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the skirmishers came running in, the with Burnaby's blood. But he could last couple of them were hard pressed give no efficient assistance, and was by the pursuing Arabs, and two of lucky in being able to return to the them were killed. Burnaby rode
square. out a little way to the assistance “During the Nile Campaign, Sir Wilof the in-running skirmishers, his liam Gordon-Cumming wrote cononly arm being his sword-he had stantly to the Prince of Wales, describleft his double-barrelled gun with ing the progress of the campaign. his servant inside the square. His Some of those letters I have seen. In
horse had been shot that the letter describing Abu Klea, Cummorning, and he was riding a screw ming tells of Burnaby's death, and borrowed from the 19th Hussar de. how he ran out in hope to bring his tachment. He rode straight at wounded comrade in. Three of the mounted Sheikh chasing a skirmisher Arabs who had been hacking at Burnwith levelled spear. At sight of him, aby came at Cumming. 'One of the Arab changed direction and made these,' wrote Cumming, I bowled for Burnaby.
over with a bullet through the stom“Just as they were closing a young ach from my revolver. Before startsoldier named Laporte sent a bullet ing on the desert march I had my through the Arab, who fell with a sword ground as sharp as razor. crash. A foot spear's man promptly When the second man neared me. I darted on Burnaby, pointing at his cut his head clean off
with one throat the broad, sharp blade of his Dlow. Number three dodged, and as eight-foot long spear. Burnaby par- I was following him, he was shot ried and wounded the Moslem. The dead by bullet fired from the duel between them continued for square.' above minute, Burnaby cutting, "When Burnaby arrived at Korti, pointing and parrying, the supple Wolseley appointed him first to the In. Arab lunging vicious thrusts at the big telligence Department, and later to : British officer fast in the saddle. A position
his Own staff. After second Arab, darting by in pursuit of Stewart had gone forward to Takdul, a skirmisher, with a sudden turn ran Wolseley bethought himself of possihis spear into Burnaby's right shoulder ble contingencies, and sent up Burnfrom behind. A soldier darted out and aby with about one hundred (amels to bayoneted this man. Burnaby glancer join Stewart, and with Wolseley's orover his shoulder for a second at the der in his pocket to take command in transaction, and in that second his case of casualty to Stewart. Meanfirst antagonist dashed his spear full while he was not to be on Stewart's into Burnaby's throat. He fell from staff, but as the expression is in the the saddle, the blood spurting from the German army and in our diplomatii jugular; as he sank the Arab stabbed service, en disponibilité, and he devoted him
second time, and he lay himself to the Intelligence Service. On prone.
the night before Abu Klea Stewart "A rush of Arabs were upon hini. gave him command of a section of the He had strength enough to struggle to square, which constituted him in effect his feet, and with the blood pouring Brigadier-General for the time. He from his gashed throat, he whirled his
acting Brigadier-General sword around him till he fell dead. when he was killed." Young Laporte sprang to his aid, and He sleeps now, as he always yearned got so near that his sleeve was Wet to rest, in a soldier's grave, dug by
chance on the Dark Continent whose 188). His grave is nameless. Its innermost recesses he hoped some day place in the lonely desert no man to explore.
knoweth. The date of his death is January 17,
Henry W. Lucy. The Cornhill Magazine.
(To be continued.)
THE SACRED BIRD.
We all know what is meant the foumart; while the list of rapacious by the “sacred bird"; mistake birds included the eagle, goshawk, buzis possible seeing that this is not an. zard, kite, hen-harrier, peregrine falcon, cient Egypt, or Hindustan, or Samoa, and hobby, as well as all the species or any remote barbarous land, where which still survive, only in very much certain of the creatures are regarded larger numbers. Then there were the with a kind of religious veneration. crow's: judging from the number of We call our familiar pheasant sacred to bones of the raven found at Silchester express condemnation of the persons we can only suppose that this chief and who devote themselves with excessive most destructive of the corvidæ was a zeal to the sport of pheasant-shooting. protected species and existed in a semi
To shoot a pheasant is undoubtedly domestic state and was extremely abunthe best way to kill it, and would still dant in and round Calleva-probably at le the best way-certainly better than all the Roman stations. It is probable wringing its neck-even if these semi- that a few tame pheasants escaped domestic birds were wholly domestic, from time to time into the woods, also as I am perfectly sure they were in the soine may have been turned out in the time of the Romans who first intro- hope that they would become acclimaduced them into these islands. I am tized, and we may suppose that a few sure of it because this Asiatic ground- of the most hardy birds survived and bird, which in two thousand years has continued the species until later times; not become wholly native, and, as or- but for hundreds of years succeeding nithologists say, is in no sense an Eng- the Romano-British period the pheasant lish bird, could not have existed and must have been a rarity in English been abundant in the conditions which woods. And a rarity it remains down prevailed in Roman times. The fact to this day in all places where it is left that pheasant bones come next in quan- to itself, in spite of the extermination tity to those of the domestic fowl in of most of its natural enemies. Unthe ash and bone pits examined by happily for England the fashion or experts during the excavations at Sil- craze for this bird became common chester shows that the bird was a com- among landowners in recent timesmon article of food.
