Shooting the Wild Stag in Poland
Introduction, Drollery; Letter, Extract, Spoof; Afterword, Drollery
Hunting, Astronomy, Expertise, Animal Husbandry, Breeding
Hood introduces a letter from 'an officer in the Prussian service', with whom he has often hunted and fished. His friend reminds him of the face of the Polish captain when 'he saw us at our pike exercise, in the garden, myself with the rod, and you, like a grave physician, with your stop-watch in your hand, to give the patient his lawful time before death—so that the Captain mistook the operation for some scientifical experiment in Hydrostatics' (298). The Prussian officer has 'a sporting aim at a question which has not hitherto been hit by Sir John Herschel, or your British Association—namely, why there should be so many falling meteors in the November month?' He suggests that there must be 'so many shooting stars, because it is in the shooting season—but the astronomers must find out at what sorts of game'.
A footnote refers to a letter from Charles A Bennet (5th Earl of Tankerville), read at the meeting of the British Association in 1838, on the subject of the wild cattle of Chillingham Park. Hood notes: 'It seems to have escaped the memory of Lord Tankerville, as well as of Sir Walter Scott, in their remarks on this subject, that such a breed of cattle is described as indigenous in the account of the Island of Tinian in Anson's Voyages'. (299)
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