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to enter, to demand who had put the golden
ring into his soup. I had imagined a cuisine
similar to that in which the Queen sat eating
bread and honey, while her royal spouse was
in the parlour making out his accounts. A
Royal Kitchen, to my mind, should have been
like that dear, and famous, and ever-memorable
kitchen in Riquet with the Tuftthe
kitchen in the bowels of the earth, with the
elfin cooks in white, hurry-skurrying about
like ants.

They have changed the venue of the royal
kitchen, now, to Windsor, where barons of
beef are cut up in great style (I am told) by
yeomen carvers. The last time I saw the
kitchen at the Pavilion they were hesitating
as to what use they should turn itwhether
to make it a lumber-room for old concert-
boards and rout seats, or a show-room for
the Brighton artists to exhibit their paintings
in. But I have no more leisure for kitchen
thought; my hour of kitchen-action has
arrived, and I am ready!


I HAPPENED, many years ago, to be making
an ornithological trip in East-Anglia. I was
anxious to complete a set of papers on the birds
of the English coast and marshes, and was
succeeding beyond expectation in getting the
information I wanted;—though I found it
unsaleable afterwards. Once or twice, I
unexpectedly stumbled upon localities that
were rich in materials beyond anything that
this generation knows of, at least at home.
Thus, on one occasion, I remember tracking
the road along the line of coast on a bright
June morning; on turning a corner in the
parish of Salney, there lay spread before me
an expanse of water of many hundred acres,
smooth as a mirror, blue as the sky itself,
and covered with hundreds and thousands,
and, probably, tens of thousands of birds, all
sporting and enjoying themselves, as if there
were no such things as guns, no such beings
as men, on the face of the earth. The dove-
like gulls were lightly floating on the water;
little troops of shore-larks wheeled to and
fro, in utter restlessness; the curlew and the
peewit each uttered their own peculiar and
plaintive cry; and the only thing to call
human society to mind, was the intrusion of
a few half-tame ducks, and their broods,
belonging to the villagers, by whom they had
been turned off to shift for themselves during
the summer, and to contract a pert sort of
bowing acquaintance with the really strange
visitors of that out-of-the-way watering place.
A narrow strip, partly of velvet turf, partly
of coarse pebbly shingle, barely divided this
swarming lagoon from the tumbling waves
of the German Ocean; and on this isthmus,
sheldrakes, ruffs, and reeves, and a longer
list than you care to hear specified, were to
be met with on careful and timely search.
Fancy my delight! Bruce, arrived at the
sources of the Nile, was not more ready to
jump for joy, than I was then.

But it is all done for now. The squires
and the squirelings found the Salney marsh-
men and eel-catchers too independent to
their liking, so they determined to drain this
rendezvous for wild fowl, though they knew
it would cost them almost as much as the
fee-simple of the land. And the task is
finished. The muscular powers of some
hundred navvies have converted that shining
sheet of water into a dingy, desert swamp of
mud. By-and-bye, I grant, it will be a verdant
meadow, fattening bullocks and sheep instead
of widgeon and teal; but, when the birds
come to pay us their Christmas visit, they
will find clay-treading and brick-burning
going on, upon the very spot over which they
used to float in the enjoyment of a hospitable
and secure retreat.

Well; although this is not my story, it
leads to it. The discovery of one paradise of
marsh-birds made me long to find another.
I had heard of Shroudham " broad " as a
remarkable piece of water in a little-known
district, and to Shroudham I went. If
neither that nor Salney are in your map, you
must search out the localities for yourselves,
as I did.

At Shroudham, my first business was to fix
myself in a temporary home, as a centre of
operations, which I found at the sign of the
Blue Boar, kept by a respectable young man
named Robert Rudd, of about thirty years of
age. He evidently was looked up to by his
neighbours, and knew everybody within a
circle of considerable diameter; and though
his young wife had a nice little girl of two
years old upon her hands, and shortly
promised to present her husband with another
olive-branch, the cooking, which she did
herself, was excellent in its own provincial style;
and my humble quarters were as neat and
comfortable as it was possible for daily tidiness,
with the occasional help of old Nurse
Andrews, to make of such an odd-looking
couple of rooms.

The next important step was to find up an
aid-de-camp with proper qualifications. I
well knew, that without either a guide, or the
power of obtaining a bird's-eye view of the
country every hundred yards of my way, I
should soon get mazed in a labyrinth of cuts
and creeks, and " deeks," and rivers; and
that, without a boat, I should often be unable
to pass over places which an unthinking
visitor might take to be dry land.

Rudd helped me over that difficulty too.
He was then going to the other end of the
broad, in his own flat-bottomed little craft, to
speak to the steadiest and " cleverest " marsh-
man for miles round, who was cousin to the
man that had hired the " 'coy; " and I should
be favoured with an introduction. The boat
would be left at the marshman's staith, to
bring back a load of sedge for litter next day,
and we could walk home by the marsh-wall

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