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Old 01-27-2016, 09:33 PM
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We landed, carried the oars to the public-house, and left the bottle to be filled. Soon we were among the bushes on Wimbledon Common. Tommy was running before us. The first shot was mine. I took good aim at a small bird and fired. Tommy barked loudly, and the bird flew away.

«Never mind,» said I, «better luck next time.»

Tom then shot a bird, and handed the gun to me again. This time I was more successful, and another bird fell off a bush three yards away as I fired my gun. I never felt more happy in my life. We slowly walked across the common, trying to avoid swamps and sometimes falling in with pits half full of water. We fired the gun again and again, but missed more often than hit. After every shot Tommy barked for half a minute.

At last we began to feel tired, and agreed to rest a little among the bushes. We sat down, and pulled out of our bags the birds which we had shot. There were seven of them lying on the ground before us. All of a sudden we heard a noise in the bushes. It was the dog who had caught a hare wounded by some other sportsman. We took the hare away from Tommy and laid it on the ground, too. It was quite a large animal, and we were happy about it. Suddenly we heard a voice close to us:

«There you are, young poachers. I’ve caught you, haven’t I?»

We looked up and saw the keeper of Wimbledon Common.

«Come – come along with me. We have a nice prison at Wandsworth. It’s just for you. I’ve been watching you for some time. Hand your gun here.»

«I shall not,» replied I. «The gun belongs to us and not to you». And I took the gun and pointed it at him.

«What! do you mean to kill me?–»

«Do you mean to rob us?» I replied angrily. «Shall I shoot him, Tom?»

«No, Jacob, no. You mustn’t shoot men,» Tom said. «Indeed, you can’t,» he continued, whispering to me, «the gun is not loaded.»

«Do you mean to refuse to give me up your gun?» repeated the man.

«Yes, I do. So keep off.»

«Oh! You young criminals – you’ll answer for this. Do you refuse to come with me?»

«We do,» I replied.

«You refuse, do you? Remember, I’ve caught you in the fact, poaching, with a dead hare on your hands.»

«Well, it’s no use crying about it. What’s done can’t be helped,» I replied.

«Don’t you know that everything on this common belongs to Earl Spencer?»

«And all the birds too, I suppose?» replied I.
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