14 AUGUST 1841, Page 12


" Now comes in the sweetest morsel of the night, and we must hence and leave it unpick't," growls Falstaff when he is told,

" As I came Rion:, I met and overtook a dozen captains, Bareheaded, sweating, knocking at the taverns, And asking every one for Sir John Falstaff"

The mandates of the Ministerial and Opposition leaders in the House of Commons, to appear at St. Stephen's on the 19th instant, must have encountered on the part of sporting Members of Parlia- ment a similar spirit of mutinous obedience. Thursday the 12th of August, "grouse-shooting begins"; Friday 20th August, "black- cock shooting begins" ; Wednesday 1st September, "Partridge- shooting begins": in the midst of these red-letter days, to see inscribed "Thursday 19th August, Parliamentary speech-making begins," is mortification enough to try a saint. It is barely possible for those who have lingered on the moors to catch a few flying shots on the 12th, to reach London by the time Parliament sits, with an appetite stimulated, not satiated. The sportsman will fall asleep in the House on the 19th, and dream of the breezes that sweep the moor, and the crow of the black-cock as he springs from the heather, and the whistle of his wings as he sweeps down the wind; and a roar of " Hear, hear I " will awaken him to a stifling atmosphere, and Rude lights, and interminable speeches. He will not be able to pass a poulterer's shop without stopping to moralize—" These grouse ought to have been of my shooting : most likely my rascally gamekeeper has sent them here as a private speculation of his own. The crack shots of the Conservative side have some compensation in the prospect of victory, but it is hard upon the Whigs to leave their sport for assured defeat. It would nothing surprise us to learn that the attractions of the Moors have diminished the Ministerial mino- rity by some dozen votes. To strut in the circles of London as M.P. during " the season," requires no great stretch of patriotic devotion ; but to leave grouse and partridges " a-Parliamenting," is equal to dying for one's country. Slanderous persons have sometimes hinted that great landowners have been found more chary of their game than their principles. Our noble game-pre- servers in the vicinity of London have a splendid opportunity of clearing themselves from the scandal: let them throw open their preserves to all Members of Parliament whom the untimely session detains from their own more distant manors. Virtue is its own reward; and as the harvest is likely to be late, what they lose in game they may gain in the rise of the price of corn from the trampling down of unreaped crops.