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breach of the law, he would come to we would retrace our steps. Upon commy study, and over a jug of ale discussing to where we had entered the lane, plans for a lesson in the ways of night he again closely watched for a sign, at and night-prowlers. So the following the same time muttering: “Yes, jus' afternoon saw us in the heart of the so; I think we're about right; from the country, prepared to practise, up to a direction of the hounds it must be the certain point, the poacher's wiles on same one as has this run.” Then, after those lands over which I myself, or a listening to the far-away music to our friend in the secret, held the sporting left, he motioned me to crouch in the rights. Soon I became conversant with bracken which grew along the ditch. the paths usually trodden by unprinci- “Now, whatever I do, mind follow pled thieves, and from what I saw I me, sir.” Five minutes passed. “Here gathered quite enough to convince me she comes. Keep low !” With a shamthat the poacher has never yet revealed bling, leisurely stride, down the lane his ways to a book-reading public. For- came the hunted animal, straight toiunate, indeed, for the average sports- ward us, betraying no anxiety but for man is his silence!
those she knew were on her track, her Old Evan's friendship for me dates ears turned to catch the distant babble. back to such a day with the beagles as Just as she passed our hiding-place out I have already mentioned. Immedi- shot old Evan's arm to clutch her hind ately the fussy little hounds had leg in a firm grasp. As quick as “found” among the ferns at the top thought the other hand was placed over of Corrwg woods, and just as I was her mouth to stop her cries. Then up buttoning my coat for the long run I we jumped, and off we started along the had promised myself as a welcome exer- fence toward the crest of the neighborcise, I felt a hand on my shoulders ing bank, where last we had heard the and, turning, saw the famous poacher beagle's music. retreating toward the copse, and beck- As we came in sight of the furzeoning me to follow.
covered hill, the last of the hounds “ Come with me, sir. We'll see the could be seen leaving the tangle in the hare a precious deal more than them as opposite direction. Down we rushed goes after her. What's to be gained in along another hedgerow to the bottom watchin' her runnin' at such a bat as of the dingle. There the hare was carethem ther' little beagles will never fully dipped in the clear, cold stream catch her in? I owes a grudge to that that overflowed a cattle-trough, and afhuntsman, too, and with all his toot- terward released among the thickest of tootin' I'll bet he won't get that ther the brakes. hare to-day, unless p'raps my reck'nin's " Aye, it seems to me they'll come to out. No! No law-breakin', sir; I'm a check up yonder. And if they hunts too old for larks now. But we'll see this scrub again I misdoubt me if some fun, and help the poor hare. The they'll wind her well after that cold odds is fairer now, twenty to three, not bath she took.” We wandered back in twenty to one timid thing.”
time to see the beagles completely puzWondering at what he might mean, zled, and to hear the members of the I followed my guide about half a mile hunt make sage remarks anent “ riding at right angles to the direction taken over the hounds” and “a wretched by the hunt, over turnips and a wheat hunting day, sir; scent lies bad!” stubble to the entrance of a narrow Presently the puppies, intent upon some grass-grown lane, where only the ruts sort of sport, spread out in a long line, made by the wheels of great hay wagons with whimpering tones, in pursuit of showed a sign of traffic Walking the farmer's sheep dog, which they quickly along the hedgerow Evan chased for over a mile toward the farmstopped at one gap after another, ex- pard. amining the briars and soft spots in Manyan October night I hare the bank. Apparently satisfied, just watched the silent lurcher at work, as we reached the end he whispered that beating the fallow as systematically as any setter, till presently the net flew eyes glittering like live coals. Together out and the screaming hare fell entan- they proceeded, quite amicably, to feed gled in its folds, oftener than not to be upon the rabbit which, apparently, the released for another chance of life when fox had driven in from the stubble to the old pointer should stand over her in the burrow where his mate was waitthe furrow. Or in the evening, com- ing. Just as they were finishing their pletely hidden among the strewn leaves meal, old Evan, mimicking the call of of late autumn, and enveloped in thick the vixen, uttered a wild " yah!” The coats and mackintoshes, old Evan and effect was instantaneous. At once the I have crouched together watching the jealous creature, with her fur standing movements of a covey which, enticed ruffled up around her neck and along by the “ tse-wheet! tse-wheet!” of the her spine, came with crouching stealth charmer, had come over the hedge to toward the brambles among which we within a few yards of where we lay lay concealed, and actually sniffed at The use of a binocular would frequently the twigs which hid my companion's enable us to see what they were feeding face. Something—unknown to us, as upon.
