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Title: Hunting Reminiscences
Author: Pease, Alfred E. (Alfred Edward), Sir
Language: English
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  HUNTING REMINISCENCES
  BY
  ALFRED E. PEASE, M.P.



  Two Hundred Copies only of this _Edition de Luxe_ have
  been printed, and the Type distributed.

  No. 5

[Illustration: FROZEN OUT. From a coloured sketch by the late SIR FRANK
LOCKWOOD.]



  HUNTING REMINISCENCES

  BY

  ALFRED E. PEASE, M.P.

  AUTHOR OF “THE CLEVELAND
  HOUNDS AS A TRENCHER-FED PACK”
  “HORSE-BREEDING FOR FARMERS” &c.

  [Illustration]

  LONDON: W. THACKER & CO.
  2 CREED LANE, E.C. 1898
  CALCUTTA: THACKER, SPINK & CO.



[_ALL RIGHTS RESERVED._]



CONTENTS


                                                  PAGE
      I. REMINISCENCES OF THE CAMBRIDGE DRAG AND
           THE HOUSE OF COMMONS STEEPLECHASES        7

     II. THE LIFE OF A HUNTER                       43

    III. HOUNDS                                     77

     IV. HARE-HUNTING                              103

      V. FOX-HUNTING                               125

     VI. FOX-HUNTING--_continued_                  155

    VII. CUB-HUNTING                               183

   VIII. THE GREATEST RUN I EVER SAW               205

     IX. BADGER-HUNTING                            233

         INDEX                                     255



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


                                                    PAGE

  FROZEN OUT                             _Frontispiece_

    (_From a Coloured Sketch by the late_ SIR FRANK
      LOCKWOOD)

  MR. A. E. PEASE, M.P., ON “NORA CREINA,” WINNER
    OF HOUSE OF COMMONS POINT-TO-POINT RACE, 1891      9
    (_From a Photograph_)

  HOUSE OF COMMONS POINT-TO-POINT RACE                27
    (_From a Drawing by_ CUTHBERT BRADLEY)

  QUEEN MAB                                           45
    (_From a Painting_)

  YORK GIMCRACKS                                      79
    (_From a Sketch by the late_ SIR FRANK LOCKWOOD)

  MR. TOM HILL AND UNDERGRADUATE                     105
    (_Scene in a Cambridge Stable-yard, from a
     Sketch by_ C. M. NEWTON)

  MISS LAVENDER PEASE ON “ZACCHEUS”                  115
    (_From a Painting by_ MR. HEYWOOD HARDY)

  DRAG-HUNTING, CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY, 1879           127
    (_From a Sketch by_ C. M. NEWTON)

  A MEMBER OF THE GIMCRACK CLUB                      185
    (_From a Sketch by the late_ SIR FRANK
      LOCKWOOD)

  INCIDENTS WITH THE CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY
    DRAG                                             207
    (_From a Sketch by_ C. M. NEWTON)

  THE CLEVELAND FOX-HOUNDS AT EXERCISE               239
    (_From a Photograph of_ MR. HEYWOOD HARDY’S
     _Picture, A Summer’s Day in Cleveland_)


  I

  REMINISCENCES OF
  THE CAMBRIDGE DRAG
  AND THE
  HOUSE OF COMMONS
  STEEPLECHASES



[Illustration: MR. A. E. PEASE, M.P., ON “NORA CREINA.” Winner of
House of Commons Point-to-Point Race, 1891.]



I


I AM asked to begin with some reminiscences of the Cambridge University
Drag and of the House of Commons Steeplechases. The former is not quite
an easy task, for, after a lapse of sixteen or seventeen years, memory
has to be plied with whip and spur before she will come up to the
starting-post.

It is many years since I first started from my rooms in 19, Trinity
Street, and mounted Election, starting at the door to ride my first
drag on that beautiful, roaring, arch-kneed, and queer-tempered
bloody son of Ballot. And yet, after all the excellent sport I have
seen since, I very much doubt if any hours were ever more enjoyed
than those spent in tearing over the picked patches of Cambridgeshire
after aniseed, behind or in front of the wild brutes we dignified
with the name of hounds. I remember that first day better than many
a more glorious gallop after. Four of us jogged to the meet at Lords
Bridge in the rain: the present Vicar of Bethnal Green (Hon. A. G.
Lawley) carried the horn on old Gingertail; Lord Binning (Colonel in
the Blues), on that king of drag-horses, Mosquito; Mr. Percy Aylmer of
Walworth; and Mr. Mitchell of Forcett. As far as I can remember, when
the hounds were laid on, we composed the whole field. I knew that a
new-comer was, if kindly welcomed, critically watched, and I confess
that I was nervous; I had no confidence in my horse, who would at times
refuse to face anything. How I hoped it would be one of his jumping
days! As for his galloping, it was worth all the two hundred guineas
that my father had given for him two years previously, when he was
sound in wind and fresh on his legs.

Away we went! I can see now Lawley’s black and white trousers, with a
strap under the knee, on each side of old Gingertail, popping over the
fences three lengths ahead of me as we covered the first two miles.
Soon after Lawley, Aylmer, Binning, and I got level--a fence, a rail,
another fence, then two gates in and out of the road, all abreast.
Lawley is elbowed off the gates, and Gingertail jumps the gate-posts;
the other three of us rattle the top bars with our horses’ knees. The
pace is terrific; three silent hounds racing over the grass and flying
the fences ahead, the rest no one cares where;--Leete, the dragsman,
in view, sitting on his horse two fields ahead under a high fence. Two
fields of grass, two more great fences,--over the last of which we land
like shot rubbish,--a touch with the spur to Election, and he draws
out, finishing first, just as old Norman, the leading hound, reaches
Leete.

No more trailing about the ploughs after the Cambridgeshire Fox-hounds
for me! This is settled between Election and myself as we all trot
back to Cambridge, and lark, while our blood is still warm, over the
hand-gates and stiles along the footpath to the town. The authorities,
I have understood, never smiled on the Drag. In my heart I believe that
most of them had not an idea of what it was. It only meant to them
something to do with horses and “dogs,” or, perhaps, a coach on wheels;
something associated with a rather troublesome class of undergraduates
who paid little respect to them, except when invited to do so by a
slip, suggesting that a call should be made on the senior Proctor or
“the Dean.” Then, when a quiet young man appeared in his gown, with
his cap in his hand, they, no doubt, were more puzzled than ever at
the various kinds of relaxation that we indulged in. The notions we
had of their pursuits were probably as stupid as theirs of ours; but
if any of the old scowlers ever watch the subsequent careers of some
of those they looked on as “impossible,” they must find among those
they regarded as harum-scarum, devil-may-care followers of the Drag,
the names of men who have led devoted lives as clergymen in East-end
slums, who have filled high office under the Queen, who have made brave
soldiers and good citizens.

Not long ago I went to shake hands with two old friends of Cambridge
days before they were removed to Holloway Gaol, with the rest of Dr.
Jameson’s raiders. Whatever their faults, and however lamentable the
results of the raid, there can be no doubt of the good stuff they
are made of. How well I remember “Sir J.”, as we called Sir John
Willoughby, riding against Mr. George Lambton in the Barton Drag, and
both coming down, and Sir J.’s horse getting up and putting his foot
on his master’s face, much to the detriment of his features. Many a
good rider in the silk has learned his first lesson with the Drag,
and George Lambton was one. He used to ride a young bay thoroughbred,
Julian, which had been scratched for the Derby, and, with all the
glorious pride and confidence of youth, used to send him along at five
furlongs pace over, or rather through, the Cambridgeshire gates, not
one of which I ever saw him clear! Not one whit discouraged, Julian
used to start, but never, to my knowledge, “finished.” It is curious
how much pleasure undergraduates seem to find in lying on their backs
and standing on their heads in Cambridgeshire ploughs. Talking of the
raiders reminds me that I once rode from Cambridge with one of them
(the Hon. R. White) to Stowe Fox. I was riding a three-year-old mare,
and rode her the whole way to the meet without touching the bridle.
Coming home, my companion bettered my performance by riding his horse
over every gate we met on a bridle-road, which, considering that he,
like the rest of us, had taken a toss at the Stowe Fox brook, shows
that he then had nerve that ought to stand a life’s wear and tear.
My brother (Mr. J. A. Pease, now M.P.), and Capt. B. H. Philips
(of the 23rd R. W. F.), with myself, together occupied a house in
Trinity Street. Some days we used to sally out together to inspect
the Fitzwilliam, at Gidding Windmill, or some other favourite spot,
and take the Drag three afternoons a week to fill up the time between
hunting days.

