The Sketches of Seymour (Illustrated), Part 1.
Produced by David Widger
SKETCHES BY SEYMOUR
EBOOK EDITOR'S INTRODUCTION:
"Sketches by Seymour" was published in various versions about 1836.
My copy has no date and was published by Thomas Fry, London. Some of
the plates note only Seymour's name, many are inscribed "Engravings by
H. Wallis from sketches by Seymour." There are 90 plates including the
title pages. I believe this book was originally a compilation of five
smaller volumes, though the separate volumes are not apparent. From the
mixed chapter titles the reader may suspect, as I do, that the printer
thoroughly mixed up the order of the chapters. The complete set in this
digital edition is split into five smaller volumes so that each volume
is of a more manageable size than this 7mb complete version.
The value of this collection to me is in the art of the engravings.
The text seems generally mundane, is full of conundrums and puns that
were popular in the early 1800's, and is mercifully short. No author is
given credit for the text though the section titled, "The Autobiography
of Andrew Mullins" may give us at least his pen-name.
SCENE I. Sleeping Fisherman.
SCENE II. A lark--early in the morning.
SCENE III. The rapid march of Intellect!
SCENE IV. Sally, I told my missus vot you said.
SCENE V. How does it fit behind?
SCENE VI. Catching-a cold.
SCENE VII. This is vot you calls rowing, is it?
SCENE VIII. In for it, or Trying the middle.
A DAY'S SPORT.
CHAP. I. The Invitation, Outfit, and the sallying forth
CHAP. II. The Death of a little Pig
CHAP. III. The Sportsmen trespass on an Enclosure
CHAP. IV. Shooting a Bird, and putting Shot into a Calf!
CHAP. V. A Publican taking Orders.
CHAP. VI. The Reckoning.
CHAP. VII. A sudden Explosion
SCENE IX. Shoot away, Bill! never mind the old woman
SCENE X. I begin to think I may as well go back.
SCENE XI. Mother says fishes comes from hard roes
SCENE XII. Ambition.
SCENE XIII. Better luck next time.
SCENE XIV. Don't you be saucy, Boys.
SCENE XV. Vy, Sarah, you're drunk!
SCENE XVI. Lawk a'-mercy! I'm going wrong!
SCENE XVII. I'm dem'd if I can ever hit 'em.
SCENE XVIII. Have you read the leader in this paper
SCENE XIX. An Epistle from Samuel Softly, Esq.
SCENE XX. The Courtship of Mr. Wiggins.
SCENE XXI. The Courtship of Mr. Wiggins.(Continued)
SCENE XXII. The Itinerant Musician.
SCENE XXIII. The Confessions of a Sportsman.
PLATE I. THE JOLLY ANGLERS.
PLATE II. THE BILL-STICKER.
PLATE III. OLD FOOZLE.
PLATE IV. THE "CRACK-SHOTS." No. I.
PLATE V. THE "CRACK-SHOTS." No. II.
PLATE VI. THE "CRACK-SHOTS." No. III.
PLATE VII. DOCTOR SPRAGGS.
PLATE VIII. [SCENE IX.(b)] Well, Bill, d'ye get any bites?
PLATE IX. THE POUTER AND THE DRAGON.
PLATE X. THE PIC-NIC. No. I.
PLATE XI. THE PIC-NIC. No. II.
PLATE XII. THE BUMPKIN.
FRONTPIECE II. SHOOTING
TITLE PAGE II. VOLUME II.
PLATE XIII. [WATTY WILLIAMS AND BULL]
PLATE XIV. DELICACY!
PLATE XV. Now, Jem, let's shew these gals how we can row
PLATE XVI. STEAMING IT TO MARGATE.
PLATE XVII. PETER SIMPLE'S FOREIGN ADVENTURE. No. I.
PLATE XVIII. PETER SIMPLE'S FOREIGN ADVENTURE. No. II.
PLATE XIX. DOBBS'S "DUCK."--A LEGEND OF HORSELYDOWN.
PLATE XX. STRAWBERRIES AND CREAM.
PLATE XXI. A DAY'S PLEASURE. No. I.--THE JOURNEY OUT.
PLATE XXII. A DAY'S PLEASURE. No. II.--THE JOURNEY HOME.
PLATE XXIII. [HAMMERING] Beside a meandering stream
PLATE XXIV. PRACTICE.
PLATE XXV. PRECEPT.
PLATE XXVI. EXAMPLE.
PLATE XXVII. A MUSICAL FESTIVAL.
PLATE XXVIII. THE EATING HOUSE.
PLATE XXIX. [SCENE X.(b)] This is a werry lonely spot, Sir
PLATE XXX. GONE!
PLATE XXXI. THE PRACTICAL JOKER. No. I.
PLATE XXXII. THE PRACTICAL JOKER. No. II.
PLATE XXXIII. FISHING FOR WHITING AT MARGATE.
ANDREW MULLINS.--AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY.
CHAP. I. Introductory
CHAP. II. Let the neighbors smell ve has something
CHAP. III. I wou'dn't like to shoot her exactly
CHAP. IV. A Situation.
CHAP. V. The Stalking Horse.
CHAP. VI. A Commission.
CHAP. VII. The Cricket Match
CHAP. VIII. The Hunter.
CHAP. IX. A Row to Blackwall.
CHAP. X. The Pic-Nic.
CHAP. XI. The Journey Home.
CHAP. XII. Monsieur Dubois.
CHAP. XIII. My Talent Called into Active Service.
