

the
and

hope
are

that

some

of
in

those

who
be
some

story,
their

interested

it, may
throw

able,

own

experience, to by
way

light
or

it, whether

of

confirmation

of refutation. The other owls


and

of which the much


some

I write, the may I

long-eared,
dismissed of the of said

the
more

short-eared,

brown,
that

be

briefly ;
owl The
may,

for with

have

white them. the

modifications, be said
or

long-eared

horned
is seldom

owl
to

is, probably,
be
seen,

rarest

of the seldom listen

three, and
to

and

still more look


sense or

be

heard, except
it.

by

those

who

for carefully

It is, in

the It

strictest

of

the

word,

"

woodlander." the and sound

inhabits

deep, dark
axe

fir woods, is

where

of the woodman's
if

rarelyheard,

where,

unmolested,
on

the from

same

pair,or
that the

their descendants,
to

will go

living
my
own

generation

generation.
done
so

It is within

knowledge
wood,
half
a

they have
of

in

one

such for

lonely nearly
Scotch

on

edge

Knighton
close the

Heath,

century.
on
a

By day, the long-eared owl


branch with
to

remains
a

perched
fir
or

bole
up

of

spruce, it that

its

body

tucked
a

so

tightly
cence excres-

against
on

it looks

exactly like
It

knot

or

its surface.

is,therefore, rarelyseen

till

it is

dislodged from

its favourite

positionby

sharp

LONG-EARED

OWL

37

tap with
seldom than
some

stick

at

the

base

of

the

tree.

But

as

it

flies,in
twenty
on

its
or

tumbling, sleepy fashion, thirty yards


of
a

more

away, you

and
can

then often
it that

pitches
come on

the
it

middle
and

branch,
up
so

again,
out

creep

close

to

you

can

make
-

its brown

distinguishing marks, plumage,


or

its
or

beautifully mottled
horns, which
and its eyes,

its
at

ears

it

can

raise flash
eyes
on

depress
at

pleasure,
from their

which These
eyes

fire he him

you

yellow
you.

irides. Fix round


a

fixes
in turn,

steadily on
and

your

walk
to

slowly
the with

him, first

to

the

right
he

and

then

in left,

full half-circle, and without

will follow

you

his eyes,

moving
of

his

body, throughout.
of
some

It is this

peculiar habit
has

his, and
I go

of

his

that allies,
or

given birth,
if you

fancy, to
round

the

Yankee
an

Indian

legend,that
country
too

and your

round eyes

owl
on

of

the

very

slowly,with
round
you, and

fixed

him, he

will go fixed
on

round head
to

very
"

slowly,
in

with
any
"

his eyes
case,

till his

which,
shoulders

is rather off his has

loosely affixed
!

his

drops
No

body
much
or

owl

building
six white

talent.

The

horned
in
an

owl old
in

lays her

five

eggs, the
or

sometimes

squirrel's drey
an

far
or

out

on

bough,

sometimes
nest,
not

old

hawk's

crow's

magpie's

38

OWLS

caring

to

do

anything
A

to

repair

or

make
at

them
the

comfortable. of
a

clump
of

of

high
or

fir-trees

edge
in

large
or

expanse

down

heath, like

Mayor
of

Pond, Dorset,

Yellowham
is
a

Wood,
resort.

or

Badbury

Rings

favourite
is seldom

Its

single call-note

"hook, hook"
and

heard

except in summer-time,
is far advanced.

only

when

the

evening
many in

But

remember
to
a

well when,

years
a

ago,

was

climbing
middle
at

nest likely-looking

big clump
which
a

in the

of the that
was
"

open

Whitechurch time
"

Down,

contained of birds of

very

and

oh ! what

paradise
the hawk

it

within birds the


an

its limited

compass,

nests
a

two

other
crow,

of weird

prey, and

sparrow

and

carrion

varied

cries

which

proceeded by
and

from the

adjoining
and

tree, and
most

which, accompanied
distressful motions of

strangest

grimaces, betrayed
mother's owlets which which
I

the

anxious
nest
or

solicitude
five

the

heart. covered
were

The brown
at

contained

young eyes

with

yellow down,

with

already

their
to

and brightest,
appear.

horns of them

were

just beginning
to
was.

One and

managed
pet he

rear,

and

very

amusing

ing interestwith his

He

would
in

remain

perched

eyes

closed, apparently

sleep, the greater


open,

part of
he
;

the

day,
see

but

with

tiny slit left


as

from

which
to

could

just as

much

it behoved

him

know

OWLETS

39

and

when
look

he of

opened

them
a

he
"

did

so

with
you

comic serio-

surprise and
remained

Why

do

disturb

me?"J in

air, which

upon

them, till they closed

semi-sleepagain.
The sound owl each It does
"

made which them


not
a

by
he

the is

horned
a

owl,
"

as

by
and

the

eagle
which all.

of

miniature is
not

by
at

of

is best

known,
from the

note

proceed
smart

throat, but
ment move-

is

occasioned of

by
the

of clicking

the bill, the

mandibles
seen,
even

being
when

so

rapid
is than trunk
to

that

it

can

hardly
the

be

one

watching
the
of

it

narrowly.
old bird
may,

More

even interesting

sight of
the
tree,

clinging close
by
on

to

the

is what attention

perchance, happen
the

you,

when,
of look

your

awakened

number
you
or

pellets
up

lying
catch

somewhere

the

ground,

and

sight

of

whole

family

of half five
as or

even

fully-

fledged young
weeks

long-eared owls,
side
a

six in number,

sittingdemurely

by side,

they

will do unable

for
or

together, on
bring
them

single branch,

and unwillingto fly, birds


to

for waiting patiently their food


in the
to

the parent A all


to

gloaming.
them and

gamekeeper
away

has
a

been

known

sweep

with of his

single discharge
achievement,
and
as

of

his

gun,

boast

though

he

had

done

something great

good.

40

OWLS

I have
met

mentioned
as an

the

eagle

owl

and

as

he

is

with
as

occasional

stragglerin
pairs
years, I

this country, them


must

and

I
at

have

kept

successive
many

of

in add

an

aviary
word
or

Harrow
two

for him.

about
not

He

is the

most

cent, magnifiof prey

I think, The

only

of

the
with and

owls, but
many

of all birds.
"

female,

as

is the

case

birds

notably the peregrinefalcon


is
a

the

sparrow-hawk
far takes

"

third
in

larger than
she
is

the

male, and
She
and

surpasses

him

every
;

manly quality. everywhere


Her has off She
carry

the

lead he

throughout
nowhere
and

everything ;
have
to
a

nothing.

talons been
a

terrible

grip and
or a

strength.
to

known

kill a

dog

sheep, and
much unceremonious head
to

full-grown hare
she
is

out with-

apparent

trouble.

When of
a

angered by
lowers

the her side

approach
to
a

visitor,she
it

almost side
in

the

ground,
sweep,
to

moves

slowly from
her

long
head her

snaps

loudly with

bill, quivers from


rage,

foot with
in
a

half- suppressed circle above

and each

raises
"

wings
"

vast
"

her
end
"

body,
erect

particular
from

feather

standing on
But

and

distinct, her eyes


a

the while, fiercely flashing


to
a

and

turning

yellow

fieryred.
you,

even

when

she is thus
to

excited, she will allow


to

if you

go and

cautiously
behind her

work,

get
almost

your

hand

above
it in the

head, and,

burying

soft

vrr
*

EAGLE From
a

OWL.

Drawing

by

G.

E.

Lodge.
[To face
p.

40.

42

OWLS

blinking its
aw,

eyes

with
"

all the Dear

sleepy majesty
me,

of

the
!
"

had
name,

exclaimed,

how
to

like
it ;

papa

The

thenceforward,
the butler, whose and

stuck

and,
was

years
to
see

afterwards,
after the of his

business
was

it
a

eagle owls, charge,


and

who
up,

not
a

littleproud
of

rushed of

in

state

pleased
into the

excitement Duke said of the


"

domestic

importance,
"

Norfolk's Duke. Lord the Eldon

study.
"

What
your
an

is the

matter?"
was

Please has laid

Grace,"

the

reply,
It

egg."
which
rare was

was

eagle owl, doubtless,


whose
appearance,
on

the

"imperial" bird
in

occasions,
as

Rome,

filled the

Romans the
"

with State
at

terror,

tending por-

calamity
which and

to

large, and
former

of

Pliny the

Elder, *

mixing

fiction with the

fact,
times some-

imagination with predominating


"

observation,

gives the followingsignificant


when it appears,
if auspices which
at

account

"

The

great-horned owl,
being
any

foretells the
to

and nothing but evil,


are

import
more

publicweal
be dreaded

taken

the

time, is

than

other
are

bird.

It haunts and and but

waste

places,nay,
It is
presence sobs and
*

spots
a

which of

terrible

sible. inacces-

portent

the

night ;
of song,

makes rather

its

known
moans.

by

no

kind

by

Accordingly,

whenever
pp. 12-16.

it shows

Pliny's Natural

History, x.,

EAGLE

OWL

IN

ROME

43

itself in cities dire house


State.

or

at

all

it prognosticates by daylight,
it

misfortunes.
it is It
not

Should

perch
evil other

upon
omen

private
for the

necessarilyof
not,
as

flies,

do

soever birds, wherein

they list, but


sidelong
shrine
of

drifts
one

along

uncertain the

fashion. the
of

On

occasion, it entered

Capitol itself,and,
March
a

accordingly,on
the whole

the
had

Nones
to

of

that

year,

city
then

undergo
to

solemn
a

purification." He

proceeds
on

quote

certain
avers

Hylas,
that

high

ity author-

auspices,
other

who
"

the egg egg

owl, unlike
back
is

most

birds,
as

issues
one

from

the
the

most, fore-

inasmuch down

side size
of

of

weighed
so

by

the

great

its

head,
is

and

the
to

lighter end, containing


the

the the

back,

presented
"

fosteringwarmth
mode,"
he
of

of

mother."
"

Crafty
is "in
on

is

the
solid the
a

continues, and
observation birds.

here

he
"

the

ground

and

of fact

which

owl

fights other
number of with

When

surrounded
on

by

great

them, it flings itself


beak
and and
so

its back its


on

and

strikingout
into The of

claws,
protects
from
a

contracts

body
sides.

its smallest hawk will and


on

itself natural with

all ship kin-

help him,
the

Nature,
goes

share

combat another

him."

And

he

to

quote
that

yet

authority,

Nigidius,who

avers

owls

sleep for sixty days

44

OWLS

in

the

winter from

"

considerable

respite
and
one

one

might
rent differemark
for the

remark

their evil
a

doings
the the !

"

have

nine

cries,

promising
craft
of

field,
augur.
terrors

might
So much it

again, for
great
even

the

imperialowl
in

and

which

inspired

imperial Rome
short-eared other he is the with owls
a

The from the

owl of

differs which I

in
am

many

respects
To

writing.

begin with,
along
he often with

bird

of passage,
in

which, appearing
the
autumn

woodcock him
in

and
as

disappearing
the

the

and spring,
in

flushed

is, like the woodcock,


same

boggy ground
owl."
He
is

and

having
often

kind

of

is driftingzig-zag flight,
more

known

as

the

"

woodcock
over

in partial

his distribution

the country
in the
eastern

than

his

fellows, being fairly common


in which but
my
rare

counties

he firstalights from
in

his
and

long southward
the West.
was

flight,
in

the

Midlands skin of

I have

possession the
ago,
seven on

one

which
near

killed many

years

Knighton
flushed

Heath

Stafford, Dorset,
years

and

were

together two

running,
in the

last year
same

and

this,in
But

turnip field at Milborne,


was

county.
is

this

quite exceptional
less

His form

head
more

smaller, his eyes


than dark

prominent,
owls. He

his

lissom

those

of

other

haunts
or moor-

not

the

deep

woods, but

the bare

bog

THE

SHORT-EARED

OWL

46

land, and
snug

his

mate

deposits
a

her in
a

eggs,

not
or

in in
on

the
the the

hollow

of of
or
a

tree,

or

barn,
the

deserted bare

drey

but squirrel,

in

open,
at

ground,
dead
a

sheltered,
or
a

if sheltered

all, only
heather.
an

by
In

bracken the owls.

tuft of

overhanging
owl is less of

word,
other

short-eared
She is

owl
her

than

less
not

nocturnal

in

habits, and
we

has

been

observed,

as infrequently,

shall

see,

beating the ground


vole,
in the

for

her

favourite of

food,
sun.

the

field

full

glare

the

Though
horns
are so

she

is called

the

"

short-eared
those and

owl," her
nearest

much

shorter

than

of her

relative, the
elevates

long-eared owl,
that the
as

she
to

so

seldom
notice

them,
In

they shape
as

are

apt

escape

altogether.
a

of her
an

head, she resembles


hence
are

hawk

almost

much

owl, and
other owls

is often

called

the

hawk-owl.

All

strictly

local in their habits,


to

with clinging,

touching fidelity,
oak
or

the

barn
to

or

belfry,to
the

the

immemorial
which

beech,
or

the

fir

plantation in

they
They

first saw, seldom


a

shrunk
in

from,
their
it.

light of day.
short-eared

wander,
or

more longest flight,

than
on

mile
trary, con-

two

from
is
a

The

owl,

the
;

vagrant
gone

by

nature

and You

by

habit
never

here
know

to-day

and

to-morrow.

46

OWLS

where

to

look her

for
prey

her,
"

or

when
well does

you

will find
man,
as

her.
we

She
shall
most

follows
see

and

is it for
so
"

hereafter, that she

wherever
so

it is
to

abundant. about other

Folk-lore, which

has

much

say

species
her.

of

the
No

owl, is silent, or
poet
the has sung for of the

almost

silent, about
The favourite the earliest
"

her.
owl
"

epithets of
times
"
"

poets

from

moping," "moody,"
"

melancholy,"
sit ill upon know

bird

of darkness,"

bird

of death

"

"

her.
her
not.

Gamekeepers,

with

few

tions, excep-

Pole-traps,with
their

all

their

gruesome
are

and paraphernalia,
for her
or

luxury

of torture,

not

hers. she is is
a

Nevertheless,

remarkable
"

bird. almost of
as

Her the

geographical
raven.

range is found of

wide
over

wide

She

the

whole

Europe,
over

over

the
of

north both
in
on

Asia

and

Africa, and
Darwin that

the

whole
presence

Americas.

noted

her
group

the

Galapagos,
and then

remarkable did
so

of islands
set

the

Equator, which

to much, first,

him

in the

path
in his

to

lead
and

him

so

many

steps

forward,

momentous
even

epoch-making
the
Sandwich Pacific. owls
are

discoveries.

She

is found of

in

Islands,
Her

in

the

middle
are

the

North All

disabilities
to

great.

bad

walkers, owing

the

length and

sharpness

of their

DISABILITIES

47

claws.
series

They
of

can

only

move

upon
one

the

ground

by

awkward
;

and,

would

think, rather
to

painfulhops
at

but, then,
when

they rarelyneed
pounce upon

touch

it

all, except
normal
two

they

their
upon
or
a

prey.

Their with

position is
their claws

bolt

upright
more

perch,

of

pointing

less backwards,

and

two
a

more

or

less forwards.

When
to

they
a

do

alightupon
toe

flat surface, the

they have
to

push

third

towards

front, in order
their delicate be

keep

their

body

tilted forwards

and

tail feathers

off the careful and

ground
of

; for

owls, it should

noted,

are

as

their
as

exquisitelylight and
much conscious
-

fluffyfeathers,
as a

spend
who

time of
in
to

in her

preening them,
beauty,
her of does hair.

girl,
a

is

before Not

looking glass,
feather with is in is allowed
or

dressing
remain

out
so

place,or
as

soiled

earth

blood

stains,
The

long

its possessor

good

health.

short-eared
upon
a

owl,
tree

on

the
can

contrary,

very
a

rarely perches
if at

and

only by
Her

specialeffort,
therefore
must

sit quite upright. all,


"

plumage
relieve her

require double, double,


is fain,
one

toil and
to

trouble," and
state

she
"

would
an

think,

of

little ease"

by

occasional

by daytime. flight
On
a

the

other

hand,
an

she

is

bold when

and

fierce
she

to

degree, mobbing

intruder

thinks

48

OWLS

that with with


even

her

young

are

in
a

danger, luring him partridge or


of
a a

onward,
duck and

all the her


more

skill of

wild

make-believe

broken the

wing,
timid much
me

fearlesslythan

does

peewit,

and,
than Peel

sometimes,

attacking an
as an

animal
told

bigger
by
Lord

herself,
will show. in in in
"

anecdote
was

He

walking, one
on

evening, at
of
a

Sandy,
wood,
earlier
a

the which the


one

heather
there

the been heard

outskirts
a

fir

had He
most

shooting

party
of all

day.
of

the

screaming
as

hare

the

painful cries,
Nature towards drew
or nearer
"

humane

sportsmen
he
saw

feel, in

and him.
;

turning
Her and
-

round,
screams

her
as

coming
she three her with screamed and

redoubled
observed
were

he

then
owls which

that

four

short
at

eared

pursuing
stained the
a

darting
Each
;

her time when

head,

was

blood. afresh

they
she

swooped,
was

hare few

but

only
of

feet

distant, the
made

owls

catching
the
in

sight
thicker
were

their observer,
close
to

off, while
took

hare the

passing quite
fern
seen

him,

refuge
and

growth,
by
him
no

and
more.

pursuers
"

pursued impression
the the hare

My
"

was

and been owls

is," writes
wounded
were

Lord

Peel,
and

that

had eared

by shot,
attracted

that

shortand

by

her

condition

50

OWLS

been

always
the

followed of

by
voles

the

antidote

in

other

words,
been owls.
and

plague
by
a

has, shortly afterwards,

followed

sudden
as

apparition of short-eared

They

remain

long

as

the

voles More

remain,
than

disappear
;

when

they disappear.

this
what often food
two

they

breed

in the strange freely

country,

and,

is most

astonishing of all, their fecundityis


"

increased with broods


nests

nay,

quadrupled
voles instead
not

"

by
them.
one,
or

the

abundant

which
in
a

the

supply
of

They
and
many

rear

year

of
ten

the
or

actually contain,
eggs

five

six, but

twelve

apiece. The
before
to

great

majority

of the

witnesses, summoned
who
so were

the committee

of experts

appointed
an

with investigate the subject,


Sir Herbert Maxwell well-known
as

high

authority as
and Mr their

their

chairman,

Harting,
secretary,
to

the

ornithologist,as
severity
of the

attributed

the

plague
of

the

wholesale
beneficent

tion destrucanimals and

by gamekeepers
and birds" weasels

those

foremost

among

animals, all,owls
and
so

buzzards, kestrel hawks, and, above


birds
"

among

which
the

feed balance
in

upon

mice Nature
;

tend

to

maintain

of

while that

they
the

were

equally
potent
was

unanimous
in the

considering
of the

most

factor advent

limitation

mischief

done dis-

the

of

the

short-eared

owls, which

OWLS

TO

THE

RESCUE

51

covered

the
knew and
*

whereabouts

of

their

enemies,

nobody
knew

quite
when,
where.
A

how,
came

appeared, nobody
from

quite

regions, nobody

quite knew

letter

which

have

received

from

Mr

Colles

of
some

Higher Broughton, Manchester,


of have the traits
in

illustrates further
owl
says,
;

the

short-eared he

of which
"of

spoken.

"You

speak,"
owl

the

occasional
to

of this activity
you
an

by day
my
own

and

venture

give

experience of
that,
were a

in Scotland. ago, voles


eat

You

will

remember

few

years

certain
to

parts of the country


an

infested would

with
not

such

extent,

that

the of

sheep

the grass
was

over

thousands
years
son

acres

of moorland.

It

some

two

after
I
were

they

had

been St I

at

their worst,
Loch
;

that

my
one

and

fishingin
noon,

Mary's

and,

day

about the

while

was

crouching
to

down
out

between
of

high
the

banks

of the

Meggett,
owl

keep

sight of
top
;

the

fish,a short-eared bank, directlyto


assure

skimmed,

over

the
was

of I

the

place where
comic
me as

and
of

can an

you I

that
ever

no

exaggerated
seen,
to
me

picture
did this

owl Its

had

affected
as

one.

eyes

looked

large as
of the

See

the

Blue-Book Committee
in

of

1893 containing
to

the

Report
the

Departmental
of Field

appointed

inquire

into

Plague

Voles

Scotland.

52

OWLS

saucers,

and

the
we

bird

seemed

perfectogre.
had walk

few of
a

days later,
the mile
was

were

fishingone
source,

of the tributaries
to
over

Tweed
or more

near

its of

and

almost much
rise

flat moorland, less


a

where
to

there
seen.

hardly

bush,
was

tree

be

Wherever form with


a

there little bank,

enough
was

in the

ground

to

the soil like


we

honeycombed perfectly
colonnades,
or

what

appeared

miniature

rather
the When
of
we

cloisters,and within,
were as

caught frequent glimpses of


flitted this

voles
we

they
into

along

their

galleries.
and

well owls

dreary place, a couple


us,
as

short-eared walked

mobbed positively
our

along they
the young
;

with

fishing-rods over
till
more we

our

shoulders, they followed

us

reached
ever

dry

gully,where
We
nest

became within
to

than

strative, demonour

coming
searched
or

well

the
see

points
if
we we

of

rods.

gully

could
were sure

find the
must

the

birds, which
as

be
we

close
had
on

by
to

but,
up

fishing was
the

our

main

object,
between

give
both twelve

quest.

You hour the


sun

will observe,
was

that,
eleven

occasions, the o'clock, and

and

was

shining
differ

brilliantly."
The much
sonorous,

cries
from

of

the

different

species of
are

owls

each

other, but
and

they

always weird,

solemn,

they

have

always

been

HOW

AN

OWL

CONVERTED

BAHRAN

53

regarded by the
earliest

most

diverse

races

and

from disaster

the
or

times,

as

the
more

harbingers
worthy
the

of

death.

It is all the

of remark, cries
are

fore, there-

that,
owls with

on

one

occasion,

of

pair

of

their

varying intonations,
a

said, when
like of

skilfully interpreted by
Solomon, birds,
tyrant
the
act to
was

Magian

priest who,
the
a

able

to

understand

language

have

converted partially the


error

typicalEastern
Bahran,
shrunk
one

from

of of

his

ways.

of
no

Sassanid of

kings

Persia, who
his
as

from

oppression

towards them

subjects,and
a

was,
"

therefore, regarded by

man

of

right

royal
some

"

was disposition,

passing, one
had

night,through
He
was

which villages

he

depopulated. priest who


"

accompanied
the
him
"

by

Magian
his

thanks

to

influence
was

which

mysterious insight
like the barber
of

gave

able, sometimes,
Louis
to

the
to

infamous

XL,

and

by

methods,

similar

his, appealing
even

to superstitious feelings,
a

deter

his

master

from

deed

of violence.

The owl
in

king
one

was

struck

by the
in another.

loud
was
"

hooting
What

of

an

ruined

which village,

immediately
is the

answered owl

by
?
"

his fellow he asked.


a

saying
seer,

"The

male of

bird," repliedthe

"is

making
"And

proposal
does

marriage
say in

to

the

female." asked

what

the

female

reply?"

54

OWLS

the

king.
me

"

I will marry

you, I

she ask."

says,

if you "And

will
what

give

the said
"

dowry
the

which

is that?"

king.

"She

asks

him,"

replied
in the what

the

seer,

for

twenty

villages destroyed
Bahran." Bahran.
if your
"

reign
does
your

of he

our

gracious king
to

And
"

say

that ?

"

asked that

Please,
will
to

Majesty,
her

he

says,

Majesty
able

only reign long enough, he give


thrust the the
a

will

easily be

thousand its work.


as
"

ruined

villages." The
the
the
"

rapierof
and

did

It touched

conscience

Persian,
solemn

the

parable
art

of
man

ewe

lamb,
Nathan,
of

Thou the

the

of

the the

Prophet,
; and

roused

sleeping
was

conscience followed

Jewish king.
amended The
over

Conviction

by repentance
and
a what some-

repentance
life.
or

by restitution,
owl
is

brown

tawny
the

as

widely dispersed being


somewhat
more

England
of
a

as

white, but
and its

more

woodlander,

plumage being
less
more seen

sombre congener while


to most

and
"

inconspicuous, is
less
seen,

than heard
;

her for

but shriek

much

the

white

owl's

is pretty the
"

well confined
most

the

early

hours
"

after
"

dusk,

"

musical,
brown owl

melancholy
to

tu-who-o-o he
is

of

the

is

be

heard,
the

when

properly protected,
His eyes
are

throughout

live-long night.

dark,

THE

BROWN

OWL

55

round,
and
stand and
so

and

expressive

his

feathers and

finely barred
yet
his

extraordinarily
out

soft

fluffy ;
to

they

nearly
make
"

at

right angles
not
as

body,
it

it

appear

merely larger, but large


"

much is.

larger perhaps
It is difficult
to

twice believe

than

really

that

Keat's

famous

line,
"

The

owl

for

all his

feathers

was

a'

cold,"
In

can

ever

have

been

true

of

him.

his his

soft,

silky, noiseless
behind
as a

flight he
serve,
as

stretches
Gilbert head.

out

legs

him,
balance

to to

White

remarked,
female

his

heavy

The
eggs
tree

lays
in

her March

five, almost
in

perfectly round,
deep
after hollow
year. of
a

early
to
are

the
year

which

she

sticks

Her

young

the
and

queerest
have
worsted been

little balls well

of

grey
to
a

woolly down, "pair


as

compared
rolled o1

of

Shetland have

stockings
to

up,

such

might They
it ;

belonged long
when,
from
"

Tarn
nest
or

Shanter."

remain
and

in
at tree

the

perched just
found their

outside

last,they have
to

wings, they

flit
cry

tree,

constantly utteringtheir baby


while their them
know
ever

tu-wheet,

tu-wheet,"
way if of

anxious and

mother,

by

keeping
do
not

together
it

assuring them,

they

already,

56

OWLS

that loud

she

is

always there, utters,


"

ever

and

anon,

her

refrain
"

tu-who-o-o."
mock I
cannot

I would But Not


a

thy

chaunt

anew

mimick

it ;

thy tu-whoo, Thee to woo to thy tu-whit, Thee to woo to thy tu-whit, With a lengthen'd loud halloo, Tu-whoo, tu-whit, tu-whit, tu-whoo-o-o."
When
as

whit

of

the brown
White

owl

hoots, her neck


to

swells
a

out,

old Gilbert
;

remarked,

the size of
most

hen's
of the her
"

egg

and and
as

it is worth almost

noting that, while


and

poets
hoot

all

ordinary listeners regard

melancholy,
the ancients

nothing

but

melancholy
of the

just as

regarded
our

the song
seems

ingale nightand

which,

to

ears,

exuberant
a

ravishingin
the poets
and

its

joy
on

"

yet there

is

minority among
the other
to

which,
a

occasion, takes
which deserves

view

;
;

it is

minority
What
icicles Dick Tom milk the

be

heard
among

Shakespeare, Sir
the number.
4"

Walter
says

Scott, and

T.

Nash
"

Shakespeare ?
the wall his hall
in blows the

When
And And And

hang by

Shepherd
logs into
frozen

nail,

bears
comes

When Then

pail; be foul, blood is nipt, and ways nightly sings the staring owl,
Tu-whoo !
a

home

Tu-whit While

! tu-whoo

merry keel

note

!
" pot !

greasy

Joan

doth

the

58

OWLS

pee- wit ? which

is

never

so

vocal

as

in

spring-time;

for, as
"In the

Tennyson
Spring,
the

tells

us

"

wanton

lapwing

takes

itself another

crest."

Or

can

it be

the
more

baby

owl

whose
In of this the

unformed latter

plaint
case,

it resembles owl

closely?
opinion

the
not

will,

in

the

poet,

take

merely
as

First author

class, but
of
two

Double
of

First
most

class honours, and inspiriting

the

the

bewitching
second

of

sounds.*
as

Wordsworth,
on

remarked

by
the

Mr

Lowell, agreed,
whom
I

thoughts, with
and

poets
a

have
to
as

just quoted,
those who

administered the

severe

rebuke the owl

represented
He

note

of he

melancholy.
*

practisedwhat

preached,
the than sound
a
"

for

One
"

of my

wee

"the March

correspondents recognises in which is little more joyous note


to

pee-

call heard

from

the
that
on

end

of
"

May,"

of the the
to

little tree-creeper ;
sound

another

remarks

it is

exactly
to

made
that

by
the

the
note

night-jarwhen
of the Nash with
and
our summer

the is

wing."
too

I incline

think been

tree-creeper
the the loud owl birds
of

minute
notes

have

ringing
; while of

of the
of
not

the

cry

the
to

coupled by gale, cuckoo, the nightinnight-jar,the last of


heard till towards with think brown other that

passage,

is

be

the

May, too late,therefore, to be coupled sounds inclined to suggestive of early spring. I am of the upee-wee" is the familiar note of the young
which
is
a

end

owl,

very

early breeder.

WORDSWORTH

AND

SHELLEY in

59

he Walk

altered
"

one

of had

his
run
"

lines

"The

Evening

which
The

"

tremulous

sob

of the

complaining owl,"

into
"

The

sportive outcry
sure

of the

mocking

owl."

am

not

that

the

rhythm
we

was

improved
of side he
cry
was

by the
Natural
the

alteration, whatever

may
was on

think the

the
of

history. Shelley, too, thought,


his "little
as, soul
nor ever

owl, and

at

all events,

while

sitting happily by
the

wife, Mary,
owl"
lute,
nor

that
was
"

the

of

aziola,
"

downy
nor

Such The

voice,

wind,
all."

nor

bird

stirred,
far sweeter

Unlike,
In
tamest, any

and

than

they

case,
most

the

brown

owl

makes and has the

one

of

the

the

companionable,
of and

the little of other

most

solemnly amusing
inborn
and

pets.

He

the

fierceness
soon

suspicion of
to

owls,
your
or

will very
or

learn follow

perch quietly on
about young the
same over a

hand,

will
a

even

you

lawn

through
which
I

shrubbery. brought
I up
to

One
from

brown

owl,
which

nest,

and

belonged,
parent
very
an

believe,

the
I will

storied

pair

of

owls, of whom

speak presently, was


its way,

partialto music,
open window
on

would

make

through
room

the

ground

floor, into the

60

OWLS

in which

piano

was

being played, and


instrument connected
to
me

would

press

closely against the


A

itself. with
a

curious

incident

wild

brown

owl, and

communicated
more

by

Dr
a

Jacob Cooper,
century,
of the

Professor, for
Greek New One

than and

third

of in

language
Brunswick,

literature
must

Rutger's College,
find
a

U.S.A.,
November found

place going
owl

here. into had

morning, 27th
lecture-room,
made her he

1899,
that
a

on

his

brown

somehow
a

way

into

it,and

had
of
to

selected, as
Athens. both
"

perch, a huge
an

framed
for

photograph
illustration

It

was

unlocked of the
a

teacher owls
to

and

taught,
had
over

proverbial expression special sense


her of

Athens."
she

With chosen the


most
as

propriety, too,
ately immedi-

a resting-place, spot

Areopagus,
aristocratic which the
most

the
and

High

Court

of

Athens,

and the

its

venerable forth the

assembly, passionate

assembly
of

had

called

pleadings
one

Conservative

poet, yEschylus, in
of

of

the he

impressive
save

his

tragedies, if
For
sat

haply
four

might
while

it the

from "bird

destruction.
of

whole
on,
to

hours,

wisdom"
gave
as

calmly
lectures

the

Professor

many

successive
to

classes

of

his

ing pupils, listen-

apparently by

his

instructions, and
made

quite

disturbed un-

the

noise

by

his

pupils

as

OWL

IN

LECTURE

ROOM

61

they
came

filed up
to

into
say

and

out

of

the

room,

or

as

they
write

their

Greek

or repetition,

to

on

the

blackboard Athena
some

immediately
in the

below

her.
she

And,
had the

just as
assumed better
of

herself

Odyssey, when
that she

in disguise,
or

order her

might
work her
now,

prompt

protect
flew

favourite

in his hour
was

need,

suddenly
the
were

away

when
act,

her

accomplished, and,
character
to

by

the

revealed

true

astonished
over,
was

Ulysses,* so
the
bird
of

when
as

the

lectures

Athena,

though
like her

her

mission

completed, vanished,
the had had that
as

prototype,

through
those that who

window watched

or

up

the with

chimney, leaving
the

her
if

impression

they sight

witnessed,
was

not to

exactlya miracle, something


it ;
seen

next

door
never

at

all events,

such

they

had

before,

and

they would,
she Professors
is in my

certainly,never
one

see

again.
Cooper's

Before brotherwhich

disappeared,
had time

of
to

Dr
a

take the

photograph,
of Pallas
a on

possession, of
throne
in
;

Bird

her

self-chosen
wrote
an

while

another,
which

little later on,


*

ode

her

honour,

opvt,s

8* "5s

The

word

ai/orrcua,

found
to
mean

only
"

here,
a

has kind
the

been
of

by
the

the

commentators

either
up

explained "eagle," or
in

"unnoticed" middle

like of the

bird, or
oT

through

smokehole"

roof, dv

62

OWLS

is worth

quoting here

both

for the affection for the


reverence

it shows
for
as

for

the sacred
culture
a

bird, and
and

also

Greek

ideals, which
which and
to

it indicates
to

still

lingeringin
rather
wealth
"

country

is apt
care

look

forward

than

backward,

more

for material

than
thou Did

for historical

and

associations. spiritual
her

wise

bird

Athena

made beat

own,

Instincts'
in this

When,
Above the

thy heart, pulses College hall,thy wings found rest,


of her matchless throne
?

within

picture
here

"

Or

wast

thou

at

favouring
to

moment
us

thrown,
lest

By
Our Be
"

breeze

Favonian,
Parthenon's

remind

faith in old like the

ideals,long professed
columns
"

overthrown

"

It matters And
For

not

we

take
and

thee
warm

as

thou

art,

house ne'er
now

thee

safe
was

in every

heart,

before

spectacle like this,


are

And And

away

the

centuries

rolled of

in supremest
towers

splendour, as temple-crowned
brown and

old, Acropolis."
is

Up
While bird
tree,

the

the

female

owl

the sitting,
on an

male

usuallykeeps
ready
comers.

watch battle

ward

adjoining
against
of

to

do

for

her

and
in

hers the

all

Many
I
was

years

ago, up
an

parish
towards

Stafford,
a

swarming half-way
up,

elm-tree
seemed I
was

large

hole
some

which When

likelyto
some

contain

treasure-trove.

few

COURAGE

OF

BROWN

OWL

63

feet

from of

the
my
a

ground,
back,
clod
a

I
as

felt

heavy
my
at
me.

blow

in

the

middle had

though
earth

companion

thrown
I
saw

of

hard owl

Turning
his

round,
an

brown

fly back
he

to

post

in

adjoining
upon

tree
me.

from
I
was

whence continued delivered

had
my

made

his and

descent the
same

climb,
even

attack second last


I

with

greater

force,
which
as

and

third
I

time. the her

In

the

hollow,

at

reached,
repose

found

wife young
in

in sitting
as

undisturbed which

above

the
cave

pigeon
of Mount

preserved Mohammed,
from
"

the made

Hira,
"

his
to

pursuers,

and

so

the
era

Hegira

or

Flight
the

be,

for

all time, the world


;

of the

chronology in
husband,
his soul
was

vast

Mohammedan
I suppose,

and

having, as by
his

delivered sufficiently
and

three

charges,
to

thinking
and

that
no

there harm wife.

nothing
meant,

further
now

be
on

done,
as

that
as

was

looked

calmly

his

You down

must

be

prepared, fancy
to

when be
an

you

put

your

arm

into what for


a

you

owl's hole, sometimes


for
a

disappointment,
a

sometimes
to

smart

rebuff.

If

white

owl

happens
on

be

"at

home"

there, and

throwing
firmly
while,
as

herself
on

her

back, plants her


you

sharp forget

claws it ;

your

hand,

will

never

regards disappointment,

one

64

OWLS

incident

will suffice.

Gould,

the author
one

of

so

many

works, had, splendidornithological


a

day, climbed
nest.
" "

tree

in Australia he

to

get
to

at

an

owl's

Yes,
I
can

here
see

is," he

cried

his

friend his
as

below,
down

his great the hole. holes of his The


"

eyes."

He

put
out
"

hand often
it
seen

boldly
with

into

It turned
to

happens
was

such

be

full of water, which the he

and had

the reflection
therein.

own

eyes of
a

affection takes

brown

owl

for
A

its young, brood


same

sometimes

truly tragicalform.
to

of
two

young

owls, belonging,presumably,
I have

the been

parents
a

described lived him


at

above, had Stafford,


in
a a

taken
or

by
off,

dairyman
were

who

field

two

and which
birds

placed by
hung
up

wire

cage

of wide

mesh,
parent
after
and

was

in the

open

barton.

The

soon

discovered

their brood, and,


them
a

night
of
rats

night,for weeks, brought


mice

supply

which cage.

they deftlydropped through They


could
not

the

bars
way
a

of in

the
to

make

their

own

their young,

but,

apparently, they cherished


their them. young But
one

fond
to

hope that, some


make and their way the young
cage

day,
out to
were

might
it
was

be
not

able
to

be

birds without the


"

found,

morning,
mark
of

all dead

in the

any

external
and is

violence,
ally gener-

poisoned, as
believed

dairyman
there

the inhabitants I think,


on

and

much,

general

66

OWLS

"

connected,
"

believe, with
Some

this very

same
was

pair of tapping
this

birds with
same

will prove.
my

years

later, I

climbing-stickanother
hundred

elm-tree, in
away, of his

field,three
a

yards
out

expecting to hiding-place.
its remained

see

jackdaw hastilyscuttle
of

Instead

that,

brown
out

owl of the
me

slowly poked
hole, and
its
;

solemn-looking
there

head

looking
eyes.

down

upon

with
tree

big,mournful,
not

dreamy
inch.
are

I climbed

the

it did
as

stir

an

I lifted it

gently out.
not

Owls,
else than
to

I have

said,
;

always thin,
from else
over

much

feathers
be

but and it I

this one,

its
at
on

weight, seemed
all.
Its
eyes

feathers

nothing
turned blew the its

slowly glazed ;
died
see

its side, and


to

in my if I could
was

hand.

feathers apart fluffy


of its death.

unravel
one

mystery
in

There
on

tiny
that

shot-hole
some

its skull, and,

inquiry,I
an

found

few
was

weeks

before, when
beaten
to

adjoining withy
boy, anxious,
like
at

bed

being
brown

for game, "kill

others
a

of his kind, owl

something," had
come

fired
out

big

which

had

lumbering
fallen

of had the

an

ivy-tree,its
as

winter struck

resting-place.The
it, but
for
ever

bird
to

quivered

he

had

not

ground, and,
been which

escaping

the

time, had

evidently
in

dying, by inches,
I had

since,
her

in the hollow

found

it ; while

mate,

faithful

unto

FAITHFUL

UNTO

DEATH

67

death,
several

had
of

kept
also is
and
so no

her

supplied

with

mice

and I

rats,

which,

quite recently killed,


in

found

therein
There

and

stored rule

the

hedge
brown worth

below. without owl's eggs


"

about

nidification
a

an

exception,
two
one

have

found
as

in

places

unusual
a

to

be

mentioning
Wood,
space
a

in the fork of from the the

Scotch with

fir in Saver's

few

feet
to

ground,
round

hardly flat
;
a

enough
a

hold

eggs

themselves

the other, in
miles
away.

rabbit-hole
The
rats

in

Knight on
brown and
an

Wood,
owl

few

food
and

of

the

consists, in the main,


;

of

mice wage

the

larger insects
upon
way, in

but

keepers game-

unrelentingwar
he,
young
once a

him, because,
a

as

they

assert,
or a

takes It the is
case

rabbit,

leveret,
prove which
a

pheasant.

difficult
of
a

to

negative, especially in
captures
till
are

bird

its

prey
can

by

night ;
and

but fair

young
care

pheasants,
themselves,

they

perch

take

of
or

pretty safe beneath

their mothers'

their foster-mothers'

wings, and
the other
even

the evidence
In
a

of
case,

the the

pelletsgoes
amount
narrow

quite

way.

any

of

good
of falls

he does,

from

gamekeeper's outweighs
His
and
a

field He

vision,

immensely
easy
a

the loud

harm. hoot

only

too

prey.

constantly proclaims his


of it

presence,

good

imitation

by

the

keeper'spractised lips will

68

OWLS

bring
to
a

brown close

owl
at ;

from

remote

part of the wood


he
can

tree

hand, where
and

be

picked

off

in

the

moonlight
is
of

if that

there is still the fails,

fatal

poletrap always ready.


often the

Cruelty
natural
of

ingenious. Dignity
the solemn
"
"

is

the

butt the

vulgar,and
owl
most

ance appear-

brown
"

potent, grave,
"

and his held

reverend queer about him into when when

seigneur
habits and

that

he

is

combined have

with been

the

beliefs which
course

him,
many many

has, in the
strange
awkward
were common

of

centuries, given

experiences
situations.
in
no

and

brought
was

him time

There and

kites

England,
The
;

performed,
office
of

there
in

were

drains, the
cities.

useful

scavengers of

our

great
then the his
was

romantic and

sport
it
was

falconry
to

was

at

its best

when

desired the brown fox's

bring
which
was

lumbering kite, the


view,
made
to to

quarry

of

falcon, within
owl brush best the

it

was

the
as a

unlucky
lure. made
A
to

act

tied

his

legs ;
kite

he

was

fly

as

he

could, and
the

his uncouth
"

appearance,

actingon
bird
of
"

of curiosity

very

inquisitive
distance

soon

brought
foe. owl brown
an

him

within

measurable

his nobler
a

Italian
to

bird-catchers, it is said,

tether

the

ground,

or

fix him

on

perch in

open

space

surrounded

by bushes,

and

DUCK

HUNT

69

the

small

birds

that

troop

to

mob with

him, find
which
the

selves thembushes

caught by
have been
But
a

the bird-lime

smeared. plentifully
worse

and
to

still more

unworthy
brown

fate

even

than
own

this

used

befall the
The

owl

among

our

forefathers.

belief, still prevalent


an

in

country
windows death of

districts, that
of
an a

owl
near

perching
him
for

on

the the

house

or

hooting
marked of
"

it,presages
out

inmate,
at
"

special

persecution
the so-called of owl rider
is
as was

the
duck

time hunt

family gatherings, and


a common

was

ment accompanithis wise.


and

Christmastide.
lashed
to

It back

was

on

An and owl

the

of
a

duck,

duck brown

were

launched

upon

pond.
to

The

not

altogether a
he has

stranger
been

water,

for, unlikely
as

it seems,

frequently seen,
to

the
a

Java fishing owl


fish and
carry

does, habitually
it
to

pounce But

upon

his

young. his

he

is well into the

frightened now.
duck,
as

He

digs
the

talons
to

deep
he

Europa clung
carried
more

faster

the

neck

of the

bull which
on

her

over

the

sea,

when

plunged
hold.

purpose,

to strengthenher deeplyinto it,

The
more

terrified he

duck

dives.
more

The

more

she
more

dives, the
she dives.
as

grips ;
owl

the

he

grips,the

tame

which is
a

has

dipped

itself in water,

he

loves

to

do,

lamentable

sight enough.

His

70

OWLS

fluffyfeathers

have

and lost all their fluffiness, His

are

glued
shrunk
his

to to

his side.

body,
size.

to

all appearance,
water

has

half its usual

The
his
seems

drips from
stand
out
a

venerable and
eyes

countenance,

eyes

doubly, pair
foot.
of

his and
a

whole
a

head
He

little else but


from
a

beak.

shivers
in

head
is

to
one

But
an

voluntary ducking
and which time
more

basin

thing ;
duck

involuntary
a

reiterated is tied the

ducking,
fast
to

in

pond, by
another.
the

duck

him, is
to

quite

Each owl

duck

rises

the
is

surface,
welcomed

looks

pitiable,and
of end

only by

the

pitiless laughter
an

the
to

onlookers, till death


his

by drowning puts
H.
so

sufferings.^
A

story

related

by

L.

Meyer,

the

well-known
and

blends ornithologist,

closelythe
are,
as

comic have

the
so

tragic elements,
intermixed
in

which

shown,
I
cannot

the

history of
of
for

the

owl, that
The

help giving gardener


master,

the

drift

it here.
some

wife

of

the the

had

been,

time, ill;

and

passing one
that
in

Sunday morning, by
tenant to

the cottage,
sons were

noticed dressed the but

its

and

his

two

black, and,

all appearance, He
to

plunged
it

in

deepest melancholy.
the
*

offered

his condolences,
was

husband

hastened

explain that
G.

not

My

Feathered

Friends, by J.

Wood,

p. 143.

SCOTCH

HUMOUR

71

the death
of

of his wife, it

was

only

the A

announcement

it, that
some

he

was

deploring.
over

brown

owl

had had

flown,
hooted
of

nights before,
the had

his cottage, and The


and

repeatedlyin family
of the wife

back-yard.
been

garments
now

the

long
was

shabby,
he

that

the that for


more

death

imminent,
if made
at

had

thought
serve

suits of the
next

mourning,
Sunday
service did
"

once,
as

would
as

services,
that
was

well
soon

for

the

sombre

so

to

follow.
what

Die

the mother
the which
one

very

soon

afterwards, and
and

between

boding
were

owl"

the

mourning
must

garments
have death.

already worn
think, many
not

for her, she times but before

died,

would does

her

Meyer
that

say

so,

I cannot

help
been of
a

thinking
Scotchman.
scene,

that
The

gardener
dour,
the the
best

must

have
humour

grim
of

the

the

making
economy,

both

worlds, the
"

delicious

domestic blacks north of


"
"

and

religious
Tweed. Scotchman
to

above
as

all, the

"

Sabbath the
of had
a

all mark

the story
Is it

coming

from

the
the

not

something
when he clearest who when

piece with
condemned for

who,
on

been

death,
of

the

evidence,
his

the

murder

his wife, and


came

Counsel,

liking his looks,


cell,and

to

visit him

in his condemned
no

him telling did

that

there

was

hope

of

reprieve,nor

he deserve

72

OWLS

it, asked
for

him

whether
"

he

could
you

do

anything
me
"

further

him,
to

replied:
wear
"

Could
the

get
?
"

my

Sabbath

blacks the

on

occasion
on

Yes/' replied
do you
"

Counsel ?
"

but
"
"

why
such

earth
was

want
"

them
a

"

It's

just

the

rejoinder

as

mark Let

of respect
me,

for the

departed."
conclude,
more

before make

I
one

lodge

one

more

protest

and

appeal against
common

the

pole-trap,which,
is still
many
too to

though
a

less

than

it was, in and
too
on

be

seen,

hideous the
game

appendage,
preserve,

green many

rides

in

picturesque
who has
seen,

knolls
as

amidst
I

the

heather.
a

Anyone
which which
to

have
every

done,

bird

is

so

interestingfrom
such
a

point

of

view,
note

lends

charm which

by

its
is
so

flightand charged
its

the

evening hours,
affection
from
a

with

natural

for

its young

and

belongings,
when,
to

hanging
eyes, and

pole-trap with

pleading,reproachful
agony
as so

perishing in prolonged
the

often

happens,
must

keeper

has

not

cared his

go

his

rounds,

feel his within

indignation and
him.
If he

compassion
not
a

deeply
law
"

stirred
his
own

does
to

take

the
law

into

hands
I

in obedience

higher

as,

confess,
a

have

often

done

"

and,

wilfully
of

guilty of
torture

petty
a

larceny, fling the


it will
not

instrument found

into

place where

be

again,

74

OWLS

owl's

feathers
or

which selfish

suggest
in
a

so

much
a

that

is

thoughtless
that
was,
no

woman,

practice tion, justificaseen,


a

doubt,
as

the
of

origin and
the

the

such
not

it was,

advertisement

long
:

ago,

by

Mr

Ward

Fowler

in

public-

house

"

Wanted

at

once

1000

by a London owls," The


number

Firm,

be

anathema
has

as

well.

of

owls Let

in the be

country

been and

diminished. terribly

them

encouraged
Let him he From
never

protected

in

every
as

way

possible.
rewarded that

the

gamekeeper
some

be rewarded
success,

I have

myself, with destroys,


the be but

not

for the owls that their be is

for of

the the Let


as

owls
case,

he

preserves.
can

nature

number

very in in

large.
Holland

the owl the


stork

regarded regarded
on

and and

protected

England,
All

protected
Continent.

and

other have

countries
once

the
many

parishes
in time
or

had

"

parisheshave
will
or

and still, wise

all may
"

have
or more

again, if people
"owl

only
owl

be

one

trees,"
be
"

barns,
the

owl
truest

belfries, which
sense

should
as

regarded, in
benefactors

of

the

word,

owl

sanctuaries," where
of

these

fascinatingand
may

venerable from

humanity

live

inviolate

generationto generation,

CHAPTER

II

THE

RAVEN

PART

I.

"

Descriptive
expressed
is
of
so an

IN there

the
is

last
no

chapter,
bird which it is
as

opinion
interest

that in

great
and
so

itself,and
for Owls
us

which
preserve,

so

important
various

imperative
the
of

to

the

species of
no

owl. birds

apart,
in view

there
of

is, I
their

think,

class and

which,

high physical
of

mental
of

development,

of

their

powers

imitation,
and

their
of

curiously alternating
their drolleries and for all
an

sociability
delicious

shyness,
when

their
fun

aptitude,
of

domesticated,

and

mischief,
centuries has the
is

their
and

ence, influ-

through
civilisations
"

the

earlier which
"

earlier
gone the
to

influence
and

not

quite

by,

even

now

here of

over

thoughts,
in

hopes

and

the

fears

man,

equal

interest

76

THE

RAVEN

the

crow

or

corvine

tribe. of the and the

That

tribe, it should

be

remarked the
crow

for the sake

general reader,
hooded,
the

includes the
to

itself,carrion
the

rook,

magpie,
them,
Each

jackdaw,

jay, and, closely akin


the Cornish

if not
one

actually of them,
birds
and
at

chough.
istics characterall
"

of these its own,

has the

noteworthy
head
as

of

of

them

as

much,
above and

perhaps, above
all other genera
"

them,

their genus
the

stands this

stands

subject of
raven.

the The

two
raven

followingchapters, the
(Corvus corax)
boldest, the
the
most

is

the

biggest, the
most

strongest,
the
most

the

cleverest, the
voracious
rarest,
"

wary,

amusing,
also

am

afraid
in In
an

I must

add, by

far

the
"

and kind.

that

ever-accelerating degree opinion of


some

of

its

the

of the

most

observant

of hill-and-field

naturalists, like
some

Macgillivray and
recent

Waterton,

and

of

of the

most

and

most

scientific strictly and


Professor

of

Professor ornithologists, he
takes
at

Foster

A.

Newton,

his the

place,for
head of his

reasons

which corvine

they family,
in it

give, not
but their of

only

own

all birds
"

whatsoever.

In

other

words,
record dethroned

judgment

though
without

it is

impossibleto
"

without the

regret and
of of

demur

he has
of

king

birds

himself, the

bird

Jupiter, the
of

wielder

the

thunderbolt, the

symbol

imperial

IN

SCRIPTURE

77

majesty
France,
bird
sun

and in

power

in

ancient in

Rome,
in

in

modern

Germany,
alone, it
eye

Austria,

Russia,
face

the
the

which with from

was

believed, could

unflinching,the
immemorial
moment at
man

royal, the
of

golden

eagle,
His
dim
a

his for
a

pride
the goes
of

place.
raven.

Glance

history of the
back
race.

connection and distant

with

to

the He

most

traditions

the

plays

characteristic
"Imbrium

part,

as

weather-wise
"

bird

"

divina

avis imminentum

"

who

did

not

always
of

do the the

what
most

he

ought

to

do, in the
venerable

earliest book

records

sacred

and

in the
(

world,

Bible.
out
a surer

Forthwith
And A

from

the

ark

raven

flies,

after dove."

him,

messenger,

In

later
is

record

of the

same

book, he plays
career

part

which

equally characteristic, in the


"

of the

prophet Elijah
"

The Food Tho'

ravens,
to

with

their

horny beak,
ev'n and
morn, from
to

Elijah bringing

rav'nous, taught
in the
as

abstain

what

they brought."
of
;

He the

appears

Chaldean
as

version

the story while

of

Deluge,
the

well

in

the

Hebrew

in the
are

Koran,

Mussulman

Bible, his achievements

78

THE

RAVEN

made Bible of the


;

to

begin
was

even

earlier
raven

than

in

the

Hebrew

for it

who, when

Cain, ignorant
did
not

first how
to

of sanitary science, principles

know

dispose

of the

putrefying corpse
he had carried
was

of his

murdered for
a

brother, Abel, which time, upon


him and

about,
sent

considerable
to

his shoulders, how


a

by

God

show

his descendants The bird killed and buried

it could
raven

be rendered

innocuous.

fellow

in the murderer's
and

presence,
a

forthwith, with
it out of

beak

claws, dug
The
raven

hole

and

sight.
at

was

placed by

the ancient

Romans

the head
as

of all the birds


were

of omen,

the oscines

(oscano),
their and of the

they

called

birds, that

is, which, by
the curious detail
or

weird

and

cries,possessed startling

enviable

of prescribing every privilege social life


"

publicand
that
"

commanding
of the supreme

this

forbidding
He
was

of the

even

so

a people. severely practical

again
the

sacred

bird and

Divinity of
races,
our own

all

Teutonic
of

Scandinavian
among sometimes

ancestors,

course,

them.
in

He
person,

was

the

companion, travelling
in of effigy,
or waves

always
the bark. with

the

"hardy
could other bird

Norseman,"
his
if
crow,
we

wherever

winds More him

carry
"

adventurous include which


"

than his

any

along
is, in

nearest

ally the
with

many

languages,

confused

him

he

attracted

the

IN

HISTORY

79

attention while the

of
swan,

Shakespeare.
which
14

It is worth

noting that

With

arched

neck
rows

Between Her
state

her with

white oary

wings mantling proudly,


feet,"
to

so

often the

and

so

referred exquisitely
an nightingale,"

by Milton,
favourite

and
of

"wakeful
most

equal

his, for the

patheticof

all reasons,

that, like

himself, she*
"

Sings darkling, and


Tunes her nocturnal
to

in shadiest

covert

hid

note/'
be
ten content

have,

each

of

them,
a

with

being

mentioned the swallow

only
and
to

modest

times

by Shakespeare,
themselves the dove
crow or some on

the

owl him

may
some

pride
twenty, the

being referred
has the

by

the eagle some thirty,

while forty,

raven

unique

distinction

of

being

mentioned fable

over

times. fifty

In the rich and

wide

region of
been

"

of

books, that is, some


into
and
more

of which ancient

have and

translated Eastern
a

languages,
and
as

modern,

Western,

have
cause,

had,

I suppose,

greater

influence, alike
current

picture, and
any
to

effect, upon
except
a

morality
"

than
as was

other be

book

the bird

Bible
of

the

raven,

expected from
a

his marked

character, takes
raven

prominent place.
pretty
much

In

fable, the

is

among

birds

80

THE

RAVEN

what the

the
most

fox

is

among the

animals,
most

the

most

adroit,
the
most
as

knowing,
among
as

ubiquitous,
all.
In in La
to

unscrupulous AZsop,
L'

them
in

Pilpay
Fontaine

in and
a

in Babrius
as

Phaedrus,
he
a serves

Estrange
and bird A

in

Gay,

point

many

moral

adorn whose and

many

tale.

literaryhistory begins with


with
and Elijah,
;

Cain,
name

with
to

Noah,

who whose

gave

his

the

Midianite
was

chieftain Oreb
observed
of
; ;

every

action

and the Rolf of

cry

and

noted and
in

down,
the
every

alike

by
of

descendants the

Romulus
occurs

ancestors

Ganger
of the
of

who

second the

play
most

Shakespeare
poem

who

forms Allan Random


of

the

subjectof
and

eery

Edgar
Roderick

Poe,
of the

enlivens
of

the the
of

pages Rookwood

of

Smollett,

Ainsworth,
bird

Barnaby
and
to

Rudge
mind with

Dickens,

is

whose

historical
;

literary eminence prethe of him

is

unapproached

while,

the also

patrioticEnglish naturalist, he

carries which
to
a

something
to
a a

of the

patheticinterest losing thought


The
cause,

always
state
a

attaches

lost

or

of

things,to
or

phase

of

or

to feeling,
or

people
is
;
"

to

an

individual, whether

man

beast, who

slowly passing away.


not

raven

is

passing
at

away

yet, I
is

am

glad
too

to

say,

from

the and

world much

large
wide

he

much

widespread

too

82

THE

RAVEN

cries, so
of Scotch
in

admirably harmonising
firs and which those
may

with

those
of

clumps
land moor-

expanses

wild

they

still, occasionally,be

found.

Secondly,
in the
of
case

my

chief

field of
not
so

observation much
in the

has,

as

of

owls, been
in

county
been
seen

Middlesex
"

which
raven

my

working
has been

life has heard


or

passed
for
or

for

no

wild

many
seen

years

past,
within

or

ever

will, I fear, be

heard
of

again,
"

some

fiftyor
of Dorset,
a

more

miles

London with dark


of

as

in the county

county

which,

its
fir

breezy downs,
marsh broken

its flint-bestrewn
streams,

uplands, its
its stretches

its limpid plantations, and

bog

and often

heather, its magnificent coastline,


into

deep

and

retired soil and

inlets,
climate that I

possesses

nearly

every

variety
In

of

suitable

for bird-life.

Dorset,

I may

add

have
seen

had

quite exceptional opportunities,as


of
a

will be home."
a raven

hereafter,
habits

studying
so

the

raven

"at
as

The
can

of

bird
at

"shy

and

sly"

be observed, the the

anything like
season,

close the does

quarters,
natural
so

only
tion affecto

during
of transform

breeding
parent
its

when
young

for

its

much
its

shyness
courage.
is
as

into

and familiarity,

slyness

into dauntless

The

raven

nearly cosmopolitan

as

any

bird

COSMOPOLITAN

83

can

well

be.
at

Roughly speaking,
intervals
over

he

is

to

be

found

scattered the which world. in South

much
"

the greater

part of that is,


of

northern contains To

hemisphere
two-thirds it
more

the
of

hemisphere,
all the land
not

the

put

while clearly,
Central Zealand of and
or

he is

found

America,

in

Southern
in

Africa,
is

in Australia, in New
found whole
more over

Polynesia,he
over

the

whole
over

North north
Asia.

America,

the
over
as

of

Europe,

the
of

of Africa, and He
to

than

three- fourths
as

penetrates
stretch he He
"

far northward

land

itself appears circle


extreme outer
"

well,
seems

that

is, into

the revel

Polar
in the

where cold.

to positively

is still in the

comparativelycommon
Orkney,
where
commoner a

in the and
set

Hebrides,
Faroe his

the

Shetland,
is often

the upon

Islands,
He navia. Scandiis

price
It is

head.

still in

Iceland

and
note

throughout
Odin be

to interesting

that, in nearly all


once

the

regions
sway,

in

which and

the

cult of
it may

held
some

supreme

where

well

that

lingeringrelics
the sacred

of the

vanished
stillholds

still survive, religion his


own.

bird of Odin Russia Corea


He in and

He

ranges
to

throughout
the
remote

Europe
the
some

and
more

Russia
remote

in Asia

still

Kurile

Islands.
as

gives

life, and
the

deals, perhaps,
of

much

death, amidst

wastes thinly-peopled

84

THE

RAVEN

Central
Mr Shan

Asia.

much-

travelled returned that croak he


is to

friend from is the be


on

of

mine,
Thian

Robert

Hayne,

just
me

the

mountains,
there.
and and

tells His

commonest
on

of all birds

heard the

the

Himalayas
mountains
the

the
on

Hindu Mount the

Kush, Elbruz,

Suliman

on

the the

Taurus, Balkans,

Caucasus,

and the

Lebanon,

on

the
range dawn

Alps
of of

and

Pyrenees, throughout
on

the
"

whole
as

the

Atlas,

Mount
and

Sinai, and
the

the

history and
seem

tradition
"

continuity of

bird-life
"

to

demand three

on

that

"huge boundaryTurkish,

stone

where

the

empires, Russian,
Mount Ararat.
:

and

Persian, still meet,


To
come nearer

home

on

the

mainland
tion, persecu-

of

Scotland
the

and
raven

Ireland, in spite of incessant


maintains wild deer
a

precarious
and

existence of
I

amongst
the have
fast many

the

forests In

the

grander
as

mountain

peaks.
he
midland rocks has

England, though,
or

remarked,
from the

vanished

is

vanishing
on

districts,he
and

still breeds

of the which

rifted mark

the

lands precipitous headTill still


"

its coast-line. he
on

lately
"

I do
on

not

know

whether
and

does

so

he and

bred
on

Flamborough
Freshwater
seems

Beachy
the Isle

Head,
of

the he of

Cliffs in

Wight.
to

But
coasts

to

cling

most

fondly of

all

the

DORSET

COAST

85

Cornwall,
a

of

Devon,

and

of the

Dorset.

In
coast

walk from

of the

moderate

length along
watched
I have

Cornish

Lizard, I have
about their
nests.

three
seen

pairs
and

of

ravens

busy
of them

heard

on repeatedly

the and and

splendid stretch
Bolt Salcombe
in

of coast,
runs

including
between
;

Bolt

Head

Tail, which
South

Thurlestone in
a

Devon
coast

while,

rather

longer walk
Cliff
to

along
St

the

of

Dorset,
I

from known
to
rear

Whitenose
at

Alban's
ravens

Head,

have

least four

pairs of Swyre
Cliff would

rearingor trying
would
be

their young.

Head

hardly be
Gad Cliff
"

Swyre

Head,

Gad

hardly

Studland,
owner,

where

they
be without
or

are

preserved by strictly
Studland
"

its

would
and

hardly

without

its

pair

of ravens,

also, I
foes of

am

glad
ravens,

to
a

add, the

hereditaryfriends
peregrine falcons.
I say old birds
and

the

pair

of

they try

to

rear

their young

for while of
of

the

generallytake good enough


keep just
young,
out

care

selves them-

of

the
at

range

shot, the
to

heavy-bodied
bestir hidden the
more

when,

last, they begin


from

themselves, often flutter down


as

their nest,
on

it is beneath

an

overhanging rock,
even

to

accessible
where

ledges, or
may
to

to

the

beach
The
as

below,

they

easily
their

be

captured.

price they fetch, owing

unique attractions

86

THE

RAVEN

pets, from
so

the
some

bird
ten

dealers
or

in Leadenhall

Market,
"

is
a

high
the

"

fifteen
in

each shillings
But

that

brood that

is

rarelyreared
the

safety.
for the

it is

probable
may

high price paid


secure

young

birds the

help to
cragsman, who

safety of
rope

the and

old ; for

expert

carrying his
be found
at

his life in his hand,

is to
or

the

of neighbouring villages is
too

Chaldon
own

West
to

Lulworth,
kill the goose

much

alive for

to

his

interest eggs.

that

lays

him

the

golden
What

is the

raven

like ?

