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Croce goes further, and shows the fundamental irrationality of them. There can be no body of dogma, for there is only one test in art, success in expression. Ethics, politics, and every other branch of human knowledge have their bearing on art, but they have nothing to do with the aesthetic activity, and are therefore irrelevant in æsthetic oriticism. Moreover, Croce explains how difference of cultivated opinion comes about, for æsthetic reproduction cannot take place unless the conditions are identical with those of production. He gives us an absolute standard of beauty, but it is a standard not external to & work of art, and therefore free from the dialectical troubles in which Idealist æsthetics are apt to land us. In so doing he delivers us from anarchy, and at once defines and ennobles the oritic's sphere. Lastly, he provides us with an answer to Mr Balfour's conundrum about Greek music. There is no such thing as continuous progress in art. "Not only is the art of savages not inferior, as art, to that of civilised people, provided it be correlative to the impressions of the savage; but every individual, indeed every moment of the spiritual life of an individual, has its artistic world; and all those worlds are, artistically, incomparable with one another." It is nonsense to talk of Giotto as the infancy of Italian art and of Titian as its maturity, since Giotto was quite as perfect

as Titian "in respect to his psychic material." Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as aesthetic progress. What progresses is the volume and complexity of the material of art, and the society which provides the conditions of reproduction. A Greek luteplayer was producing something as artistically perfect as Bach, judged as an expression of his intuition, and 80 highly cultivated audience applauded him. With us the psychic material of music is infinitely more complex, and the expression is of a very different kind of intuition, but the test is the same- -success of the expressive activity. "We cannot claim to be more spiritually alert than the contemporaries of Pericles; but no one can deny that we are richer than they - rich with their riches and with those of how many other peoples and generations besides our own.' From the savage carving & shell to Michelangelo with his chisel there is no evolutionary progress in beauty, but only in the raw materials from which beauty is born. This is a doctrine which needs careful handling; but accurately stated, and in relation to the rest of Croce's theory, we hold it to be a sound one. If accepted, it settles the Greek music difficulty, and takes the base from a very tiresome kind of criticism, which we might call the cheap comparative method. For what is the use of pages of comparison when there is no comparative term?

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THE Irish experience of the writer of this paper has been but small. I spent one autumn in a deer forest in the north-west of the country and secured a reasonable number of stags, wider and stronger in their heads and heavier in their bodies than any I have had to do with during thirty years' pursuit of them on the mainland of Scotland. When the stalking season was over over I devoted myself to smaller game, and made moderate but interesting bags of grouse, woodoook, duck, and snipe, while occasionally a wet orawl or a long patient wait was rewarded with a goose. There was a fair number of snipe on the shooting, a range of some 30,000 acres; but they were So scattered over the hills that, except in a few especially suitable bogs, it was hardly worth while making them a definite object. On the good ground you might get a dozen or fifteen in an hour, and then toil hard all the rest of the day for eight or ten more. Queer and uncomfortable was the walking over the best of the bogs: a thin carpet of tough matted roots and wiry turf floated the shooter over an unfathomable deposit of liquid mud and water-unfathomable to him at any rate, if he broke properly through the skin and had no one to help him out. Directly

you set foot on this great raft it shook and quivered before you, rolling up very much as a carpet does when wind gets under it. At first I looked with a certain amount of dislike and apprehension at these unstable platforms, but they supported my not very great weight fairly enough; and though I think I always managed to sink in over the tops of the long fishing-boots I used to wear here, I never slipped so far through that it was not easy to get out.


But it was far otherwise with a friend who shot with me the first time we attempted the worst of these morasses. He was clad in spruce kharki, and he weighed certainly seven stone more than I did. had for a time a comfortable seat in a boat on the lake which bordered the bog, but when he left that safe restingplace he suffered grievously. Two stalwart keepers attended him, one on each side, and seldom, I suppose, did he travel more than а dozen yards without breaking through the crust. When, after an hour or more's struggling, he got back to firm ground, there was little of him that was not soaked with water or black with peat. If-in a hot Indian station-he should come across this paper, it will recall to him a strange morning's experience. And I, for my part, will not

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forget the pluck and determination he showed and the cheery courage with which he faced, in so sorrowful a condition, a fourteen-mile drive without a coat. When working that bog during the next few months, if any one got into an unusually deep hole he was sure to say he had hit upon the Major's track.

In the middle of the autumn of 1909 I found myself settled in a country which is said to be especially the home of the snipe. Here are their ideal winter quarters on these great stretches of flat land they can find all they require. There are damp rushy fields innumerable, pleasant to walk over if it were not for the steep high banks which divide them; sodden mosses, heavy and tiring to cross,"mountains" the natives call them, though they may only be a few feet above sea-level, and have never a little knob or prominence on their spongy surface on which a tired man can seat himself while dog works round for a dead bird. There are great tracts of rough, dry heather; wet grassy hollows, mown for hay in summer and forming shallow lakes later on; treacherous margins of lakes proper, where a man, light or heavy, must go warily if he would not sink swiftly out of sight.

