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at all the Inns of Court and Chancery, were Revels," which were held in the halls in the presence of the benchers, and sometimes the judges. A "Master of the Revels" (magister jocorum), nicknamed "Lord of Misrule," presided over the sports of the year. At Lincoln's Inn, in Henry VI.'s time, they were ordered to be held four times a year, on the feasts of All-Hallows, St. Erkenwald, the Purification of our Lady, and Midsummer Day.

At the same Inn (temp. Henry VIII.) it was further ordered that "whoever was chosen king on Christmas Day should be in his place, and that the King of the Cockneys, elected on Childermas Day, should sit and have due service, but he and his officers were not to meddle with the buttery!"

Grand revels were held at the Inner Temple early in Queen Elizabeth's reign. One of the students, Robert Dudley (afterwards Earl of Leicester), was appointed Marshal, with the titles of "Pallaphilos," "Patron of the Honourable Order of Pegasus" (in reference to the arms of the Inn), &c. Christopher Hatton (afterwards Lord Chancellor), who has given its name to Hatton Garden, was magister jocorum. The sports, feasting, and dancing occupied several days, amid the beating of drums, braying of trumpets, and firing of guns.

These revels appear from all accounts to have been very childish affairs. But the old lawyers were blessed with a greater stock of animal spirits, took their pleasure less sadly, and enjoyed life more thoroughly than their successors of to-day. The club and the theatre supply counter-attractions to dinner in hall, masque, and revel in these degenerate days.

It is not likely, for the present at all events, that the Inns of Court will perish for lack of members. A glance at the formidable and ever-increasing array of counsel in the Law List should be enough to convince the most optimistic young man that there is hardly room to stand at the Bar, and certainly not enough briefs to go round, for "what are they among so many?" The courts are thronged with barristers who cannot attend to their clients because their clients will not attend to them. But, with all these dreadful warnings staring them in the face, students continue to crowd the avenues which lead to Bar and Bench, and resemble nothing so much as those "bold fish," the perch, which old Izaak Walton, a quondam denizen of Chancery Lane, compares to "the wicked of the earth, who are not afraid though their fellows and companions perish in their sight!"



An Extract from Nature's Commonplace-Book, with Notes by an Unscientific Naturalist.

"-kal σTíẞou y' ovdels Túños." ("Nor of his footstep is there any trace.") SOPH. Philoctetes, i. 29.


HE habit common to many birds, fishes, and insects, of travelling by one and the same route, is well known to observant sportsmen. It seems, however, to have escaped the serious notice of most writers on natural history, and I am not aware of any theory attempting to explain the origin or cause of this habit. With beasts, the reason why the same path should be pursued is often conceivable, even where it is not at first sight apparent.

Take the case of a hare-the beaten track, technically called the run, of a hare, is scarcely ever in a straight line. Notice the dark green paths like narrow sheep-tracks on the side of a chalk down. You will see they wind in many a curve. You might think the object of these curves was to obtain an easier gradient; but examine more closely and you will see that the line has been badly chosen from an engineering point of view. The run often leads over steep and broken ground, where a slight deviation or even a nearer cut would have rendered it less precipitous. And yet watch pussy ascending or descending; unless she stops to feed on the road, she will keep strictly to the run, deviating neither right nor left-a "single hare's breadth," I had almost said. When the run lies through corn or long grass, the reason of its winding course is intelligible. There may have been thistles, tangled undergrowth, or some such impediment to be avoided, and although these may have been removed when the crop has been cut, the beaten track is still adhered to, as being softer to the feet. But, on the smooth side of a down, who can say why a hare should (unless startled) always elect to travel by one path? So far the paths are visible; but now let us consider the flight of birds.

In fine, still weather, when neither the force of the wind nor a

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beside it? True, the water was shallower on the keeper's side of the stream, but there was depth enough everywhere-there was even depth enough for a fish to swim under the net if hard pressed.