He

is

highly symmetrical
and dignified,

in form.

In
one

bearing,he
would

is grave,

sedate. fund
am

No

suspect
or

the fun, the


"

perennial
I chiefly, His

of humour,

conscious
"

unconscious which

convinced, the former

lies behind.

walk when
every

and is,like himself, stately he is

deliberate, especially
and which well alike

searching the
and up
corner

sea-shore food
so

prying
may

into

nook

for any

have
as

been
in
one

thrown line of

upon

it,never

described for its

remarkable Virgil,
:

rhythm

and

its alliteration

"

Et

sola in sicca in

secum

spatiatur arena."

And

stalks

statelysolitude

along

the

dry
but

sea-sand."

His

eyes

are

exceptionally bright ;
as

they

are

of

small

size,

also

are

his

nostrils, for what

they

HIS

APPEARANCE

87

have
and

to

do.

It

is in

probable

that

both
an

nostrils

eyes

help
any

him offal

discovering,at
that has that been could
any
"

amazing
into have that
upon

distance,
the

thrown
never

ditch, any
to

sicklylamb
turned into

lived has
his

be

mutton,"

sheep
"cast"

been

rendered

helplessby being
of his

back. With

the

exception
the

eyes,

which

are

dark

grey

or

brown, and

gracefuland
all

pointed
to

feathers be shot

of his

neck, which, in certain

seem lights, over

with

purple, he
and
are

is The

black

"

feathers, legs,
cover

claws,
the

toes.

stiff bristles
;
so

which

half
;

beak

jet black
true
"

is the

beak
never

itself

and

it

is strange mention and


see

but
of

though
"

I have the

seen

any

the

fact

that
are

inside black.

of

his

mouth
to

his how

tongue country

itself

also

It is easy

folk, struck
his sable
coat,
as

by

the

completeness
well
out
"

and

intensityof
must

might
well
as

conclude be black, the

that he that and him be


or a

be black
;

inside

is, at heart

while his

others, charmed

by

gloss

brilliancyof
as

colouring,might
beauty,
to to

well

regard

almost

an

ideal of

which the

it would
dark eyes of is
as a

delicate of

compliment
beloved.

compare

hair
lover fine

their

What Solomon
are

says

the
"

bride head

her like

in the

Song
his

of

His

gold ;

locks

bushy,

and

black

88

THE

RAVEN

raven."
in

Or

read

the

exquisitedescription of
:

Ellen

The

Lady of the
"

Lake

And Such Whose The

seldom wild

was

snood

amid

luxuriant

ringletshid,
to

glossy black plumage


of the

shame

might bring wing."


Ovid Stone of

raven's

pathetic story
the
raven
"

is told

by

the

way

in

which
at

like the
was once

Black
of

in the

Kaaba but of

Mecca,

which

dazzling whiteness,
black

since sinful

then, has
mortals
"

been

turned his

by

the

kisses

acquired happy
his bird
as

sable
love

hue. of

Apollo nymph
the
was,

thought
Coronis.
raven,
at

himself But

in

the

the

ignorance was
and
snow,
to

his bliss ; and which

his

favourite

messenger,

that

time, white
and

always
about

prying
them,

into covered dis-

secrets

then her

ready
heart
was

prate

that the

elsewhere, and

informed shot
a

god
it
own

of it.

Infuriated into her

by jealousy,Apollo
bosom,
vain in vain did did
and

far-reachingarrow
when
to
was

repented only
have
recourse

too

late.

In
;

he

his

healing arts
*'

he shed

Tears

such

as

angels weep."
the

His

last sad beloved

office
on

was

reverentlyto place
funeral
pyre
;

body
he

of his

the

and

then

90

THE

RAVEN

dignityand
of
"

seventy,
now

than

that
upon

with
his

which

the

god

prophecy
Went
a

turned

guiltymessenger.
Dost thou dare
to
so

not

my
to

heart with

thee ?.
Never

add

lie

thy guilt?
of closed of

henceforward,
upon

long
shalt

as

the

figsare
taste

hanging
water

green

the

trees,

thou
was

from

the

spring."
to

The
a

incident

but, it, half

according

Ovid,
it would

strange
seem,

memorial and half the

punishment,
The

reward,
bowl

remained.
ever

raven, seen,

the
in

snake, and
the

have,

since, been
the

heavens, side
contains the

by

side ; and all


was

constellation

which

them
or

long

called

by

nomers astro-

Corvus

Raven.

Influenced undoubted

by

such

legends,and
of the
"

by

some

of the speare Shake"

characteristics
of and

raven,

is fond

contrasting his
innocence
but

black

arts

with

the whiteness
"

of the dove.
I love
raven

Not Who

Hermia,
will
not

Helena
a

: a

change

for

dove

"

cries So
says:

Lysander
the

in

A of

Midsummer
in Illyria,

Night's
Twelfth

Dream.

too,

Duke

Night,

"

I'll sacrifice the To

lamb

that

I do

love,
a

spite a

raven's

heart

within

dove."

So

again,

the

violent

outburst

of

Queen

Margaret

WHITE

RAVENS

91
"

against
in whom
"

the her

"good
husband
a

Duke

Humphrey
still has

of Gloucester,
:

implicittrust
are raven.

Seems For Is he For

he

dove

?
as

His
the skin
are

feathers hateful is the

but

borrowed,

he's
a

disposed
? inclin'd

lamb

His
as

surely lent him,


ravenous

he's

wolves."

And,

once

more,

read
in

the
terms

impassioned
of

utterances,

the contradictions

the

love-lorn
may

Juliet,
her

when
from

she
her
"

hears
Romeo

of the
:

deed

which

separate

BeautifuJ tyrant
Dove-featured

Fiend

angelical! ravening
lamb !
"

raven,

wolfish

A be
as

white much of

raven

was

supposed by
black

the ancients

to

an

a impossibility,

contravention
swan.

of the

order

nature,
a

as

Phalanthus,

when
an
"

besieged in
that

town

of Rhodes,
remain

having

received
town

oracle till ravens


in

he

would

master
secure

of the
as
"

became

white," felt as
"

Macbeth

did
"

his

castle, till

Birnam But

wood the

began

to

move

towards

Dunsinane."

commander

of the
some

besieging army,
ravens

hearing
gypsum

of the let

oracle, rubbed
them the loose.
town
are

with
on

and

Phalanthus,
in

seeing them,
is
now

abandoned
known
as

despair.
apparent
swans

It

well of
nature

that
white

there

such black

freaks
are

ravens,

and
swans

also

known

to

exist.

Black

"2

THE

RAVEN

are

common even

enough
white
in the
"

in Western

Australia, and
the
raven

pied
been
and

and

varieties Outer

of

have

observed
in Iceland.

Hebrides,

in the

Faroes,

I have

seen,"

says

Boyle, in Johnson
have
in the

his book
wrote

On

Colour

"

published before
and somewhat he which

Dr

his

Dictionary,
the
raven, to

described perfunctorily often Tour be


seen,

might

had

he
as

cared
"

notice

it, in his
to

Hebrides,

largeblack fowl, said


whose
seen a

remarkably voracious,
to

and have
as

cry

is

pretended
there
in

be
as

ominous
to

"
"

"

white perfectly
"

raven

bill, as
not, in

well

feathers
a

and
raven

is, if I mistake
the Albino
case

just
the

such

white
Museum.
is

British
How

it,
is

we one

may

well

ask,

that

the

raven,

whose

croak

of in

the

most

awe-inspiring and
not,

sounds sepulchral the rule which

nature,

has

according
in

to

generally holds languages


a name

good
which

such

cases,

received
"

in all

is onomatopoeic

expressive,that
korax
the is French

is, of his

cry?

The The

Greek Latin
cuervo,

name

admirably

imitative.

corvus,

corbeau,

the and

Spanish
the

the

Italian
craw,
crow

corbo, the Cumbrian


the and

Northumbrian

croupy
words
muster.

Highland

corbie craw, with

English given

croak, connected
strange

him, will pass


names

The

thing is

that the

ITS

FOOD

93

him
among

by

the

Teutonic he
are was

and

Scandinavian and
most

nations, honoured,
to
"

whom

best known
said

though
derived
make
one a

they
from

by

Professor

Skeat

be
to

root
are

"krap,"
not

Latin

"crepare,"
of

sound/'
the
many

speciallyimitative
sounds "hraefu" he
or

any

of
are

remarkable

makes.

Such the

the

Anglo-Saxon
"hrafu,"
Dutch
"

"hrefu,"
German

Icelandic

the

Old

High
Danish
"

"hraban,"
the German
"

the

raaf," the

"ravn,"
and,

"rabe,"

the

English
note

raven,"
;

perhaps,
offer any What

Ralph."
about the but

only
it. food

the

fact

I cannot

explanationof

of

the

raven

?
"

what some-

unsavoury

interesting part
of his

of the

subject,
of his

and his

highly illustrative
to adaptability
raven

strength,his sagacity,
Like
sense

circumstances.

most

tribe, the
omnivorous.
a

is,in the strictest


His

of the word,
a worm

dietary
certain
and

ranges months

from of

to

whale.

During

the then
to

year,

he

feeds

largelyon
good.

grubs

insects, and
he
and

he does

unmixed

Sometimes,
Snakes
to

takes

berries,
moles

fruits, and
never come

grain.
amiss
;

frogs
rats

and
is

him.

Of

he

ately passiona

fond the
raven,

and
massacre

when,

after the
of
rats

threshing of
taken range of his

rick,

usual
if

has wide

place, the
scent

they

are

within

the

94

THE

RAVEN

or

his

sight, is
"raven"

sure

to

present
"

himself is

and
not

claim derived

his share. from


not,

If the
"

word

ravenous"
Skeat believe

as

Professor bound
to

tells him what


;
"

us

it

is

and be has
so,

we

are

it

might
raven

well
ever

for

it
ever

exactly
is, and
own

expresses
ever

the
and
to

been,
to

will be
has

when,

in

addition of the

his
or

voracity,he
"young
game,
ravens

supply
cry,"
"

that
he

five
to

six

that will
a

is bound

fly at
nest

higher
of

and

lift

"

without
a

scruple a
When
some

partridge's eggs,
is built,as rock it which its

rabbit, or

leveret.

his

nest

generallyis,
quite
ceals con-

beneath
it
sometimes

overhanging
view from be discovered short
to

from

above,

position

may

by
grass

the
on

remains the
"

of rabbits,

neatly laid,in the


in what
I
was

top of the cliff,


larder." and
But
a

going
an

call his of from


raven

larder

implies
it is
ravens

amount

economy

self-

restraint, which tendencies,


the
which

apart
not
:

his
to

purely

secretive
"

in the

practise.
sow nor

sider Conreap
;

for

they

neither
nor

neither

have
A

storehouse rabbit
warren

barn

and

God
far

feedeth
distant
as

them."
from
sun

is,generally, not
and the young

the raven's themselves On


one

eyrie;

rabbits,
fall

they
easy

in front

of their burrows, the he had old


warrener

an

prey.

occasion
me

at

Whitenose

Cliff told

that

counted

the

RESPECT

FOR

NEIGHBOURS

95

parent
within
season

birds
an

bringing
to

as

many

as

five

rabbits As
of

hour
on,

their
the
raven

clamorous varies the eggs


on

brood. the diet

the
his

gets

nurslingsby giving them


or

of the

cormorant

the

seagull
He will

which

he
them

finds with

the

adjoining
carry

ledges.
them
burrow for

spike
;

his bill and


at

off in

triumph

he

will even,
a

times,

enter

the

of the

and puffin, of her

will battle-royal eggs,


a

take

place
it is
not

the the

possession
earth. with
a

beneath small

the

surface

of

The

puffin is
razor-like
at

bird, but

armed
beat

huge

bill which, if it does least


a

the intruder

off,will

give

him
to

squeeze

which

he will remember
on

for
;

long
at

time

come.

All this of the


"

occasion
"

but
to

other

times

sort

truce
raven

of God and

seems

be

established

between There between free


of
as

his

nearest

neighbours.

is,

apparently, an
them the

honourable

understanding
are

that, being his

neighbours, they
their eggs, he

guild ;
are,
are

and

he

will leave

exposed

they
which

quite unmolested,
more

while

carries
a

off those hill fox in the


"

remote.

In like manner, the


near

Scotland
and

will often

leave
are

poultry and
his "earth

geese

the

turkeys which

severely
toilfully
of self-

alone, and
to

will travel past which


no

them, for miles, by night,


will have
to

get

others
He

he

carry

home.

wishes,

doubt

from

motives

96
to preservation,

THE

RAVEN

be

on

good
can

terms

with
most

those harm.

who,
So,
A.

if

they are
a

so

minded,
of
ravens

do

him

too,

pair
from

watched
year,
at

by

Professor

Newton,

year

to

their inland from which

breedingmolesting
abounded

abstained place in Norfolk, carefully the

sheep
moles In

and

lambs

and

game

within the

their

sight, and
burrows

lived
were

almost further food

entirely upon
away. is scarce,
a

whose

moorland will
or even

districts, where
without

the

ravens

attack
a

scruple
has
and been has He his

newly-born
"cast." noticed
His
to

lamb method be the


so

sheep
the

that

is
from

always

same,

been goes

the earliest
one

times. of

straightat
beak will

eye,

which
"

blow that his

powerful
at

destroy.

The

eye

mocketh

his father, and


ravens

despiseth to
it."
of

obey

mother,
and

the

of

the

valley shall pick


eat

it out, oculos
was

the

young
"

eaglesshall
out

Cornicum the

configere, to dig
a

the

eyes

ravens,"

proverbial expression
our

used bit."

by Cicero, equivalentto
Another

proverb
true

"

the

biter
as a

English proverb,
of fact in Natural
don't

enough
"

generalstatement
that
"

History, tells us
een

hawks Bankes
of

pick

out

hawks'
in

but
a

Mr

Ralph

of
ravens,

Kingston Lacy,
was

Dorset,

great Cain

protector
in

the

eye-witness, like exception


to

the

Koran,

of

curious

the

rule,

98

THE

RAVEN

crack

with

his

he bill,
upon

has the

been

seen

to

carry

high
round
one

in air and

drop
and

rocks. Scotland

The

islands

the the he

west

north

of

still afford
of the
raven

of

best is at

fields for the work. used


And
to

observation

when

who, Macgillivray,
them the their with
a

some

sixty

years

ago,

watch
up

telescopefrom
has

huts

he

had

put

for
of

purpose,

given

graphic description
gist of
When first which
a

modus

operandi, the

I
raven

reproduce.
discovers
a a

dead

sheep,he always
from

at alights

considerable and
utters
a

distance low

it,looks
He then
eyes

around, carefully
advances
nearer,

croak.

in his queer

sidelong fashion,
closer
"

his prey

and wistfully,

then, plucking up his courage,


makes
of
"

leaps

upon

him
no

and
cause

examination.

Discovering
is, of
a

alarm he

no

that suspicion,
a

trap
out
an

or

poison
eye and

gives
of

louder

croak,
and and

pecks
devours

part

the

tongue,
raven,

them.

By
another

this

time, another

another, and

will have

arrived, when
continue
or

they
to

dig
on

out

together the intestines, and


carcase

feed

the

till

they

are

sated

disturbed.
a

Sometimes
or even a

greater

black-backed
a

skua, a gull,

fox,

dog,
in

will have feast.

"look

in," and

be allowed will

to

join

the

Ferns

convivialis, "he
Linnaeus

banquet

with

wild

beasts," says

terselyof

PASSION

FOR

SOLITUDE

99

the had
names

raven.

He

was

probably describing what


seen

he the

himself

often

in

Sweden
or

and
crow

one

of

by

which

the

raven

corbie is said

is known

in the

Highlands, "biadhtach,"
meaning.^
a

to

have

much

the

same

If

whale
one

be

thrown

ashore,
how,
creek

the

good

news

spreads, no
"

quite knows
and

along
and

Island

promontory,

bay,"

throughout
sense

the

Hebrides.

The
; on

raven

is, in
contrary,
tolerate

no

of
a

the word,
for

gregarious
solitude.
own

the will the

he
no

has

passion
even

He

rival,not
of

his

in offspring, throne.
as

hood neighbourthem shift for

his

ancestral
as soon

He
are

drives

ruthlessly away,
themselves.

they

able
like be

to

But,

on

an

occasion

this, his
Other
have
up

voracity
ravens

overpowers in

his
twos

wish and

to

alone.
till

drop
counted

by

threes There

they
take

been

by

hundreds.
and
even

they

their abode, for weeks


carcase

months,
On

tillthe
one

huge
the

has

been
of

picked
a

clean.

occasion,
that
an

the

inhabitants

small
ravens

island

feared end
to

prolonged
on

stay of the

might
was soon

in

attack
to

the

barley crop
their
*

which

ripen and
must

supply

illicit whisky

stills.

Something

British Macgillivray's

Birds, i. 498 seq.

100

THE

RAVEN

be done.
some

crafty cragsman
ravens on

managed

to

capture

of

the
at

the with

ledge
sleep

on

which food. of
in

they
He their the all

roosted

night, heavy
tails, and
The

and

plucked wings
their

off all their

feathers, except
turned them either their their

those adrift

and

morning.

othe"r ravens,
to

with failing,
uncanny
own

acuteness,
or

recognise
them

piebald
fate,

comrades,
left the
I

reading in
not to

future

island,

return.

have

said

that the

the
cry

raven

is
"

very

solitary
"

bird, except
colossal the

when

of
to

carrion
up,

afield
a

on

scale, causes
his which
my
own

him
kind.
came

put
two

for

time, with

society of
one

But

exceptions to the
my

rule,
other

of

under

brother's, the

under

notice, Smith,
becomes

are

worth

recording.
me on

Colonel
in

Walter

Marriott
raven

R.A.,

tells

that,
the

winter, the
of the
seen

gregarious
Northern
a

margin
I have

hills and
them the
no

plainsin
on war.

India.
barrack

by

hundreds

vacated I

near

Peshawur, during
one

last

Afghan
human
to

have
was

also watched

of

them,

when

other

being
the fowls'

visible,regularly
enclosure

stationinghimself
at

opposite

big wire

Peshawur,

and arid

their

sounds, superiority.

to setting to work ridiculingthem, with

imitate systematically
an

air of contemptuous

My

own

experience
The
green

was

at

Athens,

in

January

1898.

hill slopesof Lycabettus, the lofty

CONVOCATION

101

outside and
ravens,

the

city, which
in

so

dwarfs

the

Acropolis
*itk

the

Areopagus

within

it,

were

dotted

walking
anon,

about

groups

of

threes
the
for
was

or

fours,
of

and,
about

congregating together,to They


was were

number purposes
a more

seventy.
"

not

there
It

of carrion serious have

there

none

about.

business.
more

No sober

clerical
and

convocation
; nor,
so

could far
matters
as

looked

sedate
more

appearances
to

went,

could
were

have

weighty
? the

discuss. the

Why

they
consisted which

there of

My

theory is
birds
sent

that

convocation
year

young

of the about curious

previous
their

had

recently been
and,
all the

business

by their parents,
met

by

coincidence, had
of
to

from

adjoining
were now

parts
about
career.

Greece take

at

the
most

metropolis,and
choose for
to
a

the
were

far-reachingstep
to
a

in
not ;

their for
a

They
or

about
years,

mate,

year,

term

of

but

lifetime

and
never

raven,

it is to
to

be

remembered

his credit, is

false

his choice.

One abroad visit the


as

other
should

interesting experience
be mentioned

of
was

raven

here.
and arches du
went

on

to

the

site of

Carthage
several Pont the

out

to

view

Roman

aqueduct,
as

of

which, nearly
still march On

high
a

those

of

Card,

across

remote

plain in stately procession.

the

102

THE

RAVEN

top 6l" one


on

of

these,
side
of bird of

big
it,a

owl
raven

had had

built

her

nest ; a

:the: other
mixture

built

hers

curious

associations,
of Pallas
on

and archaeological

the religious,

and
a

the

bird

of

Odin

nestling together in amity,


the which the
to

building reared
and

by
and

Roman

worshippers

of

Jupiter

Juno,

long suppliedthe

wants

of the descendants

of

Phoenicians, who
their ancestral
The bill of
stout,

clung,with desperate tenacity,


of Baal
is
a

worship
the
raven

and

of Ashtaroth.

formidable
curved

weapon, towards it

strong,
the
answers

sharp
is

at
one

the

edges,
of
or

tip.
of the

It

his

weapon

offence, but
Like he
a

the

purpose

of

two

three.
whom
as

the

dirk

Highlanders,

among

is stillso
or as

often
a

found, it is

equallyavailable
can

dagger
as a

carving-knife. It
It
can

also
rat at

be
one

used

pair

of its

pincers.
head into

kill with
one

blow, crush
and

pulp

squeeze,

then, with asunder,


the

its
or

powerful pull, can


stripoff
It
can

tear

the

muscles from the

the

flesh

in

small

morsels

bones.
a

drive

its beak deal


it
a

right through
a

spines of

hedgehog
it will
never

and

death-blow. If this
any

It is said

that

attack
so

man.

be
of

true,

it is, I
as

think,
from pay

not

much

from

defect

courage,

his and

keen what

intellectual will
not.

perception
raven,

of what still
more

will
a

and

INFLUENCE

AT

ROME

103

pair of them,
skua

will beat Iceland


It

off and

mob
sea

the
or

formidable

the gull,
itself.

falcon, the
even

the
not

golden

eagle
necked beak

will
on

engage

in

wholly long-

unequal

combat,

the

ground,
blow
of

with whose

the

heron,
would

one

direct
on

spear-like
Romans,

kill him

the

spot.
the

Three the
masters

compliments paid by striking


of

the

art

of

war,

to

the

strength and
beak
may

formidable mentioned

nature

of

the

raven's

be

here.
was

First, it
goes,

nothing
which,

but

the

help, as
on

the

story
of

of
Roman and

raven

perching
Valerius,
the

the

helmet

the
beak
to

champion, wings against


secured the

and

striking with
Gaul and

gigantic
for
own

opposed
gave
to

him,

victory
his

Rome
name

Valerius,
which he

in consequence,

of Corvus, afterwards.

bore

as

name

of honour
but

ever

Secondly,
the end of

it

was

nothing
and Punic

the

spike

fixed

at

the

mast

drawbridge
war,

invented

by
its

Duillius, in the first


resemblance
to
a

and

called, from
or

raven's
on

beak, the Corvus


the deck
of
a

Korax,

which,

when

it fell
to

Carthaginian
and
to

vessel, pinned it

itself in
a

fatal

embrace,

so,

changing
her

the

sea

into

land the
same

battle, gave
masters

Rome
sea.

first naval

victory over
more,

of the
name

And,

once

the

terrible

of

104

THE

RAVEN

destiny was
which
now

given
tore

to

the

grappling-hook or engine
from

down
now,

stones

the

walls
on

of

besieged city,and
walls of
up

again, when
a

planted
sudden the

the

the
one

besieged, would, by
of the

swing,
and

whip

besiegers from city.


even

ground

flinghim
More

far into memorable


and

the

than
of

these the

tributes is

to
one

the

strength
by
the

courage

raven,
to
a

rendered

the

same

stalwart

people
of

bility, the sociatame

cleverness, the

mischief

bird,
whole

which

had The

managed

to

become excited
ago,

the pet
at

of the

city.
in
tame

indignation
a

Saltburn-on-Sea,
the of killing
a

Yorkshire,
raven,

few

years

by

the favourite, for years,

of its inhabitants

and may,

its

summer

visitors, by
be

thoughtless tripper,
;

perhaps,
which
and

still remembered Daniel


possesses

and
a

at

Bland-

ford, Dr
raven

Williamson
roams

magnificent
and

freelyover
death Lord
not to

the

town

bourhood, neighas a

whose

would Portman's

be

regarded

calamity

even

by

keepers, who,
ravens

do unfortunately,

spare
nest

the
in

wild his

which
But
a

occasionallystill try
no

domains. do for

English
Elder,

town

would,

suppose,

tame

raven

quite what
with

imperial Rome
every

is related, by of time

Pliny
and the
In

the

circumstance
one

place,to

have

done

for

bird. particular

106

THE

RAVEN

offerings
crowd
of

"

of

every

description,
followed

while

an

unnumbered the which solemn had miles level


of

mourners

after,
funeral

till

procession
been from

reached

lofty
the then

pyre,

constructed the
of

on

Appian
and

Way,
there,
on

two

city ground
in

and

in

spot

called

Rediculum,
of M.

the

28th
and

March, Cestius,
rest

the

consulship
ashes the
of

Servilius

C.

the

the

favourite
of

were

laid Valerian

to

among Cornelian

magnates
families. remarks

the

great
was

or

Such

the the

tribute,
character

quaintly
and

or

grimly (ingenium
which the and

Pliny, avis)
of
a

to

genius
the

murdered

raven,

by
or

city

had murder

not

cared
of

to

investigate
^Emilianus,
and

revenge
conqueror !

Scipio
of

the

destroyer

Numantia

Carthage

CHAPTER

III

THE

RAVEN

IN

POETRY,

HISTORY,
FOLK-LORE

HAGIOLOGY,

AND

THE

raven,

as

have

already
the he in has

pointed king
of

out,

has and

right
view

to

be the

considered

birds,
in

in

of and

large
mediaeval

part
;

played

history,
in in

ancient

literature,
and

especially
;

poetry,

ancient,

mediaeval,
and
some

modern it

in

art,

religious
before
I

legend,
relate

in

folk-lore,
my
own

may

be

well,
with

of

experiences
to

him,
which which

to

devote have

separate
had
turn,

chapter
him,
over

the
the It and

thoughts
influence is
ject sub-

men

about
had interest dealt
creators

and them.

he
which

has,
is I

in

full

of

in

itself with
in

has

never,

so

far

as

know,
often
of

been the

detail
as

before. the best

Poets

are

as

well in

exponents
as

popular
the

beliefs,

and

gathering
threads centuries
of

up,

best

may, from and

widely
many

scattered

the
and

subject,
countries

so

different
I

languages,

shall

have

frequent

108

THE

RAVEN

IN

POETRY

AND

FOLK-LORE

recourse

to

them,

and How

quote

somewhat would

largely
ask,
appear
to to

from

their

writings.
that with

is it, I
some

begin with, regard


him

while

nations with look

affection,
others

respect,
upon

with

religiousveneration,
fear, with
in
some

him
is it

with

hatred, with
latitudes, he
is

disgust?
sacrosanct,

How
in

that,
an

others,

outlaw
A

and

an

ogre?
may
raven

prophet
the
as a

be

prophet
been

of

either

good

or

evil, and

has

almost

universally

regarded

prophet
I would I would

of evil.
like
a

"

croak

raven,

bode,

I would

bode."

Is

it best

to

propitiate or by
the

to

ignore

and

defy
he

him?
was

When

observed

Roman
was

augurs,

on generally

the left hand, and he


not
over

therefore

ominous

of

ill; and

only, it
it, he

was

believed, foresees
to

evil, he

gloats
and breath

helps
and
In

bring
death,
he

it
are

on.

Danger
him the

disgrace, disease
of his life. the

to
a

them

holds

ghastly revelry.
of

Like

splendid personification
Lost, he
"

Death afar.

itself in Paradise

can

sniff them

from

Death

Grinned His

horrible should
to

famine

ghastly grin to hear be fill'd, and blest his


hour."

maw

Destined

that

good

BIRD

OF

EVIL

OMEN

109

He

hovers
even

over

house

in

which

there

is to

be be

death,

before has

the

disease,
He flies
"

which

is to

its

precursor,

appeared.
it
as

brings infection

with

him, and
"

spreads
The The And Doth

he

sad-presaging
sick man's
in the

raven

tolls
in her

passport

hollow

beak.

shadow

of the

silent her

night
sable

shake

contagion

from

wing."

He

is

on

the field of battle, ready for the feast, long


carnage has

before

the

begun.
"'As when
a a

flock

Of

ravenous

fowl the

through
of

many
a

league remote,
lured flying,

Against
Where With

day
of

battle,to

field

armies
scent

encamped, come livingcarcases."


raven,

lie

And

it is the

according to place among

the

poets, who

occupies the
"

foremost

all

The And

birds

obscene

that

croak from

and

jar

sniff the

carnage

afar."

Thus,

Sir Walter

Scott lines
of evil
gave
:
"

assigns to

him

the

primacy

in the well-known
u

Each The And The And

bird
raven

omen

woke,
from

his fatal croak, the

shrieked screech fluttered

night-crow
from the the dell."

the broke

oak,

owl

thicket

down

110

THE

RAVEN

IN

POETRY

AND

FOLK-LORE

When

Alexander his of
return

the

Great

entered
remoter

Babylon,

in

triumph, on gathering
and

from there
was

the

East, the

ravens

believed, by Greeks
;

Orientals
remoter

alike, to portend his death West,


when

and

so

in

the

Guinevere,

her from

covered, guilt disher

had

parted, for the last time,


was

lover,
to

Lancelot, and
sanctuary
at

making

her

way

alone

the

Almesbury,
the
of spirits

"She Moan And

heard
as

the

waste

and heard
late

weald them
! too
moan :
'

she

fled,or
she

thought
moaned,
that
'

she Too

in herself

late !

Till,in the cold wind


A blot in

foreruns

the

morn,

heaven,
; and

the

raven,
'

flyinghigh,
He

Croaked

she

thought

spies a

field of death.'

"

In

more

modern centuries
"

times, the legend is well known


past,
name

which,

for

has
is of

connected

every

misfortune

and

their

legion
"

that with

has the have

happened
appearance the been

to

the great
of
a raven

House
; and

Hapsburg,

never,
we

I suppose, may

coincidences,
more numerous

or

whatever than The


in

call

them,
the

the

long reign of
of Francis of
sorrow

present
to

Emperor.
throne of with his

accession

Joseph
;

the

all its

weight
the
a

the

departure
and
to

brother
in

Maximilian
;

to

an

Empire
of the

his murder Maria

Mexico

departure
throne
in

Archduchess,

Christina, for

Spain

ITS

UNCANNY

POWERS

111

which Mexico
of

was

to

prove

hardly

less ill-fated than


of the
;
"

that
murder

in

the crowning tragedy lastly, Elizabeth


at

the

Empress
are

Geneva

all these time


and

events

affirmed, with
have been under
ravens.

every
or

detail

of

place, to
appearance,
raven or

heralded remarkable

accompanied by
circumstances,

the of
a

The his
cease means

mysterious, the
of

uncanny

powers for
a

of the raven, wrong, do


not

avenging
life.
a

himself

with
is

his

The

enchantress which

Medea,
to to

when
in

she

mixing
of the

by life-potion
the

restore,

defiance of his

Fates, her aged father


into

the

bloom
weird of

youth, drops
most

caldron, like the


herbs and and

the sisters, first,

potent
bones

simples
of best
seen an

her

country,
some

then, the

body

owl,
of

then,
the

slices of wolf, and, last and


and

all,
nine

head

beak
men

of

raven

who

had And

generations of
remotest

pass

away.
man,

so

in

the

West, the medicine

among he
is

the

North into

American the with

Indians, is said, when


to

peering

future,
their
on

carry

on

his
at

back

three
to

raven-skins his

tails fixed his

right angles
wears a

body,
so

while,

head, he
to

splitraven-skin,
formidable

fastened

as

let the the

huge

and
In

beak the

project
current

from

forehead. the
ravens

Sweden,
croak

it is

belief that

which

by night

112

THE

RAVEN

IN

POETRY

AND

FOLK-LORE

in

the

forest

swamps

and
persons,

wild whose

moorlands bodies

are

the been and

ghosts
have the
to

of murdered

have

concealed
not

there

by

their

undetected

murderers,
In

received of

Christian
a

burial.
in
a

Denmark,

appearance

raven

is supposed village while


in

portend

the

death

of

the

priest; village
that
a

Languedoc,
himself wicked

it is the

belief

wicked
a

priest is
and
a

changed,
nun

after
crow.

death,
In
some

into

raven,

into

parts
upon
assumes a

of

Germany,
;

witches, it is believed, ride astride


the
Evil
;

raven

and

One

himself,
in

at

times,

the

raven

shape
Central the

while

the

Tyrol,
is
a

and

other

parts
belief the
raven

of in

Europe,
"

there

widespread
stone

famous

raven-stone,"
from of the

which and

procures the
wort

somehow

the

sea,

which,
the
"

like"

"eagle-stone"
"

eagle,and
is

springto

of

the

woodpecker,

supposed
power

have

talismanic

powers,

especiallythe
Gyges
the
in

possessed
rendering

by the
any
one,

ring
who

of

antiquity, of
luck
to

has

good

ible. acquire it, invisstone to

The
nest,

raven

brings the mysterious


of her young has been

her and

when

one

killed

left within

it

by the

crafty marauder,

apparently
its throat, it life.
or

hoping that,
will
comes

when

it is her

placed
the

within
to

bring
the

back

dead

offspring
rock

Back
and

robber, climbs

tree,

114

THE

RAVEN

IN

POETRY

AND

FOLK-LORE

bird bolt

of the
from

Ravenswood
the their
crossbow

race,

was

struck

down

by

of

Henry
the

Ashton,
dress
"

and,

fallingat
with
some

feet, stained
of
to

of Do that

Lucy
you

drops
cries

his the

life-blood.

know,"
ravens

Edgar

murderer,
of

"

the

are

all under and


is

the that

protection
to

the
of

Lords
in

of

Ravenswood,
presence

kill luck

one

them

their the

such

bad

that

it deserves

stab?"
A bird
so

resourceful had
of

and
so

so

ubiquitous
a

as

the
in

raven,
two
so

which

played
the Old
to

conspicuous
and

part

episodes

Testament,

had

been
"

pointedly referred only bird,


from it

by

our

Lord

in the

New

the

should
He in

be

remarked,
a

except
"

the be

sparrow,
sure

which of the

draws the
record

moral
of

would

to

be

heard

the

trials and
of

the the
is

temptations, early
Christian be

failures
and

and

the

triumphs,
And,
taken

saints noted
or

martyrs.

what
of him

to especially

here, the view


is

in these

histories
may
; so

legends
be
were

always
to

favourable.
a

The

raven

almost

said

have

hagiology
rendered Paul
to
or

of his
to

own

great

the

services
and

he
St

St

Athanasius,
to

for

instance,
and

the
our

Hermit,
own

St

Benedict and St

St of

Vincent, Lincoln,
To

St Meinrad

Oswald

Hugh

to

St

of Einsiedeln

in Switzerland.

some

LEGEND

OF

ST

ATHANASIUS

115

of

these,

in their

cells,the solitary
often

raven

was

always

the

cherished
St

and

the

only companion.
his his rapidity learning, less

Athanasius,
his

who

by

of

movement,

no prophetic anticipations,

than

by

the

sanctity of

his life, won

for

himself, like
times,

Gerbert,
a

Pope

Sylvester the Second,


a

of later

great

reputationas

magician

among

the

mongrel
A

Graecowas,
raven one

Romano-Egyptian

population of Alexandria,
its great
square.

day, passing through happened


to

fly, croaking, over


round
"

his

head.
it

The
meant

mob

gathered
its croak. wit.
"

him
you

and

asked
"

what
he

by

Don't
is

know?
*

replied
'

with

ready

He
'

saying
'

Cras, eras/
'

morrow, To-

to-morrow

and

to-morrow

something
you.

which Your

you

regard as sad,
festival And it
in

will

fall upon certainly


be

Pagan

will

suppressed by
the

the
on

Emperor."
the
morrow,
most
or

suppressed by actually was.


One

Emperor,
wonders

which the

gained
raven

reputation with
St
as

the

populace,
had

the

saint.

For in the

seventy-five years,
desert, living down,
chief

Antony

lived alone
art

early Christian

in

all the the


one

of Europe picture galleries and

still testifies, One


of
;

temptations day,
he felt
in the

attacks

of

the
a

Evil

till,

something

like

touch
had

spiritual
attained.

pride

sanctity to

which

he

thus

116

THE

RAVEN

IN

POETRY

AND

FOLK-LORE

But
man

voice

came

from

heaven,

"

There
Me for

is

holier

than

thou, who
for

has lived with

in the desert,

not

merely
him

seventy-five,but
went ;

ninety years."
greater,
to

The
do

lesser saint

forth in quest

of the

homage

and, after three days' wandering, he

found

his cell and


were

humbly

craved !

admittance.
a raven

While
a

they

talking together, lo
and
set

brought
them.
"

loaf of bread

it down St half
to
me

between

For "has
now

sixty years," exclaimed


that
raven

Paul, the
a

Hermit,

brought
has
come

me

loaf

day
has

and

that
whole

thou

me,

see,

he
for
in
to

brought

loaf, half for


the afternoon

and

half

thee."
converse

They
sweet

passed
on nunc

and

evening
proved
of
next

things divine,
dimittis
to

which

be
two

veritable
;

the

elder
away

the

saints and the

for
was

he

passed peaceably
by
he the had

morning,
on

buried which

younger, consecrated

St

Antony, by
a

spot

his

hermit

life.
tion, termina-

Less

and striking,

with
to

less sombre
been
to

is the his
tame

service
on

said
one

have

rendered St
was

by

raven,
a

occasion,

Benedict.

Florentius,
his St the

who neighbouring priest,


sent

jealousof
loaf.
on a

had superior sanctity, Benedict

him

poisoned

divining his intention, flung the


and
no

loaf it
to

ground,

bade

his

companion

remove

place where

livingthing could

find it.

The

raven

ST

BENEDICT

AND

ST
"

VINCENT

117

did from

as

he

was

told, abstained,
it himself, and
to
came

though ravenous,"
back,
dole after three from of food

eating
hand And

hours' absence,
the of the what

receive

his usual

Saint. about St Vincent? and he He his He

is, perhaps,
less mark
to

less than the

universallyfamous
the
map

story
left his been

known upon

preceding ;
of

but

has
had

Europe.
at

put

death

torture, witty

Saragossa, and
to

his

body thrown,
;

by

the

order, tyrant's
off

the wild and the

beasts

but

they were
carried
*

driven the

by

raven,

body
buried

was

by

brethren

to

Valencia, and
the

there. the

turies Cen-

afterwards, when
turned with

Moors

took

placeand
Saint

the Christians
them the

out, the exiles went and

forth, carrying
as

body

the

relics of the

their greatest

treasure.

The
on a

ship which
promontory

bore
in

it and

them,

was

driven
were

ashore

Portugal;
again
since,
famous,
and

his relics

duly
after

reburied The

there, and

were

guarded by
been called

ravens.

promontory
St

has,
a

ever

him

Vincent,
of St

spot
Vincent

See
as

Appendix
told in

I. for
in
a

the

story

the

raven,
A.D.

verse,

South

1285, Bodleian who Wordsworth,


other done

with

It, too, will

My first brought it to notice, has, along my help, kindly given me a vigorous poetical paraphrase, difficult southern English. by himself, of the rather in the Appendix. be found

MSS.

English Legendary, circa Christopher friend, Canon

118

THE

RAVEN

IN

POETRY

AND

FOLK-LORE

perhaps, above discovery and by


Prince

all other

spots, in the
was

history of
the

naval

warfare, for this


the
"

spot

chosen of

Henry

Navigator"
his Madeira and
of it

for his school

seamanship, whence,
sailed which discovered

under

auspices, the

ships
Coast the that
of

the Azores, and the have West been


"

afterwards,
of
scene

explored
The

the

whole
round

Africa.
of
no

waters

less than
in

three

English
The

victories
in

of Sir

Rodney
Charles

1780, of Jervis and

Nelson

1797,

Napier
over
"

in

1833.

rock, where

the

raven

kept watch
the

the Saint's raven-rock


"
"

body,
El

is still called, Monte

by

natives,
as

the

de

las

cuervas,

it

was

called
"

by

the

Moors

themselves,
raven." of
our

or Kenisata-1-gorab,

the church

of the

When Saxon

St

Oswald,
man

the

most

eminent the
of

early
Bede
man

princes, the
as

whom Beloved

venerable

characterises
who Isle
sent

"the

God";
gave

the him
was

for

Aidan

from

lona, and

the
to

of

Lindisfarne, whence
far
;

Christianity
the

spread
mainland

and the

wide
man

among who died

heathen

of

the

and fighting-^-saint the


pagan

martyr

and of

king
Mercia,
and

in

one

"

against Penda
being
crowned

king

was

king

of the

Northumbria,

the
a

chrismatory containing
raven,
so runs

holy

oil

was

broken,

the

legend,

forthwith

appeared, carrying

in

his

bill another

ST

HUGH

AND

ST

MEINRAD

119

chrismatory,
himself
same,
a or

with

letter

affirming that
it ;

St
on,

Peter this with

had

consecrated
raven,
was

and,
sent

later

another

by the king

ring
the

and

letter,containing
of

proposal of marriage,
Deeds

to
are

maiden

his
in

choice.

these, which

duly
Oswald

recalled
in
some

the

artistic

representations of
in

St

of the called

fifty-sevenchurches

England
St Christian

which

are

after him.
one

Hugh

of

Lincoln,
the

of
course

the

noblest of

of

prelates in
like of other
birds

whole

English
Francis, death,

history, was always


when,
of his
in

saints, notably St
;

fond

and carried

long

after

his

1365, thieves
and

off the

jewelledrelic
threw watch
it

hand,
in
a

having stripped it bare,


raven

away

field, a
over

is said
was

to

have

kept
and

and
to

ward

it,till it

discovered

restored

its proper

resting-place. The
up
to

thieves, affrighted,
were

gave

themselves

and justice,

hanged
in

at

Lincoln. Once
over

more,

St

Meinrad,
now

who

dwelt the

cell
"

which
"

has
a

risen

monastery

of

Einsiedeln
"

noted

place of pilgrimage in by
found
two
no

land Switzer-

was

murdered deed
and
as

robbers,

who,

having
little inn the

done

the

booty,

took
to

themselves
a

off, undiscovered,
at

they imagined,
ravens

Zurich.

But

two

who

had

been

only

120

THE

RAVEN

IN

POETRY

AND

FOLK-LORE

companions croakings over


their
terror-stricken inn
and
stone

of

the

hermit,

pursued

them

with

loud

hill and

dale, and

then

kept flapping
tillthe The sin.

wings against

the window

of their room,

murderers

confessed called birds When


to
"

their The

has,
the
on

ever

since, been

Raven

Inn,"
in black visited

two
one

avenging
of its walls.
seem

are

carved

Longfellow
been
in his
"

it,the

murderers
; for

have thus

succeeded

by
"

extortioners of the
and sorry

he

writes

Hyperion

entertainment
:

that

he

received

there,

of its costliness
"

Beware 'Tis With And


a a

of the bird
a

Raven
omen

of Zurich

of

ill,
unclean

noisy
very,

and

breast,
*

very

long

bill ! "

The of
so

deeds
many

of

bird

which
or

the

sacred

traditions from

centuries,
to
as

millenniums,
Meinrad cherished
as or

the
of

prophet Elijah down


Lincoln,
represent
of
so

St the

St and

Hugh

faithful services
to

companion
of every

many

saints,
as so

rendering
to

kind
or

to

them,

ready

prevent,
of

detect,

to

punish crime, might,


a

almost

selves, themof

deserve the Acta But


*

place
from

in

the

magnificent folios
the

Sanctorum.
to return

the
Names

saints

to

poets

and

Quoted

in

Provincial

of British

Birds,

p. 91.

122

THE

RAVEN

IN

POETRY

AND

FOLK-LORE

It
"on
a a

is recorded
recent

in

Notes

and the

Queries, 1853, that


made

occasion"

relievingofficer
behalf scattered of
a

formal

application for relief,on

single

woman,

living in
near

the

wild

and in

villageof
as

Alternon,
unable
to

Launceston

Cornwall,
and
a

she

was

work
to

"through grief"
the

depression
raven over

of

mind,

owing

croaking
the relief
on

of
was

her
not

cottage.
know
;

Whether but
"

granted
"

I do

raven

the

nerves

would
and

ably probbody

produce
which
To

prostration
call for I
am

of

mind

might
this

well

it. that the old

day,

told

Highland
good

deer-stalker, when
to not

he
a

sallies forth

in the

ing early mornomen

"spy"

for

stag,

regards
"

it

as

"

for the stag, but


over

for himself hears what


see a

if he

sees

raven

hovering
it would

him

or

his croak. the stalker

The
can

raven,

seem,

knows he old "will

only day
the used

hope for, that


be

stag die

ere

the
in
"
"

spent."
"

In

times,
called the
"

particularbone
the raven's bone the
to

stag'sbody
to

hence
as

be

set

apart

perquisite of
he
came

prophetic
out

bird. and
to

What claim

wonder it ?

that

look

for

"

The That His

raven

on

the

blasted the

oak,
deer is broke

watching
morsel

while with

claims

sullen

croak."

THE

TWA

CORBIES

123

Well
suppose,

might Pliny, grounding


on

his

judgment,

the

of obviously superior intelligence that other


omens,
to

the

crow

tribe, remark
can

birds, eagles,
but the what
raven

owls, woodpeckers,
and
omens

give
seem

his

congeners

alone

realise

the

which If you

they give, portend.


to

wish

hear

or

overhear go
to

the Twa who

table-talk

of these

birds

of evil omen,
"

The

Corbies,
used
so

written
to

by

that

famous

poet

Anon.,"

excite
over

one's his been

boyish curiosityby the mystery


many and

that
note

hung
what almost

varied
its

poems,

and

has

well

called

"wild

vigour

and

fierce
"As
I

sincerity,"
was

walking
twa

all alane

I heard The
'

corbies the
we

making
t'other
and

mane

tane

unto

say,
dine

Where

sail

gang
auld
a new

to-day ?

'

'"In
I wot

behint there

yon lies

fail

dyke Knight
lies his
;

slain he

And But
"

naebody
his

kens

that

there,

hawk,

his

hound,
the

and

lady

fair.

'

His

hound
hawk
to

is to fetch

hunting
wild
mate

gane

His His So
" *

the

fowl

hame,

lady's ta'en
we

another
our

may
on

make

dinner

sweet.

Ye'll sit

his white
out

hause-bane,

And

I'll pick
ae

his

bonny
when

blue hair

een

Wi' We'll

lock

of his
our

gowden

theek

nest

it grows

bare.

124

THE
"
'

RAVEN

IN

POETRY
for him makes he

AND

FOLK-LORE

Many
nane

one

mane,

But O'er The

sail ken

where when

is gane

his white wind

banes,

they

are
"

bare,

sail blaw

for

evermair.'

While,
in its

if you
most

wish

to

picture
weird,
to

to most

yourself the shadowy,


Allan

bird
most

grim, most

suggestive shape, go
a

Edgar
his

Poe, who,
must

in

poem

which, if it had
as

been
as

only doing
had

one,

have

won

for himself,

well

for his in

subject,a literary
for done

immortality,has
very

succeeded

the

raven,

much
in
seems

what the
to

Coleridge
Ancient stand him
"

for

the

albatross

Mariner. before
you

The
in

raven

himself

proprid

persona.
see

You

hear

tapping, rapping," you flitting,"

him

never "sitting, sitting,

"

On

the

bust pallid the

of Pallas door."

Just above

chamber

You

ponder
and
"

in

your

inmost

soul, the
of his

burden,

half

revealed refrain
:

half
"

concealed,
more."

melancholy

Never

never

"

Then

this sad

ebony
into and

bird

beguiling
decorum

My
By
Of

fancy
grave

smiling
stern

the the

countenance

it wore,

EDGAR

ALLAN
crest
*

POE

125

Though
I

thy

be
sure

shorn
no

and
craven, raven,

shaven,

Thou/

said,

art

Ghastly, grim,
Wandering
Tell On
me

and

ancient the

from

Nightly

shore. is !' !'

what

thy lordly name


Plutonian
'

the

Night's
the

shore
more

Quoth
"
'

raven,

Never

Be

that
or

wondrous

sign
shrieked into the

our

Bird
(

I fiend,' back

parting, upstarting.
shore.
a

Get

thee the
no

tempest
token

And

Night's
black

Plutonian
as

Leave Of

plume
soul

that lie my the

thy

hath

spoken, door, heart, and my


door/ more.'
"

Leave

loneliness
bust above from from
'

unbroken.
my
out

Quit
Take Take

thy thy
the

beak
form

off my

Quoth

raven,

Never

But
as

let
I

us

turn

to

Shakespeare, whose
out,
seems

tion, imaginahave
other been bird.

have

pointed
raven more

to

attracted When
are

by

the

than

by
and
on

any

the about

ghosts
to
"

of

Julius Caesar
at

his

murderer

meet

Philippi
notices,

"

the fatal battlefield,


his of

his friend

Cassius

to

horror, that
the
Roman

the

eagles, the

natural
to

guardians

legion, have
"

taken

: flight

And

in their

stead, the
heads,
and

raven,

crows,

and
on

kites
us

Fly
As

o'er
we

our

downward

look

were

sickly prey.''

126

THE

RAVEN

IN

POETRY

AND

FOLK-LORE

In

the

"players' scene"
is

in

Hamlet,

just

before in

the the

poison
presence

dropped

into

the

sleeper'sear,
and the
are
"

of the

guilty King
who his
is
own

Queen, the Prince

of

Denmark,
while
in

watching
"withers
not

galled jade unwrung,"


by
the

wince,"
exclaims

triumph,
"The

yet

understood

King

Doth

bellow

croaking raven for revenge."

And,
who weird

in

still more

appallingscene,
of
is

Lady Macbeth,
of the three
to

has

just

heard

the

prediction
up

sisters, and

making
of the

her

man's hears

mind

fulfil them unlooked-for

herself, exclaims

when

she

of the
:

approach
u

King
himself

of Scotland

The the

raven

is

hoarse,

That Under

croaks my

fatal entrance

of Duncan

battlements."

So him

with

Othello
the

struggling lago,
in

in

the asked

toils

set

for

by

arch-fiend the
he

and

whether

he
to

remembers

handkerchief exclaims
"

given
agony
o'er my
:

by

him

Desdemona,

O,

it

comes

memory

As

doth

the
to

raven

o'er the

infected

house,

Boding When

all."

England

is

in

the

depth

of

degradation

SHAKESPEARE

127

under

the
:

dastardly John,

it is the

Bastard

who

exclaims
"

Now

powers
in
our a

from

home

and
vast

discontent confusion

at

home

Meet
As

land, and
raven
on a

waits,

doth

sick-fallen
of wrested

beast,

The

imminent

decay

pomp."
the

Read,
Caliban

too,
"

the

imprecation

which

misbegotten
slave,

"

Abhorred
will
not

Which

print of goodness Being capable of all ill


any
"

take,

"

hurls his

at

the

head

of

his

master,
:

Prospero,

and

lovely daughter, Miranda


"

As With

wicked

dew

as

ere

my from

mother

brushed fen
on

raven's
on

feather both ! A

unwholesome blow

Drop
And All

you

south-west

ye

blister you the charms

all o'er !

Of

Sycorax, toads, beetles,bats,light on


belief
not
common

you

"

curious
and

among
in

the West
"
"

Jews
as

and

Arabs,

unknown

the

shown
"

by

the

Danish
"

phrase
the

"

ravn-mudder
is
to
an

for

bad

mother" and

that her
on

raven

unnatural
in

parent
nest, is and

leaves
to,

young

starve

the

alluded
an

two

occasions, by Shakespeare,

equally curious

explanation

is

given

of

it.

In

128

THE

RAVEN

IN

POETRY

AND

FOLK-LORE

the
its

Winter

Tale, Antigonus, when father, Leontes,


for it
as

compelled by
to

unnatural
infant

to

expose
:
"

death

the

child, prays
"

follows

Come

on,

poor the and

babe kites

Some To
be

instruct powerful spirit

and

ravens

thy

nurses

Wolves

bears, they say,


done

Casting
Like

their

savageness

aside, have

offices of

piety."
in
Titus
:

While

passage

Andronicus

put

the

charge
"

more

clearly thus
say

Some
The

that

ravens
own

foster forlorn
birds

children,
in their

whilst

their

famish

nests."

The
on

belief
two
or

rested,
three

suspect,

in

the Bible
;

first instance,

passages

of the

put

together:
in the

the

story of
"

Elijah
and

fed

by

ravens

the

verse

Psalms,

Who
;

feedeth
a

the
verse

young

ravens

when Who
proyoung

they cry"
videth
ones

similar his

in ?

Job,

"

for cry

the

raven

food wander

When for
not

the lack

unto

God,
an

they

of meat."

writer, in
of

old

magazine,
for

only
but breed

takes

the

truth

the how
cease

story

granted,
the
in

elaborately
of
"

explains
does
ravens are

it is that
to

whole

ravens

not
are

exist

consequence.

Young they
if

forsaken

by

their

parents would

before
starve,

fledged, and

therefore

they

130

THE

RAVEN

IN

POETRY

AND

FOLK-LORE

bring
the

them

food

of

their

own

accord.*

To of

make

picturecomplete, Swan,
1643
A-D-"

the author
m a

Speculum

Mundi,

tells that is

us"

passage

also

quoted
on

by

Mr

Swainson,
the

this temporary

disgust
interest and
not
a

the

part of

parents
when

repaid they
be

with old

by their
their

offspring,"for
bills overgrown, their bills

have

they
Neither
set

die

of

famine,
them their
on

sharpening
stone,
ones as

again by beating
will
upon

the

eagle
able

doth.

young when

help
are

them, but rather


to

them

they
in

not

resist."

The
were

Royal Society,
too
or

the

day hey"

of
or were

their

youth,
too

much
too

taken

aback

they
any

courteous

courtier-like ?
data of assumed
water

"

to

throw
famous
so

doubt

upon

the

in

the

problem solemnly

of

the

bowl

and

the
first
seem

fish,

put

before

them
II. Nor

by

their
it

royal patron, King


*

Charles

does

See

century,
of

II. Appendix kindly brought It is written


some

for
to

"an

my
in

enigma" notice by Mr
sorry
to

of

the

twelfth

W.

Ravencroft

Reading.
contains
to

rather

Latin the
to

hexameters,
story of the
his and
on

but

very raven's

curious

allusions
to
on

Deluge,
on

the

disobedience

Noah,
the

ment punishability, his in-

land

for

his

delinquencies
to

water,

owing, Apollo,
callow for

I suppose*

the

doom
in

pronounced
matter
to

him

by
scribed dered

his

mischief-making chapter, to
look

the
or

of

Coronis,
or

in the

last

at,

feed his white of black the

till they offspring, last


as line,

have

got their

coat

feathers.

The

is usual

in such

contains effusions,

enigma.

CHARLES

THE

FIRST

131

to

have
on

occurred the
of

to

any
or

one

of the earlier of
nature, of

tators commen-

Bible,

students the

that

the

best

way

dealing with
raven,

story
be
to

the

unnatural

conduct

of the

might
the

deny

it altogether. that
to

King
miracle
was

Charles of

First

thought
food

the

the
more
"

ravens

bringing
by
he

Elijah,
of

made birds.
to

miraculous He

the

character
"

the
ravens

made,"
caterers

writes,

the

greedy

be

the
same

of Elias, and
seems

to

bring him
occurred and in his

food."
to

The

thought
First's
;

to

have

Charles

the

great
while

contemporary
he describes

antagonist, Milton
own sonorous

for

language, in
aldermanic calls
as

Paradise the

Regained, the
"cook-fiend,"
for

somewhat
as

feast which had

Lamb

Satan,
a

provided
in the

the

Most

Holy

One,

temptation
reverential

wilderness, he
at

also, with

deep

and

insight,hints
the

the

simpler fare,
"

"Nature's His

refreshment

sweet," which "temperate

presented itself,in
fantasies
"

sleep,to
Son

of the

famished by
the with

of God.*

Him
And

thought
saw

He
ravens

Brook
their

of Cherith

stood,

the

horny
and from

beaks

Food Tho'

to

Elijah bringing, even taught


to

morn,

ravenous,

abstain

what

they brought."

See

Lamb's
126.

Essays

on

Grace

before

Meat," Essays

on

Elia} p.

132

THE

RAVEN

IN

POETRY

AND

FOLK-LORE

But
servant

it
"

is

the

aged
You

Adam,

the

ideal

"

faithful

in As

Like
crowns

It, who,
"

cheerfullygiving savings,
to

up

the lest

five his

hundred young
into

all his should the

that

is

"

master

come

want,
"

best and

enters

the
add

spirit of
into

Bible

stories,
of all of
true

may
"

we

not

the

essence

religion? when,
last

having
prays
He that

divested
:

himself

his

farthing,he
"

thus
doth

Take

that, and
comfort
to

the

ravens

feed,

Yea, providently caters


Be my age !
"

for the

sparrow,

The abound

raven,

it is true,
for

like their

some

other

birds

which
some

in

affection
reason,

young,

will,for
the
out

inscrutable bird
care.

sometimes
out

regard
her
nest,
as

young of her

which
A
ones

has

fallen

of

hedge-sparrow, for instance,


which
the and have been thrown
out

will leave of her

her
nest,

young
one

after

other, by the intrudingcuckoo lie, as


I have
seen

to

die
a

untended,

them devotes

myself, in
the whole
"

ghastly row

beneath
to

it,while
"

she

of her attention

the

overgrown

step-child which
does tend while her

monopolises and
That with the the
nest,

fillsit.

the

raven,

however,
maternal

young
are

tenderest and after

care,

they
for

in
or

flies about

with
to

them,

weeks

months,

they

are

able

leave it, supplying all

RAVEN

TREE

AT

SELBORNE

133

their

wants,

I And

have the eggs,

proved repeatedly by

my

own

experience.
even

strength of
may

her

tion parentalaffec-

for her
"

be shown told

by the pathetic
:

story of

the

Raven

Tree"

by Gilbert White
there
stood the about
ravens

In

the

centre

of

Losel's

grove

an

though shapely and tall on into a large excrescence bulged out middle of the stem. this a pair of On
oak, which,
fixed the Tree. their oak
was

whole,
the had

residence

for

such

series

by distinguished
were

the

that of years title of the Raven

Many
to

the attempts
this
and

of the

youths
their

get

at

eyrie ;
each

the
was

neighbouring whetted difficulty


ambitious But when of

inclinations,
the
at

surmounting
arrived
and
was

arduous

task.

they
way,
most

the
so

daring lads undertaking


built fatal
on,
nest

in their it jutted out so swelling, far beyond their grasp, that the awed, and were acknowledged
to

the

be
upon in

too

hazardous.
in

So

the

ravens

nest, in

till the perfectsecurity, the of


saw

day
birds

arrived
It
was

which month The

wood

was

to

be

levelled. those

the

the butt, the the


or

usually sit. wedges were


to tree

inserted

February, when was applied to into the opening,


of the beetle still the her
was

woods the daw


was

echoed

the

heavy

blows
to

mallet, the
sat
on.

nodded

its fall ; but

the
bird

At
from

last, when
her
nest,
a

flung
affection down

it gave way, and though better

parental whipped
dead
to

deserved the

fate,

by the ground,

twigs, which

brought

her

134

THE

RAVEN

IN

POETRY

AND

FOLK-LORE

If and

the

raven

has
a

been time of

bird it in

of many

evil

repute,
of

has

had it has

bad

parts
Scandinavia
was

Europe,
and
its

been

quite otherwise
;

in

dependencies
bird
of

for, there, the


was
"

raven

the the and whole

sacred
inventor

of

Odin,

who

the

war

god,
roads

letters, the
the
common

guardian Divinity
one

of

boundaries,

of

the
tribe
;

conquering people,and
to

whom
of

every

held

be

the

first whose

ancestor
name

its this
to

kings
day,

"

the

god,
day
or

moreover,

is, to
occasion after

in the

mouth

of every of
"

one

who

has
named

mention

the

the Wodin's

week

him, words,

Wednesday
while the Odin
was

day."

In

other
the

the

Jupiter,the Mars,
Scandinavian
was

Cadmus,
races

Terminus
all in one,

of the

the
raven

and
spy,

Teutonic messenger,
one.

his

his

his

pioneer,his
of

minister
"

for war,
of the
;
sea

all in
"

The

banner in the

those
of

kings
raven

was,
so

made itself,

shape
a

and

was

constructed
as

that when
was

fresh

breeze its
was ever

bellied it,it looked

if the bird

ing flutterthat

wings

for

no flight ; and, surely,

banner
not

borne of

before

conquering host,
not
even

the

Labarum of
nor

Constantine,
nor

the
the

Crescent

the

Saracens,
Oriflamme

the
of

Cross the

of

Crusaders,
such

the

French,
raven

carried

terror

with

it, as

did

the

of the

Norsemen

BIRD

OF

ODIN

135

among swoop.

those

on

whom

he the

was

about of

to
a

make

his fatal

Sometimes,
be
woven

banner

noted
with

sea-king
her
own

would

by

his

mother,
under

hands, with
which
were

wondrous

skill and it
was

potent
to

spells,

destined,
his band

believed,

bring
to

victory to
who bore

of warriors, but there


were never

death

him

it ; and

wanting
or

those

who, like the Decii


of the of
But

family at Rome,
were

the

Japanese
for the

present
honour the
to
was

day,
and

eager

candidates

post

of

fate.*
did the
not

raven-standard

always
of
one

lead

its

followers
standard of the

victory ;
a

and

capture
in

such

turning point
nation,
and of

the the

fortunes

English
of

best

and

greatest
a

English
was

kings.

Ragnar
to

Ludbrog,
have
been

famous
to

sea-king,
death

believed in

stung
of

by

serpents,

the
who avenge

dungeon
had
taken him

the

Northumbrian
His

king, ^Ella,
sons swore

him

prisoner.

to

by

conquering England
to
or

and

his

daughters managed
"

weave,

in

one

noontide, the mysterious


which
to
was

Raefan"

raven-standard,
to

to

accompany

them,
Did it into

and
appear

help
to

and

witness

the
as

conquest.
marched

flap
was a

its
sure

wings
omen

they
of

battle, it
*

victory.
vol.

Did
120.

the

Dasent's

Story Q/ Burnt

Njal}

i., p.

136

THE

RAVEN

IN

POETRY

AND

FOLK-LORE

wings
presage

hang
of
were

listlessly by
defeat.
in

his

side, it
of

was

sure

The
year,

fortunes the
year

Alfred
at

the their

Great,
very

that

898,
reduced shrunk
was

lowest.
to

England
;

had Wessex

been had

by the
to

Danes Isle North of

Wessex

and The

the in
or

Athelney.
Devon. his but

first battle

fought
flapped
does followed itself
was

Whether

the
Saxon

raven

drooped
tell
were us

wings,
890
of

the the

Chronicle who

not

warriors

it

slain, and
The
few

the

raven-standard
news

captured.
the
faithful

good
who
burst

put

fresh
to

heart

into in

had

clung
from the

their his

king

his distress. and


soon

He

forth of

island

ness, fastwas

the

capture

raven-standard

followed the

by

the and the

crowning victory of Ethandun, baptism


Peace
of

by

surrender

Guthrum

and

his

followers, and
was

by

of Wedmore.