CHAP. XIV. A Dilemma.
CHAP. XV. An Old Acquaintance.
CHAP. XVI. The Loss of a Friend.
CHAP. XVII. Promotion.
PART I. "De omnibus rebus."
PART II. "Acti labores Sunt jucundi"
PART III. "Oderunt hilarem tristes."
AN INTERCEPTED LETTER FROM DICK SLAMMER TO HIS FRIEND SAM FLYKE.
PLATE I. Dye think ve shall be in time for the hunt?
PLATE II. Vat a rum chap to go over the 'edge that vay!
"Walked twenty miles over night: up before peep o' day again got a
capital place; fell fast asleep; tide rose up to my knees; my hat was
changed, my pockets picked, and a fish ran away with my hook; dreamt of
being on a Polar expedition and having my toes frozen."
O! IZAAK WALTON!--Izaak Walton!--you have truly got me into a precious
line, and I certainly deserve the rod for having, like a gudgeon, so
greedily devoured the delusive bait, which you, so temptingly, threw out
to catch the eye of my piscatorial inclination! I have read of right
angles and obtuse angles, and, verily, begin to believe that there are
also right anglers and obtuse anglers--and that I am really one of the
latter class. But never more will I plant myself, like a weeping willow,
upon the sedgy bank of stream or river. No!--on no account will I draw
upon these banks again, with the melancholy prospect of no effects! The
most 'capital place' will never tempt me to 'fish' again!
My best hat is gone: not the 'way of all beavers'--into the water--but to
cover the cranium of the owner of this wretched 'tile;' and in vain shall
I seek it; for 'this' and 'that' are now certainly as far as the 'poles'
My pockets, too, are picked! Yes--some clever 'artist' has drawn me
My boots are filled with water, and my soles and heels are anything but
lively or delighted. Never more will I impale ye, Gentles! on the word
of a gentleman!--Henceforth, O! Hooks! I will be as dead to your
attractions as if I were 'off the hooks!' and, in opposition to the maxim
of Solomon, I will 'spare the rod.'
Instead of a basket of fish, lo! here's a pretty kettle of fish for the
entertainment of my expectant friends--and sha'n't I be baited? as the
hook said to the anger: and won't the club get up a Ballad on the
occasion, and I, who have caught nothing, shall probably be made the
subject of a 'catch!'
Slush! slush!--Squash! squash!
O! for a clean pair of stockings!--But, alack, what a tantalizing
situation I am in!--There are osiers enough in the vicinity, but no hose
to be had for love or money!
A lark--early in the morning.
Two youths--and two guns appeared at early dawn in the suburbs. The
youths were loaded with shooting paraphernalia and provisions, and their
guns with the best Dartford gunpowder--they were also well primed for
sport--and as polished as their gunbarrels, and both could boast a good
'stock' of impudence.
"Surely I heard the notes of a bird," cried one, looking up and down the
street; "there it is again, by jingo!"
"It's a lark, I declare," asserted his brother sportsman.
"Lark or canary, it will be a lark if we can bring it down," replied his
"Yonder it is, in that ere cage agin the wall."
"What a shame!" exclaimed the philanthropic youth,--"to imprison a
warbler of the woodlands in a cage, is the very height of
cruelty--liberty is the birthright of every Briton, and British bird! I
would rather be shot than be confined all my life in such a narrow
prison. What a mockery too is that piece of green turf, no bigger than a
slop-basin. How it must aggravate the feelings of one accustomed to
range the meadows."
"Miserable! I was once in a cage myself," said his chum.
"And what did they take you for?"
"Take me for?--for a 'lark.'"
"Yes, I assure you, it was all 'dickey' with me."
"And did you sing?"
"Didn't I? yes, i' faith I sang pretty small the next morning when they
fined me, and let me out. An idea strikes me Suppose you climb up that
post, and let out this poor bird, ey?"
"And as you let him off, I'll let off my gun, and we'll see whether I
can't 'bang' him in the race."
No sooner said than done: the post was quickly climbed--the door of the
cage was thrown open, and the poor bird in an attempt at 'death or
liberty,' met with the former.
Bang went the piece, and as soon as the curling smoke was dissipated,
they sought for their prize, but in vain; the piece was discharged so
close to the lark, that it was blown to atoms, and the feathers strewed
"Bolt!" cried the freedom-giving youth, "or we shall have to pay for the
"Very likely," replied the other, who had just picked up a few feathers,
and a portion of the dissipated 'lark,'--"for look, if here ain't
the--bill, never trust me."
"You shall have the paper directly, Sir, but really the debates are so
"Oh! pray don't hurry, Sir, it's only the scientific notices I care
What a thrill of pleasure pervades the philanthropic breast on beholding
the rapid march of Intellect! The lamp-lighter, but an insignificant
'link' in the vast chain of society, has now a chance of shining at the
Mechanics', and may probably be the means of illuminating a whole parish.
Literature has become the favourite pursuit of all classes, and the
postman is probably the only man who leaves letters for the vulgar
pursuit of lucre! Even the vanity of servant-maids has undergone a
change--they now study 'Cocker' and neglect their 'figures.'
But the dustman may be said, 'par excellence,' to bear--the bell!
In the retired nook of an obscure coffee-shop may frequently be observed
a pair of these interesting individuals sipping their mocha, newspaper in
hand, as fixed upon a column--as the statue of Napoleon in the Place
Vendome, and watching the progress of the parliamentary bills, with as
much interest as the farmer does the crows in his corn-field!
