by flood and field and covert-side

chong lee

Senior Member
The quote is from the story "A Defensive Diamond" by H. H. Munro.

I did not understand the phrase "by flood and field and covert-side".

Could you explain it for me , thank you.

Amblecope, the man with the restless, prominent eyes and the mouth ready mobilised for conversational openings, had planted himself in a neighbouring arm-chair. For a twelvemonth and some odd weeks Treddleford had skilfully avoided making the acquaintance of his voluble fellow-clubman; he had marvellously escaped from the infliction of his relentless record of tedious personal achievements, or alleged achievements, on golf links, turf, and gaming table, by flood and field and covert-side.
  • Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    Flood means "A body of flowing water; a river, stream, usually, a large river. Obs. exc. poet.", and covert means "A place which gives shelter to wild animals or game; esp. a thicket" (OED).

    Minnesota Guy

    Senior Member
    American English - USA
    The phrase "by flood and field and covert-side" goes with "achievements" -- i.e. his achievements in fishing, fox-hunting (pursuing the fox through the field on horseback), and hunting for game, such as pheasant.

    This is poetic language, used here for very facetious effect.

    chong lee

    Senior Member
    ok "by" is for river but also "by" precedes "field" and "covert" so also it means "by fields" right?


    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    by flood and field and covert-side.
    It is just my opinion, but I think this last phrase is supposed to "sound like" the way people talk about battle events during war. The speaker says that to imply that the braggart tends to make all his petty little "adventures" seem much bigger, more serious.

    Though it does fit fox-hunting as well. Either way it is poking fun at the braggart. Like Minnesota Guy above, I would say "facetious" if I could spell that...


    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I think dojibear is spot on when he says that this sounds like battle-talk; though it may already have been a sort of facetious set-phrase used to signify fishing and hunting, before H.H.Munro's character ever spoke the words.

    " flood and field" was used by Shakespeare in Othello (Act I, Scene iii)
    (Othello is telling of how Desdemona fell in love with him)

    Her father loved me, oft invited me,
    Still questioned me the story of my life
    From year to year, the battles, sieges, fortunes,
    That I have passed.
    I ran it through, even from my boyish days,
    To th' very moment that he bade me tell it,
    Wherein I spoke of most disastrous chances,
    Of moving accidents by flood and field,
    Of hair-breadth ’scapes i' th' imminent deadly breach,

    Here it refers to war - stirring events in battle, both at sea and on land.

    Covert-side Sketches (1879) was a book of "thoughts on hunting" the fox, deer, and hare.
    Covert-side sketches : or, Thoughts on hunting suggested by many days in many countries with fox, deer, and hare : Fitt, J. Nevill : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive

    chong lee

    Senior Member
    Ok, I cannot follow what "dojibear" started. Let me return to my issue.

    "on turf" makes sense to me. But "by flood" does not (if I am supposed to understand it as "fishing adventures"). "on flood" or "in flood" more meaningful for me (fish lives in river)but "by" is not.
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