Wessex

saved, and,

through Wessex,
was

England.
in such evil the the

Never,

suppose,

Europe

plight
Magyars
Saracens

as

during
were

that

tenth its

century
central
waters,

when

harrying
its

plains,
and them

scouring
the
coasts most

southern dreaded

the

Northmen,
northern the Great

of Well that

all, its
Charles

and
on

islands.

might
the into

himself,
on

hearing

Norsemen
tears,
not

had

appeared

the

Seine, burst

138

THE

RAVEN

IN

POETRY

AND

FOLK-LORE

were

harrying
is

and
to

carrying.
have had

A
an

certain
army

sea-king,
of
300

Owain,
ravens.

said

"

And

all around

the

shadowy

kings
their

Denmark's

grim

ravens

cowered

wings."

William

the
in of

Conqueror,
a

descendant the
seen

of

the and

Vikings, and,
most
on

sense,

himself
be

greatest
to

terrible

them of

all,may

this

day

the tapestry
was

Bayeux, entering
him
sacred

into

the

battle
at

which

to

give
the

his

crowning

victory

Senlac, behind
The of
was

raven-standard.
most

title which
"

Odin father
or

valued

after well
as

that
men,

the
"

All- Father,"
"

of
"

gods

as

Hrafna-gwd
in and and

the

Ravens

god."
and

Two

pet

ravens,
"

particular,he Memory"
the
" "

had,
"the

Hugen
of have

Munen,

Mind

eyes

the

king"

the

Greeks trusted
to

Persians which he

might
what

called

such

officials

let loose, every


to
was

morning,
on

collect

as intelligence

going
the

in

the world

and

which,
his
news

on

returning in
and

evening,
in

perched
ear

upon

shoulder

whispered
tell. their
But

his their

whatever

they

had

to to
a

was fidelity

not

always equal
not

intelligence.
messenger

The

raven

had
out

proved
Ark

trusty
He

when

sent

of the

by

Noah.

had

not

DISCOVERY

OF

ICELAND

139

always
patron

done

his
;

duty
Odin

when
was

sent

out

by Apollo, his
anxious So lest his

god
did

and should the


"

always
return.

messengers

fail
raven,

to

proverbial,
as
a

indeed,
"bad in the

afterwards,
when
sent
one

become

messenger, first Crusade,

that
was

of the
to

chieftains,
on an

back

Paris

important mission, coming


back of
to

and

slunk he
of

off home,
was

instead
up
to

of

the army,
historians

held

scorn,
as an

by
"

one

the

the
" "

Crusade,
:

ambassador

of the
non

raven

type

Corvini

generis

legatus postea
But the
ravens

rediit"
more

were

than

the

messengers

of

god, they
of

were

the
race.

pilots, the
A

pioneers, the
of

discoverers

the

pair
in

them

were

generally taken
when the acted loose
stars

by

sea-king
failed
a

his

vessel, and
he He
was,

quite
part

to

show

where
for

they
them

the

of

compass

him. which

let

and, marking
as

the

direction

they
sure

took, followed,
that
On

best

he

could, in their wake,


the shortest
a

they
one

were

taking

way

to

land.

occasion, they made Flokki,


to test
a

great
sea-rover,

geographical
fitted
out

discovery.
an

famous

expedition
other

the
that

truth there

of
was

reports
a

brought
island
even

by

sea-rovers,
"

large beyond
him

somewhere,
the Faroes,

an

ultima

Thule,"
ravens

far

He

took

three

with

which

140

THE

RAVEN

IN

POETRY

AND

FOLK-LORE

were,

first, solemnly
the let

consecrated and

to

the

gods.
out to

He
sea

reached

Faroes,
loose
raven

striking boldly
No.
to

beyond,

i,

which,

after

rising
whence
nearest

high
Flokki land. No.
to

in

air,
concluded

returned that onward

the
were

islands,
still the and
for
a

they

He
2,

sailed
after
;

again,

let

slip

raven

which,

circling round
Flokki within onward forlorn Flokki
even

time, returned
that there
or

the
now

ship
no

whence
land

concluded
a

was

raven's and off

sight
then
at
once

scent.

He No.
3,

sailed
his

once

more,

let

loose

hope.
followed
of
a

It

flew in his

north-westward. discovered

wake,

and

the

eastern

coast

huge
Soon

inhospitable
afterwards,

island, which
the
Northmen It

he

named
to

Iceland.*
settle the in the
of

came

newly-discovered
the the Scalds
adventurous in
process

country.
the

became of the

home And

and

birthplace

Sagas.
forth

Northmen,
of

sallying
and

thence

again,

time,
the

doubtless

accompanied
were

and

guided
them,

by

ravens,
a

who
still
more

inseparable
remote

from

discovered

and
or

inhospitable
Greenland.
107.

island,

which
*

they
Mallet's

named
Northern

Vinland

Antiquities,

p.

CHAPTER

IV

THE

RAVEN

"

PERSONAL

EXPERIENCES

MY
raven

intimate dates
I
was

personal
from
a

acquaintance
a

with

the ago, Milton

1855, nearly half


of

century
at

when Abbas
may

boy

fifteen

years

old,

School,
be fond in which

Blandford.

The I had

circumstances for
truer
"

worth
of

relating.
birds, in
Tom
a

some

years

been that

rather
was

sense

than them
"

Tulliver

fond

of

fond, that
six
at

is,of throwing
from

stones

at

them."

Some

miles

Blandford, between
a

it and

Wimborne,
and
on near

the

end of

of

stretch

of

open

down,

the

park
a

Kingston Lacy, clump


of

there

stands,

high
and within. circles
races,

ground,
smaller Round
of fosse

noble

Scotch
and

firs,younger

trees

outside, older

bigger
concentric of

the and

clump

run

several the
work which

rampart,
or

bygone
to

British, Roman,
141

Saxon,

give

the whole

142

THE

RAVEN

the

name

of

"

Badbury
tradition and

Rings."

There, from
ravens

time had been

immemorial,
reared made
trees

so

said, a pair of
many
to

their without selected

young,
success

attempts
their
to

had

reach
in

eyrie. The
swarm,

were

too

big

girth

and
appeared. dis-

the

lower

branches, for forty feet upward, had


The
raven,

I knew,
some

was

the earliest of all the rook


it.
snow

birds and

to

breed, earlier,by
are

weeks, than
next to

the heron, which


It
was

the

follow

the
the

24th

of

February,
When
to

and

the
was

lay
at

thick
noon,

on

ground.
leave the
"

school go
to

over

applied for
master,

Badbury
after
so
a

Rings.
decent that that

My
show
we

good
of could should

Rev.

J, Penny,
snow was

objection
never

"the

deep
hard the

get
be

there," uthe
able
no

tree

so
"

we

never

to

climb

it,"
raven

season

so

backward of

that

sensible
eggs
I
was

would gave
me

be

thinking
necessary

laying

her

yet"

"

the

permission.
now

accompanied

by

J.
We

H.

Taylor,
a

of

Trinity College, Cambridge.


and
a

bought
we

hammer get,
some

packet

of

the
and

largest
some

nails
ten

could

sixty in number,
set out
on our

inches

long, and
with
the

we

expedition;
hammer,
way,

but, what
and for
a

weight

of the nails and and


our

the

depth
near

of the snow,

losingour

time,

the

half-way villageof Spetisbury,

144

THE

RAVEN

upwards

and

repeat
old

the

process

over

and

over

again.

The

birds, meanwhile,
and and
tree

kept

flying

closely round, croaking


every

with barking fiercely,

feather,
often

on

neck
a

head,
close

erect

in It
was

anger, well attack

and

pitching in
did
not

by.

that
me

they
;

make-believe

actually to
on

for

the off

slightestmovement
must

my
to

part

to

ward In

them

have

thrown

me

the

ground.
were

spite of
with
as

the

exertion, my
cold.
carry, my
to

hands
taken
or

and
up
seven

body
as

numbed

the

I had
some

many
a

nails
box

I could

six

in

tin
a

tied

round
time As

waist, and time,


to

let it down

with

string,from companion.
more

get

it refilled work
;
to

by

my

I climbed for the wind

higher, the
told
me more

grew
a

dangerous,
now

and

slip

would but

not torn

only
me

have
to

thrown with

the

ground,
which

have

pieces
trunk

the

nails At

thickly
measured
was

studded
some

the

below.
from

last, the

first branch,

fiftyfeet
was string,

the

ground,
the

as

by

the

reached, and

rest

easy.

There enthusiastic he
looks

are

few

moments

more

exciting
moment

to

an

bird's-nester
into
a

than which

is the

before had much


not

nest,

he

has
may
or

in reaching, and difficulty contain


a

which
can

may

rare

treasure.

One

almost

hear

one's

THE

NEST

145

heart
may

beat

and

"to

my

if inexpressible delight," I used in my

quote

the

phrase

I find that

diary
nest
a

for that

night, my
four
to

first

glance revealed
It had taken Two
are me

that the
two

contained
half
are over

eggs. attain

and

hours

to

them.

of

the

eggs

still in my

possession. They
and
a one

speckled all
a

with
and

grey

green,

twice

the size of
a

rook's
;

egg,

perhaps
which
I suppose

third

larger than
a

crow's

and

if the value

puts upon
it does,
on

thingdepends very
it has
cost
as one

much,
to

as

what

get it,I have


most

the

rightto regard

them

among
was a

my

treasured

possessions. The
as a

nest

huge
of

structure,

nearlyas big
and and better

heron's, but built


The eggs

largersticks
in
a

put

together.
few

lay

deep

comfortable
a

hollow, lined with

fibres, grass,
rabbits' of
a

dry bracken,

feathers, some

fur, and, strangest

of

all, a
a

large portion
in

woman's

dress, probably

gipsy's,for
common

those

days, gipsy encampments


The
easy, descent would for

were

abouts. theretively comparawhich had

have

been

except
and
not

the

darkness,
it difficult

come

on

apace, We
P.M.,

made

to

find

the

nails. o'clock

did
worn

reach
out

Blandford

till nine

with

cold, hunger, and


the

fatigue, but
raven's
eggs

proud
I had

in
ever

the

possession of

first

seen,

146

THE

RAVEN

It is
year

curious in which W. when

coincidence I
wrote

that, in the very


the
first draft of

same

1903,

this of

account,

Mr

H.

Hudson,

the noted

naturalist

the

Pampas,
have

wandering, as
of the
to

is his wont,

through

out-of-the-way parts
should
on

country,
be
at

observing birds,
where he
as

happened
of

Sixpenny Hanley,
Dorset,
have the

the
never

edge
his

the

county

of

had

been
wont,

before, and
a

should
in

asked,

is also

countryman

fields,about
in

the birds whether


"

of
a

the
raven

neighbourhood, and,
was ever

particular,
seen
"

heard

or

there.
but look

Not

often

now,"
"

repliedthe labourer,
he
"a

over

yonder"
miles
to

and
"

pointed
pair
of

to

Badbury
did and

Rings, always
went
on

many

away

ravens
"

used
to

bide

and

build
many

there
years

he when

tell him
man,

how,
he

ago,
one

quite
to

young
over

had

determined,
the
and young

day,
He

go

and
a

try

to

get

ravens.

had

only
when

bit of

bread

cheese

in his

pocket, and
that the
tree

he got there, very the


nest
was

tired,he found
"

containing
spikes,which
and

stuck

all

over

with
to

big
it,"

made

it impossible for him

climb

he

had

returned, disappointed and


which
and it
"

exhausted.
with

The
his

"big spikes"
own

perhaps conjoined
the
terrors

exhaustion
"

of

the
to

raven's

croaking

had

made

impossiblefor

him

climb

PASSING

OF

ARTHUR

"

14? alone
one

the tree, had


"

were,

doubtless, the very


me
or
"

nails which enabled


to

enabled
few

or

could
few
years

have

any

weeks,
add that with of
over

before,

climb the

it.
to

It may mention Guest

touch

of interest

to

story

Badbury
Mount

Rings
the
the

is identified
scene

by
of

Dr

Badon, Arthur,
West invasion

of

the

great
the

victory
Britons,
course

King
the

national

hero

Saxons,
for

which

delayed the

of it adds

their

some

thirty years
interest
of
to

and that which Lord

still another is
a

touch
of the
"

of

record
"

there
must

version been

Passing
I

Arthur
even

have

unknown,
immortal

think,

to

Tennyson.
Don did
raven

The

knight
us

of

La

Mancha,
Arthur into will
a

Quixote himself, tells


die, but
that the
former
was

that

King
he

not

changed by
is still and
to
come

witchcraft when

day

assume

his and

shape
that
true
"

claim
no

his former

rights;
"

that, since
it
were

time,
has he be
ever

Englishman
been known
kill

would

that
a

to

kill

raven,

for

fear

lest

should
more

King

Arthur! for

What Arthur
the ?

place
to
scene

could

appropriate
his inter-vital

King
than

haunt,
of
may

during
great
haunt
few
at

state,

his he

victory,Badit !

bury Rings
has
every

Long
to

The

raven

continued year

build, with

intermissions,

since

1856, either

Badbury

Rings

148

THE

RAVEN

or

in

the the

adjoining park protection


it of
no

of

Kingston
owner,

Lacy, safe
Mr

under

of

its

Ralph
anxious
on

Bankes,
to

who

will, doubtless,
now,

be is

doubly
assured Don
a raven

protect

when
a

he
person

the

authority

less

than of
as

Quixote
on

himself, that
estate

the

violent
not

death

his
been his

may

involve

only
"

it has do
"

long
loss
to

held, in the

neighbourhood,
also
a

to

family,but
The

loss

to

the

nation

at

large.
BarThird

great
who
in
a

German
was

Emperor,
while
in

Frederick
on

barossa, Crusade,
for
at

drowned

the

little river
his

Cilicia, was
not to

believed,
have
to

centuries, by all, but,


like
to

subjects sleeping
beard the awake

died

King
be his red

Arthur,
in

only
a cave

have
in

''passed," and
mountains,
be
seen

the

whence

could

occasionally give unity


has that

flashing through
be time for him
to

mist, waiting till it


and Bismarck
not to

should

distracted his work

Germany.
for

Prince I do

done

him
now,
must

and be be

suppose But
one

his

sleep will,ever
of

disturbed. recorded
asks

incident He wakes the


"

the

legend
to

here.

from
ravens

time
are

time, and
still

"whether sleepily
the mountain.
;

flying

round

The

answer

is, that they

are

still flyingthere goes


to

and

the great

Emperor

sighs and

sleepagain,

SAVERNAKE

FOREST

149

considering that
not

the

time

for

his

resurrection

has

yet

come.

My

other
The

ravens'
next

nests

I I

must

dismiss
was,
two at

more

briefly.

which

found I

years

later, in Savernake
at

Forest, while
Savernake

was

school it all in

Marlborough.

Forest, take
scenery

is the finest bit of wooHland all, and


a

in

England,
and
a

very

paradise
be

of in
so

birds.
one,

A if it

paradise
were

sanctuary
near

it would

not

for the Of

neighbourhood
I

of

many be

hundred last hour


it. and
; to

boys.

this, however,

should
every

the

complain,
my

seeing
years
at

that

nearly
was

spare

of

three
every

school
game

passed
herds

within
of

It has

speciesof
to
more

from

red

fallow deer

and pheasants,partridges,
to

rabbits

and, what

is

my
as so

purpose
many

to

remark,
tracks in

it is also the of

happy
and

home noble

"

wild

woodland
"

parks might
of

still be

England
prey,

of

large

numbers and

interestingbirds
the white the
and

of

the

sparrow

the kestrel hawk,


crow

owl

and

the brown

owl, the

magpie.
Its

With

jays

and
or

jackdaws
beeches,
and

it
as

swarms. literally

primaeval oaks
easy

they gradually decay, afford


room

boring climbing
the The

nesting
the the

for

every

species
and

of

bird,

woodpecker, wryneck,

green
and

spotted,

nuthatch,

the

tree-creeper.

150

THE

RAVEN
to

I kingfisher miles from


are

have

known
water

build

in its

marlpitstwo
birds which

running
in

while

small
of
as

not

common

other

parts

England, except
the
not
crown

in

favoured specially the

spots, such

wood
uncommon

wren,

the redstart, and there.

hawfinch,

are

All that seemed


a raven

to requisite

its

sylvan Vague
raven

glorieswas
rumours,

and

raven's
me

nest.
a

indeed, had

reached heard

that
or seen

stray
within

had

occasionallybeen
;

the
I had
on a

forest
seen

but, in all my
heard

wanderings hitherto,
it

or

nothing of
hope,
the
i

myself.
my

I started,
now

somewhat
Robert neared end of

forlorn

with

friend,

Sir
as we

Collins,on
a

ith of March

1859

and

clump

of

splendidsilver
the croak
nest.

firs towards of
a

the far

the forest, beyond the


heard its

reach
of

the
raven,

ordinary
saw

bird's-nester,we
and flying, found

it

It contained

five eggs,
For how

which, in due
many years

time,

were

safelyhatched.
ravens

before

this the
many

had

been

building they
that
tinued con-

there, and
to
are

how
do
so,
now.

years
not.

afterwards I

I know

only

know

they
in

not

there
next

The

nest

was

in

quite a different,but
my
own

an

equally
Stafford.

ideal
It

place,near
was

home

at

West

in

wood

of

old

Scotch
I

firs on the

Knighton Heath,

the

same

of which

spoke, in

RAVEN

TARN

151

first

chapter, as
been of of

having,
for owls.

within

my
a

own

ledge, knowof
as a

the home,

nearly half
It is the

century, outpost, moorland


brakes

pair
were,

long-eared
that
"

it and of

large expanse,
and

of wild

woodland
gorse and

brightened, in springtime,by
broom

hawthorn,
with
colour

and

intersected

by
in and blue with few

quaking bogs, fragrant


autumn,

bog myrtle, and,


with
and

often

rich

in

sun-dew,
the dark
or

asphodel,and bog gentian


"

the

flowering rush, begins


and with

which

Knighton
away,

Yellowham

Wood,

stretches

with

intermissions, by

Wareham,
New

Poole, and
Forest, and
so

Christ-

church, through the


to

right on
of

Woking
has

or

Bagshot.
it may
made under

The

nearer

part
to

this

wild country, which


Thomas

interest
famous

many

know,

is that of Mr

been

by
name

the
of

genius

Hardy,
tree
was

the

Egdon
below

Heath.

The
out
a
"

the
;

biggest
and,
a

in

the wood,

looking
it,was
and

upon

the Heath

few

yards
with

silent
to

pool,"
which

half
we

overgrown gave

grass the
name

rushes,
Raven

thereafter

of

Tarn.

"

The

coot

was

swimming
"

in the
so soon

Beside
And

the water-hen

reedy pond, affrighted ;


fond

in the Of

weedy

moat

the

heron,

solitude, alighted.

152
"

THE
The That

RAVEN
motionless and silently and

moping heron,
on a

stiff,

stone,

as

stilly,

Stood,
To

an

apparent sentinel,as if

guard the water-lily."

And

now,

the
the

presence

of

the

raven

made
four

the

eeriness
in each

of

place complete,and
next to

for

months the

of the

five years

"

in

January,
nest ;

when

old birds when


birds dressed
were

began
were

repair their
laid
;
;

in

February,
the young

the eggs
were

in March, in and

when

hatched
in

and

April, when
final
"

already
able, from
and birds

their
to

complete
find their

plumage, they
I
was

beginning
to

wings
of

time
to

time,

to

watch

the

progress

made,
parent

put
for

the

proof
and

the

solicitude

the
to

each

other

for their young,


to

admire

their aerial

movements,

and of

listen

to

the

curiously varied
throats.
said of
or

intonations augurs and

their

deep-voiced
of old
are

The
to

necromancers

have

intonations distinguishedsixty-five voice but


"

the

raven's

wide
are

field for

augural science
varieties
" "

chicanery ;
the
and whose

there

quiteenough
attention.
are so

his croak, his


ear

bark, his grunt, his chuckle


call for close
movements

to

attract
are

There
and
so

few

birds

varied

especially graceful,
the
cares

when

the have

nest not

is

preparing and begun.

hood of motherone

yet

They

will toy with

LOVE

FOR

MATE

153

another
or

in mid-air, and
as

often

tumble

down
on

fathom

two,

if shot, merriment.
"

or

turn

right over
the
up
an

their backs, is

in sheer
"

When birds shoot

wind in

high,

the
a

tempest-loving
or a

the

air like

rocket and

towering partridgeto plunges,


to

immense
a

height,
series of
at

then, by closingtheir wings, drop, in


or

rapid jerks
while his

which

they
The

can

check
raven,
over

pleasure, down
mate

the

ground.

male watch

is

keeps sitting,

anxious
any
one

her, and
or

croaks

savagely when
eager
or

approaches,
against
of prey manage the any

sallies forth, in
or

tournament,

rook,

crow,
on

or

hawk,
domains.

largerbird
If you and
can

which
to

intrudes evade

his

his

watchful
you
can,
nest

eye,

enter

wood

unobserved,
in You

sometimes,
and
note
on

lie down all that is

quite still, going


of
on.

sight of
will
see

the

him

perch
whet
of

the

very
as

top

an

or adjoining fir-tree,

his

beak,

he is fond

of

doing, against
off others
utter
a

one

its branches, below. of You

or

tear fiercely

and

drop them
note

will hear

him

low

gurgling

which
and

will,sometimes, then, after


a

lure his
coze

conjugal endearment, from her charge mate


talk

little

and

together, you
relieve her, for

will the
turn

see

him, unlike

many

husbands,

time, of her
upon

and responsibilities,

take

his

own

the

nest.

154

THE

RAVEN

The
of
seem

raven

and always pairs for life,

the

strength
implies
the
so,

the fidelity, the dignitywhich affection,


to
me

this

to

raise which

him

as indefinitely,

it does

owls, above

birds

congregate
and

in flocks,and duties
more

presumably, abjure familyties


a

throughout
does

great

part of the
birds which
or

year.

Still
a new

he

rise

above
new

choose

mate

with

each

love

season,
or

which, like the daintily-stepping


the
are

cock-pheasant
selfish black
summon

magnificent, but polygamous


or

singularly
nature,
or

cock,
a

by

and

with and
now

lordly crow,

cluck,

call,now

one,
or

another, of their humbletheir presence.


ravens,

looking wives they


leave
or

drudges, to
The young
are,

long
in

before of

the

nest,

except

strength
both
in

leg
and pass be
a

wing,
;
a

completely developed
while birds of lower

colour
to
can

in form

orders

have

through
said
to

before long apprenticeship,

they
robin young

be

perfectin
remains

either.

young
a

or

young
or a

thrush young
nest

in for birds

appearance, many like the weeks

robin

thrush
while

after

it has

left the

the gannet, harrier, the gull, go, for years, before

the
very be
on

great

northern

diver of have

through they
And well
as

kaleidoscope pronounced
this
to

changes,
come

can

of full age.
raven,
as

it is
on

earlymaturity of

the

his

156

THE

HAVEN

his
home

home,
must

and be

that,
his
as

at

that
and
as

time his

of

the
ones.

year,

his

nest

little

Next

day,

I followed,

nearly

less I could, in his view-

track, and

there, in
over

the
a

biggest

tree

of
was

the the

clump
raven's
It had
was

and
nest,

looking
and
most

wide

swamp,

in it five

fully-fledged young
stalk

birds.
ever

the
in

successful

that
to

I had

bird's-nesting.I managed
ravens

bring

one

of

the
my

young

safelydown
seventeen most

in

handkerchief, in afterwards, it
our

teeth

;
one

and, for
of the of
or our

years

remained
most

of delightful
at

pets and

amusing
Is it
"

companions
true
"

Harrow. and
current
some

true

not
raven

curious
an

belief say
years

that the
a

lives
even

to

immense

age,
or

to

hundred Old

or

to

three

hundred
of the
a

more

Hesiod

is the father
or

and belief, of ancient

he

is

supported, more
the elder

less, by

host

writers, Horace,
modern in the

Pliny, Cicero,
Ausonius.

Aristophanes, expressed
from

Ovid, and

Popular opinion,in
with

times, quite agrees

them,

as

Highland proverb,
:

somewhat

modified

Hesiod

"

Thrice Thrice Thrice Thrice

the life of
the the the life of

a a a a

dog
horse
man

is the is the is the

life of

horse,
a

life of life of life of


a a

man,

life of
life of

stag,
raven.''

stag is the

AGE
u

OF

RAVEN

157
is in

Thin

is

thy plumage,
come

death that

Raven,
cries

down

from

thy croak ; majesticoak,"


in

one,

half

in he his

terror,
sees

half and But for

make-believe the
raven,

contempt,

when athwart Promethean


dares
so

hears the

bird

of

destiny
sublime

path.
scorn

with of

the

creature

the

day

who

to

accost

him, thus replies :


my

"

When
An A
acorn

/was then

hatched
:

father set this tree.

its fall I

hope

to

see

century after thou hast ceased be I very

to

be."

There behind does

cannot

so
am

much

smoke
to

without think
a

some

fire
raven

it ; and live
to
a

inclined

that

great
for

age

for

bird ; and

that
and

Horace's

epithet
"

the

raven,

"annosus,"
are

Tennyson's
facts. But
on

many-wintered
belief in
of its
most

crow"
extreme

justified by
age
rests,

the
one

its

suspect,

touching characteristics,
to

its intense

hereditaryattachment
a

the spot,

ticular par-

cliff, a particular grove,


its ancestors, been born
come

particular tree,
where
its young

where have

where
and

and itself,

bred.

The
my
own

most

strikinginstance
was

that has home


ford. of
a

within

knowledge
Down

at

the

of my In
a

grandfather,the
fine

House,
in
a

Blandmiddle used

clump

of

beeches,

the
raven

plantation named

Littlewood,

158

THE

RAVEN

to

build, year
was

after upon

year.

Year
nest

after year,
an

the hen keeper gamecame

bird

shot
;

the
after
mate,

by
share
was

insensate

and, year
a new

year,
to

the

male her
as

bird

back, with
fate ;
at

predecessor's
well, and
with
birds

last,the male

bird

shot
had

the

gamekeeper
for
same ever.

thought
But
a

that

he

done

them
of the

fresh
had of
next

pair, doubtless
been

stock

which

hatched

there

safely,

before

the

reign
came,

the

bloodthirstygamekeeper
and shared them the
no

had
fate.

begun,
Since
same

year,

same
more.

then, the

place knows
local

The

spiritof

attachment,
ravens,
a

I have

repeatedly observed, brings a pair of


for
some
reason or

which,
former

other, have

forsaken in air
over

home,

to

revisit it. it were, from


trees,

Flying high
the clouds
and outdo

it,they

drop, as
their

upon

it,perch upon

favourite

themselves, while
is

there, in their garrulity, as chattering,


in and
so

probable
of

intenselyconservative
of

bird, if not
the

Elijah
times
it is of

Odin,

at

all

events

of

good

old
Now

which

they
of

have

themselves

known.

probable, I think, that


a

it is this local attachment


or

pair

ravens

to to

wood particular

tree

which
a

has

given

rise

the belief that the


a

raven

is
as

very
as

Nestor wisdom

among and

birds,

Nestor Two

in age,
or

well

in

eloquence.

three

generations

LOCAL

ATTACHMENT pest
or

159

ago,

"

raven-

tree," "the

the
to

pride of the
the

it might village,"

be called,according in many The

point of

view, could
every
man

be

pointed out England.

spots, in almost

county

in of

oldest

inhabitant, a
of age, could
no,

perhaps
"mind" his father

eighty or ninety years


nor

not
nor

the time,

his father

before

him,
say

again
"

before

him, he
"

would
not

with The than

honest
bird

when pride,
must

the
be

raven

was

there.
older

therefore
as

not

only

much

himself; but
his father, and
A I few

old, probably, as
himself
about

his

grandfather,
No

put
the

together! *
raven as a

words

pet.

bird,
we

think, is his equal in this capacity,whether


at

look

his intense of

his sociability,
his

queer

secretiveness,
store
to

his
fun

powers and of No

mimicry,
You He is
a

inexhaustible
never

of

mischief. him. bird

have

got

the

bottom
fresh. of

always learning something


elaborate

has

more

development
even
a

the vocal
more

organs,
use

and

no

bird,
He

not

parrot,
up
any
name

makes sound

of

them.

will

catch his
own

which
or

takes

his

fancy, from
a

Ralph,
the
of

Grip, or
will

Jacob, to
hour

short

sentence

;
"

and

latter he

with practise,

only a

few

flashes
is
so

silence," by the
that
*

together.

His

voice for
a

human

it has

often been
on

mistaken
of the
raven

man's.

See

Appendix

the age

(p.419).

160

THE

RAVEN

Anecdotes
one or

about
two

him them.

abound. One

Here
raven,

is

sample
near

of

of

kept
more

the
once,
were

guard-house at Chatham,
to

managed,

than

"turn

out," the guard, who

thought they duty.


I walk used

summoned favourite of

by
a

the

sentinel
of

on

Another, the
to

regiment,
was

which

hear
on

much
to

when

young, take

would
his

demurely
the of side

the

parade-ground,
with

place by

of

the

commanding
of command.

officer,and, in defiance

military
each

discipline, repeat,
word

appropriateintonations,
The

stable-yard of yard,in
"school

country
recent

inn, in the olden times, used


for all
a

time,
an

brewer's excellent

more

to

form who

for scandal"
to
or

pet

raven,

would

not

only
but

learn

imitate birds up
a

the

sounds

made the
or

by

all the

animals would

which

frequented language"
"

spot,

pick
with

"stable somewhat
at

"brewing language"
raven,

objectionablefacility.One Elephant
the and

kept
famous

the

Castle," when
of four-horse take his

that

hostelry was
than of

resort

coaches

rather
a

omnibuses,

would

place in
his

ward-bound out-

coach, the observed


the then
met

of all observers,
won

by
he

side

of

coachman in
a

who

had

heart, and

return,
on

homeward-bound
side
at

coach, which
of another

the

road, by the
raven,

favourite

Jehu.

Another

kept

the "Old

Bear"

inn

THE

RAVEN

AS

PET

161

at

Hungerford,
waited

struck

up

close the

with friendship

Newfoundland the
raven

dog.
on

When him

dog

broke

his

leg

catered constantly,
own

for him,

for forgetting,

the

time, his
side. shut

greediness,and night,when
the stable his

rarely,if
friend
was,

ever,

left his

One

by accident,
in

within
a

alone,
the

Ralph
door,
Another

succeeded

pecking

hole
admit

through
his
a

all but
raven,

large enough kept


was

to

body.
basket

in

yard,in

which

big

sparrow-trap
the when
process

sometimes his favourite

set, watched
corner,

narrowly managed,
get
at

from

and
to

the

to lift it up, trap fell,

hoping

the

sparrows

within.

They,

of

course,

escaped

before

he could he
in

drop

the trap.

But, taught by experience,


with

opened
an

communications

another
time

tame

raven

adjoiningyard, and
one

the

next

the trap fell,

while upon been

of

them

lifted it up, Wild


ravens

the

other

pounced
manner,

the quarry.

have, in like
to

observed,

upon

occasion, times,
his
an

hunt

their prey

in

couples.
with

In ancient
to

Asiatic
ravens

Greek, named
out
more

Craterus, used

take

tame

hunting
modern of his for

him, perched, like the


on

falcons
or

of

times,

the
;

hunting horns,
and

the
to

shoulders

attendants

they were
as

trained
as

find his prey

him
A

in the coverts,

well
Mr

to

harry it when
tells
me

found.

correspondent,

J. Sherwell,

that

162

THE for which


a

RAVEN

he

was,

some

years, the

well

acquainted with
of
a

fine
at

raven,

was

property

shoemaker
It had

March,
run

town

in

Cambridgeshire.
and

the free
and
more

of the

streets,

could the

hold
cats

its own, and

than When in the

its own,

against all
were

dogs

he

met.

the children
town,
as

leaving their
a

various

schools
towards
were

if he

saw

batch

of

girls coming
well, he
would

him, who,
in the

their
of

gentlernature treating him


pump and he

prompted them,
wait for

habit

make
to

straight for
him
a

the

them with other

give
every

shower

bath, which
of

received the

demonstration he
manner
saw a

delight. If, on
of

hand,
the
or

group

boys coming, who,


throw
stones

after
at,

of

their
molest

kind, would

otherwise for
to
a

him, he

would

invariably make mutely


break dare

particularwindow-sill, and
a

them

throw

stone

at

him
to

and

so

the window.
or

He that

had
a

evidentlygot
window
was a

know,
of

somehow
even safety,

other,
in the ancient of of the

place
A

sight
Rome,

of
must

street

boys.
gone

tame
a

raven,

in

have
or

through
to

similar

process
a

reasoning
great
water

what

is akin

it,when, in
unable
to
near

time

heat
in
a

and small
to

drought, being
tank
or

reach
a

basin
"

placed
as

tomb,
in

for

birds

drink and

from other

just

the

Muslims,

North

Africa

Eastern

countries, place

164

THE

RAVEN

were

not

so

good

for the

gull.

In

course

of

time
fell ill
ever

whether
and in him grew the

from
raven

indigestionor
became
never more

not,

the

gull
than and

assiduous

her

attentions,
her
as

leaving him,
tit-bits. natural
;

plying gull
the

with
worse,

most

nauseous

The
under
one
more

was,

perhaps,

treatment,

and

less

companionable
to

and,
a

day,
savoury un-

when

he

positivelyrefused
morsel
than usual

touch the

which

raven

had
to

denied
panacea,

to

herself,and, doubtless, thought


the her
tore

be

bird, in
friend

fit of

fury

at

the

tude ingratiand

of killed

and

patient, fell
to

upon

him,

his

body

pieces,and, burying
devoured
own

half of it for future We know


one

consumption,
of how
are our

the

rest

little enough another's


;

hearts, still
do

less of
we

but who

less infmitively
our

know

of the

animals of

most

constant

companions,
intense rage
man,
at

least

all, of

our

pet
such may

birds !

Such

affection, followed
a

by

uncontrollable have
a

fancied who

one slight,

known Was

in

but

would
to

expect
to

it in

raven?

it
as

reversion

type,

original savagery,
and

Negro, apparently civilised


been

just Christianised, Niger


coast,

has
to

known,

on

returning to
a

the

go

back, within

year,
or as

to

his

human

sacrifices

and

his cannibalism

the

Fuegians, described

PASSIONS

OF

THE

RAVEN7

by Darwin,
after their old

who,

after

long
to

visit

to

England,
land,

verted, re-

their

return

their
of

native

to

customs,

the

eating

putrid
women

whale
?
as

blubber, and
Or is

the it
a

suffocatingof
animals
their in
no

their old
of

again, was given by they


savages it was
eat
some
can

crowning proof
to

love, such
when
way,
or

young,

they by
who
to

think such

save
as

them

other

those
a

described the

by Herodotus,
We
so

thought
kill and

sign of aged
has

basest

not ingratitude

their which

parents ?
a

know

not

but any

bird

nature

inscrutable,so
fierce
extremes
a

passion-ravaged,capable
and such violent of personality which
a

of

such of

revulsions
and

feeling, possesses
that within
a

its own, Greek

has

it,from Medea,

whole

tragedy, nay,
added,
bird
was

second

might
It

be

well evolved. be
to

should

make

the

story

complete,
She
had

that

the

still
a

living in
upon

1874.
the from

long
which
year,

since

built

nest

ground,
year
to to

she

industriously repaired
with
of

lining it
the

the
a

hair terrier

she

managed special
his of

extract
was

from fast

body

friend, when
a

he

asleep,and
the

always showing
which
had
a

preference
ears.

for

soft down

grew
rare

inside time

The

raven,

indeed,
was

it,
he

whenever

the

terrier

bent

on

sleep.

As

166

THE

RAVEN

lay
but
a

with
with

his

fore

paws

tucked
out,

in
raven

under

his

body,

tail stretched

the When

would

give it
lifted his
out

smart

nip

from
to

behind.
tuck

the
so

dog

body

in order
out

his tail in and


come

get it

of

danger, hopped
and
over

would
raven

his gave would had

fore his be had

paws.
to

Round

the
same

and
process
teaser

attention

them
and

the

repeated

over

again,till the
ran

enough
have
egg

of it, or

the
out.

terrier She had


one was

away

elsewhere,
known
to

to

his

sleep
nest

never

lay an
of
a

in the

she
to
see

so

one long prepared, till,

day,
mere

it occurred

of

the

servants,

out to

curiosityto
into it.

what

she would
ate

do,

drop

hen's egg

She

promptly began,
Of and for
at

it, and, pleased with


mature

the

delicacy, lay
eggs

the

age

of

eighty, to
is

herself,which
course,

she
a

devoured. always incontinently


tame
run raven an

arrant

thief,
to

if you your

let him
amusement.

loose, you

must

expect

pay

Anything
butler thrown
at

bright especially
lost spoon
upon every with after
one

attracts

him.
and had

who

had

spoon, but the

the

blame
saw

real offender,

last in

Ralph
mouth,"
served
not

the

proverbial "silver
him sneak off
to

spoon

his

watched him for


a

the

hole which
found

savings bank,
spoon which he

and

therein

only
which

the he

had

missed, but

others

LOVE

OF

MISCHIEF

167

had

not.

The

bank,
on

on

this

occasion, paid

pound com-

interest One Raven of


my

the
own

deposit.
tame

ravens,

native

of
a

Tarn,
of of

had
a

the field
"

run

of

stable-yard,of
well of also Stafford

garden, and
the
and

in

fact, pretty

of
;

whole
no

the

adjoining village
home
for

small

boy,
than

the

holidays,for
a

the

first time, from


of

school, could
he.
of He

prove

greater

imp
the

mischief

led

the

pigeons,
sad

ducks, and
but he
were

the

hens

the
a

stable-yarda
then
he would

life ;
when

gave

the

cocks

wide

berth, except

they
the

and busy fighting,

attack

them, in safety and


rear.

with
a

from perfectimpartiality,
cat
was

When
and

favourite

walking

demurely
with behind
a

daintily across
head

the

yard, Jacob,
come

few
"

quiet sidelong hops,


on one

would
as

up

his

side,

always, when
a

meditating mischief
the

"

would

give
He

her
the

sharp nip panic he

in

tail,and

his delightat testify


a

had

created

by

loud

croak.

had

private

stores

everywhere
and
even

of sticks, bones, buttons, of

nails,thimbles,
were

halfpence,some
till after his and noticed

which

not

covered dis-

death, and
and

then

chiefly by particularly
sure

his

namesake,
ever

successor,

residuary legatee.
on a

If you

him

putting
be

nonchalant

air, you

might

quite

he

had

168

THE

RAVEN

some

stolen

treasure to

in

his

mouth away

which unobserved.

he

was

anxious particularly
was

stow

He

the

friend of
see

of all the any

every

one

in
any

the
work

but village,
to

the it.

marplot
Did

who

had

do

in

he
care,

gardener bedding plant,


as

out,

with it for

especial
his
back

he

would
as

select

especialattention,
was
"

soon

the

gardener's
in
soon

turned.

Did
"

he
of

see

labourer
as

the
as

allotment

setting
the them
top of

row

his beans, follow


one,
a

he

was

gone,

raven

would

in

his

steps, foot-

dig
one on

up,

one

by

and

drop them,
of his
own.

the

another, into
man,

hole

Did

well-dressed
a new

something glove,the dodge

perhaps
raven

of

dandy, drop
be off with the
to

lilac kid
a

would pursuers, would his

it in
moment

moment,

all his

and,

the
it
to

pursuit slackened,
would
halted and of
a

begin
work,
till it would if he

pick

pieces and
pursuers of for

continue for
tatters.

each
was

time
a

the

breath,
He
;

thing
about
to

shreds
a

follow

me

walk

mile
was

or

so

and

happened
of

meet

dog,
fury
for
was

there
on

great
;

show
each
come

excitement
too

and

both
own

sides

but
to

had
to

much

regard
of
"

his
a

safety
case

close

quarters.
much
as

It

of

cave

corvnm

quite
Most

as

cave

canem.

villagesin

Dorset

as

is, I suppose,

the

PET

RAVEN

AT

STAFFORD

169

case

in

other

counties

"

have

at

least

one

happy
"

or

unhappy
the

imbecile, living among


of the than

them

who

such

is the

kindliness

people
"

is almost

always
The

village pet
soon

rather

the

butt. village of the around Stafford

raven

detected would

the weakness
demonstrate

imbecile,
and he make

and

him,

vigorous

attacks the

on

his He

legs

whenever

passed

through
and

yard.

showed

similar
when of

insight
I

contempt
a

for intellectual weakness,


term
or

kept

him, for

two,

in the
son

gardens
the

Trinity
who of

College, helped
his

Oxford. father

The
in

of

gardener,

his

the
not

more

mechanical
be

part

work,
raven

happened

to

strong
the
never

in his mind.

The

instantlyrecognised
two

difference molested

tween be-

the
father

men,

and he

while
never

he

the

in his work,

left the
to

son

alone

in his.

Sometimes,
was

he

would

flyup
may

my
on

window,
some

while

giving a lecture, it
my

be

Greek

play,
which,

to

and pupils,
a sore

would

remarks interpolate

if

they were quite


of

to interruption to

the lecture, seemed


as some

often remarks

as

much

the

point

of the
we were

the

Chorus,
He

through
was

which

painfullylabouring.
rain
on or

quite impervious
the it
or snow was

to

frost

or

snow.

When

deep
in it

the
a

ground, dog.
He

he

would

play in
for his

roll

over

like

chose

at roosting-place

170

THE

RAVEN

Stafford

the

ridge
in

of

thatched

wall

in stuck
to

very
to
a

exposed place through


or

the

allotments, and
Pets

it sad

all weathers. end.


a

usuallycome
pet
raven,

premature

Waterton's of
one

Marco,

perished from
angry
or

blow
on

of his best
in
a

friends, an
of

coachman,

whom,

moment
a

play
So
can

of excitement, and

he had
is
a

inflicted raven's

sharp nip.
that he

sharp
and

strong
touch

beak

hardly ever

the

hand

without

bringing blood
pet
taste

cutting
and

rather

deep.
died
own

Dickens's

raven,

"Grip," developed an paint putty," and


in
at

"unfortunate
of

for white

the

slow
to

poison, as Barnaby
by
the
He with of "Life"

is narrated

Dickens's

preface
his
met

Rudge and,
Forster.
most

greater
pet
raven,

length, in unworthy
into
a

My

"Jacob,"

ignominious
walked and of
or

and

fate

all.
of

either

slipped
was

barrel
me

liquid
An

pigs'-wash
open could be

found

by
drowned"

therein.
was

verdict said

"found

all

that

about pet

him.
ravens,

Another

of my
not

the native such had

of Millicent

Clump,
at

could
as

be allowed

unfettered in his native

liberty
air of if his

Harrow,

he
was

might
kept

have in
a

Dorset.

He

largeaviary where,
were

opportunitiesfor
in

mischief

less, his progress


"

language

was

greater.

His

own

name,

Jacob,"

172 dexterous
ever

THE

RAVEN

movement

of

his neck

and

beak, without

and shiftinghis position,


even on

hardly ever
thrown
of

missing given

one,

its rebound, of the cage.

when

against the
food

opposite wall
to

Morsels after the

him

he

would skin like


a a

pack, one
of his

other, into the


till it
was

expansive puffed
you
out

lower
;

mandible,
he
"

pouch
and

and

then

would

look

at

with
?
"

queer
sort to

knowing
he would

where-are-they-allWhen

gone-to
you

of

expression.
other, and
of his
or

he had

given
them
down

time
one

guess,

gravely reproduce proceed


of
to

them,
in

after the

hide them

various sand

parts
or

cage,

patting
them,
have

under then

stones

rubbish

any
as

kind, and

again
do
a a

would
doll

disinter which

quickly
key
of

as

children

they

buried The

in their his

play, with whip

genuine
it
a were

evptjKa

look.

cage-door, if
out

left open and

by chance,

he would best

in

moment,

hide

it in his very

and hiding-place, you the in


next

visiblyenjoy
it. He of the

the trouble
a

he gave hole into which


a

looking for

pecked

small

compartment
an

aviary, in
sometimes

kept, sometimes
hawk
a

eagle owl,
his supreme

kestrel

and

it

was

delightto
or

filch away

bit

of

food

which

the

owl

the kestrel, in their left


near

sometimes comparative stupidity,

it.

One

day, the kestrel, in

moment

of

came forgetfulness,

TRICKS

OF

RAVEN

173

too

near

the
it
more was

hole.
soon

The
all

raven

caught
with
him. of

him

by

the

leg ;
those

and

over

One who

appeal,as
love,
or

in
are

the

case

the owls,

to

who
and

capable of loving,what
done. Cicero

is wild

in nature,

I have

tells us
in
a

that, after the


the duty Sicily,
town

wholesale of the

plunderings of guide
who took in
to

Verres
over

you the

which

had

formerly abounded
art,
was no

richest you
to

treasures

of Greek but

longer
been.
"

show

those

treasures,

only mournfully to point


had oldest still
once

the

places in
the here
ravens.

which

they
"

So of

is it with
a

The there
a

inhabitant

village
and

and

may

point, with
or a

pride

to pleasure,

"raven

clump"
ravens

"raven

tree"; but
Browne,
years ago,
;

where

now

are

the

Sir
two

Thomas hundred

writingof
said,
and
"

ravens

in Norfolk,
are

Ravens
on

in

great
that
as

plenty near
there
are so

Norwich few kites

it is

this
as
"

account

there." Norfolk

And,
says,

late This

1829, another
is found

observer

in

bird

in woods
are none

in every
at

* part of the county."

To-day,
the the way old

there
of

all. Mr the

They
Hudson

have
was

followed told

the

kite.
on

by
where

head

keeper
he
p. 257.

forest of Exmoor

ravens,

could surely, ago,

do little

harm, that,
*

quarter

of

century
H.

trapped

Birds

of Norfolk, by

Stevenson,

174
two fifty-

THE

RAVEN

ravens

in

one

year. be which and

What

wonder there? In

that

now

there is
besides
own

hardly one
those
to

to

heard I

Dorset,
in
my

spots

have

known,

time,
ravens,

be tenanted

afterwards

abandoned

by
two

I have

ascertained

that,

generation or
Park, in
one

ago,

they still built


Scotch

in Sherborne

of and
on

the in

noble

fir-trees
on

planted there by Pope, Rempston


Heath and
at
on

Bryanston

Park,

and

Bloxworth

Heath,
at

in

Came

Park and

Galton Buckland and

Common, Newton,
Coombe

Milton the Coombe

Abbey
of

in of

Houghton
and
"

the

Bingham's they

Melcombe,
all
"

perhaps
of Corfe

the

most

fitting place of
once

on

the ruins

Castle, just as
in the
not

built of

on

Glastonbury Tor,
What Tor would

adjoining county
Castle
and

Somerset.

Corfe

Glastonbury
were ravens

gain
still?

in If

impressiveness,if there

there

only they always owing


which
to
some

were

to

be
at

strictly protected, as Badbury hereditary local


even

they

have
to

been

Rings, they might,


attachment
drawn back

that

strong

I have

described, be,

now,

of their ancestral
"

homes.
"

The
"

Ravens

woods," found, here


indubitable
of
ravens

Ravensburghs,"
there, all
of
must
over

Ravenscrofts,"
bear the

and

the

country,
to

testimony
which

language
in

the

large

number

old

DISAPPEARANCE

OF

RAVEN

175

times

have

been

found which

throughout England,
so

and

to

the

attention command.
one

remarkable
in

bird

could

always
remark,

Ramsbury
seats original

Wiltshire, I would
of the

of the

Bishopric
"

Sherborne
throne
at

being

the

other

"

which

now
"

has

its

is nothing Salisbury,
town

else than
as

Ravens-

bury,"
into
"

"the

of

the

ravens,"

is shown the
name

by

the fact that the


Corvinum"

Anglo-Saxons
and

Latinised

that

the

bishop
"

used

to

sign

himself

Episcopus Corvinensis,
The

or

Bishop

of

Ravens."

Bishop origin of
which
in the

of his
are

Salisbury, therefore,
see,
as

looking to
number found
on

the
ravens

well

as

to to

the
be his

of

still

happily
part

the

coast,

Dorsetshire

of

round diocese, especially

Lulworth,
be of the
a

has, I imagine,
the
"

almost
of of

as

good
as

right to bishop
derived be

called

Bishop

Ravens,"

the
once

quail-haunted Isle
revenue

Capri, who
them, had
"

considerable
"

from

to

called the the

Bishop
of of
a

of

Quails."
of
and and bird of

The

raven,"
no

says
mean

author

Birds

Wiltshire,* "is

ornament

park,

speaks
an

of

wide

domain,
for

and
an

large timber,
aristocratic and
trees

ancient
cannot

family;
brook
a

it is

and young
*

confined that

property
its

growth.
Quoted by
Mr

Would
Hudson

were predilection

in his Birds

and

Man,

p.

119.

176

THE

RAVEN

more

humoured

and

secure

retreat

allowed The
much

by

the

larger proprietorson
is, in
except
him
to

the

land."
so

great
to

owner land-

my

opinion, not
into the hands

blame,
allows

for the

easy-going laissez faire


gun of
an

which

put

unobservant,
and A in

illiterate,and
leaves him
to

often do

bloodthirstygamekeeper,
he likes with
some

exactly what
does,
as a

it.

great landowner
"

rule, take
it is wanted.

pride
A

showing
is

"

fox whenever
to

heronry,
herons
waters.
on

if he

happy enough
free
to

possess

one,

he

regards as
his
seen

the
do He

crowning glory of
make likes with

his

park, even
bird is

if the of
to

the
a

inhabitants
rare

hear
he the

that

be

his
even

estate,

and

will sometimes presence in his of


an

tolerate,perhaps
otter

at, rejoice
or

in his osier-beds, It is the


resident non-

of

badger
"

sandy hills.
or worse

shooting tenant,"
all wild life. A

still,"the
are

syndicate of shooting tenants,"


of with few marked for

who

the

enemies arch-

shooting
but A

tenant

has,
of A
tenant,

exceptions,hardly

any

bowels game.

compassion
"

anything
none

his

syndicate"
course

has
the

at

all.

shooting

of

with

same

values exceptions,
that

his land
out

only
and

for the head visits has

of game

he

can

get

of it, for the

it,chiefly or
come.

only, when
pays his

the

time
so

battue

He

gamekeeper

much

"LIVE

AND

LET

LIVE"

177 makes game. divided and barians, barit his

per

head

of
to

game,

and

the

gamekeeper
is

business

destroy everything that


process into

not
once

By the easy-going
the world

which

Jews

and

Gentiles, Greeks

he divides
into game his and

the

largeranimals
The
may
one

of his shoot instruction summed up

vermin.

he
in

gives to
the

gamekeeper
utterance

be best of

impassioned

the
"

poor

old

brain-

stricken, tempest-riven King Lear


"

Then

kill ; kill, kill, kill, kill, kill,

"

and

the

gamekeeper,
and
"

with

right good will,obeys

his master

does
kill." Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill,

Under
most

these

sinister

influences, many
animals
are

of

our

birds interesting

and the

ceasing to
to

exist. increase

The
of

bustard the

and

bittern, owing
the

the
of

population and
the

reclamation The
are

the fens, are the


rarer

thingsof
the The The Cornish

long past.

buzzard,

harrier, and
and
rarer.

peregrine falcon
Cornish

becoming
as

fork-tailed kite is

dead

as

Queen
extinct
a

Anne.
as

chough
The

is

nearly as

the for

language.

of principle
as

preserve

wild interesting
be has extirpated,
on an

animals, such
been

would

otherwise

established

by

the

Americans,

extensive

scale, in the
M

178

THE

RAVEN

Yellowstone

Park.

It

has

been

secured

by

the

British
of and
a

thanks Legislature,

to chiefly

the exertions

Mr

Edward elsewhere

N.

Buxton,
;

in
a

part of Somaliland
similar preserve,
to
on

in Africa

and

small

scale, which

might
set

well

be extended

the
in

New

Forest, has
Forest

been in

apart

by
No

the

Crown,

Wolmer
be
more

Hampshire.
to

tribute of
more

could

appropriate
none

the

memory him

Gilbert

White,
than

would consecration

have
in

given

pleasure,
a

the

perpetuity of
wandered,
so

region
the wild

through
animals But
owner

which
and

he
birds should

so

often he

to

which
not

keenly

loved.
if its the
any

why
be

every

large
is still and in

estate

resident

upon

it, as

happily

case

in for

most

parts of
wild

England,

if he have

love

real

life,become,
is
a

itself, a
in
nature

sort

of

sanctuary?
man never

There

balance
but
at

which Witness

transgresses

his

cost.

it,the wholesale
the portentous
a

destruction increase of

of owls
rats

and

hawks,
There

and is

and

mice.

of principle
no

"live and less than


reason,

let

live,"which

enlightened
sentiment be
as

self-interest
no

the

publicgood,
There any
true not

less

than
on

demand.
estate
as

may and

much

game
can

an

moderate
room

sportsman
it for

desire swoop

but of

is there

also

in

the

wild

the

sparrow-hawk,

for the

180

THE

RAVEN
and
:

77/are Kene

cam

fleo

ravon

adown

//zare-bi he
was

a-lizte,

and

suythe
come

dredful foul to
to

i-redi he
:

to

fizte ;

Zif /^are The


ravon

ani
smot

that
:

this bodi
ne

i-seize,
//zare
come

grounde
heom

mosten

non

neize,
he drof a-wei Mudere
zwane

Ake

evere

heo

come;

Ne

mizte of
nome.

tkaxe

come

none

so

kene

that

mossel

thar-

A And

wolf

cam

also /^uder-ward of that bodi

is mete
:

for-to
ravon

fette,
a-zein him

wolde

nime

the

sette,
He flev and
smot

with

bile

and

that fot,

the wolf

at^en

ende
Blodi The
was rauon

and

overcome

azen

hamward

he

gan

wende.
nouzt

wuste

this

bodi

longe; Iwemmed
the. bodi

it

nas.

Tho Horn

the he
ovre

king

it onder-zat
azen

; Mat
:

i hoi was,
'

lit it fette

and

seide,

zwat

may

beo

red,
ne mouwen

That

we

him

over-come

not/ter

quik

ne

ded?'"

I poem

subjoin
on

vigorous paraphrase
has been

of

this

part
made

of

the

St and

Vincent, which
for that of the

kindly
my

for my

benefit

reader, by

friend, Canon

Christopher
After
on
"

Wordsworth. Dacian's
"

King
an

torturers
a

had

done

their worst drew

St

Vincent,

angel, with

taper, came

and

his

MARTYRDOM

OF

ST
and

VINCENT
laid it in soft

181

body
then

from the

the

sword
says:"

points

bed;

tyrant

"

Dead
not

we

shall

overcome

him

since

alive

he

would

yield,
his
carcase

'

Carry
The

and

cast tear

it eftsoons and it,

in the rend

open

field. beasts of

birds

of prey

shall

it the

prey.' They
Then carry St Vincent's relics and the

tyrant'swill
saint he did

obey.
there
came a raven

flying; by

the

alight Savage
As each and keen and dreadful
:

right ready
and it

he

was

to

fight.
fowl

hoped

to

glut her,

on

thought

to

fly,
This
raven

down

he

struck

her;

and

none

might

e'er

draw For

nigh

still away than

he

drave

them

this

raven

was

quicker

they,
any
so

Nor

was

keen

in

swooping

to

carry

morsel

away. Then
a

wolf

came

ambling thither,thinking
the

to

make

feast ; But
or ever

he

snatched

at

body,

the

bird

made

up

to

the talon

beast. and
;

With

bill

he

struck

him

the

wolf

was

overcome

Bleeding

at

last and

beaten,

he

slunk

away

to

his home.

182 watched the


nor

THE

RAVEN
the

Long

raven

body,

that

was

neither

mangled
They
tell the wise He bids

scarred.
that St Vincent is whole and in
no

king
;

marred them

bring
alive

him

again ;
he

'

How

say

ye,

sirs,*

(quoth he)
"

That

whether

or

dead,

gets the better

of me?'"

APPENDIX

II

From Satirical

Aldhelmi Poets

ALniginata^ p. 366.
vol
"

Appendix
ii., 1872.

II. to

of the Twelfth Century


DE CORVO

"

Dum Et
nova

genus

humanum

truculenta aequora semina fcedera subdere dixisse

fluenta

necarent,

mortales raris

multarent

cunctos,

Exceptis
Primus

gignunt qui

ssecli, juris,
colla ;

viventum

perdebam

Imperio patris contemnens


Unde
'

puto dudum
in terris

versu

poetam
undis
'

Abluit

quidquid deliquitin
nunquam

Nam Ni

subolem

dapibus

saturabo

ciborum,

plumas nigrescere cernam. prius in pullis


tollatur
;

Litera

post haec sine


human

prole

manebo."

While

the

whole

race

were

perishing

in the cruel their

waters,

and

seas,

unknown

before,

were

punishing, for

ALDHELMI

ENIGMA

183

sins,
few

all who

mortal

creatures,
to

with

the

exception
for future the

of

the

chosen

were

preserve
to

the

race

times,
compact

was

the

first

of

the and his of

survivors

set

at

nought
for

with

the

Father neck

disobey
will. This

his

behests,
is the
reason

spurned
the

to

bow

my

to

why
now

poet,
on

long
for

since,
his

said

me

in

"

verse,

he

is

atoning

land

former

sins

on

the

sea."

My
young

punishment
with the

is

that

shall

never

satisfy
I
see

my

callow

food

they
upon and

want,
their

till

their

feathers

begin
a

to

grow

black

white

skin. bereaved

Take of them

away

letter

from

my

name,

shall

be

altogether.

The

"

Father," poet,"
fifth

in

line

five

of

the

above,

is,
a

of

course,

Noah

"the

in

line

six,
;

is

Coelius letter

Sedulius,
to

Christian

poet
the

of

the

century
is

and

the

be

taken

from

name

Corvus

C,

leaving

behind

orvus

or

orbus,

"

bereaved

of

my

young."

CHAPTER

THE

OLD

THATCHED

RECTORY

AND

ITS

BIRDS

THE

Rectory
of
no

is

picturesque, special
great

comfortable-looking pretensions,
but which be with
an

building,
and of

architectural

no

very and
a

antiquity,
of its
own

atmosphere
it,
at

charm
first

proclaim
so

almost
as a

the home
"

glance,
home
no

to

not

much
be

house

in bad but

which

it would
to

happiness
walls

to

live,
here
and made

and

place they
and of
are

die.

Its and

bulge

there
to

thick
rich

weather-proof,
brick,
of the

"stay"
and

brown

weather-tinted

lichen-clad,

the the

product adjoining

clay-beds
of

of

Fryer

Mayne,

in

parish
In
to

Knighton.
the house and

front,

has

two

wings,
at

running angles
and

up

high
main

gables

projecting
which
court

right

from

the flank A

building, paved
open

is

also

gabled,
leads Its into main

they
hall.
is

which interior.

the
feature

word,
184

first, about

the

THE

HALL

185

the

hall,which

is of

size and

comeliness, with

its

quaint Jacobean
finished

wooden

chimney-piece, its richly plaster panellings,


to

cornices, and
you would

its elaborate

such country
my

as

hardly During

expect
the years

find

in it
was

parsonage. it
was

when

home,
with

crammed of every

with

picturesand

with

china,
oak

curios

with description,

old

chests
oak

filled with

toys for children

of all ages,

with

chairs

and

tables, and
of all
"

"

most
an

cherished old
carved

treasure,

perhaps,

with
date many

writing-desk of oak,
which
On
near one

with

the

1630 upon

it,at

Wordsworth
wall
an was

had
an

written

of his poems. and of

ancestral
was

chiming clock, hereditaryand


a

it
tone

organ, for done

which

also
was

rich

its kind.

There
service

rocking-horse generations
lid it did, in front

which
of of

had

good
chest

with

three
as

children, and
a

which, prancing
with
a

green

iron

double

lock and
the

of portentous and

weight,which
and burial

contained of registers

baptismal
fathers fore-

marriage
of the

the rude

hamlet

from

the
often

sixteenth the
same

century
names

downwards,

and

bearing
to

throughout, seemed
great
of Elizabeth
"

bring the "spacious


close

times

of

into

with juxtaposition whole


was a

those
of

Queen

Victoria.

The
in their

medley

treasures

which,

number,

their

richness,

186

THE

RECTORY

AND

ITS

BIRDS

their

variety, were
had mother's
The

typical of
many which hall
a

the

mother's

hand

which
of the

gathered so
heart
front
across

of them had door

and together,

given
is of

them

all

welcome.

glass, and
to
a

looks

westward,
which

circular view the

drive,
little

thick
of of

hedge
the the

hides

from and

the
rich

stream

Winterbourne,

meadows

larger
to

Frome

lying immediately
on

beyond.
hall
a

Opposite
and

this door,
over

the other with

side

of the

looking

the

lawn

its flower-beds,
as

gently rising field, our railway


"

playground
and and which behind
"

children,
it

embankment,
Plantation"

again

to

Parsonage
another

Parsonage Field,"
offered
a

was

glass
a

door

tempting
the house,

and,
were

sometimes,
either
too too

fatal short

cut
or

to
over

birds, which

lazy to flyround
great
or
a

or

were

in

hurry

to

reach from

the the

stream stream.

from A

the

garden,

the
a

garden
blackbird

song-thrush
a

and

often, and
to

once,

alas !

kingfisher, managed
the
to

shoot
to

safely
dash

through
themselves
on

open

door

on

one

side, only
the closed

death
side.
room

against
in the

glass door
character here.

the

other

Nearly
of its
own,

every but

house
must

had
not

on

these
were a

dwell
to

The

two

staircases

marked

contrast

each

THE

THATCHED

ROOF

187

other
and be

the

front

with

old oak

balusters, with
"

broad and
or

easy

steps and
"

landings bidding
each, and
with
;
room

you

rest

thankful

upon
to

for three back round of


an

four
narrow

people
and from

go

up

abreast

the

stairs

almost

pitch-dark,winding
to

and
illits

round

kitchen
tower,

attics each

like those

lighted

church
in

step different

from

neighbour
a

depth
who

and
were

and height,
not to

each, therefore,
manner

to pitfall

those

the

born.

But

that gave

which, apart
its chief charm

from
to

its the

tions, personal associaas a

house
not

whole,

and it

that here It

without and
was

which
was

I should its

be

writing of

now,

high-pitched thatched
with
its and broad
hanging over-

roof.

this

which,
its

eaves,

with
and and

ridges

its furrows,

its snug grey gave

corners

its sunny its moss-grown


to
man.

its basking-places,

chimneys
abundant

coping-stones,
birds
aves,

shelter
to

all the
"

which ibi

most

attach
was a

themselves
favourite

Ubi
an

angeli"
the
It of

dogma
;

of and have

no

less

authority than right,then


the

St

Thomas
must

Aquinas
indeed the

if he been

was

Rectory
was,

angel-haunted.
year

of

course,
too

home

throughout

many,

perhaps, pert and chirping and most house-sparrows. The irrepressible starlings,
many

sprightlyand

energeticamong

birds, used, early in

188

THE

RECTORY

AND

ITS

BIRDS

March,
holes
for

to

dig

out,

with

perfect impunity, deep


year,
as were

themselves, which, later in the


other
birds. In

occupied by
as

the

chimneys,
swallows

well

in

the

many

outbuildings,the
The

reared

their with
on

twittering young.
all
a

house-martins

moulded,
nests

skill, their plasterer's


side of the

architectural
a

the

garden
beneath
best of

house, where
formed the
most

wooden
;
summer-

boarding
last and
like and of

the thatch

eave

and,

all,the swifts, those


birds, almost
first
to

all

summer

the last of all the


our

to

arrive,

quite

the

depart

summer

visitants, and

speaking only
and

of

longest

and of

brightestdays
returned nights, and fidelity from the far

the shortest

and

most

balmy

thither,year after year, with unvarying


in almost
or

exactly equal numbers, perhaps


and in which before
to

Soudan,
or

the

still farther their young

Madagascar
in had birds very

the
same

Cape,
holes reared mine

reared

exactly the
it

they
and and almost

and

their
and

ancestors

been
was

them.