They talk of 'Peel,' and 'Hume,' and 'Stanley,' and bandy about their
names as familiarly as if they were their particular acquaintances.
"What a dust the Irish Member kicked up in the House last night," remarks
"His speech was a heap o' rubbish," replied the other.
"And I've no doubt was all contracted for! For my part I was once a
Reformer--but Rads and Whigs is so low, that I've turned Conservative."
"And so am I, for my Sal says as how it's so genteel!"
"Them other chaps after all on'y wants to throw dust in our eyes! But
it's no go, they're no better than a parcel o' thimble riggers just
making the pea come under what thimble they like,--and it's 'there it
is,' and 'there it ain't,'--just as they please--making black white, and
white black, just as suits 'em--but the liberty of the press--"
"What's the liberty of the press?"
"Why calling people what thinks different from 'em all sorts o'
names--arn't that a liberty?"
"Ay, to be sure!--but it's time to cut--so down with the dust--and let's
"Oh! Sally, I told my missus vot you said your missus said about
her."--"Oh! and so did I, Betty; I told my missus vot you said yourn said
of her, and ve had sich a row!"
OH! Betty, ve had sich a row!--there vas never nothink like it;--
I'm quite a martyr.
To missus's pranks; for, 'twixt you and me, she's a bit of a tartar.
I told her vord for vord everythink as you said,
And I thought the poor voman vould ha' gone clean out of her head!
Talk o' your missus! she's nothink to mine,--I on'y hope they von't meet,
Or I'm conwinced they vill go to pulling of caps in the street:
Sich kicking and skrieking there vas, as you never seed, And she vos so
historical, it made my wery heart bleed.
Dear me! vell, its partic'lar strange people gives themselves sich airs,
And troubles themselves so much 'bout other people's affairs; For my
part, I can't guess, if I died this werry minute,
Vot's the use o' this fuss--I can't see no reason in it.
Missus says as how she's too orrystocratic to mind wulgar people's
And looks upon some people as little better nor cattle.
And my missus says no vonder, as yourn can sport sich a dress, For ven
some people's husbands is vite-vashed, their purses ain't less;
This I will say, thof she puts herself in wiolent rages,
She's not at all stingy in respect of her sarvant's wages.
Ah! you've got the luck of it--for my missus is as mean as she's proud;
On'y eight pound a-year, and no tea and sugar allowed.
And then there's seven children to do for--two is down with the measles,
And t'others, poor things! is half starved, and as thin as weazles;
And then missus sells all the kitchen stuff!--(you don't know my trials!)
And takes all the money I get at the rag-shop for the vials!
Vell! I could'nt stand that!--If I was you, I'd soon give her warning.
She's saved me the trouble, by giving me notice this morning. But--hush!
I hear master bawling out for his shaving water--
Jist tell your missus from me, mine's everythink as she thought her!
"How does it fit behind? O! beautful; I've done wonders--we'll never
trouble the tailors again, I promise them."
It is the proud boast of some men that they have 'got a wrinkle.' How
elated then ought this individual to be who has got so many! and yet,
judging from the fretful expression of his physiognomy, one would suppose
that he is by no means in 'fit' of good humour.
His industrious rib, however, appears quite delighted with her handiwork,
and in no humour to find the least fault with the loose habits of her
husband. He certainly looks angry, as a man naturally will when his
'collar' is up.
She, on the other hand, preserves her equanimity in spite of his
unexpected frowns, knowing from experience that those who sow do not
always reap; and she has reason to be gratified, for every beholder will
agree in her firm opinion, that even that inimitable ninth of
ninths--Stulz, never made such a coat!
In point of economy, we must allow some objections may be made to the
extravagant waist, while the cuffs she has bestowed on him may probably
be a fair return (with interest) of buffets formerly received.
The tail (in two parts) is really as amusing as any 'tale' that ever
emanated from a female hand. There is a moral melancholy about it that
is inexpressibly interesting, like two lovers intended for each other,
and that some untoward circumstance has separated; they are 'parted,' and
yet are still 'attached,' and it is evident that one seems 'too long' for
The 'goose' generally finishes the labours of the tailor. Now, some
carping critics may be wicked enough to insinuate that this garb too was
finished by a goose! The worst fate I can wish to such malignant
scoffers is a complete dressing from this worthy dame; and if she does
not make the wisest of them look ridiculous, then, and not till then,
will I abjure my faith in her art of cutting!
And proud ought that man to be of such a wife; for never was mortal
'suited' so before!
What a type of true philosophy and courage is this Waltonian!
Cool and unmoved he receives the sharp blows of the blustering wind--as
if he were playing dummy to an experienced pugilist.
Although he would undoubtedly prefer the blast with the chill off, he is
so warm an enthusiast, in the pursuit of his sport, that he looks with
contempt upon the rude and vulgar sport of the elements. He really
angles for love--and love alone--and limbs and body are literally
transformed to a series of angles!
Bent and sharp as his own hook, he watches his smooth float in the rough,
but finds, alas! that it dances to no tune.
Time and bait are both lost in the vain attempt: patiently he rebaits,
until he finds the rebait brings his box of gentles to a discount; and
then, in no gentle humour, with a baitless hook, and abated ardor, he
winds up his line and his day's amusement(?)--and departs, with the
determination of trying fortune (who has tried him) on some, future and
more propitious day. Probably, on the next occasion, he may be gratified
with the sight of, at least, one gudgeon, should the surface of the river
prove glassy smooth and mirror-like. (We are sure his self-love will not
be offended at the reflection!) and even now he may, with truth, aver,
that although he caught nothing, he, at least, took the best perch in the
"Help! help! Oh! you murderous little villin? this is vot you calls
rowing, is it?--but if ever I gets safe on land again, I'll make you
repent it, you rascal. I'll row you--that I will."