Of all animals under the sun an undergraduate’s horse is the most
wonderful. I have known Philips ride with the Drag on Friday, hunt with
the Fitzwilliam on Saturday, again on Monday, and go to the Pytchley
(Woodland) on Tuesday, Lucifer (appropriate name) his mount each day,
but truth compels me to add, not for another three weeks afterwards.

The days with the Fitzwilliam were often very hard days for horses.
It meant leaving before seven in the morning, boxing to Huntingdon,
and after a good breakfast at the “George,” hacking any distance from
six to twelve miles to cover--and the same way home again. One such
day is fixed in my mind, for it was the one on which I first donned a
pink coat, and I have found the following account in a letter I wrote:
“Yesterday nine of us went by the 7.0 train to Huntingdon, where we
had breakfast. We then hacked on eleven miles to the meet. We had
a wonderful fast hunting-run, hounds going all the time, from five
minutes to one till ten minutes past three. Bertie Philips’ and Devas’
(Mr. E. Devas) horses were ridden to a standstill half an hour before
we finished, and all our horses were pretty well cooked. We had then
thirteen miles to Huntingdon on “done” horses. Philips dragged his
about four miles to a village, then put up. We struggled on to the
next, sat in the inn an hour, and started again, eventually reaching
Huntingdon, where we left the horses and caught a train to Cambridge.
The country was very deep, and it was a tremendous run.”

Among the men whose names I remember, who distinguished themselves
with the Drag in my time were the following:--Mr. Hoole (killed whilst
riding for the ’Varsity Whip, at St. Ives, 1876); Mr. Herbert Magniac
(master of the Drag, 1877-78); Earl of Yarborough, Lord Binning, Sir
John Willoughby, Sir H. Meux, Hon. A. G. Lawley, Hon. A. Lawley, Hon.
R. White, Hons. R. and H. Fitzwilliam, Messrs. J. M. Paulton, J.
A. Pease, Graham, Barnard, P. Aylmer, E. Aylmer, H. Russell, F. R.
Meuricoffre, B. H. Philips, H. C. Bentley, W. C. Ellis, R. L. Pike,
C. Antrobus, C. A. Fellowes, and E. Devas. There are, doubtless, many
other names which should occur to me.

I had several good horses during my time at Cambridge,--I mean good
for the purpose to which an undergraduate devotes a horse. There was
Election, fast, but a queer screw, and very musical. Saucebox, a most
accomplished timber jumper and whistler, never gave me falls, except
over water and doubles; he jumped twenty-one gates in the White Horse
Barton Drag on one occasion. This day a man fell, at a gate I had
jumped, into the road, and his hat flew past me, but I caught it in
the air as my horse rose at the gate out; my brother, who was my whip
then, took it from me and carried it to the finish. Shamrock was a
clever horse, and only gave me one fall in one term; he came from the
Hon. Mark Rolles. Osman was my brother’s horse. He was a wonderful
stayer and fencer, but gave us both many a roll. I have seen him fall
down three times going to the meet with my brother, who counted this
as a little failing of no account whatever. Osman carried me through
perhaps the best run the Pytchley (Woodland) had during Lord Spencer’s
Mastership--fifty minutes from Finedon Poplars to Thrapstone. Philips
and I had boxed through to Kettering, and it is not every M.F.H. that
would give a party of undergraduates such a warm reception as Lord
Spencer gave us. The survivors of this run were Lord Spencer, Captain
B. Beecher, Lord Yarborough, Hon. C. R. Spencer, B. H. Philips, and
myself. I have seen few finer runs than this in my life, and old
Osman never made a mistake. The last hunter I had at Cambridge was a
four-year-old mare, Queen Mab, a charming and precocious young thing,
of whom more anon.

To return to the Drag for a moment.

The Over Drag and the Downing Arms were considered the severest in
my day. The former was a course of some three miles, but a fence for
every hundred yards, and a big fence too. I rode this Drag six times,
and only once got to the end of it on one of my own horses. Thrice I
never finished, and of the other times I won it once on a thoroughbred
belonging to that excellent sportsman, Mr. W. H. Garforth, of Gilling,
and once on a black hireling, appropriately named Satan.

The first time I got through this Drag it was won by Lord Binning. It
was a ludicrous finish. Lawley broke his girth over a stile into the
last field but one; the next fence was a bullfinch with a great black
fen ditch beyond, a regular death-trap. Lawley and Binning were neck
and neck across the field, and I was just behind. Girths or no girths,
Gingertail had to do it, but the peck on landing left him a clean back.
Binning’s horse fell on landing, and the two raced in on foot; my horse
fell, and I only made a moderate third behind the men on foot. Binning
had a thorn in his eye, and had to get off to Cambridge, and then
to London, to get it cut out. We all expected to see him back minus
the eye, but it was sound again within a week or two. In this Drag,
Mosquito jumped the biggest place I have ever seen leaped. I often wish
I had gone to measure it, and I fear to state my impressions of what
its dimensions are. It consisted of a high four-rail timber fence on
the top of a high bank, with about twelve or fourteen feet of water
on the takeoff side. As Binning was going to have it, I pulled back a
length, hoping he would bring the rail down when he fell, as fall he
must. To my astonishment, up flew Mosquito over the water; I saw for
a second the whole four feet of bank under the horse, and in another
moment he was over the rails, just carrying the top-rail away with his
hind-legs. I got over with a smash through the next rail. It is my
honest opinion that Mosquito jumped seven feet in the air and covered
some twenty-five feet in this marvellous jump.

Once during my Mastership I organised a Drag that was to be on the
pattern of a long hunting-run, by making the course some fourteen
miles, instead of the usual five or six. I arranged with old Leete that
we could run two Drags into one, leaving half a mile twice without
scent being laid, to give us “checks” and time to breathe our horses
and get hounds together. But the hounds were too cunning. They carried
such a head that when we reached the first check at the end of the Two
Pot House Drag, they flashed straight on up wind and made for the place
where they were usually started for the other drag. It was too severe
for the numerous field, and I never tried it again. There were some
nine that finished, and it was won by Mr. F. R. Meuricoffre, of Naples,
who has since proved himself a good rider over many a steeplechase
course in his native Italy. Here are the last entries I made, at the
close of my undergraduate career, in 1879.


  Nov. 22. Fulbourn Drag--Queen Mab went beautifully.

  " 25. Barton White Horses. 23 started. 9 at finish. 18 falls.

  " 28. Five Bells, Oakington. 23 at the meet. 3 in with hounds.

  " 30. Moyes Farm. Capital day. 27 out. 4 finished.

[Illustration: HOUSE OF COMMONS POINT-TO-POINT RACE. From a drawing by
Cuthbert Bradley]

  Dec. 1. Fox’s Bridge. 6½ miles. 23 minutes.

  " 4. Stowe Fox. Finished my Mastership, getting my last fall
  at the brook, and the only one Saucebox gave me with the
  Drag. I handed over the horn to my brother.

Since then the Drag has flourished, and I understand things are done
in a style we never dreamed of. Amongst the Masters that carried the
horn after my time were my brother, Mr. J. A. Pease, the present Duke
of Leeds, Mr. Le Fleming, Mr. Ivor Guest, the Duke of Marlborough,
Mr. Beddington, Mr. Wiloughby, Mr. Macreary, Mr. F. M. Freake, Lord
Ronaldshay, and several others whose names do not occur to me at the
moment.

I heard of the followers of the red herring having two Drags in one day
in 1895, Stowe Fox in the morning, and Downing Arms after lunch. The
usual field was augmented by several jockeys from Newmarket (including
T. Loates, Woodburn, Barker and Rickaby). I heard that several fine
tosses were scored by Mr. T. Loates, and that Barker finally won the
drag after a punishing finish, in which he beat Rickaby by a neck.