The country the desire to make it artificially abunabout Silchester was a vast oak forest dant so that an estate which yielded a at that period, probably very sparsely dozen or twenty birds a year to the inhabited; a portion of the forest exists sportsman would be made to yield a to this day, and is in fact one of my thousand. This necessitated the defavorite haunts. The fox, stoat and struction of all the wild life supposed sparrowhawk were not the only ene- in any way and in any degree to be mies of the pheasant then: the wolf inimical to the protected species. existed, the wild cat, the marten and Worse still. men to police the woods, armed with guns, traps and poison, persuaded the great nobleman who had were required. Consider what this recently come into possession of the esmeans—men who are hired to provide tate to allow him to kill the herons bea big head of game, privileged to carry cause their cries frightened the pheasa gun day and night all the year round, ants. They were shot on the nests to shoot just what they please! For after breeding began; yet the great nowho is to look after them on their own bleman who allowed this to be done is ground to see that they do not destroy known to the world as a humane and scheduled species? They must be al- enlightened man, and, I hear, boasts ways shooting something; that is simply that he has never shot a bird in his life! a reflex effect of the liberty they have He allowed it to be done because he and of the gun in the hand. Killing wanted pheasants for his sporting becomes a pleasure to them, and with friends to have their shoot in October, or without reason or excuse they are al- and he supposed that his keeper knew ways doing it-always adding to the best what should be done. list of creatures to be extirpated, and Another instance, also on a great when these fail adding others. “I know estate of a great nobleman in southern perfectly well,” said a keeper to me, England. Throughout a long mid“that the nightjar is harmless; I don't June day I heard the sound of firing in believe a word about its swallowing the woods, beginning at about eight pheasants' eggs, though many keepers o'clock in the morning and lasting until think they do. I shoot them, it is dark. The shooters ranged over the true, but only for pleasure.” So it whole woods; I had never, even in Ochas come about that wherever pheas- tober, heard so much firing on an esants are strictly preserved, hawks-in- tate in one day. I enquired of several cluding those that prey on mice, moles, persons, some employed on the estate, wasps, and small birds; also the owls, as to the meaning of all this firing, and all the birds of the crow family, and was told that the keeper was ridsaving the rook on account of the land. ding the woods of some of the vermin. owner's sentiment in its favor; and More than that they refused to say; but after them the nightjar and the wood- by and by I found a person to tell me peckers and most other species about just what had happened: The head the size of a chaffinch-are treated as keeper had got twenty or thirty per"vermin." The case of the keeper sons, the men with guns and a number who shot all the nightingales because of lads with long poles with hooks to their singing kept the pheasants awake pull nests down, and had set himself to at night sounds like a fable. But it rid the woods of birds that were not is no fable; there are several instances wanted. All the nests found, of whatof this having been done, all well au- ever species, were pulled down, and all tbenticated.
doves, woodpeckers, nuthatches, blackHere is another case which came un- birds, missel and song thrushes, shot; der my own eyes.
It is of an old her- also chaffinches and many other small onry in a southern county, in the park birds. The keeper said he was not goof a great estate about which there was ing to have the place swarming with some litigation a few years back. On birds that were no good for anything, my last visit to this heronry at and were always eating the pheasants' the breeding season I found the food. The odd thing in this case was nests hanging empty and desolate that the owner of the estate and his in the trees near the great house, and son, a distinguished member of the was told that the new head keeper had House of Commons, are both great bird.
lovers, and at the very time that this lasts for an hour or so, and then hideous massacre in mid-June was go- all goes on as before. I have never ing on they were telling their friends known a keeper to be discharged exin London that a pair of birds of a fine cept for the one offence of dealing in species, long extirpated in southern game and eggs on his own account. In England, had come to their woods to everything else he has a free hand; if breed. A little later the head keeper it is not given him he takes it, and reported that these same fine birds bad there is nothing he resents so much as mysteriously disappeared!
