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Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 103, November 5, 1892   By:

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VOL. 103.

November 5, 1892.


LUNCH ( continued ). Perhaps the best piece of advice that I can give you, my young friend, is that for conversational purposes you should make a careful study of the natures and temperaments of your companions. Watch their little peculiarities, both of manner and of shooting; pick up what you can about their careers in sport and in the general world, and use the knowledge so acquired with tact and discretion when you are talking to them. For instance, if one of the party is a celebrated shot, who has done some astonishing record at driven grouse, you may, after the necessary preliminaries, ask him to be good enough to tell you what was the precise number of birds he shot on that occasion. Tell him, if you like, that the question arose the other day during a discussion on the three finest game shots of the world. If you happen to know that he shot eighteen hundred birds, you can say that most people fixed the figure at fifteen hundred. He will then say, "Ah, I know most people seem to have got that notion I don't know why. As a matter of fact, I managed to get eighteen hundred and two, and they picked up twenty two on the following morning." Your obvious remark is, "By Jove!" (with a strong emphasis on the "by") "what magnificent shooting!" After that, the thing runs along of its own accord. With a bad shot your method is, of course, quite different. For example:

Young Shot . I must say I like the old style of walking up your birds better than driving, especially in a country like this. I never saw such difficult birds as we had this morning. You seemed to have the worst of the luck everywhere.

Bad Shot . Yes they didn't come my way much. But I don't get much practice at this kind of thing and a man's no good without practice.

Y.S. That was a deuced long shot, all the same, that you polished off in the last drive. When I saw him coming at about a hundred miles an hour, I thanked my stars he wasn't my bird. What a thump he fell!

B.S. Oh, he was a fairly easy shot, though a bit far off. I daresay I should do well enough if I only got more shooting. I'm not shooting with my own gun, though. It's one of my brother's, and it's rather short in the stock for me.

That starts you comfortably with the Bad Shot. You soothe his ruffled vanity, and give him a better appetite for lunch.

Now, besides the Good Shot, and the Bad Shot the two extremes, as it were, of the line of shooters you might subdivide your sportsmen further into

(1.) The Jovial Shot. This party is on excellent terms with himself and with everybody else. Generally he shoots fairly well, but there is a rollicking air about him, which disarms criticism, even when he shoots badly. He knows everybody, and talks of most people by nick names. His sporting anecdotes may be counted upon for, at any rate, a succès d'estime . "I never laughed so much in my life," he begins, "as I did last Tuesday. There were four of us Old SANDY, BUTCHER BILL, DICK WHORTLEBURY, and myself. SANDY was driving us back from Dillwater Hall you know, old PUFFINGTON's place where we'd been dining. Devilish dark night it was, and SANDY's as blind as a bat. When we got to the Devil's Punchbowl I knew there'd be some warm games, 'cos the horse started off full tilt, and, before you could say knife, over we went. I pitched, head first, into DICK's stomach, and SANDY and BILL went howling down like a right and left of rabbits. Lord, I laughed till the tears ran down my face. No bones broken, but the old BUTCHER's face got a shade the worst of it with a thorn bush on the slope. Cart smashed into matchwood, of course."

(2.) The Dressy Shot. Wonderful in the boot, stocking, and gaiter department. Very tasteful, too, in the matter of caps and ties. May be flattered by an inquiry as to where he got his gaiters, and if they are an idea of his own. Sometimes bursts out into a belt covered with silver clasps... Continue reading book >>

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