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tion was sport. He shot or fished, he said, every weekday, all daylight. “But what of Sunday ?” asked St. John.
Oh! on winter Sundays I tie flies, and in summer there are the wasps to kill in the drawing-room windows.” C. did live a long way from church.
But cases like these are quite exceptional; and for the most part, be it well understood, it is not he who lives for sport alone that enjoys sport most; it is not the man who hunts six days out of seven, like “Tom Smith,” that has most pleasure in fox-hunting. The man who really enjoys a run with the hounds is the tired (merchant or student; the overworked lawyer, provided he can still sit a horse across country; the squire whose squireship brings duties and obligations that leave only a little time for sport. Let sportsmen, even of the higher class of mind, remember how St. John regretted being an idle man.
“Sport,” however, is emphatically for the rich. Non cuivis homini contingit ; few can afford Melton, or a deer-forest in Scotland. For this, among other reasons, we welcome another occupation of the rising generation. In our own time a pastime has come in which promises to be for our people what archery was of old. The Rifle requires a good eye, steady hand, nerve, coolness. To have these in perfection supposes vigorous health, the fine condition of the old athletæ. Intemperance is fatal to the rifle shot; even the minor intemperance of tobacco is injurious. These are circumstances which should make favour for this pastime as a pastime. But it has other advantages. We do not speak of its military and political effect at present. Rifle contests, like Cricket in England, like Curling in Scotland, mix all classes in friendly trial of skill, where skill alone wins. The gentleman learns to respect the yeoman who can beat him at the target. The tradesman who is beaten bears no ill will to the gentleman whose better eye or nerve, perhaps his greater sobriety, gave him a higher score. Не even insinuates that he could have beaten the squire if it had not been for that confounded ale-house. We sincerely hope, on all accounts, that the “Rifle movement” may be general and permanent.
With all these inducements to rural pleasure, we are not afraid of our countrymen becoming too fond of sport, -making it too much their chief object of life, and roughening into Nimrods and “Tom Smiths.” The pressure of business and of society is sufficient counterbalance; and with many natures indulgence begets satiety. We have said that our idea of an English country gentleman is somewhat different from that of the biographer of “Tom Smith.” But setting aside our beau idéal, the usual average every-day English country gentle
The English Country Gentleman.
man is something altogether different from the “Squire Westerns” and “ Harkaways” of last century, and, we believe, equally different from the landed proprietor of any other country in the world, in habits and occupation. Look what he is and what he has to do. Our average country gentleman has been educated at a public school and a university, and has brought away some Latin and Greek, and a taste for literature as well as for the classical institutions of cricket and boating. His boyish sports gave him the manly tastes and habits of a sportsman, patient of fatigue, cold, and hunger. Now of middle age, he has dúties which fill a great deal of his time. His family, his neighbours, the superintendence of his farm and his whole estate, claim his attention by turns. He is a magistrate (unpaid), and he does duty at Quarter Sessions. He must attend vestry and parish meetings, road meetings, and numerous boards for the local affairs of his district, especially the administration of the poor-law. Then he has some pursuits not of such rigorous duty, and some hobbies. From the general progress of the country he is much richer than his forefathers, who lived roughly on the same land; and with wealth comes luxury. He loves to adorn his place. He has a taste for gardening and such knowledge of art as education and travel give a man. The house of his forefathers—a square ugly edifice of Queen Anne's time—is capable of improvement, and, bit by bit, he breaks it with gables and oriels, dormers, and garden stairs, into a nondescript but very picturesque mansion. The formal old garden and orchard he has to change and diversify with shrubberies of evergreens and glades of green sward, without spoiling the spacious terrace, and the straight avenue of noble elms. Then there is the library to keep up. It is not like the one at Althorp, for our country gentleman is an average one, but it goes back a few generations, and has a sprinkling of Cavalier pamphlets, and a fair representation of the literature when Pope sang and Addison supplied the want of The Times and Saturday Revieur. It is a pleasant occupation for time and money to keep it up as it should be, and be assured it requires some judgment and accomplishment. The squire is no deep scholar, but he can correct his boys' exercises, and has even a weakness for Latin verses, and sometimes throws off such jingle as the following:
“Rideant vernæ attonitusque pagus
Saxa tollentem nitidos per agros,
picking stones. spudding thistles.
Liber horarum dominus mearum
Vatis Horati.” 1
“Let them still stare and laugh, the village clowns,
As, picking stones, I wander through the park,
Death deal to thistles.
Lord absolute of my own acts and hours,
Find light for play.
Horace's sapphics." The old family pictures, though not of high merit, are to be preserved, and the walls of the new rooms require some good specimens of modern art. Mamma must have her children's pictures by Frank Grant and James Swinton, and a few costly miniatures of Thorburn and Ross, but the squire has a longing for a landscape of Callcott, or a scene by Phillip to remind him of an early ramble in Andalusia.
