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but it rained so excessively hard, by which the Eyford Vale was so completely flooded, that they were compelled to give him up and retrace their steps to the Cheltenham Kennels.
Wednesday, 17th.-Dixon Wood, which afforded a fox ; lie ran a ring to Long Wood, where he went to ground. They then drew the Thrift Wood, and roused another capital stout fox, which ran to Cordean Plantations, where he hung some time ; after being severely pressed by the hounds, he broke away over the race-course to the Hewlets, when the men came up with the fox that had been run to ground ; he was turned down, and, after a short chevy, run into, which ended the morning's sport. There was a good scent, and it was a severe day for hounds.
Thursday 18th.—No appointment, in consequence of the Duke of Wellington's funeral.
Saturday, 20th. ---Broadway. A very thick fog ; nevertheless they drew the coppice, where they found and ran him to ground : pace very quick. The Leasow Brake was blank. No. 2 was at home in Wormington, which covert he ran through, away to Lord Sudeley's, and on to Lidcombe, where he was lost, the scent being very defective.
Monday, 22nd.-Naunton Inn. One of the coverts was drawn blank, but they were more successful in the celebrated and well-known Winniatts Brake ; from whence their fox broke and ran to Giuting, all round the woods, when he made another attempt to face the open ; but, being headed, was run into and killed. There was a very fair scent.
Tuesday, 23rd.—Woodmancote village. The first fox in the Moor Wood ran through Combe End and was lost near Beech turnpike. The second fox was found in the Powers Wood, Combe End, and came away very quick to Hillcot, through the covert, and on to Pinchley, where they experienced a long check, in consequence of the fox having thrown himself down ; however, with great perseverance they succeeded in hunting up to him, and going over Pegglesworth Down, ran into him at Charlton Kings. This was a most capital day's sport.
Wednesday, 24th.-Met at Dowdeswell and found there, but could not do much, from want of scent. Puckham Scrubs was blank; and although Westwood held a fox, he did not afford a run.
Thursday, 25th.-Withington village. The wood afforded a fox; at which the hounds ran very hard, when he took a ring round Chedworth village, where they came to a check, which lasted for some time; at length they hunted him into the wood, and, missing some of the hounds, discovered they had run their fox to ground, from whence he was got out and killed.
Saturday, 27th. --Weston Park, Broadway. There was a fox in readiness, which they ran to ground at the Fish; after which another was unluckily chopped at the Hon. General Lygon’s. Another fox was in waiting in the gorse, which broke for Bourton Wood, came away again at a very fast pace up to the Slate Pits, where they unfortunately got upon a fresh fox; and, after a remarkably fine day's sport, the hounds were stopped at General Lygon's lodge, in consequence of having changed.
Monday, 29th.-- Colesbourne Inn. Found at Combe End; went away at a tremendous pace, through Eycot, Withington Wood, to Rendcombe, where they ran in to him in a very satisfactory manner. fair scent.
Tuesday, 30th.-Hampden Mill, Stow-road. Found a fox in Pea Hill; but, in consequence of there being an excessively numerous and very wild field out, who scoured the country, and overrode the hounds in all directions, they could not run a yard. There was likewise a very hard frost during the early part of the day. It was so severe as to render it doubtful whether it would be prudent to throw off. A second fox was found in Hazleton Grove, with which the result was similar to the first. At the small gorse at Hazleton a third was disturbed from his kennel, with which the hounds got away upon very unfavourable terms ; but they ran him up to Salperton Downs, where the scent improved and the prospect mended. They now began to run in earnest through the next covert, and across to Westwood, Humblebee, How, over the bottom to Farncot Wood, and down to Hayles Wood, where they continued running till night came on, when the hounds were of necessity stopped, and thus disappointed of the blood they had gallantly worked for. It was a very severe day, and a capital conclusion of the month's sport in the Cheltenham country. The admirable condition and untiring perseverance of the hounds drew forth the warmest expressions of acknowledgment from those who went to the end of this run, and were enabled to appreciate the performance; the only source of regret being, to those who are located at Cheltenham, that another month would intervene before they could enjoy a repetition of the glorious sport his lordship’s hounds have afforded.