These
to

other
from

welcome

watch,

early years,
seemed itself.
to

in my

home

their home,
a

till
the

they
home

have

become

part of
of the

I could them I heard


or

hardly have
or

conceived without

the

Rectory without
;

of

them

Rectory
could

and, had

it in those

early years,
reversed,

have

echoed,

perhaps

rather

have

BIRDS

OF

THE

THATCH

189

the

saying
The

of

Aquinas
of

and

put

it

thus

"

Ubi

ibi angeli,

aves."
the

surroundings
with
it.

Rectory

are

in

perfect
to

keeping
have
case a

Little

advantage
if,
as

would is
so

it be often

picturesque centre,
the

the

with

lovelyold-world
has of
a a

manor-houses
into

which

the the
were

lapse of
roofed and

centuries

turned

farmhouses,
and in

outbuildingswere
in with

wholly different type,


and
or

mean

ugly slate,hot
that

summer

cold in winter,
of modern

with

still greater iron.

abomination One

times,

corrugated
whole, much

single outbuilding,thus
mars

roofed, jars upon


of the

the
as

and feelings
one

the
paper,

effect

bit of

white

carelessly dropped, mars,


of
a

for

the moment, The


and

all the

beauty

neatly-shavenlawn.
as

Rectory outbuildings,numerous
headed have

they

are,

by

grand

old
to

tithe-barn, of which hereafter, are

shall
them

something
most

say

all of
most

thatched, the
all

and beautiful,surely,
man,

suggestive of
is
most

coverings for
of

and

that

which

characteristic
best
no

English

rural

life and It has it has its


to

harmonises

with doubt

English
:

scenery.

drawbacks,
pay
to

it is

perishable ;
has

double

insurance

and, owing duty against fire,


turned
so

the

agricultural depression which


land that
was

much

arable

into

pasture, it is

not

190

THE

RECTORY

AND

ITS

BIRDS

now

to

be got
on

on

many

farms

at

and all, and

what

is

to

be got

others

is much which

bruised
are

broken

by

the
use.

threshing machines,
warm Yet, delightfully

in such and of

general
summer

in winter of
a

cool in
slate
"

"

the

exact

opposite

roof

it

gives a
ness, homeliIt is be

sense

of comfort, of cosiness, of of home


too to

of hospitality,

any

buildingwhich
to

it shelters.

is

hardly

much whatever

say

that

no

cottage
can

which well however

unthatched,
beautiful
;
no

its other which well

merits,

cottage

is thatched, be

humble

in

itself, can
thatched

altogether ugly. predominates


even lingers

Happily, the
most

cottage

still and

in in

of

the

villagesof Dorset,
of
some

the each

middle
an

of

the smaller
Nor is it it is
a so

towns,

giving to
I

charm. idyllic
so

and perishable,

therefore
was

expensive, as
autumn,

often

thought.
of farm

struck, last

by

great
Peel

range
at

on buildings near

the property
all of them
was

of Lord

Eyemouth, pulledby
age

Sandy,
yet in

thatched

with reed

the hand, which


and
a sun

evidently of
and

considerable

perfectcondition,
in I made Lord into

all

glowing warmly,
the rays
to

almost

themselves, beneath
as inquiries

of

the

setting sun.
and
tenant

their

history
his ago,

age,
came

and

Peel

tells
some

me

that, since

the done

farm,
nor

thirtyyears requiredto

nothing

has

been

has

be done

THATCHING

FINE

ART

191

to
was

the

thatch.

It is, the in his

tenant

says,

as

good
of

as

it

then, and,
lasts from

opinion, reed
to
one

thatch

that A

kind

eighty

hundred

years!
of
even

striking incidental
common

proof

of
may

the
use

duration the Lord


an

thatch, and, if I
owe

term,

of

its In

I antiseptic qualities,

also

to

Peel.

the
at

spring

of

last

year

(1902),while
to

old cottage

Ledbury, belonging
its
straw

Mr

Biddulph, was
to

being deeply

strippedof
reed,
a

thatch

in order
was

replaceit by
roll of white with
sent

brown-paper
in the roof.

parcel

found
a

embedded

It contained

linen, 25
invoice firm
at

yards long, which,


a

together
had been
at

the

and

letter dated
to
was a

1794,

by

Gloucester

tradesman

Ledbury. unspoilt,
of
a

The
not

roll of linen
even

absolutelydry
and

and

spotted by damp,
paper

the

covering
into
;

brown

likewise.
is years

How
to

it got

such

there hiding-place
over a

nothing
the the

show

but

for well

hundred and

faithful thatch
secret
a

had
to

served preit.

concealed

intrusted fine art, the

Thatching is, in truth,


suppose,
to

finest,I
can

which
fame

an

agricultural labourer
"

aspire.

The

of

the

thatcher," generallyan
down,
to

hereditary occupation handed

in

long
his

and

jealous succession, only


he be
an

from

father

son,

spreads, if
own

adept

in his art,

far

beyond

192

THE

RECTORY

AND

ITS

BIRDS

to

all the

surrounding villages. A
marvels off
on

cluster and

of

ricks,

his handiwork,
and often of
every
set straw

of

symmetry

neatness,
ments orna-

with
the His

twisted fantastically

top,

are

the

admiration ranks

of
next

passer-by.
is

often personality

after that of the and hierarchy,

clerk, the village


as

chief of the its way


as
"

village
that of ruddlein

marked

in

the

gamekeeper,
so

of the

mole-catcher, of the

man,"
his

well described

by

Mr He

Thomas
is often

Hardy
of any
can

Return

of
He

the

Native. the

skilled in each
one

folk-lore. house and

knows

inner

character

household

better, perhaps, than


of his
own

else ; for he has down upon

advantages
his

he

look often

the
from

inhabitants, observing but

unobserved,

loftyperch,
of descends

and

can

hardly
the

help catching hasty glimpses


windows,
as

them
his

through

he

ascends
ladder.

or

inseparable
attaches

companion, the
A every

beauty

and of

interest his

of

its

own

to at

portion

handiwork,
of its

and

that,

too,

each

succeeding stage
Notice,
for

youth, its maturity,its


neat exquisitely

decay.
whole

instance, the
most

finish of the
;

the roof-ridge,

critical formed

point of
by
hold of

the

the

geometricalpatterns
which
years

the spars it in

just below,
its

help,by
;

their

grip,

to

place

for

the

faultless symmetry

the

194

THE

RECTORY

AND

ITS

BIRDS

as

possibleto
the process
you

the bottom.
;
to

You
not

may be of
a so

get

wetting
I

in

but

it will
a

long,
much
a

think,

before

try

get
so

view small

beauty,
second
a

concentrated time. Each

within

space,

golden globule
for the

straw-end of
a

is

with glistening

full round

transparent
moment,

crystal,which
then and size you is and

lingers lovingly lovingly,on


succeeded
to

drops,

as

next

below,
of

instantly beauty,
know
on

by
with Ten

another invisible
thousand
"

equal
from

coming
where.

trickle

not

each flashingpearls,
as

its

golden sceptre, by
on

gorgeous" along
chosen

those
"

"

showered"

Eastern the head

monarch of his

with

barbaric
ten

gold

"

bride, and
rest
'

thousand

miniature motion And in


now

cascades, with
their
very
rest.

in their very

motion,

about of
my

the

denizens and age.

of

the

thatch, the
the
is
most

companions
cherished
suppose, in
some

youth,
of my

among

memories

There has
not

I little, said

that

can

be said, which
or

been
a

shape
which,
to

other

before, about

class

of

birds

with by their familiarity force themselves of upon

man,

have

managed
have,
measure

his attention, and from him in


a

many

them,

received
even

large
return.

of
no

protection or
observer
sees

affection eye
to

But

one

quite

eye

with

THE

HOUSE-SPARROW

195

another.
the much
even

"Idem
of be said
most

non

semper

idem." bird

And

of first,

commonest

them that

all,the
cannot,

against which gainsaid,


the of

may

I fear, be

by the
which I

catholic

of

bird-lovers, and
to

bird the and

myself am
inveterate
over

disposed

like least

all,

house-sparrow.
often the in

Early prejudices are


;

strong,
to
never

and

confess

having got
sparrow

prejudice against
me,

the

housea

produced
the

in

very

early life,by
"

and toy-book, forcibly

profuselyillustrated
Caldecott Who
was
"

though
old Robin?"

hardly in
nursery

styleof
of page, of
"

containing the
Cock

ballad
on one

killed the
men,

There,
the

innocent the of the bird

little robin,
which
in

favourite

gods
the

and

had the

piously
Wood and

covered with

bodies

Babes limbs

leaves, lying dead, his

relaxed
a

his bright eye glazed and stiffening,

dull,and
which

tiny arrow
were

stickingin
a

his orange

breast, from
of crimson
was

oozing
there,

few

minute

drops
page, bow

blood.

And

on

the

opposite
the
fatal

the aloft

vulgarin
one

looking murderer,
small in his deed

held

claw, bold, brazen-faced, unrepentant,


of shame.

glorying

"

said 'I,' 'With I killed

the
my

Sparrow,
bow
and arrow,

Cock

Robin.'"

196

THE

RECTORY

AND

ITS

BIRDS

I wonder
maturest
our

how

many

of what
rest

we

consider
or are

to

be

our

convictions

on,

coloured

by,

earliest
But
even

! prejudices

the

sparrow

has

his

merits.
man,

His and

his happiness,his friendshipfor activity, his pert and them. He

pushing
is, in

confidence

in

him

are

among
most
man

consequence,

already

the

cosmopolitan of
goes, goes
not.
or

all birds.

Wherever

civilised

cultivation them.
cock it

spreads, the

house-sparrow
not

with

Where
sparrow

they
of

do

go,

he

does

The

the

country
from
towns,
common,

side, very
smoke-

different, be

remembered,
of the he
to

his is

begrimed enough, probably


the

brother

large
not
so

comely
would On

and,
be

were

admitted

be

handsome. really

other

hand, he is noisy,impudent, self-asserting,


His incessant
to
a or twittering

quarrelsome.
with
extreme.
no

chirping,
to
an

approach
He of all is

song,

is wearisome
to
an

destructive,
of

incredible

degree,

kinds

grain, fruit, vegetable,


is

especially peas,
own

eating, it
a

said, many
much
an

times
more

his than
at

weight
eats.

in

day,
as

and

wasting
as

he
a

He
or

is
a

quarrelsome
fall

Irishman
cock

fair

at

funeral-wake. year, The

See

sparrow,

early
upon

in

the

suddenly
the

and loud

unprovoked
and angry

another.

moment

DEMERITS

OF

HOUSE-SPARROW

197

chirp is raised, every


rushes
to

sparrow

in the

neighbourhood
is
no

to

join in
wrongs

the
;

fray. There
no

inquiryas Every
in
one

rightsor

stint,no

stay.
go

is

against his neighbour.


mass,

They
each

dashing
and
over

pact com-

tumbling

over

other

walls,

"thorough bush, thorough briar," sometimes headlong


number for in the dust, the din of the conflict of the combatants
a

rolling
and

the

increasingevery
and then

moment,

perhaps

couple of minutes,
the

it all dies

away.
no one

They disperseto being


the
worse

their several
no

occupations, apparently,
at multiplies

better, and
for it.

one,

much

What
a

is

more

serious, the
rate
or

sparrow

positivelyalarming
a

he

has

three
in each.

or

four It is The

broods
not
a

year,

and
note,

five of

six young and his

case,

"live
of

let

live."

sparrow-hawk
have
been

and

other and
a

natural
new

enemies which which

killed him in

down,
half

every
new

house

is built

gives
build
to

dozen

places in
which

he

may

and safety, him.

from

it is very settlers in

difficult America

dislodge

English
remind of

and

Australia, naturallyanxious, in their


could the them the of the

exile,for anything which


"old

country," even
Now

for

twitter him

sible irreprestheir
new

house-sparrow, imported
homes.

into

they would

give anything to get

rid of

198

THE

RECTORY

AND

ITS

BIRDS

him

but it is

too

late.

The

sparrows
or

have

multiplied,
in the in rabbits Worst nacity, pugin

like the Israelites in


United

Egypt,
in the

the
case

Negroes
of the them. and their

States, till, as
land
can

Australia, the
count

hardly

hold

of

all, by
there

their and

greediness

both

here, they often


and
more

succeed

driving
The

away

other

interesting birds.
birds of
more tiring re-

sweetest

songsters,
more

the

dispositionor
the the
where

delicate

organisation
"

nightingale,the blackcap, the garden warbler,


whitethroat,
sparrows the
are

willow
numerous.

wren

"

will
nest
a

not

stay

The

is

huge,
dome mixed

ill-built, unshapely, untidy, with


made with
a

rough
often

of bits

long wisps
of paper
or

of

hay

or

straw,

tags

of wool, and the

lined with

profusion
almost

of feathers lost.
want

in which
even

speckled eggs
the
sparrow

are

But,
of her
taste.

here,
Unlike
nest

shows

her

the

long-tailed
a

tit, which

lines

exquisite
distant

with

fect per-

feather-bed
selected carefully

of feathers from

of the

daintiest and

colours,
of
ordinary extraon

parts

softness, the
those
the she first
comes

house-sparrow
across,

pounces

generally those
as an

from

such poultry yard, specially


to

old

hen, flying
in

heavilyupwards
numbers from

her

perch or

roost,

drops

large
the

her

unwieldy body.

These

NEST

OF

HOUSE-SPARROW

199

nesting taking
often when mid-air
nests

sparrow
or

will
three of

often from

catch the

as

they fall,or,
at

two

ground

once,

will
nest,

drop
another and

one

them

before

reaching

her

sparrow carry

will
to

interceptit,in
her
own.

her turn,

in

it off
room

Their

untidy

found

ample

for themselves
roses,

in the creepers

of the

Rectory, the
Others
were

the vine, the wistaria, the


in the

ivy.
of The

built
on

pipes,on
also the

the the

slopes
walls. of

the thatch,
marauders

or

any

in irregularities

appropriated
the latter

holes with of
a

the

starlingsafter
even,
on

had

done

them.
fully care-

They

occasion, took
house-martin's
It

possession
nest

constructed proper the


to
owner.

and that

ejectedthe
sometimes

is said, indeed,

martins the

will avenge

the

injuryand
as a

insult offered

community
in

by walling up,
nest.

community,
to

the

intruder

the

venture
so

doubt many

the
years,

story,

because partly, have


seen

think, during
of

I should been
ever

something
of her

the kind, if it had the sparrow


young,
to
as

true, and

because partly, fond


to

I doubt and submit take


a

being
them

so

eggs and

to

cling to
immured the
a

the

death

be

slowly hardly

with

them.

If you

sparrow's nest,
or

bird

shows, after the first minute


of distress,and in

two,
to

symptom

promptly begins
spot.
The

build has

another

the

very

same

sparrow

200

THE

RECTORY

AND

ITS

BIRDS

"knowledge
indeed
interests
as

of

the

world," and
of
to

"out

of I

sight,"
be in
as

with sorry

her, is often
if it of

"out
were

mind."

should but

be
more

exterminated,
attractive

the
well like
ten

other

and and

birds,

of the
see one

gardener pair
are

of

the

farmer, I should
are now

to

where
now a

there
hundred.

ten,

and

where the

there

The
one

difficulty pair
molested un-

of

matter

is
a

that, if you

leave

for broods and of


ten

single year,
each

it will, with become


a

its three
ten

six

time, have
have
become

pairs,

the
About

pairs will eight or


and
; ten

hundred.

couples of starlings frequented outbuildings during good


tenants

the

Rectory
months the

its and

the
were,

early
for

spring though
were

they they

which dilapidations that

left

behind well
for

considerable, I think

they paid

their song, for


an

lodging by
and hour

their many in

liveliness, by their

cheerful

by
or

their
two

fascinating ways. earlymorning,


season

Except
and those

the

chiefly when
the

the the

breeding
most

is

approaching,
of food, in
a

is starling

alert and direction

energeticof birds,
in

scurrying about
always
in company

in every with in
a

search

his fellows, and for dear

always
Watch
a

hurry, as
flock of

though
them when

race

life.

they have just alightedin


still, on
a

field

of pasture, or,

better

newly

mown

lawn, in

202

THE

RECTORY

AND

ITS

BIRDS

every

day,
world

the
up

male
to

bird,

at

this
"

season,
to

seems

to

give himself
of the around

contemplation
him, of the birds
most

contemplation flyingabove
his
own or

below

him, and,

perhaps
of his
mate.

of all,of

perfections and
the
or

those

Perched of

upon

highestgable or
on

tallest of
a

chimney
tree,

the

Rectory,
in of the

the

bare
or

bough
the

but

always

full hole

sight
he

immediate

neighbourhood family,he
There

the

has up

selected
to

for his future

gives

himself

pure

enjoyment. clapping
his

pluming
in
a

himself, lowering and


not

wings

way

quite

like any
which

other

bird, and

basking
his his he did

in the

morning
burnished

sun,

on glitters positively

richly
or

feathers, he

serenades

mate,

it may soliloquises,
or

be, about

what

yesterday
whistle,
in
a

is

going
of

to

do

to-day, sometimes

in low

sometimes series

in

voluble

chatter, dashed
Not without

forth
reason

jerks or
called

catches.

has

he

been

by
of the
or

Mr

Cornish,

in his

delightful
birds,

essay,

"the

English mocking-bird."
the finch
or crow

Other

some especially

tribe, when
may

brought
to
men

under
tunes

influence
to

of man, various

be

trained

pipe
or

imitate the

sounds

made

by
I

animals

but

is starling
state,

the

only bird,

believe,which, in his wild


to

sets systematically

work

to

train

himself.

He

has

the

true

instinct

THE

STARLING he

AS

MIMIC

203 ously assidu;

of

imitation, and
as a

"practises"singing as
on practises

girlat

school
so

the
to

piano
enable
a

and him

practicemakes
to

him
a

far

perfectas
ear.

deceive
a

even

well-trained

Does forth
at

pecker, wood-

rather

bird, pour solitary


of sycamores the

his the

joyous
top of
will you

laugh

from

the old group


on starling

the field ? the


sometimes will
mate

Rectory housetop
so

reproduce

his

laugh

exactlythat
the is with

believe,for the
has taken
;
to

moment,

that
and

woodpecker's answering
the
notes

the thatch
same

him of

from the

there

and

it is the

the the peewit, the goldfinch, guinea-fowl,


even some

songtones

thrush, and
of

of is

the

mellowest
a

the

blackbird.

He

quite
no mean

little

aviary
five

in

himself, and

is, moreover,
are

ventriloquist.
eggs, in
are

Very

beautiful which
straw,
come

the female
most

light
bird

blue

in

number,
nest

the
and

lays

her

scanty
loud

of

unmelodious the she five throats visits

the

cries which

from when
or

of the
as

rapidly
does,
mouth
as

growing brood,
once

them,

she
her

in every with

two

three minutes,
never

with

crammed still their

insects, but

so sufficiently

to

even cravings,

for

moment.
soon

Happily

for

the sake

of peace take young

and

they quietness,
off
to

find their

wings, and
of the other

themselves

join the noisy flocks

of starlings

the year, in the woods.

204 The

THE

RECTORY

AND

ITS

BlftDS

starlingis
of

one

of
not

the

most

sociable
with his

and
own

gregarious
flock

all birds ;
one

content

of from
he

to

five hundred
out

in number, twelve

with

which
in

consorts

for five will often


such is
as

of the

months
of
or

the

year,

he

join
the
a

the

flocks

other
even

gregarious birds, wood-pigeons.


with of

rooks, jackdaws,
best of

He

on

terms,
or a

too,

four-footed
often

animals,

flock of

sheep
and

herd

cows,

pitchingon
the

their backs
which

indefati-

gably ridding them


an

of the vermin
to

infest them, ridden. He in the


or

equal

service
roost
or

rider and
is
not

the

cannot

even

alone, but
months

content

late
tens

autumn

winter
of
over

without

thousands

of thousands Scattered distances all

companions.
the

country,

but the

at

able consideror

from

each

other, are
the

habitual

of hereditary roosting-places

starling. they
Inferno

Such
have

spots

attracted
a

the

notice

of
to

Pliny, and
the

furnished

strikingsimile
the spot chosen
or a

of Dante.

Sometimes,
often
to

is

bed

of reeds, which often bend

break,

bed

of

withies, which

the

ground,
case

beneath

their

weight.
hazel

More

often, as
from

is the

with

Bagber
it

Copse,
is
a

three

miles

Bingham's
the

Melcombe,
of open and

plantation in
there
an

middle

upland
the

fields.

Go
is
as

hour and

before

sunset,

place

sombre

ROOSTING

PLACE

OF

STARLINGS

205

silent
company

as

the grave
come

but

first in

one

and

then

another
of
as

dropping

from and

all

points
of

the the

compass,

increasing in
pass
on,
some

size of

frequency
"

minutes

them
in

numbers

numberless"

and
a

very

high

air,
and

as

though gathering
as

coming
others
make
to

from

great
like
onward.
a

distance,

them,
way

rollingsnowball, They
first

they
in

their

pitch
one"

the

around, "making grass-fields


When

the green with


pass

black.
sound your go

they

rise in

body,

it is "as As

the
over

of thunder

heard

remote."

they

darken head, they literally

the

air; and

they

through
round sound
we

series of the

most

intricate

evolutions,now

in extended

line,now
vast

in close

phalanx,now
so

wheeling
as one

in

circles,and
their throats.

without

much
a

from
not

But,

at

signal, given
in
a a

know

how, they swoop


and

down,

moment,

into their
an

roosting-bushes;
more, utmost

then, for

quarter of
exerts
"

hour
to

or

each
in

of
one

the

myriad

throats
"

itself

its

continuous which
can

charm heard
can

or

twitter, their vesper


the
distance
to

hymn,
a

be I

at

of

half sound

mile, and
of

which

only

compare At hush before

the

multitudinous
is
a

waterfalls. and

another
;

signal,there
then
next

sudden
ensues

absolute
hour sung,

and

perfect silence morning,


when

till an
are

sunrise

matins

206

THE

RECTORY

AND

ITS

BIRDS

with

the

same

overpowering they
their
The rise in

force
one

and
vast

for the

same

duration. round proper


a

Then

body,

circle his

little,and

finallymove happy
whole that
and

off, each

in

flock,

to

widely

scattered of

hunting-grounds.
most

is,perhaps,one
birds
can

the
us,

interestingsights
the limits
of the

give

within The

British the
one

Islands.

swallow

is, with

exception
and the of Have

of

the

cuckoo,

the

most

eagerly
of

awaited

most

warmly
"

welcomed you
seen

all the

harbingers
and
"

spring.
you

Have

the
?
"

swallow?"
are

heard

the

cuckoo

the the

two

questions which,
even

perhaps, pass
the

the

lips of
and

labourer, nay,
unobservant

of

stay-at-home
more

often

labourer's

wife,

frequentlythan
the
said

any

other, in the interval


of

between

;th
the

and

the

i;th
of

April. "Well,
his old
had

John,"
Charles and
away
town,

clergyman
many

Bingham's Melcombe,
ago,
to

Bingham,
his

years
a man

gardener
lived
any the from

groom

combined,
native

who

never

from

eleven village, knew

miles

and, for that


ways

reason,

all the

better

thoughts and
was

of the Dorset the

and villagers, undefiled


""
"

whose

dialect

"a

well

of

Well,

John,

have

you

heard
"

cuckoo do
never

yet?"
know
now

"Guckoo?" when
his
master.
we

repliedJohn.
shall hear hun."

We

"How's

that?'1

said

WAREHAM

FAIR

DAY

207

11

Why,"

was

the
fair

reply, they
"

did

used do

to
come

come

on

Wareham

day,

but

now

they
have

when

they be

minded."

It should
seems

be remarked recovered

that, since
his character

that time

the bird

to

for conservatism in

and of

respect

for local institutions,


;

the

mind

the

inhabitants

for

though
been
one

Wareham
much
more

fair,like other
famous of its

country

fairs,notably the fair, has


ask any

Woodbury
and

Hill

shorn
of

of much

importance, if
when
sure

you

them

whether
you
are
"

they
to

have

heard the
"

the

cuckoo,

pretty

receive
or

typed stereo-

answer,

Yes,
hun
was,
"

I heerd
on

hun,"

No,

I do

'low
same

we

shall heer

Wareham

fair

day."

The the

clergyman
a

one

day, inquiring after


had been
"

health of
was

who parishioner
was

ill. The did

answer

that
a

she

much

better, but
Concerned
and

still feel all

of
so

nunnywutch."
his

and

perplexed by
rector

mysterious a phrase
to
"

disease, the

had
and

recourse

his walking unerring authority,

working dictionary,
"what
"

Old

John."
of
use

"

John,"
zur,"
there hasn't
a

he
was

said,
the
words

is

nunnywutch?"
be do
one one

"Well,
them that

reply, nunnywutch
which meanin'.
us

poor

volks
any

got

no

When
do say

do feel I

feel all of
all of
a

higgledythe word

like, he
Obscurum

he

do

nunnywutch."

per

obscurius.

recommend

208

THE

RECTORY

AND

ITS

BIRDS

itself and

its

definition
of
now

to

the

attention

of

the

distinguishedauthor
Dialects, which
He may
not

the
in of

Dictionary of English
course

is

of
one,

coming
and he

out.

have
be much
a

heard

the

will

not certainly

the wiser touch


of

for the local

other.
or

It

was

with

satisfaction
to

patriotism,not

altogetherdissimilar
White himself

that

of

"old

John,"
the

that

Gilbert

remarked

that
from

night-jarsof Selborne, though separated by


to

Portsmouth
used

half up

the

county

of

Hampshire,
"whirr" gun. Some
at

often

strike

their

evening evening
a

the sound
of

of

the

Portsmouth
of

the

inhabitants
"

Broadmayne, by
even

villagenear
the of Rev. Mel-

Stafford G. W.

so

I
"

am

informed further

its rector,

Butler and

go

than

those
the

combe,
of

to believing,

this
it is

day, in
at

hibernation
fair that One

the

cuckoo, say
wakes

that
up

Wareham

"the

cuckoo

and

buys
once

his whistle." upon upon


a

local

legend

tells how, had


cry of

when,
been

time,
the

large log
of
a

of wood

thrown
as

dogs
a

the yule fire,

"cuckoo,"

though
from of
too

from
a

martyr
who within
was

in the flames

of Smithfield, burst away the found

bird

sleeping
it, and

chill hours himself


cuckoo
a corner

winter
warm

suddenly
tells of
time of
an

while

another the

encaged

which

fell

at asleep,

migration,in

of his

210

THE

RECTORY

AND

ITS

BIRDS

Winterbourne,
sycamores
"

in

the

lime-tree in
"

or

the

group

of

in

the

field

Parsonage

tion Planta-

beyond. always
of the in
an an

I recollect
event

finding, in quite early


a

life
"

and of

surprise,even
this
"

in
was

the the
of

annals first of
a

old
kind
a

lover that

birds, and
met

I had

with

the
a

egg

cuckoo of

water-

wagtail'snest,
were

built in
in the
"

large

heap
at

faggots which

stacked

barton,"

the The

back

of the old tithe-barn.

questions raised
nay,

by such
of

find, and
cuckoo and

the
with

abnormal,

unique
and
to
comes

instincts young,
are

the
many,
to

regard
almost

to
as

its eggs much How kestrel of Does any all


a a

appeal
of
a

the

child

as

the
a

scientific the

observer. size of of
a

the
to

cuckoo,
an

bird about

hawk,

lay

egg half pang

fifth
of
a

the

size ?

kestrel's
she

and

the of

size

thrush's

feel any
of

motherly
when

anxiety,
transfers
nurse,
to

twinge
her of had

conscience,

she
and

as responsibilities,

mother
one

bird has
a

quite
no

different of
own

kind,

with
"

whom

she
too,
a

sort

communication size
: a

bird,

quarter
a

of

her

hedgea

sparrow,

robin,
How

titlark, reed-warbler, a
she in into

whitenest,

throat ?
which

does
as

get her
the
a case

egg of

into

the

is often,

this

particular
into which

wagtail squeezed

narrow

recess,

HABITS

OF

CUCKOO

211

it
or,

was

barely possible that


a

she

could
as

make

her way,
case

again, into

nest

which,

in
so

the

of and

the
so

garden-warbler or weight
is
room

the

blackcap,is
that ? of it Does aerial
as

slender
not

slenderly supported,
even

could

bear

her
there
a

for

moment
a

she, when

for space,

such
over

feat the for


a

skill, hover, for


the
over

brief

nest,

swallow
your

will

sometimes when you

hover,
are near

moment,
or as

head,

its nest,
over

will kingfisher before egg it

sometimes for the does

hover

the

stream,

he
into

dives

minnow,

and

deftlydrop
and bill in

her carry

it,or

she

lay it elsewhere,
home

to delicately

its destined unfortunate introduction

her

or

claw?
the

Does

the

foster-mother
of colour
an

notice into
own

unauthorised
often
so

egg
to

her
?

nest,

unlike
when
at

in

her

Does that

she

realise,
own

last she

hatches

her eggs,

all her

must offspring

needs survive
own

perish,in
?

order does
so

that the young


she show
no

intruder

may her

Why
young,

pity for
out,
one

callow the

thrown ruthlessly
their proper the home

after
to

other, from
?

and

left

perish below
exhaust

Whence
leads all their

comes

self-

forgetting devotion
to

that

the

foster-parents

spend

and

to

energies in feeding
soon

their twice

overgrown
as

foster-child, which
as

becomes
comes

big

themselves

and

whence

to

212

THE

RECTORY

AND

ITS

BIRDS

the

young

interloperthat
it,
when

strange

instinct it has

which
been
to

compels
hatched,
raise its under

only

few still

days

after

it is
to

sightlessand
enormous

unable

body,

insert

itself with

labour sisters and

the bodies
one

of its foster-brothers after


room

or

eject them,
order
more

the
for

other, from
itself?

the

nest,
are

in few

to

make

There

sights in grotesquelyinteresting
of the young and is
monster,

Nature

than

that

when

it has

outgrown
its foster-

the

nest,

already bigger
my young

than

parents,
middle almost
as

squatting,as
swallow

cuckoo

did, in the
wide

of the barton,
to

opening
minute

its mouth

enough
little

the

Lilliputian parents
insect
to

themselves,
or a

they ply
on,

it with

food,

later

when

it has

learned

perch, sittingon
and

the
same some

iron

of railings

the

garden,
That is
not

receiving the
cuckoo
"

assiduous

attentions. and

the
a mere

has

local attachments

ing wander-

voice," and
bitter

that

the
shirk

wagtail does
the
duties

not

learn, by
upon

to experience,

imposed
at

it,is proved, I think, by what


House,
Three
a

happened

Stock

few

miles

from

Bingham's
the

Melcombe.
haunted
nest
on a

years

who running,a pair of wagtails,

the lawn
in

there

throughout
same

year,

built their
a

exactlythe

spot, hidden
of the

by

creeper,
;

ledge above

the front door

house

and

three

THE

SWALLOW

213

years

running, a cuckoo, presumably


in the
nest,

the

same

bird,

laid its egg


a

which, in due
its

time, became
was

young

cuckoo,

ejected

brethren, and
care,

reared, with

of equal prodigality

by

the

foster-

parents, in full
As for
as

sight of
swallows

the windows. which

the

delight the
ear
"

eye,

as

much
the

the cuckoo
"

delights the
swallow
on or

if

we

except
make
a

proverbial
but make

one

that
about of
more

does

not

summer,"

appears
an

the first of
you, and

April,

only they
about would

to

April
to

fool for

promptly
"

disappears again
used
to
i

wait

genial weather long


series
or fortnight

arrive, through

of years,
so,

the

ith of

April.
of
;

For

they
more

disport themselves, preparing


business abundant

for

the

serious be
more

life, or then,

waiting
true to

till food
name,

should
two

their

pairs of "chimney"
nests

swallows of each

regularlybuilt
of the
to to two

their

in

flue particular

biggest
of fire

chimney-stacks which, owing


the
or

the be

proximity

thatch,
smoke. would

was

never

allowed

profaned by
one

Often, when
be

sleepingin
brood the few

of the attics, the


your
came

you

roused, in

early morning, by
a

of twittering

the young
one

feet above which


room,

head,

or

by
down

of

parent

birds into

tumbling
would

the

chimney
escape

the

and open

either

promptly

through

the

214

THE

RECTORY

AND

ITS

BIRDS

window,
you
an

or,

allowing itself to
of let it go,

be

caught, would
at

give
of its

opportunity
you

observing
beautiful

close quarters,
steel blue and

before upper

the

parts, its rich chestnut


its little feet and
one

forehead

gorget,

and
"

legs,so

illadapted for Nature


"

walking
to

the

which disability upon it and its

seems

have

imposed
of its The

its relations

the great
tail.

length
the

wings, and
nest
was

strongly forked
loose

always placed a
a

few
brick

feet down
or an

chimney, supported by
in
so

angle
means

the

brickwork
an

for

the
as

swallow
its
nearest

is

by

no

skilled

architect
It of is
a

relative
formed

the of

house-martin. minute Nature which the bits

rough

structure,

clay, cemented
the be of

together,partly,by
the roadside
from

herself, at
the bird
may

puddles by
seen

by procuring it,partly,
bird's
straws
own

sticky
often

saliva

the

mouth,
or

and

strengthened by long untidy


are

bents, which
from

left
a

sticking out genuine


bit of

many
"

inches

the

nest.

It is with

rough -cast," scantily


the martin's
about the
nest,

lined open had


a

feathers, and,

unlike

all round. its

Every
swallows
;

outhouse
in

place

pair of

the coal-hole, particular,

grimy

place enough,
reason,
to

but

selected, for
from
sun

some

inscrutable

year
"

after year, birds of

all the spots


"

accessible

these

the

between

FLIGHT

OF

SWALLOW

215

England

and

sun-scorched

Africa, and
to

from

which
one

they always
apparent
were

managed
on

emerge

without

speck
nests
one

their

glossy plumage.
one

There

two

in the

tithe-barn,
in the

in the

gardenin which

house, and
I used
to

always
my
to tame

wood-house,
and barn

keep
access

white

owls, though

the

only

it,except
was

in broad
a

daylight when
hole in the

the door

was narrow

open,
to

by

little round

door,
except

too

allow

of

the

birds

entering it,

by deftly drooping
wonder

and

half

closing their
considered of
no

wings.
No sacred countries

that the swallow


most,

has

been

by
for

and

is visits.

the

darling
is

all, the
need
are

which
his

he

There
own

to

plead

protection;
and unwearied and

his

charms What
a

his

all-sufficient defence
to

passport.

delight day,
lawn,

watch his
as

the

ever-varyingevolutions
summer live-long

of
now

flightthroughout
he skims mouth

the the

along
and

smoothly
catches
over

shaven left
or

with when
as

open
some

rapid zigzags to

right,
now

microscopic insect
for
a a

his eye,

he
he and

hovers essays
out

moment

your

head,

now

as

longer flightover
the
the in

the
or

fields, darting
elms
or

in

under

chestnuts
or

limes,
cattle

cruising
and

round

grazing
the

ruminating
life

luxuriating

insect

which

they

216

THE

RECTORY

AND

ITS

BIRDS

attract
some

to

themselves,
a

or,

again, accompanying,
horse
as

for

half

mile

a together,

it canters

along,

now

well behind

and

now

well in front

of him, feeding, prey

without
which its

any

apparent

effort,on
and

the insect
spurns.

flying hoof
where his

disturbs food

Watch

him

again,

most

of all
a

abounds, in

the water-meadows, the sinuous


course

threading,on
of
a

springmorning,
its smooth

stream out

or

shaving
a

surface, where
lakelet. See his

it broadens

into
nectar

limpid pool or
as

how

he

sips the
bath,

he flies, and,

taking
beneath

morning

will

all but
into I

dip

himself
ever-

it, rufflingits surface last, not,


seem

little

expanding circles,till at
he
is
"

think, because
what
of
some

is tired

"

he does

not

to

know

fatigue
hanging over-

he

will

perch on
between of

the dead
wind

branch
and

tree,

water,

and

there,
will

for

the

space

several

minutes
and

he together,

first shake
his

off the

dewdrops,
will

then, puffing out


his
then
a

little frame,

delicatelypreen
one

bright
another
or

first plumage, lifting

wing

and

high above
two,

his

body,
head

and

burying, for

moment

his chestnut

in the cosiest

corner

beneath
of his

it ; and

then, after pouring forth the ecstacy


in

heart sounds
native

twitteringsong
in Nature
"

"

one

of

the

most

jubilant
into his

will

launch

off

again

air.

YOUNG

SWALLOWS

217

There
with which
not
some

is
or

not

stage in his six months'

residence

us,

in the
rears

growth

of the

two

young

families,

he

to

maturity during them, that has


of its
own.

specialinterest
a

Notice,

as

he his his

pitches by
fellows, the
straw-built
up

puddle
martins,
nest

on

the roadside, along with

"puddling"
to

the

clay

for

that is
and

be, how

he daintily
too

holds
be

his

long wings
in

tail, lest they Notice,

may

"puddled"
when
take

the

process.

again, how
her brood
from
to

the mother their


first
on

swallow

has

tempted
of

adventurous the
every

plunge
the
or

the

chimney-top
how
row

to

ridge
minute

thatch
to

below,
the little

she
of in

returns,

two,

open
turn

mouths with

and, hovering over food, accompanied


maternal

them, fills

each
twitter with

by

fond

of unselfish

love, which

is returned of

interest, by the
throats watch

half-cupboard love
This the
process dormer
were

the five
to

little eager
be mine
to

below.

it used
window

through
I of young

of
on

the the
few

attic in which leads


feet

as slept,

they
birds

perched
the year
into
now

just
only.

outside The

it, from

the distance
of

of
soon

gather
ones,

into

littleflocks, and
common

these

again

larger
the the

lining,in
ridge
of

with

the martins,
now

whole

the which

thatch, and,

again,

telegraphwires,

I well remember

they seemed

218

THE

RECTORY

AND

ITS

BIRDS

to

claim

as

their
some

own,

as

soon

as

ever

they
enables

were

first erected,
wires
to

fifty years
off without

ago.

The

size of the them

exactly suits
on or

their little feet, and

dart

impediment, exactly as
As
autumn

the

spiritmoves
grow feet for in

them.

advances,
wires for in

the

flocks hundred
measures

size, covering the


if
to

many

together,as
their
may

discuss

concert

approaching departure. Again


see

and

again
post

you

them
in
a

launch
vast

forth
and

from go

their

of

vantage
till they
are

body,
as sight,

straight away, they are "off


and

out

of

though again
by

at

last."

But

they
may

will reappear be and succeeded

again, or
the

perhaps they
wires
you

other

flights coming southward,


on

selves resting them-

same

for

time, till, one


and find

damp they
the

October
are
summer

morning, really gone,


sun,

wake

up

that

all

in their you

life-long pursuit of losing them.


so

and

realise what, for six lost in

months

to

come,

you

will have of
are so

The

habits

the

house-martin
more

much

resemble, and
than of
more

much

easily observed
I will say
out

those

of

the

swallow, that
to

nothing they
are

them
fond

here, except
of
man

point
of

that

and

his

dwellings even
most

than
and

the swallow,

followinghim
towns

into the
;

grimy
nests

thicklypopulated of

that

the

of the

THE

HOUSE-MARTIN
in which

219

small

communities

they live
those

are

much other

more

closelypacked together than


which live
in

of

birds

large communities,
the gannets, gulls, the
that

the

rooks,
and

the the

black-headed
sand-martins

terns,

their

nests

are

miracles

of architectural
to

and each which


even a

plastering skill, closely adhering


as

other
forms

well

as

to

the

overhanging
a

eave
or

their
row

common

roof; that
nests

second

third
to

of

is and

sometimes that there


are

found few

attached

those

above,
to
on

sightsthan prettier
blue and brown

observe
its upper

the parent

bird, steelwhite white


to

parts, pure

beneath, and
feathers outside crowded
at

with
base

its
of

patch
the
in

of

conspicuous

the
its

tail,clingingon

the
a

of

nest,

full view

of, perhaps,

street

below, and

feeding the
would

little white

throats, which, crowded


the
much But
narrow

protrude through together,


eager,
as one

opening,
a

think,
food.

as

for

breath

of air

for

of particle thatched

the greatest the


number

glory of
of

the

Rectory-

roof least
of

was

the
to

swifts, the
their

the largest,
powers

common,
"

and, owing

amazing

flight unequalled by any other bird, except the of the swallow tribe. interesting frigate far the most
"

I would

explain
on

that
the

class

them

here

with

the

swallows, only

ground

of their

generalhabits

220

THE

RECTORY

AND

ITS

BIRDS

and

appearance. for
to

Scientific

now ornithologists

place
class less

them,
next

anatomical

reasons,
or

in

separate
Not

the

goatsuckers pairs
same

woodpeckers.
build
in

than

twelve
in

used

to

the

roof, and

always
same

the
in

the holes, doubtless, identically


I
never

birds

each, though
as

proved

it

to

demonstration,
small
claws in
my

pieces
of the

of

might have done, by tying silk the to differently-coloured


I

old and

birds

which
I
me

I held, year seemed


so

after year,

hand,
seemed

which
know

to

know,
Few White

and birds
more

which
attracted

to

well.

the

attention He

of old chronicled

Gilbert the

than

the

swift.

dates

of

their

arrival and
of

departure ;
and

he described
of
on

the

peculiarities
which invest and

their
;

structure

the

vermin

them their

he

speculated
knew
;

their

love-making
History
when the
ever

hibernating.
I of

The

Natural

of
a

Selborne

almost
and

by

heart

I
zest

was

boy
which

twelve

I well

remember
I had

with
in

I handled

the first swift


it occurred
to
me

found

its nest,

when

that still
But

was

treading,
in

longo
great
come

intervallo

but certainly,

treading
now,

the
I

naturalist's
to

footsteps.
it,it
was

when

think

of

not

exactlytreading in
doubts
ever

his

footsteps ;

for I have

grave

whether
a

the
tree,

all-observant

Fellow

of Oriel

climbed

THE

SWIFT

221

or
"

even

mounted

a
"

ladder, in his

life.

It

was

bold
"

boy"
and

"

bold bad the old


in

boy," he probably thought


naturalist

him

not

himself, who

climbed

the
on

"beech
so

Selborne
and

Hanger, though
a

standing
which
nest,
a

steep
of

dizzy
the
upon

situation,"
built that
or

on

pair
who He

honey-buzzards
down
one

had egg

their
was

and

brought
never

in

it.

dilates of
a

the
of

beauty
as

the
see

charm them

of

the

eggs

bird

prey
a

you

lying in
you from

the nest,
are

when,

after

weary

struggle
down he
must at

upwards,
them have
one

at

length able
and that
seen

to

look
sure

above

feel

done, had
of the

he

ever

them

therein, for it is
But

crowning joys of
could any
one

the lover of birds.

all that
more

he

do

on

terra
ever

firma"
done
"

and

infinitely
has
is
are

than

else had

before, or
well indeed there
one

done it for
some

since, he did.
our

In his eyes

and

own

that over-self-appreciation who take


and

people

that

view

"

man

was

of

the least The

important
of far

least
old

of interesting

animals.

biography
him
"

his
more

tortoise,
the

"

Timothy,"
of

interested
"

than

biography

Timothy's

equally noteworthy contemporaries,


and

General

Clive
and
a

General Earl
of

Wolfe,
Chatham.
moment

George
The
fall eyes

Washington
of

the
matter

Quebec

was

of less

in

his

222

THE

RECTORY

AND

ITS

BIRDS

than which

the the

fall of mother
down

that
bird

immemorial

"

raven-

tree,"

to

tillshe clung faithfully,

was

"whipped
the The

by

the

twigs

and

brought
the the has
no

dead

to

ground."
swift
and

arrives
so

so

late, about

roth loth
time

of of
to

May,

departs

early, about
here, he
or

August, that, once


waste,

landed

like the
him. But He

swallow
how is under

the

martin,
the

in

looking
for

about

does

he get

materials

his

nest ;

strange

disabilities in this
upon
a a

respect
stand

he

can

neither

perch
nor

tree,

nor

upon
even

the

ground,

walk
if
a

yard.

He

can

hardly

crawl, and

he

once

touches whether

the he

ground by accident,
ever

it is

question
The the

will be

able

to

rise

again.
to

Alpine swift,
of
two

which hundred solved who


into and up

builds, it is said,
in for makes Berne

number

Cathedral,
the

has

the
of

difficulty
the
tower,

him
it

by
his

kindly keeper
to

business

scatter

broadcast

the

air, during the

building season,
which
are

feathers,

horsehair, and
in

bits of paper,
in eager
are

caught
swifts
to

mid-air,

rivalry,by promptly
native catch
swifts
a

the

careering round,
holes.
and I have
never

and

carried

their

watched
seen

our

for

hours,
in

have

them other

feather

the into

air, or

carry

it

or

any

building material

224

THE

RECTORY

AND

ITS

BIRDS

little white her otherwise


expanse

patch

on

her

chin

in

the

middle
enormous

of

of

plumage ; the wings, looking,when they are


black-brown
an

spread

in

like flight, unable


moment
to
on

the flukes of

anchor

and

the

tiny legs
for
a

support
a

the

weight
enable

of

the

bird armed

horizontal
to

surface, but
it
to

with

claws

sharp enough
brick its young
a or

cling to

the

smoothest
mate,
or

stone

wall, while
nest

it is

feeding its

in the

close above.

It is swift
can

question
ever

still much from


"

disputed whether

rise the

the
and
a

ground.
I

My
tried
"

own

experience in experiment, not


follows.

matter

have
of

the
as

once,

but

score

times

is
to

Drop
and

him

from

little

height on
with
a

the
bound, re-

ground, happen
steep succeed

he will often
at
once

manage,
;
on or

sort

of

to
to

flutter up
have found

place him,
is

when
a

you rather

him

the

ground, on
short, and

bank
in

where

the

grass

he

will
on

rising from
or

it ; but and

lay

him

gently
hand

rough ground
him for
a

grass,

hold
will
to

your become

over

minute, his muscles

cramped
do

and
not

he will be

quite

unable

rise,and, if you
on

assist him, will crawl becomes


a

along
of

his
cat.

tillhe belly,

dies, or
other

victim you

the

If,
him

on

the
your

hand, when
toss

have
into

examined

at

leisure, you

him

the

air, he

will circle

FLIGHT

OF

SWIFT

225

round

two
as

or

three times

at

his leisure, and the

then
nest

go

back,
which

if

nothing had
have taken

happened, to
him.
of of

from

you

What

marvellous

powers

three o'clock in the


tilleightor nine and in
at

morning

he has ! flight a long summer's


bird

From

day
on

the

wing

night,the male that time, making


he
may,

will be

all due

allowance while

for the

brief
at

repose
rare

perhaps,snatch
and

he

returns

intervals, his mouth


mate

filled with he will

tiny insects,to
have
covered
at

feed his least


a

the

young,

thousand surface
never,

miles.
of

Sometimes,
or

he will sweep

along the
then, after
for
a

the grass
I think,

of

river, like the swallow, but


he goes, and
a

dippingas
so,

few

rapid beats

of his

will sail forwards


mere

hundred
any

yards or

wings, by his
of from

momentum,

without

apparent

movement turn ;

his

pinions. Sometimes,
to

he will twist and


bat

side

side
a

more

like

than

bird

and

then

again,by
mount

few

powerful downward
his and fellows,

strokes, he will
circle round with

aloft with
at
a

height in air,at which his body, with its of wings, will be hardly visible to long sweep the eye, his piercing scream hardly audible to the
them
ear.

But

the

most

joyous
is

and

striking scene
in my mind
p

of all,
most

and

that

which

associated

226

THE

RECTORY

AND

ITS

BIRDS

with indissolubly, hour before and

Stafford
after

Rectory,
on
a

is about

half

an

sunset,
are

evening,when
not

the clouds

bright summer's radiant, as with a glory


or

of

earth.

Then,
male
seems

chasing
in

chased

by

each
sweep

other, all the


round,
and
at

birds
to

the

little

colony

what double

be double
screams,

their usual

speed
now

with

their usual
now

in circles

much
as

narrower,
centre
"

much

wider, but always having indeed, it is


to

their

for the centre,

them

of all their anxieties, their


"

and their hopes affections,

the

thatched

roof

in

which and
and

they

themselves

and

their mates, young


is
at

their have

ancestors

their still unfledged bred.


scream

ones,

been

born

Their
at

speed
dash

the very
as

fastest,and

their

the very and

loudest,

they
to
are

skim the

along

the

eaves,

near perilously

angles of

the

house
to

in which

their

mates
are

as sitting,

though
assure

inquire how
that
out

they

getting on,
not out
a

and

to

them

of

sight is
answer

of

mind.

Sometimes,
scream

the wife will


from

by

reassuring muffled
"

within
too

and

sometimes

nature

will out," and

she

will

dash
and

forth after her husband, and

easing
the

her

wings

legs, cramped, jubilant rout.


bird will sweep

as

they
a

must

be, by her

long

confinement, join, for


and each

few

minutes,
as

headlong
comes

Then,
with
a

darkness and

on,

sudden

sullen thud

JUBILANT

ROUT

227

heard

rather

than

seen,

into
too

its hole, and


summer

all is

silent and One


swallow affection in all the

for the all still,


sad

brief

night.
of

and
must

strange
not

characteristic
over.

the The

tribe I
of
a

altogether pass
young, of
"

mother

for her

which

is found
most

higher portions
most
"

Creation, is the
may
we

powerful, the
most

beautiful

not

say

the

divine

of all

impulses whatsoever.
heaven.
Under

It has

less of earth the mother

in it than

its influence,

who
;

is

naturallytimid
who
is

becomes

reckless

in her courage is absorbed


was

she her

naturally pleasure-loving
anxieties
;

in

maternal
becomes in the

she

who
even

most

selfish

or self-forgetting

self-annihilating ; yet,
an

swallow

tribe, there
more

is

impulse
than
bird of

which

is, on
"

occasion,
the

imperious
of

even

the

parental
death

impulse
in
a

migration.
will often
autumn
a

passage,

confined

cage,

dash
comes

itself to
;

against
of

the

bars

when

and

pair

swifts, a pair of swallows,


once

pair of martins, have,


when

and

again, been perish

known,
a

the hour
of

strikes for their callow


young its
to

departure, to leave
in their

late brood

nest,

rather demands.
A barn.

than

disobey

mysterious,

its

inexorable

few

words, in conclusion, about


one

the old tithe-

It forms

side

of

the

big stable-yard,

228

THE

RECTORY

AND

ITS

BIRDS

where

my

tame

raven

"

Jacob"
stolen

used

to

play
for

his his

pranks, and
successor.

store

up

his and

treasures

A of
in

stable

coach-house
one

have the
as

been

cut

out

it, but
the
a

it is still

of

biggest
it

buildings
could The

parish, and
tithe
of

looks

though

still hold

all the

parish produce.
the take
birds its stand, I

in picturesqueprojection
a

the middle, under


can

shelter of which

loaded

waggon

extended
described the
swift.

its
as

to hospitality

all the

have

haunting
In

the

Rectory thatch, except

these

modern

days,
and

barn

gives

shelter, only or

to chiefly,

the

uncomfortable-looking reaping machines,


of
was

machinery,
which
modern
to

steam

ploughs
necessary

form farmer

the
;

stock-in-trade

the filled
;

but, in my

day,
or

the barn
straw,
corner
or

the very
dark

rafters with
recess

wheat,

hay
was

and

the

in

the

topmost

the

sanctuary
while it was

of

the

white

owl, which
its prey,
as

I could I have

watch,

watching for
old
barn

described

in detail in the earliest But

chapter of
had other
memories

this book.
uses

the

than

the thick

Parish agricultural. around the


it. It had of

clustered
so

celebrated,

I used

to

hear,

"accession
lot of

the sorry

George," probably of all Georges, with equal and unquestioning


better
reason,

King

loyalty ;

with

the

whole

parish

THE

OLD

TITHE-BARN

229

held while

high

festival in it, "the

young

still dancing,
of

the old
as

surveyed,"at
later

the

accession
at

Queen

Victoria,

it has, in
at

times,
of
was

her
son.

successive The first the


to

and jubilees,

the accession which

her
ever

missionary meeting, parish, was


which century time. those
it
was

held
One of

in
use

held

beneath

its rafters. the earlier part both

put

during

the

last

was

highly illustrative
not

of the

placeand

The

bishops, the archdeacons,


were

the
are

clergyof
now.

days

quite what
"

they

bishop,could

then, without
to

offence, advise
to

his candidates
not
so

for ordination
waste

stick

their studies, and

their time

in

visitingtheir parishioners ;
to likely

would
and

they be
heaven

more

obtain

preferment here,
the
of

hereafter." triennial

The

leading object of
in

archdeacon's Dorset among


was

visitation
be

the

county

supposed
of clergy,

to

the

interchange, friendly
sermons,

the

their

manuscript
with him
a

each

clergyman bringing back


to

stock
"

calculated

last for the


was

next

three years,
"

the work

if, indeed,

it in

the

originalwork
conferred
sure a

of

neighbour,while he,
benefit how
one on some

his

turn,

like
know

one

else.

"I'm

I don't

it be," said of of

the

of gardener-and-groom-in-one
"

these old do

men clergyJohn
of

the

counterpart,
Melcombe
"
"

I suppose, but
our

Bingham's

maister

always

230

THE

RECTORY

AND

ITS

BIRDS

seem

to

get hold
was,

of

stock

of

uncommon
a

dull ones."

The

parson
a

not

uncommonly,
;
one

sportsman
rode
"

first and
to

parson of

afterwards the

who famous

well

hounds, and
"

type

of
on

the

Billy

Butler
so

of

Frampton, who,
to

hunting days, used,


with his

it is said,

go

to

dailyservice
and

surplice
another the
was

over

his

hunting dress,
to
to

who,

when
as

young
best

clergyman just ordained, and,


reason

I have

know,

of
"

very

different
to

type,
you,

introduced
your

him, said,
I have

Pleased

know

sir ;

father and
a

been

at the death in, together,

of

over

thousand that his


in

foxes."

When

he died, he
to rest

gave
in the left

directions

body

should

be laid

churchyard,
between those sinner he had
to

the littlespace
"

which

had

been

of
ever

the greatest saint and known."

the greatest
was

Perhaps
half way

he

half

scious con-

himself

that he hero

was

between

the two,
it

like that famous


was

of Sir Walter
"

Scott, of whom
for

remarked

that he

was

o'er bad

and blessing,

o'er

good

for

banning." But,
not
a

for all that, the parsons


"

of that
manners
manners

day
"

were

bad

sort.
a

Other

times, other
of
men

and

they

had

knowledge
has
not

and
been

and

times

too,

which
more

always

equalled by

their much looked

successors. spiritually-minded

They

well after the

temporalinterests
eternal.

of their flock, if they sometimes

their neglected

232

THE

RECTORY

AND

ITS

BIRDS

Whitenose,

eight
the
illicit

or

nine

miles
ran

off;
into

meet,
a

as

arranged,
laden
smart

little craft which

creek
after
more
a

with brush

and, spirits,
the
"

sometimes,

with

Government

folk,"

often, quite unmolested,

would
a

return

by dawn
two

of

day, carrying
on

each

of

them
go
to

keg
been

or

of

brandy
had

his back, and and


as

then
if

work

as

if

nothing

happened,
brushes when
a

they

had

sleepingpeacefully
a

in their beds
or

all

night. Many
escapes of

story have

of such I heard,

of

hair-breadth
one

boy,

from

these

smugglers,George
into
one an

Treviss, who

had
"

long
you
"cut

been

transformed him

underkeeper.
Government have
romance

Did

ever," I asked
about
was

day,
of

in strict confidence,

or

kill any

the
I

folk?" tie 'em

"No,"
to
a

the often."
were

reply,"but
It
too
was

helped
of of

post

the

their lives. wages have


;

They
much
and
a

not

well off
parson

in in

point
one

and

the archdeacon less his

and

would his

had

perfectsympathy
he this

with

archdeaconry
not

than parishioners
eye He queer
to
source

had, if he had
of increased
at

turned for

blind

income

them.
"

placed
"benefit
of

the of

tithe-barn

their
I have

disposal
been

clergy

"

"

and

told

that

scores

kegs

of illicit brandy often

beneath lay,in perfect security,


of

innocent-looking heaps

hay

or

straw,

till there

GEORGE

GILL for

233

was

convenient

opportunity
Sometimes,

disposing
even

of

them

otherwise.

they

overflowed
were

the sanctuary the sanctum

of the tithe-barn, and


sanctorum

stowed

in

of the church
to

belfry.
a

Kingsley
was

used
a

remark

that turned
often

good

keeper game-

often

poacher
was

outside
a

in, just

as

successful
inside
out.

poacher
Old

gamekeeper
had
a

turned
a

George
I but do

Treviss
not

been keen in
at

keen

smuggler, and,
also in his

doubt,

poacher
his

day,

he

was

certainly not,
"

advanced

life, a

keen

gamekeeper.

Look

old

George," said the hardly less aged one day George Gill, to me
"

head
a man

keeper, game-

who
in real

had

all the
one

shrewd
of Mr

native

wit

and

humour,

of life, in

Thomas
as we

Hardy's
were

best characters

fiction

"

when,

beating Knighton
round and
saw,

Heath
not

Wood

for game,

he
next

turned

for the first time, his

in command,

lagging

well

behind
a
as

the line of beaters, and


tree,

leaningheavily
a-

against
the
was

"look has

at

George
all
man,

straightening George
sense

trees,

he
a

a-been

day."
in

Gill of

himself
word.

remarkable
was

every

the

He all in

head bailiff,
to

keeper,
the

and

head

labourer

one,

the

squire of

Mr village,

John Floyer, who


Parliament
for

was,

for many

years,

Member and
a

of
man

the

County

of Dorset,

234

THE

RECTORY

AND

ITS

BIRDS

held
was man
even

in like

high
one

honour

by

all who Huns

knew

him.

Gill
a

of the ancient

in appearance, bolt

of immense
to
an

strength and
old
age,

stature,

upright
with

advanced

with

scanty
at

hair, and
you,

with
a

small

deep-set eyes
twinkle, from

which behind
at

looked his

strange

prominent cheek
When in
or

bones.

He

was

excellent
you,
as

repartee. often

conversation

with
away,

he would
were

walk

four

five steps
return to

if he

off, and

would
out

then

the

charge.
and

He

always spoke
truths
not
came

exactly
fast and
game
as

what

he

thought ;
him.
a

home

thick from

There

might

be
;

much but

the result of
was

day'sshootingwith always gave


every
one

him

he himself
His
on

always game, sayings kept qui vive.


would
He

the best of sport. in

tart

good
read

humour
nor

and
;

the

could
most

neither

write
in his

but

he could carry the


and dictate
at

elaborate

accounts

head,

them, with scrupuloushonesty and


of each

accuracy,

the end them


down

week,
He
a

to

his

daughter,
manage
"

who land
a

wrote

for him.

could

admirably,and
services

could
art

lay out
"

water-meadow skill which


among

work

of considerable
to

with

made the
to

his

be

greatly in
He
was

request

neighbouring gentry.
own

quite
on

alive

his

merits, and
in
not

placed

himself
more

full

if equality,

indeed

something

than

with equality,

"POOR

ST AFFORD

235

the
said be

squireand
to

the

clergyman.

"A

littlewhile," he
your

me,

one

day, ruefully,"and
will be gone

father will
of

gone

(Canon Reginald Smith,


will be gone
of the
at

the Rector the

the

and John parish), and

master (his
"

squire),
!
"

George

(himself) poor
named
in the

Stafford

The

potentates

village were,

clearly enough, in ascending


and

this instance scale. What

all events,

joy

it was,

when
to

we

were

children
to

the

day
us,

was

hopelesslywet,
ourselves

be

allowed
of

put behind

for

the time, the humdrum


to

and everyday life, and


awe-

transfer

the

mysterious
! No

inspiring precinctsof
even

the barn
so

other

spot,

not

the

seemed hay-loft,
When
once
we

to

fill our

childish had

nations. imagibeen
;

the

big foldingdoors
to

shut behind
we

us,
to

said in

good-bye
another
sounds
to

the

outer
a

world world
to

seemed

be

world,
as

of

shadows.
us

Such the

muffled

managed
come
as

reach
very

from

outside

seemed

from your
a

far away. you


summer

Throw
are

yourself down
child of the

upon

back,

that

"a

largergrowth," on
sky through
a

bright
and,

afternoon, beneath
up
to

tall bracken,

looking
allow

the

blue

its greenery,

yourselfto
into

fall into
soon

day-dream.
of

The

stems

of the bracken
a

will

and

easilytransform
stature gigantic

selves themwith

primeval forest

236

THE

RECTORY

AND and

ITS

BIRDS

interlacingbranches
swarms

the

insect

life which the birds


was

among

them animals
and

will fill the of

place of
As

and with
in up,

climbing
us

the barn.

tropics.
you

So

it

children

the

lay silent yourself


of

the
as

soft, sweet-smellinghay, and


children best will and
can,
to

gave

the influence,

the

of genius,the religio space, and

the spot, the limitations


to

time, and
into
nearer

probabilityseemed
mouse
or

vanish

air.
and
as

The

rustle of the filled you it


were

rat,

coming
beast

nearer,

with

half-fascinating
some

awe,

though
an

the footfall of The

of

prey

in

Indian grow

jungle.

venerable

rafters the
rise

seemed darkness

to

in size, in the
;

gloom, prevailing
them
on

visible

the roof above

seemed

to

higher and
like and

higher, tillit loomed


some

the Gothic

imagination
cathedral,
which
in

the the

groined arches of yard-long cobwebs


from take

of

the centuries

depended
a

it,seemed, like the glowing ashes


weird
and
ever-

to dying fire,
as

varying shapes ;
a

now,

it

were,

of tattered and
now

banners, the relics of

hard-fought field ;
swayed
towards

again, as

the

breeze
a

them

to

and

fro, of the nodding plumes of


its way

statelyhearse, making
an

slowly and
awe

silently
is often

open

grave. heart
of
a

Tempered
child than
are

dearer

to

the and

boisterous
among

merriment,

its

pleasurablepains

the

MEMORIES

OF

CHILDHOOD

237

fond wiser

regrets
age.

of

later,

and

sadder,

and

not

always

"

Lay

them
In

where

childhood's

dreams band

are

twined

memory's

mystic
withered in far-off

Like

pilgrim's
Plucked

wreath land."

of

flowers,

CHAPTER

VI

THE

WILD

DUCK

THE

mallard
to

is

one

of

the
or

very

few

birds

digenou in-

England,

naturalised

therein,
When
green

which
you

have
have

bright and
the cock

brilliant the

colouring.
the
is
a

mentioned

kingfisher, the

woodpecker,
and

pheasant,
last

goldfinch,
rare

the

golden oriole, which


visitant, you
which Who
fail
to

and all in
or

occasional the this


birds

have

named
marked

almost
attention

challenge
but the

respect.

blind, physically
if he green
comes

morally, can
to

notice, and

notice,
of the
next

can

fail

admire,
the

the

glossy,metallic
of white
of

mallard's

neck,
the
brown

collar

that his

below,
chestnut-

deep
of

chocolate-red his

breast, the
orange

mantle,

his

bright
middle

legs
of his and

and tail
are

feet, above
which
curve

all,the
and

four
so

feathers

curl

upward, gracefully

240

THE

WILD

DUCK

be carried

to

the

bitter

end,

without

one

slightly
most

compensating advantage.
The wild duck

is,like the
birds. He

raven,

one

of the

cosmopolitan of
eternal heats
frosts of

eschews,

indeed, the
the
torrid where everyon

the

Arctic

circle,and
but
is
at

of the

Equatorial region ;
to
on

almost home the the

else he is
fiords of

be

found.

