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February 13 , 2011

Three Courses and a Dessert (Illustrated)


The true old English squire is now nearly extinct: a few admirable specimens of the class flourished a few years ago in the western counties; from the discourse and memoranda of one of the most excellent of these, the substance of the following narratives was gleaned. For my introduction to, and subsequent acquaintance with, the worthy old gentleman. I was indebted to the delinquency of a dog. Carlo was most exemplary in his punctuation; he would quarter and back in the finest style imaginable; no dog could be more staunch, steady, and obedient to hand and voice, while there was no living mutton at hand: but no sooner did he cross a sheep-track, break into view of a fleece, or even hear the tinkling bell (a dinner bell to him) of a distant flock, than he would bolt away, as rectilinearly as the crow flies, towards his favourite prey, in spite of the most peremptory commands, or the smack of a whip, with the flavour of which his back was intimately acquainted. I had been allowed a very fair trial of the dog; but, unfortunately, no opportunity occurred, previously to his becoming my property, of shooting over him near a sheep-walk. His behaviour was so excellent in Kent, that I never was more astonished in my life, than when I beheld him severely shaking a sheep by the haunch, the first time we went out together in Somerset. Unable to obtain a substitute, and hoping that his vice would not prove incurable, I was compelled, most indignantly and unwillingly, to put up with his offences for three days. On the morning of the fourth, he suddenly broke forward from heel, and went off at full speed before me: aware, by experience, of what was about to take place, I lifted the piece to my shoulder, and should, most assuredly, have tickled his stern, had he not dashed over the brow of a little hillock, so rapidly, that it was impossible to cover him with my Manton. On reaching the brow of the acclivity, I saw him, in the valley below, with his teeth entangled in the wool of a wether; and a sturdy old person, in the garb of a sportsman, belabouring him over the back with an enormous cudgel. The individual, who inflicted this wholesome castigation on the delinquent, offered to cure him for me of his propensity. I gratefully accepted the offer; and thus became acquainted with that fine specimen of the old-fashioned gentlemen of England, Sir Mathew Ale, of Little Redland Hall, Baronet,-(whose grounds I was crossing, on my way to a manor over which I had the privilege of shooting,)-by means of a rascally dog, that had a fancy for killing his own mutton.

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I thought still I was to be fooled, so I called upon my old schoolfellow, who used to say, "Snatch at her cunt, and show her your cucumber." He had been one at the frigging match, and had just been appointed assistant-surgeon at a hospital; he was a bachelor and baudy-minded as ever. "M...," said I, "have you ever seen a…

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