Rumours are in circulation, thus early, of several masters of hounds having expressed their determination of resigning their countries at the conclusion of the season. Mr. Drake, it is reported, will give up his country. It has also been stated that Mr. Morrel retires from the Berkshire ; but I am inclined to believe that will not be the case. Mr. Villebois has also intimated his intention of discontinuing to hunt the Vale of White Horse. All these resignations are much to be regretted ; for the establishments, respectively, are very superior. Mr. Villebois has a splendid pack of hounds, mounts his men extremely well, and spares no expense or trouble to afford sport, in which he has been very successful. Christopher Atkinson, who for several years was known in Ear) Fitzhardinge's establishment as first whip, by the name of “ Kit,” has made a good beginning with Mr. Villebois, as huntsman. His father occupied a similar appointment in Worcestershire, during the period Mr. Hornyhold had the country. He was a very superior man with hounds, and his son has had every opportunity of gaining proficiency in the art. I am not aware of the precise time Kit whipped.in to Lord Fitzhardinge, but fancy it must have been at least twelve years. His lordship is so good a judge of hunting and the duties of a whipper-in, that no man would have been retained that length of time in the employment without being made conversant with his business, especially with so good a monitor to direct him as Mr. Ayris.
As an employment for a man whose lot has been cast in that station of life in which it is incumbent upon him to earn his livelihood, whose destiny it is to enter into some engagement by which he can obtain the means of supporting himself and his family, none appears to be more enviable than that of huntsman to an old and first-rate establishment. The usages of England are strangely anomalous in some particulars, and conspicuously so in this respect. Thousands of well-educated men
are glad to avail themselves of situations as clerks in public establishments, bankers' and merchants' offices, in the service of railway companies, and suchlike vocations, who would disdain the idea of being huntsman ; yet the latter occupation is greatly to be preferred. A clerk is immured within the dark walls of a murky city, where his health is impaired from want of exercise, and during a certain number of hours each day he is a voluntary prisoner. The daily engagements of a huntsman are conducive to health, and he is constantly occupied with subjects calculated to afford him pleasure. The bankers' or merchant's clerk, it may be urged, is a post of great trust and confidence; that he has every day of his life thousands of pounds passing through his hands, and has therefore constant temptations before him; therefore, he must be a person of unimpeachable probity. Granted, but the restrictions under which he is placed, the security which he is compelled to give, in most cases restrain him from misappropriating the specie which he handles. The huntsman has not on many occasions large sums of money to negotiate, but he has many trusts of equal importance reposed in him. One of the most essential and valuable characteristics is that which our late great Duke held in such estimation-namely, duty; a tie which binds a well-conducted mind to the performance of everything that is estimable. Without a proper sense of duty, a huntsman will never retain a first-rate engagement. There might have been, in bygone times, some individuals employed as huntsmen to minor packs, who might have devoted their spare moments to badger-baiting, bullbaiting, dog-fighting, and suchlike unseemly diversions ; but I doubt very much if any huntsman of the present day can be found whose tastes lead them to such pursuits. Doubtless there are many degrees of propriety observed by men following this kind of life ; but it would be ungenerous to form unfavourable opinions of the majority from any indiscretions which may be observable in the conduct of a very few. The selection of an occupation is, after all, a matter of taste and opinion. Many form their opinions from the dictates, influences, and judgments of those with whom they associate; others, more independent, from the impulse of their own feelings, Almost every subject that passes is subservient to diversity of opinions. Literature may be introduced as a very appropriate example. Some men desire only to study the classics ; others admire history; there are those who can only find gratification from the higher enchantments of poetry ; persons gifted with certain turns of mind revel in novels ; many delight in sporting subjects. Lovers of poetry and fiction may possibly hold the latter class of literature in little esteem. That, however, is matter of opinion; for it is not necessary that slang or inelegant language should form part of the sportsman's vocabulary. There are technical terms made use of in hunting, racing, shooting, cricket, and all other sports ; but they are by no means offensive to the most fastidious ear. A similar comparison is applicable to the military and naval services. No person can read a description of the late Duke of Wellington's campaigns, which at the present time excites a lively interest, without meeting with introductions of military terms ; or the equally pleasing accounts of our naval heroes of olden times, without finding nautical expressions. Virgil makes many allusions to hunting, which have never been considered derogatory to his works; and very few poetical compositions surpass in rurity of style and elegance of expression that beautiful work of So. merville's called “ The Chase."