       *       *       *       *       *

The first year in which a House of Commons Steeplechase took place was
in 1889, and this pleasant and sporting meeting, which then promised to
become an annual one, was abandoned about 1893 in consequence of the
sad end of Captain “Bay” Middleton the year before. In 1889, I entered
an Irish mare, Peggy Dillon, but scratched her, and took no part in
the race. This took place in the Bicester country, from the village of
Hillesden to that of Chetwade, over a stiff course, but chiefly grass.
I remember that the ground was soft and going heavy. The distance was
three and three-quarter miles, and the conditions briefly--catchweight
over 13 stone, all horses to be the property of, and ridden by, an
M.P., and no horse to have previously won a steeplechase. Lord Chesham
started a field of ten senators, and the result of the race was as
follows:--

  Mr. Cyril Flower’s Home Rule, 13 st. 8½ lb. 1 (afterwards
  disqualified).

  Mr. Elliot Lees’ Damon, 13 st. 2

  Mr. J. Fitzwilliam’s Marcellus, 13 st. 11 lb. 3

  Mr. F. B. Mildmay’s horse, 13 st. 0

  Mr. W. Long’s horse, 13 st. 8¼ lb. 0

  Mr. Bromley-Davenport’s Berkshire, 13 st. 0

  Mr. P. A. Muntz’s Dauntless, 15 st. 4¼ lb. 0

  Lord Henry Bentinck’s Border Chief, 13 st. 10½ lb. 0

  Mr. J. B. White’s horse, 13 st. 6¾ lb. 0

  Mr. W. Jarvis’s Conjuror, 13 st. 0

  Lord Newark’s horse, 13 st. 0

  Colonel Heath’s horse, 13 st. 0

Mr. Muntz, in spite of his great weight, cut out the work to begin
with in company with Mr. Bromley-Davenport. The latter fell early
on, and Mr. Muntz was put back by the heavy going. Any chance of Mr.
Jarvis’s winning was extinguished by his horse breaking a leg. Near
home, Mr. Lees and Mr. Mildmay were leading, with Home Rule close
behind. Lord Henry Bentinck, Colonel Heath, and others fell, as did
Mr. Mildmay and Mr. Lees at the last brook, where Mr. Flower, passing
them, pulled off the race; but his horse was afterwards disqualified,
as it was discovered that many years previously he had won a race in
Lincolnshire, before he had been purchased by Mr. Flower. It can be
imagined that this success in disqualifying Home Rule was the subject
of much chaff among the politicians interested in the race, and I hear
party feeling rather got the better of the judgment of some two or
three M.P.’s, as some nasty things were said about Mr. Flower, who is
the last man living to do a “sharp” thing. He had acted in good faith,
and made no secret that he had re-christened his old hunter, Sultan,
Home Rule for the occasion. For a man of his weight and years, on an
old hunter, to cut down a lot of young bloods over the Bicester country
was a performance that is not often equalled.

The following year, 1890, we went down from Euston to Rugby, where I
remember many of us changed, and were most hospitably entertained by
Captain David Beatty before weighing out. The course was a beautiful
one, on a horseshoe of grass, unbroken, save by the fences, which were
a goodly size, but not more than a fair sample of the Warwickshire
and Leicestershire countries. We were divided into two classes, a
twelve-stone and a fourteen-stone class, and we who rode in the former
were rather amused and surprised to find that Mr. Muntz’s great, yet
beautiful mare, with about sixteen stone on her back, was entered in
our lot. We all were to start together, and Mr. Ashton, M.F.H., sent on
the way a field of thirteen. From this point I will attempt to describe
what I was able to see of the race. Except that my grey mare was a good
hunter, and had beaten another in a trial, I had no idea of what she
could do in a race. She was, I believe, originally bought in Ireland
for £17, and I purchased her for £85, with the simple character that
she required riding, would face fire, wire, or water, and would not
pass a Vet., as her eye was marked by a thorn-prick. I never dreamed of
being in the running at all, but thought I would make it hot for the
first mile or two, trusting that, at the pace I knew she could fence,
I might cut out some of the competitors. I started off with a lead,
closely followed by Mr. Mildmay, on the favourite, Discretion, who
seemed determined to frustrate my intention to distance my field. By
the time we reached the first brook, Sir Savile Crossley, as well as
Mr. Mildmay, were close on my quarters. Discretion fell, and I kept an
easy lead till about five fences from home. Here we were confronted by
a very stiff bullfinch, with what appeared to be a gate in the middle
of it. There is not much time for inspection on these occasions, and,
seeing no daylight through the black fence, I kept on my course for
the gate. As I approached it, I realised it was not a gate, but a high
barrier beyond a drinking-place. It was too late to change my mind,
and I held on, Nora Creina, my mare, carrying the rails into the next
field and letting several others through the gap we made. I saw several
falling at the bullfinch, and among them Mr. Jarvis, who got a nasty
kick in the face, and displayed a thing like a concertina afterwards,
which he alleged he had worn on his head. Two fences from home Mr.
Elliott Lees caught me, and ere we got into the straight had me
settled, as Nora could not get up the hill. This was the first and last
time I ever resorted to the spur with her, and when I found she could
not answer to it, we accepted our fate. The result of the race was--

TWELVE-STONE CLASS.

  Mr. Elliott Lees’ b g Damon by Wild Charlie, owner          1
  Mr. A. E. Pease’s gr m Nora Creina by Lord Gough, owner     2
  Mr. Hermon Hodges’ b m Lady Evelyn, Lord E. Hamilton        3
  Sir Savile Crossley’s ch g Chaff, owner                     0
  Mr. Hermon Hodges’ Hartlebury, owner                        0
  Mr. Muntz’s Duchess, owner                                  0
  Mr. Mildmay’s Discretion, owner                             0
  Mr. Yerburgh’s Schoolboy, owner                             0

FOURTEEN-STONE CLASS.

  Mr. W. H. Long’s b g Crusader, owner                        1
  Hon. G. Wyndham’s ch m Daffodil, owner                      2
  Mr. Hermon Hodges’ ch g The Don, Mr. Jarvis                 3
  Mr. Cyril Flower’s b g No Name, owner                       0
  Mr. H. L. Lawson’s b g Hedgehog, owner                      0

  Mr. Long, Mr. Mildmay, Mr. Jarvis, Mr. Lawson, and Mr. Cyril
  Flower, fell.

I rode a very bad race, due to want of knowledge of my mare’s powers
and the distance of the course, but these disadvantages I shared
in common with my colleagues. I felt the justice of Captain “Bay”
Middleton’s opinion, which I overheard, and these were the last
words I ever heard him speak. Some one remarked that my mare went
magnificently. “Yes,” said Bay; “but she was damned badly ridden,” and
he knew something of what he was talking about. The following year,
however, we did something to retrieve our character, as, with a turn of
luck, we won over a bigger country, and defeated the winner of 1889 and
1890--coming in first with great ease.

I have found the following lines, written after the race, by Mr. W.
Philpotts Williams:--


THE SENATORS’ RACE, 1891.

  The Mace and the Speaker are left for to-day,
  Both Tories and Rads. come to witness the play.
  The laws of debate, and the questions and bills
  Are cast to the winds on the Staverton Hills,
  And Commons and Lords, with the men of the Chase,
  All join in the fun of the Senators’ Race.


  In the place of the Speaker the man with the flag
  Gives the office to go with his piece of red rag;
  The gallery of ladies, no longer in trouble,
  Have freedom to talk, which they do at the double;
  And everyone comes with a smile on his face,
  To see senators ride in the Senators’ Race.

  The “Heavies” in numbers are not very strong,
  But good in the choice of Muntz, Bentinck, and Long;
  The “Lights” have a favourite in Lees, who can show
  His Dorsetshire horse is a nailer to go.
  Two years in succession they fought for a place,
  And pulled off the Stakes in the Senators’ Race.

  They’re off! is the cry; the shouting is loud;
  And Pease’s good grey leads the galloping crowd,
  A head like a lady’s, an eye like a deer--
  A sweet combination of courage and fear,
  From the start to the finish it looks like “a case”
  For the man on the grey in the Senators’ Race.

  Away for the brook, and away for the hill,
  The Lights and the Heavies are galloping still,
  And still we can see in the acres of grass,
  Each trying his best his companions to pass.
  The hill in the distance, the flag at the base,
  Is the course they have marked for the Senators’ Race.

  Back over the valley comes Pease and his mare,
  And wins a good race with plenty to spare;
  And Long and Lord Henry fight for the lead,
  The former comes up at the best of his speed,
  But the latter pulls off at a galloping pace
  The Heavyweight Prize in the Senators’ Race.