However, I extended my flag over the water and walked down stream. The mill having ceased working on the main river below the tributary, the water above the mill was tanked up and rising. A rising water often tempts trout to enter small ditches and tributary streams in the hope of finding insects surprised and carried away by the rising flood. This was the case then, and many a trout, slowly finning its way up the stream in search of food, turned tail and darted down towards the main river on the approach of the red flag. When I came to the keeper, he had landed two brace of fine fish; he said that they always followed the same road and shot straight into the net, the largest fish leading the way. Hence he had taken no undersized fish, although a number of small ones had passed after he had netted the large ones. He had missed landing two fish only; these had shot into the net together with such force that his grasp on the handle had for the moment relaxed and they had escaped. I have since tried the same plan with success when fishing a Hertfordshire stream. I did so merely as an experiment in the presence of the owner's water-bailiff, who seemed much astonished at the result. I, of course, returned the fish to the water, and mention the incident only in confirmation of my proposition that trout travel by a common path, for I have some doubt whether the water-bailiff would approve of my publishing this tip to poachers. So much for fish.

These notes have already far exceeded the limits I had proposed. I shall therefore refer to one or two instances only in which insects would seem to follow the same law.

During twelve months spent in the Australian Colonies, in the years 1870-71, I had more opportunities than were pleasant of studying the habits of ants. These insects, as is well known, are not only a nuisance but an absolute pest in hot countries. They march in myriads and destroy everything in their road. I have heard it seriously stated that they consume everything except bottled beerand that even this is safe only when the bottles are fitted with glass screw-stoppers! Cork, it seems, is not excluded from the formic bill of fare, and would no doubt be more succulent and appetising when soused in Bass or Allsopp. In justice to the ants, I am bound, however, to admit that I have found them useful in more ways than one. For instance, I bought an opossum-skin rug from a native. I soon became painfully aware of the fact that it literally swarmed with fleas and other vermin. In vain did I exhaust my stock of pepper. Even

desire for shelter disturbs the even tenor of their way, many birds habitually travel by aerial paths as circuitous and almost as narrow in limits as is the run of a hare. A covey of partridges, when called together by the old birds and bidden to go to bed, will night after night fly over exactly the same part of a hedge, and then take exactly the same swerve to the right and left before "juggling down" to roost. Wood-pigeons, flying home after their evening drink of water, will, unless shot at or otherwise disturbed, always take the same curve in the air and pass over the same trees. And in their flight not only is the same lateral curve adhered to, but the variations in altitude at different points are regularly preserved. It is probable that these deviations from the straight course, both horizontal and vertical, are dictated by fear of surprise. A pigeon is an exceedingly cautious bird, and likes to know that no gunner is on the far side of a hedge before he flies over it. If the hedge be a low one, he can ascertain this at a safe distance while flying at no great elevation. If, however, the hedge be high, the pigeon cannot see what may be behind it until he is almost over the hedge, and therefore, to avoid surprise, he must fly at a greater altitude. In the same way he allows a wide margin laterally in turning the corner of a wood or hill. This circuitous flight is in strong contrast with that of a bird equally suspicious and cautious-the carrion-crow. The expression "as the crow flies" has become a proverbial equivalent to "in a straight line." It must, however, be remembered that the habitat of the crow is in wild and unfrequented places, and that, when on his marauding expeditions he passes over more populous parts, he travels at a height from which he can laugh at gunners. A rock-pigeon, flying from one mountain-top to another, usually flies 'nearly parallel to the ground, dipping with the valley and rising again with the slope of the mountain for whose summit he is bound. At first impression this would seem to be a waste of labour. Why should the bird (so to speak) go down hill only to go up again? A little consideration will, however, at once suggest the reason. The air at great altitudes is sensibly rarefied. The ratio of the specific gravity of the bird to that of the air is therefore much increased at high elevations. At the same time the rarefied air yields less resistance to the stroke of the wings. It is probable, therefore, that the effort required for a short flight at a great altitude exceeds that required to cover a much longer distance at a lower level. So far we have been able to give a conjectural reason for the apparent vagaries in the flight of birds.

But why do rooks before going to bed always dance a wild quad

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