we dared not move our heads—must The cry of the trapped leveret—a have now occurred, for, after listening high-pitched, long-drawn “aht! aht!”, intently for a moment, she passed bemimicked perfectly, would—sometimes hind and disappeared with the fox into long before we knew it-bring the anx- the wood. ious mother from the summer corn to The utmost discretion and preparawhere we lay in the clover.
tion are needed for the successful study Speaking generally, it is well to keep of wild creatures in their haunts. And away from hedgerows when Juring it is quite an error to suppose that everycreatures by mimicking their cries, for thing concerning the wonderful intelliblackbirds all through the year frequent gence displayed by our field and woodthe thickets which divide the fields, land dwellers has appeared in print. and of all notes of alarm theirs are most Even the earthworm, the commonest of observed by fur and feather. Many a creatures, irrigating our gardens and carefully laid plan have I known spoiled ventilating the roots of our flowers, was by a blackbird's rattling warning. A never understood till Darwin wrote the furze clump in the middle of the field story of its life. Sportsmen are more is a capital spot for observation. or less degenerating into_mere riding Waterproofs and dry leaves screened us or shooting machines, and as a rule almost invariably, and, in certain places know little of the habits of the creatures used frequently, heaps of these withered they pursue. How few there are who leaves were collected beforehand. Con possess, in even a trifling degree, that sequently, no suspicion was entertained insight and patience displayed in the by the field and woodland dwellers, for writings of White of Selborne, Richard we were clothed in the garment worn Jefferies, and “ The Son of the by the woods themselves.
Marshes!” One night, after a varied entertain. The rooks have left their summer ment had been afforded us by creatures haunts on the hillside for the great that prowled around for food, a vixen trees which stand in the valley, whither, stole into the moonlight of the wood in dense array, they fly at approach of clearing, and took up her post beside a night. The squirrel, now that the nuts warren. Presently we heard the “yap! and acorns have fallen from the hazels yap!” of the fox in the neighboring and oaks, is frequently seen about the stubble, and shortly afterward saw a fields near the woods, searching for winrabbit come quietly down the glade, till, ter stores. when almost touching its crouching At the fall of the year, birds and enemy, it was seized and killed. The beasts, with the exception of those vixen, taking her prey in her mouth, which are gregarious, forcibly drive then went to meet her lord. At the end their young from their homes. In of the glade he appeared in view, his some cases of speedy maturity the notice to quit is given earlier still; in oth- the northern dwellers fly toward ers only when food in the immediate more open and hospitable shores, neighborhood becomes too scarce to sup- away from the direction of the ply sufficient for more than individual biting blast. Our summer songsters, wants.
to whose light pinions a hundred miles Before the end of October—the time are but a trifling distance, when they of the first frosts—nearly all our feath- flit away in their turn toward more ered visitors have forsaken our shores. genial climes are probably guided to a Frosts kill the insect life of the year. great extent by the same desire to leave Our emigrants — warblers, swallows, behind them the cold winds. woodpeckers, nightjars, cuckoos, and Intelligent caution is displayed in the certain other insectivorous birds— direction of their flight, and, I believe, when unable to procure their food, in certain deliberations which seem to leave us for the south, where flies and precede their departure, for they choose grubs are always abundant provender the shortest sea-passages, and often Grain and berry feeders, birds of prey, pause to recuperate in Devonshire or and those which subsist on almost any. Cornwall after crossing St. George's thing and to whom a change of diet is Channel on their way from Wales to welcome, as a rule remain in Britain, the Continent. Hunger and, more for winter with us is rarely severe, and especially, thirst, are their greatest enethey are always able to procure suffi- mies in migration. cient food when scattered over a suit “ Drip! drip!" the few green boughs able district. Then, too, the holly and shake off the cold sweat of approaching larch and furze are snug shelter. death. Tread softly over the strewn
Our immigrants arrive about the graves of summer. Harvest is past. time that northern regions are frost- Life is falling to sleep. The sun goes bound. They are either marsh or coast early to the west, decked in red and purbirds, or grain feeders, and come hither ple splendor. At night, when the moon only when their former haunts have lies in the arms of a gray cloud, a chill become frozen, and aquatic life and mist hangs upon the shivering earth, grain and fruit too safely protect- veiling the trees and meadows in dim ed by the grim frost-guardian. This obscurity.-Gentleman's Magazine. is part of nature's great scheme:
THE EMPRESS-REGENT OF CHINA.