  A man who can follow the horn and the hounds,
  And ride to the chase with its musical sounds,
  Is made of the stuff that the country requires,
  And always has points that the country admires.
  With other great nations we’ll ride for a place,
  Still led by the men of the Senators’ Race.


The result of the race was--

  1. Mr. A. E. Pease’s gr m Nora Creina by Lord Gough
      (light weight), owner                                1

  2. Lord Henry Bentinck’s br g Bugler by Berserker
      (heavy weight), owner                                1

  3. M. W. H. Long’s Crusader (heavy weight), owner        2

  4. Mr. Hermon Hodge’s Lady Evelyn by Vengeance
      (heavy weight), owner                                3

Others unplaced: Mr. Elliot Lees’ Damon (owner), fell; Mr.
Bromley-Davenport’s Dawtrey (owner); Mr. Bromley-Davenport’s Delilah
(Lord Carmarthen); Lord E. Hamilton’s Bridget (owner), refused first
fence; Sir S. Crossley’s Borderer (owner), fell; Mr. Yerburgh’s Dawson;
Mr. Yerburgh’s Haphazard; Mr. G. Wyndham’s Daffodil (owner).

Distance, 3½ miles. Time, 10 minutes, 18 seconds.

Fortune favoured me, as two of the horses I thought most dangerous,
Damon and Borderer, fell, the former at the last brook; whilst Lord
Henry Bentinck with one or two others made a bad turn, and practically
lost a field at the half-way flag. This was an awkward moment for
all of us, as it was impossible to see the home flag from the field
in which we were, which was walled round with an enormous high black
bullfinch, so dense that though several of us had it, Sir Savile
Crossley’s horse came down with a heavy fall into the next field,
and Nora Creina literally hung in the top before she dropped out on
to the grass ten feet below. Among the congratulations I received on
my victory were those telegraphed to me by my political chief, Mr.
Gladstone; but the ones I think I prized most were from my Cleveland
hunting companions, with whom my good grey mare and I had spent many a
happy day in our wild rough country.



II

THE LIFE OF A HUNTER


[Illustration: “QUEEN MAB.”]



II


MY name is Queen Mab. I am little more than twenty years old, not a
great age, counted by years, as the life of a horse goes; but it is
the pace that kills, and I have been made to go the pace in my younger
days, and have done my duty as far as in me lay, since I have withdrawn
from the more active scenes of the world. I have brought up five of my
offspring and never lost a foal, and I have gained the admiration and
affection of those with whom I have been associated. It is with some
hesitation that I undertake the task of recording my own career, for
I feel that I must give some account of my personality and qualities,
and after the lapse of so many years I know my memory is defective as
to the earlier days; but, standing as I do, with the last big fence
which we all have to take in front of me, I am only desirous of giving
a fair portrait of myself, and am careless of criticism. My days are
numbered, but I, who never knew what fear was, feel no dread of the
end, and I know I shall soon rest under the green grass of the paddock
where I have lived out in comfort the last years of my life. I have
seen many of my contemporaries pass away, and I shall lie beside brave
comrades. At one time the idea that I might possibly at the last be
sent to the kennels was a disagreeable one, but, in a meditative old
age, I have derived comfort from the thought that, even if this was my
ultimate fate, my poor old body would enter into the young blood of the
hounds with whom I spent the best time of my life, and that I ought to
consider it a privilege to be incorporated with the flying pack, and so
in a sense live for evermore.

Well, then, I was born in the year 1876 on an Irish farm, and here I
spent my infant years by the side of my mother when she was not at
work. She had been a hunter herself, had been driven in an Irish car,
had won a farmer’s race, and been a general slave to the sporting
family she worked for. She was a big mare with plenty of bone, and, I
believe, if not of the best family, at any rate well connected, and, so
far as I could learn, there was no record in her family history of any
of those mésalliances with hairy-heeled families which are such a curse
to hunters. My sire was a thoroughbred, with the blood of Sir Hercules
and Blair Athol in his veins, but, alas! I have forgotten his name;
and, indeed, it is a wonder that I know anything of my pedigree at
all, for, till I passed into my present owner’s hands, I heard so many
different accounts of my descent that I was quite bewildered. But I
have long seen enough of the world to know that the great proportion of
the pedigrees given to hunters are fictitious, and quite understand why
I am always described as “pedigree unknown.” Anyhow, I know that my
sire, like my dam, had been a slave, and been run in almost a hundred
races and steeplechases. I have always felt that I owed most of my own
qualities of endurance and sound constitution to being the offspring of
parents whose soundness was due to their hard life, as well as to their
freedom from hereditary complaints.

In colour, I was a full, rich chestnut, with a white blaze, and was
certainly pretty when young. I was not an ideal hunter-made mare, for
when I was foaled I stood over at the knees, and always had a tendency
to do this: I have heard connoisseurs say that this is a fault on the
right side, and certainly I had it in common with many of the best
cross-country horses I have known.

I had fairly good shoulders and a nicely-placed neck, well-sprung ribs,
a strong, muscular loin and good arms and thighs, while the quality
of my coat, my clean, sinewy limbs, and quick ears and eyes proved my
good descent better than any paper pedigree. Throughout my life I have
been blessed with robust health and a great appetite. I have often
been leg-weary, but I never felt depressed in spirits, and at the end
of the longest day I was always impatient to get to my manger. I have
still the soundest of wind, and have escaped all the most serious kinds
of accidents, and I never had the iron on me. I have had my share of
over-reaches, cuts, bruises, and have now an enormous knee, caused by
some osseous growth, resulting from the non-removal of a thorn.

My young days spent in Ireland left but little impression on me, beyond
the fact that the grass was sweeter and better than any I have tasted
since; and though I was less cared for than the youngsters I have
seen growing up in England, both the pasture and climate seemed to do
all that was necessary in stimulating growth and fitting me for the
battle of life. I must pass over the months during which I was broken
in by a young Irishman, who used to terrify me by his noise and wild
ways, but who knew what he was about, and broke my will to his own in
a devil-may-care sort of way, but with always a tender hand on the
bit. Whether this was natural to him, or because his tackle was always
as rotten as pash, I never found out. I remember that when a rising
three-year-old I was shipped to Liverpool, and this voyage left me with
the worst illness I ever had in my life, which they called a steamboat
cold, and I felt wretched for weeks after. I have noticed it takes
more than a year to get a young Irish horse into condition, often two
years; for in Ireland they will take up a raw young horse, give him a
slight education before he has got hard meat into him, and then shut
him up in a box and feed him, as if he were a pig, on boiled potatoes,
boiled corn and turnips, and anything that comes handy. He is then
sold, and goes to England, and often arrives running at the nose, and
coughing. This illness has to be got rid of, and all the rotten-potato
flesh as well. He is all the time a weak young horse, requiring a year
of gentle conditioning, good food and exercise, before he is fit to
ride to hounds. I make this digression to expose another injustice to
Ireland, and in the hope of saving some Irish horses from the abuse
and misery that they endure because their English masters think they
have got a made and matured hunter in their hands instead of a weak,
inexperienced, and badly-nourished youngster.

From Liverpool I was sent to London, went into a very small stable, and
saw something during the summer of life in town. I got accustomed to
the noise and traffic of the streets, and to threading my way amongst
crowds and carriages. I was high-spirited, and, perhaps with the idea
of checking my exuberant spirits, or just because I moved nicely and
carried myself prettily, I was put into harness, and then went leader
to my only stable companion in a tandem. I have always felt rather
ashamed of alluding to this part of my life, as most of the hunters
I was associated with afterwards would have counted such a thing an
indignity to their profession. Still, in looking back, I do not know
that I suffered any harm by the few weeks’ experience of harness, and,
indeed, am not sure that my good temper and willingness to do all that
was asked of me does not owe something to this early training. I was
only three years old, and it was easier for me to go leader in a tandem
than to carry a man to hounds. But my master occasionally took me and
gave me a day or half a day with hounds. He was never hard, being proud
of me, and though he would ride me straight in a short gallop, he never
tried me too high. In this way I learned a good deal, and, being very
fond of galloping and jumping, was a tractable pupil, and was soon
what they called “handy.” By this time I could walk in and out of a
horse-box like a Christian, and cared not a dump for engines and steam
whistles.