"Mister Vaterman, vot's your fare for taking me across?"
"Across, young 'ooman? vy, you looks so good-tempered, I'll pull you
over for sixpence?"
"Are them seats clean?"
"O! ker-vite:--I've just swabb'd 'em down."
"And werry comfortable that'll be! vy, it'll vet my best silk?"
"Vatered silks is all the go. Vel! vell! if you don't like; it, there's
my jacket. There, sit down a-top of it, and let me put my arm round
"The arm of my jacket I mean; there's no harm in that, you know."
"Is it quite safe? How the wind blows!"
"Lord! how timorsome you be! vy, the vind never did nothin' else since I
"O! O! how it tumbles! dearee me!"
"Sit still! for ve are just now in the current, and if so be you go over
here, it'll play old gooseberry with you, I tell you."
"Is it werry deep?"
"Deep as a lawyer."
"O! I really feel all over"--
"And, by Gog, you'll be all over presently--don't lay your hand on my
"You villin, I never so much as touched your scull. You put me up."
"I must put you down. I tell you what it is, young 'ooman, if you vant
to go on, you must sit still; if you keep moving, you'll stay where you
are--that's all! There, by Gosh! we're in for it." At this point of
the interesting dialogue, the young 'ooman gave a sudden lurch to
larboard, and turned the boat completely over. The boatman, blowing like
a porpoise, soon strode across the upturned bark, and turning round,
beheld the drenched "fare" clinging to the stern.
"O! you partic'lar fool!" exclaimed the waterman. "Ay, hold on a-stern,
and the devil take the hindmost, say I!"
In for it, or Trying the middle.
A little fat man
With rod, basket, and can,
And tackle complete,
Selected a seat
On the branch of a wide-spreading tree,
That stretch'd over a branch of the Lea:
There he silently sat,
Watching his float--like a tortoise-shell cat,
That hath scented a mouse,
In the nook of a room in a plentiful house.
He hadn't sat long--when a crack
At his back
Made him turn round and pale--
And catch hold of his tail!
But oh! 'twas in vain
That he tried to regain
The trunk of the treacherous tree;
With a shake of his head
"In for it,--ecod!"
And away went his rod,
And his best beaver hat,
Untiling his roof!
But he cared not for that,
For it happened to be a superb water proof,
Which not being himself,
The poor elf!
Felt a world of alarm
As the arm
Most gracefully bow'd to the stream,
As if a respect it would show it,
Tho' so much below it!
No presence of mind he dissembled,
But as the branch shook so he trembled,
And the case was no longer a riddle
For the branch snapp'd and broke;
The angler cried "Its no go!"
He was presently--'trying the middle.'
A DAY'S SPORT
"Arena virumque cano."
The Invitation--the Outfit--and the sallying forth.
TO Mr. AUGUSTUS SPRIGGS,
AT Mr. WILLIAMS'S, GROCER, ADDLE STREET.
(Tower Street, 31st August, 18__)
My dear Chum,
Dobbs has give me a whole holiday, and it's my intention to take the
field to-morrow--and if so be you can come over your governor, and cut
the apron and sleeves for a day--why
"Together we will range the fields;"
and if we don't have some prime sport, my name's not Dick, that's all.
I've bought powder and shot, and my cousin which is Shopman to my Uncle
at the corner, have lent me a couple of guns that has been 'popp'd.'
Don't mind the expense, for I've shot enough for both. Let me know by
Jim if you can cut your stick as early as nine, as I mean to have a lift
by the Highgate what starts from the Bank.
Mind, I won't take no refusal--so pitch it strong to the old 'un, and
carry your resolution nem. con.
And believe me to be, your old Crony,
P. S. The guns hasn't got them thingummy 'caps,' but that's no matter,
for cousin says them cocks won't always fight: while them as he has lent
is reg'lar good--and never misses fire nor fires amiss.
In reply to this elegant epistle, Mr. Richard Grubb was favoured with a
line from Mr. Augustus Spriggs, expressive of his unbounded delight in
having prevailed upon his governor to 'let him out;' and concluding with
a promise of meeting the coach at Moorgate.
At the appointed hour, Mr. Richard Grubb, 'armed at all points,' mounted
the stage--his hat cocked knowingly over his right eye--his gun
half-cocked and slung over his shoulder, and a real penny Cuba in his
"A fine mornin' for sport," remarked Mr. Richard Grubb to his
fellow--passenger, a stout gentleman between fifty and sixty years of
age, with a choleric physiognomy and a fierce-looking pigtail.
"Do you hang out at Highgate?" continued the sportsman.
"Ay, are you a hinhabitant?"
"To be sure I am."
"Is there any birds thereabouts?"
"Plenty o' geese," sharply replied the old gentleman.
"Ha! ha! werry good!--but I means game;--partridges and them sort o'
"I never see any except what I've brought down."
"I on'y vish I may bring down all I see, that's all," chuckled the joyous
"What's the matter?"
"I don't at all like that 'ere gun."
"Lor! bless you, how timorsome you are, 'tain't loaded."
"Loaded or not loaded, it's werry unpleasant to ride with that gun o'
yours looking into one's ear so."