He

the

Norway,
the

the mud-banks

of

Guadalcataracts
on

quiver,on
and

lakes of of the
of

Mexico, amid
He

lagunes
heart Lake
of

Nile. the

abounds
on

Lake

Tchad,
the that
in

the heart the

African, and
continent.

Lob

Nor,

Asiatic

The

moment

Sirikol, the

cradle of the
of

Oxus,

high
begins

up
to
are

the

Pamir, the
beneath with the

Roof
summer

the
sun,

World,
its

thaw
covered
met

waters

fleets of the wild North the


and

duck.

He

is

to

be

with the

throughout
Indies
and for
or

Central

America,
and

in

West

and

Azores, in Persia
One

India, in China
which
accounts

Japan.
is almost

fact,

no

doubt,

illustrates this

extraordinary
The
ing creep-

dispersionis
tender
grass

that
of

he

omnivorous.

the water-meadow,
abound of

with

the

things
and

that

therein, the
the
stream

minute
or

fish, shell-

the

molluscs

mud-bank,
the the
peas,
or

the

acorns
or

strewn

beneath
of

the

oak,
upon

beans,

grains

barley left

stubble-

LOVE

MAKING

241

field
"

amiss to him. He to come nothing seems much feeds by night as well as by day, and more by night than by day, plunging his bill deeply into the ooze, and sifting, by fineness and delicacy of touch which the

alone, that
is

which
of

is

nutritious

from

that

the

reverse,

all that

filters

through
lines his

of fringe

minute

saw-like

teeth which

mandibles. The
most
as

time

of

year

at most

which
open

the
to

wild

duck

is

and interesting, in the


case

observation

is,

The Their

breeding season. and duck drake pair very earlyin the spring. courtshipis graceful enough ; but it is as
must

of other

birds, the

ceremonious, and
those who
are

prove

as

tedious
as,

to

all but
it
must

personallyconcerned,

be admitted, is the in the otherwise

love-makingportionof the story, incomparable novels of Sir Walter


who
was an

Scott.

Waterton,
and
a

intense

lover

of

Nature,
used be
on

careful

preserver

of all wild

birds,
would-

to

watch

the

of the punctilious etiquette


of
an

lovers,from
a

the hollow

old oak
water

tree

growing
I have

above steep hill, done

his sheet of with the

;
a

and

often

the same,

help

of

magnifying

fir glass,from amidst the heather of the solitary I have so often in Dorsetshire, to which plantation in which referred in previouschapters the plantation
"

242

THE

WILD

DUCK

the this

raven

formerly reared
the the

its young,

and the

where,

to

day, lay

long-earedowl,
in
own

the

crow,

magpie,
nests

the kestrel,and
or

night jar,still build


garden
at

their

their

eggs, in my years,
ease,

comparative security.
Harrow, observe, without
same
as

Two

small
me,

ponds,

enabled

for many

to

and disguise
to

with

greater
same

the

process,

and

listen

to
or

the the The

old love story,


of
my

told

by

the

quacking
wild in

quorking

semi-domesticated
round
nearer

ducks. coy and


;

happy pair swim

each and
now

other

circles, now graceful


and,
at

further
and

away

given points,they stop short,


curvet,

nod, and
a

bow, and
low full
to

and

simper, each
The drake

to

each, with
course,

crooning

noise. his

is,of
and be

in the

glory

of

spring apparel;
seems

am

bound rather

say

that active.

he

often

to

passive
whose
to

than
it is

He
courted

is the

coquette,
than

business
"

to

be be

rather
not

court.

He

would

wooed,

and,

unsought, be
make

won."
as

The

duck,
as

on

her part, tries


"

to

herself

attractive her
very

possible
or

very

difficult task

with

sober

sombre

plumage

"

by
in

lowering
back
as

herself neck
notes

in the water,
can

tillonly the top of her and

and

be

seen,
narrow

by quorking
of

many

as

the

compass

her

voice

will

allow

her.

THE

NEST

243

The

first
for

duty
nest.

of

the It

mated is
can

pair is
"

to

choose

place
such built
"

the

situated

for,

being
to

of

scanty

materials, it
at

hardly be
of
a

said

be

sometimes,

the bottom

thick
or

double
a

hedge, sometimes,
of

in the
a

deep heather,
or
a

in

tuft

long rushes,
the

in

meadow

marsh,

dry itself,
times, ; someover
a

like Gideon's
on

where fleece, stump


of
a

all around
tree
a

is moist

that

hangs
or

stream,

or

in the middle female eggs,

of

withy-bed

fir plantation.

The

lightbrown
"

lays from eight to generally though the first nest I ever


it, as
"

twelve
found
a

how

well

I remember

boy!
of
must

"

beneath

box-bush, in Lord
contained the

Portman's

Cliff"

at

Blandford,
I

astonishingnumber
two

nineteen. have
or

thought, at
their eggs
will

first,that
in
a

ducks
as

laid
tridges par-

singlenest,
old

pheasants
it was,

sometimes

do, for
bird

obviously,
Qover

impossible
whole have what
duck

that

one

should
I

the

nineteen. taken
I know is
a

One wives
;

husband,
for I did

thought, might
not

two

know

then
tame

now,

that, while
a

the
more

plebeian
than

polygamist, with monogamist.


that
matter.
no

Muslim
a

laxity of morals, his patricianoriginalis


and
was

strict till I
or

staunch
convinced

But

I bird

watched,
had

second

part

parcelin

the

244

THE

WILD

DUCK

The
so

mother,
so

I would

remark,

sits

on

her

eggs

close and

and fearlessly,

her dull dead

plumage
around

so

nearly resembles
even

the
you

dull dead
are sure

herbage
of

her, that,
the
nest

when
a

the have

positionof frequently
before of

to

within

yard
have

or

two,

and
to

visited it before, you


you

often

look

long
at

re-discover
;

it, perhaps, by
you

catching sight
find it up from

the eye the


old

and, sometimes,
bird your few
so

cannot

till all,

helps
feet.

you,

by getting
the wild
from in
a

right
that, in
been

between
not
a

It is

noteworthy
duck

also

instances,
far
to

has

observed
as

depart

her
tree,

usual
some

habits,
twenty-

to

place her

nest

high

up

five feet from

the

ground, and, sometimes, eyrieof


we a crow

even or

to

lay
the

her eggs hawk. mother


ones

in the deserted In

sparrow-

such

cases,

must

conclude

that

carries
to

her

eager,
one

bustling, hustlingyoung
by
soft
one,
as soon as

the

ground,
the the the

they begins
;

are

born, in her
As
soon
as

broad,
duck

bill.
to

begins
down
of

sit, she
from

also and

to

pluck
as

soft

dark

her breast

this,

process she

incubation
a

proceeds,
of

rises round

her, as

like sits,
she
over

boa

the

most

velvet eider-down.

When the
down

leaves her but

her

nest,

she

carefully spreads
for

eggs,

partly
I

the

purpose

of

concealment,

still more,

THE

DUCKLINGS

245

think, of warmth.
to

She
of quilt

is

enough quite intelligent


is
an

know

that

eider-down

excellent
so

non-conductor I have of

of

heat.
never

The

male her

bird,
in
to

far

as

observed,
nor

helps
he
of
nest

the

process her bird she

incubation,
food.

does absence

attempt
so

supply
a

with when

The
does it
must

voracious for food be


"

she

leave

the
"

and

rarelyleaves
and her eggs useless

by day

must

often

prolonged,
rendered for the

be infallibly

chilled and
were

by the

night air,

if it

not

special protection she provides for them. the duck is thus While busily engaged,
drake in is
to

the

be

seen

disporting himself
other
a

at

his
wives of

ease,
are

company

with
on

drakes

whose

similarlybusy,
or

neighbouring sheet
a

water,

he

occasionallytakes
the
more

in flight
as

wide

circle

round much

nest,
to to

quacking

he
that

goes,

apparently,
right with right with long body,
her
of
very

assure

his wife

all is all is

him, than
her. She

assure

himself

that
for down

sits

patiently on,
and
are more

twenty-one
from

days, pluckingmore
till her
At

lower

parts
young

almost hatched

bereft
;

feathers. ful, grace-

last, the

are

and

innocent, little things,covered

with

dark

down,

they
are

are.

They
to
run

leave and

the

nest

immediately,and
agility. surprising

able

swim

with

246

THE

WILD

DUCK

They

begin

to
over

feed the

themselves
surface of

at

once, water
to

literally
or

scampering
it.

the
are

the found

weeds, in pursuit of the flies which


upon

be

If,
distance
a

as

sometimes
from the
water
even

happens,
"

the

nest

is it

at

I have from
a

found

myself
mother her

good
the

two

miles

pond
of

"

the

has

delicate and
amidst

difficult task their

convoying

little brood

two-leggedand
the
river.
;

four-legged
reach often I have

enemies, and
the
come
can

keeping
them

them

tillthey together,

comparative safetyof
upon be
more

during

the
or

journey
more

and

few

things
to

amusing
her young, the

touching

than
secure

see

the frantic efforts made

by the mother
the imminent
or

to

the
own.

safetyof
Like

at

risk of

her

partridge
she
one

the
goes

lapwing, tumbling
in

under and
as

similar

circumstances,
with

shufflingalong,
if broken, and

wing hanging down,


or

keeping only a yard


you away, in all the

two

front

of you,
"

as

she draws know she


her

spiteof yourself
it is
a

for you
"

time, full well, that


that her

ruse

till

feels

assured of

ducklings,
had
time
to

startled

by

first cry
nearest

alarm, have
or

scuttle into the when she

ditch

tuft of

brushwood,

flies

triumphantly away

with

pinions

easilyrepaired.

248

THE

WILD

DUCK

and where
bird.

invigoratingpursuit
the chances
Is it
too
are

of
to

wild
one

and in

wary

birds,
of

three
to

favour all who


at

the read the


or

much have have

hope
any any

that

this

chapter,if they
or

influence love
for
a

all in

matter,

if

they

for

Nature,

any

love

for

sport, will press

of prolongation

the close time, in all counties The


a

alike ?
wild

semi-domesticated
is
not

duck,

if In

she

is

fond,

always

wise, mother.
she well.
reasons
on

other young the

words,
ones

like

other

mothers,
too

loves

her

not

wisely, but keeps


one

Throughout
best
move,

live-long summer
to

day,

for

known

herself, she
about

them

the
to

hustling
an

them
air of

from

place
either

another, with
she hears is
one

fussy maternal perturbed


if she

importance, and
sees
or

fully painof
sees

her
or

brood

lagging
say
cannot

behind

the

rest.

If

she

hears, I
she
of

for, unfortunately,with
count.

all her
of
so,

wisdom,
and
out

With
out

her,
;

out

sight
one

hearing

is

of

mind

and

after another, her

nurslings,often quite unnoticed


in

by her, lag behind


victims in the
to

sheer
or

exhaustion,
tumble
into

and
a

fall
crack

the

rat
or

or

the cat,

ground,
The

lie down

to

die, entangled in the


small
;

tall grass.
and

brood but

thus

gets

by degrees
I used
to

anything

less beautifully

and

HUMILIATION

249

deem
out

myself happy if,at


of
a

the
some

end

of

few

weeks,

hatch

of

twelve,

three
be is
a

or

lings four duckthat here,


of the

remained
as

alive.
in

It is

to

hoped
"

elsewhere

Nature,

there

survival

fittest." The
remains
to

greatest
be

peculiarity of
Towards

the the

wild close

duck of

noticed.

the

breeding
shirked shameful
Lenten

season,

the anxieties has

drake,
and
to

who

has, hitherto,
so

all his
a

in responsibilities
a

manner,

undergo
doffs

period of
attire ;

sore

humiliation.
and

He and

all the

bravery

of

his

green

white

chocolate
of his and

the

beautiful he his
dons

curled
instead

feathers the

tail fall off; and sombre

sober

liveryof practised
from
some

much-enduring

and

neglected mate.
a

eye

Throughout the month of July,even can scarcelydistinguish the drake


It is of
a

the other

duck.

humiliation
same

shared
as

by
but

members gorgeous

the

tribe, such
and

the

still more
no

Carolina
existence.

Mandarin,
What this
is

by
cause

other
of this

species in
strange
cannot

the

metamorphosis,
tell.
expose Is it that the

total

eclipse?
his

We

of brilliancy

would

him, during the later


to hardly fly,

plumage moulting period


dangers?
Or,
his selfishness

when

he

can

unusual

is it that

Dame

Nature,

indignantat

250

THE

WILD

DUCK

and

endeavours self-complacency, between the


a

thus But other

to

redress
not

the balance less

sexes

birds,

brilliant,need
season

like

protection during
not
a

the

moulting
if Nature

do and, certainly,
so severe

get it ; and,
view of

does, indeed, take


the male
sex

the

of failings does
of of

in

the

duck and

tribe, why
the

she pass male

over sex

the selfishness
in

brutality
orders Is ?

the

other

and
race,
an

much

higher
between
more

beings, in
that
of

the

human is

for instance

it

possible
freak

there
and

analogy
other

this
ordinary extra-

Nature
one,

that
in

still
ages

which,
as

various
remote
a

of

the

world,
as

and,

in

countries
from

from
man,

each while
to

other his take

Corsica
is his of

China, leads
her

wife
to

undergoing
bed,
his
to

confinement,
therefrom

himself the

receive
to

congratulations
which,
or

friends,
some

undergo

pangs

whether
do
not

from
seem

mysterious sympathy
be

not,
to

to
a

wholly imaginary,
and I

and

continue has
risen

there
from

close

prisoner,long after his


has
say,

wife

her

couch

resumed I
cannot

her tell.

household When
we

duties?
are

Again,
to

able
also

explain the mystery


to

of the

Couvade,

we

may

be able

explain
not,

the

metamorphosis
wild duck,

of

the duck.

Then,

but

perhaps, tillthen.
the

have

remarked

that

when

WILD-FOWL

SHOOTING

251

full grown
of

and wild

at

its best, is

one

of

the

most

wary

all

our

creatures. to

Hence circumvent

the

keenness best

of

the
may
as

true

sportsman
and

it, as

he

hence,

also, the
wild-fowl

intrinsic

superiority,
to

regard it, of
the

shooting
You

all other
deer

forms forest for of

of British sport, outside


or

the limits of the


may,
no

grouse of

moor.

doubt,
a

the

purposes
or a

concealment,
of hurdles

put
and

up

circle
upon

furze,

curtain
river

sedge,
wild is

the bank
and
so,

of

much

frequented by migration
of
as

fowl,

when
in
a

the sudden
at

autumnal
access

taking
a

place,or
few
or as

bad

weather, get

easy

shots
ride

the

birds,
water.
to

they flypast
But it will be
a

you,

they
;

upon
soon

the

only
berth
or

few the

for

they

learn
and

give
care

wide
to

to

suspicious spot,
stream,
away
;
at
a

take
of do
a

flyup
yards

down
more

distance
you and

hundred well

or

and

will
vary

frequentlyto
do
"

shift your
wish
to

screen

its form, if you


a

not
"

return

home
A

from
waterman

stalk
may

or

stand

empty-handed.
day long,
meadows
as

be in

working
the
wateror

all

I have

often

observed,
at

of in

the

River

Frome,
with from
a

Stafford,
and of
no

at

Lewel,

Dorsetshire,
throw

shovel

pickaxe,

barely a
teal, and

stone's

large flock
take

wigeon,
notice

wild

ducks, and

they will

252

THE

WILD

DUCK

at
no

all of him harm. hide


ever

for

they
a

know

that
enter

he

means

them meadows make

But

let
gun
so

sportsman
ever
so

the

and

his

and carefully,
ten
to
some

himself

small, it is

one,

that

they

will rise in
away

cloud, when
them,
and

he is
take

four

gunshots
off
to
a

from of
"

themselves
a

place
ducks

greater
"

safety. Before
"

flightof
meadow in

wild folk
or on

drift

of it
"

wild

fowl, as
a

the country

expressivelycall
a

alightsupon they fly round

sheet

of

water,

wide

circles,
ing succeednearer

perhaps a
circle
to

dozen

of them, rather

high
with

in

air, each
and

being
as

narrower

rather

the

ground,
of

though,
and

their
and

extraordinary hearing, they


air, and
sure

keenness

scent,

sight,

would
water

explore every inch of earth, and make in the neighbourhood, and


lurking
is foe. And

of

discovering any they


the do

when,
a

at

last,
where where
from

alight,it

generallyupon

spot

river is almost
banks
or

level with
are

its banks, and


open and
can

those

themselves

free

herbage
every

bushes,

so

that

they
to

command

approach. And,
kindly hedge
up and
or

then,
you

creep

forth

from self your-

the

in which

have

doubled
;
to

watched

the
or

whole

process
on

crawl

on

hands
a

knees,
a

almost
or

your

stomach,

for

quarter of

mile

so,

along

the

soaking

or

STALKING

WILD

FOWL

253

the

freezingground, availing yourselfof


of
to

any

slight
or

depression, or
watercourse

any

friendlybush,
or

or

hatch,
low,

hear,
the

overhear,

the

fidential con-

cackling of
the water,
as,

unsuspecting wild beating of


your
own

fowl

on

and
state

the loud
of
nervous

heart,

in

excitement,
get
nearer

half

painful,
till

half
you
now,

pleasurable,you
calculate
a

and
two

nearer,

that
and
a

you

are,

now, now,
saw

gunshots,
one

gunshot
from the

half,and,
where
to

just
them

shot, gun-

spot

you
your

alight ;
as

then,
birds

to

spring suddenly
tumult

feet, and,

the their

rise in loud
as

and
to

confusion, with windward,


to

heads,
down,
his
mate

they always do,


be,
a

bring
and

it may
"

right

and
;

left,a

mallard

this is sport indeed


a

this, in my

opinion,
knocked
corner

is worth
down in
a

score

of

tame

bred
at

pheasants
the

with

scientific coolness,

hottest

well-preservedcover.
your

Of oftener

course,

you

will

fail in The
out

stalk
duck

much

than

you

succeed.

wild of ten,
is
not

nine will, in their perversity,


you
are

times

rise when the

three

gunshots off;
the

but

exertion, the
of
"

endurance,

glow,
all the worth

the enthusiasm

one

successful

stalk worth
it be

previous
half
as

failures

or,

rather, would
had
not

much,

if you

had

those

previous

failures ?

254

THE

WILD

DUCK

And
as

there is another

speciesof
has I have for

the sport

known
own

"flightshooting,"which
to

charms

of its

hardly inferior
Towards

that which

just described.
an

dusk, and, sometimes,


habit
to

hour

or

two

afterwards, it is the
its fellow
open
water

of

the the

wild

duck
or

and

fowl
water

leave

estuaries

the
away

sheets

of
to

where
for

they
which

have

dozed

the
or

day,
the

and

make

the

fresh-water
are

meadows,

running
and, above

streams

their
if it be

happy
light, moon-

hunting-grounds by night. Then,


all, if the ground
watercourses
are

be

crisp, and
by
the

the the

more

stagnant

iron-bound
and

of severity

the frost, is the of


some

time

place,
bush,
up
no a

under

the

cover

overhanging
take
"

of alongside
"

the

swiftly flowing river, to


You may

stand"

and and

wait.

stand"
as

there,

doubt,

wait

till your

feet feel hands

if

they

were

glued
that much

to

the

ground,
I
one

tillyour

are

so

numbed

you

cannot
"

feel your well


would
were

or cartridges

your

trigger, days
of

less
or,

as

remember rather

in

the

muzzle,

as

call them,

puzzleyour your

loaders, while you

in fumbling helplessly your wads

pockets

"

distinguish
your
a

shot-belt
from of
your

from

powder-flask, or
caps.
to

percussion
sounds !

But

what the

succession and

sights and

reward

naturalist

the sportsman

The

256
a Presently,

THE

WILD

DUCK

flock of wild geese, inland

Brent cruel

or

Barnacles,
you

which,
have

driven been
of
a

by

the the
far
out

weather,
in

watching, half
big meadow, flyingup
a

day, feeding
of reach
of

the

middle
or

friend

foe, come
of

the
and

river, high in air, in the

shape
wing

large V,

cackling cheerilyas

they
vious pre-

their way.

Irritated, perhaps, by your


do what the
may
no

failures, you
ever

sportsman
in
a

should

do, you
one

fire into

flock break have

the

faint

hope
A

that

stray
of

shot

wing-bone.
fired, you

couple

seconds

after you

hear

distinctlythe against
breasts
seconds

half-spent
wild

shots

rattle

harmlessly
of

the
of

close-set, shot-proof feathers


the
geese
;

the of

and

then,
them

couple
into
anon,

later, again, you

hear
after

drop sullenly
the
a

and

one reproachfully,

the

other,
and

water glistening

at

your into
a

feet. the

Ever
a

sharp
away,

clean

swish

river,
or a

hundred
or
a

yards
teal,
has and

tells you

that

duck,

wigeon, by
he
you,

has

passed

unseen

and

unheard where
as
"

dropped
you

into

the

haven

would
you
a

be, and
well

think, half frozen


chosen
Last
a

you stand
"

are,
or

might
more
a

have

better

lucky big
The
drift

night.
of wild you,

of all,you

hear

the cries of

fowl

coming,

as

it seems,

straighttowards
range.

and,

this

time, well within

air

"DRIFT

OF

WILD

FOWL"

257

vibrates.

It You

is
see
on

alive them
in

with

the

whirring of
a

their
two,

wings.
as

for clearly the


your

moment

or

they speed
you

bright moonlight.
birds
;

This

time,

singleout
a

there

is

double

flash and

double

bang,

and
some

then, a

double

heavy
away,

lifeless thud tells you


and
soon

in the water,

thirtyyards
have struck
water
a

that, this time, you


trusty and wild

home,

your

much-enduring
ducks
"

spaniel
mallard
your

depositsa pair of
his
mate
"

again

and

at

your

feet,and
rewarded.

you

feel that

patience is
To pass

more

than the

from

genuine
stalk

sport
or

involved

in
to

a a

successful

or

unsuccessful the wholesale

"stand,"

of description
on

massacres

perpetrated
the
tiers of

the of

lakes of
a

Mexico

by Indians, who, with


of
to
or

help
ducks

masked

battery

two

guns,

manage,
at

it is said, sometimes
a

kill twelve
of

hundred but

singledischarge;
much
are

the

smaller

still considerable

slaughterof
less still
common

the

decoys, which,
in

though they are


than parts

this country
in various of

they
of

were,

to

be

found

it, and
the
be
too

still send London violent that


on a

thousands would

birds

annually to
be

market,

probably
great
a

felt

to

transition, too
I have

come-down

from

which the

justdwelt
of
R

with

pleasure. Moreover,

process

constructing

258

THE

WILD

DUCK

and that
now.

working
I would

decoy has
to

been

so

often
to

described
so

it is unnecessary

attempt

do

again
the

only

remark
can
a

that, here

again,

wariness

of the wild

duck

only

be

outwitted

by

the combined
and
man,

of intelligence and

trained carefully

dog
which

aye,

of

some

of
a

the ducks sheet


of

themselves.
water

The
is
to

elaborate form

preparationof decoy, with


its its

the

quiet and

its isolation,

its and

palings and
its

its divergingchannels plantations, of

diagonalscreens
its

reed, its
and

avenues

and

its
its
"

hoops
ducks,
of

of network,

hempseed

buckwheat,
or
"

well broken

its fatally skilful decoy spaniel,

call
scent

its turf,

kept burning
from

to

prevent
prey
"

the

the

decoy

man

reaching his
and
to
are

all this
sufficient

a paraphernaliaof precaution is,in itself,

testimony
of

to

the

value
whom

the

wide-awakeness
to
reach. over-

the

creature

they
method

intended

But in in

there

is

one

of

taking wild
China

ducks

considerable
some

numbers,

practised in

and
is
as

other

semi-civilised

countries, which
so

so

amusing
deserve
a a

in itself, and, I think,

little known, take


care

to

passing notice.
of left

The

natives
or

that

number be

large calabashes, floating on


the the

gourds,
pieces
of
to

should
water

always

frequented by

birds, till they get

regard

THE

DECOY

259

them hunter

as

part and
chooses

of parcel

their

resorts.

The
one

duckof the

his

time, and,
cut

putting
his the mouth

calabashes, with holes


upon
to

for

and

eyes,
care

his head, wades the He wild whole

through
of

lake, taking
well beneath the
of

keep

his

body

the

surface.

cautiously approaches
fowl, and,
with
a

pecting unsus-

catching
sudden

one

them

by
the
face sur-

the

him, leg,pulls

jerk,beneath
of

water,

causing hardly more


the duck itself often

commotion

the

than
or

makes

when
He

it dives,

plashes,or
and

plunges
to

for its food. his

wrings
makes

its

neck
and

fasteningit
in the
same

belt,deals with

another his

another

fashion, till he
with
a

retreat,

equally unnoticed,
wild
ducks

whole

girdle of
earlier
many

captured

around
I have

his waist ! mentioned


as

George Eliot, as
describes chapter,
Tom birds

in

an

Tulliver
"

being, like
is, of
Buffon

boys,
stones

"

fond
at

of

fond, that
naturalist redbreast "This

throwing
finishes the
what some-

them."
of

The robin

his

account

the

with

ambiguous
warbler while
is
eaten

remark,

amiable

little

with this

breadcrumbs."

If,like Buffon,
the
wild
to

writing

chapter

on

duck,
its lemon

my

thoughts have, occasionally, strayed


flavour, when
cayenne
;

dainty
and

properly served
Tom

up

with

if,as

Tulliver

might

well have

done,

260

THE

WILD

DUCK

I have

finished
on

up

the

chapter by dwelling with


its

enthusiasm
done and of
so,

the

joys of
To
to

pursuit,I
he

have

not

because or chiefly, solely


to

is difficult to kill

delicate all wild

eat.

observe try
to to

minutely the
understand the
His

habits
to

animals,
with

them,
of

sympathise
Creator
in

them,

find of

hand

the

all the

creatures

hand;

this,

is better, more assuredly,

more elevating,

inspiring,
of

than
or

to

take

life either

for

the

purposes

sport

food.

But,
from

on

the other

hand,

am

equallypersuaded
an

that long personal experience,


of often
nature

enthusiastic
of

love
may
not

and

genuine
hand.
A

love

sport
need
"

go

hand
a

in

naturalist He
may of

be necessarily he
often

sportsman.
"

hate sport
is not

as

indeed
a man

does be
a

the very

name

but also that

cannot
a

true

sportsman

who

first
a

true

naturalist, for the


is
never
a

simple
butcher
cares

reason

true

sportsman
as

"

he
more

hates
for

merely killing,
the freshness
for

killing.He
the laden
stream,

far

of

air, for the

fragrance of
dew,
the
for for

the the

heather,

the

grass

with

dancing
beauties for the

sparkle of
of the
moor,

the

myriad
;

the forest,or
and

the stubble-field

"working"
for

evident

enjoyment

of

his

dogs

the

engrossing interest, and, therefore,

NATURE

OF

SPORT

261

for

the

complete
man

rest

from

work

which

it

gives
the

to

busy

for

the endurance

health,

the called
in

strength,
for

skill,

the

energy,
and

the

by

his than other

favourite
for

pursuit,
mere

increased

by
of

it

turn,

the

brute

weight
every

his

bag.
pursuit

In

words,
is

as

in

almost with

other the chase

that worth

really
than

valuable,
the than

him

is

more

game, the

the

process

itself

and

its

accompaniments

results.

CHAPTER

VII

DAY

ON

NORFOLK

MERE

FEW

years
a

ago,

while
me

was

still in full work


Mr
me,

at

Harrow,
a

letter reached
unknown

from
to

Henry Upcher, inviting me holiday


my
as

friend

till then

to

spend
friends
'

such

portion of
him, and
Norfolk.

the with
"

next

whole
and

could, with
in my of

his have

feathered he
are

heard,"
that
you you
care

said,
very make

'from

boy

in

your

Form,
would

fond
a

natural

history;
to

to

long journey
here ?

visit
are

great

place
sorts
a

for wild
duck
or

fowl
to

near

There there

several

of

be

found, and
great
a

are,

sometimes,
other

pair

two

of
was

crested

grebes, besides
offer.
I had and

birds." been

It

tempting
of

always
his for

particularly
;

fond

the wild
more

duck
or

kindred
some

and years

I had

tried, with
to

less success,
in
two

past,
in
my

domesticate

them

small

ponds,

264

DAY

ON

NORFOLK

MERE

These cultivated the

barren

stretches

were

succeeded

by

halfall the

fields,and
their

by forest-like woods,
and

in

glory of
to

fresh

varied

greenery,
as

first green
seems
me

of the larch
to

hard, struggling

it

always
the

do, for the


the

prizeof beauty
beech.
as

with

first green
swarmed game.

of

opening
as

The with

country

with

feathered field
were

well
to

four-footed
or

In every

be

seen

three

four

English and pairsof partridges,


one

red-legged, ering, scampwhat lovers ? that


I
marked re-

after

the

other, in the full enjoyment of

their first love, and


do
not,

fancying,as
for love
and

young

and

is it not is made

right that they


for

should them.

the

world

upon said my and

their

extraordinary number:
"

"Yes,"
one

host
we

quietly,

was

shooting here,
that those
two
a

day,
of

had
you
we

eight guns
see

posted along

line
At

bushes

between killed drive

fields.

the first drive

and forty-seven
over

half brace,

and, in the
the birds
do
we

return

the
as

same

place,when always red-legs

came

rather
are

slower,

the

when killed

they
for

tired with

their first !
"

long flight, slaughter


true

brace fifty-seven
any is
at
one

This

was

enough
life and
I

but
as

my

friend,like all
for

sportsmen,
for
to

least

keen
for in

watching
;
so

wild and in

preservingit,as
think

taking it away
my
own

incline

that,

as

case,

PARTRIDGE

DRIVING red

265

is his, a good day's bird-nesting in his

as

letter

day

calendar, as
last
a we

good day's partridgedriving.


the
scene

At
It
was

reached
of
water

of

our

operations.
a so

sheet
one

about

of three-quarters

mile
I
a

long and
told,some

quarter

made, broad, artificially


ago,

was

forty years
as

by damming
of

up from

stream

which, clear
end.

still rushes crystal, the


if middle

its lower flats ; but


numerous

It is in
as

the

Norfolk
into
now

it breaks,

by

Nature's
is
or

hand,

islands

and
or

creeks, and bracken,

girt in,

by rollingheather,
now,

meadow,

and

in the

near

distance, by stretches

of woodland
to

which

send

down

invitingbelts

of

trees

its very

margin.
"

Onward
A
narrow

amid

the

copse

'gan peep,
deep,
of brim
to

inlet still and


scarce

Affording
As Lost But served

such wild

breadth brood

swim, for a space, through thickets veering, broader, when again appearing."
the duck's

The immediate

first

glance was
was

so disappointing,

far
sun
a

as

our

object
it,and

concerned

for

the
was

was

shining brightly on ripple upon


bird
or
we

the

water,

there

brisk

could

only
in

discern further his

solitary
distance.

two

about floating
coot

the
from

But, presently, a

sailed

out

place lurking

266

BAY

ON

NORFOLK

MERE

in the
over our

bordering sedge ;
heads, and
water

wild

duck

or

two

flew

the mid-

and

telescope which
him,
soon even

into dropped with a "swish" and a powergood opera-glass, ful friend had brought with my

served the

to

brighten the
corners

prospect,
of

and

to

people
with

remoter

the

solitude
to

feathered

life.

First, I think, we
a

managed
three

descry a gadwall, then


and

pair
two

of
or

teal, then, here

there,

pochard,
and

next,
a

pairs of
of

tufted

ducks,

then,
his

solitary male
curved

the

pintailedduck, swimming,
front in

with

long

tail-feathers,
and
was

statelysolicitude, up
and
me

down

in

of

an

island of reeds, which, it his


mate nest.

probable,
friend
at

contained handed

Presentlymy
said,
"

the of

glass to

and the the

Look

that
of

slope

grass I did

beyond
so,

distant smooth

tussocks

rushes."
soon

and

emerald-green
still better
;

resolved

itself into
be

something
with
some

for

it

proved

to
some

dotted of them
in fast

thirtygorgeous
in

mallards,

basking
all their

the

sun,

some

preening

themselves
some

glorious spring
their
one

apparel, and nestling under


has, in all
her eggs,

asleep

with

heads these
upon
two,
or

wings. mate a probability,


the distance like other

their

Each

of

sitting hard
of
a

within

mile

or

about, bustling

with mothers, solicitously

WILD

FOWL

AT

HOME

267 and

her
with she

young their
seems

family,who
almost

pull her
with

this way

that,
till
of

unresting activities
distracted while life,

and

their whims, moil

the toil and

their young his


of
own

their father is
once or

lazily enjoying
in the
to
course

and, perfections,

twice

the

day, will, perhaps,


her
of her labours his and

condescend

take

short middle

in flight

direction, and

gratifyher,
a

in the distant

anxieties, with
Almost
two

sightof
In

splendid plumage.
soon

every of wild

part
fowl.

of the lake
one

revealed
far away,

pair or
and
;

corner,

there is what

my

friend pronounces,
eye,

with
to

his

naked

much-practised
and,
as

be

male

shoveller

duck

you

turn

the

glass in
of and
see,

that direction, you the

descry the strange


upon his you

flaps wing,
even

his

mandibles,
chocolate

brilliant blue his


see,

the
or

upon you

breast, and
the

fancy

that

bright yellow

rim

around
And

his eye.
now
our our

imaginations
A

are

sufficiently
been
sent

whetted
on

for the
a

work.

messenger whose house

had

to

gamekeeper,
mile
a

is visible,a
of the water,
to
warn

quarter of
and of
our

beyond the
view
we cross

upper

end

commands

of

the

whole,
the
bit

him

arrival; but
him. with We

begin
a

work of

of

the

day
land

without damasked

meadow

cuckoo

flowers, with

and cowslips,

268

DAY

ON

NORFOLK

MERE

with
us,

marsh

marigolds.
over

The
in

lapwingssweep
the
as

around

tumbling
near

and

over

air, and

showing
their

by their
cry, way

approach, as
of breakfast in

well

by their peculiar
not

that
to

some

their eggs
or

have

found

the

the dinner

table, and
grass,

that,
are

somewhere

the
of

fast-growing
those
are

there

lurking
of

some

dainty
born

little birds with


it is

which,

happily for themselves,


locomotion, and
nest

the

full power
run

sometimes,
the

said,

off

the
to

with backs.

bit of

eggshell still clinging


the his

their

Up

springs
us,

snipe
loud
ever

from

his

marshy bed,
noise, which
able
as

and

tells

by

drumming
been

nobody,

I believe, has
too,

yet

properly to
and
now

that he, explain,


a

earlybreeder
of

he

is, feels in

like

predicament

parental
alive

pride
We

responsibility.
enter

the willow
forms and

beds, which
harsh who
of

are

with
of
too

the slender

the

jarring notes
have the
our

the

sedge

and have

reed

warblers

arrived
season.

to recently

begun
rushes
bird

the work

We

tap each

tuft of

gently with
out

sticks,

and,

a presently,

sneaks

of

clump

of

sedgy

grass,
way,

few

yards

ahead

of us,

in that mysterious
a

which

proclaims aloud
It is
a

that

nest

and

eggs
nest,

are

left behind. five

black-headed
of

bunting's
olive show.

as

richly-streaked eggs

THE

SNIPE

AND

COOT

269

Another
nest

clump,
same

littlefurther and species,


a

on,

produces

another
;

of the the

third, a

third

each

with

same

number

of eggs.
our

Careless, by this
and

time, about
down
a

wetting
to

feet of

legs,we
water,

move

close

the
in

border
a

the

and
a

from baldwater

rushy tussock,
coot

peninsula of sedge,
a

headed from and

drops, with
nest,

loud she

into flop, has the

the

her

huge
at

which
rose

piled higher
recent

higher,as
It
as a

the
a

water

with

rains,

till it is
mark.

least

couple
nine

of feet above eggs,


a

low-water half
as

contains

about

big

again
mottled

moorhen's, with
black.
I had
never

light brown
minutes
upon

ground,
a

with

few
seen

later, and

duck, which
starts

the
It is

wing before,
a

up

from

beneath she

my

feet. behind

gad wall

or

dun-bird, and
eggs,

leaves

her

eleven

pinkish

whose
of soft

strong
down

odour, together with


with
one

the abundance

which of them

they

are
a

encircled,

proclaims that
which
were

each

contains

duckling
to

is
to

already very
and

much

alive, and
be
as so

which, if you

break

the shell,would become

soon

ready

take

to

the

water

food,
or

many fox.

of them It is
a

do,
nest

for the

pike, the
never

water-rat,
seen
rare

the

that

I have
no

before, and
nest

I feel

that, even
of
a

if I find

other will

to-day,my
been

journey

hundred

miles

not

have

in vain.

270

DAY

ON

NORFOLK

MERE

Meanwhile,
towards
us,
as

the
we

gamekeeper
are

is

making
the

his

way

warned

by

thunderous who

rising from
female

their siesta of the


over our

thirtymallards,
a

flyquacking high
among

heads, without
smart

single
and

them.
of the

In his
most
as

velvet

coat,

his waistcoat looks


whom that

brilliant scarlet,the gamekeeper


gorgeous
a as

almost

the with

birds

over

he watches, he
is the
"

and

few

words
in

him

show

right man
a

the

right place"; in
as

other

words, that he is

naturalist

well

as

keeper, game-

taking a
sounds around

keen

interest
on

in all the

sights and
as

him, bent
not

saving

life

well

as

taking it, and


vermin noble of
and
a

as regarding indiscriminately,

to

be

nailed

to

his

ghastly gibbet,all
are

those

birds wild

of prey

which which

the
so

natural
to

denizens
its of

country,
as

add

much

charm,
gameserve

which,

even
now

the

most to

stolid

preservers
a

are

beginning
in

discover,

useful

purpose

Nature,
a

far

outweighing
of
us,

the So
are

loss, in hard
backward
too

times, of
season,

few

head tells

game.

is the
a

he
or

that

we

early, by
of

week
nests

for fortnight,

the
He

great

majority
however,
across
a

the

of

the

waterfowl.

has,
come

while few

collectingpheasants'
he may
case,

eggs, find
our

which

be
we

able continue

to

again
search

for

us,

and, in any

if

272

DAY

ON

NORFOLK

MERE

female
to

wigeon here, place


in

which

seemed
;

to

have

taken

the

permanence

but

then, alas, the


countless
all off
return

hereditary instinct, generations, again


to

transmitted
out, not,

through
and

broke

they
So

were

Norway

or

to

Iceland,

apparently,to

until late in be
no

the

ensuing
for
us

autumn.

there

will

wigeon'snest
go
on,
a

to-day.
in

We

however,
second
or

good heart,
with

and

soon

light upon
eggs.

gadwall's nest
teal

thirteen

Here,

hereabouts, it is that
a

the

keeper

fancies that he

saw

slipoff
the

her

nest

the other she


one
us

day.

We

search and

and, presently,off carefully,

slips again,
from
too

flaps along
as

water,

with
to

wing hanging down,


away

if broken,

hoping
But
we

lure
are,

the old The

neighbourhood.
birds
nest
to

all
kind

of

us,

be

caught
eleven

with eggs

that
of
a

of chaff.

contains

light
of of

olive

grey

colour, and,
is

though
there
to

the
is
a

process
no

incubation down about

far
;

advanced,
an

trace

them

exception
before.
across

rule

wise other-

universal, I believe, in the


I have
never

duck

tribe, which
far

observed
we
a

Not
a

off, in
flat
nest

tuft of
about

rushes,
the

come

small

size of
to

all ready soup-plate,

for eggs,

which
but

I take

be

an

small moorhen's, exceptionally


to

the

keeper

pronounces

be

none

other

than

THE

TEAL

AND

THE

WATER-RAIL

273

water-rail's ! breed
in

The

water-rail

very

rarely stays
summer,

to

this country
is that

during
and
course,

the
near summer

and

the wonder

she

her
a

relative, the visitant,

land-rail,which
with
to
to

is, of

their very
even

slender powers
a

of

hardly able flight,


ever

surmount
cross

moderate of
"

hedge, can

live

the
which
;

streak

melancholy," or
from the
our

of

lively bours neigh-

ocean,

separates
more

us

nearest

much

to

reach

shores, as, I believe,


So

do, they ultimately


are cross

of Africa. in I Dorset

convinced, indeed,
that

the

country
sea,

folk

they
often

cannot

the

that that

have

been
never

gravely
and that
land-rail

assured

by

them

they
!

do into of

so,

the water-rail of the winter


of the
some
summer

turns

the

months

It is true,

course,

that
as

birds, in their
differ

summer

plumage,
from the

such
;

the
the

ptarmigan,
rustic

widely
it is

winter

but
a

forgets that
ever

hardly possible for


a

semi-

aquaticbird
water-rail beak the of of
nest

to

become the

land

one,

and

that it is

quite impossible for


to

the
turns

long curving beak of the change annually into the short stout land-rail. Happy will he be who, if out to be a water-rail's, gets a sample
It

eggs! journey of a
We
now

its

would

be

well
to

worth them. sheet

second

hundred

miles
a

get

leave, for

time, the

of
s

water,

274

DAY

ON

NORFOLK

MERE

and

follow
stream

up,

for half
runs

mile
it.
on

or

so,

the

course

of
a

the

that

into

It
one

flows

through
a

heathy bottom, deep wood,


are

enclosed,
a

side, by
of

rich

in which

perfect chorus
for
us
"

songsters

doing
the

their

best

the and
We

nightingaleand
the willow have
no wren

the
among
to

blackcap,the
most nests

whitethroat

prominent.
such
as

time

look
as

for

theirs
to
some

to-day,nor
;

have
a

they,
in the

yet, well
steals away

begun
from of

build

but

little

whinchat

long rushy grass


and

heather
not

in front

us,

reveals

five blue

eggs

"

sky blue,
look
so,
at

like

the

hedge

sparrow's,
mottled all
brown in upon
a

though they
over, at

first

but sight,

the We

larger end,
reach
we

with small
see

infinitesimal

spots.

another
do is
not

piece of
are
more

water

hollow, which
it. than
warns

tillwe
and

close

The
any
us

bog
we

here have

deeper

treacherous the

yet

traversed, and
once

keeper

to

be

careful,for, if we
firm
crust

break
and

through
rushes
or our

the
at

comparatively
the top,
or we

of
to
we

mud

shall be

up

our can

middles,
raise
a

necks,

further
seems

before still,
to

cry

for

help.

This
of of

be
birds.

the

favourite

breeding
from
at
on

ground
tussock

the

water

You
to

leap
and

one

pampas-like grass
a

another,

the three

imminent

risk of

sudden

submersion,

THE

SHOVELLER

DUCK

275

of these

tussocks, within

radius than

of

not

more

than
ducks'

twenty
nests,

yards,
one

are

no

less

three

wild

still tenanted
two

by
them has

the

anxious

mother,
broods

while into
eggs,
act

the other the world. which the

have
of

already sent
contains

their
two

One

addled
"

keeper
the
for

carefully poisoned everywhere


carrion
no

-an

which, surely,is always and


"

to

be

condemned
a

in prey

hope
which

of

a killing

crow,

bird

of

he
a

has

bowels

of

compassion.
duck is

Close
on

by,
her
and
see.

too,

beautiful eggs,

shoveller the
first
ever

sitting
of

whitish
eggs

specimen
been

the

nest

which tumbles

I have

privileged to
as

She

about,

as

if

badly shot,
has been
and
one,

she

half flies, half eleven


eggs, !
ten

limps away.
of them
a

She

on sitting

her own,

that of
as

pheasant
some

It is

of peculiarity

the

pheasant
into

of

other she

semi-domesticated
will

birds, that, like


her egg the

the
nest

cuckoo,
of

often

drop

another

bird ; but, unlike


or

the cuckoo, with

the

nest

she
not

selects that

happens
is best

to

meet

is, sometimes,
of her

which

suited

for the wants It

offspring.Poor
hours
of

littlepheasant !

will

not to

have
run

many
over

life, nor for,


the
to
as

much
its
water

ground
foster

during
the

them,

brothers
surrounds

slip off

tussock

into

which

it, it will be

bound

follow

276

DAY

ON

NORFOLK

MERE

them,
last.

and

its first step

will,probably,also be

its

In the water from

of this smaller I observe


a

pond, heap
a

about green

yard
weeds

the

bank,
upon

of

piled,one
you
mown. lately

another,
see

to

foot

in

height, as
has been

sometimes

them

in

river which
over

I my

turn carelessly to

the

topmost
see

layer with

stick, and,
beneath.
in
a

my

I delight, old bird

six

dirtywhite
us

eggs

The

has

heard
up

coming, and,
and

moment,

has

covered
nor

her
a

eggs
trace
or

dived

deep
The

into the water,


are

do

we

see

of her.

eggs
nest

those
I have

of

the

dab-chick,
seen

lesser
was

grebe,a
my

which
at

never

since

at

first school
It
was

Blandford,
that has

some

thirtyto

five years

ago.
so

there what
a

I learned

love

birds, and
I trust,

hit upon
will be,

been, and
my

is,and,
life.
I

always
the

rulingpassion of
game
lack birds of

Among
mentioned,
the
upon

wilder
is
no

which
more

have

there

the

cated, domestiWe

pheasant
nests

and

the

partridge.
direction.

stumble
a

their

in

every

Sometimes
our

pheasant
a

flies off from

right beneath
makes
us

feet, with
she will

hurry-scurry which
return

fear that she has


come

not
to

again
upon

to

her eggs, The


if she is

unless

begun
back,
if not,

sit hard

them.
see

keeper will
"

in the

evening,to

at

home," and

THE

DAB-CHICK

277

will carry
brood
some

off her One


feet

eggs

to

the when

incubator,
she had
an

or

his
risen

hens. fifteen it
in
was

pheasant,
into

the

air, dropped

egg,

whether
it up

that, in her
claws
upon
or

hurry, she
or

had

caught
we

her

feathers,
in

whether
act

had
We

intruded
all
saw

her

the
we

very

of

laying.
for it in

the egg

fall ; but

searched

vain, for it had


ooze.

buried than bare


one

itself

deep
with her

in
a

the

muddy
is

In

more

instance,

pheasant
a

sittingon
of

the

ground,
to
cover

hardly
;

spray

withered
sombre

bracken

but

so

like is soil
on

her which
and

plumage
sits, that
we

to

that

of have
not

the

she
her his

might
called

crushed the

her

had risinghopes together,

keeper,
in time. that

with

sharper
a

eyes,

us

aside her
out

just

Up

springs
her

partridge from

nest,

with

tremendous
to

whirring of wings,
miss

of all
it

proportion
you,
so

size, which, by the


you
on,
an

start

gives
easy
to

often

makes

otherwise steps

shot.
see

littlefurther another
is

the

keeper

aside

how

partridge's nest,
on.

which

he has

long watched,
sucked,
nest.
or

getting
in

The

eggs,

alas,
round

are

scattered gazes I ask.

every

direction

the has
most

He it?"

at ruefully

the
a

ruin.

"What the

done

"It

is

hedgehog,
is
;

mischieffull
a

vermin

that

there

he

never

touches

nest

till

278

DAY

ON

NORFOLK

MERE

the which
a

bird

has

begun
not
eat

to

sit, and
are

then

all the

eggs him

he does
of

spoiled;
I have

I will
often

give

dose

poison to-night."
often often

pleaded
ing, interestfrom
a

for, and
and

have

saved, this quaint and


little animal
I is

quite harmless,
heels
;

murderous

keeper's
the

but

feel, in
so

this
and say

instance, where
the
a

destruction

great
to

guilt
in
now

so

evident, it would
defence.
down
we

be

useless

word

his
come

We
water,

again
return,
water

to to

the

big

sheet

of

intending, as
side.

search here

carefully
is
we

its

opposite
between
to
our

The

much
are

deeper
often
we

the tussocks knees


in it.

of

sedge,

and

up

The

island in which would We


be

had

suspected that
out
a

the

duck pin-tailed

turned laying,
not

to

be

quite inaccessible.
nest

had it occurred

found
to

yet
me

tufted duck's
we

; so,

but

just as
third

that

had

not

done

there rose,
a

first,

one

female, then

second, and
from
us. a

then thick

of this
about

beautifully pied
twenty
must
were

bird

reed-bed that
a

yards
be three satisfied

behind
nests,

We
so

thought
difficult
in

there
we

but, in
we

spot,

when

succeeded This

discovering
the ducks list of who
to

one,

containingnine
new

eggs. moved their

ended

my

finds.

We

several wild
eggs, and who

had

already hatched

tried

280

DAY

ON

NORFOLK

MERE

kind

of
news

marsh had

as

pheasant
her
so

loves. of the

Is

it

possible
floods world

that that

reached

terrible of the the


in

had the

devastated last the


few

many

parts

during
Ho the
in

months
and

preceding,
the Maine

Hoang

China,
in

Oder

Germany,
in

Theiss last
did

Hungary,
all, the

the

Guadalquiver
in
on

Spain,

and,
and

of she

Mississippi
like "the that outburst

North the

America,
part
I of

fear

the

"reedy
not

Cam" this
I

and

gentle
the have of its

Ouse"? earlier
been
more

know of

but

know,
can

explorers

South when

America

hardly
the
Indians

surprised region,

they

found

the

Orinoco

living, during
flood, like birds,
months he
a

the

period

of

annual of

devastating
trees,

in the

branches
was

gigantic

for

together,
one

than

the

gamekeeper,
so

when

found

of

his

pheasants
of

selecting
future

strange
With
more

perch

for
was

the

birth

her
to
a

family.
the
in

this

sight

brought
of
a

conclusion spent

enjoyable
most

part those

whole read

holiday,
this

what
I of

of

who with
me

chapter
a

will

now,

think,
Birds.

agree

in

calling

very

Paradise

CHAPTER

VIII

THE

MAGPIE

THE

magpie is, with


most

the colour

one

exception of
the the
most
crow

the

jay,
For

the
form

strikingin
which

and of

in graceful

of all the

members
are

tribe.

reasons

not

far he

to

seek, connected
is
;

with
a

his
common

numerous

enemies,
bird in

nowhere

exactly
for
reasons

England

while,

connected nowhere of
a

with

his

he individuality, There have


not
are

is,

happily,

quite unknown.
district who
of

few

inhabitants

country
view
and of
a

caught,at least,a shape


at

distant

his

unmistakable there have


are

and

ments move-

flight ;
town
a

and

equallyfew
some

tants inhabitime
or

who

not,

other,

seen

ghastly mockery
and
may court,

of

the

wild

bird,

sorelymutilated

but bedraggled,

stillattractive cage

withal, hung up, it wall, in a back a


281

be, in
and

small

against
to

condemned

make

282

THE

MAGPIE

sorry

sport, like the


"

captive
can

Samson
no

among

the

Philistines

while

he
"

have for the

spark

of merriment
or

within
passer

himself
A

casual

onlooker

by.

caged eagle
the rock untrodden
of

whose

flashing eye
mountain
man,
or

is

sadly eloquent of pinnacles


boundless
more

far-away by

tops, of
of

of

the

spaces

the

air of heaven,
is
a

is

hardly a
whose

melancholy spectaclethan
it is bush
to

magpie,

nature

be

always
or

on

the

move,

always flitting
over

from and

to

bush,

takinghuge

bounds
on

lawn

lea, always inquisitive, always


for life within
one

the
few

alert,
square
to

always cheery,confined
feet his of space,

with, perhaps, only


tail
torn

perch

vary

position,his
the
and

and

broken

against

his

prison bars, deprived of beauty,


with
and brilliant

half its
of

length and
his

of all its

white

body begrimed
a

dust

dirt, till it has

become

sullen grey,

its iridescent and

metallic shades
to

of

blue, purple,
to
one

bronze, and
sordid and

violet,reduced,
sombre

all appearance,

black.

The
I can't

cry

of
out

Sterne's
!
"

"I starling,

can't

get
and

out,

get

is,
of

to

him

who

knows the

loves

the

character
of
every

the

magpie,
and

patheticundersong
movement

cramped
of every

feverish

of his

body,

and

humorous

make-believe and

of his lissom

and

well-trained

tongue

throat.

MAGPIE.

From

Drawing by

G. E.

Lodge.
[To face p. 282.

PLUMAGE

AND

FORM

283

Let and

us

first look
of
;

littlemore

at closely

the form
his

plumage
haunts
is
more

the
and

bird, when
then

he is fresh from

native

try
and

to

picture to ourselves,
his habits the
crow

what

important
his in

still, thing someinteresting


and

of

of life-history,

his
and

aptitudes,something,
the brain
"

short, of
in all the
"

heart

the latter, as
"

tribe,very

highlydeveloped
It is

which

lie
at

behind

the feathers."
season,
a

difficult, except
to

the than

breeding eighty to
appears

to

get

nearer

the
at

magpie
and

hundred
a

yards
mixture broad

and,
of and

that

distance, he

simple
on

black

white, each

colour

laid

in

effective, and,
as

therefore, conspicuous
with the

much patches,
or

is the

case

oyster-catcher
drake duck, the shelhim
in
your

sea-pye, and

the scaup the

and

the tufted
But

merganser.

take

hand

when

he has

just been caught, or killed,by gamekeeper


distance of
;
a

his

deadly
watch
as

enemy

the from
do

or,

better

still,

him
can

the
in

few

yards only,
is
a

you

Norway

"

where

he

prime
how

favourite, a chartered indeed, is almost

libertine with
"

everybody, and,
observe

domesticated

and
are

deftlythese
how

two

ground
are

colours shot

intermixed, and
other
tints
as

they delicately
breast

with The

the

light glancesacross
the upper
are

them.
a

head, the neck, and


the

glossyblack,

prevailing

284

THE

MAGPIE

colour feathers

of

most

of

the

crow

tribe.
are

The

secondary

of the

wing and
bands

the back of

also black, but off

resplendentwith
into and

brightgreen, shading
The lower
pure

blue, and deeper green. purple,


the under
and
so

breast

parts
are

are

white

of the webs

softest
of

texture,

the

graceful inner magpie


of

the

feathers. flight Even thus

far,the
matchless

will strike

you

as

bird of almost
most

beauty, but

its greatest and

conspicuous
of

ornament

all is,its tail.

The

tail is
rest

considerably longer
his
it

than

the

whole when
it
out

of the the bird


of

body,

beak

and

all,and
to

throws

jauntily upwards
or uses

keep
him

the
in
to

damp
his

grass,

it

to

help

steer

his way

wavering,

uncertain

flightfrom
into

plantation
most

plantation,it expands shaped of exquisitely the longest,and are


four others
on

the The

loveliest and
two centre

fans. of

feathers

while exactlyequal length, shelve


of off in

each the

side

gradually
with

descending scale,
half the colours The but
eyes of

whole

them

aglow
moderate

of the rainbow.

the

magpie

are

of

size,
wellwith

brightas

brightcan

be ; and

its

largeand

formed
reversed

nostrils, covered, like those


feathers discover
or

of the raven,

bristles, doubtless, help him

much

to

his

lurking prey.

The

beak

is

286

THE

MAGPIE

and energies,
it with for
a

he

resumes

his usual
I

crawl.

So him
but

was

the time.

magpie.
He of the

managed
tame

to

keep

alive
never

became

enough,
which
nest.

developed any
of

the amusing qualities, feats the


too

powers

mischief, the

talking
up of

characterise
He
"

magpies brought
in

from
us,

was,

fact, like

so

many

old

too

old

to

learn. There
more or are

few

birds

whose

habits the has

have

changed

more

rapidly, with
the

changing times,
learned
"to
to
or
"

than
mark

those
of

of

magpie.
"

He

sure

high intelligencehow
and of
to

keep pace" speak


of
man

with

them,

adapt
of
an a

himself

circumstances.
so

Observers of
most

nature,

century

ago,
one

him,

with

hardly
and

exception, as
fond far

the
and

familiar and his

of birds, friendly
never

of

of

works,

removed
"

from mixen

them,
"

haunting the rickyard,searching the the barn food, perching on top, the
companion,
the
and and
not

for

occasional the hens, his

always

the enemy,
of

of

ducks,
nest

the

pigeons
on
one

the

farmyard,
old ash

huge
or

constructed which He what hem


was,

of the

trees

elms
secure.

the
in

homestead

in, conspicuous

yet
very

short, in England then,

much

he

is in

Norway
know
a

now,

canny

or

uncanny

bird, who

might

little too

much

of

CHANGE

OF

CHARACTER

287

the his

privatehistoryand
but
to

prospects
their

of the farmer

and

family, their births,


still,on
be

marriages, and
a

their
to

deaths,

the

whole,

friend
never

be be

respected,
molested,
or

entertained,

and

to

molested

only

at

the farmer's

personal

peril.
Now but still, all that is yet
ear

is the

changed.
most

He

is

always cheery
wary of

suspicious and
open,

birds, eye and


so

always
of

ready

to

detect, not
as

much

the
of his

presence

his

lurking prey,
gun and

the

presence

trap trade all


"

and of

lurkingfoe. The poison and the other


gamekeeper
"
"

the

pole-

gruesome
driven

stock-in-

the

have
as

him

off from call all

well-preserved
a

or,

would

rather
from

them, from
"ill
in

natural-history point of view,


"

destroyed"
every is
"
"

estates:

from

all estates,
is
not

that game,

is,
or

which

largeranimal
preserved
name

which

which
"

not
a

for

hunting,
to

is

dubbed
for

vermin
most

which
and

ought

be reserved
insects
"

the
as

noxious
as

noisome

of and

and

is,

far

possible,promptly
It
must
more

unscrupulously
that the

destroyed.

be

freely admitted
excuse

gamekeeper
magpie
than he
and

has his

for

persecutingthe
carrion noble owls
;

near

relation, the

crow,

has

for

destroying
such
as

other
and

and

birds, interesting

hawks

for,

288

THE

MAGPIE

during
has active
nor

two
or

or

three
six

months

of the
to

year,

when
is

he
an

five
and

growing

young

feed, he

skilful birds'-nester,sparing neither


nor

eggs,

callow,

fully fledged young


even

birds. three

But

that
are

his
much

misdeeds,

during
and

these

months,
two

exaggerated
in is

is clear, I think, from in other

facts

first,that
he

Norway,

countries is
no

where lack of

protected and
ducks,
loose
to

domiciled,

there

young

young
;

poultry, and secondly,because


him
or as

young

pigeons
birds

running
never seem

and

smaller

regard
as

their natural swallows


and

enemy, martins

never

mob mob and


a

him hawk

rooks
or

will

cuckoo

or

as

birds, blackstarlings,

thrushes
mob

will, in
the

their
and

ignorance
belated
and

and

presumption,
A

stranger
small

owl.

magpie,

with
not

his very catch


any

wings

uncertain
upon

could flight,

bird full-grown Charles

the
gratulates con-

wing,
the
sum

even

if he

would. that he

Waterton

himself

had
in

nests thirty-four

of
a

magpie,

in

one

year,

his

park, implying
in

when total,
some 200

all had
;

reared

their young

safety,
the
every

of

birds

and

yet

nobody

who

knows

facts will

deny

that other
in

birds also, of almost

possiblevariety,and
in his domains.

largenumbers, exceptionally pheasants,were


to

and includingpartridges

be found

HABITS

AND

FOOD

289

Observe

the

habits
if

of

the

magpie
any

closely,

through
between
you
to

glass
months

possible, during
of

of the nine

remaining
two

the

year. will

bicycle, run
enable
whole

high hedges,
the
unseen

sometimes of
a

become

guest

family,
What
of is

disporting
yonder
hard

themselves

by
at

the
in

roadside. the middle

magpie
It he
can

tugging
a

the

pasture?
as

is

huge

earth-worm,
dear

clinging as
the of him. mother The

cling for
him
from

life,to

earth, which

still protects two-thirds

magpie
him
is that

drags
other

his lair, and,

swallowing
What

piecemeal,hops something place


you
as

off in quest

of others.

magpie doing, not


in

hard Mark
to

at

the

but pecking pulling hedge-bank hard by? you


can,

the

exactly as
the the
of
or

go of

straight big
snail

it,and

will find

fragments
slime the
of

shells, still sticky with


devoured
tenants.
over

their
are

just-

Others grass,
every

brood

zagging zigto

the into

from flitting and

bush

bush,

prying
now

nook

cranny,

and

pickingup,
now a

grubs
now a

and

in abundance, caterpillars seeds and berries


or

mouse,

frog, now
The
anxious

from
more

the

hedgerow.
her

father, meanwhile,

probably,the mother,
among and

for,yet rejoicing,
in

like Diana her


numerous

nymphs,

the

presence

of
as

beautiful

progeny,

beautiful

290

THE

MAGPIE

herself,stands

sentinel ash and

on

the topmost
her
never

twig of
tail
to
a

some

neighbouring gracefully up
the breeze

tree,

lustrous
from does of

waving
side, as
butcher
or

down, it,much
a

side that of

catches
on

as

bird, perched
water
or

similar

coign
the

vantage,

of

over wagtail, scuttling

mown freshly

lawn,

among

the

stones

of the

brook. rippling
can

Weigh

in the

balance, if such
and interest he does,
any

thingsever
and

be

weighed,
of the

the
and year

beauty
the

cheeriness

of the bird,

good

during
he

three quarters
may

against
one

mischief

do, during the

remaining
number of

quarter,

by

somewhat

lessening the
are

pheasants or
the the
two

partridges which
battue, and

to

be

slaughtered at
scale
A

annual beam.
upon

say

which

will kick
word local
or

the

name

of
to

magpie

and

other
bird.

appellations given

this

sprightly
in

The in

questions
more

subject, like most natural history, is


one,

etymological
of interest

ways upon
or,

than the
as

and

its

throws investigation
of

light
"Pie,"
Latin
of

historic
to

character be
as

the

bird.
is the time
"

it used
a

spelt,"pye," early
observer
range
as

pica,
best, I

bird
was

which,
a

the
of

Ovid,

who

real the

birds

the

think, in
"

whole
to

of the

cal classipower

literature

was

believed

have

ORIGIN7

OF

NAME

291

of

mimicking anything

it

liked, imitantes

omnia

piece.
u

Pica Si

loquax
me non

certd

dominum
esse

te

voce

saluto,
avem"

videas

negabis

It

took

the

form

of

"pyot"
is
so

in

Scotland, where

the
so

which oyster-catcher, unlike

like it in the

plumage,
sea-pyot,
in Lancashire.

it in character, is still called in

"

of pyanot
"

Northumberland,
ran

of pynot

saigh," so
"I
a

the

Lancashire Lancashire
rotten

dialect, belief, in

the the

Lancashire
year

the spelling,

1775,
wur

saigh
sign
houd

two

pynots

(hong
I heard owd the
term

'um), that
my

of bad
oss

fashin, for
o'
seen

gronny
oss

say
two

leef As
was

two

Harries

pynots."
name,

for

"mag,"
as a

other
of

half

of

the

it also

given
of in

familiarity, probably
half evil the
any

endearment,
order

half
to

felt and
avert

pretended ; pretended,
consequences of the which

might
as

result the

from

expression
by
way

opposite,just
the
as

Greeks,
them the
is

of

disarming
the

Furies,

called
dubbed

the

"kindly goddesses,"
left hand,
for

or,

they

ill-omened short
comes

"well-named."

