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attendants, who have to act as poultry police,
and keep the Queen's peace among the fowls.
One scarcely knew which most to admire in
this department, whether the dainty
Worcestershire Piles, the gorgeous Black-breasted
Reds, the harmonious Duck-winged Greys, or
the swarthy Birchen Greys and Blacks, looking
very like imps disguised in half or entire
mourning. It needed little imagination to
supply the demoniac fire to flash from out
their eyes and nostrils."

The competing lots of Cochin-China fowls,
one hundred and fifty-four in number,
the grand objects of attraction and discussion.
The excitement they caused among
persons who attend to such things is barely
credible. The political convulsions of France,
the future of Europe, the downfall or the
established empire of Louis Napoleon, were
trifling matters, not worth speculating upon.
—"How much do the best Cochin-Chinas
weigh?"—"I will tell you, sir, on authority
which you may trust implicitly. There are,
you see, two first prizes given for a cock and
three hens, running each other neck and neck;
but Mr. Andrews's are young birds, not so
substantial as they will be. Mr. Sturgeon's
pen are more mature, and weigh thus: cock,
eleven pound two ounces; hen, nine pound;
ditto, eight pound ten ounces; ditto, eight
pound five ounces. He has several cockerels
here weighing more than ten pound apiece. I
am told they make magnificent capons.
Indeed, that gentleman, and Mr. Punchard, of
Haverhill in Suffolk, seem to be doing for
Cochin-China fowls what Bakewell did for
the Leicester sheep, and Ellman for the southdowns
make them perfect in their way. The
latter gentleman, in the course of 1851, has
obtained from thirty-five hens and their
progeny something like six thousand eggs! These
creatures are adapted to make most prolific
colonizers. There are some chickens of the
second generation this season. They certainly
look a little like subjects for the Foundling
Hospital in their semi-nuditya friend of
mine knits polka jackets for hersfact!—
but the circumstance is curious, and I could
show you even more strange, yet authentic,

A glance at the Catalogue shows the value
set upon these treasures. By the rules of the
Society, every pen must have a price put upon
it. The amount is unlimited; and what is
thought a prohibitory valuation can of course
be made. But, if the price be offered, the sale
must take place. Last year, a gentleman
ticketed a cock and hen that he wished should
return home, after the Show, five pounds.
To his surprise, they were bought. After
this, it is not surprising to see lots of choice
stock birds estimated at the figures of sixty.
or even one hundred pounds. It was believed
at Birmingham, that the actual saleable value
of the poultry would buy all the cattle, sheep,
and pigs in the Show.

On the market-day, Thursday, the
popularity of the pursuit was manifest. And it
has the advantage of being open to all classes
of society. Any one raised above poverty
can rear a few fowls; the choicest specimens
are not more expensive to keep, than
the ugliest mongrels; so the cottager may
here enter the lists with the consort of his
sovereign, and perhaps carry away the prize.
During the four exhibition days, the aristocrat
and the plebeian seemed equally delighted
with the display, and equally anxious to take
the lead another year. Ladies of high degree,
ladies of low degree, and ladies of no degree
at all, were astonished and pleased. Such a
sight they had never seen before.

It is impossible to shut one's eyes to the
intense symptoms which show the rapid
increase of the poultry-mania. For many
years it has been the leisure amusement of
the humbler classes in the north and west of
England; it now is become a fashionable
hobby. Squires and ladies, lords and a prince,
send flocks of feathered claimants, with
powers of attorney, to get a silver medal, if
they can. Perhaps the most aristocratic
poultry classes at Birmingham were the geese
and the turkeys; in which, however, they
were headed by the Reverend John Robinson,
and Mr. E. W. Wilmot, respectively. They will
try to succeed better another year. Lady
Calthorpe sent the best pair of Guinea fowls of the
good old-fashioned sort. It follows, that prices
hitherto unheard-of are given for choice
specimens. Mr. Sturgeon cheerfully paid ten
pounds for a white China cock and hen. Two
gentlemen from a southern county bought,
to share between them, a pen of six chickens
for twenty pounds! What will their ladies
say to it when they get home? A fancier, of
the medical profession, purchased a broken-
winged pullet for four pounds, on the chance
of curing her.

Poultry associations are starting up
suddenly in various and distant parts of the
country; no doubt on the principle, "Light
your fire at both ends, and the middle will
take care of itself." Thus, Penzance shoots
out a ray reflected from Birmingham; and, to
the spark which (it is whispered) is smouldering
at Salisbury, Halifax already responds by
a steady blaze; though as this is to be a
peripatetic school, annually wandering to and fro
throughout Yorkshire, envious associations
may style it a Will o' the Wisp. We watch
the progress of poultry with great curiosity. It
almost looks as if the old tulipomania were
about to have a modern rival.

Now Ready, Price 3s.6d.,
To be completed in three Volumes, of the same size and price.
Collected and Revised from "Household Words,"
With a Table of Dates.

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