"Vell, don't be afeard, I'll twist it over t'other shoulder,--there! but
a gun ain't a coach, you know, vich goes off whether it's loaded or not.
Hollo! Spriggs! here you are, my boy, lord! how you are figg'd
out--didn't know you--jump up!"
"Vere's my instrument o' destruction?" enquired the lively Augustus, when
he had succeeded in mounting to his seat.
"Stow'd him in the boot!"
The coachman mounted and drove off; the sportsmen chatting and laughing
as they passed through 'merry Islington.'
"Von't ve keep the game alive!" exclaimed Spriggs, slapping his friend
upon the back.
"I dessay you will," remarked the caustic old boy with the pigtail; "for
it's little you'll kill, young gentlemen, and that's my belief!"
"On'y let's put 'em up, and see if we don't knock 'em down, as cleverly
as Mister Robins does his lots," replied Spriggs, laughing at his own
Arrived at Highgate, the old gentleman, with a step-fatherly anxiety,
bade them take care of the 'spring-guns' in their perambulations.
"Thankee, old boy," said Spriggs, "but we ain't so green as not to know
that spring guns, like spring radishes, go off long afore Autumn, you
The Death of a little Pig, which proves a great Bore!
"Now let's load and prime--and make ready," said Mr. Richard, when they
had entered an extensive meadow, "and--I say--vot are you about? Don't
put the shot in afore the powder, you gaby!"
Having charged, they shouldered their pieces and waded through the tall
"O! crikey!--there's a heap o' birds," exclaimed Spriggs, looking up at a
flight of alarmed sparrows. "Shall I bring 'em down?"
"I vish you could! I'd have a shot at 'em," replied Mr. Grubb, "but
they're too high for us, as the alderman said ven they brought him a
couple o' partridges vot had been kept overlong!"
"My eye! if there ain't a summat a moving in that 'ere grass yonder--cock
your eye!" "Cock your gun--and be quiet," said Mr. Grubb. The anxiety of
the two sportsmen was immense. "It's an hare--depend on't--stoop
down--pint your gun,--and when I say fire--fire! there it is--fire!"
Bang! bang! went the two guns, and a piercing squeak followed the report.
"Ve've tickled him," exclaimed Spriggs, as they ran to pick up the spoil.
"Ve've pickled him, rayther," cried Grubbs, "for by gosh it's a piggy!"
"Hallo! you chaps, vot are you arter?" inquired a man, popping his head
over the intervening hedge. "Vy, I'm blessed if you ain't shot von o'
Stubbs's pigs." And leaping the hedge he took the 'pork' in his arms,
while the sportsmen who had used their arms so destructively now took to
their legs for security. But ignorance of the locality led them into the
midst of a village, and the stentorian shouts of the pig-bearer soon
bringing a multitude at their heels, Mr. Richard Grubb was arrested in
his flight. Seized fast by the collar, in the grasp of the butcher and
constable of the place, all escape was vain. Spriggs kept a respectful
"Now my fine fellow," cried he, brandishing his staff, "you 'ither pays
for that 'ere pig, or ve'll fix you in the cage."
Now the said cage not being a bird-cage, Mr. Richard Grubb could see no
prospect of sport in it, and therefore fearfully demanded the price of
the sucking innocent, declaring his readiness to 'shell out.'
Mr. Stubbs, the owner, stepped forward, and valued it at eighteen
"Vot! eighteen shillings for that 'ere little pig!" exclaimed the
astounded sportsman. "Vy I could buy it in town for seven any day."
But Mr. Stubbs was obdurate, and declared that he would not 'bate a
farden,' and seeing no remedy, Mr. Richard Grubb was compelled to 'melt a
sovereign,' complaining loudly of the difference between country-fed and
Shouldering his gun, he joined his companion in arms, amid the jibes and
jeers of the grinning rustics.
"Vell, I'm blowed if that ain't a cooler!" said he.
"Never mind, ve've made a hit at any rate," said the consoling Spriggs,
"and ve've tried our metal."
"Yes, it's tried my metal preciously--changed a suv'rin to two bob! by
"Let's turn Jews," said Spriggs, "and make a vow never to touch pork
"Vot's the use o' that?"
"Vy, we shall save our bacon in future, to be sure," replied Spriggs,
laughing, and Grubb joining in his merriment, they began to look about
them, not for fresh pork, but for fresh game.
"No more shooting in the grass, mind!" said Grubb, "or ve shall have the
blades upon us agin for another grunter p'r'aps. Our next haim must be
at birds on the ving! No more forking out. Shooting a pig ain't no lark
The Sportsmen trespass on an Enclosure--Grubb gets on a paling and runs a
risk of being impaled.
"Twig them trees?"--said Grubb.
"Prime!" exclaimed Spriggs, "and vith their leaves ve'll have an hunt
there.--Don't you hear the birds a crying 'sveet,' 'sveet?' Thof all
birds belong to the Temperance Society by natur', everybody knows as
they're partic'larly fond of a little s'rub!"
"Think ve could leap the ditch?" said Mr. Richard, regarding with a
longing look the tall trees and the thick underwood.
"Lauk! I'll over it in a jiffy," replied the elastic Mr. Spriggs there
ain't no obelisk a sportsman can't overcome"--and no sooner had be
uttered these encouraging words, than he made a spring, and came
'close-legged' upon the opposite bank; unfortunately, however, he lost
his balance, and fell plump upon a huge stinging nettle, which would have
been a treat to any donkey in the kingdom!