being interfered with or advised or inOne more case, again from an estate structed as to what species he is to in a southern county, the shooting of spare. Tell him to spare an owl or a which was let to a gentleman who is kestrel and he instantly resolves to kill greatly interested in the preservation it; and if you
are such a faddist of rare birds, especially the hawks. to want to preserve everything I knew the gound well, having received he
to permission from the owner to go where his little crowd of humble followI liked; I also knew the keepers and and parasites and set them (like a fool) believed they would carry to make a clean sweep of all the wild out the instructions of their master. life in the woods, as in the instance I I informed them that a pair of hobby- have described. No, it is mere waste hawks were breeding in a clump of of energy to inform individual owners trees on the edge of the park, and asked of such abuses. The craze exists for them to be careful not to mistake them a big head of game, or rather of this for sparrowhawks. At the same time exotic bird of the woods, called in I told them that a pair of Montagu's scorn and disgust the “sacred bird" by harries were constantly to be seen at a one who was himself a naturalist and lonely marshy spot in the woods, a mile sportsman; the owners are themselves from the park; I had been watching responsible for the system and have them for three days at that spot and created the class of men necessary to believed they were nesting. I also enable them to follow this degraded told them where a pair of great spotted form of sport. I use the word adwoodpeckers were breeding in the visedly: Mr. A. Stuart-Wortley, the woods. They promised to "keep an best authority I know on the subject, eye" on the hawks, and I daresay they an enthusiast himself, mournfully acdid, seeing that both hobbys and har- knowledges in his book on the pheasant riers had vanished in the course of the that pheasant-shooting as now almost next few days. But they would not universally conducted in England is promise to save the woodpeckers: one not sport at all. of the under-keepers had been asked One odd result of this over-protection by a lady to get her a few pretty birds of an exotic species and consequent deto put in a glass case, and the head gradation of the woodlands is that the keeper told him he could have these bird itself becomes a thing disliked by woodpeckers.
the lover of nature. No doubt it is an Did I in these cases inform the owner irrational feeling, but a very natural and the shooting-tenant of what had one nevertheless, seeing that whatsohappened? No, and for a very good ever is prized and cherished by our reason. Nothing ever comes of such enemy, or the being who injures us, telling except a burst of rage on the must come in for something of the feel. part of the owner against all keepers ing he inspires. There is always an and all interfering persons, which overflow. Personally I detest the sight
of semi-domestic pheasants in the preserves; the bird itself is hateful, and is the one species I devoutly wish to see exterminated in the land.
But when I find this same bird where he exists comparatively in a state of nature, and takes his chance with the other wild creatures, the sight of him affords me keen pleasure: especially at this season, or a little later in October, when the change in the color of the leaf all at once makes this familiar world seem like an enchanted region.
We look each year for the change and know it is near, yet when it comes it will be as though we now first witnessed that marvellous transformation—the glory in the high beechen woods on downs and hill-sides, of innumerable oaks on the wide level weald, and elms and maples and birches and ancient gnarled thorns, with tangle of varicolored brambles and ivy with leaves like dark malachite, and light green and silvery gray of old-man's-beard. In that aspect of nature the pheasant no longer seems an importation from some brighter land, a stranger to our woods, startlingly unlike
wild native ground-birds in their sober protective coloring, and out of harmony with the surroundings. The most brilliant plumage seen in the tropics would not appear excessive then, when the thin dry leaves on the trees, rendered translucent by the sunbeams, shine like colored glass, and when the bird is seen in some glade or opening on a woodland floor strewn with yellow gold and burnished red, copper and brightest russet leaves. He is one with it all, a part of that splendor, and a beautifully decorative figure as he moves slowly with deliberate jetting gait, or stands at attention, the eared head and shining neck raised and one foot lifted. Many a writer has tried to paint him
The Saturday Review.
in words; perhaps Ruskin alone succeeds, in a passage which was intended to be descriptive of the coloring of the pheasants generally. “Their plumage,” he said, "is for the most part warm brown, delicately and even beautifully spotty; and in the goodliest species the spots become variegated, or inlaid as in a Byzantine pavement, deepening into imperial purple and azure, and lighting into lustre of innumerable eyes."
But alas! not infrequently when I have seen the pheasant in that way in the colored woods in October, when after the annual moult his own coloring is richest and he is seen at his best, my delight has vanished when I have lifted my eyes to look through the thinned foliage at the distant prospect of earth and the blue overarching sky. For who that has ever looked at nature in other regions, where this perpetual hideous war of extermination against all noble feathered life is not carried on, does not miss the great soaring bird in the scene-eagle, or vulture, or buzzard, or kite, or harrier-floating at ease on board vans, or rising heaven. wards in vast and ever yaster circles ? That is the one object in nature which has the effect of widening the prospect just as if the spectator had himself been miraculously raised to a greater altitude, while at the same time the blue dome of the sky appears to be lifted to an immeasurable height above him. The soaring figure reveals to sight and mind the immensity and glory of the visible world. Without it the blue sky can never seem sublime.
But the great soaring bird is nowhere in our lonely skies, and missing it we remember the reason of its absence and realize what the modern craze for the artificially reared pheasaunt has cost us.
W. H. Hudson.