Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/159

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117
RURAL SPORTS

which in turn was fastened to the lines or leather straps that were wound about the wrist. There was a tiny silver bell of sweet tone attached to each leg of the falcon, but the notes of the bell were such as to jangle a discord, thus more usefully serving their purpose as an aid in tracking a bird that had strayed or hunted out of sight. These bells were attached by leather straps called bewits. To one of the bewits was fastened the creance, or long thread, used in reclaiming the hawk before she was fully trained.

When the game appeared in sight the hood was removed quickly from the head of the hawk. Then she was started, or whistled off, in the direction of the game that was at the moment passing before her eyes. For an instant she bated, that is, flapped her wings, then began her flight. The height reached during the flight was called the pitch. When she swooped down upon the prey she was said to stoop. Some breeds of hawks possessed the characteristic of soaring, technically termed towering. A bird was disedged when she had lost her keenness of appetite. Sometimes a hard substance was given the hawk to gnaw upon in order to disedge her; this process was called tiring.

If the hawk was loosed in the direction of the wind she was not likely to return, hence the cus-