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when all Nature vibrates to some mysterious indefinable touch. Then there is the cry heard at midnight, or in the hush of the small hours, a sharp r-s-rou—ow, the first note prolonged and shrill; and sometimes again a single ow, like the yap of a terrier. These appear
to be common to both sexes, and may mean anything, unless indeed they are the signal cries referred to. An intelligent workman in my employ once stalked a fox which he heard barking' not far away, and actually got a view of it while giving tongue. It was sitting, he said, on a mound, with nose pointing skywards, like a collie baying the moon. I know the exact spot, and have every reason to respect the man's veracity.
The cries peculiar to a vixen, though more distinctive, are also more variable, and therefore less easily described or classified. In the early part of the year her voice may always be identified by its harsher tone, and towards midsummer she occasionally gives a curious whining howl, which is intended, I believe, to call her cubs together for some special purpose.
This cry is very rarely heard. Again, at the same season, certain foxes have a curious trick of barking at even human intruders, a habit entirely foreign to their nature, one would think. Should you have occasion to frequent remote coombes and glades during the breeding season, sooner or later you lare sure to hear the challenging yap-yap of some over-anxious mother, who takes this distinctly canine way of expressing her resentment at your invasion of her special domain. More than once, when walking amongst the furze-brakes by moonlight, I have been challenged thus by vixens, who, in one or two cases, have exhibited astonishing boldness, approaching under cover literally to within a few feet of me.
Lastly, most noteworthy and rarest of all a fox's vocal outpourings, there is the harsh, shuddering scream which once in a lifetime startles the summer camper or the trapper on his midnight round. This cry, if like anything at all, most closely resembles the indescribable haunting shriek of a horse in agony, and is beyond question the most unearthly wild sound ever heard upon our British hills. Its object remains a complete mystery. It is · sometimes perhaps the plaint of a bereaved parent, but such cannot always be the case, for I have heard it given
again and again by a vixen whose litter certainly had not been tampered with. That it is an expression of distress of some sort can scarcely be doubted, however, by anybody who has heard it at close quarters.
I remember well a bad scare experienced by two jobbers who had been engaged to gather flint on a desolate tract of country near Axminster. They had pitched camp the first day in a lonely glade which, as some mischievous cronies had taken care to tell them, possessed a ghostly reputation. Like many of their type, they were extremely superstitious; also they were new to the moors, and unaccustomed to camping out. As night drew on, the loneliness of their surroundings, the moaning of the larches, the weird crying of nightbirds, and, above all, the tales they had heard, worked them up to such a pitch that they were ready for anything. An entertainment of the most sensational sort was in store for them. About midnight they were aroused from their first uneasy slumbers by a succession of screams too blood-curdling, as they were at once convinced, to proceed from any earthly throat. These dreadful sounds continued off and on throughout the remainder of the night, while the men, frozen with terror, lay shivering in their tent-or caravan, as it happened to be-nor did they dare to show a leg before daybreak. And when that at last brought relief, they instantly struck camp and abandoned the ill-omened spot, work, contract and all. There were fox-cubs in an earth hard-by, it transpired; and the ghastly cries must have been the protests of the mother-vixen, who quite misunderstood the character of the strangers. How baseless were her apprehensions, results proved. The men, however, maintain to this day that the sounds were supernatural, nor could they ever be brought to appreciate the humorous side of their experience.
That same glade, by the way, is a noted breedingplace. I cannot remember a season when it has failed to show cubs. Never more than one litter, though, for, like other preying beasts or birds, every adult fox appears to have its own particular haunt, over which it exercises undivided lordship until ousted by another, or destroyed. There, incidentally, when a mere boy, I first saw a fox bolt into a rabbit-net, and was not a little amazed at the sight. It is not the least interesting thing about this very interesting animal that he will almost invariably bolt from a ferret, whereas in the same earth under similar conditions he will face a terrier for hours, and give a good account of himself. I suppose the reason is that, generally speaking, a terrier is only tried upon & hunted fox, while those dislodged by ferrets are usually fresh, and more often than not lying up in burrows where they have strictly no right to be. On these occasions, too, it is probably the commotion in the burrow and the general disturbance that moves him, rather than the actual attack of the ferret, which be could break in two with a single snap.