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The summer and the autumn of 1909 will long be remembered in the south-west of Ireland as the driest on record: by the farmers for the ease and certainty with which they got in their crops; by the snipeshooter for the woful interfer

ence with his sport caused by lack of water. While the oatorop was rotting in Scotland and potatoes could not be lifted out of the sodden ground, our favoured country was flooded with sunshine; the November winds blew as gently as at midsummer, and often for days together there was no wind at all. At the beginning of December I had only had on a waterproof twice-twice in six weeks. The weather was perfect for pionics and exploring the country, but it

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was very bad indeed for the purpose which had brought me out, and I sometimes found it difficult to remain pleasantly silent when the beauties of the mellow St Luke's summer were being enthusiastically discussed. Clear skies; gorgeous sunsets; July temperature! I wanted none of these things. The rushy fields through which we ought to be "squelching over the ankles were as dry as a bone; the snipe must have moist earth to shove his bill into, not a brittle stubble; wet soft footprints of cattle to investigate, not hard-baked, even dusty, holes. The small "flashes" dried up, one of the shallow lakes disappeared altogether; a few miserable stagnant pools were, at the end of November, all that represented the scores of acres of rippling water of other years. Then there was a warm, even a hot, sun to walk under, and for many days in succession no breeze to give help to panting, anxious dogs.

Then there came another

record: I was told that here there was practically no frost -just an odd night or two about Christmas, and lo! we got eight nights of bitter frost; the bogs became unpierceable to anything weaker than a pickaxe; scent of all kind vanished, and my setters became worse than useless. The snipe soon left the rough places; at the first touch of hard weather they deserted their bogs; they squatted in ditches and by any little open spring; they seemed like the octopus to have eyes all round them; your entrance into a fifteen-acre field was often the signal for every bird to leave it, and when they got up they flew to some purpose; calling wildly to their friends and neighbours to follow them, they departed in wisps of five or ten or twenty; one morning we put up about fifty together, and saw no more of them that day.

So day after day, week after week, slipped by. This combination of untoward weather sorely puzzled the experienced local "sportsmen"; they had never seen such a long-continued drought, nor had they ever known such severe early frosts, and their calculations as to the whereabouts of the snipe and their behaviour for any particular day were for a time completely upset. Most of the birds disappeared, and what remained were unapproachable. Halloran, one of the professional shooters, knowing more about them than most men, had some success in driving or "moving" them.

But moving snipe on a calm day, or on any day, is not work for an impatient man; it is an operation calculated to try even a perfect temper.

The race of men who earn a livelihood by shooting is much rarer now in our islands than it used to be. The Highlander who wandered over what might be called "open" country, and now and then did a little poaching on preserved ground, is practically extinot, though even in these days deer are occasionally shot by men who have no licence to shoot them, and a pony may be missed from some remote lodge to return after a day or two weary and stained by the burden he has carried. The draining of the fens in the south-east of England has to a great extent taken away the occupations of the fowlers who lived there by their guns. But both in certain parts of England and in the north-west of Scotland there are still to be found men who shoot wildfowl for the market, and earn a hard, precarious living by punting, of all sports the most risky and exciting, and perhaps the most fascinating.

In Ireland, however, there are large tracts of country not preserved, which are shot over by professional fowlers who are known-at any rate, in the district I am writing about

-a8 "sportsmen," and are so designated on their letters. When speaking of the country as "open," it is very necessary to add that it is only so to certain people; a casual stranger who found a com

fortable little inn to live in during the winter, with the view of shooting over the district round about, would soon find that he W88 an unwelcome guest.

In the district in which I have pitched my camp there is a great extent of country which is regularly worked by some four or five of these "sportsmen." Part of it consists of large properties which for one reason or another the owners do not think it worth their while to preserve, and there are many small estates mixed up with them, and land on which the tenants have the game. Over such places the professional has & sort of general licence to travel; each of them has his beat; he respects his brother professional's boundaries, and he is rarely interfered with by the small farmers whose white-washed houses flash in the sun over many thousands of acres in this western county. All these men shoot for the London market, and the snipe that is delicately served to fastidious diners at the Ritz or the Carlton very possibly lived its brief happy life in the marshes of Clare or Mayo.

From the middle of October to the end of the shooting season the professionals work very hard and continuously; weather must be bad indeed to stop altogether their operations; some of them work both early and late; others, off before daybreak, make a point of being in early in the afternoon. They often have long tramps to reach their shooting-ground; it may be a still longer one

home, when night settles down over the land and gives shelter to their tiny prey. What they do not know about snipe is hardly worth knowing. I was struck by a remark one of them made to me. "I study them," Halloran said, and he had done so to some purpose if his claim to have shot well over thirty thousand is justified, as I am confident it is.

Of course this kind of shooting, depending chiefly on the weather, varies very much: the moon affects it, the local rains and frosts; still more the rain and frost and wind which are at work hundreds of miles to the east and north. The amateur bewails his ill-fortune if the elements are unfavourable, and ourses his fate as he sits in a comfortable smokingroom, or tramps over leagues of snipeless bogs. When things are against him the professional's lot is much harder ; the day's bag is of vital importance to him; a missed bird or two means the loss of so many silver coins. These folk do not often fire random shots; they do not as a rule trouble themselves about "Jacks," which have a value in the market proportionate to their size; they shoot steadily, often brilliantly, and their average of kills cartridges is probably very high. There is a somewhat heavy initial outlay: the gun and ammunition, the £3 licence, the cost of boxes for the game, and postage and commission, the buying and keeping of a dog. Early in the season the daily bags are generally small: six, five, three,


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