THE most interesting personage in this was a most anomalous arrangeChina during the past thirty years has ment: nothing more certain to lead to been and still is without doubt the lady trouble could be conceived. Under whom we style Empress-dowager. She such a régime harmony in the State was never Empress, not even as imperi- could not have been maintained had the al consort, having been but the second- two women been angels, whereas only ary wife of Hsien-fêng, the Emperor one of them could by any reasonable who fled from his capital on the ap- use of language be assigned to that orproach of the Anglo-French forces in der of beings, and she the childless one. 1860. But she took the title as the The female duumvirate was not what mother of that ill-starred monarch's was intended—was, in fact, an unforeheir, in which capacity she was allowed seen result of the last will and testato share with the widow proper the ment of the Emperor Hsien-fêng, who regency during the minority of the died at his hunting-lodge at Jého, Emperor Tung Chih (or Chê, for there whither he himself had been hunted by is no agreement as to the transliteration the victorious invaders; and as the conof Chinese sounds). To our notions sequences have been so curious and so important, it may be well to recall the man or divine, it is needless to particutransaction in brief and very imperfect larize. The dilatory Chinese can be outline.
prompt enough on occasion, as has reThe fundamental law of the Ta-tsing cently been seen, and Prince Kung took dynasty is the Salic law. No woman the very first opportunity of executing and no eunuch can ever reign or rule. the plot hatched by his sister-in-law. Conforming to the laws of his house, The Regents were returning from the the Emperor in his will nominated a obsequies of the deceased Emperor Council of Regency during the minority when Prince Kung launched trumpedof his infant son, afterward known as up charges against them of neglect of the Emperor Tung-chih. The Council certain funeral rites, had them arrested was composed of two imperial princes on the road, and executed. By this and the Minister Sun-chê. To his two summary violence the two Empresses wives, the true but childless one and the were securely established as Regents, secondary one, who was mother of the with Prince Kung as Chancellor of the Prince Imperial, he bequeathed the empire. guardianship of the infant. The Em- For a few years things went smoothpero placed his real confidence in the ly. Prince Kung was ably assisted in first, the legal wife; but he was fond of the government by Wên-si’ang, Hanki, the other, the mother of his heir. A and other patriotic statesmen, who serious dilemma thus confronted him, seem to have left no worthy successors. which he thought to evade by placing The two Regents seldom met, for the in the hands of the Empress a private palace in Peking is a town rather than and personal testament, giving her ab- a building, or, rather, it is a series of solute authority over her colleague, palaces separated by wide areas. only to be exercised, however, in certain from the relative position of the emergencies. As a matter of fact, the buildings in which they had their repower was never called into exercise. spective apartments, the ladies were
The Empress-mother was twenty- known as the Eastern and Western Emseven years old, clever, ambitious, and presses, the former being the title comapparently fearless. She saw with en- monly applied to the one whom we vy the whole power of the State pass- have termed the true Empress. ing into the hands of the Council of The Court on its return from volunRegency, while the two widows were tary exile was naturally on its best berelegated to a quite subordinate place. havior, having to feel its way with the Brooding over this imaginary wrong, foreign Powers who had established she conceived a scheme by which the their representatives in the capital. position might be reversed, and confid- The Powers on their part were induled it to her brother-in-law, Prince gent, moved thereto by the circumKung—the same who, for many years, stances of the Court, a child on the presided over the Tsungli-yamên with throne under the guardianship of two such genial urbanity; the same who re- widows. Moreover, a great calamity cently died and came to life again, hung over the Chinese empire in the then died for good. The ambition form of a devastating rebellion, which which the Empress-mother confided to was a danger to foreign interests only Prince Kung was nothing less than to second to that to the Chinese themsuppress the Council of Regency, and selves. Hence, by common consent, set up in its place the authority of the the Government