Mag
in
its

Madge
from the

or

Margaret, which,
Latin

turn,

margarita,

pearl.
was

The

original form

of

the

magpie's

name

292

THE

MAGPIE

magoty-pte
:

or

magot-pye,

as

we

find

in

speare Shake-

"

The And

raven

rook'd

her

in the

chimney-top,
"

magot-pyes

in dismal

discords

sung

and

in other

early writers
tattle with

"

I neither Nor

jackdaw,
house

magot-pyes

in thatched

straw."

In

fact,
much

men

called the
as we

pye daw

magot-pye,
a

or

pie, mag-

call tit
a

jack-daw,
wren a

parrot
wren,

pollparrot,
redbreast that

torn-tit, a

jenny
in

Robin

redbreast.
was,

It

should

be
Kent
no

noted

the

magpie is, or
term

called
I

the

"haggister," a
to

of

which

have

explanation
it is

offer, unless
"

indeed

it is either
"

corruption of eggister,the
as

haig-eatingest bird,
is connected
name

supposed
Old

to

be,

or

with
a

Aglaster, the
the
of the In
"

High
of

German

for

pie, mag-

"Agasse"

the French,
mean

or

the

"Gazza" chatterer." the

Italians, all of which

"the
is

Lincolnshire, the
term

magpie magpie

still called for itself.


every

a egg-lift,"

which the

speaks

The remarkable.
to

nest

of So of

is, in
out to

way,

large is it, so
the

of

proportion

the

size

bird, and,

all appearances

294

THE

MAGPIE

from housed
some

five

to

seven

in I

number,
have
nests

deeply and

securely
time,
of
to

within

it.

climbed, in my
at

sixty magpies'
and
never

every of

stage
their

their

construction and I

of

the

growth
the

inmates,

have

reached
at

terra

firma

again,
art

without

marvelling
in

high
the

constructive
comes

displayed

them.
so

At

bottom,

the bird blackwell-

layer of
;

sticks
a

kindly suggested by
some

the
of

then

layer,or
and
and
as

big lumps,
them
and
were

tempered
and in
so

mud

clay binding
mortar,

together;
sticks,
and

on,

sticks
strata,
an

mortar

alternate

though
and

it

lath

plaster laid by
succeed
round

accomplished plasterer. Then


pliant rootlets
which
in wound
can

thinner the

twigs

deep
admit

cup-like hollow,
hole the the
a

be

reached

only through a
to

side, just
and

large
the

enough
round

bird's

body,

fenced

outside

by
the whole

of perfect cheval-de-frise bird


can

sharpest thorns
The

thorn. blackcollect, chiefly

is surmounted

by
quite

dome

of

sticks, loosely not yet securelyinterlacing,


to

intended

keep

out

the
a

rain, which
secure perfectly

is

unnecessary,

but
any

serving as

protection against
may

larger bird

of

prey
to
so

which
suck

wish
or

to to

force take any

its way

in, whether
a

the

eggs,

possession of

nest

much

better

built than

MASTER

BUILDER

295

which
or

it can
or

build itself. hawk


a

It would

be

bold

raven,

crow,

who

would

attack

the

magpie

through
version

such

porthole *in
mentioned

such that

fortress. is another

It should
of

be

there
a

the
on

legend which
the
case,

puts
is much

quite
nearer

different
to

complexion
facts. for the sound

and

the
two

It is, I suspect,

the later version


"

of the

;
"

of principle

lectio potior" difficilior


two

that is, that where the


more

there

are

readings of
because of
as

passage,

difficult is the
to

original one,
while

difficulty
statement

leads

emendation,
it
"

clearness well

obviates

appliesto legends as
so runs

to

readings.

The their alone


to

birds,
nests

the
often

story, noticed robbed

that, whereas

were

by foes, the magpie


So
nest

hatched her
for

out

full broods.
in

they applied
architecture.
me

instruction said

"Certainly;"
a

the

magpie,
a

'Met stick

give
and

you

lesson.

began by taking
that is
I

laying
the

it thus."

"Well!
"

simple enough," said


another

learners. thus." "Then what


said
to
we

Then

take

stick,and
class

lay it
that
is

"Well!" another all do."

the interjected
stick
"

impatiently.
stick,"

I I

lay
who

so." take
I
am a

"But fourth

then
"

the

patient teacher
the
"

afraid, forgot
tie the whole
"

mention
"

lumps

of

clay which
the

together

lay

it upon

others, so."

But

296

THE

MAGPIE

there

is

nothing

new

in

that," exclaimed much,


we

the
if you

disciples; "we
have off." this their let

all know
newer

that tell us,


away

and
as

nothing
So the

to

may
a

well

be
to

birds

flew
never

in

huff, and
to
cover

day, they
nests,

have

learnt had
not

over

because

they
was

the
to

patience to
teach
at

the

magpie,
in

who

ready by
are

them,
the

teach

her

own

way,

beginning they
not,

beginning.
teachers and

Which

things
an

for both

learners,
the

allegory?
nest
rear

Sometimes,
and the bird

magpie's
to

will last for years, her young

return

it and

therein,
up

after that

doing
may
to
one

any be

"spring cleaning" and


needed.
a new

patching

Generally, however,
nest

she

prefers
the them old
"

build
to

every
"

year, it
so

leaving

be

occupied
seasons,

should

please
nest-

in

successive
as

by less skilful

builders, such
the much horned
to

the
or,

hobby hawk,
as

the kestrel hawk,


on

owl,
my

I and

found

one

occasion,
an

surprise
and

mortification, after
a

exceptionally long
fir
trees

difficult climb, in
and

belt

of
a

between

Stafford

Knighton,
A

by

presumptuous,
nest,
once

every-day starling.
may

magpie's
carrion
to

discovered,
a

thus, like the

crow's, prove
come.

genuine

treasure-trove

for years

Such

master-builder

is the

bird, that

she

FAVOURITE

LOCALITIES

297

sometimes
to

constructs

dummy
I but
as

nest

or

two,

near

her

proper of

one,

not,

think, with
;

any
as

definite
does
to
a

notion

occupying
a

them

rather,

or squirrel

jenny
a

wren,

either
case

something
need,
or as

fall

back
to

upon,

reserve,

in

of

likely

mislead
I
am

birds'-nester. of observation,
will
or

convinced, after fifty years

that
return,

the

magpie,
in her
true

if
own

unmolested,
person,

invariably
of her wood

either

in that

with offspring,
or

raven-like
in which

to fidelity

the the

clump
were

of

trees not

she

first

saw

light.
miles
after

There

less than

eight of
a

such

hereditary

fastnesses
from
year,

or

freeholds, within
home
at

radius

of four

my

old

Stafford, in which, year


on

I could first
to

safelycount

and finding,
nest.

watching
known
to

from
On outdo say

last, a magpie's

occasion, the
even

magpie
in for

has

been
"

the
mate

raven

his his
were

affection home

do for

not

for

his

"

but in of

and

the
it.

offspringwhich,
Towards

germ, the

housed half
of

within the

the
a

end of
a

earlier

last

century,

pair
of

magpies
stable
in

built their Scotland.

nest

within
owner

forty yards
tried
"

The

as

gamekeepers,
"

skilled in their shoot


at

murderous
bird

professionalways do
sure

to to

the the

male

first,

of

being

able

get

female, through

298

THE

MAGPIE

her best
as

at affections,

his leisure, afterwards.

But
and and

the

male

bird
out

took

good
What
a

care

of

himself

kept
killed
male found
at
a

well the

of

shot, he

grew

impatient happened?

mother-bird.

The
and

magpie,
a

within
was

day

or

two,

sought
upon wife

mate

who

to willing

take of

herself,
and

moment's

notice, the duties


she
at
once

both

mother, and
eggs.

began

to

sit upon
;

the alien
and the

She
bird
a was

shared

her

predecessor'sfate
to to

male
even

actuallyable helpmeet
to
run

induce

third, and
the
same

fourth,

perform
the
same

irksome

duties, and
sad
more

risks, with

the
a

same

result.

In

another
case

part of Scotland
occurred. of
are

still

extraordinary
the
names

The

date, the
and this

place, and gamekeeper


as

the all

landowner

the
case,

concerned,

given,

in

in

the

other, by Macgillivray.* The


to

male
no

bird less

managed
six

escape

the
female

gamekeeper, magpies
the
same

but

than

successive after the

were

shot

one sitting,

other, on
occur

eggs.

The
with such

questions which
a

to

one,

in connection but

strange
must
a

story,

are

legion;
female
at
so

questions,
could the
of time

I fear, they male year bird


at

always

remain.

How
at

find

disengaged

that
a

all,and, still more,


*

short

notice?

British

Birds, i. p.

570.

300

THE

MAGPIE

them.
to

The her

young
nest

of
near

magpie,
the

who
were

had

happened
taken and

build

shed,
The which
seem

destroyed by hearing
at
"

the

same

boy.
ravens

bereaved

parents

the young
of

cry/' and
never

which,
to

that

stage
with in

their

growth,
for
wants

be
to

satisfied be

food, consoled
some

themselves, it is
their
of the
own
"

hoped,

measure,

loss,by
"

assiduouslysupplying the
young

ravenous

birds, till they


owner.

were

removed

from

the

shed

by

their On

one

occasion,
a

an

old unlike

magpie's
to

nest
even

gave than

shelter
an

to
or

tenant

more

herself

owl

starling.
the
same

It had found
same

been in the

noticed
same

that

an

fine fox, exceptionally after


run,

cover,

time

time, gave

splendid

cross-country
same

making

the

points, reaching the


at

plantation,and, then, always disappearing


same

the

spot
scent

in could

it, beyond
track

which

neither

eyesight
he

nor

him.
last

One

day, however,
of

forgot,for
brush. hole in put
he
to

the first and


tail old
was

time, the lengthof his


out

His
an

espied hanging
nest to to

the
hard

magpie's managed
too

which, when
in

it,he
now,

had
once

climb, and
the
at

which
of

had

often, claimed
was
"

right
last."

sanctuary.

Poor it may

Reynard
be

caught
the

What,

asked, does

magpie

do

FOX

AND

MAGPIE

301

with

her

long tail,longer even,


when
when she her is

in

proportion,than
weeks
tinuously con-

Reynard's brush,
"

for sitting

except
her
"

faithful ?

husband
cannot

takes
carry

turns

with

upon

her eggs

She
cup it

it is

straight out
too

behind neither that


is

her, for the


can

of

the

nest

narrow,

she

thrust
for

through
to

the
;

opening,
moreover,

for

too

high

her

reach her
face

she the She


does of food,

always prefers to

sit with
at
a

towards notice.
as

doorway, ready to probably keeps


when she
is

escape it turned

moment's

straight up,
anxious

she

stepping gingerly,in
and
wet

search lest
one

through high
in her of

grass,

single feather
or

lovelyplumage
she
at
once

should

be soiled

out

place.
to

When her

is

buildingor
she

laying,it
off
to at

is difficult

find but

home,

slips

the first alarm


as

when

she has
of
"

begun
nest,
as

sit,it is
was

difficult
to

to

get her
in

out

the

it and

before

find

her
and

it.

Her

strength,"
does
a

she thinks, safety,


covey blows of
to

rightlythinks, as
"is
to
on

squatting Repeated
below often

of
a

partridge,
stout

sit

still."
trunk

oak

stick

the

fail

dislodge
up

her.
tree,
nest

have, many and,


on one

times, climbed occasion, have


she
went

halfway
even

the the

touched she
more

before itself,
about

off.

Is

anxious

her
is

own

life, which,

indeed,

at

this

time

of

year,

"in

302

THE

MAGPIE

jeopardy

every

hour,"

or

that fire the


at

of
one

her

young?
of make

A his

gamekeeper
gun

will sometimes up of
"

barrel

right
work
to

through
her
;

nest,

hoping
successive
out to

to

short

but,

that

height, the
be

nest,

owing
of

its and

its armour-plating," often plaster, dashes


turns

layers
shotdown
or

sticks

proof.
misleads
trunk escapes it is
as

Out

the
feet
or

bird, and
so,
as

dropping

ten perpendicularly

if shot, flurries

her the

foe, and
tree

then,

putting rapidly
and

the

of

between barrel
or

herself
unhurt.

him,

often

the
easy
to

second
to

Unfortunately,
a

poison
her.
and

trap dead

magpie
forms

as

it is
one

difficult the the


about

shoot

Her
most

body
and

of

commonest

conspicuous trophies of
so

gamekeeper's ghastly gibbet ;


that whole
many
are

it in

comes

estates

in

Dorset of

and

other
and

counties, and
woodland
and

wild

tracts

moorland
to

which

admirably
would seldom
or

suited

her

habits,

whose her

charms

be catch

enhanced indefinitely
a

by

presence,

glimpse
the
Mr

of

her

graceful movements
There chatter
compares
or

her
Nature

exquisiteplumage. quitelike
notes.

is

nothing in
the
a

magpie's
Hudson
or

clatter of short
it
to

quick
of
a a

sound

wooden dash
of
"

rattle the

to

the

bleatingof
"

goat, with
of

human
in.

voice

the

gutturalvoice

the

Negro

thrown

WORRIES

HER

ENEMIES

303

One

of

her

English
names,
two
"

names,

"magot,"
other

and

one

of

her
sound
"

French
;

"margot," fairly represent


of

the

while

her

colloquial names,
express

chatter-pie rasping the


much

and

"nan-pie,"
as

sufficiently
Harsh

the
and of

popular opinion
note

to

her

loquacity.
the

no

doubt

is,but it is suggestive
country
of
use

that

is

in delightful it has often

side.
to

Strangely enough,
most
as

proved
;

her

deadly foe, the gamekeeper


it is

for it is her

habit,
sees a

also, sometimes,
to

that

of

jay,when

she

skulking enemy,
about, and
a

chatter
till he
cat,

vehemently, to
has

follow him

worry
a

him
a

disappeared. Many
even
a

stoat,

dog,
her

sometimes

lurking
alarm.

poacher,
May
"

has

been

discovered

by
had

the
note

gamekeeper,
of
an

guided by
not

easily recognised
have
to at

Shakespeare
be he did

least what

inkling
of this

it would

difficult
not

say

of
some

observable
"

fact in Nature

have he

inkling
:

habit
"

of the

magpie

when

says

Augurs,
The

and

understood
and
man

relations
and
"

have,
rooks

By magot-pyes
secret'st

choughs
of blood
?

brought

forth

flock of
a

wood-pigeons, body
from
a

of

peewits,of starlings,
make off when and
so,

will rise in

and field,
note

they

hear

the

magpie's

of

alarm,

304

THE

MAGPIE

perhaps, escape
be

some

youthful sportsman
the of

who

may
at

creeping
The

down

hedge
a

to

have

sly shot
because in off

them.

sight

fox

"

perhaps
worst

the

magpie recognises in
of
astuteness
"

him
to

her throw
more

rival

point
her

seems

her
than

quite
ever

balance, and
She of
"

makes

her been

voluble.
want

has

sometimes
not

observed, with great


however

magnanimity, higher
"

unshared
to

by other
at
a

animals,

make is

repeated labouring

dashes his

beaten

fox, when
;

he than the

over

last

fallow her when


but

and,

more

this, she has


huntsman

sometimes,
the

by

scolding, guided
they were
still his
at

and

hounds

fault,to the spot where, exhausted,


is

he intrepid, mind die."


two

lying down
"

and
to

awaiting his
silence

final agony,
and in Are naturalists

made

up

fightin

silence there
and

kinds
many

of

magpies,
who
builds

as

some

gamekeepers
"

assert,

in
nest

England:

the

"tree-

magpie"
the in

her
who
even

high
hers

in low

trees,

and

bush-magpie"
apple
of
trees,
or

builds in and
a

in

bushes,
It is

high hedge? colouring,in


of

admitted

that, in
nest

form the and

the

shape
are

the

and

look
it is

the

eggs,

they

indistinguishable ;
maintain
a

surely impossible to
in

that
nest,
a

mere

ence differvariable

the

position of

very

THE

"BUSH"

MAGPIE

305

factor

in the

of life-history

bird, constitutes

any

distinction. specific builds her


once,
nest at

The
a

jay, for instance, generally


\
a

in

bush

but

I have

found

it, more

than
from and indeed

the top of Where


much
or

fir tree, game

or thirty forty feet

the the

ground. magpie
builds

is much

preserved
builds
to
"

persecuted,she
exists
at

if

she

all
"

close

the top

of the thickest it is, is often

fir tree, where

hardly to
of Nature
are

be In

huge though distinguishedfrom the


more

the nest,

surrounding
where
and where
at

branches.

favoured
so

districts,
disturbed,
one

the balance
guns

is

not

much

scarce,

as,

for instance, in many


tract

part,

least, of

Dorsetshire, in
in

parts
of

of

Somersetshire, and which,


as

the

broad

pasture
the

in

the

Harrow and
a

district,surrounds
separates
it from

ever-advancing London,
preserves makes its

the

beyond,
nest,
a

it is

fairlycommon
the

bird, and
at
struct con-

without

slightest attempt
to

concealment, in

hedge-row elm, beginning


many

it in March,
any

weeks the

before

it

can

be, in

degree,screened
Within the
bird last

by
few

foliage.
this
the

years,

beautiful
of

and the of

usuallyshy
the
of London

has

followed
add
so

example
to

wood-pigeons

which

much

the interest the

parks,and

venturing over
has domiciled

leagues
u

houses, intervening

itself safely in

306

THE

MAGPIE

St
on

James's
one

Park.

As

many

as

five have
say

been

seen

tree.

The
but

park-keepers
be
a

they

do

not

breed their

there

it may

hoped that, before


familiar

long,
to

fortress-nest

will be

sight even
builds

Londoners. In
nest,

Norway,
like the

the

magpie
of

sometimes

her

house-martin,
the

beneath
houses
;

the
and

broad
in
one

overhanging
built her
nest

eaves

instance, recorded
nest

by Bishop Stanley,she
a

actually ground,
"

in

gooseberry
for

bush

on

the

and

bush within
a

interwoven inextricably fortress from in


;

together
the whole, and
a

fortress
at
a

round

littledistance
a

it,she erected

palisadeof
to

thorns,
children An

zareba and

fact, probably intended


cats at
a

keep

dogs

and

distance. respectful

survival interesting

of

what,

believe,

to

have
and

been
to

once

universal

habit

among
to

magpies,
the diminution

have

died

away,

chiefly owing
may

in and and

their numbers,

still be

observed, here
that rooks for

there, in England.

It is well known in
vast

starlings congregate
purposes, is in
over

numbers,
when
flock

roosting

favoured
;

spots,

the
in the

breeding season returning, day Magpies,


from

each

separate

and huge parliament always retaining its identity, after

day,

to

its

usual
were

resorts.
never

the

nature

of

the

case,

308

THE

MAGPIE

being
there

one

of the last
a

refuges of
number
over

the

raven

in Dorset,

are

large

of its

deep

circular

pits,
an

dispersed at angle
hands
exact

intervals

surface, without
to
a

in the whole, and


narrow

tapering down
are

tively comparaof human


as

point. They
are geologists

not

the work

but

not

yet

agreed
of

to

their
is

cause.

One
to

of

them,
an

Culpepper's Bowl,
a

large enough
men,

conceal

ambuscade

thousand the wellwithin


it.

and oaks

deep enough
or

to

hide

from

view grow

grown Some

mountain-ashes

which

of these
"

pits lie concealed


all of them
are are
"

"under far from

the the

wood green-

tree

madding
and

crowd of wild
are

"

and

in their little way, still,

sanctuaries

life.

The

shelving
and

banks

of

sand

peat
often with

clothed, in
the burrows. fox his
may

summer,

with
are

bracken

which

out-tops
rabbit

head,
At often

honeycombed
of
one

the
be

bottom found

of his from

the

pits,a
after

taking
safe

siesta,
the

night-long wanderings,
and for

"view-halloo,"

with
his

his

favourite
;

prey
at

close
the often

by

and

ready
of
a a

mouth

while,
I have

bottom

neighbouring
a

pit,
the

disturbed

roe-deer,
as

truant

from

Yellowham
in

Wood,

where,

in

most

of

larger covers
;
"

Dorset, they are


alone
of

to

be found

in numbers
can

for Dorset, of

English counties,

boast

the

CULPEPPER'S

BOWL

309

exquisitelygraceful roe-deer
permanent
stunted

as

familiar

and

inhabitant. hawthorn
from every

In

one

of

the
grow

gnarled
within

or

bushes,
wind

which

the

pit, safe

that

blows, and

heavily
lavishes
"

laden, sometimes

by

the

times over-mastering ivy,some-

by the luxuriant
its
sweetness
on

honeysuckle,which
"

the air around, the


nest,

bush-magpie

often

makes the
far

her

scarcelyto

be and you

distinguished perhaps only


can

amidst

leafy tangle. Here,


as

here, as
terra

my and

experiencegoes,
look down upon below

stand of
can

on

firma,
nest

the
you
;

dome you

the all

magpie's
.but
see

immediately
it. of

into

The

surroundings
with the
in the

these

pits are
Lie

in down

perfect
half
"

harmony
buried

pitsthemselves.
or

heather,

amidst

the dwarf
with
you
streamers

gorse

which, in autumn,
tinted delicately

is festooned dodder
"

of the after
an

and

will see,

interval, the other

in magpie flitting

slow

and flight,
to

curracking merrily as
from bush
to

he
or

flies,from
upon

pit
the

pit,or
of
a

bush,

perched

top

his holly, and

tail
as

fully spread,and
it fans
or

swaying gracefully up
by the passing
below,
you may

down,

is fanned
moor

breeze.

In the
a

hollow

of the

watch

circle of herons,

gathered together from

perhaps twenty the rich valleyof

in number, the Frome

310

THE

MAGPIE

which

lies

beyond,
with

and

has

given

them the

good
of
so

for night'sfishing, waiting patiently

approach
which
so

evening, and
many
more

Duddle

in plantation, I

of

them

have
will be,

been, and, reared, safely

hope,
in

many

of them
may
see

full in their
narrower

sight.
and

You
ever

the
and bed

mallard lower
of
;

wheeling
and
ever

narrower,
nears

lower

circles,as
mate
are

he

the

heather, in which

his

is
very

on sitting

her eggs

and, best of all,if you


in
a

lucky,once
who

perhaps

month,

you of
a

may

hear, far
ravens

overhead, the sepulchralcroak


are on a

pair of
the

passing
or

visit from

sea-cliffs

to

Millicent

Clump,
bred.

Raven

Tarn, where
their
ancestors,

they, and,
have

perhaps, the long


born and

line of

been

"

Among
Without

the Romans
a

not
was

bird heard
;

Fortunes On
the

hung magician magpie's tongue."

prophecy of empires

often

And

no

sketch
to

of

the

magpie

would

be

complete

if

it failed

say

something they
to

of the the

folk-lore, of the attributes, selfare,


at

and legends, the superstitions,

contradictorythough
attached
and

often

which

have
times

themselves

the

bird,
Her

different

in different countries.

geographical range

INDIAN

FOLK-LORE

311

is
as

not

much

inferior
from of the

to

that of
Western and
over

the

raven,

stretching,
States,
of The
over

it does

United

the whole

Europe,
to

two-thirds
Hainan.

Asia,
poet said,
It

right
"the would

away
was

Formosa

or

therefore

geographicallyaccurate
scatters notes

when

he wide"

magpie
never

of

presage

do

for the

magpie,
and

pert, she

prying,pushing,
is, to be behind

bird inquisitive, acquisitive

that

anybody
raven

else in

anything ;
Noah,
"

if the
must

historyof
so

the She

begins with
the
enter

hers

do
"

also. who

was

only bird
the ark

so

runs

the

legend
about her

refused

to to

when
on

Noah

bade

her, but preferred


the
for
;

stay

gossiping
The

its roof rebuked

drowning
her
tumacy, con-

world.

patriarch
has

her
since

her self-will,
been

evil
what
omen

example
she
"

and,
a

ever

then, she
of

is,
what

bird kind
to

of of
say

mystery,
omen

suspicion,of
what

of

in any
see

particularcase,
comes

it is safer it.

not

till you In of of
one

after of the

of the

hymns

Rig Veda,
is
a

the earliest

the

Hindu
now

the magpie scriptures,


of

bird,
one

now

good,
is the

evil influence.
of

On

the
and

hand,
;

she
on

harbinger
a

consumption
has and
two

disease young
two

the

other, when
their
are

witch

deprived two
the

in princes,

sleep,of speech
sent,

it is life,
ravens,

magpies

who

like

the

312

THE

MAGPIE

messengers

of and In

Odin,
water

to

procure

the
so

"water

of

speech"
evil work.
bird of

"the

of life,"and

undo

the

Classical
and of

mythology, she
in her

is the sacred

Bacchus,

loquacityrivals
whose unlimited
the
to

that of have selfnay, in

the
been

worshippers
unloosed that

the

god,
So

tongues
is her
"

by
she

wine.

conceit

challenges
themselves the
"

nightingale
compete
with

the nine song


;

Muses

her

and

when

gossiping Pierides, Evippe, follow


so

the

nine

daughters they
are,

of Pierus
a

and

her Ovid

example,
tells
us,

as

punishment, fitting
Muses into

changed by
as

the

her

shape, and

become

many
"And In

magpies.
still their

tongues
vast

ran

on, desire

though changed
of words."

to

birds,

endless

clack, and

In infernal
now

German

folk-lore,the magpie is

bird
a

of the

regions, now
the
a

changing
of

herself into

witch,

acting
But is white
as

part
witch
is well
as never

the

traditional

broomstick,
her
bad
: a

and back.

carrying

through
black,
a
"

the

air, upon

she
as

representedas
a

wholly
"

she

as

motley
and

in fact

beneficent

well

malignant influence, and


chatter
we
"

she
lore folk"

gives warning by
is based
on

her

here

the

facts, as
the

have
or

already seen
the

of

the

prowling

of

wolf,

of

unexpected

GERMANY,
advent
an

ITALY,
"

AND

FRANCE

313

of

guest.
"we

When

the

pie chatters," says

old is

proverb,

shall have her

guests."
which
a

In

Italy,
her
comes

she
name

proverbial for
or

tittle-tattle.

Hence

gazzay word

chatterer, from
or
"

again
In in

the

gazzetta,
like

gazette,"for
secrets.

newspaper
a

which,
part
of

the

bird, reveals
where

large

France,
kill the

people

go

out,

sporting skylark,
in

dress,
and

to

thrush, the robin, and swallows, upon

the

welcome

the

their

return,
massacre

springtime, to
on

their
set

shores, by wholesale
up for the purpose,

electric wires the


to to

the

magpie
does which
and
to

is almost
not
seem

only bird, large or


wear a

small, which
Her
nest,

hunted

look.
to

manages
scarecrow

cling

somehow the

the

lopped
birds, one

poplars, which
is, in the eyes
alleviations
of
a

inhabitants

fancy

be

trees,

of the lover of
a

of

the

few

of

railway journey through


which,
man

large
make of In its

tracts

country,

if God done

made

it
to

beautiful, la belle France,


unattractive
or even

has

his best

hideous, by depriving it
its woods,
a

hedges, its bushes,


A bunch of
a

and

its birds.

Poitou, it is said that

trace

of

"pye- worship"
and
"

still survives.

of

laurel
tree

heather honour
used
"

is of
to

hung
the
warn

on

the

top

high
too,

in

pye,"
the

because
of

there,

her

chatter

people

the wolfs

approach.

Portez"

314

THE

MAGPIE

so

runs

the

saying,

"La

crfye [pancake]
I have
a

la

pie."* Throughout magpie


omen,

Scandinavia,

as

shown,
of

the

is and

universal

favourite,
member
to

bird

good
A house

all but

of

the
of

family.
every

sheaf
or

of

corn

is tied
at

the

top

outhouses
festivities

Christmas,
the
season.

that
A

she

may

share
in

in

the

of

story told

the

Standard Mr

of the 26th

of

January 1877, a"d quoted by


better

Thiselton-Dyer,shows,
else,the queer

perhaps
the
to

than

thing any-

insightand
attributes

quaint
this

revenge bird.

which A had
court

popular
insulted of the

belief

eerie

lady, then

still
a

livingnear
woman,
to

Carlstadt, in Sweden,
who
had entered

Finn

the
to

her house

ask
was

for food,

her by telling
in
a

take
"

magpie,
The

which

hanging
throw

cage,

and
at

eat

that."

Finn, after casting an

evil eye
at
once

the upon of

lady,who
her
own

had

managed
bird, took
incident

to

scorn

well-known

magical

powers

and

those

the

"magician"
The
but

it away seemed

with

her and The

disappeared. lady
*

closed. had

had

all

forgotten

what

happened.
de

Cf.

OrnithologicalMythology, by Angelo
Grimm's
Teutonic

ii. 254

sq.

iii. 215. Popular Antiquities, Lore, p. 8 i sq.

Gubernatis, 675. Brand's Mythology, Thiselton-Dyer's English Folkii.

316

THE

MAGPIE

are

few

children

who
many

have

not

heard
:

the lines which

run,

albeit with
"

variations

One
Two

for sorrow, for

mirth,
a a

Three
Four Five Six

for for for

wedding, birth,

Heaven,
de'il's own sell."

for

Hell,
for the

Seven

bad

look-out, you
of the later
"

may

say

but

some

of
:

the

variations

lines,as
fiddle,

for instance

Five

for
a

Six for
Seven

dance,

for for

England,
France," the
one

Eight put
the than
if you
storms.
a a

different
to

complexion
on

on

matter, of

and

make

bird

be,
omen.

the

whole,

good
agree look

rather
that for

of bad
see
a

All versions you

however
must

single magpie,
of

out

Wordsworth
admirer

himself, a close observer


the

and
"

great

bird, who

sings

how

the the

magpie jay
have

chatters
answer,

with

and delight,"

again,how
"

"

makes
been

while
on

the
"

magpie chatters," would


to meet

sorry

his of the
"

Excursion

with

solitary specimen

magpie.

If two

readilyrejoice auspiciousmagpies crossed my way."

I would

GOOD

OR

BAD

OMENS

317
seen

Happily, a magpie
and

is seldom

to

be

by himself,
his and of their

that, for the


for his

most

creditable

of all reasons, like


ravens

fondness

family. Magpies, they


one are as

owls, pair for life,and


young
as

fond

they

are

of

another, keeping them


even

together for
next

several
season

months, sometimes
calls them birds of
two,
are

tillthe and

breeding
new.

to

new

scenes

duties

The

parent
out
or sorrow

never,

except other.

by
If

the
you easy you

merest

accident,
a

sight of
into

each

wait
to
can

minute your

therefore,it is generally
mirth
to avert
are a

turn at

and, if not,
or

least do

something
If you

mitigate
hat
if

the

evil

consequences. you will

Dorsetshire
;

peasant,

raise respectfully

your

Devonshire, you
three

will
mutter

spit over
a

your

right shoulder
;

times, and

mystic distich
the

if

Yorkthe

shireman, you
cross

will

make reverentially
cross

sign of
;

upon

your

breast, or
will
turn

your

thumbs

while
so on

elsewhere, you
ad

three times

round, and

infinitum.
Scotch ideas
on

the

subject can
broad

hardly be
of the

better famous

expressed than
"

in

the

Scotch
Ambrosiancz

Shepherd
North.

"

in the "I've

Nodes
seen an

of Christopher the
een

expression in
ae

o* in

pyet

wi' its head

turned
no

to

side, and
for you,

though

general a shy bird,

caring

though

you

318

THE

MAGPIE

present
were

your
to

wang

(walking stick)at
it wi'
a

it,as
has

if you my
some

going

shoot

gun,

that

made o'

verra

crinkle heart-strings

up

wi' the thochts


no

indefinite

evil comin', I kent heaven.


no

frae
at

what

quarter
times
as

o' the lowerin' and


are places,

For and

pyets,
their

certain look

canny,

nebs

if

they were
There of
or

peckin'at
is, I

mort-clothes."
reason

have

to

believe, in
a

spite thing

the such

great
a
"

of sociability
as a

the

bird, such

portent

permanently solitarymagpie,
choice
seen or

solitary" by
is often
to

by

conviction.
a

One from
now

such

be

in

not valley,

mile
I
am

Bingham's Melcombe, writing;


nor

the
seen

place
him

where
so

have I

ever

frequently
he
to
one

as

I have I
am

since

began

this essay.

Does remarks

know make had of

what
about
ears

doing, and
How !
one

has

he

any

it ?
to

wishes, if he had, that


be

hear
"

But, whatever

the

cause

his

solitarylife
that the

age,

disease, disappointment, despondency,


moroseness
"

bereavement,

I feel little doubt


comes,
once

which hermit-disposition
men

and much

again,upon
in the all animals,

who

have
;

seen

and

shared

too

follies of the world when

which

comes

upon of

almost

they
the

feel the
over even

approach
this
most

death,

does, sometimes, creep


of

sociable

birds.

With

hermit's

life, this particular

SOLITARY

MAGPIE

319

magpie
less upon

seems

to

have
and

adopted something
manner.

also

of

the hermit's the

mind
move.

He
not
see

is less him do He him. He

excitable,
in

You

do

hopping
not

long

bounds

over

the
or

down.

You

hear
no

his
one

cheerful
to

"currack"
to,
no one

"margot."
"do for" friends. well poem
as

has He
must

call

to

has,
have
Like old

apparently,no
taken
a
"

relations, no
of

vow

silence
in

as

of of

celibacy.
the
see

the

Bachelor,"

the

grand
him

Dorset

poet, William
il

Barnes, you
! blinken and

may

Slinken

on

on

! thinken

on

Gloomy
Nothen but

glum,
to

dullness

come."

The

populous
you

solitude

of

Hyde
a

Park
to

is the last select for is

place which
his

would

expect
so

hermit
A
or

hermitage.
to

Yet
seen

it is.

solitary magpie
in the

generally
old fellow A

be

there
He is
a

adjoining
London

Kensington
smoke.
me

Gardens.

disreputable-looking
to

enough, probably, owing


careful

the

observer, Mr
him with

Frank

Ridley, tells
years and

that he has
seen

watched
consort

for many another

has

never

him

magpie, though
with
an

he

occasionally keeps
-

company

equally
which

carrion disreputable looking,solitary,

crow

haunts

the

park.

320

THE

MAGPIE

In the very in which and often

same

at valley, Bingham's

Melcombe

lives the
not

magpie
from

I have
"

described

above,
another be the

far

that

is solitary,"

illustration of my

heron. a solitary point,

It may

objected that breeding season,


sociable
a

the
as

heron

is,by
a

nature,

except

at

as solitary,

magpie is,by eye-shot or

nature,

and

so,

in

some

little measure, within

it is.

But

heron

is almost

always
in

ear-shot
disturb he

of his fellows.
a

If in wild-fowl

shooting,you
eel, or
cry is
a

heron

from

the ditch
a

water-meadow
an a

where

has

speared

water

vole,
a

troutling,

he rises

generallywith by
his
a

loud

of

alarm, which

will be heard in
a

fellow who

or fishing dozing,

similar

ditch,
an

quarter

of

mile

away.
a or

You few
more

will

hear

answering
will
see

cry ;
one,

and, within
but
a

moments,

you

not

pair
this

of

herons, flapping slowly and


But
or no one

majestically through
seen

mid-air.

has
mate.

ever

particular
is
or

heron

with
even

near

No

other

heron three
kith
no

to

be

found,
miles I wish

as

casual

visitor,within

four kin
"

of him. I could

He add

has, apparently, no
that
he

has
The

no

enemies, but

he

has
or

escaped them
Dewlish, which
house

hitherto.
flows

brook, the Devilish


the
bottom he very of the

through by

manor

garden
is
a

and

which
one,

generally
scantily

takes

his

stand,

meagre

THE From
a

HERON. Mr

Photograph by

Bushby.
[To face p" 320.

322

THE

MAGPIE

One it
seems

other
to

instance

can

adduce,
of

and

that, as
all. A

me,

the

most

curious for

them

male

sparrow-hawk has,
sill of blocked Edward He

thirtyyears
come

past, been
to roost
on

observed, almost
the
a

night by night,to
up

window

in the in

house the

of my

friend, Mr

Woodhouse,
comes

adjoining
dusk in light

villageof Ansty.
in the

in
soon

shortlybefore
as

evening,and
He
nor

leaves
never

as

it gets
to

the

morning.

has he

been for

known

lingerthere
years, been

by day,
seen

has
mate.

ever,

all these

with his kind


never

He

has

been

carefully protected
He is
a

by

host while
be

roosting.
yet
has occasional
too
numerous

lodger who paid


true

will

evicted, and

never

for his
to

lodgings,except
name,
on one

by

an

swoop,

his

of the all the spot. how

house
first

sparrows
to

which

haunt

What
to ;

led him select


so

adopt
a

life ; solitary
for his

he

came

strange

place
to

nightly retreat
the many
is
so
"

how

he
beset
;

has him above


so

managed
on an

escape which has


term

dangers prolong
ask
so

that

estate

strictly preserved"
to

all,how

he

managed

his birds

life
"

far
are

beyond
Can

the

usuallyassigned to
it is easier
to

these
answer.

questions
it be is
a

which that

than

to

he

has

lived

because long,chiefly he

he
cares

celibate,because, relieved, as
a

is,from

the he

of been

wife

and

annuallyrenewed, family,

has

SOLITARY

SPARROW-HAWK

323

able

to

"take
roost

things easily";
each

and

does
at

he,

on

leaving his
who
would

morning, flyup beyond


the

once,

high
foes

in air, tillhe

has

got

reach

of

the

take
a

his blood, and district where


no

then, after living, at

free quarters, in him that there

experiencehas taught
he
return,

are

such

foes,does
in

with

similar

precautions, still high


on

air, and

drop
In any

down straight
case,
to

his sanctuary
so

at
a

? nightfall

have

escaped,for
of the

long

time, the eighteen


estate,

gamekeepers
have
lives

Milton

Abbey
nay,

he

must

had
of

the

proverbialnine,
these observations for
one

twice

the

nine

the

cat. out
on

I throw
to

what

I believe may be
to

be

"hermit

birds" that
some

what
may

they
be

worth,

hoping Humphry
the
curious

able

illustrate them
Sir upon had

further.

Davy,

in

his

Salmonia,
he

remarks

connection, which
the
appearance

thought
of
a
"

he

observed,
and
a

between bad

single
For
see

magpie single
that, in
alone

anglers, in regarded as
leaves

day's sport in fishing. spring, it is always unlucky to


"

magpies
a

but

two
omen

may
"

be

always
reason

favourable and

and

the
one

is

cold

stormy
in

weather,
of

magpie
other young

the

nest

search the

food, the
or

remaining sitting upon

eggs,

the

324

THE

MAGPIE

ones

but

when
and

two

go

out

together,the
for in its Ireland

weather

is warm,

mild, and, thus, favourable


the

fishing."
is

The

history of

magpie
and

highly
has

characteristic
has been
as

of the country

inhabitants, and
She

been

accurately traced
as

by long

Yarrell.

almost

conspicuous
As
was

there

by her absence,
as

by her

presence.

ago

1360, her

absence

from

Ireland
Was

noted I

and

thought
by
the

noteworthy.
St Two centuries

she

banished,
the
snakes

wonder,

Patrick, along with


later

and

frogs?

(1578), Derrick
congratulated deplored
miscreant

while, in his
the the

Image
on

of Ireland,
continued

he

country
presence

her

absence,
a worse

of

her

counterpart,

still.

"

No

pyes Are

to

plucke
than

the

thatch

from
; to

house

breed

in Irish pyes,

grounde
the be
same

But
A

worse

burne,

thousande

maie

founde."

century

later

again, no
his

less

person

than
"

Swift

thought
that

it worth
were,
to

while
to

to

tell his

Stella

"

magpies

contrary

the

general opinion,
that One
to

indigenous
said that

Wexford,
over

and

they
Ireland

were

spreading thence they


a

the

country.
over

tradition from
to

were

carried

England by

storm.

Another, and, needless

IN

IRELAND

325

say,

much

more

popular English
Ireland

one,

was

that
* spite.

they
They

were are

imported by
very
common

the
in

out

of

now;

and

it

seems

that,
the

by
of

curious about

coincidence,
the
same

they
as

re-entered
re-appearance

country the

time

the

frogs there,
been has is

St

Patrick's

curse,

I suppose,

having
humour which
to

suspended.
not

One the

wonders presence
so

why
of
a

Irish
bird

yet caused

commonly
the
of the

represented as
of Ireland."
sum

mischievous,
among the

figure in

House

Commons,
When

many

"wrongs

the

final bill

is

presented of

due, in the
to account

imagination of
we

Irish

Patriots, from
an
"

England
"great
and many

Ireland,
"

may
a

yet

see

item
to

in the

headed,

la

Kruger,' by
and

moral

material

damage
so

wrought shillings,

the
so

magpie," so
many
a

pounds,
!

many

odd

pence
so

It is best

pity that
in

few of
Nature

the
and

poets,
full of

usuallythe sympathy
a

of interpreters

with
to

her
on

her

many of

moods,
the

have

found
on

word grace
even

say

the

beauty
on

magpie,

the

of her movements,

her

many
seem

attractive, or

estimable
noticed
*

qualities. They
her
more

only
less
"

to

have

and superficial

admirable

See

Yarrell's British
113.

Birds, 2nd

edition, The

Magpie,"

vol.

ii., p.

326

THE

MAGPIE

those characteristics, especially

which
man.

have

been
two

developed by
chief the

her

association
are

with

The
who is

exceptions

Wordsworth,
of
nature,

eminently pre-

poet he
has

the

"most

joyEnglish

bringing," as
"

been

called, "of

poets
as

and of

old

Chaucer,

equallyeminent, perhaps,
at

the poet

human

nature,

least often

in

its social calls her.


"a

aspects.

The

"joly pie"
"harsh,"
are

he

"Dinsome,"

"a

feathered
a

thief,"
the

scandal-monger,"
bestowed
upon
"

only by

few

of

epithets

her

other

poets.

impudent, presuming pye. Malicious, ignorant and sly,"

An

says

one

of the number,

pilinghis

scorn

high

upon

her;
"

Brazen
Full

magpies, fond
of insolence

of

clack,

Chattering,on Perched, and


another.
But
so

pride, the donkey's back pulled her shaggy hide,"


should
of be noticed in of

and

says

it much

not justification,

the the

epithets,as magpie
did
once

the last
see a

charge
two

brought against
Lord of had

in

the

lines,that
brood
who

Lilford

himself
nate unfortuis

whole

magpies pecking
a sore

an

donkey

back.

Pope

the

IN

POETRY

327

most

severe

of

all
"

but

he

was

thinking,it
whom he

is said,

mainly
some

of the

human
to

magpie, in
the bird.
and

discovered

resemblance
"

So A

have

seen

in black

white

prating thing, a magpie hight,


stalk ; Majestically animal, statelyworthless

That

pliesthe tongue and wags the tail, All flutter, pride,and talk." represents
the
:

James
onlooker
as

Montgomery taunting
to

superficial
educated

tame

and

magpie by saying
"

him

Magpie, thou, too, has learnt by rote to speak Words without meaning, through thy uncouth
he
allows
retort

beak."

But

the upon
I my

magpie,
his

with
:

nearly equal

justice,to
"

taunter

Words Mark

have well
"

learnt,and
masters

without

taught
the
said her.

me

meaning all they

too

knew."

A for that
sort
so

few much

words

only
I

upon

magpie
upon

as

pet

that

have

the has

raven,

in

capacity,applies to
of the sociability, for education and
"

She

the

same

same

secretiveness, the
a

same

thirst

of

certain

kind of

"

the

same

inherent

ineradicable

love
of

mischief.

Not

that, in intellect and

strength

character, she

is,

328

THE

MAGPIE the Fun

in

any

way,

equal
but

to

raven.

she

has

in

abundance,
that and

hardly humour.
rare

Conscious which

humour,

high

and

of gift

man,

interpenetrates
alone. You

colours

is, I think, possessed, everything in life,


the
raven,

in germ,
see

by

and the

the pose

raven

it in

his
every

eye,

in

of

his

head, in his
The
eye

walk, in
the the The

movement

of his

body.

of
on

magpie is, like


move, nervous,

the

wit

of

Dickens, always

excitable,glittering, scintillating.
is like the humour of it

eye
;

of the it has and


a

raven

smith Gold-

far-away look,
it

it dreams,

thinks,
The
;

"it

bodes will

bodes," it all but


many words
or even

smiles.
sentences

magpie
and
or

pick up

the talk

old

superstitionthat
tongue

she

will
a

only talk,
thin
and about
to

well, if her
silver

is slit with
a

sharp
the

sixpence, died
the thus
an

natural the realm

death had

time

that

coins
were

of

be
for

"milled," and
so

rendered

unsuitable

stupidly cruel Pliny knew


more

operation.
of the

aptitudesand capabilities
our

of

pet

magpie

than

did

forefathers.

The

magpie,
than
obtained
more

he says, parrot,
and is

is less famed

for his

talkingpowers
is
more

the

only
our

because
doors.

he
He

easily
and is vehemently

at

talks He words

more,

than clearly,
in

does

the

parrot.
the

love

(adamat)

with

he

has

330

THE

MAGPIE
most valuable, or sparkling safe a place that, if she very

contents,

select the
them find her
run

most
so

and does

hide
ever

in

them
owner

herself

again,
able
to

there
do
a so.

is little But
a

chance

of

being

give

her

the

of the

of stable-yard,

of field,
to

garden, and
utmost.

all her will


or

faculties will be

developed
and

the
all

She four-footed

alternately pet
feathered
will have

plague
of

the

inhabitants

the

homestead.

She

private hiding-places
the

everywhere, and
conceivable
If

will

"

plant"

garden
what

with

every

object,animal, vegetable, or
would

mineral.
a

they,all of them,
there would
for

only grow, gardener


in

varied
some

crop

be ! his

The losses

will have

compensation
the
be
to
ever

the
which do

strange
he will

objects, always yourself


loss
a

fresh
up
;

treasure-

trove,

turning
be
too
a

and

you,

if you

allow

much

irritated

by the
a

occasional

of

knife, of
of of

ball of

of string,

garden label,of

pair

garden scissors,will,at least,have seeing


same

the consolation
to

others

irritated

by like losses, thanks


"

the
not

rascal. incorrigible

There
in
to

is

something
the

altogether to displeasing
our

us

the misfortunes

of of

friends."

You

may

try
you

break
never

magpie
succeed.

his

thievinghabit,
he puts with
you

but
out,

will
more

The
He

more

the
on

he
one

enjoys it.

will watch,

his

head

side, every

LOVE

OF

SPORT

331

operation which
to

is

going

on,

and

will have and

thing some-

say

to

it when

he is least watched

least

wanted. I will conclude with of


an

anecdote, illustrative of
and of sport.

the
was

magpie's
a

love

mischief
were

There
out to

field wherein

clothes
were

often down

hung
into and

dry

on

posts,
sockets away,
use.

which
buried

let the

deep
were

wooden carried
not
a

in

ground,
when

and A

put

under

cover,

they

were

in
tame

gravel path
had

led round
run

and the field, observed

magpie, which repeatedlyand


in

the

of it, was from

to

walk

demurely
then
at

the

path

to

particular point
stone

the

field, conveying each

time it.

in

her seldom

and bill,

returningwithout
any
one

A for

magpie
any

continues
;

amusement
went
was on

length
that
must

of time

but

this

amusement
owner

so

long
There about

the
be He had

of curiosity

the

aroused.
or

something unusually novel


went to

piquant
that
a

it.

the
one

spot

and

found

largetoad
and

fallen into
was

of the wooden herself

sockets,
ately by delibergave which

that the

magpie
As

amusing
each
shot in the hole
a

stoning it !
a

told, the toad

little

hop

of distress

deep below,

the
an

magpie capped by
irresistible currack

big hop

of satisfaction,and

of

delightabove.
that pities, this

Pity,is it,nay

thousand

Merry

332

THE

MAGPIE

Andrew

of this

the

woods,
"

this

pretty,

restless,
with

gibbet, Flibbertiher
marked favourite

magician"
her varied

magpie,
associations,

character
of the whole

and of

the

the

Scandinavian
the

races,

tolerated

or

encouraged
should,
the
and she annual in

even

by

bird-exterminating
the
insatiable demands

French,
of

obedience

to

battue,
tracts

be

banished
of

from

so

many

large
that her
and of

picturesque
should
wear a

"merrye"
look,
and of

England,
should
owe

hunted

bare

existence,
one
"

not

to

the
best

love
and

beauty gifts
her those

nature

of

God's her

highest
and of and

to

man

but
"

only
not

to

own

sagacity
reason,

suspiciouswho
were

ness,

without

good
to

once,

who

ought
may,
one

be

still,

who,
her

one

would

fain

hope,

day,

again

be,

best

friends.

CHAPTER

IX

THE

OLD

MANOR

HOUSE

AND

ITS

SURROUNDINGS

THE

old

Manor

House of my
was

at

Bingham's
later, as
of of my

Melcombe,
old

which

is the
at

home Stafford

the

thatched
years, is

Rectory

earlier kind in

probably,
Dorset is

the
a

oldest

house which

the

Dorset.
or

county
records

is rich

in immemorial

mysterious
or

of the

past, like the Cerne

Giant,
Roman,

in

huge
Maiden
It

earth

works,
or

British, Saxon,

or

like

Castle,
is

Rawlesbury,
mediaeval

or

Badbury
some

Rings.
them
like
mere

rich

in

abbeys,

of

fragments, though
or

exquisite fragments,
still in
full
or use

Cerne

Bindon,
Wimborne mediaeval like its

others,
or

and

beauty,
It is

like
in

Sherborne

Milton.
of

rich

castles, like

Woodsford
or

Stephen's time,
so

Sherborne
situation and

again,
its

like

Corfe,

unique
it is

in

surroundings.
and the

But

rich, above

all, in

the

number

334

THE

OLD

MANOR

HOUSE

qualityof
most

its old

manor

houses.

Many,
years,

or

indeed

of these, have, in the


or disrepair,

lapse of
been

fallen into into houses, farmbuildings, out-

woful

have

turned and

disfigured by
roofed which have if it soul sprung
was

the

cheap
or

ugly
in

with up
a

slate around

corrugated iron,
them
be
an

age little
case

which,
eye with
or

in

hurry
But

to

rich, had
is
not

for

beauty.
Manor

such for

the

Cranborne with

House,
with half

instance, with
with
;

Wolfeton,

Warmwell,
and

Bloxworth,
a

Athelhampton,
nor,
case

perhaps
this Melcombe.

dozen
more,

others
is it the

what with
For
more

concerns

chapter

Bingham's
than
to
one

six centuries, Bingham's Melcombe the Binghams, who, family,

has few

belonged

with
in it.

intermissions, have

continuously resided
additions
fair from with first time
to

It has, indeed, received but each

time,
went

has

been with

in

keeping
Its

what

before go

it and

the

whole.

beginnings
be

back, it is believed, to the reign of the first and


of the time in

noblest

Edwards,
of

and Edward of

what

it had

grown

to

by

the

King
time
VII.

VI., that
his
remote

it is, substantially

the

descendant,
it is oldbe ing brood-

King
world.
over

Edward

Everything
of centuries
seems

about
to

The it.

peace

They

have

passed

over

it, with

their

THE

PEACE

OF

CENTURIES

335

myriad changes
ebb all and

and

chances, with
the racket and and

their ceaseless
the turmoil of

flow, with

their

half-realised
"

hopes
almost

fears, leaving it
say, of
to

unchanged
Thus,
Oxford like and

one

would
most

unchangeable.
our

the

venerable
it
seems

collegesat
the
"

Cambridge,
bounds,
not

typify not
progress, but

leaps and
what
"

the

feverish
at

is

more

attractive, and

least

able equally valu-

the
of

quiet continuity of English


It is eleven
"
"

country

life

and

English history.
"

miles,

as

the

saying is, from


from
or

anywhere
of
any

eleven
town,

miles, that is, Dorchester,


and from Few say
as

the

bustle
or

market

Blandford,
intermittent

Sturminster

Newton,

the

rush
at

of

any

railway station. day,


as can

places in England,
little
"

the

present

or

as

much

"

for

themselves
never

that.
never

The
bably pro-

shriek

of

the locomotive

has

been,

will be, heard Let


me

in its

endeavour,

sleepy hollow. in this chapter, first, to


House itself and its

describe, in outline, the

Manor
to

surroundings ;
animals, and
traditions, and
minded birds I

and the the

then

say

something manly
and

of its wild of

of

character, the mode


beliefs inhabit of the

the life,

and

simpleIts

people who
reserve

the

neighbourhood.

for

separate

concluding

chapter.

336

THE

OLD

MANOR

HOUSE

The
narrow

house

stands
a

at

the of

end what

of

long

and

valley, on
"

bed

geologists, I
remarked
"

believe, call
his

green

sand."
to

Voltaire
name

that
Roman

only objection

the
was

Holy
as

Empire," appliedas
of
"

it

in his

day, and
"

it had House
nor

been, for centuries, to the possessionsof the

Hapsburg,
Roman,"
nor

was
"

that

it

was
"

neither
;

Holy"

an

Empire
bed of

to the and, certainly,

ordinary
be

eye,

the

green
to

sand

on

which
to

Bingham's
neither

Melcombe
green
nor

is said sand.

stand, appears
is surrounded

It

by

steep chalk
"

hills which and


are

part, here and


often crowned is
most

there, into deep

coombs,"
"

by plantations
at

of beech

the

tree

which
of

home

in

the

chalk

"

of

larch, or
of

spruce

fir.

The

soft, sweet,
innumerable
which It

springy
rabbits
can

turf the

the

downs

yields to
most
to

food be

which
best

they spared

love, and
them

perhaps

by

man.

is in

richlycarpeted,in spring, with


summer

cowslips,whilst, sprinkling of
the
of minute of beds
a

and

autumn,

amidst

the

rarer

orchises, the
it is
as

bee,

the

fly, and
the
size
"

greenflowers

man,
"

spangled by myriads
a

and,
more

rule, the smaller


its

flower,
of

the

exquisite is
of

loveliness

the

deep-bluepolygalaand patches yellow

the

crowsfoot

scabious, broad light-blue dwarf and golden rod,

338

THE

OLD

MANOR

HOlTSE last embrace

Victory
churches

and

of

Nelson's
on

Shaftesits
many

bury, perched
and

its remains view


;

hill-top,with
of the its

the
to

ancient and

abbey,
of in

just

revealed

park

woods
scene,

Sherborne

Castle of

Woodbury
and

Hill, the
county

bygone times,
;

famous

fairs and Branksea

ings gatherwith

Poole

Harbour,

Island

its

heronry, Castle

Hill, Dun

Cliff,Whin
Creech

Green,
Barrow.

Culliford Tree,
The eye Dorset ranges

Charborough Tower,
from

Pentridge, the birthplaceof


Barnes,
the Dorset
its
to

the

poet, William
of birthplace

Bockhampton
almost

Hang,
Hardy,
every
true

the
and

novelist,Thomas
sweep,

embraces, within
which
has been

ample

spot
and

rendered
or

classic

by

the

tender

poetry

of the one,

by

the brilliant

novels The elms

of the other.

gateway
leads

at to

the end the

of the

avenue

of is

stately

which
stone

Manor

House,
crest,

guarded
their if in

by
not,

two
as

eagles,the Bingham
but bolt and

represented

usual, in repose,

upright,with upwards,
as

huge wings spread backwards the act to flapor fly. Michael


the noblest

Angelo pronounced splendid bronze


on

panegyric
with
but

on

the

horse the

of Marcus

Aurelius, which

stands

the

slopesof
when

Capitol at Rome, always dropping

forelegupliftedand
never

curved,
he

dropped,

THE

GATE

HOUSE
"

339

addressed
"

it in the
;

simple imperative,
the

Cammina" Melcombe their

walk"

and half

the

of Bingham's villagers
see

must

have

expected to
when, flight,
them,
their
most not

eagles take
their

long meditated they


but first

with

unconscious
own

poetry,
name,

called of

by

by

that

prominent
"When
to

and I say,

tive sugges-

feature,

"the

Wings."
be

passed," "by
the

they

may

still sometimes

heard

wings
In

this

morning."
of view

front
from for

the

main
a

and building, first

hiding it so
is often

much
taken

that, on
house

approach, it
"Gate whole.

the the

itself,is the
part
of of

House,"
With
its its

probably
strongly
one

oldest
want

the

comparative place

architectural
its

features,
solid

barred nine it

folding doors,
have
a

walls, in

feet thick, its massive


must
as

supporting
artistic it. Once

buttresses,
troublous

been

intended, in those
the
more

times,

protectionfor
was

which dwelling-house inside


seem

to

rise

behind
house
an

the
to

court

to

which
a

the

gate

leads, you
older A

have

passed, at
of

step, into

world,
of all

into

the

middle repose of time.

the

Middle
over

Ages.
you. You

sense

ineffable
account
one

steals Two

lose

small

sundials, indeed, placed


the existence there of
;

above

the

assert other, faintly

movement

somewhere,

but

it is

not

movement

340

THE

OLD

MANOR

HOUSE

and
a

one

even

of these,
sun can

placed in
it,seems
taken

spot
to

where
utter
a

hardly
silent
turbing dis-

ray

of the

reach

protest

against

note

being

of in

any

such

influence.
own

It protests,

fact, against its


which
sit of

existence.
on

The
roof
to

"swallow"

pigeons
on

drowsily
vantage

the

ridges, or
by
the
;

the

coigns
themselves

afforded usual

them

stone

work, forgetor

forego their
in

animation

they preen

and silence, the

rarelyrouse
of

themselves
too

into

flight caught

beyond
the round

sleepyprecincts. They
the

have

atmosphere

place.
court

The
sweet

house

rambles

three sides of the


is dead

with

meandering
It

There irregularity.

hardly one

straight line,one
whole.
was

rightangle,or
reserved that for in the
;

one

level in the
to
was

modern

times

make
not
a

the

discovery beauty

Parthenon
who
can

there
how
so

singlestraight jealously
reached

line

and
to

say

much

of its ideal and


so

is due

the
?
court

secret

it has

long

guarded
The

is

on

two

levels,the
weather-beaten
and

higher
stone
on a

by

two

short
to

of flights other their

steps

opposite

each

meeting
storied

common

landing,which, by
their
at

their shape, and colouring,

surroundings,recall
Hall. bricks

the

of flight

steps

Haddon grey

The
of

retainingwall

is built of the

small

the olden

time, which, in their

THE

COURT

341

interstices,give birth and


flowers and ferns
or

sustenance

to

wealth
view

of
;

which

almost

hide its

it from

the
the

tiny linaria

toad-flax, with
the

long festoons,
above

purple aubrietia,
maiden-hair.

cete^rach, the wall-rue, the


the
terrace,

Scotch

Along
from

the

steps and
which and
are

the

wall, are

large bushes
every
are

of

hydrangea,
that

sheltered
as

wind

blows,

which, laden
full months

they
the

with

blossom, during
blend

three

of

later
and

summer,

their

delicate and

pink with the


of the which is

greys

browns, the yellows


masonry.

russets

surrounding grand
whole. oriel
or

There

is
or

nothing
homelike with
1

grandiose, staring
It is

about stately,
;

the
the

simply

restful the old

and

but

projectingfrom
weather-cock

hall,
date its

its
1

loftygable,its
on

with

the

66

still visible

it, its mullioned

windows,

delicate
and

half traceries, its graceful finials,

revealed

half concealed

by Virginian creeper,
massive

and and
warm

topped deeply
Ham

its by eaglesready for their flight, chiselled Hill


as

coat

of the is
to
a

Bingham
very of Tudor

arms,

all in
in

masonry,
seems

dream

stone,

an

ideal,

it

me,

domestic many

architecture.

The

roof
stone

is

high pitched, and


most
as

gabled,
is for

with

huge
for houses.

the tiles,
or

covering,I think, fitting


thatch

Mediaeval Their

Tudor,

Jacobean
thrust
is

weight

and

outward

342

THE

OLD

MANOR

HOUSE

terrific; but
built for

the builders

of the

old

Manor

Houses

eternity or
walls
do
not

something
shrink
from

like

it, and

the

massive
burden.

their

Atlantean

On

the

interior of hall
"

the
in

house
most

I cannot

dwell

at

length.
is its olden every

The

as

old Manor

Houses,
in itself, for almost

feature distinguishing

indeed, it
answered

was

times, "the
purpose.

House,"
The

and

windows
a

above

the
but is
a

high
the later

panelling
addition

admit of

only
the
room,

subdued

light ;
with

largerwindows
to

Tudor
are

oriel,which

the
date of

aglow

light and
by

colour. the

The

of

the oriel is fixed, I think,

character

its traceries, and in said

by
of

the coloured-

glass
Mary,
Their

medallions
who
arms,
are

the
to

windows,
have
arms

Philip
the

and

visited
of

place,
"

the

royal

England

are

proudly quartered with


of

those
;

of

France, of Castile,

Aragon,
the

and
arms

of Leon

while

the lesser medallions

contain

of the

Binghams, quartered with


families,some
of

those the
of

of other

old county

which, like

Horseys King's
of

of Melcombe Bere
"

Horsey, and
ill-fated Tess, among
oak

theTurbevilles
now

the all
"

the
been

most

famous

them The

them, have chairs, and

long
table

submerged.

old

chests, and

and cabinets, the settle,

the

long dining-room

THE

HALL

343

with the

"the
manor

board"
used
to

at

the

end,

at

which

the

lord its

of

sit "above

the

salt," and
of
manners

legs

battered

by
into

the

convivialities the "other


In

long bygone
of

generations, bring
times
"

other

strong
and

relief.

the

panels of

the walls

hang
from above

curios
many

relics of every
and many

drawn description, ages


;

nations
look Laud

and

from

them,

demurely
and

down

contemporary
how some-

portraits of
or

Strafford, which,
way into

other, found
who would have

their had

the

abode

of

those the

little
For

misgiving

about

justiceof
it of

their

doom.