Great skill, and an extensive share of natural abilities, are necessary faculties in a huntsman. Practice alone will not make a man perfectly conversant with his duties in this department; otherwise, every whipper-in who has been engaged in that service a considerable length of time would make a huntsman, which is by no means the case ; for many first-rate whips have made singular failures when promoted to that station. A huntsman must be a man of quick and active abilities, and a very close observer of nature. These and many little items are, perhaps, not supposed by casual observers to be included in the category of a huntsman's qualifications. It is not necessary that lie should study abstrusely works on natural philosophy, but it is necessary that he should study nature in her own mystic garb-an employment calculated to expand the mind and elevate the senses. No small share of talent is requisite in breeding hounds successfully; and very few occupations afford greater satisfaction than when those efforts are crowned with fortuitous results. A vast number of persons who follow hounds possess very little knowledge of the details necessary to produce the sport in which they participate. They may indulge themselves in the happy delusion that they are perfectly initiated in all the mysteries of woodcraft ; and yet, if they were to attempt practically the performance of the most trifling incidents, they would find themselves perfect novices. How frequently it occurs that, when hounds fail to show sport, a variety of opinions are expressed as to the cause! One man will condemin a huntsman for being too slow, another for being too fast. Some will argue that the hounds are too highly bred, or too lusty, or too light, when, in all probability, the only obstacle is want of scenta phenomenon which the elements alone control. A sportsman accustomed to a provincial country, where hounds can do their work unmolested by a crowd of horsemen, is surprised, when he visits a populous hunt, to see the huntsman make wide casts-perchance, sometimes lift his hounds; but, on reflection, it will be found that such practices are often imperative. In illustration of this, let us suppose a fox is found in a small gorse covert, with from two to three hundred ardent spirits, all anxious for distinction. The fox “ breaks away ;” and before the hounds can settle to the scent, ambitious horsemen press cruelly upon them. Others are skirting—that is, riding to some leading covert, which they imagine the fox will make for. After running a given distance, he turns, either from being blown, or having been headed-perchance, to make good his point ; but the hounds, consequently, come to a check. In such a case, if there were only twenty horsemen in the field, the most judicious practice would be to let the hounds alone, permit them to make their own cast; and in all probability they would “ hit off the scent." The number of horsemen being multiplied by ten, it is quite another affair. A fox will very seldom face such a phalanx ; and if he does, in all probability he will be viewed. If he has turned back, he did that before the field had arrived at the particular point; and they have evidently ridden over the scent, for the field is dispersed, and it is very likely the flanks, both right and left, extend a quarter of a mile--and often much further—from the line the hounds have been running. There is in such a case no alternative but to make a cast at
once, beyond where the ground has been foiled by the horses; and therefore it must be a wide one. To attempt to pick through them would be a hopeless endeavour. The operations of huntsmen who have large fields to contend against are obviously much more perplexing than of such as hunt hounds in provincial countries, where there are but a few horsemen, and most, if not all, of them sportsmen.
AND THE MOOR.
(Continued.) Sir Nicholas had ceased for several minutes to narrate the history of the bold Highlander, and was expecting to hear some remarks upon the gallant style of his escape ; but, although he told his tale with his usual felicity-and few men had a happier power of improving and burnishing up the poorest material—he was not a little astonished to find that he had actually talked his audience to sleep. Wearied out with the fatigues of the day and the previous night, the two young men had gradually become insensible to the most piquant points of the story, and had dropped off into slumber, dreaming of deer-stalking and deer-stealingthe adventures of the one and the glories of the other. Sir Nicholas, wrapping himself up in an antique military cloak of good broadcloth and camlet, thonght he could not do better than follow their example, and prepare himself for the chace of the morrow ; and shaking his bed of heather, like an old mountaineer, he bent his knee in prayer, and then, with a tranquil and happy mind, endeavoured to compose himself to rest. His sleep, however, was not undisturbed; he tossed about on his flowery couch for some hours without closing his eyelids ; he could not banish from his mind the stirring scenes he had been narrating ; they even served to call back to mind much which had long since been forgotten, and the remembrance of which was as painful as it was unavailing. The power which he had kindly evoked, with no little exertion to himself, in order to soothe and reconcile the irritated tempers of his nephews, resisted all his endeavours to banish it :
“ Remembrance came, with all her busy train,
Woke in his breast, and turned the past to pain." One circumstance after another arose and presented themselves with vivid clearness to his wearied mind ; and stories, dreadful in themselves, assumed a double terror in the gloomy drcariness of night. Sir Nicholas possessed one peculiarity not uncommon to meditative minds ; he could, while sleeplessly stretched on his couch, assume the tranquil aspect and breathing of deep sleep, while his imagination was excited to its highest pitch, or his mind deeply absorbed in some intricate calculation or lofty scheme, in which, for the good of his fellow-creatures, he was prone to indulge. In such a mood and aspect he had been lying for some time, when Edmund Powell suddenly sat upright on his heather, looked attentively towards his uncle for some minutes, and, being unable to satisfy himself if Sir Nicholas' sleep was as sound as it appeared, rose, and