It was one of the early days in October 1879, that, full of beans, I
entered Tattersall’s yard for the first and last time--from that day
to this I never changed masters. I was pulled out a great many times
on Saturday, and by evening was heartily sick of having my clothes
pulled off, being punched in the ribs, my windpipe squeezed, my feet
lifted, and run up and down the yard. Till Sunday afternoon I was left
in peace, but then, again, I was constantly having my mouth looked at,
and I slept that night with a taste of dirty fingers, dogskin, and
cigar-ends in my mouth. Monday morning was a repetition of Saturday,
but I noticed that nearly everyone who inspected my mouth paid little
further attention to me, as I had only a three-year-old mouth. About
eleven o’clock I got wild with a Vet., who made rushes at me, and
stuck his top-hat over my eyes, and nipped me on my loins. I began to
plunge and let out freely with my heels, and very nearly brained my
future master, who was standing against the wall hard by. As it was,
I knocked his hat off and hit the end of his nose. I was surprised to
find that he was my owner, about three o’clock the same afternoon. I
had made such an exhibition of my heels that with that, and my extreme
youth, I was knocked down to him at sixty guineas. A new career now
opened to me, and I was sent down to Cambridge, where my new master
then was, and so I commenced life at the University. My owner was in
Newman’s stable-yard talking to Tom Hill, a very stout, short, horsey
little man, who generally stood in the yard, scolding the lads, giving
orders in highly persuasive language, or addressing his clients as if
they had given him mortal offence. As I was led in, he turned to my
new owner and said, “Wot’s this?” and after looking at me from where
he stood, he stepped up and took a peep into my mouth. “Well, what do
you think of her, Tom?” said my master. “What do I think of ’er? That
depends on what yer think you’re goin’ to make of ’er.” “Oh, I am going
to hunt the Drag on her. I wanted another, and picked her up cheap.”
“Ye’re goin’ to ’unt ’er, are yer; she’s more like ’untin’ you. You
gintlemen thinks you can ’unt hanything--not but what she’s a nice
mare, but, lor’ bless yer, sir, she knows no more about ’unting than
my ’at.” (To the groom) “Number thirty-five ready for ’er; put ’er in,
Fred.”

At the age of twenty, the inexperienced undergraduate, I often
observed while at Cambridge, performed feats and treated horses in a
manner that makes my now unkempt mane and tail stand on end at the
bare recollection. What a life it was, to be sure! One day boxed to
Huntingdon and ridden twelve miles to a meet; pounded about all day,
no matter whether hounds were running or not; larked all the way home;
hurried to the train, and not back in one’s box till ten or eleven at
night. Pulled out the next afternoon, and raced for twenty minutes
with the Drag, and, after a punishing finish, accompanying the hounds
back to the kennels; and then, for a last flutter, taken over all
the grates and stiles along the footpath leading to the town. If my
stable companions were lame, I was perhaps the next day hacked over to
Newmarket, and kept on the course till the last race was over, and then
taken home as fast as my legs could carry me, in order that my master
might be marked “in” for Hall--a thing insisted upon by the College
authorities during Newmarket meetings. Happily for me, I had stable
companions to share my work with me, and I must admit that my master,
considering his age, showed me consideration, and selected one of the
two other horses when he anticipated the Drag would be a particularly
rough one; for you must know that in my time there were some Drags
where it was on record that hardly anyone had ever got to the end
without a fall. The first time I went out with the University Drag, I
was sent at a black gate in the second fence. I had not been accustomed
to this sort of thing, and hit it hard with my knees; but I always had
a leg to spare, so did not come down, and to my owner’s delight won
the Drag.

I never felt any charm at the gates in Cambridgeshire; they are quite
insignificant compared with those in Yorkshire. Big timber was never
my forte, but it would have been a very curious place that stopped
me. I always found some way of negotiating an obstacle. I could go in
and out, off and on, top a fence, kick back, bore through, and climb
like a cat. I have trotted across a single plank over a stream, and
jumped a stile at the end of it. I have followed my master on a single
foot-bridge over a ravine, wriggling through a V-stile at each end,
and could hold my own among the wild hills and moors of Cleveland, or
in the most cramped of countries. I remember once in a run charging a
bullfinch, which had on the far side a strong high post and rails, some
nine feet from the fence. I knew I should have to make some sort of a
try. It was too high to jump, there was no room, and I was not heavy
enough to break it, so I just reared up, got my fore-end well over,
and trailed my hind-legs after me, only leaving a few hairs on the top
rail. After that, my owner always said that I could go anywhere where a
man could get.

In 1880, both my master and I considered our education complete, and
with all the confidence of youth believed that no one could teach us
anything. After twenty years, however, I expect we are both inclined to
think that at the end of the longest life we can only hope to know a
little of the world we live in. I have always regretted never having
seen one of the big grass countries. I am sure I was fast enough
and could “go on,” but I daresay my master was right in thinking me
undersized (being only 15.3) for facing big fences continuously; and
though I was able to jump big and wide, when it was necessary, I do not
know that I could have kept it up, and have never considered myself as
likely to be able to compete with real Leicestershire hunters. As soon
as we went down from Cambridge, my master got married, and, towards
the end of the following season, I was advanced to carrying his wife.
This I did for four years, during the time as often carrying my master;
and I can say that throughout those years I never once made a mistake
or gave either of them a fall. I can boast that I am the only hunter
my master ever possessed of which he could say this. At the end of my
fourth season with the Cleveland, my fore-legs were beginning to show
work. At last I fell on landing over a gate, and the week following on
landing over an ordinary fence, so I was withdrawn from active service
and had a year’s repose. I was then taken up again and did a month’s
cub-hunting, and three days after the opening meet. But this was the
end of my hunting career, for after a fifty minutes’ hard run, in which
I was kept to the front, I was so lame that there was no choice but to
superannuate me, as far as hunting was concerned.

During my hunting career I was often shown in the summer months at the
local shows, sometimes as a hunter, and sometimes as a lady’s hack,
and I won a number of prizes in both classes. The hunters that then
appeared in the show-ring were inferior to those of to-day, or else
I should never have made the mark I did. But what amused me most was
winning prizes as a lady’s hack. My manners were perfect, my paces
anything but the correct thing, and my canter far too “short”; and then
my poor fore-legs! I stood over frightfully at the knees, and avoided
detection by spreading myself out and placing my fore-feet well in
front of me. The judges might move me about as much as they pleased,
but, as long as I was in the ring, nothing would shake my determination
to abandon this very unnatural pose. Having owed my success in the
prize-ring to the custom of judges not to get up and ride ladies’
hacks, it would ill become me to decry the system.

Some people would say that instead of being kept up all the summer, it
would have been better for me to have been turned out at grass. I have
my own decided opinions on this question, having had experience of both
systems. I certainly do not think it right to keep a hunter in hard
work from the end of one season to the beginning of another. At the
close of the season, shoes should be taken off, and the horse be turned
into a loose-box with a yard, and bedded down with tan and sawdust, if
not with straw. There he should have six weeks’ repose. After that,
there is no harm in taking him up, if he has not weakness or accident
needing a long rest. To be in a good stable on the best of diet, and
to be gently hacked a few times a week, will keep him fit and healthy,
and not prevent him putting on plenty of beef to start him well for the
next season. I have gone to hounds with greater ease after summers so
spent, and been ready in a week or two to do the longest days without
distress; whereas, when I have been turned off for the whole summer, I
have come up fat and thick in the wind, and it has taken several months
before I could do my work with comfort to myself and satisfaction to
my rider. But the worst experience I ever had was being turned out. I
ate tons of grass, and laid on any amount of flabby flesh, till my legs
ached under my carcase and sagging belly. My legs, instead of fining
down, became bigger as I stamped about, plagued all day long by the
flies, and waiting for the end of the long summer days when I could
feed in peace. Then it was Christmas before I really exchanged my soft
for real hard flesh, and felt equal to a long day. If hunters are to
be turned out to grass, they should be kept in during the hot days and
turned out in the evenings.

