Snipe and Woodcock

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General Books, 2013 - 84 страници
This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can usually download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1903 edition. Excerpt: ... cookery The woodcock has as warm a welcome on the table as in the coverts, which is saying a great deal, nor is the snipe much less appreciated. But the woodcock is the more valued for his comparative rarity. You may be satiated with partridges or pheasants--even with grouse in August and September--but the woodcocks come in capricious flights, and, when there is open weather in the far north, may provokingly defer their arrival. They are essentially birds of passage, and though many breed in the West of Ireland, in the combes of our southern counties, and in the great pine-woods of the Scottish Highlands, they cannot now be said to have naturalised themselves with us. It must have been very different in the olden time, when England was forest land from Tyne to Trent, when the Eastern shires were overgrown with reed and sedge, and when Somerset was still as swampy as when Alfred sought a refuge there. Then the birds had all they could desire, food and freedom from disturbance. We may judge how they abounded under the Plantagenets, when we read that, at the installation banquet of the Kingmaker's brother as Archbishop of York, four hundred woodcocks figured at the feast. They must all have been snared or netted in the neighbourhood--we should like to know how many fell victims to the springes--and it is melancholy to think of the barbarous cookery, when they were roasted and shrivelled by the bushel. That banquet, by the way, gives an interesting idea of English ornithology in 1647, and of the omnivorous tastes of our ancestors. There were swans, herons, and cranes, plovers, goodwits, redshanks, knotts, ruffs and reeves, curlews, rails and egrets, quails and bitterns, larks and sparrows, with sundry other small 'fowles' it is difficult to...

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