"Oh!--cuss the thing!" shrieked Mr. Spriggs, losing his equanimity with
"Don't be in a passion, Spriggs," said Grubb, laughing.
"Me in a passion?--I'm not in a passion--I'm on'y--on'y--nettled!"
replied he, recovering his legs and his good humour. Mr. Grubb, taking
warning by his friend's slip, cautiously looked out for a narrower part
of the ditch, and executed the saltatory transit with all the agility of
They soon penetrated the thicket, and a bird hopped so near them, that
they could not avoid hitting it.--Grubb fired, and Sprigg's gun echoed
"Ve've done him!" cried Spriggs.
"Ve!--me, if you please."
"Vell--no matter," replied his chum, "you shot a bird, and I shot
too!--Vot's that?--my heye, I hear a voice a hollering like winkin;
Away scampered Spriggs, and off ran Grubb, never stopping till he reached
a high paling, which, hastily climbing, he found himself literally upon
"There's a man a coming, old fellow," said an urchin, grinning.
"A man coming! vich vay? do tell me vich vay?" supplicated the sportsman.
The little rogue, however, only stuck his thumb against his snub
nose--winked, and ran off.
But Mr. Grubb was not long held in suspense; a volley of inelegant
phrases saluted his ears, while the thong of a hunting-whip twisted
playfully about his leg. Finding the play unequal, he wisely gave up the
game--by dropping his bird on one side, and himself on the other; at the
same time reluctantly leaving a portion of his nether garment behind him.
"Here you are!" cried his affectionate friend,--picking him up--"ain't
you cotch'd it finely?"
"Ain't I, that's all?" said the almost breathless Mr. Grubb, "I'm almost
"Dead!--nonsense--to be sure, you may say as how you're off the hooks!
and precious glad you ought to be."
"Gracious me! Spriggs, don't joke; it might ha' bin werry serious," said
Mr. Grubb, with a most melancholy shake of the head:--"Do let's get out
o' this wile place."
"Vy, vat the dickins!" exclaimed Spriggs, "you ain't sewed up yet, are
"No," replied Grubb, forcing a smile in spite of himself, "I vish I vos,
Spriggs; for I 've got a terrible rent here!" delicately indicating the
position of the fracture.
And hereupon the two friends resolving to make no further attempt at
bush-ranging, made as precipitate a retreat as the tangled nature of the
Shooting a Bird, and putting Shot into a Calf!
"On'y think ven ve thought o' getting into a preserve--that ve got into a
pickle," said Sprigg, still chuckling over their last adventure.
"Hush!" cried Grubb, laying his hand upon his arm--"see that bird hopping
"Ve'll soon make him hop the twig, and no mistake," remarked Spriggs.
"There he goes into the 'edge to get his dinner, I s'pose."
"Looking for a 'edge-stake, I dare say," said the facetious Spriggs.
"Now for it!" cried Grubb! "pitch into him!" and drawing his trigger he
accidentally knocked off the bird, while Spriggs discharged the contents
of his gun through the hedge.
"Hit summat at last!" exclaimed the delighted Grubb, scampering towards
the thorny barrier, and clambering up, he peeped into an adjoining
"Will you have the goodness to hand me that little bird I've just shot
off your 'edge," said he to a gardener, who was leaning on his spade and
holding his right leg in his hand.
"You fool," cried the horticulturist, "you've done a precious job--You've
shot me right in the leg--O dear! O dear! how it pains!"
"I'm werry sorry--take the bird for your pains," replied Grubb, and
apprehending another pig in a poke, he bobbed down and retreated as fast
as his legs could carry him.
"Vot's frightened you?" demanded Spriggs, trotting off beside his chum,
"You ain't done nothing, have you?"
"On'y shot a man, that's all."
"It's true--and there'll be the devil to pay if ve're cotched, I can tell
you--'Vy the gardener vill swear as it's a reg'lar plant!--and there
von't be no damages at all, if so be he says he can't do no work, and is
obleeged to keep his bed--so mizzle!" With the imaginary noises of a hot
pursuit at their heels, they leaped hedge, ditch, and style without
daring to cast a look behind them--and it was not until they had put two
good miles of cultivated land between them and the spot of their
unfortunate exploit that they ventured to wheel about and breathe again.
"Vell, if this 'ere ain't a rum go!"--said Spriggs--"in four shots--ve've
killed a pig--knocked the life out o' one dicky-bird--and put a whole
charge into a calf. Vy, if ve go on at this rate we shall certainly be
taken up and get a setting down in the twinkling of a bed-post!"
"See if I haim at any think agin but vot's sitting on a rail or a post"
--said Mr. Richard--"or s'pose Spriggs you goes on von side of an 'edge
and me on t'other--and ve'll get the game between us--and then--"
"Thankye for me, Dick," interrupted Spriggs, "but that'll be a sort o'
cross-fire that I sha'n't relish no how.--Vy it'll be just for all the
world like fighting a jewel--on'y ve shall exchange shots--p'r'aps
vithout any manner o' satisfaction to 'ither on' us. No--no--let's shoot
beside von another--for if ve're beside ourselves ve may commit suicide."
"My vig!" cries Mr. Grubb, "there's a covey on 'em."
"Charge 'em, my lad."
"Stop! fust charge our pieces."
Having performed this preliminary act, the sportsmen crouched in a dry
ditch and crawled stealthily along in order to approach the tempting
covey as near as possible.
Up flew the birds, and with trembling hands they simultaneously touched
"Ve've nicked some on 'em."
