Nowadays, I fancy, not many gunners fill their own cartridges, unless they are rather "faddy" about the exact sorts and proportions of powder and shot they shoot with. In the days I speak of, by the way, the powder used was chiefly the old black sort. It made our guns very dirty, and it caused a great deal of smoke — on some days especially; but I believe it was as killing as most powders. I have no particular preference or fancy as to what " smokeless powders " I use. Sometimes I shoot with amberite, sometimes with Schultz. It is not so much the particular powder used or the size of the shot—numbers 5 and 6 shot are best on the whole perhaps for such shooting as these chapters deal with—that does it; rather it is the man behind the powder. It is well perhaps to begin with rather lightly loaded cartridges, and to change to ordinary ones when the recoil is no longer a matter worth considering. When you begin, recoil sometimes is a matter to be considered. I remember that the day following my first rook shoot at Enham Park—it was on that delightful day I first shot flying—my right shoulder was black and blue. The firmer you hold the gun to the shoulder, the less will the recoil trouble you.
You do not want advice as to the clothes suitable to the sport. I could not give it to you if you did, for these sartorial questions have never interested me much. I always shot and fished in any clothes I happened to have that were not too new and good for the thorns and the rain and the wear and tear. Gaiters or leggings we used to buy as a rule in the village shop, where we also got our ammunition and our boot-laces, our gun licenses—for it was a post-office as well as a shop of all wares— shooting and fishing coats, caps, and waterproofs : of these I scarcely had my fair share. Probably it did not much hurt me to go shooting without them, though you should by all means take such gifts if they are offered to you. I do regret that I did not set more store by waterproof boots in those days. It is only quite recently I have studied this matter seriously. There comes a time when a twinge or two of undoubted " rheumatics"—as my friends the keeper and the woodman call it—reminds one that it is time to leave off walking about for hours with wet feet. It is really a good plan to have a pair of brown or black absolutely waterproof boots. Do not on any account let the servants put blacking on these boots; they will if you are not careful, for they have a notion that boots were made to shine. Keep your shooting-boots (which when wet outside must not be put too near the fire) well greased, not oiled, and see to it yourself.