Bingham's
was

Melquarters headas

combe,

should the
was

be

mentioned,

the

Parliamentarians
of

in

Dorset,
It has

Corfe
even

Castle hinted

the

Royalists.

been

that from

the the

portraitswere
Bankes. of

looted

by

the

Binghams
Two

piecesof furniture, one


other co-eval with
deserve

recent

tion, introduc-

the with

the
a

oriel
word "Armada

itself and
of

Philip and
:

Mary,
Moons"

special
Table."
on

mention
"

"The
"

and
round

the

The

Moons
a

are

big
at to

lamps,
end

fixed
to

tall
a

poles,with

catch used

the

lower

fit into

stirrup. They

be carried, in
and

long bye-gone
in front of of

booted times, by postillions,


a

armed,

coach, through wild

or

uninhabited

parts

the

344

THE

OLD

MANOR

HOUSE

country,
some

guard those who, not without The following behind. were trepidation,
to

guide or

panes

are

of horn,

indication significant
are

of their
for

antiquity,and lightsin
of

there Few

arrangements
relics of the

three

each.

such
in

insecurity

the

coach

roads

past

times, it is believed,

survive. The Armada

Table

is

an

immense

oval with with

table of

Spanish chestnut, curiously inlaid


other

tulip and
a

precious woods,

and

decorated
crest
on

strange

central device,

probably
have

the

of
an

some

Spanish
of

grandee
and

or

admiral.
to

It stands

old sea-chest,
one

is said

been
wrecked

taken
on

from

the
near

Spanish
The of
stone,

galleons

the

coast

Wey mouth.
the
or

"AfflavitDeus

et

dissipantur"
narrow

"powdering-room,"
numerous

the

turret corners,
or

stairs

nooks

and

the

blocked-up
the massive
now

never-opened
of

doors
once

doorways,
the
in in

walls, some

them

external, but
to

enclosed

by

subsequent
and

additions the

building,the
the
rooms

cupboards everywhere,
break-neck the

steps

most

unexpected
and old passages,

places

Elizabethan
on

chimney
them,

pieces of
some

oak, with

figures carved
others
inch of

and strangely elongated,


so as

unmercifully
room

compressed,

to

fill

up

every

to

THE

GARDEN

345

the

and ceiling,
on

with the
dim

weird
outer

fiends
rim
"

guarding
concur

or

threatening bringing
twentieth the

all past

in

and

distant
to

into

this is
a

century.
but upon

Needless
that

add,
old
a

there

ghost ;
would

subject,as
us

Herodotus

have

said,
to

"let
say

preserve

religious
it than
too

silence." much. The

Better

too

littleabout

surroundings
On

are

in

keeping
of the beds

with

the
is the suited

building.
"

the

north

side

house well

Ladies'
a

garden," with
summer

its formal

for

blaze of
it is

flowers.

The

old

brick

wall

round
stones,

topped by heavy projecting coping


the
sun

which, in the full glare of


enable

selves, them-

large tufts
to

of the

Scotch shade-loving them. the Further

maiden-hair

nestle
"

beneath

along, a
stones,

"

Cyclopean
with
the

wall, built of
queerest

roughest angles,
nests

and
room

slopes and
for the and

makes the

in its interstices, now,

of

starling or
and

the
of

house-sparrow,
valerian

now,

for

full-grown plants fox-glove

and

wall-flower, of
heaves
a

snap-dragon.
chamber

Beneath,
mound

mysterious, grave-likelooking
an

of turf, with
above
"

equally mysterious
around

deep below,
well

and

which

you

might

imagine

in the

struggling moonbeams'

misty

light," and

when

346

THE

OLD

MANOR

HOUSE

the

tawny

owl

is

hooting,
the

or

the

white

owl

shrieking in the adjacent elm


of many

trees,

that the shades


were

generationsof
again, is
the
of Vesta House

Binghams

fondly
of stone
or

hovering.
Further without
like the
an on a

circular dovecote

angle in
Manor

whole, walls, roof,


at

top,
well-

Temple
would
of

Rome,
of

such

as

no

conditioned

the been

Edwards without.

or

the

Henrys
borders between outside

have willingly

Long
walks
;

herbaceous

them, intersect
is the latter,
a

plants,with grass the kitchen garden


rhododendrons
above.

while,

green

walk, always shady and

cool, sheltered by filberts and


and is
a

below,
There There
is
a

by tall silver
"

firs and
"

sycamores
"

lovers'

seat

and
a

lovers' walk." which

lower
down

garden
in

with

littlestream,
is
a

often

comes

spate.
a

There

picturesque old
"

water

wheel, and

meadow
one

named of

Swallow

Flights,"
of
summer.

suggestive of
There
are

the

chief

joys
and

three

fish

ponds with

little islands the wild

in

them, the haunt


and

of the moorhen

duck,

there is the

plantation surrounding
and

the whole, in chestnut


and

which

beech

the

plane, the
which
is
"

the yew,
"

thrive well, and


an acre

carpeted
with
is

winter in mid;

of

it

or

more

snowdrops
covered with

while, in

the

spring, the

rest

348

THE

OLD

MANOR

HOUSE

is its yew fourteen

hedge, one
feet

of the

largest in
Henry

the

country,

high and

eighteen feet deep, taking us


of
VIII.

back, it is said, to the time


and
-

Solemn

melancholy looking enough through threeit is, during the remaining quarters of the year,
quarter,
themselves when
its young

fresh

shoots of
;

are

putting

forth, a

perfectmosaic
This outside has
green,

lightbrowns,
as

greens,

and

yellows. archway
of

but,

you

pass

through
the

the

which

been
and

cut

through
knotted
a

livingwall

sombre

glance down
and

the vista, on
branches and of life,

either side, of its each


not,

gnarled

with interlacing
which

other, without centuries,


seen

sign
the
were

have
you

for

garish light of day, looking at


visions And of
now

might fancy that


trees,

you

the

blasted

in

one

of

the

weird

Dante's
a

Inferno.
about the wild
animals of

word and

the

neighbourhood
miles of in All been

their favourite

haunts.
is
a

Three
tract

from

Bingham's Melcombe,
Melcombe
"

large
It has

woodland, called
a

Park. since
"

been,
times. have

sense,

'

'af-fo rested
"the

ever

Saxon
would

round

it
"

purlieus"
days
of

as

they
are

called

in

the

old

"

big

fields of
coverts,

rough
and

pasture

interspersedwith
with gorse,

smaller

tangled

thickets
and

of

blackthorn,
On the

and

bramble, and

broom.

south

MELCOMBE

PARK

349

side of it,and

facing
Tout,
not

Bulbarrow

to
to

the

north, rises
in

Nettlecombe

second

only
to

Bulbarrow
extent

height,and
and
near

much
its view. Park
one
"

inferior

it, in the
is
no

beauty
Melcombe say
a
"

of

There
no

house

in

or

inhabited which
was

house, I ought
built,long ago,
no one can

to

for the

house
is
so

for

gamekeeper,
to

into ruins, since falling


remote
a

be found

live in

spot.

The

woodland

is intersected

by

streamlets

which their

trickle, or

hardly

trickle, in

summer,

along
well the
best

deep-cut beds, but,


In

in winter, become

rushing torrents.
expect
forest.
of
to

the stiff clay


oaks

soil you
or

might

find There

primeval
is

other kind

giants of
;

nothing
in

of

the
and

for the

reasons,

that

the
in

life the

last
some

strugglewith century, they were


of the of

death

Napoleon, early
all

felled

to

furnish

forth the

noble

three-deckers and
even

which, under
and

guidance
were

Jervis
bounds
to
seas.

Collingwood
to

Nelson,

to to

set
secure

Napoleon's ambition,
the

and

Great

Britain natives in

undisputed

command

of the
to

The
grooves

still point with

pride quite

the

deep

the

ground, they
been

not

yet
of

obliterated

by

the

hand all-obliterating
as were

time, made

by

the great the


tract,

trunks,

being

dragged
This

off towards

dockyards.
which has left much

woodland

350

THE

OLD

MANOR

HOUSE

as

God

or

Nature

made

it, is the
birds.

home

of

wild

animals

and

of stillwilder

There,

if nowhere
crow

else in the
"

neighbourhood,the though
to

warrior few

carrion

for whom, much

he

has

friends, I
and

might
It has
are

have
and
never

say

"

and

the
may

magpie,
breed
Its in

the kestrel,

the

sparrow-hawk

safety.

been

over-preserved.
its

pheasants
have
never

all been

wild

pheasants, and
half their
of fair chance

rabbits

deprived of
and
a

of liberty,

half their liveliness,

of their life, by
Park but

wire-netting. To
Woodcocks
and

shoot
tame

at

Melcombe

is, therefore, to enjoy, not


true,
"

and

murderous,
;

sport.

love the spot


is seldom and

for it is

good
It is

boring" ground,
the huntsman's
preserve

disturbed, except
a

by

horn of foxes

the view-halloo.
even

great
most

which,

when
are

they

are

hardly pressed
leave of
so secure
a

by

the

hounds,
It

unwillingto
home,

sanctuary.
roedeer great
I

is the

too,

the
most

graceful
of

which, found
coverts

though
"

it is in
in

the
as

of

Dorset

and of

Dorset

alone,
counties
"

have

already remarked,
surest

English
may

finds its

refuge here.
"
"

You

watch

them,
the
may

three

or

four

fields outside catch

in the evening,on together, feeding, the park ; or better still, you

sight of
or

them

on

the

crest

of

Nettlecombe
out,

Tout,

of

"

Dorsetshire

Gap," standing

in

THE

BADGER

351

sharp
sky.
On

and

delicate

outline, against the

reddening
round

these

hills,too,

as

in

most

of

those

Melcombe,
all sleeping that

there the

burrows,

deep

beneath

the surface,
all the of

day, and
most

about trotting

night,
wild

last and
of

survival interesting of hear leaves


to

the

animals You may

the
never

England
see or

the him

past, the
;

badger.
seldom
and

for

he

quits
But

his

bed

of

dry

till after
it before

dark,
it is that

hardly ever
you

fails to

return

light.
he
is

have
you

the satisfaction
may
see

of

knowing
sand,

there, and
at

his chalk
his and

footprintsand
or
or

marvel

the

vast

masses

of
up from

gravel, gallery.
animals,
rats,

which
He

he throws
most

subterranean inoffensive
of

is the

harmless
or

on living

grass

the

roots
a

of trees, young

on

frogsor

varied occasionally his


stout,

by

few

rabbits.

With

short

legs,his
his skin

strong

claws, his heavy


so

elongatedbody,
is strong

which

hangs

loose

upon

it,his curiouslystriped face, his powerful jaws, he


for chiefly
defence. A

pattern of cleanliness

himself, he often allows


means so

the vixen
to

fox, who
a

is

by

no

fastidious,
and
on

appropriate
amity

portion
her

of

his catacombe and his

deposit her
apparent
of

litter there, and


with
are,

he
and

get
The

in

hers.

days

badger-baiting

happily,

352

THE

OLD

MANOR

HOUSE

gone any

by, but
amount

the of

murderous
out

gamekeeper
and
or

will take

pains to dig
it is
;
a

kill the innocent murder

creature;

and

sport

which have

is
as

annually
other may

renewed

for

particularspots
attraction the
raven.

strange and
as

mysterious an
for

for the Year

badger, by
year,

spots have
kill one, you

you
come

and, year
know
not

by

year,

another
and

will

from

where,

take

his

place.
The
stream

otter, too, is not

unknown

at
are

Melcombe.
few

The

is very
an

small, and
found
"

there
and

fish in it,
"

yet
or

otter

was

killed, alas!
close
to

year

two

ago,

at

Bramblecoombe,
heron solitary
;
at

the favourite
of footprints I write,
to

station
an

of the
are,
at

and

the

otter

the

moment

which river

be

seen

along
there the

the

bank He

of

the

in
so

the

Manor
as

House stays
with

garden.
;

is safe

enough
have
made
to

long

he

and

those
which I

who have
and and

sympathised

appeal
the maxim

throughout
sportsmen
to not to

these
act

chaptersto

landowners
of "live

upon

let live," and


all wild

and recklessly
"

to selfishly

sacrifice
to

life
of

sport," may

be

interested
in

hear

that

one

the

landowners largest
ham's

the

neighbourhood
Hambro,
swarms

of
a

Binggreat
game,

Melcombe,
and
one

Mr

Everard
estate

sportsman,

whose

with

THE

COUNTRY

FOLK

353

has, in response
order
ravens,
to

to

those

appeals,issued
"

the laconic

his
if

gamekeepers,
come

No

more

poletraps Abbey,
to

they
to

to

Milton
not

be

encouraged
except

breed

badgers

to

be It

molested,
may

inside

the
may

rabbit
see

warrens."
reason

be

hoped
of

that

he

to

extend

his list his

exemptions
as,

still further, and


some

that has

good
been

example,
the
case,

in be

measure,

already

may

widely
the
in

followed

elsewhere.

And

what

about

people?
a

They
so

are

much and

what
so

you
as

might expect
yet, from the

spot

secluded

free,

centralising, modernising,
of

ambition-moving
or

influences Dorset
a

the

Board

School

the

railway.
them.

The

dialect, rich, racy, and


extent,

to still, expressive,

great

holds

its

own

among the
same

The

parish registercontains
from
to

much
tion, genera-

family names
century
a

generation
A Manor
man

to

from about

century.
from

pretty

cottage,
is

half
at

mile

the

House,

inhabited,
years

this moment, who


was

by
born

of

seventy-three
never

of age, serious
was

in

it,has
in

had

day's
His lived

and illness, born

has
same

lived

it all his life.

father
in it

in the span

cottage
human

before
and life,

him,
died

to

the usual

of
same

in it ; and

his

the grandfather,
of
one

again,before by
one

him. thus

The

tenancy

cottage

family

354

THE

OLD

MANOR

HOUSE

covers are

well the
true

over

periodof

hundred

years.

These have
a

aristocracyof

the

and soil,

they

and in these days of unrest dislike, even praiseworthy to of a general quitting it. strong settingtownward, induced take a to A village girlis, with difficulty,

servant's

placebeyond
and if she
soon

the radius

of
"

few

miles from
is too A

Melcombe,
much
man

does, the
comes

heimweh"

for her ; she

home
an

again.
of

young

who
take
a

had

been

induced, in
the other

unguarded
side

moment,

to

"place"

London,

got

out

of the

railway carriage at
away,

Templecombe,
was

only

twenty
and

miles

thinking it
be difficulty,
too,
never soon

the

metropolis,
to

could, with
afield.

persuaded
his way
to

go

further
and

He,

found

back,
his

will, probably,

be
are

induced

leave

home homes.

again.

The

mothers

inveterate

stay-at-

"

Far

from

the

madding
never

crowd's learn

ignoble strife,
to

Their

sober

wishes

stray."
and

woman

of

quite exceptional character


other

who died, the intelligence,


age, and

day, at
life had been

an

advanced

had

lived

most

of her she

at

Bingham's
only
which twice lies in

Melcombe,
in her life to
a

boasted Melcombe

that

Horsey, a

hamlet

mile

on

one

side of her home, and

only once

356

THE

OLD

MANOR

HOUSE

great
with

leveller lends supreme


or

natural and

dignity,and
any
one, to

invests

interest
or

pathos

be

he the
is

high

low, rich

poor, who

is about

tread

This tread all alone. path which he needs must true everywhere ; but it is, I think, especially true The dignity of the poor, and of the poor of Dorset. and

importance of the dying degrees, by


all who

man

is shared, in their
to

various The
utmost

have

do

with with
how

him.

relatives often

discuss, in his presence,

the

the question of plainnessof speech,

long

he

can

"last," and
the

talk,in all too


secrets

familiar and
unseen

positive

language, of
"

of that

world,

The That Which Must

future

and

its viewless

things, winnowing than they."


such
see

undiscovered
one

mystery,
feels Death's clearer far

who read

wings

needs

To

tell the
you

sick
are

man,

under up
to

circumstances,
him,
as

when

taken

that

he

is of

looking better,
an

is often
to

regarded
and
some

something

affront

both he

himself

to

his

belongings;
access,
some

while, should
feeble that
in
no

himself, in

faint the

flicker of

hope,

when

bystanders
"he

know

hope is,remark
round

one

day, that
be

feels better those


to

himself,"there will seldom


crowd

wanting, among
a

who

his bedside, kindest

Job's

comforter

tell him,

with

the

intentions, but

in

the

SICKNESS

AND

DEATH

357

frankest
"

language, not to cherish Ah, John, it isn't they that feels


most."

any

false

hopes.
as

the most,

dies

the

Preparations for
before
a a

funeral

are

often

made

long
takes

death

happens, and
sort

the chief sufferer

keen

interest,a

of

proprietarypride,in
for the undertaker coffin. in and As

them.

He

sometimes, will,
directions
in the

send about

give
often

minute

his

own

happens
moment,

everyday life,so
solemn sublime

also

that
pass

supreme into
"

will, sometimes,
into
"

the
How
a

grotesque,
is your

the

the

ridiculous.

husband

to-day ?
death's

inquired the squire of


a

about neighbouring village

labouringman
and

who he "Oh

had

long

been
to

at

door,

whom called. much last


out

hardly
sir,"

expected

find

alive when "he


is
ever

he
so

the wife, replied


Now

better

to-day.
You
came

what

do

you

think
it.
a

he
He

did

night?
of

would

hardly

believe
ate

got

bed,

downstairs, and
and is
ever
a so

good

bit of the

funeral ham, With such

much
of

the stronger
or an

for it."

ideas,
which value ;

bit
no

furniture
in

article of

clothing

is of
a

value

itself, acquires a sentimental

valuable

enhanced thing acquiresa greatly taken


is
a

value, if it has
There the heath

part

in many

such

sad

monies. cere-

picturesque little settlement


which
owes

in

country,

its

origin to

some

358
"

THE

OLD

MANOR

HOUSE

persistent Squatters."
name

It is called after had

by the
some

queer "rude his

of

"Dick of

o' the

Banks,"

forefather
in

the

hamlet," who
in and

spent
banks

life

or erecting,

keeping
gorse the

the repair,

of

sand

covered

with
serve

heather,
of

which,
A

abouts, there-

purpose

hedges.
a

lady whom
there,

know

on intimately,

entering
for
a

cottage

expressed her
teapot
which
said

admiration

an

extra

large pewter
"

stood the

in
owner,

corner
"

cupboard.
wouldn't
more

Ah

ma'am,"
he for

part
than

with
of

anything ;
Now,
how

he've
many

a'

seen

any

them. have

funerals
"

do

you

think

he The

attended?

Seventeen

yes, seventeen."

teapot in
when
a

done questionhad, evidently, member of of

duty, not
when and

only
any
was

the

family, but
away,

inhabitant valued
Men

the

hamlet, passed

accordingly.
and
women

alike cleverness

are

often
of

racy
retorts

in

their
and
not

language.
to

The

the

repartees in Mr
be put
are

Thomas

is Hardy's dialogues, his

down

entirelyto
from
the

dramatic
are

genius.

They
and

drawn who

and life,

redolent, as

everyone

knows I have
at

the county known

of the climate feels,


at

the soil. others


own

labourers Melcombe

Stafford who

"

I know

Bingham's
such

"

could

hold

their

in any

dialogue.

labouring

RACINESS

359

man

who
to

could

not

get his wife


his breakfast into

up

in

the he

morning
went

in time

give him
out
a

before

to
at

work, walked
6 A.M.,

his

garden, one
then Vire!"

morning,
at

took his
?
"

look

round, and

shouted, "Where,

the

top
where

of

voice, "Vire,
his wife,
of wild

John,
halfone's every-

cried
a

rushing downstairs,
excitement.
"

dressed, in

state

In

chimbley
Feudal sometimes

but

the husband. mine," replied


even

ideas,
survive

in

these

democratic who
on

days,
been the

among upon is
one

labourers
an

have which
and

habitually employed
owner

estate

is resident

and

who

is loved

deserves

to

be

loved.
ago,

One

such

squire
of

there

was,

till two Mansel-

years

in this

neighbourhood, Mr
a

John
but

the Pleydell,
man

beau-ideal

country

gentleman, a simple
with

of
a

profound
written charm

scientific attainments,
a

as

child, with

keen
on

sense

of

humour,

benevolence
and
won

every

line of his countenance,


and

with

of presence One
"

of
a

manner

which
on

all hearts.
at

day,
a

after

battue which he

his

property
more

Whatcombe half

function

never

than the

enjoyed himself, and


it gave
to

that much,
"

only
the

for

pleasure
the
of

his the

friends

while

of spoils in
"

day

were

lying on
to
one

ground, remarked
the old beaters,
!
"

tone

sympathy,

of

lot of poor

things killed to-day,Ted

"

Ees,

360

THE

OLD

MANOR

HOUSE

Ted zur," replied Card


A

Aplin, in
mead
was

re-assuring tone,
vor

"an'

Aulmighty
language
for his

'em
once

gennalman's sport."
heard

gamekeeper

who
to

by
was

him

using sharply

violent rebuked
was

refractorydog,
"

profanity.
Bible

There

now,

Mr
no

Mansel,"
martal

the

reply,"I'll

tell 'e how

it is ; it is
to

use

a-talkingof
know
"

language
it,and
was

thic

there 'ull."

dog,
I do
or

for he don't
not

understand it

he
same

never

whether

this
so

gamekeeper
like him
"

another

anyhow,

he

was

far
on
"

that

he

value placeda special


"

of his

own

Bible

who

named

one

of his

dogs
real that

Moreover."
a

language" Why
" "

on

earth
"

do

you

call him
zur,

such

name

said
name

his
for

master.
a

Why,
Ain't
sores

it's a told

good
*

Bible

dog.

we
'

Moreover,

the

dog,
the

licked

his

?
a

"

Naturally,in
soil there
or

people who
who

are

so

rooted
idea

to

are

not

many

have

much

of distance range

of
"

proportion. Bulbarrow,
Divide the
"

whose
and

forms

Great

between

north the
Stour

south the
ne

Dorset, Frome,

between
is their

valleys of

and

unit, I would

almost

say,
"

their
We

plus ultra, of separation and


on

of elevation.
two
or

are

high ground,"

I remarked,

three
Mr

years

ago, when

shooting near Pleydell's ground, to one

Bulbarrow,
of

on

Manselof beaters

the

old band

SHREWDNESS

AND

SIMPLICITY

361

I have look

just mentioned.
and

"

Ees," he
the

said, "zur,

but
at

yonder,"

he

pointed to
the
feet

clump
than

of

trees

Wynn "they
world."
some

Green, just over


to

Wiltshire

border, which
Bulbarrow
in
;

happens
do

be

few

higher
the that
if

say

that that be

highestclump
there
not

the
be

faintlysuggested
in been

might

higher clumps
zur,

Asia,

in

Europe. highest
further

"Well,

I've

a'

there," he

replied,"and
the shake

they

do

all say, about

there, that
I forebore

it be
to

clump

in the world," and

his faith in its supremacy. Some


never

of

the

older

inhabitants
or seen

have,
a

even

now,

travelled the

by

train

railway. The
and baker's

postman,
carts,
are

carrier, the
chief

butcher's
media of

still the
outer

communication shrewd
native

with
sense

the makes

world.

Yet

their

them

who suspiciousof politicians


were

deal

largely in
some

promises. They
ago,
acres

caught indeed,
held the
out

years
"

by
and

the
a

promise
cow,"
and know
seen
as

to

them of the

of

three

result

proposed
National wife
out

disestablishment Church.
one
"

disendowment it be

of the

I do

true," said the

of

of

them,
The
to

"I've

'em

a-measuring
the Ordnance

of the

ground."

gentlemen of
been

Survey happened
with their

have

there, just then,


theodolites.

and mysterious flags

polesand

362

THE

OLD

MANOR

HOUSE

The

three
was

acres

were

all
But been

ready
"once

"

all

that

was

wanting

the
have
or

cow!
not

bitten, twice
the doctrines

shy." They
of "ransom,"
so

caught by
Nor

by the promise of old age pensions,


them.
can
a

often
at

dangled before
present
so,
to
an

stand, they underon

at

all events,

how

tax

foreign
can

corn,

and

increase

in the

price of bread,
A

redound
statesman
so

their ultimate has


as

advantage.
in
to
ere

prominent
if there is

recentlycomplained
"a

that
one

much

comma"

wrong

of

his for

speeches,he
it ; but
a comma

is

immediately
and
if of

called

account

misplaced has,
one,

now,

turned

the
many,

vote

of

one,

then, probably, of

Dorset the best

labourers.
of
was reasons

clergyman knowing,
some

whom

have

for the

when
years

establish Disago,

to

fore,

breaking through
in asked elections,
a

his usual
some

rule of non-interference his


to parishioners
an

of

vote

for

candidate

who
were
was

would all
so

support

institution One wife

in which
of

they
for

deeply
at

interested. but his

the

labourers

not

home;

answered
never

him,
the

that like
"

her
of

"husband

would
not?"
use

vote

for

he." he

"Why
do
known

asked

the

clergyman.
and I have

Because
"I
never

such
for
an

terrible bad
many
years,

language."

have heard

him
utter

him

364

THE

OLD

MANOR
"

HOUSE
"

influence

on

all the other

settings
in

of the and

season.

The

weather,
is
as

indeed, of Good
a

Friday
the

Easter

Day

important
as

factor

growth
"

of the

hay

crops,
"

is that of St

Swithin
Easter little

elsewhere

Rain Much

Good

Friday

or

good

grass, but

Day, good hay."

Many,
cluster,as
of the
any

indeed is

most

of

the

current

traditions,
or

natural, round
If
a

the great

feasts
in
a

fasts
on

Church.

death the
"two

happens
there the

parish

day

between and

Christmases,"
is
a

25th

December

6th
will

January,
die

belief that
;

twelve

people
not

within

year

hence,

painfuland
the his condition end

altogether disinterested
of anyone that who
seems

interest be

in

to

nearing
ago,
a

during
of

period. Three

years of

death
on

took

place in
these

the

adjoining parish days.


The

Hilton,
Rev.

one

fateful
to

vicar, the

E. and
to

Lee, happened
the sexton, the
as

have

only latelycome
drew

there

in

duty bound,
told
Lee
up

his attention he little


returns must
more

circumstance, and
next

him

what

expect
about

year.
on

Mr

thought
the he death
was

it ; but, of the

adding

at

the end

following year,
were

struck number
at

by
for

the

fact that there

exactly twelve, a
of four
or

much
so

above

the

average

five

most,

FOLK-LORE

365

small
season,

! village
are

Fruit
omen

trees,

blossoming
the

out

of

of
are

evil

for Two

family
ago,

in
an

whose

garden they
tree,

found.

years

apple
in

in the

same

parish,put
woman

forth
was

fine blossoms attached


upon it
to to

November.

A
was

who

the her

family and
friend. "I
mean

passing by,
abide
to

remarked
see

can't

'em," she

said, "for

they do
members fifth who
illness.

trouble." connections

In the of

following spring,four
family died,
had
is
a

or

the

and

was

residing in
in

the

house
"

serious
a

"Didn't

I tell 'ee so"

there
"

always
the
I know'd

grim
woman,

satisfaction
half in

the

phrase
in

said
"

wise

triumph, half
did many
mean

sorrow,

thic

apple

tree

some

harm
come,

to

'em."

wonder,

for how

years
to

to

the

beliefs in
dences, coinciin this
at

question will, owing


have twentieth
It is know and
not

these

and

similar

taken

fresh

lease of life, even


for

century.

Probably
be

fifty years
The

least.

altogetherto
the

regretted.

villagers
striking
its

nothing of
when

fallacy, post
more

hoc ergo

propter hoc,

take they naturally

note

of the few

occasions

the

supposed consequent
when
more

follows
not.

antecedent, than
fancies make and

of the many

it does

Such

the

people
them
a

selves, interestingin theminterest throw in what


a

give
around

keener

is

going

on

them.

They

shade,

366

THE

OLD

MANOR

HOUSE

perhapsmany shades, more of pathos and humour,


lives. dull, prosaic

of

romance

and
course

tion, imaginaof their

on

the

The

belief in the evil eye, and persons, the

in the in

bewitching

of cattle and

still lingers on

Bingham's
and

Melcombe

and
for

surrounding
much

villages ;

the
and is
to

remedy

it is

very

that

described
It
to

prescribedby Virgil and


procure

by
animal
never

Horace. and been

the with
"

heart

of

an

set

it, bein
"

stuck
on

pins which

have

put

rows

paper

for that would


over

invalidate

the

charm

till
or

it bristles all

with

them, like the


a

hedgehog
Then,
as

the

"fretful

porcupine,"before
and
hie

fire.

it

begins to glow
"

frizzle,
ut
cera

Limus

ut

durescit, et haec

liquescit,"

the

power

of and

the

witch
at

or

wizard

gradually
with
over.
or

diminishes,
the heat, the This
two

when,
broken

last, it bursts
and

is spell
was

the witchcraft
out,

ceremony ago,

duly
been
"

carried

only

year of

by

woman

stillliving, for the sake


"under
a a

her told
all

grandson, who
Miss

had

spell." She
who
knows is
one

Ellen

Woodhouse the

lady

has

lived

her

life among
and

people, and
of

them
of my

mately inti-

is known
on

them, and
"

chief

authorities

these

matters

all about

and it,

assured

THE

EVIL

EYE

367

her that
in
a

"the cure"

was

complete. Whooping-cough,
by putting the sufferer
the tail, and the
on a

child,is best cured


with

donkey
The
it may

the face towards


does

figure

of the Cross
name

the
to

rest.
an

given
I

animal, however
even

harmless fatal
to

be, is sometimes
year,

and prejudicial
a man

it.

Last

passed by
was

of in his

quite average garden,


a

who intelligence, who told


me
was

working
had

and

that he
a

just
so

killed innocent

slow-worm.
a

I said it
"

pity to

kill

creature.

Innocent
worm

! sir, they do
do

say

about
are

here, that
to

if

slowseven
worm

sting 'ee,you
I

sure

die within

year."
could
not

represented

to

him
if it
seven

that

the

slow-

sting him,
even

even

would, for it had


years age
to
was a

no

sting ;

and

if it for
a man

had,

good
forward slow

long
to.

time
But

of
no

his

look

it

was

all

good.
the the

Slow-worm,

poison, slow
I will conclude and its

death. this

chapter

on

Old
mention

Manor of
a

House

Surroundings,
of

with

belief which
may
some

shows
case

that the Dorset those


and
to

whatever villager, other

be
eye

the
to

in

counties, has
In

poetry
to

beauty.
I have
so

that

large

portion of
in and

Dorset

which

often the in

referred

this book, the the dwarf

heath

country,
gorse
are

where often

heather

autumn

their full

368

THE

OLD

MANOR

HOUSE

glory together
"

and
in

last year the


as

was,

should
of

think,
"

almost

unequalled
believe
up
to

splendour
the
and

both
dies

the

inhabitants it is taken

that,
heaven

blossom the

down,
of

purple
of

the

heather
and

is transformed

into gorse

the
into A

gates
the

amethyst,
ment pave-

the

yellow of

the

golden
material
"

of the of
not

Celestial
may
ear

City.

rather
so.

point
hath
into God for
we

view, you
seen,
nor

say.

Perhaps

Eye

heard, neither
to

hath

it entered

the heart hath

of

man

conceive them
most

the

things which
Him";
but

prepared
best
or

for and

that

love

all that, the have


seen

beautiful noblest
we

things
most
on

that

heard,

the

and

singleearth,
to

hearted
must to

characters the

that
"

have

known

unlettered
"

and,

perhaps, pervade

not

the

unlettered that

only

colour, inform,
and

that

idea,
lies

ideal of all
can

perfectgoodness

beauty, which

beyond
alone the
not

sight,and

hearing, and

knowledge, which
of

satisfythe yearnings
earnest

the the

soul, and
grave. It Vision

is is
;

surest

of
;

life
it is

beyond
not

the

Empyrsean

the

Beatific

but

it is, perhaps, the

least

unworthy setting which


for

the the

imagination
environment,
to

can

conceive,

the

atmosphere,
which both.
we

the

ante-chamber

from of

hope

catch

not-far-off

glimpse

CHAPTER

BIRD

LIFE

AT

BINGHAM's

MELCOMBE

THE
so

neighbourhood
favoured,
or as

of

Bingham's
either their the

Melcombe
number
some

is of

not

regards
of

its
of

birds those

the

variety
I have

species, as
in

which

described
or

previous chapters.
little
common

There
no

is little water

water-meadow,
is

bog,
at

heather.

The

nightingale
miles itself. the
away,

Melcombe
visitor
to

Park,

three

but

is

rare

Melcombe fields the


on

The
and

flint-bestrewn the
"

ploughed
backs kind
sweetest

uplands,
downs,"
do in

broad

of of

bushless which

not

afford

the the

cover

attracts,

any

number,

songsters

of distant

Africa, the blackcaps,


the
willowand
not

the
wrens,

garden warblers,
which of
to
our

the
much

white-throats,
to

add

so

the

melodies
is

the

charm

English spring.
the

There

sedge

enough
m

attract

sedge-warbler with

its
2 A

night-

370

BIRD

LIFE

AT

BINGHAJVTS

MELCOMBE

long, rather
its

rasping song,
little nest, black-headed

or

the reed-warbler within


their

with
four

exquisite
or

suspended bunting,
there

reeds,

the

frequent

companion.
On

the

other
;

hand,
no

is,

to

begin with,
can

large rookery
a

and

true

lover

of birds

have

rookery

in his

immediate

neighbourhood without
of

during finding, ample


rook in

three
for

months

the

year

at

least,

material
for

for observation, for speculation,

amusement,

delight. We
there
of
are

think

we

know

the

well, and
the murkiest
his

few

people, living even


who who
can

towns,

be
never
ever

wholly
seen

ignorant of
his nest, able
to
or

general look,
his
caw.

have who has

heard
to

But
of

been
or can

get

the
many
so

bottom

his

character,
in it ?
so

reconcile
so

the

contradictions

bird

friendlyand
fearless of
man

sociable

and

yet

litigious ;
the nently emidroll
;
so

so

during

one

quarter
of
so

of the year,

so

shy

and
;
so

so

suspicious
so

him

during
so

remainder

staid,

sober,

solemn,
and

respectable in
and
so

appearance, in and
so

yet

so

unconventional
tastes

all his

movements

aristocratic in his democratic his young,


in his
as

tendencies, and

yet

so

polity;
as

tenderly solicitous
are

for
or

long
and

they

in

the
so

nest,

perching

above

around

it, yet

callous

to

372

BIRD

LIFE

AT

BINGHAIVTS

MELCOMBE

of

our

parks
would

or

shrubberies, and
have
like

then, and

not

tillthen, say Who could


and
are
"

that you
not

fathomed
to

his character.

overhear, if only he
for the
some

understand,
the the
defence
"

the

speeches
of

prosecution
such there
nouncing pro-

for, doubtless,
the

summing-up
nation
not

judge,

and

the

of the sentence, of the rook ?

in the
to

solemn think the

Areopagus
that it
must

I incline

have but
must
a

been,
sense

the the

exigencies of
inherent

rhyme alone,
of

of

fitness

things
"

it in

have

been

their

practice of assembling
wisdom,
their

these solemn their looks

convocations, their serious


of

demeanour, "customary
the

mellow

suits of solemn

black," combined,

perhaps,with
white round
"

resemblance, presented by the queer


of skin
to at

patches
the
of

the

base tie

of and

the

bill and
or

chin,
the

the

white

bands

choker" the
"

parson

of old times, which

determined
in

important
lamentable
of

part

assigned
of
:"
"

to

the death

rook and

the funeral

tragedy
Robin

the

Cock

"

Who'll
*

be

the the

Parson

said I,' With the

Rook,
little Book
"

'

my

I'll be

Parson.'

Rooks

build

their

nests,

by preference, on

the

THE

ROOKERY

373

very

slenderest

boughs
are

of able

the
to

very

tallest elms, their

which and

they calculate
it is seldom

bear
a

weight

that
tree

they
laden
to

make with
an

mistake.
nests
"

It is

seldom

that

no

slight
of

addition, in
elm
"

themselves, down,

already top-heavy
the
"

is
or

blown
a

whatever

force

the

wind,

single nest
"

dislodged
work

so

are skilfully

they
season

constructed is
over.

till the

of is it

the
to

breeding
watch the

Most

amusing
antics

rook and

in all the
most nest

grotesque

of his follow
to

love-making,
the
progress end.
to

interestingis
from its first bird

it

to

of the

beginning

the very

The

love-sick
in song

makes

desperate efforts
his rises
a

serenade his

the
caw

object of
into love

affection, and
into bass.
a

well-known

sometimes sinks

shrill There
in

treble, sometimes
are

deeper
not
a

few

things
it

which
can

can

accomplish
the

the world, but the


of
so

not

make

rook

sing. Virgil,
author
if heard

poets' poet,
many
once,

the those

master

of

Dante,

of

single lines which,


ever

only

haunt, for
and

afterwards, the chambers


in his Mantua

of the memory

the

imagination,had,
near

early
"

youth, watched
where
or

the rooks

his native

whereabouts that

alone, in Italy,it has

been

recentlyobserved
life, on
the

they
of

still build

"

in

his

later lines

lovely Bay

Naples, recalled,in

374

BIRD

LIFE

AT

BINGHAIVTS

MELCOMBE

of

and clingingbeauty, this episode of singular


"

his

youth :
"

Soft then

the

voice of rooks
o'er

from

indrawn

throat,

Thrice, four

repeated,and full oft hidden joy On by some their high cradles, Gladdened beyond their wont, in bustling throngs it is, the leaves they riot ; so sweet Among loved nests again showers When are spent, their own
times And

tender

brood

to

visit." *

It would

be

difficult to

say
at

whether the

this

tion, descripor

of the rook by Virgil,

nesting time,
the
its

that

of

the when

rapid
into its

and

noisy flightof
from

rockcavern,

pigeon
soon
one

first disturbed
a

rocky
the

passing
motion
of

noiseless
or

skimming,
that
of

without swallow
of
some

wings,
courts

careeringround
Roman

the

and
as

colonnades he

noble,
or

sipping,

flies, from
of

the the

impluvium
wild and victim swoop

the

fish-ponds, or, again, that eagle upon


of

of the

the

swan

in mid falls from


accurate

air,
his
and

the
to

tempest
the

feathers shows
bird

which the
more

ground,
of

loving
in
more

observation

nature,

or

is

expressed
and of

characteristically exquisite language.


are

Rooks

wasteful

alike of their labour

The

translator in his

is Mr

James
Year

Warde

Fowler

charming

Rhoades, quoted by W. with the Birds, p. 150.

WASTE

OF

LABOUR

375

their materials, in
at to

building.
trees

I have

watched

them

Melcombe

flyover
half

of every

suitable variety,
visit Mount break off bird

their purpose,
a

in order

that
away,

they may
and

Pleasant,

mile

there
Back

twigs
comes,

for their

growing
stick

habitation.

the than

with
it often
cares

sometimes

longer

itself,

which
It
never

drops half-way,from
to

sheer exhaustion.

pick
with

it up,

but

goes

straightback
delicate work
it
to to

again
of

to

get another.

If, during the


the

it interlacing

fabric, he
will

drops
continue

the lie.

ground,
The
numerous

there

it lies and

always
is double

ground

beneath
to

rookery
in

strewn

with

sticks
of

enough
nests at

construct
are

the number
above.

the
rooks in

that

there

the

trees

The

Melcombe

have, of late years,

deserted,
and
more

great

part, the

statelyelms
to

of

the

avenue,

transferred

themselves
and oak

the fir

younger of the

and

vigorous ash
and

and

trees

plantation
The all
avert
can

the

two fish-ponds,

hundred

yards
be
done

away.

little

migration
but

is

danger-signalwhich
can

understand;

nothing
Indian fond of
on

to

the

danger.
There
Lawrence land
nest
are

is
was

an

proverb, quoting,
the
"

which

Lord
about

Disputes
when
a

best
a

settled

land," and
is built in

the
in

of

too

self-assertive

rook

tree

376

BIRD

LIFE

AT

BINGHAM'S

MELCOMBE

advance

of the

colony,and
on

without

its formal and

leave,
discuss

the rooks the


its
matter,

assemble
like
so

the

disputed tree,
"

many

sanitaryinspectors,in
by

all

bearings, and
it.
"

end

certificating or
don't
of do it

"

demning con-

Not
to

but guilty, be

again,"
;

seems

sometimes
not

the burden
if the for

their verdict
are

for it does reared be may

follow, even
tree

young

safely
it will

in the

licensed

that year,

that

occupied again the


have

next.

Something, perhaps,
which
for makes

happened
determine

in the interim

the

senators

that it is unfit
so

rook

tion. occupaone

Sometimes,
watched them
far

I have in

been

told

by
a

who

narrowly
from
to
an

early youth,
is marauder

solitary
as a

position

the

rookery

assigned
who
of

punishment
committed
out
once

obstinate

has
found

the
too
season

unpardonable
often.
must

fault

being penalty

Social
be
a

ostracism
severe

for
to

the
a

breeding
bird
so

eminently
at

sociable
it

as

the

rook
to

but, like

ostracism

Athens,
all
as

seems

be

carefully
;

divested

of

painful
the young
to

consequences
are

afterwards

for, as
allowed
old

soon

flown, the culpritis


with all his Unlike
to

to

return

the

community,
laws
in

rights
of
not

and

privileges unimpaired.
whose but
were

Draco

Athens,
in

said and

be

written,

ink

blood,

who

MORALS

OF

ROOKS

377

recognised but
rooks
extreme

one

penalty for
in law of

all offences

"

death,
the

recognise degrees penalty


saddest Rook"
takes of
are

guilt,and
for the
in
more

reserve

the

heinous. calendar
of

The
"Parson

anniversary
is the in
massacre

the of the

innocents,
a

which lover

place
or

May.

Is

it

in justifiable

birds,
often

not?

Self-contradictory ments argufor it.


in

advanced
too
are numerous

The the

rooks, it is

said, will become


if the

hood neighbouror,

young
too

not

killed

off;

again,
it

they

will

become Rooks

few, for they will forsake


sometimes I

altogether.
on a

do
not,

forsake

rookery
For of
or

sudden, but

think, for this


as

cause.

sentimental the old house


even,
owner

reasons,

such which

the

pulling-down
grown
up,

round

they

have
of

it

is said, the the


to

departure
of
a

the

hereditary

and

arrival

new-comer,

they
And

have

been

known

leave it in

disgust.
suggest,

it is these
true

migrations which partial


answer

perhaps, the
farmer.
as

to
more

the much-debated

question whether
to

rooks is for

do

good
I

or

harm

the

There

little doubt,
nine
upon

think, that
of the

feeding
wireif

they do,
which
are

months

out

twelve, almost
worm

exclusively
is
so

the grubs, especially


to

fatal

the crops,

they

are,

only they
service

ate moder-

in

number,

of

incalculable

to

him.

If

378

BIRD

LIFE

AT

BINGHAM'S

MELCOMBE

they
the
two

do

pull up
eat
a

some

few

ears

of

corn

while
or ripe, a

it is

growing, or
potato
at

littleof it when
a

it is
in

pilfer
or

beds,

bird-boy,put

for

week

the
and

critical time, is sufficient


a

protection for
threads
are

the
scare

one,

few

interwoven skilfully But if

will

them

from

the other.

they
in
to

allowed if there
of
;

to
were

as multiplyinordinately,
no

they

would

do

rook-shooting,they grubs,
betake
of accused
moors,

must,

default the
seasons

sufficient
or,
as

themselves

crops
on

they are
Scottish

doing
will

in

dry

the Where
you
sown

they
portion

destroy the
watch

eggs.

they are
and

moderate
one

in number, of
a

them, if

will,while

big
up

field is

being
the
to

another

is

being
that

turned

by
he

the

plough,

and

you

will observe
to

they sedulouslyfollow
which
exposes

ploughman
When litter which has been

get

the

grubs
sower

view, while they leave the


rooks

alone.
trees

take
make

to

buildingin
would
to

where

the

they
found
is

be

it objectionable,

difficult
not

dislodge them
or

by
;

any

method Peter keen he


not
a

which

destructive Candahar
and

cruel

but

Sir
a

Lumsden,
naturalist

of
as

Penjdeh fame,
tells me which

well his

as

sportsman,
in
a

that
was

accomplished only bloodless


I

object

way

in itself, but

afforded incidentally

and, striking

think, hitherto quiteunnoticed

proof

380

BIRD

LIFE

AT

BINGHAJVTS

MELCOMBE

danger.
home,
in air
rose

They
from

held

council
dense

of

war

in

the

old

it in
more

clouds, circled
or

high

round

their

callous

short-sighted
then with fell, three Within

descendants, cawed
one

their loudest, and


nests.

consent,

on

the threatened

or

four

hours, they had

destroyed
away.

them It is

completely
some
seven

and years

carried all the


since
to

sticks

this

happened,
a

and

they
in
so

have

never
a

attempted
spot.
What

refound

colony

uncanny

is

it,we

may

well

ask, which, in spite of


to
a

their intense
a locality,

hereditaryattachment particulargroup
in
a

particular
even a

of

trees,

and

tree particular

group,
a

will sometimes
moment's and

lead

whole

rookery,
any and
a

without
cause,

warning,
the
most to

without

apparent

under

strange

cruelly unnatural body,


or

circumstances,
and eggs, nay,
even

desert, in

their

nests

their callow
die

half-fledged young,
?

leaving
? But

them

to

of starvation

What

indeed

that
In

such

things do happen, on
for instance, in
a

occasion, is certain.
in the

1847,

largerookery,
was

Palace

Garden,

the

city of Norwich,
the middle the

suddenly
of

deserted
season.

by
the

its inmates, in Last


year,

the
in

breeding rookery
near

1903,

rooks

the

of

Grange,

Lord

Ashburton's

house

Alresford,

DESERTION

OF

ROOKERY

381

so

well
a

known

to

readers
nests

of and

Carlyle'sBiography,
and nestlings, have

in left,
not
to

body, family
came.

their

since

returned.
or

The

villagers predicted disaster


and disaster

the

neighbourhood,
In

promptly
fears have abandonment

this
to

year

again,
its rooks

1904,
a

their
similar

been

raised
a

fever

pitch by
at

of
two

rookery by
miles
next,
an

Candover What
is

House,

only
to

from

the
may

Grange.
well ask.

going
as a

happen
near

they

Rooks,
"

rule, build

old and houses them


down

largehouse
have,
;
as a

chiefly,
rule, old
elms
rooks

I suppose, and

because
trees

such
near

large elm
a

and

as

such

have which

way
tenant

of

coming
have

suddenly,
of

the

them
must

need

all their second


a

sight, and
notice
to

always
A
me

feel under

provisional
Blaikie,

quit.
to
a

friend, Dr

J.

Brunton

has described desertion within


A
new

the circumstances in

attendingthe
fell
ago. of

of
own

rookery

Roxburghshire,which
some

his

observation,
had
been

twenty
in
a

years

rookery
which
it

formed
so

clump
in

fir trees,
years,

increased
a

rapidly that,
and

four

numbered
far from open
one

hundred

fifty nests.
and egg
or

It

was

human
to

habitation,
molested
two
one
men

was,

therefore,more
stealers. of
On

be

by
were

bird

occasion,
nests,

in the act had

robbing

the

when

of

them, who

382

BIRD

LIFE

AT

BINGHAM1

MELCOMBE

nearly reached
cramp, He and

the

top

of the

tree,

was

attacked his

by

to falling

ground,
an

broke
or so

back.

lay where
in
any

he

fell for

hour

before
was

his

companion
home
was a

could

get

assistance, and
condition.

carried

moribund
of action

Whether effect between

there the

connection and
must
was

cause

and

accident rooks

the
be

subsequently taken
;

by the
the

uncertain

but,

next

year,

rookery
the
trees

entirelydeserted
in

by
and

them,
none

though
of

were

good health,
marked
to
me

them
same

had

been

felled,or
described

for

felling. The proceedings


which
One

friend

has

the
rooks

of
was

remarkable able
to

convocation from

of
at

he

watch
of

close

hand.
a

day,

in

the month

August,
trees
at

he noticed
of
a

number

of rooks in front of

approaching the
his house, which,
visited

small time of

rookery
year,
were

that

seldom
ten
a

by them.
in front of

One

of the rooks,

flyingabout
in It
trees,

yards

the

others, carried
inches
one

its bill up

twig, some
prominent
the

eighteen
position on
on

long.
of

took

the

deposited
then
one

twig

the the

branch

by

its side, and

the rook

business would then

of

meeting began.
seemed
to

First,
a

talk in what

be

set

speech, and
in, with
second
a

they

would
assent
or

all

suddenly

strike
a

clamorous

dissent.

Then,

rook

SOLEMN

CONVOCATION

383

would

address
or

the

meeting, whether
an

to
to

second

the
his

motion,

to

propose

amendment
or

it,and

perorationwould
manner.

be

received
most

objected to
seemed

in like it

But
was

the the the

thing interesting
to
must

about be

all

that

twig-bearer assembly.
The

the
have

president of
been
a

twig
the

badge
at

of

office, like
or

spear in

of

the

auctioneer It
was

Rome,

his

hammer
or

England.
After

like the
a

Speaker's mace
a

the
in
was

judge'sblack
finished, and,

cap,

symbol,

something
the the
"

held

reserve.

half
as

an

hour, when
seem,

business
noes

it would up

had

it," the president

picked
followed

the

twig,
rank
to

dissolved
and

the

assembly, and,
the

by

the

file,departed, in
in which
a

opposite direction
to

that

they
than
we

had

come,

another

rookery, a quarter of Verily,the rook sees far more


for

mile away.
we

give him
that he he thinks. horizon
Rook
us

credit

seeing,hears
more

more
we

than think

think that

hears, thinks
There
than
are
are more

than

things within
of in
our

his

mental

dreamt
a

philosophy.
is
so near

language,
yet
so

language
off, would,

which

to
we

and

far

probably,
as

if

only
worth

could

adequately interpret it, be


as

well

knowing

many

an

African
secrets
as

or

Polynesian dialect, and


to

might

reveal

difficult

decipher but

as

384

BIRD

LIFE

AT

BINGHAM'S

MELCOMBE

well worth

as deciphering, or

the cuneiforms
ancient

of ancient

Assyria
"

the upon

of hieroglyphics

Egypt.
bird and

Depend

it," used

to

say

Bishop Westcott,
of the

delightedand
"

observer life-long

not

least,in his latest days, in the palaceat

Bishop's
a

Auckland,
purpose in

Depend

upon

it, the
he

rook does." the


on

has

deep
was

everything
to

which
find

He

pleased especially
had of

that

rooks the the


"

which death Prince

deserted

the

palace rookery
returned
it of

Bishop

Van

Mildert, the

last of
to
some

Bishops," in 1836,
later, soon
He

fiftyyears
own

after the used


to

beginning
watch
Did

his

pate. episcomorning
I wonder,

them

every
resent,

through
in the
one

his window.
case,

they

the
loss

curtailment
of

of the

splendour of
? of Did
one,

the

see

by

the the
a

its emoluments
at

they
who,

in rejoice, besides
to

other,
student
as

the

advent

being
almost

of their

was polity,

destined
saint in

give to
an

the see,

scholar, statesman,

and

one,

unprecedented
calendar
of

influence and the

dignity?
the rook calendar
of

A would

continuous
be
as

doings of
as

I think, interesting,

the

kept by
for

old

Gilbert

White

of

the

doings

his old

tortoise, Timothy.
a

They
the

often

amuse

themselves,
in air,

good part
out

of

day, by soaringhigh
then, from
time
to

almost

of

sight,and

time, by

YEAR

WITH

THE

ROOKS

385

dropping suddenly
or as

on

each
to

other, in sheer

ment, merrirooks
a

if

shot,

the

ground.

"The

are

blown

about

the skies," says

Tennyson,
so

close

observer
are

of the habits
as

of the bird, and


not,

they often
and

but,

often

as

the the

reverse

is true,
to

they cling fast, through


ancestral
trees.

tempest,

their

"

The

the blast sweeps high, when by, Right pleased with his wild see-saw ; bleak hollow be the fierce wind's and And though It is mocked by his loud caw, caw. rook

sits

shriek,

Oh

! the merriest rook with

bird

the

woods
caw,

e'er

saw

Is the

his wild

caw."

During
the rooks

a are

good
not

half of the year,


continuous make
a

as

we

shall see,
of

tenants

their

rookery,but they always


upon from
see

point of lookingin

it,each
or

morning

and

evening, as
A few

to

their customary

they return roosting-place, just to


of
rest

how in

it is

getting on.
trees

them
;

often

linger
autumn,

the

behind

the
to

while, in
such

they
nests
as

sometimes

begin
the
a

repair

of
as

their

have

stood

summer

well, or,

they think, may


of the
in
next

be useful, as

foundation, for those


summer
or

year.

Thus, in the heightof


when

earlyautumn,

deep

silence

seems
2 B

to

have

386

BIRD

LIFE

AT

BINGHA1VTS

MELCOMBE

fallen upon

tuneful

Nature,
are

when

she

is

taking

her

siesta, and

all the woods


"

still,
alone of the

The

cawing
the

rooks song

Maintain
And

life,
elms

prate around

With
A

hoarse, rough colloquy, music in itself,


if not

Or,
The rook
even

music, joy."

is

the the
in

most

sociable

of

birds,
in

not

excepting
when
for

starling. They
company
once
"

feed

pany, com-

they
the

breed

whereas

the

lings, star-

they
purpose
"

have

paired, disperse widely


roost

they

in

company is
a

not

indeed

in their

own

rookery, but,
a

what

sign

of of

greater
rookeries
some

still,in sociability
"

vast

collection

rook

Parliament
reason,

"

in

spots

which, for
them
"

unknown

have had

attracted noticed

for what

generations. Shakespeare
did

as

he

not

notice?

"

this

of peculiarity

the

"sable

pensioner.
Makes Good Whiles

Light thickens,and the crow to the rooky wood, way things of day begin to droop and drowse night's black agents to their preys do
such
"

"

rouse."

Two

Parliaments

of

rooks"

I have
"

had
one

the

opportunity of watching,from

early times

388

BIRD

LIFE

AT

BINGHAM'S

MELCOMBE

bilities receive
At

as

hosts, remain
numerous,

quietlyat home,
their
a

ready

to

their

innumerable, visitors.

last, the latter rise in


round
and

body

from

the

field,

sweep

round,

or

rise

high

in the air with

their the

on cries,and then settle down myriad-throated reserved for them by their hosts at Warmtrees

well.

Once

and

again, as
caw

if moved

by

one

common

impulse,they
chorus, and
into

all

and

chatter

together

in

full

then, with
A

equal suddenness,

relapse
darkness but each
at
a

total silence.
to
on

stick, a leaf almost, might be

heard
comes

drop

in

the
not

rookery. Then,
in
one

as

apace,

vast

body, by
them the

flock

and by itself, of

each

followed
of

next

definite interval the


"

time, each
each led

"straightas
the

crow

flies,"and
wintered
crow

by

the

ragged-winged

many-

which

leads
way
to

clanging
"rooky

rookery home," they wing their


wood,"
the mile
a

the

deep, dark,
where

and

damp
the their before

plantationbetween
more

water-meadows away,

and

heather,

than and

they, as
have done

fathers

their
for the

fathers' fathers

them,
the

rest

night.
remain

The

Warmwell
true
own

rooks, with
of

invariable

the etiquette,
on

chivalry
trees,

hospitality, always they


have
seen

their

till

the

last of their guests


not

off

safely first,and

then, and
as

till then,

"bethinking themselves,"

Homer

THE

JACKDAW

389

would

say,
"

"of

their

own

repose," follow

in

their

wake

"And

The Their

the happy haunts, they come upon of the favoured pleasantgreenery groves, blissful resting-places." down

The
and

jackdaw
unlike like him

abounds

at

Melcombe

and

is like rook. in his

yet
is

his
in
;

constant

companion,
appearance,

the

He

his
but

general
he
is

habits, in his food

more

lissome, more
his
ments, movemore

quicker in lively,
full of mischief, of and
man.

his

more flight,

in graceful
on

when especially
more

he

is

the

ground,

domestic, and
himself
of
at

much

less afraid

He
a

makes

home
of

everywhere,
the

claims

share chickens.

the
He
a

food

pigs, the
toll on tillone above the
of

pigeons, the garden


his
crops,

levies
row

ample
of peas,

on especially

number,

suspended high
les autres,
warns

as

Haman him

it,
rest
our

pour encourager
of the
season.

off for the


trees, in

He in
our

builds

in

our

hollow

chimneys,
cathedrals.
"

castles, in

our

churches,

in

our

There
And

is

bird who,

by

his coat

by the hoarseness of his note, Might be supposed a crow A great frequenter of the Church, he finds a perch Where, bishop-like, And dormitory too."
"

390

BIRD

LIFE

AT

BINGHAJVTS

MELCOMBE

No

ruined
know

castle,

no

cathedral its

in

England,
its is to

would

itself without

colony, sometimes jackdaw


the smaller kestrel is the

huge colony,of jackdaws. English cathedral


the Cathedral
of

The

the
to

much

what
or

of Toledo in

Seville, or

to

Mosque
goyle, gar-

Cordova
crowns

Spain.
every

He

appropriatesevery
turret,
on

pinnacle or
ruminates

perches by
the topmost

chatters, and preference,


vane.

Well

does He

the
nests

poet
in

call him
every

the

"steeplecranny

loving daw."
of and

nook

and of

the

building;
and into

takes and

the

statues

Prophets
his

Apostles,saints
;

martyrs

under the

special
of
or

patronage
the
tower

penetrates
the

through

air-holes steps,

the interior, littering his has

the belfry with filling


And
more

ever-accumulatingfurniture.
to

what

lot he

say

about
peers

it all !

In his in

domestic

character, he
or even

down,

the
our

early morning, going


have

creeps

down,
to
at

into

chimneys, as though
are

he would

like

know

what

we

to

for is

breakfast, or,

least,whether
the
room.

the

housemaid

properly sweeping

Sometimes,

indeed, he
so

helps her
of
our

to

light the
were

fire.

Finding
by their
them,
I

that

many

chimneys
was

blocked
to

nests, and

that

it

so

difficult

clear the
It

unwillingly placed wire-netting over omitted. chimney-tops. One chimney was

THE

JACKDAWS

NEST

391

happened
from

to

have
to

rather

broad

down flue,reaching The

parapet
the

basement.
and

jackdaws
down

covered dis-

omission,

dropped
not

it, every

morning, enough
fire.

sticks into the the sticks did

the to light fireplace


"

Finding that
nest,

catch
a

"

on

at

the top of the broad for the


robust
"

flue,so

as

to

make

foundation with
tower

determined, they had, apparently,


as

faith build the

"

they
bottom.

will sometimes
in defiance of

do

in

to

it very

right up,

all difficulties,

from
In

of spite

all his shrewdness, the


of

jackdaw is,like
labour, and

the shows
nest
a

rook,
much
in snug
a

strangely wasteful
want tree.

his while

of

judgment Why why


not

building his
at

hollow

pileup
content

sticks

all in

hollow, and

himself wool he

with and

that tags

soft deliciously and rags


at

bed

of

cow's

hair and

of

every

which description,

always
his five

constructs
or

the top of them, and eggs, with

in which

six

grey-green
so

their black And

spots and

blotches, look
not

inviting?

why, again, has


him
into

hereditary or
he

that when
a

personal experience taught wishes to put "a round anything


to not

square
a

hole," in other words,


small

get

long
it

stick

into

opening,
try
to

he

must

take
of

by
"

its
an

middle, and

thrust

it in, in
"

front

him

impossiblefeat

of

gymnastics

but

should

hold

it

392

BIRD

LIFE

AT

BINGHAJVTS

MELCOMBE

by the end, and


slender
strewn

draw

or

coax

it in,

along with
the hole

his
is

body?
with
he

The

ground

below

the

long

sticks which, after many

vain

attempts,

drops with
never
cares

perfect nonchalance, and,


to

like the rook, One of

pick up again.
in
our

the

biggest

trees
no

avenue,

statio

notissima
of
was

corvis, in which
were

less than
to

eleven

pairs

jackdaws
blown
cow

accustomed
two
was

make ago,

their nests,

down,
who
It
many

years

crushing
Sunday

an

unlucky
beneath. contained

taking
to

her

siesta

proved
and

be

hollow

throughout, and
in every

bushels

of sticks

stage

of

decay, of hair
feathers.
More

wool, of owls'
once,

pelletsand
known in
a a

owls'

than
to

I have
a

pert and
in which

pushing jackdaw
an

occupy

hole

tree

owl

was

on already sitting

her eggs,
down

pressingher
upon in
at

looselyconstructed
of wisdom
"

nest

almost

the bird
very

dignity and
But, if not
a

impudence
truce

close

quarters.
an

of in

God,
each Since

all events,
to

armed

seemed, neutrality,
between conference
our

case,

have
tree

been

established after
a

them. which

the

big
at

and fell,
upon

they
"

held

once

its stump, evicted of

colony of jackdaws
once

eleven

pairs

of them others from

at

from
out,

their
about

ancestral the
same

abode, time, others,

them Manor

shut

the

House

chimneys,

and

THE

JACKDAW

AS

PET

393

again, by belfry
"

the

churchwardens hard have


to

from
to

the
to

church
proper

have

been

put

it

find

lodgings.
They
and
a

But

they
made
a

strong

local attachments.
in numbers,
to

do

not

appear

have

diminished

they
hole

have

shift, sometimes,
think

occupy

which

starling might
a

too

close
a

quarters,
tree,

and, sometimes,
which the Like
nest

slightdepression in
stands up

from

high
know

in

the well

light of day.
how
to

the

magpie, they
to

accommodate up
as a

themselves
from

circumstances.
and
as a

Bring
be almost
or a

jackdaw
and
to

the

nest,

he

will

amusing
He takes

mischievous his
new

magpie
once,

raven.

position at
the He
cook.

and

is

on

perfect terms
and
;

of

equalitywith
the held

cat, the

dog,
learns
one

the cocks
to

hens, and
with

easily
on

talk

and

his head

knowingly
neat
"

side, his bright bluish eyes, and feathers, he


and is

his
for

tippet

of grey

always ready

treasons,

stratagems,
"

spoils."