"Dead as nits," said Spriggs.
"Don't be in an hurry now," said the cautious Mr. Grubb, "ve don't know
for certain yet, vot ve hav'n't hit."
"It can't be nothin' but a balloon then," replied Spriggs, "for ve on'y
fired in the hair I'll take my 'davy."
Turning to the right and the left and observing nothing, they boldly
advanced in order to appropriate the spoil.
"Here's feathers at any rate," said Spriggs, "ve've blown him to shivers,
"And here's a bird! hooray!" cried the delighted Grubb--"and look'ee,
here's another--two whole 'uns--and all them remnants going for nothing
as the linen-drapers has it!"
"Vot are they, Dick?" inquired Spriggs, whose ornithological knowledge
was limited to domestic poultry; "sich voppers ain't robins or sparrers,
I take it."
"Vy!" said the dubious Mr. Richard-resting on his gun and throwing one
leg negligently over the other--"I do think they're plovers, or larks, or
summat of that kind."
"Vot's in a name; the thing ve call a duck by any other name vould heat
as vell!" declaimed Spriggs, parodying the immortal Shakspeare.
"Talking o' heating, Spriggs--I'm rayther peckish--my stomick's bin
a-crying cupboard for a hour past.--Let's look hout for a hinn!"
An extraordinary Occurrence--a Publican taking Orders.
Tying the legs of the birds together with a piece of string, Spriggs
proudly carried them along, dangling at his fingers' ends.
After tramping for a long mile, the friends at length discovered, what
they termed, an house of "hentertainment."
Entering a parlour, with a clean, sanded floor, (prettily herring-boned,
as the housemaids technically phrase it,) furnished with red curtains,
half a dozen beech chairs, three cast-iron spittoons, and a beer-bleached
mahogany table,--Spriggs tugged at the bell. The host, with a rotund,
smiling face, his nose, like Bardolph's, blazing with fiery meteors, and
a short, white apron, concealing his unmentionables, quickly answered the
"Landlord," said Spriggs, who had seated himself in a chair, while Mr.
Richard was adjusting his starched collar at the window;--"Landlord! ve
should like to have this 'ere game dressed."
The Landlord eyed the 'game' through his spectacles, and smiled.
"Roasted, or biled, Sir?" demanded he.
"Biled?--no:--roasted, to be sure!" replied Spriggs, amazed at his
pretended obtuseness: "and, I say, landlord, you can let us have plenty
o' nice wedgetables."
"Greens?" said the host;--but whether alluding to the verdant character
of his guests, or merely making a polite inquiry as to the article they
desired, it was impossible, from his tone and manner, to divine.
"Greens!" echoed Spriggs, indignantly; "no:--peas and 'taters."
"Directly, Sir," replied the landlord; and taking charge of the two
leetle birds, he departed, to prepare them for the table.
"Vot a rum cove that 'ere is," said Grubb.
"Double stout, eh?" said Spriggs, and then they both fell to a-laughing;
and certain it is, that, although the artist has only given us a draught
of the landlord, he was a subject sufficient for a butt!
"Vell! I must, say," said Grubb, stretching his weary legs under the
mahogany, "I never did spend sich a pleasant day afore--never!"
"Nor I," chimed in Spriggs, "and many a day ven I'm a chopping up the
'lump' shall I think on it. It's ralely bin a hout and houter! Lauk!
how Suke vill open her heyes, to be sure, ven I inform her how ve've bin
out with two real guns, and kill'd our own dinner. I'm bless'd if she'll
"I must say ve have seen a little life," said Grubb.
"And death too," added Spriggs. "Vitness the pig!"
"Now don't!" remonstrated Grubb, who was rather sore upon this part of
the morning's adventures.
"And the gardener,"--persisted Spriggs.
"Hush for goodness sake!" said Mr. Richard, very seriously, "for if that
'ere affair gets vind, ve shall be blown, and--"
--In came the dinner. The display was admirable and very abundant, and
the keen air, added to the unusual exercise of the morning, had given the
young gentlemen a most voracious appetite.
The birds were particularly sweet, but afforded little more than a
mouthful to each.
The 'wedgetables,' however, with a due proportion of fine old Cheshire,
and bread at discretion, filled up the gaps. It was only marvellous
where two such slender striplings could find room to stow away such an
How calm and pleasant was the 'dozy feel' that followed upon mastication,
as they opened their chests (and, if there ever was a necessity for such
an action, it was upon this occasion,) and lolling back in their chairs,
sipped the 'genuine malt and hops,' and picked their teeth!
The talkative Spriggs became taciturn. His gallantry, however, did
prompt him, upon the production of a 'fresh pot,' to say,
"Vell, Grubbs, my boy, here's the gals!"
"The gals!" languidly echoed Mr. Richard, tossing off his tumbler, with a
most appropriate smack.
"Pull the bell, Spriggs," said Mr. Richard, "and let's have the bill."
Mr. Augustus Spriggs obeyed, and the landlord appeared.
"Vot's to pay?"
"Send you the bill directly, gentlemen," replied the landlord, bowing,
and trundling out of the room.
The cook presently entered, and laying the bill at Mr. Grubb's elbow,
took off the remnants of the 'game,' and left the sportsmen to discuss
the little account.
"My eye! if this ain't a rum un!" exclaimed Grubb, casting his dilating
oculars over the slip.
"Vy, vot's the damage?" enquired Spriggs.
"Ten and fourpence."
