THE FORCE OF NAMES;
IN speaking last week of the Game-Laws, we referred to the delusion kept up by the remains of feudality connected with them: If sporting were not considered a gentleman's privilege, it would be very differently regarded from the light in which it is now held: If it had ascended from the mob, instead of descending from the nobility, its eStiniatien would be as low as it is now high. People are little apt to see beyond the.surface: who that lived in another 'social atmosphere, and only looked at things as they are, would believe that to kill vermin or wild-fowl was a gentlemanly occupa- tion, while to write in a newspaper was held to be the occupation of a low fellow? Should any body, now-a-days, when newspapers are getting fashionable, be inclined to cry Oh and deny the fact, let him sit at an aristocrat's table, and hear how the people of the press-gang are esteemed—when, indeed, any body condescends to notice their existence. All this comes of feudality ; and it will be long before it is eradicated, and that things are held at their just worth—their modern value.
What but the blind of grand names could conceal the nothing- ness of the deeds daily recorded of the nobility ? and how absurdly do the newspapers, that ought to know better, condescend to keep up the error? Is it of any more importance to the world, that Lord LONDONDERRY or the Duke of DEVONSHIRE arrives in town at this or that hotel, than that Snaggs, the horse-dealer, has stopped at the Blue Anchor, in John Street, Smithfield ? Why do we daily read of dinners, balls, and parties? Are they not given by others than the great ? Do the nobility eat or dance better than the people at the Great Room in Cateaton Street? We are never told who Miss Hutchins or Miss Hooker waltzed with. Thing the folly to the test of low names, and its absurdity is manifest. • Was there ever any thing in this world so monstrously ridiculous as the manner in which the "feats of arms" are re- corded at the commencement of every sporting-season ? What sort of figure would a battu cut, if narrated by a person emanci- pated from the illusion which springs out of the Game-Laws ? A bird is a bird, be it pheasant or fowl ; a man is a man, be he duke or farmer: yet, when Lord VERULAM or Lord ESSEX drives his game into a corner, and, with a few friends, shoots at it all day, nobody laughs ; and, what is more, the newspapers next day ring with their exploits—the heads of game are counted—dex- terity is applauded—the slaughter is extolled—and, to crown all, we are told how and where the party dined ; as if their very dining all night were as wonderful as their shooting all day. What sneers and jeers would there be if the story were told of plain untitled men, unprivileged to be absurd ! Suppose the Morning Post ran thus :— " Mr. Jenkins, Mr. Stubbs, and some other gentlemen, met on Wednes- day last at the farm-yard of Mr. Egginton, of Puddlepool, and enjoyed the finest day's sport remembered in that part of the country. The abundance and high state of preservation of the game-fowl at PudOlepool is well known ; and on this occasion Mr. Egginton had collected his whole stock from different walks in the neighbourhood; the yard literally swarmed with the finest and fattest birds the market can produce. The melee began at ten o'clock. Mr. Jenkins had three double-barrelled Mantons, and was backed by his bailiff and two ploughmen, dressed in their best smock-frocks, and who loaded as fast as Mr. J. fired. Mr. Stubbs was similarly attended. Mr. Egginton and his servants showed the game, and drove them from the cow and other houses as fast as they sought refuge from the powerful artillery of these celebrated marksmen. The day proved un- usually bloody. The heads of poultry bagged were enormous. Mr. Jen- kins killed ten cocks, seventy-five hens, of the Dorking breed, seven cocks and thirty-two hens, of the true game sort, twenty-one brace of bantams, and, accidentally, a great number of smaller birds, such as sparrows and chaffinches. Mr. Stubbs also greatly distinguished himself. The party afterwards sat down to an excellent dinner, which did honour to Mrs. Egginton's cookery : that lady is, indeed, notorious for her house- wifery."