I think myself that foxes lie in rabbit-holes a great deal more than is supposed, particularly during seasons when they are in poor condition, as when mange is prevalent, for instance. This terrible scourge, which recurs every few years, like pigeon disease, ravages and depopulates whole districts for the time being. It has never been satisfactorily accounted for. It will be noticed, however, that it often succeeds an epidemic of rabbit-sickness, which sometimes occurs after a wet summer. A fox, it must be remembered, is really an abstemious feeder, a lover of delicate flesh and wild fruits, such as whorts and blackberries. In the autumn he subsists largely upon the latter, as careful investigation cannot fail to show. In bad seasons this source of nourishment is, of course, denied him, and he is compelled to fall back upon a meat diet pure and simple. If sickness is raging at the same time, good food will be scarce, but dead rabbits can be picked up anywhere. These he eats, and from this source, in my opinion, an
, outbreak of mange often-I do not say always—ensues, Endless questions arise upon this point, however, and I, for one, am content to leave the argument in the hands of those who have made a special study of it.
Art. 6.-MR LLOYD GEORGE: A PAGE OF HISTORY. The conversion of politics into history ought, in days like our own, to be a constant exercise of the human understanding, so persistent are the efforts of much contemporary journalism to disturb and prejudice our judgment upon current affairs. To see how things will look some day is to know how they really are now; and to discover the key of a contemporary character is to be wise in time. And, if Acton is right in enjoining upon students of history 'to suffer no man and no cause to escape the undying penalty which History has the power to inflict,' then there is the more reason for Clio, should she, too, wish to serve the State, to be up and doing in a world where every hour that passes brings a fresh field of politics beneath her observation, and not to wear out all her eyes with looking after vanished things and all her scourges with the flogging of dead dogs. But the facts, it is said, are not yet at our disposal. As if in an age without reticence, and that hurries half its secrets into print, one could not know at least as much about the history of one's own time as has sufficed for the construction of much confident narrative about the past and many convincing portraits of persons not lately dead! Or, again, it is modestly suggested that a contemporary judgment is, in the very nature of things, a biased one. As if some one were to say that it was out of the question to see life steadily and see it whole! Thucydides, at any rate, thought otherwise; and Thucydides has been reckoned the father of scientific history. He wrote of the things of which he had either a perfect understanding from the first, or into which he could institute a particular inquiry; and his portraits are those of men whose conduct he had held under continuous and careful observation. His character of Cleon, for example, appears to be a model of objective exactitude. As an educated man he could not but disdain a quack politician; as a gentleman he necessarily recoiled from a braggart. But neither this fact nor that, nor yet the inconvenient accident of Cleon's astonishing success, disturbed the measured integrity of his estimate. He had seen his man as that other really was-had caught him, as Dante does the
Italians of his time, before the mirror of eternity; and had rendered it impossible, except for the makers and believers of paradoxes, to doubt the substantial accuracy of his portrait.
David Lloyd George was born in Manchester in 1863, the son of William George, a Welsh schoolmaster, and of Elizabeth Lloyd, his wife. The Lloyds were, it appears, more gifted people than the Georges, and in all probability they made as much the greater contribution to the Prime Minister's intellectual inheritance as they certainly had the greater share in the management of his education. In the house of his maternal grandfather, the village cobbler of Llanystumdwy, the minor poets of Wales were wont to find a welcome; and it was under the care of his mother's brother that, after his father's death, the boy was initiated into the tenets of that small community of Nonconformists which, boldly distinguishing itself from certain larger organisations throughout the world, assumes the comprehensive title of "the Churches of Christ." It is a flock of which the shepherds are chosen by the voice of the congregation and work without fee or hire; which enjoys in each locality a perfect freedom from central control; and whose baptismal doctrine and Eucharistic practice differ in certain points from those of their kinsmen, the Baptists. Such communities tend to reappear in every age, lured on in one form or another by the old, enchanting, dream of a Church restored to its primitive appearance-a dream as impracticable in a world conditioned by evolution as if we were to seek to think ourselves back into the mentality of the Anglo-Saxons or to remodel the Legislature on the lines of the Witanagemot. His biographer tells us that the reading of Sartor Resartus' depressed the balance of Mr. George's mind, trembling between belief and unbelief, in the direction of the Everlasting Yea ;and, however that may be, we need not doubt that, like another and more obscurely thoughtful man, he perceived the merit of taking sides with the angels. Not, however, without reserves or exclusions! The child was father to the man; and the roguish boy, who had
* Du Parcq, Life of David Lloyd George,' I, p. 20.