I had, also, considerable experience of charges and blisterings,
but never felt my legs any better for them, nor did I notice much
improvement in their appearance. Talking of legs, I never found that
leaving the hair on them during the hunting-season saved them from
thorns, and it seems to me that, putting aside the question of
appearance (on which there can be no general divergence of opinion),
leaving the hair on tends to the collection of dirt, and to the
hiding of thorns and abrasions; I have seen just as much mud-fever,
if not more, when hair has been left on them, as when legs have been
clipped. However, I think this is not an important question one way
or the other. I believe myself, mud-fever is a sort of chill, perhaps
infectious, as it often goes through a stable, and frequently is absent
from a stud for several consecutive seasons. There is no harm in
leaving the hair on under the saddle, as it is some slight protection
to the skin from friction. However, I was never troubled with a
sore back, as my saddle always fitted me. I have heard many people
recommend the practice of only dry brushing and rubbing a horse over
instead of washing after a day’s hunting, and am inclined to believe
it is the safest plan, though I always felt much more comfortable and
refreshed after a good wash. But then I was always thoroughly dried,
and after standing for a while in my clothing, I had it removed and
exchanged for warm sheets from the fire. To be really ready for hard
work, the hunter should have the best of oats and hay, and should be
kept in a dry, well-ventilated box. A good linseed gruel should be
ready for him at the end of a day’s hunting, and it should never be
counted waste of time to put in and gruel the hunter before a long
ride home. I never could bear the long walk home that I noticed many
of my associates in the field were made to undergo; nothing to me was
such a weary and dispiriting job as to trail slowly homewards in the
cold frosty air of a winter evening, on an empty belly, with stiffening
limbs. I was always ready to second my master’s inclination to bring
me home sharp. Instead of coming in with a dejected, staring coat, I
arrived with a warm glow upon me, and impatient to get at my feed. As
to the exercise a hunter requires in the season, if his turn comes as
often as mine used to do, generally twice a week, he will not need more
than a walk for half an hour the day after hunting, and on the other
two weekdays two hours’ trotting exercise.

When I went to the stud I was first mated with Lord Zetland’s Morocco,
to whom I bred a fine weight-carrying hunter named Manacles, who
distinguished himself during a good many seasons with Lord Zetland’s
hounds in carrying a cousin of my master’s, whose riding weight was
nearly sixteen stone and who is a hard rider. Manacles won one year,
with this weight, the Zetland Point-to-Point, and, with his owner’s
brother up, the Cleveland Point-to-Point in 1894. Although I have been
mated with better-bred and much better-looking sires, I do not think
I have bred another quite as good in the field. It is curious how
uneven as a rule are the foals of hunter mares. Manacles was about 17
hands, and a great, striding, fast, staying horse; but the next foal
I dropped was never more than a pony, about 14.3 hands, by Laureate
(by Rosicrucian). I then had a very fine daughter, Carina, by Syrian,
who went to Mr. Cecil Boyle’s stud, after winning many prizes; but my
next foal, by Pursebearer, was another weedy one. My last and youngest,
Saffron, is a fine mare and a good hunter, and is in many ways very
like what I was in my prime. I am not what is called a certain breeder,
and I have during the years when I was not engaged in my family duties
done some light work on the farm. I never objected to this, and indeed
was all the better for it, nor did I ever feel that there was any
indignity in useful service.

And now I think I have fairly earned, and can enjoy, the retrospect
of a well-spent life. I may not have had a very distinguished
career, but blest with an equable temperament and more than ordinary
intelligence, loving the chase, and supported by a robust constitution
and a courageous heart, I can, without boasting, say that, even with
a somewhat exacting master, I never failed to do anything that was
asked of me. And I know, when I go hence, as I trust, to even happier
hunting-grounds, that those with whom I have spent my life, and who
have shared with me the pleasures of the chase, will feel that one
has gone with whom are associated the happiest hours and pleasantest
memories of the irrevocable past. I have said nothing about the
companions of my old age, and it may be thought that I am lonely; but
other brood mares, whose best years have been spent in hunting, share
the fields with me, and when by chance the hounds come our way, we
still take a keen interest in watching the proceedings, and leave off
feeding while we discuss the performance of horses and hounds, and our
own share in the past, long after the echo of the horn and the distant
cry has died away over fence and field. And so I take my leave, asking
for my epitaph, if I am considered worthy of it:

  HERE LIES

  QUEEN MAB

  LIFE WELL RUN,

  REST WELL WON.



III

HOUNDS

[Illustration: FROM A SKETCH BY THE LATE SIR FRANK LOCKWOOD]



III


MEASURED by the human standard, the life of a fox-hound is a short
one. It is not a butterfly existence; it cannot be summed up as short
and sweet, or as a short and a merry one, for war, hunting, and love,
as the proverb says, have a thousand troubles for their pleasure. The
problem whether life is worth living is not one that either fox-hunter
or fox-hound are likely to strain their intellects in solving. To
many persons who follow hounds, as well as to the many who do not, a
fox-hound is little more than a spotted dog. Little do these realise
how every hound has its own distinct individuality, and how much
careful attention, education, and training each of them has received
before it was incorporated with the pack; and that the fox-hound--a
wonder of beauty and endurance, with the qualities of nose, pace, and
tongue exquisitely developed--has been produced by the labour and skill
of Masters of Hounds and huntsmen through more than two centuries. Who
can measure the work, the thought, and the anxiety, that have given
us the modern fox-hound? How often we remark, “They’re a good pack of
hounds,” but how seldom do we think of the pains that have been taken
to make them a good pack! The selection of brood bitches, the choosing
of sires, the rearing of puppies, the finding of walks, the losses by
distemper; the accidents, the drafting, the entering; the exercising
and disciplining of young hounds; the conditioning of working hounds,
their maintenance in health, their feeding and kennelling,--these give
but an outline of the subjects that demand the skilled attention of
an M.F.H. and his servants. It is man that has made the fox-hound not
less than the race-horse. Nature’s laws are hard to learn, and slow in
their operation, but by lives passed in their study, and by experience
and practice, the fox-hound has been evolved, and the kennels of
England can boast of many hundred couples of hounds, each one of which
approaches Whyte-Melville’s description of Bachelor--

  On the straightest of legs and the roundest of feet,
  With ribs like a frigate his timbers to meet,
  With a fashion and fling and a form so complete,
  That to see him dance over the flags is a treat.

  But fashion and form without nose are in vain,
  And in March or mid-winter, storm, sunshine or rain,
  When the line has been fouled, or the sheep leave a stain,
  His fox he accounts for again and again.

  Where the fallows are dry, where manure has been thrown,
  With a storm in the air, with the ground like a stone,
  When we’re all in a muddle, beat, baffled, and blown,
  See! Bachelor has it! Bill, let him alone!

I once heard of a man, who was walking with his dog (a crop-eared cur,
with a stump of a tail), being asked by a passer-by, “What do you
call your dog?” The owner replied, “Well, sir, he was a grey-hound,
and we called him ‘Fly’, but we cropped his loogs and coot off his
tail and made a mastiff on him, and called him ‘Lion’.” It is a simple
transformation, but would not be applicable to a fox-hound. A fox-hound
is a fox-hound, and, play what tricks you like with him, he will
remain one. It might be expected that any race bred for so long to
a fixed type and to a uniform standard of quality would show a want
of individuality of character and temper, but this is not so. The
disposition, virtues, and vices of every hound in a pack vary. A good
huntsman knows the habits, temperament, weaknesses, and qualities of
each separate member of his kennel. There are the bold and the timid,
the too noisy and the too silent, the sulky and the quick-tempered,
the affectionate and the indifferent, the meek and the rebellious,
the greedy and the fastidious, the quarrelsome and the kind, the
light-hearted and the stout-hearted. There are hounds that can drive,
and hounds that can stoop; the ones that can draw, and the ones that
are handy to cast. There are some that combine all these virtues, and,
alas! others that are guilty at times of babbling, riot, skirting, and
turning a deaf ear to the horn. The object of huntsmen has never been
to turn their packs into mechanical fox-killers--to do so would be to
drag down the kennel to the level of the steel trap and vulpicide’s
gun.”

Much of the charm of hunting consists in the style, grace, and neatness
in which it is done. Hunting must be a pleasure to the eye; it should
be picturesque and in harmony with nature. The woodland or valley
should echo back wild music, and the huntsman’s horn and the whip’s
halloo should delight the ear and warm the blood. A badly-assorted
pack, of all shapes and sizes, some of which carry a head, and others
with a strain of Southern blood, as line hunters, might give more sport
and kill more foxes than a better and handsomer pack of hounds. They
would, however, never give the same satisfaction to the huntsman with
a knowledge of the craft, or to those who appreciate the rules of the
game.