"Ten and fourpence!--never!" cried his incredulous companion. "Vot a
"Vell!" said Mr. Grubb, with a bitter emphasis, "if this is finding our
own wittles, we'll dine at the hor'nary next time"--
"Let's have a squint at it," said Mr. Spriggs, reaching across the table;
but all his squinting made the bill no less, and he laid it down with a
sigh. "It is coming it rayther strong, to be sure," continued he; "but I
dare say it's all our happearance has as done it. He takes us for people
o' consequence, and"--
"Vot consequence is that to us?" said Grubbs, doggedly.
"Vell, never mind, Dick, it's on'y vonce a-year, as the grotto-boys
"It need'nt to be; or I'll be shot if he mightn't vistle for the brads.
Howsomever, there's a hole in another suv'rin."
"Ve shall get through it the sooner," replied the consoling Spriggs. "I
see, Grubb, there aint a bit of the Frenchman about you"--
"Cos, you know, they're fond o' changing their suv'rins, and--you aint!"
The pleasant humour of Spriggs soon infected Grubb, and he resolved to be
jolly, and keep up the fun, in spite of the exorbitant charge for the
vegetable addenda to their supply of game.
"Come, don't look at the bill no more," advised Spriggs, but treat it as
old Villiams does his servants ven they displeases him."
"Vy, discharge it, to be sure," replied he.
This sage advice being promptly followed, the sportsmen, shouldering
their guns, departed in quest of amusement. They had not, however,
proceeded far on their way, before a heavy shower compelled them to take
shelter under a hedge.
"Werry pleasant!" remarked Spriggs.
"Keep your powder dry," said Grubb.
"Leave me alone," replied Spriggs; "and I think as we'd better pop our
guns under our coat-tails too, for these ere cocks aint vater-cocks, you
know! Vell, I never seed sich a rain. I'm bless'd if it vont drive all
the dickey-birds to their nestes."
"I vish I'd brought a numberella," said Grubbs.
"Lank! vot a pretty fellow you are for a sportsman!" said Spriggs, "it
don't damp my hardour in the least. All veathers comes alike to me, as
the butcher said ven he vos a slaughtering the sheep!"
Mr. Richard Grubb, here joined in the laugh of his good-humoured friend,
whose unwearied tongue kept him in spirits--rather mixed indeed than
neat--for the rain now poured down in a perfect torrent.
"I say, Dick," said Spriggs, "vy are ve two like razors?"
"Cos ve're good-tempered?"
"Werry good; but that aint it exactly--cos ve're two bright blades, vot
has got a beautiful edge!"
"A hexcellent conundrum," exclaimed Grubb. "Vere do you get 'em?'
"All made out of my own head,--as the boy said ven be showed the wooden
top-spoon to his father!"
A sudden Explosion--a hit by one of the Sportsmen, which the other takes
A blustering wind arose, and like a burly coachman on mounting his box,
took up the rain!
The two crouching friends taking advantage of the cessation in the storm,
prepared to start. But in straightening the acute angles of their legs
and arms, Mr. Sprigg's piece, by some entanglement in his protecting
garb, went off, and the barrel striking Mr. Grubb upon the os nasi,
stretched him bawling on the humid turf.
"O! Lord! I'm shot."
"O! my heye!" exclaimed the trembling Spriggs.
"O! my nose!" roared Grubb.
"Here's a go!"
"It's no go!--I'm a dead man!" blubbered Mr. Richard. Mr. Augustus
Spriggs now raised his chum upon his legs, and was certainly rather
alarmed at the sanguinary effusion.
"Vere's your hankercher?--here!--take mine,--that's it--there!--let's
look at it."
"Can you see it?" said Grubb, mournfully twisting about his face most
ludicrously, and trying at the same time to level his optics towards the
"I can't feel it," said Grubb; "it's numbed like dead."
"My gun vent off quite by haccident, and if your nose is spoilt, can't
you have a vax von?--Come, it ain't so bad!"
"A vax von, indeed!--who vouldn't rather have his own nose than all the
vax vons in the vorld?" replied poor Richard. "I shall never be able to
show my face."
"Vy not?--your face ain't touched, it's on'y your nose!"
"See, if I come out agin in an hurry," continued the wounded sportsman.
"I've paid precious dear for a day's fun. The birds vill die a nat'ral
death for me, I can tell you."
"It vos a terrible blow--certainly," said Spriggs; "but these things
vill happen in the best riggle'ated families!"
"How can that be? there's no piece, in no quiet and respectable families
as I ever seed!"
And with this very paradoxical dictum, Mr. Grubb trudged on, leading
himself by the nose; Spriggs exerting all his eloquence to make him think
lightly of what Grubb considered such a heavy affliction; for after all,
although he had received a terrible contusion, there were no bones
broken: of which Spriggs assured his friend and himself with a great deal
Luckily the shades of evening concealed them from the too scrutinizing
observation of the passengers they encountered on their return, for such
accidents generally excite more ridicule than commiseration.
Spriggs having volunteered his services, saw Grubb safe home to his door
in Tower Street, and placing the two guns in his hands, bade him a
cordial farewell, promising to call and see after his nose on the morrow.
The following parody of a customary paragraph in the papers will be
considered, we think, a most fitting conclusion to their day's sport.
"In consequence of a letter addressed to Mr. Augustus Spriggs, by Mr.
Richard Grubb, the parties met early yesterday morning, but after firing
several shots, we are sorry to state that they parted without coming to
any satisfactory conclusion."
Back to Full Books