The yearly visit to Town may be put down as a sacrifice to fashion. But it is not for fashion that the family move in autumn to Scotland. The squire calls that his holiday. He has formed a second home in the glen where his boys have grouse-shooting and salmon-fishing, and the girls, if they don't make much of trout-fishing, at least learn to walk. They go down without equipage or horses, and live that free simple life which makes the month at the Glen the happiest of their year. They are getting very fond of half a dozen shepherds' families near them, and pretend that the Highlanders are more gentle, as well as more intelligent, than the sturdy clod-hoppers of their English valley.
Returning from Scotland—business has accumulated, and the 1 The “English country gentleman” who penned these rustic rhymes was Robert Viscount Hampden. His collected poems—altogether delightful, if the shape and type were not too magnificent, were published at Parma typis Bodonianis—by his son.
The English Country Gentleman.
squire has not time for partridge-shooting but as needful exercise. A day of pheasant-shooting is hardly sport; but when his duties and occupations leave an idle day, with what pleasure does our squire mount his favourite old horse for a near meet of the Duke's hounds! Perhaps he might not have believed he had leisure, if the young Etonian who is at home for Christmas did not convince him. Together they ride out, and the boy admires “the Governor's" straight riding and knowledge of country. The frost comes just in time, for the full moon has brought a new flight of woodcocks, and the squire makes a holiday to show the young fellow some covert shooting, and make him admire the thriving new plantation and the rides he has cut through the old wood; and to be sure they are admired as only a son can admire a father's work and his own place.
Our English country gentleman unlike his forefathers is quite temperate. The “ October” of his grandsire and his father's bottle of Port are fined down into a glass of sherry and a pint of claret. His health is good, because mind and body are sufficiently occupied with cheerful and varied work. He is a good parent, master, landlord, neighbour. His people have always been so in worse times, and he is not to degenerate. It is a slander to say he prefers his pheasants to his tenants, and the cottages on his estate are in good repair as well as his kennels. He is a churchman, of the Established Church, and never thought of any other. The parish living is in his gift, and will be enjoyed by any one of the younger sons who takes to learning and shows a vocation. In politics the family have always been Tories, but our squire has outlived the delusion of “ Protection to native industry” from finding that industry thrives best unprotected, and that his rents are rising under free trade. He confesses that the Reform Act was a bitter pill, but it has brought him and the neighbouring farmers to a kindlier understanding, and he is becoming quite acceptable on the hustings and at election canvasses. His son, the young Etonian, who is popular as the captain of the Volunteer Rifles, and leader of the village eleven at cricket, is even getting up some topics for a concio ad populum when he shall be old enough to stand for the neighbouring borough, and thinks of enrolling himself as a follower of Lord Stanley.
We feel what we have written is a rough and unworthy sketch of the country life of England. It may serve our present purpose, which is partly to tell foreigners how we live. When any country can show the proprietors of its soil so occupied, so amused, it will have secured one element of the greatness and the happiness of Britain.
ART. II.--1. Exposé de la Théorie Mécanique de la Chaleur.
Par M. VERDET. Paris, Hachette et Cie., 1863. 2. Heat considered as a Mode of Motion. By JOHN TYNDALL,
F.R.S. etc. London, Longmans, 1863.
VARIOUS considerations appear to render it desirable that we should attempt to give a popular account of modern discovery with regard to the nature, and the mode of action, of Heat. And it will be peculiarly gratifying to our readers to find that to this country, which has so far outstripped the rest of the world in the development and use of machines in which heat is the motive power, is also mainly due the credit of having produced those philosophers who have traced to its origin the vast mechanical effect which is everywhere derived from the combustion of coal through the agency of the steam or the air engine. The only popular treatises on this important subject, with which we are acquainted, are indicated above, and will be examined briefly towards the close of the Article.
What is Heat ?- We have no wish to stupify our readers with the metaphysical arguments on this question, which, in countless heaps, encumber the shelves of mediæval libraries ; nor do we think that if we had ourselves attempted their perusal, we should now be able, with a clear head and unpuzzled mind, to sit down to our work. From the earliest times man's apprehension of the connexions and bearings of natural phenomena has been rendered uncertain and imperfect by his wilfully ignoring the great fact that Natural Philosophy is an experimental, and not an intuitive, science. No à priori reasoning can conduct us definitely to a single physical truth, and what has been called the Principle of Sufficient Reason has led to numberless mistakes in science, of the most pernicious character. Hence it matters not to us what Aristotle or Bacon may have laid down, Locke and Descartes imagined, or Leibnitz stolen, with regard to the nature of heat. Locke, it is true, was correct in his results, so far at least as our present information enables us to judge, but his method will not bear a moment's scrutiny. Let metaphysicians keep to their proper speculations, about mind and thought, where they are, at all events, safe from being proved to be in the wrong, however extravagant their conclusions may appear to the less presumptuous, and therefore if on no other account) less fallible, student of the laws of matter.
We shall not waste much time in a preliminary sketch of the early history of our subject. It might, perhaps, be made very attractive, but the materials for it have not yet, to our knowledge, been collected. The rapid march of modern discovery