There is a supreme pleasure in watching a level pack of well-turned,
straight-legged hounds exhibiting their hunting powers and quality,
as they only can be exhibited under the command of a good huntsman.
Uniformity of pace is necessary, uniformity in size pleases the eye.
The power of instilling into fifteen or twenty-five couple that
cohesiveness that makes them seem possessed, as it were, with one soul,
combined with the ability to handle them, is an amazing example of
man’s capacity to subordinate animal nature to his own purposes. Colour
is a secondary consideration, a matter of fancy; and a good fox-hound,
like a good horse and a good candidate, cannot be a bad colour. Were I
an M.F.H., I should never spend my time and money in trying to make a
pack all badger-pied or Belvoir tan; provided they were well-assorted
in other respects, the very variety in their colours would please me.
The question of utility may, in some countries, influence the colour.
For instance, in a moorland district, where it is often impossible to
live with hounds, it will be found that a few light-coloured hounds
greatly minimise the risk of losing. On a dull day, if dark-coloured
hounds get away over a moor, they may be easily lost, for they are
extremely difficult to see on the heather.

To all lovers of hunting, if not to all hunting-men (and great is the
difference), the animal which alone makes the chase possible is an
interesting study from the moment he comes into the world. There is
something that appeals to our tenderer feelings when we contemplate
the very young, whether it be a little child or a puppy. No more cruel
beasts exist than those of the cat species, from the spotted pard to
the household tabby, yet few can resist the sensation of fondness for
the lion’s cub, or puss’s kittens. Their helplessness as well as the
beauty and jolly roundness of the little things go to our heart; and,
it may be, the pity that is akin to love affects us, when we think of
the battle of life that lies before these innocents. I confess to these
sentiments when I watch the little black, white, and tan whelps lying
beside the fond mother in the paddock by the kennels. How blissfully
ignorant these are of the immediate future before them, and of what
they have to go through before education fits them for their glorious
calling! In a few weeks they will be taken from the sheltering care of
the dam and sent to distant walks, their little sides red and sore
with the cruel branding-iron. Those which get through all the diseases
and disasters peculiar to puppyhood will enjoy the happy period of
freedom till the day arrives when they are brought in from their walks.
Then begins the hard discipline of life. Their ears are rounded, their
names have often to be relearned, they are made to submit to the
severe but necessary routine of the kennel. Then comes the time when
they learn, with rating and great expenditure of whip-cord, what “ware
hare,” “ware sheep,” “ware horse,” and much else besides means,--till
that supreme moment when their future is decided, and the awful
question is answered whether they are worthy to be entered with the
chosen few, or drafted with the condemned. Among the hounds that are
drafted, some will be put down as useless; others may be put aside,
for failing only by the standard of height, colour, or type, and yet
may be of the greatest value to other packs. At the present day the
leading breeders of hounds pay most minute attention to symmetry, and
cast every dog or bitch that is not straight or that does not come up
to a very high standard. Many cultivate a type showing immense bone;
but though a hound has legs as straight as an arrow, feet as round as a
cat’s, and bone like a lion, he is useless if he has not the quality to
go the pace, a nose to hunt with, and a voice that proclaims the true
gospel. There is no doubt that to obtain wearing and working qualities,
with uniformity of type, the safest line to follow in breeding hounds
for hunting is the middle size. Such hounds will be big enough to go
through dirt, and not too big to draw and run in cover. Were I an
M.F.H., ambitious to distinguish myself at the Peterborough Show, I
confess I should be puzzled to know how to do it, for the hounds that
go to Peterborough are the selected few from thousands that go to walk.
It probably is within the mark to say that, over an average of years,
a Master who sends out sixty to eighty couple of puppies considers
that he is fortunate if, out of this number, there are ten couple that
come up to the standard at which he aims. Out of these he can only
hope now and again to find a couple whose merit is so evenly balanced
as to give a chance of success in the show-ring; and when in a lucky
year he thinks he has the prize in view, there may be the misfortune
of just missing the individual taste of the judges in such a matter as
condition. Some judges will condemn hounds for being too fat, others
for being too light. It may appear as absurd to favour a fat hound as
it would be to back a fat horse out of training against a properly
trained one. Yet it must be admitted that there are good judges, who
like to see hounds fat,--why, I will not venture to say, for, with all
respect to superior authority, it has always appeared to me that fat is
out of place where hard work is required. It is a pitiable sight, when
cub-hunting on a hot morning in August or September, to see a lot of
panting suet-puddings hanging about outside the covert; it is equally
ugly to watch a lot of gorged dogs or bitches refusing to break up a
fox. Besides, after a few days of this sort of work, the fat laid on
with such an expenditure of time and attention has melted away, and
you have a pack even lighter in condition than the one which has been
kept in hard flesh, carefully exercised, and made fit and keen to go
straight to work.

The proper career of a fox-hound, from his birth to his death, might
be described thus: I would have him bred from parents in the prime of
life, that have themselves not only all the chief points of fox-hound
symmetry and substance, but the tried qualities of pace, nose, and
tongue; and sent to a farm walk where a hound is loved and cared for,
where new milk is liberally given to the little lodger, and liberty to
play, gallop and hunt at his own sweet will is allowed. We all know
what mischief the fox-hound puppy, like the human puppy, is capable
of; and many of us have had expensive, if entertaining, experiences
of his youthful manners. We have seen our turkey hens, our peacocks,
or our poultry the victims of his sporting proclivities. We have seen
our tablecloths, curtains, and doormats worried and tattered in a
manner prophetic of the style in which the miscreant, when he grows
into a hound, will treat poor Reynard; we have wrung our hands while
he drew the flower-garden; and yet, while we have soundly rated him,
we have laughed over these domestic tragedies. I love to see a wild
puppy; I like to see him with a leveret in his mouth after he has
tow-rowed through the pheasant covert; for I know that all his hunting
and worrying instincts can be controlled when he is finally enlisted
in the ranks, but can never be put into him unless they are there to
begin with. Were my pup treated as I would have him treated, he should
neither be rounded nor branded. The former is all but useless, while
the tattooing of the inside of the ear with the initial letter of the
pack and the litter number, is a more humane and simpler, as well as a
more complete and lasting mark than that made with the branding-iron.

When my pup arrives, I would wish to be quite clear about his name, so
that he may not have to relearn it when he goes back to the kennels.
This summer I saw a pup walked by a neighbour of mine, who answered
while at walk to the name of “Ree-Torrick,” and when he was “sent in”
had, no doubt, to discover, through much rating, that his name was
“Rhetoric.” On the other hand, I knew a pup called “Vagrant,” which was
always called after he was entered “Vagerrant”; so, after all, we may
agree with Peter Beckford’s huntsman, who evidently considered that as
long as a hound answered to his name, it made no difference what he
was called, for being asked the name of a young hound, he said it was
“Lyman.” “Lyman?” said his master. “Why, James, what does Lyman mean?”
“Lord, sir!” replied James; “what does anything mean?”

But now my pup has grown into a young hound, and has, with the
help of a good constitution, a warm lodging, and a generous diet,
withstood the distemper. Then the day comes when he must leave the
shelter of his home, and the caressing care of those who have watched
over his puppyhood, and go to school. As with the schoolboy, so with
young Wrangler; he will find compensation in the company of his many
companions for the routine and monotony of kennel life.