and the Court were two Empresses. Inasmuch, however, treated with anxious deference by the as they were ignorant of affairs, and representatives of the Western nations, women to boot, the Prince himself was who could seek no audience of the into be the real executive and de facto fant, and, not knowing what to do ruler of the empire. Prince Kung about the two women, did nothing. yielded to the seduction, and thus be- So the Palace and the Forbidden City came accessory to the violation of the were kept sealed against intrusion, and dynastic law-of what other law, hu- the domestic drama was allowed free play within the precincts. The young the “only man in the empire.” PosEmperor was growing toward maturity, sessed by three passions, of which the so, in an even more important sense, two having pelf and power for their was his imperial mother, the rising and object have survived the more transient the ruling spirit in the whole ménage. one, and still gather strength with adHer consort, the “ Eastern ” Empress, vancing years, the portrait of her Mawas full of gentleness, meditation, and jesty that is most intelligible to the widowhood; in private life her exam- European comprehension is that which ple would have ensured the highest represents her as a counterpart of Cathcommendation, with a chance of post- erine II. What she might have been humous honors. She was, therefore, un- with Catherine's Christian education, equally yoked with her sterner sister, and unhandicapped by enforced secluand the pair could never have really sion, it would be idle to guess. It may, worked together to any practical end indeed, seem strange that a woman so The eclipse of the weaker luminary endowed should have been content to was only a question of time.
pass her public life behind the screen; What transpires in an oriental pal- but there have been many masterful ace is filtered through such miasmatic women before her to whom the purda media that every separate detail is offered but a flimsy obstacle to the exopen to something more than ordinary ercise of their power. suspicion, and first impressions may Of the scandals of the Palace it form a distorted picture. But in the would serve no useful purpose to long run, after cancelling out contra- speak in detail; while on the other hand dictions and threshing the residue, ap- it is impossible to ignore them altoproximations to the truth may be ar- gether, since they have been a factor rived at, more or less definite, accord- in Palace politics, and the source of ing to the force of the personalities some of the bitterest family quarrels. concerned. Where the character is fee. The eunuch, at all events, is a feature ble its spectrum fails to penetrate the of Palace life which may be accepted as thick vapors that surround it, and is historical-a convenient medium both liable to be refracted into the semblance for catering for his owner's whims and of something unlike itself. This was for making free with his secrets, and the case with Prince Ch’un, the father her Majesty has been both well and illof the present Emperor, who, so long served by those obsequious ministrants. as he remained in seclusion, was be- An intense curiosity has always been lieved to be a violent reactionary, the one of her marked characteristics, a most vehement opponent of foreigners feeling which she has taken every and their ideas, head of the “war par- means convenient to her station to gratty," and so forth. But when the fall ify. There was once a story of her of his elder brother, Kung, in 1884, salad days when her practised eye fell necessitated the emergence of Prince upon a young gallant attached to one Ch’un from retirement, and his as- of the European legations, to whom ocsumption of important public offices, cult intelligence was conveyed through the mask was found to have covered appropriate channels. Adonis would features of the mildest type. The fire- not have been wholly averse from learneater roared like a sucking-dove. He ing something of that mysterious inwas liberal and well-disposed to for- terior from which diplomatists were eigners, demeaning himself toward severely excluded, but it was supposed them absolutely like a gentleman, and he yielded to the advice of his comwinning golden opinions wherever he rades, who represented that getting in appeared.
might be easier than getting safely out There was never such ambiguity of such a galère. about the Empress-regent. No veil was The Empress-regent ruled China for thick enough to hide her character. twenty-eight years, from 1861 to 1889, Her career has been consistent, and she a period embracing two minorities of remains what she has often been called, equal duration. In comparison with