When The

nobody thinks of any such thing little jackdaw hops off with the ring."
of the

One
most

characteristic lovable
of

jackdaw,
never,

and I

that

the
seen

all, I have

think,
to

described, and
mate.

that is his

intense

attachment husband

his and

Though

they

go

in flocks, the

394

BIRD

LIFE

AT

BINGHAM'S

MELCOMBE

wife are, in
autumn

I believe, always and and


a

true

to

each
be

other.
seen

Even

winter, they may

a sitting,

pair here
But

pair there, on

their favourite the


is

trees. nest-

it is in

early spring,before

work
most

of

begins,that their affection building and There is no billing cooing, no


and flight

marked.
of

make-believe

side by side, hour pursuit. They sit,


a

after

hour, without
contented with

movement

and

without the

sound,

themselves
in their
own

and

with

world, and

quite absorbed
We
are

hearts'
to

happiness.
in the

fortunate

enough
not
as

have

grounds
birds

of the Manor
as

House,
a

permanent

residents, but
two

lodgersfor
surpass

good

third of the year, the British birds the


in the

which of

all other
"

brilliancy
its and

their

colouring
breast
and

kingfisher,with
greens

rich blues

chestnut

the

gorgeous tail ; and

of its back, and

wings, and
crest

the green

pecker, woodits

with

its

of

crimson and

and

black, and
and

with body resplendent

greys

whites

bright

yellowsand
The
as

greens.

littlestream

which the

I have

already described
on

winding through

has, plantation,
of sand,
covered in

one

side the

of it,a

bank steeply-shelving
some

rising to
with bank

heightof
Miniature
time
to

thirtyfeet, and place

trees.

take landslips

this

from

time, leaving behind

them

almost

perpen-

396

BIRD

LIFE

AT

BINGHAM'S

MELCOMBE

her

lovely feathers.
a

On

leaving
or

or

entering
on a

her

for hole, she perches,

minute

two,

favourite
over

branch
stream

of
;
to

tree

just outside,
there, if you

which have

hangs
been

the

and hide

fortunate her is
a

enough
and
on.

from yourselfsufficiently
you may

bright
going

piercingeyes,
She
two
"

watch

all that

will, perhaps, preen

herself for
seem

moment
no

or

though
then small

her feathers
wait

to

need

ing preen-

"

and
some

for patiently

the

ripplemade
Down

by
she

fish in

the

stream

below.

plunges,head-foremost,
as

into the water, She

glancing
she

in the sunbeam, misses

she

disappears.
within
more

hardly ever
before, with
the

her

prey,

and,

two

seconds,

reappears,

glisteningeven
of

than

the

water-drops spangling her


the

feathers, and

silver sheen

minnow,
A

struggling but
few blows
to

safely
it.

lodged,in
With

her

large bill.
below
of

upon kill
or

its head
stun

against the
a

branch her

serve

jerk

head, she
or

throws down

it down
stream,
to

her her

throat, and
next

then

is off,up

favourite
If you

perch. managed
show
to

have
to

hide

take successfully,
bird is well for you you it is
out

care

never
or sight,

yourself till the


on

of

she will be

the

look-out
and

in will
not

your
see

when lurking-place little more.

she

returns,

Always

remember

that

THE

KINGFISHER'S

BROOD

397

form

or

colour, it is sound
scares

or

movement

or

scent,

which watch.

the

animal

or

bird
a

you

would
or

wish

to

Stand

and stock-still,
up
run

hare
and

weasel

will in

sometimes

lollopright
A rabbit will will of

to

you,

look

you

the face.

up

almost

against your perched,


a

legs ;
within
wink
saaae

woodpigeon
a

and pitch,

remain Move

few

yards

your

head.

muscle,
On

with

your
a

eye,

and

they
later,

are

off.

that

bough,
you and

few

weeks

if fortune

favours

you,

will,after often listening to the cries of the

hungry
within four
and
or

fast-growingyoung
the

deep kingfishers,
side like

the earth, have five of them decked

happinessof seeing some


a

sittingin
in

row,

by side,
full

already

something
with
or a

their

plumage, waiting
ever-active

with

impatient patience,till the


a

parent
a

returns

dragon-fly or
in

water-beetle,
to

gudgeon
fish

minnow,
is

her

beak

feed them.
one reason

If the stream
"

as scantily supplied,

this the
year

is,with

which, by the
do
not

way,

is,I think,
us

why
the

they
is

stay
to
a

with go
kind and

all the
to

"

and

parent-bird has
enabled, by
several

far afield

find

them, she
to

provision

of

Nature,
back

swallow

of them,

bring

them

and half-digested,

therefore, doubly
ravenous

ready
The

for the delicate frames


or petrels
"

of her
"

young.

mutton-birds

of the Furneaux

Islands,

398

BIRD

LIFE

AT

BINGHAM'S

MELCOMBE

in Bass

Strait
an

"

which,

as

Bishop Montgomery
remain

has

shown, in
to

admirable
far away
to

in description,

the Ibis, have


away from

go

very

fish,and
come

their young

all

day

"

home,

in the

evening,
swift

laden. similarly

The
an

and is straight, flight kingfisher's

as

arrow,

down

the main
or

river.
two

She
you

announces see

her

approach, a
its sound
comes,

second

before

her, by

shrill cry, three


as

times

as repeated,

unmistakable
Down
sun,

in she often
a

it is difficult to
a

reproduce.
in the

flashinglike
in
meteor,

meteor

closelypursued,
second

amorous

play, by
her
cry.

her

mate,

re-echoing
is her

As

she which is

approaches,it
most
attracts

bright chestnut
;

breast

attention
of

after she

has

passed, it

the tail
of all and

coverts

verderer enchains
to
a

blue, the
and

most

exquisite
the eye,
a

colours, which
seems

enchants
it

almost

leave

behind the
our

trail of

It brilliancy. for
a

is

little bit of into

ported, tropics transmore

moment,

sombre

northern sometimes
I have
at

atmosphere.
rise
one

In their flirtations, they will

high

in air and "the

top the tallest


old thatched

trees.

seen

flyover
in

rectory"
one

Stafford,making for the


a

nest

which, in
indeed the
"

year,
a

it constructed

strange

place
to

deep
year

railwaycutting.

It

happened

be

very

BEAUTY

OF

KINGFISHER

399

when

the

line had
in

to

be

widened.
of

Out

flew who

the
were

bird, almost

the

face

the

navvies

unwittingly destroyingher abode. They waited for her return, caught her in the hole, and killed her.
It is
a

strange
as

instinct
he

that

enables

the close

fisher, kingto
a

keeping, running
which
from it.
a

usually does,
a

stream,

to

discover

small with

isolated

pond,

has

been There mile few


very
came

recentlystocked
was a

fish,far away

small

pond,

in my

garden

at

Harrow,
I

from small
rare

the

Kenton

brook, into which

put

gold-fish. The
in

kingfisher,
At

though
them
House

bird claim miles

those

parts, discovered the


Down

and

to

his share. from

again, two
Stour,
a

Blandford SmithMarriott
to
rear

and

the
structed con-

river

Sir

William

small

pond
It
was

in

which

young

fontinalistrout.
and upon

surrounded view till you

by
came

bushes,
close

quite
it. A
to

hidden

from
of

pair
claim

nevertheless, soon kingfishers,

appeared
the
owner

their

perquisite ; they they


find

and

am

afraid
to

preferred
did

the

fontinalis trout
the be

the The their the


as

kingfishers.How
nearest
water to

pond

which

could

making
away
on

way

from

the

Stour,
the

was

four

miles

other

side, and
as

intermediate

country

was

waterless

could

be.

400

BIRD

LIFE

AT

BINGHAIVTS

MELCOMBE

Little wonder
and its habits
so

is it,when

the bird that

is

so

beautiful
to

remarkable,
the
was

legends began
Ceyx,
Mad
sea

cluster husband

round
of widow

it from

earliest time. drowned.


into

the

Alcyone,

with
;

the grief,
and

flung herself

the

after him the

her

father, /Eolus,
it was
or

the

lord

of

winds,

changed,so
into

said, the faithful and

ill-fated pair built their


seven

halcyons
in

kingfishers,which
the
waves,

floatingnest
days,
while
"

upon

and, for twice


sat

the

depth
"

of winter,

upon in

their eggs,
"

-^Eolus

kept

the
we

winds

prison

those

halcyon days
"

which
but

talk of still.
faire
;

Blow,
From And

gently blow,
deserted the
to
are

wind,

the
as

shore

be
we

halcyon kind,
o'er."

Till

ferried

The
were

legend
soon

grew

and
to

the be

halcyons
to

themselves
waves,
"

supposed
addressed

able

still the

and

were

in

prayer
waves

accordingly.
and

May
seas,"
did
over

halcyons
prays

smooth

the

calm

the
Nor

the

Sicilian
of

poet,

Theocritus.

their

knowledge
with !

the winds, and


It

their power
to

them, end
in death

their lives.
skin
a or

clung
of
was

them

even

The

the

body
Queen

the

halcyon, if
in

hung

up

by

single thread,
the time
of

supposed,

England, from

Elizabeth

almost

HALCYON

LEGENDS

401

down bill to

to

that

of

Queen Victoria, always


whence
stands

to

turn

its

the quarter
"

the wind
the wind my ?

was

coming.
"

But

how

now

Into what

quarter peers

halcyon'sbill ? greater
this
same

says

Marlowe.

And

Marlowe's

porary, contem-

Shakespeare, alluding to
speaks
"

belief,

of

flatterers

who
turn

and Renege, affirm, With every

their

halcyon

beaks

gale

and

vary

of their

masters."

It will add,

I think,

touch

of interest

to

the

of Tennyson, to bird, in the eyes of all admirers in his Maxwell has told us learn, as Sir Herbert

Memoirs
in In

of

the

Months,

that

two

well-known

lines

Memoriam,
"

And Flits

underneath

the

barren bird of

bush

by

the sea-blue

March,"

which
bird
were

the

long puzzlednaturalists as to what British they could possibly be intended to describe, by the poet, towards pronounced authoritatively the kingfisher. refer to close of his life, to
had
and possible, many

Every
has

impossible birds

"

the
"

swallow, the wheat-ear, the blue-tit among


been

them

less or suggested as answering, more the description. to imperfectly, generally more Tennyson was, often, not too graciousin explaining
" "

402

BIRD

LIFE

AT

BINGHAIVTS

MELCOMBE

the
an

meaning
anxious

of

difficult passage
had

in

his poems

to

inquirer. He
ever

he forgotten,
it ; his

would

say,

that he had find


out

written

questionerhad
or

better
any

for himself

what
upon

it meant,

put
out,

meaning
of

that

he

liked

it.
a

It

turns

in this instance, that the


a

coupletwas
Alcman,

literal translation referred


to

fragment
the

of

which
was

the

semi-fabulous
to

halcyon,and

transferred

by
sea-

Tennyson
blue

English kingfisher. "The


opw,*
of

bird
been

of
an

spring,"a\nr6p"j"vpos em/oo?
accurate

may

have

descriptionenough
it was
;

the

halcyon,as legend-laden
and other

conceived
but
an

by
a

Alcman

classical writers
so

it is not observer

happy
as

characterisation, for

close

of birds

The Tennyson, of the English kingfisher.


can

kingfisher
"

hardly be
bush
to

said

to

be

"

sea-blue

"

it

never
an

flits
arrow

"

from

bush, but always dashes


;

like

down-stream
"bird

and

it is, in

no

special sense,
had
to

the

of March."

The

poet

find

rhyme

for his

line exquisite
"

When

rosy

plumelets tuft
*

the

larch,"

Ae Krjpv\o"s fiaiXe Srj/3d ctr/v, d\Kv6vc"rcri wOos r "ri os d/x TTOT")TCU, Kv/mro? a.X.nr6p"f"vpos vrjA-eyes IT/TO/D "XWV" etapos opvts.
"

Would,
Which

aye, flies of

would
over

that the

were

cock

halcyon,
with the hen

dancing

waves,

halcyons,

Light

the heart,

sea-dark

bird of

spring."

404

BIRD

LIFE

AT

BINGHAM'S

MELCOMBE

ing class
each and

of birds

to

watch.

Like

the who

Hamadryads
were

of old, the

guardianwood-nymphs
to
come

believed,
to

of them,
to

into

existence,

flourish,

die with

the
seems

tree particular
to

they guarded,
up

their existence Their nowhere


on

be

bound and
on

with

trees.

life is in the woodlands, else.


;

the trees, and

It is seldom

indeed
and

that

they perch
them seldom search
;

trees

but

they clingto
and

them
in

they climb

they
touch
a

burrow

they
;

nest
never

them.

They
to

the

ground

they

condescend

commonplace hedgerow.
trees
are

They
;

are

found
are

only
most

where

abundant those
trees

and
are

they
old, and

abundant,
and
as

where

knotted,

and gnarled,

and tempest-riven, and

memory-laden,
forests.

they are
And

in Savernake

Sherwood

how

admirably
of the America

is their structure

adapted
animals touch

"

as

is also of

that South

sloth, and
which
"

other seldom
a

and

birds

the

ground, except
life!
and Look
two at

by

accident

to

arboreal strictly
two

their

claws, pointing
so

forward

backward,
Look
at

and

securing a
and Look
at

firm

grip of
pecker's woodto

the

tree.

the

stiff feathers

of the

tail,pointing downwards
serve
as an

inwards,
the
narrow

additional

support.

and

shallow

breast-bone, enablingthe bird

to

press
at

its

body

close

againstthe

bole of the

tree.

Look

STRUCTURE

OF

WOODPECKER

405

the

long and
"

flexible neck,

enablingthe wryneck,
as

for
to

instance

the

snake-bird,
and and

it
a

is often

called with

"

describe, this way


Look
at

that,
strong

full circle

it.

the

long
at

and

sharp
the

bill ; and,

above which the in


a

all,look
shoots

the
to

marvellouslyretractile tongue,
more

out

than reach horn

twice the

length of
recesses

bill,so
tree.

that
It has

it
a

can

deepest
and

tip of
of

furnished

with coated time


a

little with it

feathers pointing backwards bristly


a

glutinoussecretion,
back in into

which, each mouth,


and

that

is drawn

the

it finds from

fresh
no

supply

the

glands within,
once

which

flying or
escape.

creeping insect, woodpecker


Few
in sounds

touched

by it, can
his

The
as

green

is

as

cheery in
and
more

bearing
than

he is remarkable

in his structure
are

brilliant in

his his

plumage.
"

joyous

laugh"
has the

yaffala, yaffala, spring,his yaffala,


him
one

which
names,

given

of

his

commoner

local

"yaffle."
from the
a

"

The
And

skylark in ecstasy sang chanticleer crow'd, and


have
"

cloud,
loud."

laughed yaffle

Few

birds
names

greater

variety of

local and

of

pet

rain-bird, hew-hole,

wood-knacker,

wood-spite,wood-pale, whet-isle,hufle, eccle, hecco,

406

BIRD

LIFE

AT

BINGHAJVf

MELCOMBE

and popinjayamong jar-peg, he


is
a

them

"

sure

sign that
the
"

resonant
"

too, is Delightful, general favourite. tap, tap, tap, given in rapid succession

the

woodpecker tapping
may be heard
to
a

the

hollow

beech-tree

"
"

which

considerable

distance, and
of his presence.
He is

is often

the first thingto


him
at

apprise you
work. his He
a

Watch

his

everyday
deal. of

shy

and

but solitary, you down


to
see
on a

his size and

enable brightcolouring

good
trunk

generallypitches low
and

the in

tree,

works

his

way

upward

like spirals,

the

warrior
now

soldiery round
on

Trajan's Pillar,showing
on
"

himself He

this,now
nook,

that side of the

tree.

searches
now

every

tippertapping strip off


number

"

as

he

goes, be
bark

to

dislodgeany
now

insect solitary
to
a

which

may

lurkingbeneath,
which
now,

big

bit of
at test

will

expose

any

of them
to

once,

and

perhaps, for
otherwise rather he
on

future

purposes,

the
uses

or solidity

of the tree.

He
to
secure

always
his

his tongue
;

than
nears

his the
up,

beak

prey

and

when

top of the
one
or

fee,

having examined, bigger


down
scan

his way

two

of

the

branches

which
a

point

upwards, he
would missed
"

never

goes
ease,
to to

again, as
the parts unable
to

nut-hatch

do

with he

that he has
do
so
"

appears
a

be

but

flies off, in

series of

gracefuland

regularcurves,

HABITS

OF

WOODPECKER

407

to

neighbouring
at
a

tree.

It

should the
green

be

mentioned

that,
forms birds of

one

time

of

year,
to

woodpecker

marked the

exception

the
is

rule that

climbing
him and

spurn and

ground

for he and

passionatelyfond
may
see

ants

their

eggs, and

you

searchingthe
very

pastures,

passing, with
one

long
to

awkward
of

hops,
them

from

ant-heap
or

another

made
and

swelling,but still, more


open

less solid bill ;


or

turf,
will

tearing
black

with looser

his

he

visit the much

largerand
out

heaps, made
at

by the

big
into

ants,

of fir-tree

in spines,

the firwood, full

and, plunging his long red

tongue

length
with

them, will draw

it back

again, quite black


the
of

warmly protestingants.
But, best
have of

all, watch
at

woodpecker,
the year when

if you

the chance,

the

time

she
at

is most

accessible
or

"

when, that
the home watch

is, she
is
to

is either

home,

preparing
to

that the
in

be.

was

able, last year,


beneath fifteen When
or an a

whole the

process

from

thick
from

yew-tree
the

shrubbery, just
had selected.
a

yards by
elm

chestnut
a

she
a

"sounding" by
she her choice
"

tree"

beech,

birch,
found

the
to

woodpecker
be

has the

one

which

believes
way

hollow
it

at

heart,

she round

pecks

towards often

by

geometrically
she
is

hole.

More

than

not

mis-

408

BIRD

LIFE

AT

BINGHAM'S

MELCOMBE

taken,
been

for

you

may

find

ten

holes for She

which
one

have which
no

begun,
has been

and

then
to
once

abandoned,

she

able

complete.
has
at

wastes

time, her

mistake

discovered, and

goes

where. elsetree

When,
which the
room

at to

last, she
be
rotten

penetrateda
the
core,

she
more

finds

she
so

has little

far

serious

labour and
so
a

"

for she little foot

has

for her
"

body

purchase
or

for her

bill

of

carrying
and

it down

two

at

right

angles;
without five
or

then, upon
any

the

collected
nest,

wood-dust,

making
six

further

she
a

deposits her
delicate lines
to

eggs.

They

are

of

brilliant white,

which, while
to

they are

unblown, allow

be

seen

end

of

the

through them, extending from end delicate and regular as egg, as


on

the

little lines exquisite sorrel. Let while


me

the

blossom

of

the

wood-

describe this

what briefly

saw

and

heard The

watching
flew
as

particularwoodpecker.
thick from
to

chips
tree,

fast and
bird

the

soft

chestnut

the

clung
at

the

bole, and
she The had

kept

hammering away only six feet from


grass
was

the

spot

selected,

the

ground.
with them.

surrounding
There
was ran no

soon

white

attempt

at

concealment,
one

though

path
which

close
I

by.

Indeed, for

woodpecker

have

THE
a

GREEN

WOODPECKER.

Drawing by G. E. Lodge.
[To face p.

410

BIRD

LIFE

AT

BINGHA1VTS

MELCOMBE

Romans.

Martio
et

cognomine insignes, says


I
a

Pliny of

them,
add

in

auspicatu magni.
has starling such

ought, perhaps, to
odour, disagreeable
no

that the

and

is of such

dirty habits, that


like the

fastidious
"

and

bird, self-respecting
her that
scare

woodpecker
ever

let alone
a

peaceful disposition"would
he had

enter

hole

long occupied.
it

In

vain, did
came

I try to

away
"

which after starling, starling


for itself ; and in succession
was

specting "proshot
up

not

till I had others gave

four

of them

that

the

their

burglarious attempts,
her mate,
from
to

and

the been

woodpecker,
ing sadly look-

which, together with


on,
some

had the the her

in apple-trees

adjoiningorchard,
wisps starling's
young
in

returned

her hole,pulledout
and

of

hay, laid
As I came,
up

her eggs,

hatched
to
me

safety.

day by day,
and

the

hole, the
her

bird would
crest
an

climb and
"

look

out

at

with then
no

crimson

her beautiful

eyes,
you

and
mean

fall back

with
"

All

right;

I It

see

harm
to

sort

of

expression.
the hand, the
as

was

too, interesting,

feel, with
the hole,
in

heat developed inside stifling


birds and

the young

drew
to

towards

maturity
the almost the

their

narrow

quarters,

listen
and I
me

to

extraordinary
demoniacal
tree

hissing sound,
in

concentrated

its

when intensity,
It

tapped
of what

gently
calls the

outside.

reminded

Milton

THE
"

WOODPECKER'S
"

BROOD

411

universal

hiss

which

came

from

the fallen

angels,

when into

they

found

themselves

suddenly

transformed

serpents,
"

Who

hiss for hiss forked

returned, with

forked

tongue

To

tongue."
the had bole
first

And

most

young
not

birds

of all it was to interesting see when but they were fully fledged,

yet found
the

their
nest
or

wings, clinging on
back The
into

to

the the
a

around

at climbing up it,till,

alarm,
harbour

they
of of bats
no,

slunk

it,
is
now

as

into

safe
a

refuge.
;

hole

occupied by
nut-hatch
or

colony
"

and
even

I fear that
a
"

no

mouse titto

not

starling

will

ever

deign
the

enter

it hereafter. I have

dwelt
most

at

length
I

on

some

of

birds

which Melcombe moor-hen and


nest
to

are

characteristic others
can

of

Bingham's
The

at
a

only glance.
of

is

constant

inhabitant
wild in duck

the

fishponds
builds

the
on

brook.
one

The

often

her

of the

islands

the

ponds, and
of

gives
in

her

adventurous there.

brood
Vast of

their

first lesson

navigation
from

flocks Milton

wood-pigeons,
visit the

the

beech-woods coombs
resonant

Abbey,

fields and woods


are

in winter,

while, in

summer,

the

with

their love-lorn

plaints and

412

BIRD

LIFE

AT

BINGHAM'S of

MELCOMBE

with the
most

the
most

low

crooning

the

turtle-dove The

"

one

of

soothing sounds plumage

in Nature.

jay, the
the
crest

beautiful and

restless of his

of

his

tribe, with
his

rich chestnut

body,
and his

dainty

risingand incessantly
their
bars alternating

his wing-coverts with falling, of white

blue, sometimes
harsh
into
a

awakens

the

plantationwith
season,

scream,

which, in the breeding


low love-note. be
seen on

drops
while

short,

pair of

wheat-ears

may,
two

ally, occasionor

the open
are

downs,

three

pairs of
from

stone-chats bush
or

nervously always flitting


bush,
the
on

furze

to

furze
on

the

hill above
spray, and

the house,

perching
be found
;
to

topmost

vigorously scolding
hammer the chalk
in is
to

the

intruder.

The which

yellowskirts

in every

hedge

downs

the bullfinch descends

in numbers,

mid-winter,
fruit
most

levy heavy
the
and

toll upon
;

the

buds

of the

trees

in

garden

and the

the
most to

goldfinch,
vain

gaudy
a

perhaps
ago, thanks
one

of

birds,which,
out

few

years
now,

seemed
to

be

dying
Birds'

everywhere, is
Three
of

the

Wild
commoner

Preservation finches.

Act, becoming
years

of the
I

ago,

in

autumn,

saw

some

hundreds
laden

them

congregated togetherin
;

berry-

double
to

hedge

and

two

or

three

pairsalways

deign

visit the

garden

in

the

spring, building

RARER

BIRDS

413

their
A

nests

in

the

yew-hedge
the

or

in the

apple-trees.
to

large holly-bush in
is

garden,

close

the end

house, which
of all

covered, by always thickly

the

October, with fast-reddening berries, loses them

by

the
down

middle
or

of
carried

November.
away

They by
hosts

are

all

knocked

of misselAll other

and thrushes, song-thrushes,

blackbirds.

holly-bushes in
reserve,

the
are

till they

neighbourhood they keep in hard put to it in the sharpest


to

cold away

of winter.

It is useless

try

to

scare

them
is this ?
sweeter

from

our

and

their pet

bush.

Why they

Is it that these in

are particularholly-berries

themselves
eyes

than

others, or

are

sweeter

in

the

of the is
a

beautiful stolen than


we

marauders ?

because knock

their

sweetness waste
on

one

They
carry

off and

many

more

they

off; and, feeding


the
over,

their
I

remnants,
am

have,
seen

within twice

week

in

which
first

writing this,
in this

for the

time,

neighbourhood,
Among
rarer

the

shy

and

hawfinch. solitary
mention
a

birds and

I may still,

hoopoe

which

was

seen,

happily
the

not

shot, in

April last, and


a

was,

afterwards, observed
of Dorset
two ;
stone

unhurt, in
curlew
breed
or

quitedifferent part plover,one


the few
or

Norfolk

pairs of
and

which
of

regularlyon
a

flint-bestrewn

uplands
;

Piddletrenthide,

miles

away

three

414

BIRD

LIFE

AT

BINGHAM'S

MELCOMBE

buzzards,
us,

two

of which

pitched on
of

tree

close

to

in the
was

sharpest frost
seen

last winter, while the rabbit

the

third
in
one

beating over lazily


later
autumn

warren,

of the

fogs.
the

In the is the
most

earlysummer
resort

morning,
of

bowling-green
birds

favourite

all those truth


worm.

who

are

alive
bird

to

the

fundamental the

that Look

it is the
out

early
and

that
upon
to

catches

of

the window listen


11

it,at the very

first dawn

of

day,

the earliest

pipe of

half-awaken

'd birds

"

in the
you
are

shrubs

close the

by.

You

may

catch

sight,if
morning
has been

lucky,of ghost

off when, hedgehog scuttling he


grass,
"scents

like the

in Hamlet,
sweet

the he

air," from

the soft

which

searchingall night
shelter
rabbit
to

for insects,towards

the
may

friendly
see

of

the has

old

yew-hedge.
in into

You

the

which

managed,
the

spiteof

every

obstacle,
his

push
at

his way the

garden, taking
or

last

nibble down
cock

forbidden grass,

fruit there

flower. with

Presently,
a

upon

the

comes,

flop,a
is in the active

blackbird, still

more

than another
more

he half-asleep;
;

followed

by

another then the

and

then

drop

song-thrushes;
then starlings;

the

lively and
and

"careful"

friendlyrobin;

THE

FLY-CATCHER

415

and

then
;

the

little, cringing,unobstrusive
whole
of

hedgewith

sparrow bird

tillthe

the

lawn

is dotted

life in action.
But

the
its

true

of proprietors favourites
"

the
the

bowling-green
"

our

and

prime

two

birds

which

will

summer's hardly leave it through the live-long day, do not appear tilla littlelater in the morning

the

and spotted fly-catcher


as

the

water-wagtail.
the the

The

fly-catcherclaims,
tennis From
or

his

department,

lawnseats.
or

net,

the

croquet

hoops,
for each

garden

these, he watches moth,


and,
out

passing gnat
You

fly

with
on

quick, graceful,
as

noiseless hear

dashes flight,
a

them

they

pass.

click slight

of the slender

bill ; and

the bird, after of

sometimes them
over,

three catching,in repeated zig-zags,


one

in
to next.
nest
see

returns, flight,

perhaps
be

dozen

times
to

his post
His
not

of
mate,

observation, before
you

he
is

shifts

the her
you

may
nor

sure,

on sitting

far away; pay


;

will it be
He you does

long
not

before
mind

him watched he

her

visit.
as

being

though,
his

approach
to

the
you

sanctuary,
away

will do

little best

scold

with
But
a

his tremulous still more the the

complaint.
and still more

welcome

cheery
or

tenant

of
"

bowling-green

is the
as

pied
the

water-

wagtail

wash-dish," "polly-

country

416

BIRD

LIFE

AT

BINGHAJVTS

MELCOMBE

peoplecall

him.

He

seems

to

have

taken
own,

lease of
resents

it for life ; he any intrusion


runs

claims
upon
or

it

as

all his Watch with


;

and

it.

his

movements

he

two

three
and

yards
thinks

his little nimble

feet.

He

stops

his the

long pied tail,


magpie's,and
up and off

even longer,in proportion,

than

something
down,
as

of

the

same

colours,
not

shaking
He
now right,

if it could
turn

be
to

still. the

dashes
to

again,taking a

now

the
and

he catches left, as

sight of
foot
or

his
two

tiny prey.
he dashes
race,

Now

again,he springs a
a

into the air, to catch


forward

fly upon
would

the
if he

wing.
in

Then for
a

again,as
you

were

long

faster
carry

than him.

think

such

slender

legs could
bury

But, again, he stops dead


the grass,
tail
as

short,

digging his
himself
turn
a

bill into
in it, his

though
and

he would

high

in air, as
"

though
a

he would

complete
often

somersault
were

somersault

it would

be,

it not

for claw
in

the has the

grip
upon

that the
of

his
turf.

long, slightly
His
nest
or

curved

hind

is in
are

safelyhidden
some

creepers of

the

house,
You

niche
to

or

ledge
When

the he

garden
is is

walls.

anxious conceal

discover

it ;

equally anxious
crammed

to

it.

his the

mouth

with

insects,he will fly to


aware

and, perfectly roof-ridge,


will watch
you

that

you

are

watching him,

418

BIRD

LIFE

AT

BINGHAM'S

MELCOMBE

one

distraught,
drive,
to

he and

dashed

away
as

to

the

edge
dashed

of

the back

gravel
again,
Sometimes uncertain

then,
the

quickly,
mournful

go

through
he would

same

processes. in

fly
far
as

right
the the he unable

off,
eye

wavering,
follow

flight,
as

as

could

him,
but,

though

he

could

bear

sight
hurried

no

longer
back himself have
in

without
and in

stopping quicker
vain

to

rest,

straighter
away,
or

flight,
that This

to

tear

the
in

hope

something long-drawn
I watched

might

happened
this

his

absence.
of

tragedy,
from the

abandonment

grief,
the

window,
came on.

throughout
Next the

afternoon,
the

till had

darkness

morning,
survivor
no

body

disappeared,

and

saw

more.

APPENDIX

THE

LONGEVITY

OF

THE

RAVEN

HESIOD'S

lines, the
of the
raven,

locus

classicus

on

the
to

subject
his

of

the

great age
far

which, according
Methuselah,
are as

calculation
:
"

surpassed
ewca

that

of

follows

roi

fact yei/ea? Xa/ce'/ovfa Kopwvtj


;

avSpwv fj"wvrwv

eXa^o?

Sc

re

T"TpaKopu"vos,

The

Latin them

poet Ausonius
thus
:

xviii., {Idyl, i),translated

and

amplified
"

Ter

binos

deciesque

novem

super

exit

in

annos

Justa
Hos Et

senescentum

quos

implet

turba

virorum.

novies

superat

vivendo

garrula Cornix,
soecula

quater

egreditur cornicis
cervum

Cervus,

Alipedem
While
Sir Thomas

ter

vincit Corvus." in his the

Browne,

Vulgar Errors, iii.,p, 138,


thus
:

has, in his turn, translated


41

translation
man

To

ninety-sixthe
times
as

life of that the

ascendeth,

Nine
Four And

long

of the

chough extendeth,
shall go, the

times thrice

beyond
is that

life of deer

surpassed by

crow."

420 The the


" "

APPENDIX
of is, the
corvus. *ro/oa"

crow

course,

raven,

On

question
et

of the

great duration
of

of

the

stag's life,the

longa
the two denies
on

cervina

senectus

Juvenal (Satire, xiv., 251),


of

chief prose
that
other

authorities

antiquitydiffer.
for its

Aristotle

the

stag is remarkable

longevity. Pliny,
that and

the

hand

(Natural History, viii., 32), says


that he lives
to
a

it is

"well
an

known"
instance the

great age,

gives,as
necks

of it, that

several

stags, round
collars of

whose

Alexander

Great

had

hung

gold, were
that in

a hundred killed,

years and

over later,still wearing the collars,

which
were

the almost

flesh

skin

had

grown

so

much
cute

they
magna

encased

in them

jam (adoperti

obesitate).
As

regards
statement

the

still greater
seems

longevity
been

of

the for

raven,

Hesiod's
both of

to

have

taken

granted
says

by

later poets and

prose

writers.

Cf. Juvenal, who


vita

Nestor's

long

life The

(Satire,x., 246), exemplum


life of is
a raven

fuit
so

cornice secundce.

in many

captivityis

natural un-

in itself and that it cannot be

exposed
to

to

so

specialdangers,
way. ravens,

said that
an

prove my
own

much

either three

I may while
to

mention, however,
one was a

of

pet
two

killed

by

accident, the

other
at

appeared
the

die
at

perfectlynatural
twenty-two
I have

death,
years

one

seventeen, The

other
raven

about

of
to

age.

only

tame

of which that

been

able the

discover
term

indubitable

proof

it lived in
a

beyond
pages

usual

of human friend
a

is that life,

described
of first,

163-166;
and
an

the
of

and

companion,
guished distin-

porcupine,
accurate

then

seagull. So
Mr

and

as ornithologist

J. H. Gurney

THE

LONGEVITY

OF

THE

RAVEN

421

could the time

not

have he

stated it of its that the

that

the

age his and for

of

the

bird unless
the

was

sixty,
had
vinced con-

at

gave

away truth it of

to

friend,
I have least

he

himself
several

testimony
years

of

witnesses

lived its in

at

twenty
It the

after

that,
eggs,

under I

care

new

owner.

began
mature

to

lay
of I

as

have

stated

the would

text,

at

age
a raven.

eighty,
have

great
in

feat,
pages

one

think,
what I

even

for

given,

156-159,
of the

think belief

to

be the

the

most

probable
of
it

explanation
raven,

general
out

in

longevity

the is

and

have facts.

pointed

how

far,

in

my

opinion,

founded

on

INDEX

ADAM,
New

his Field

and

Forest
note

Rambles

in

"

Arthur, Passing of," version Castle, owls agrestis, 49


at, 41

of, 147

Brunswick, 24
Zl8

Arundel
400 Arvicola

"Eolus, the lord of the winds,


Aidan,

Athanasius, St, legend of, 115

Ainger, Canon, 3 Ainsworth, Rookwood% 80


Alban's

Athelhampton,
Athens,
ravens

334

owls at,

of,
100

19

convocation

of

Head, St, 85 sEnigmata, 182


the

Alcyone, 400
Aldhelmi Alexander Alfred the

Atlas

range,

84
translation 419
of

Ausonius,
on

his
raven,

the

lines

Great,

no

the

Great, 136

Azores, discovery of, 1 18


BADBURY

Aller, 355

Allocco, the, 16

RINGS, 38, 333, 337


35* 147

ravens

Alps, 84
Alresford, 380 Alternon, Ahum,
10 122

at, 142

Badger,
pellets,
of

Badon, Mount,

Dr, his analysis of owl

Bagber Copse, 204 Bagshot, 151 Bahran,


one

Animals, Society for the

Prevention

of the
;

Sassanid

kings of by

Cruelty to, Ansty,


Antiochus

xiii

Persia, 53
an

partiallyconverted

322

owl, 54

Epiphanes, 18

Balkans, the, 84

Antony, St, legend of, 115 Aplin, Ted, 359

Bankes, Mr
Barnes,

Ralph,

148

on

battle-

royal between legends of, 88-90


the

Apollo

and

the raven,

Ararat, Mount,
Aristotle 420
493
on

84

96 ravens, William, lines from, 319; birthplace,338

his

the

longevity of

stag,

Bayeux, tapestry of, 138 Beachy Head, 84

424
Benedict, St, legend of, 1 16
Bere

INDEX Bryanston Park,


Bu-ru-ru, the, 16
of the 191
raven

174

Regis, 44
in, 77, 87

Bible, mentions

Bubo, the, 15

Biddulph,Mr,
Bindon

Abbey, 333 Bingham, Charles, 206 Melcombe, Bingham's


Coombe House

Buckland, Frank, 34 Buckland Newton, 174


Buff on, the naturalist, 259
2,

12,

27;

Bufo

or

mofo,

6 ; view

of, 174
at, 333

the

Old

Manor

Bulbarrow,

360

from, 337
on

; its age,

334 ;
"

tion, posiGate

Bull, H.

G.,

Notes

the

Birds

of

336 House,"
341 ;
"

; the gateway, 338 ;

339 ; the

court, 339 ; roof,


; the
"

28 Herefordshire, Bullfinch, 412

note

interior, 342 Moons,"


344 J

hall, 342
A
r m
a

;
a

Bunker's

Hill,28$

The
a

343 the
;

b 1 e,"

bowling-green,347
wild animals

garden, 345 yew hedge, 348


;

;
;

Bush

Bunting, the black-headed, 268, 370 magpie, 304, 309


177 G.

Bustard, the, Butler, Rev.


Buxton,
Mr

of, 348

birds,369
of, 318-323

W.,

208

Birds, hermit, instances


Birds
of

Edward 414

N., 178

Bingham's Melcombe, 369 Birds, Society for the Protection


xiii

Buzzards, 177,
of,

CAME,
Candover

387

Park,

174

Bismarck, Prince,148 Bittern, the, 177 Blackbirds, 414 Blackmoor, Vale of,337
Dr J. Brunton, 381 Blaikie, Blandford, 104, 335 ; grammar at,
2

House, rookery deserted


lines from, 209

by

rooks, 381 Carew, Thomas, Carlstadt,314 Carrhae, 18


school

Carthage,
nest

Roman owl
and

aqueduct of,
raven

101

of

an

at,

102

Blandford,
141

Milton

Abbas

School

at,

Castle

Hill,338 Caucasus, 84
Cerne

Bloxworth, 334 ; Heath, 174 Bockhampton Hang, 338


Bolt Head and Bolt

Abbey,
his

333

Ceyx, legend of, 400


Chaucer,
326
mention of the

Tail, 85

magpie,

Boyle,his book On Colour, 92 Bramblecoombe, 352


Popular Antiquities, 314 note Branksea Island,338 British Museum, white raven in the, 92 Brand,
his

Chaldon,
Charles Charles

86

Charborough Tower, 338


the

Great, 136
on

I., King,
method
of

the
131

miracle

of

Broadmayne,208
Broughton, Higher, 51
Browne,
lines Sir

Elijah and China,


the
ravens

the ravens,

catching wild
177

ducks

Thomas,

Qn

of

in, 258

Norfolk,173
on

; his translation

of the

the raven,

419

Chough, the Cornish, Christchurch, 151

426
Einsiedeln, Monastery of, 1 19
El Monte de las cuervas,
"

INDEX
GAD the
raven

or

CLIFF, 85 Gadwall, 266 ; her


279

nests,

269, 272,

rock," 118
Elbruz, Mount, 84 of, ill
of West

Eliot,George, 259

Galapagos, islands of, 46 over-run Galicia, by voles,49


Galton

Elizabeth, Empress, murder England, Archdeacon,


Stafford,231
rector

Common,
House
"

174
a good, 233 Bingham's Mel-

Gamekeeper,
"

definition of
at

Gate

Essex, destruction by voles, 49 Ethandun, victoryof, 136 Euphrates, the, 18 Evans, Mr, The Songs of Birds, 27 Exmoor,
forest

combe, 339

Geese, wild,256

Germany,
us

II.,115 Gerbert, Pope Sylvester superstitionsabout


; folk-lore
on

ravens,

of, 173

the

magpie, 312

Eye, Evil, belief in the, 366 Eyemouth, 190


FALCONRY,
Faroe Finn and

Gill,George, 233

Glastonbury Tor, 174 Goldfinch, 238, 412


Gould, anecdote Grange,
the, of, 64

sport of,68

Islands, 83
her

rookery

deserted

by

magpie, 314

rooks, 380

Flamborough, 84
Flokki, his expedition, 139
of
;

discovery

Greenland, discoveryof, 140 Grimm, his Teutonic Mythology, 314

note

Iceland, 140

116 Florentius,

Floyer,Mr John, 233 the spotted,415 Fly-catcher,


Foster,Professor, 76 Fowler, Mr Ward, xiii,74
with the Fox
300
;

Guadalquiver,240 Gubernatis, Angelo de, Ornithological Mythology, 314 note


Guest, Dr, 147

Gurney,
his Year
a

Mr

J. H,, 163
420 and

on

the

age

of

raven,

Birds, 374
shelter in

note
a

Guthrun, surrender HAMBRO,


Mr

baptism of, 136

takes

magpie's nest,
Everard, 352

Frampton, Mr, 155 France,magpies in,313


Francis
of
ravens

Hardy,
appearances

Mr Thomas, 151 ; Return of the Native,192 ; raciness of his dialogues, 233, 358 ; his

Joseph, Emperor,
to,
no

338 birthplace,

Hare,

a,

pursued by owls, 48
raven

Frederick

Barbarossa, Emperor, legend


Cliffs, 84
;

of, 148
Freshwater

Harrier, 177 Harrow, pet

at,

70

Harting, Mr, Valley


of

50

Frome,

186

River, 251;

the, 309, 360

Hawfinch, 413 Hawker, Colonel,on wild-fowl


247

shooting

Fryer Mayne, clay-beds of, 184


Furneaux
"

Islands, the
"

petrels

or

mutton-birds

of, 397

Robert, 84 Hebrides, 83

Hayne,

Mr

INDEX

427
393 ; nests, 390 391
; attachment ; want to

Hedgehog,
by, 277

414

destruction

of

eggs

of

judgment,
393

his mate,

Henry, Prince, the


"

"

Navigator,"

118

James's Park, St, magpies in, 306

Hermit

birds," instances

of, 318-323

Jay, the, 412

her nest, 305

Herod

Agrippa,
a

18

Heron,

solitary, 320
1

Richard, xiii Jeffreys, Jervis, of, in 1797, victory

Il8

Herons, 255, 309 Hesiod the longevity of on


419

Johnson,
ravens,

Dr, his

Tour

in

the

Hebrides,

56,

92

Hibou, the, Hilton, 364


Hindu

16

K BARTON,

Mr, xiii
on
"

Keats, John, his line


84
on

the

owl, 55
church
of

Himalayas, 84
Rush,

Kenisata-1-gorab, or the raven," 118


the raven,
121

The

Hood, his lines

Kenton

brook, 399
; mode

Hoopoe,

413
raven,

for the Horace, his epithet 16 Hornuglc or storugle,

157

Kestrel, 350, 390 Kingfisher,238, 394


of

nest, 395

securing her
young, 397 ;
;

prey,

396

feeding

Horsmonden

Rectory, Kent,
Coombe

22

her

flight, 398

; appearance,

Hough ton,

of, 174
218. See

House-martins,

188,

Martins

400

instinct, 399 ; legends, mention of, in poetry, 401


his
233

398

House-sparrows, 195. Sparrows Hudson, Mr W. H., xiii,146, 173 ; on


the
Birds

See

Kingsley, Charles,
good gamekeeper, Kingston, 387

definition

of

mischief
and

done

by voles, 49
175
302
note
;
on

; his

Man,
a

the

chatter

of

magpie,

Hugh, St, of Lincoln, 119


Hungary
over -run

Kingston Lacy, 96 ; park of, 141, 148 Kippoz, the, 16 Kites,use of, 68 ; the fork-tailed, 177 Knighton, 184,
raven's
nest

by voles, 49

231

magpie in, 319 Hyde Park, a solitary the owl's method of issuing Hylas, on
from

on,

Heath, 36, 44; 150 ; Wood, 67


;
raven

Koran, mention K6s, the,


Kurile
1

of the

in, 77

the egg,

43

Islands,83
lines from, 88

ICELAND,
ravens,

83, 239;
140

discovery of, by Lady of the Lake,


their
1 1 1

Indians, North

American,

belief

Lamb,
note

Charles, his

Essays on

Elia,

131

in owls, 24 ; in ravens,

Inkpen Beacon, 337


lona,
118 ;

Land-rail, 273

Langton, history of the magpie


in,

23 ravens,
112

Ireland, 84
324
name Italy,

Languedoc, belief in Lapland, 239 Lapwings,


Lawrence,
Lebanon,
268

for the

magpie in, 292,

313

Lord, his proverb, 375 the, 84

JACKDAW,

389

characteristics, 389,

428 Ledbury,

INDEX
324 ; mention
a

191

of, in poetry, 326

; as

Lee, Rev. E., 364 Lewell, 251, 387 Lilford,Lord, 326 Lindisfarne, Isle of, 118
Littlewood
Lob

pet, 327
;

327

power

compared to the of imitating


;

raven,

human
;

speech, 328
love

thieving habits, 329

of sport, 331

157 plantation,

Maiden

Castle, 333 colouring of, 238 Antiquities,140 John,


359, 387
1 10 on

Nor, 240
on

Mallards, 238, 266;


the Raven

Longfellow,H. W.,
120

Inn,

Mallet,
note

his

Northern

Lowell, Mr, 58 Ludbrog,


135 Lulworth

Mr Mansel-Pleydell,
a

Ragnar,
Cove, 387

famous

sea-king,

Maria

Archduchess, Christina,

Marlowe, Martins,
of

his lines Christopher,

the

kingfisher, 401
ravens

Lulworth, West, Lumsden,

86 ;

at, 175
mode

218

habits, 218
no

; nests,

219

Sir Peter, 378 ; his 379

Mary's Loch, St, 51


Maximilian, Emperor, Maxwell,
Sir
Memoirs

evictingrooks, Lycabettus,
100

Herbert, xiii,

50 ;

his

Lytton,Bulwer, Eugene Aram,


MACGILLIVRAY, 98 Madeira, discovery of, 118 Maeterlinck,
The

35

note

of the Months, 401

76

; his British
on

Biras,
ravens,

Mayor Pond, 38 Meggett, the, 51


Meinrad, St, legend of, 119 Melcombe Horsey, 354 ; Park, 348, 369

99 note, 298 ; observations

Mendips,
299
a

337

Lifeof a Bee,
confined
in ;

Mercia, Penda, king of, 118


cage,

Magpie, 281,
281 301
;

350;

Merganser, 283
Mexico,
ducks

appearance,

283

tail, 284,
;

; eyes,

284

beak, 284

strength

of, 240 by Indians, 257


H.

lakes

massacre

of

of its 325,

286, leg, 285 ; characteristics, his of deeds, mis328 ; exaggeration


288 ;

L., his story of Mildert, Bishop Van, 384

Meyer,

an

owl, 70

habits,289

; name,

290292-

Millicent

Hill, 155,
his

310;

raven's

nest

292

; construction

of her 295,

nest,
311

at, 156

297

legends, 293,
of ravens, 300

tion ; affec; for


a

Milton,
the

lines
131

on

the

swan,

79 ;

on

for his brood

offspring, 297,
;

317

raven,

chatter,302 306-309

Milton Milton

Abbas

School, Blandford,
174, 333, 411

141

varieties of, 304 ;

resorts,
311

Abbey,

geographical range, mythology,


312 ;

312; in

Italy, 313
England, single, 316,
;

Bishop, 398 German folk-lore, Montgomery, James, his France, 313 ; magpie, 327 ;
of a, 314
;

; in classical

Montgomery

lines

on

the

Scandinavia, 314
belief in
of
a

; revenge

Moor-hen, Moreton,

255, 411

315
323

; appearance
;
case

of

155, 387 Morocco, belief regarding the owl, 25 Mount

318 solitary,

historyof, in Ireland,

Pleasant, 375

INDEX NAPIER,
Sir

429 music, 59
for incident young, tion of a, 60 ; affec-

Charles, victory of, in

1833, 118 Nash, T., on the hoot of the owl, 57 Nelson, victoryof, in 1797, 118
Nettlecombe New

its ;

64

for

each

other, 65 67 Owl,
;

laying eggs, 67 ; food, in strange experiences,68 ; use


;

Tout, 349
tions ; his observa-

68 falconry,
the

duck-hunt, 69
;

Forest, 49, 151 Newton, Professor A., 76


on

eagle, 40
40

character

of

the
;

female,
mode of

prognosticatesevil, 42

ravens,

96
208 ; mention

Night-jars,58 note, Milton, 79 Nigidius,


on

Nightingale, 279, 369


the

of, by

flying, 43 ; issuingfrom 43 egg, 43 5 fighting, Owl, the long-eared or horned, 36


habits, 36
made

the

its

sound ; eyes, 37 ; nest, 37 ;

habits

of the

eagle

by, 39
the
44

owl, 43 Nile, the, 240


Norfolk
mere,
a

Owl,

short-eared,44
;

its appearance,

habits, 45
;

geographical
; normal

day

on

a,

262

ravens

range,

46

46 disabilities,

of, 173
Noctes North, Christopher, A

mbrosiance,

position,47 ; character, 47 ; service rendered by, 49 ; fecundity, 50 ;


traits, 51
;

317

cries,52
or

Norway,
Norwich,
deserted Notes
"

fiords

of, 240

magpies in, rookery

Owl,

the

white

the

barn

and

the

283, 288, 306


Palace

Garden,

of screech, 5 ; resorts, 5 ; mode 6 of the mechanism mice, catching ;


ear,

by rooks, 380 Queries,122


of the term,

8 ; number

of

pellets,9,
a

10 10

and

method

of

eating
n

mouse,

Nunnywutch," meaning
207

laying eggs,
38
; colour

; the
texture

owlets,
of the

11-13.

and

eggs,

Nut-hatch, the, 403

15 ; cries,15, 1 6 ; varietyof names, ances 15 ; beliefs in, 17, 21, 25 ; appearthe sacred bird

ODIN,
134

the
; his

raven,

of,
;

of ; 1 8 ;

against,19 prejudices predictions, 19


; the ; 23

title

"Hrafna-gwd,"
1

138

epithets,19
of the

shape
;
popularity un-

his two

pet ravens,

38

face, 21 38

snowy,

Oriole, the golden, 238

amongst

birds, 27 of,
28 ;

Orkney Islands,83,
Oscines,or birds of Oswald, Otter, 352 Ovid, his lines
of the raven,
on

239

Owlets, 78 Owls,

11-13,
I

omen,

the,

; varieties

teristics, ; charac-

St, legend of, 118


29; the owl, 25 ;

4 ; lines on,

legend of,

31 protectionof pigeons,

legends

Oxus, the, 240


or Oyster-catcher

88, 89
of ravens,

sea-pye,

283

Owain, 138 Owl,

his army sea-king,

PAMIR,
or

the, 240 Lost, lines from,


of 108

the brown

tawny,

ter 54 ; charac; appearance,

Paradise

of its hoot, 54,

56-59
55 ;

Parrot, his powers

talking,328
; nest, 277

55 ; the

young,

for partiality

Partridges,264, 277

430
Paul, St, the Hermit, 116 Peel, Lord,
anecdote of
a

INDEX
Puddletown, 33, 307 ; pitsof,308 Puffin, its razor-like bill, 95

hare

pursued
cottages,

by owls, 48
190

; his thatched

Pyrenees,84
QUANTOCKS, Quixote, Don,
337
on

Peewit,58, 25$ Penda, king of Mercia, 118 Penny, Rev. J., headmaster ford Grammar School, 2, Pentridge,338 Peregrine falcon, 177
Peshawur,
or Petrels, ravens
"

King
147

Arthur

changed

of Bland142

into

raven,

RABBITS, Rats, 32

263
175

Ramsbury,
100

at,

of, 33 procession 76
;

mutton-birds/*397
and
the white ;
a

Ravens,
91
;
a

76, 86, characteristics,

Phalanthus

raven,

159;
in

mention 128

of, in
; in the

the

Bible, 77,
;

Pheasant, the cock, 238

hermit, 321
; nest

87, 114,

Koran, 77

by

layingher eggs,
tree, 279

275, 277

Shakespeare, 79, 90 ; in fable, 80 ; historical and pre-eminence, literary


80 ; 94,

Philip 1 1. of Spain, 18
Piddletrenthide,413

geographical range,
145
; fund ;
a

83-85

; nest, ;

of humour,

86, 328

Pigeons,411 extract Pliny,


on

protected by owls,
his Natural 42 ;
on

31

legends of, 88-90


names,

white,
; respect

91 ; for

from

History,
the
;

92 ; food, 93-97
;

the

great-hornedowl,
a raven

his

neighbours,95
their for
modus

love

of

carrion,
; passion
at

funeral of
on

in

Rome,

104-106

97 ;

operandi,98
of the

the
on on

omens

123 ;

the the

portended by ravens, of a magpie, capabilities

solitude, 99

; convocation

328
420

longevityof

the

stag,

Athens, loo ; character 1 02 ; tributes to their


courage, 103
;

beak,
and
;

strength
of
a,

funeral

105

Plover, the golden,255 Poacher, definition of a, 233 Pochard, 266

prophetsof evil, 108

; mention

of, in
ances appear-

poetry, 108-110, 121, of, to the House


on

124 of

Hapsburg,
ill

Poe, Edgar
raven,
"

Allan,

his

poem

the

no

; powers
ill

after in

death,

; beliefs ;

80, 124
"

in,

Sweden,
to

in

other
112

Poitou, pye-worship in,313 Pole-trap,abolition of, xii ; cruelty of,


26 ; protest for the

112 countries,

; the raven-stone,

services 115
; St

rendered

against, 26, 72 abolition, 73


on

; demand

116;
the pie, mag-

St

Poole, 151

; Harbour, 338 Pope, Alexander, his lines

118 ; St

Athanasius, St Benedict, Antony, 115 ; Vincent, 117; St Oswald, Hugh of Lincoln, 119; St
119
;

St

Meinrad,
young,

neglect

of

their

327

127-130;

parental affection,
;

Portland,Isle of, 337


Provincial Names

of

British

Birds,

tract ex-

133 ; the sacred bird of Odin, 134 the raven-standard, 135 ; messengers of the eggs,

Puddleton

from, 120 note Heath, 23

gods, 138
145
; nests

; act
at

as

pilots, 139

Badbury

Rings,

INDEX
142
at

431

Savernake

Knighton Heath,
and intonations of 153 for his 154

150

mate,

SALISBURY, Bishop of, his right to be called the Bishop of Ravens," 175 love voice, 152 : killed at, 104 Saltburn-on-Sea, a raven ; early maturity, Sandpiper,255
; ;
movements
"

Forest, 150

; nest

at Millicent ; to

Hill,155
on, ;
as

; age,

Sandwich
;

Islands, 46

156,
159 ;

419-421

proverb

156

attachment

places, I $7
;

pets,
of
;

Sandy, 48 Saragossa, 117


Savernake

sociability, 159 mimicry,159 ; anecdotes with a dog, friendship


seagull,163
pet
raven

powers

Forest, 149
; raven's
nest

; characteristics

of, 160-164
161
; with

of, 149

at, 150

; love

of

mischief,167 Stafford, 167-170;

of

Sayer'sWood, 67 83, 239 Scandinavia, Scaup, 283


Scotland,84
49
; havoc

; the

raven

in, 134

"Jacob,"
173; Raven

170;

disappearance of,

wrought by voles,
the hoot of the 109
tween, be-

his eye, 328

Tarn,

151, 310

Ravencroft, Mr

W.,

130

note

Scott,Sir Walter, on "wl) 57 ; his lines on

the raven,

Rawlesbury, 333
Reed

Seagull
174 his translation
note

and

raven,

friendship

warblers, 268, 279, 370


Mr

163
of

Rempston Heath,
Rhoades, Ridley, Mr
in lines Virgil's
on

James, Frank,

Sea-pye,283, 291 268, Sedge-warblers,


Selborne, 14

279, 369

the rook, 374


on

the

solitary pie magof

Senlac,victoryat, 138
338 Shaftesbury, Shakespeareon the
references 127
on

Hyde Park,

319
of

Rig Veda, hymns


the

the, mention

hoot of the 79,

owl, 56
90, 303

magpie in, 311 Ringsted,cliffs of,231


Robins, 414

to the raven,
on

125;

; his lines

the
;
on

magpie,
the

the

rook, 386

kingfisher,

Rodney, victory of,in 1780, 118


Roe-deer, 309, 350 Rome, funeral of a
raven

401

Sheldrake, 283
at, 104-106
; their
on Shelley,

the hoot

of the owl, 59

Rooks,
solemn

370

characteristics, 370
372, 373

Sherborne

convocations,
;

382
; waste

nests, 372
of

love-making,
;

Abbey, 333 ; Castle, 333, 338 ; Park, 174 Sherwell, Mr J., his story of a raven,
161 Shetland

labour, 374
;

their

punishments,
to

376

migrations,377
of desertion

; service

the

Islands, 83, 239 84

farmers, 377 382


at

; eviction

of, 379

stances Sinai, Mount, in-

of rookeries, 380;

Sirikol,Lake, 240

386 sociability, 387

gathering of,
deserted

Sixpenny Hanley, 146


Skeat, Professor,
on

Warmwell,

the

names

given

Roxburghshire, rookery
rooks, 381
New Rutger'sCollege,

by
60

to

the raven, Canon

93

Smith, Brunswick,

Reginald,235
Walter

Smith, Colonel

Marriott, loo

432
Smith-Marriott, Sir William, 399 Smollett, Roderick Random,
80

INDEX Studland, 85
Sturminster Suliman

Newton, 335
Rev.

Smugglers, 231 Snipe, 255, 268


Somersetshire, magpies in, 307

mountains, 84 Charles, Birds, 113


of

Swainson,
Names ravens' 130
;

Provincial
note ;
on

of British neglect
1

Southey,
121

Robert, his lines

on

the raven,

their young,

129,

Sparrow, 187, 195, 415


young,
132 ;

neglectof
;
a

her

Swallows, of, 213


song,

88, 206

; ;

first appearance

merits, 196
of broods

demerits,
197
;

; nest, 214

evolutions, 215
the

196 ; number
nests,

year,

216

"puddling
love, 217
on

clay,"
neglect
79 ;

198
350
;

217 his

; maternal

Sparrow-hawk,
322

solitarylife,
121

Swan's of

Speculum Mundi,
mention

the
130

ravens

for their young,

Spencer, his mention

of the raven,

Swans, Sweden,

of, by of, in
; date

Milton,

Spetisbury, 142 the, 379 Spey,


Sporting Anecdotes, Original and
extract

black, 91
ravens

Select, Swifts,1 88, 219


materials 223
; ;

of arrival, 222
222

from, 22
raven

for their nests,


on,

; eggs, ; powers

Stafford,pet
Stafford

of, 167-170
;

experiments
; at

224

Rectory, 184

interior, 185

of

flight,225
of

sunset,

226

pulse ; im-

186 staircases,

; thatched

roof, 187

migration, 227

the birds of, 187, 194 ;

outbuildings, Swyre Head, 85 TAURUS, Mount, 84 Taylor,J. H., 142


Tchad

189

; the old

tithe-barn, 227
2

Stafford, West,
Standard

of, 420 Stag, longevity


newspaper

quoted, 314

Lake, 240

Stanley, Bishop,306 his Familiar Stanley, History of Birds,


24 note

Teal, 266

Starlings, 187,
200

200,

414 of

tics, characteris; ;

Templecombe, 354 Tennyson, his lines on the owl, 34, 58 ; his epithet for the
157
; lines
on

7, 32,
raven,
on

; in search

insects,201
; eggs,

the rook,

385

the

instinct of

202 imitation,

203

kingfisher, 401
Thatched its

sociability, 204
evolutions
at

roosting-places, 204 ; sunset, 205 ; their dirty


;

cottages,

duration

of, 190

habits, 410 Stevenson, H., Birds


note

antiseptic qualities, 191 Thatching,art of, 191-194


Theocritus,the Sicilian poet, 400 Thessaly over-run by voles, 49
Thian Shan

of Norfolk, 173

Stock

House,

212

Mountains,

84
his

Stone-chats, 412
curlew,or Norfolk plover,413 Stour, the, 399 ; valley, 360
Stone

Sir William, Thiselton-Dyer,

lish Eng-

Folk-Lore,314

note

Thrushes,414
Thur lestone,
22

Strixflammea, or

the white

owl, 5

434 "408
411 Woodsford
231 ; Castle

INDEX

pacific nature,

409

; her young,

Wynn

Green, 361

333

Wordsworth,

Canon the

Christopher his
poem of St Vm-

Yamshooph, the,

16

paraphrase on

Britid y Birds, 10 ydl"m^


Yellowham

"*,

3*5

w^'
the

Vwft
on

Wordsworth, Wnham,
owl, 58

the 59 ;

hoot
on

, of

Woid, 38, 151


park

Yellowstone the

\\

; lines on,

magpie, 316, 326 Wren, the,29

ZURICH,

119

PRIMTID

BY

OLIVKR

AND

BOYD,

EDINBUBOH

LIFE

OF
WITH Seventh

LORD
PORTRAITS
Revised. AND

LAWRENCE
MAPS
In Two Volumes

Edition.

" The long expected Smith recounts the eventful life volumes, in which Mr Bosworth of the illustrious Lord the in point of both merit and interest, Lawrence, amply fulfil, favourable expectationsthat had been formed of them." Standard. Lawrence has been "John fortunate in his biographer, is an who accomplished writer and a faithful, admirer of his hero." unflinching Daily Telegraph. " The account of the ever-memorable of graphic a masterpiece siegeof Delhi is quite
" "

and his writing, praise." Globe.


"

life-likesketches of the

imperious Nicholson

are

not

less

of deserving

thanks unqualified

In the interests of religion, and good government, Mr Smith Bosworth to for his two World. work
is
one

"

we high principle,

tender
"

our

splendid volumes."
best and
most

Literary
deserved

"The universal demand for the criteriaof its ability." Athenceum. " There will be universal agreement
"

of the

as

to the intrinsic merit of these two

entrancing
in the will

volumes.

...

Mr
manner,
a

Bosworth

Smith
the

has

done

his work
career

well, and, both


a
"

materials and "It


monument

the narrative of the lifeand

of

ruler distinguished

take deservedly deserves

high placeamong
the

J. BRYCE
44

and

The sounds higher than any titlewas a genuine hero, his story is worthily volumes told by Mr Bosworth handsome Smith in the two he has presented to the world as the result of three years' labour." which literary H. G. KEANE in the Academy.
"

tol the in the Pall Mall Gazette. whose man simple name

of the language." Guaraiati. biographies it could receive,of being a worthy highestpraise character and lofty splendidpowers of its hero." Right Hon.

praise,the

"

shows Indian atmosphere himself to an a great readiness in transferring wonderful of necessary reading,a great power of mastery of the mass Indian matter, as well as of realising the men, the moral scenery, and the assimilating of which he had and book the contains to treat, subjects though nearly1200 pages, it writer ;
a

44

The

is

readable,and one who is neither marvellously tolerant of prolixity, has not found has nor HENRY YULE in the Quarterly Review.
"

he

lover of contemporary skipped" a tedious

nor history,

page.'
"

Sir

We work. for literary here further proof of the author's qualifications his and utilise his and his to sift, method, digest, recognise ability arrangement and dull or commonplace, but animated which is never materials, and his style, and often rises to eloquence." Saturday Review. expressive, " This book will take rank among our great biographies. It is doubtful whether in his Lord Lawrence has been more Smith Mr Bosworth fortunate in his subject, or
"

We

have

"

biographer." ContemporaryReview.
"

will last through all which written few great biographies a of the of the inherent interest of the subject, great by reason the fingers, and they will readily occur of such can be counted on style. The names ' Mr Bosworth Smith's 4 Life of Lord Lawrence of t