Page:Highways and Byways in Sussex.djvu/76

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48
CHAP.
MR. KNOX'S SETTER

the ground between the Adur and Falmer, and now adding the Brookside Harriers' country to their own domain, the two packs having been amalgamated. In the east are the Bexhill Harriers and the Hailsham Harriers; and in the west the South Coast Harriers, for the Chichester country. Sussex, in addition to possessing the Warnham Staghounds, is much raided by the Surrey Staghounds. The Crowhurst Otter Hounds also visit the Sussex streams now and then. Foot Beagles may be numerous but I know only of the Brighton pack.

And here let me give Mr. Knox's description of a day's shooting, in the gentlemanly way, on the Sussex Downs, following, in his Ornithological Rambles, upon some remarks on the battue. "How different is the pursuit of the pheasant with the aid of spaniels in the thick covers of the weald, or tracking him with a single setter among some of the wilder portions of the forest range!—intently observing your dog and anticipating the wily artifices of some old cock, with spurs as long as a dragon's, who will sometimes lead you for a mile through bog, brake, fern, and heather, before the sudden drop of your staunch companion, and a rigidity in all his limbs, satisfy you that you have at last compelled the bird to squat under that wide holly-bush, from whence you kick him up, and feel some little exultation as you bring him down with a snap-shot, having only caught a glimpse of him through the evergreen boughs, as he endeavoured to escape by a rapid flight at the opposite side of the tree.

"And then the woodcock-shooting in November—I must take you back once more to my favourite Downs. With the first full moon during that month, especially if the wind be easterly or the weather calm, arrive flights of woodcocks, which drop in the covers, and are dispersed among the bushy valleys, and even over the heathery summits of the hills. If it should happen to be a propitious year for beech-mast—the great attraction to pheasants on the Downs, as is the acorn in the