Wrangler enters the kennels, receiving very much the same treatment,
and being as thoroughly inspected, as any “new boy” ever was. For a
time his stern droops, and he feels lost and cowed; but after standing
a certain amount of rough play, he shows his mettle, asserts himself,
and holds his own amongst the new arrivals. The strange, prisonlike
impression of his new quarters wears off; he begins to appreciate the
cleanliness and order that guarantee all that is necessary for health
and comfort; but many a time he hears his name, and often he feels the
whip, before his wild nature is brought to bend to the discipline of
the kennel. The summer months are at last over; Wrangler has learned
to go in couples; then to pass through the sheep without thinking of
mutton; and though in his heart he dearly loves the scent of a hare,
he has had the lesson “ware hare” writ so distinctly on his back that
there is no fear of his forgetting it. And now our hero makes his début
as a fox-hound, and is blooded. The very first day he is out, curiosity
and desire to see what is doing tempt him into the covert. He is all
excitement as the old hounds speak, he follows hard, and quickly learns
to stoop to the new scent. The season slips by, and Wrangler has taken
his place in the van. He has learned to love a scent, and he is keen
in the struggle to find and proclaim it, and when the primrose and
“stinking violets” announce that hunting days are over, he can show a
few goodly scars around his youthful nose. But see him the next season,
as the horses go kennel fadge to the meet, slipping along with both
ends up; look at his waving stern and impatient eye during the vexing
delay before a move is made; mark him as he races to the covert and
bustles through the whins; hark, as with his full and musical voice
he gives the delightful news that a fox is found; watch him as he
flies to the view-halloo, tops the fence, shoots right and left like a
sky-rocket, till he has the line, and then bless him as he races away
with his head up and stern down. “Yonder he goes,” but the pack need
never a word. The loud cry sinks to that modified chorus that proclaims
that it is real business, and there is Wrangler driving ahead in the
first bunch. Over the grass they race, through and over the fence in
the fallow, down the furrow Wrangler leads them, throwing now and again
a full, confident note. Away they stream, and if in the excitement of
the hot pursuit he flashes over the scent for a moment, one swift fling
and he has it again. The field is growing thinner as the miles of grass
and plough are covered, and the best pack in England would begin to
tail! But the game is over. They run from scent to view, Wrangler’s
bristles are up, and you

                  may swear it’s who-hoop,
  For he’ll dash at his fox like a hawk in her stoop,
  And he carries the head marching home to his soup.

And many and oftentimes will Wrangler make a run, till he, too, has,
like every dog, had his day. The Master’s heart is steeled, he gives
the order (who knows with what regret?), and another hound takes his
place with the flying black, white, and tan!



IV

HARE-HUNTING

[Illustration: MR. TOM HILL AND UNDERGRADUATE. Scene in a Cambridge
Stable Yard. From a sketch by C. M. Newton.]



IV


  “By inclination I never was a hare-hunter; I followed this
  diversion more for air and exercise than for amusement, and
  if I could have persuaded myself to ride on the turnpike road
  to the three-mile stone and back again, I should have thought
  I had no need of a pack of harriers.”

  PETER BECKFORD.


I OWE too many pleasant hours to hunting hares to damn the sport with
faint praise, but, kind reader, if you notice a want of enthusiasm
in the following chapter, pray do not ascribe it so much to my
sympathy with the quotation that heads this article, as to my desire
to pose as an impartial critic. Silence, care, and science are the
qualities that a hare-hunter should pride himself on; youth and
high spirits, eagerness and impetuosity are the life and soul of
fox-hunting--dangerous qualities in the chase of the timid little hare.
I have had many a day with beagles and harriers--many a happy one; and
yet in fairness I must make the confession that the days I enjoyed best
were those when they got on to a fox. Ah! I fear if I made a clean
breast of it, I should have to tell of days when my brother (who had a
fine little cry of beagles) and I used to get up before daybreak, mount
our horses, and hie off to the moors by ourselves, out of the ear of
the sleeping world, to give a belated marauder a jolly good dusting
before he made his distant and unstopped earth; and, more rarely
perhaps, the eternal craving for “a run” was so great that a man with a
bag shook “something” out of it in a lonely spot. Dear me! I could tell
some tales. I have in my mind’s eye a day when my brother, with another
more famous master of harriers (now, like some others, an M.F.H.), and
myself were beaten by the little hounds as they raced away over the
moors after an extraordinarily fine-smelling fox; but I must check
myself, or my style will degenerate into that of a fox-hunter’s.

After all, I have a conviction that many a green-coated gentleman
has a sneaking sympathy with my sins and want of orthodoxy. If these
lines meet the eye of any hare-hunter, whose indignation and contempt
is becoming too strong for words at the levity with which I speak of
his sport, let him keep cool and take comfort, for have not I, as
prescribed by the ancient rules of the Cleveland Hunt Club, laid my
right hand on the hunting-horn and solemnly declared myself to be “no
enemy to fox-hunting and harriers.” Let me answer such an one that I,
like him, regard the man who is so innocent of sport that he declares
the triumph over the timid hare to be poor, as an ignorant simpleton;
and if any one with superior airs were to hazard such a statement to
me, my reply would be “All right, my boy! you try your hand on an old
buck hare on a cold scenting day in February, on horseback, if you
like; or, if that is too easy, get off and hunt them on foot, be up
to them, see them from start to finish, and tell me how you got on and
what you think of it.”

Personally, were I to criticise hare-hunting, I should say that too
much of the chief diversion is the monopoly of the huntsmen--certainly
the days I have thoroughly enjoyed have been those when I carried
the horn myself. Again, with fast harriers or 20-inch fox-hounds,
you must ride, but then you would do better with fox-hounds. If you
went on foot, nature must have been lavish in her gifts if you have
the physical power, courage, and endurance to enable you to keep near
enough to see the beautiful detail of harrier work; and, finally,
when you have killed your hare, it is rather a miserable-looking
trophy that is yours. You may ornament your smoking-room with your
hares’ heads, but you alone will feel that they are appropriate mural
decorations; for your friends a few lop-eared rabbits would be more
interesting.

I notice that all authorities on this subject dwell on the fact that
hare-hunting is an ancient sport; that old writers describe with great
ingenuity and veracity all the qualities and ways of this clever
little beast. Some of these descriptions are most quaint, for example,
the following:--“There are four kind of Hares: some live in the
Mountains, some in the Fields, some in the Marshes, some everywhere,
without any place of abode. They of the Mountains are most swift, they
of the Fields less nimble, they of the Marshes most slow, and the
wandering Hares are most dangerous to follow.” The habits noted by
the naturalist-sportsmen of this period are as wonderful, and bespeak
as much observation, with almost as excellent results, as those given
by certain writers on natural history of our own day; for instance,
we are told of the hare: “Her ears lead her the way in her chase, for
with one of them she hearkeneth to the cry of the dogs, and the other
she stretches forth like a sail to hasten her course.”... “Tho’ their
sight be dim, yet have they _visum indefessum_.”... “When they watch
they shut their Eyes, when they sleep they open them.”... In these good
old times they used the correct terms for all the proceedings of the
chase, and for every habit and description of each and several kind
of beast they had the appropriate language. The hare was a beast of
“venery,” and her meat “venison”; whilst, for dislodging a hart, you
used the word “unharbour,” for a buck “rouse”; you “start” a hare,
“rear” the boar, and “unkennel” the fox. When once the hare is on foot,
if she takes the open field, she “soreth”; when she winds about, she
“doubleth”; she “pricketh” on the road, and you “trace” her in the
snow. Hounds “hunt change,” “hunt counter,” “draw amiss,” “hunt the
foil”; when first they find, they “challenge.” If they are assisted
by a relay of hounds, it is called a “vaunt-lay”; if the hare tries a
place and gives it up, it is called a “blemish.” When hounds kill, and
the hare or any part is given to them, it is the “reward.” The hare
was always reckoned among the beasts of chase, and sometimes as the
“king of beasts”; her order amongst beasts of venery came third or
first, according to the fancy of the period, but always far ahead of
the fox, which was vermin. Here is one list of the “Beasts of venery.”
“Hart, hinde, hare, wild boar, wolf. Beasts for hunting: ye hare, hart,
wolf, wild boar. Beasts for the chase: ye buck, ye doe, fox, marten,
roe. Beasts which afford greate dysporte: badger, wild cat, otter.”

It is interesting, I mean for a fox-hunter, to try and discover why the
hare was so much preferred to the fox by the sportsmen of two hundred
years ago. One of them gives this reason: “The Fox never flies far
before the Hounds, trusting not on his Legs, Strength or Champion
ground [champaign = open country] but strongest Coverts,” and “when he
can no longer stand up before the Hounds, he then taketh Earth, and
then must he be digged out.” From these two sentences it is obvious
that harriers, accustomed as they were to find their game in the open
country, had not developed the habit of drawing thick coverts, and were
probably poor hands at bustling a fox in a whin cover and at forcing
him out. Indeed, we find that they were not always good at finding a
hare in the open, for it was a custom to employ “hare-finders,” and
Peter Beckford, though he admits paying two guineas in a single day to
the men who were thus employed, laments the demoralisation of hounds,
consequent on the custom making them bad finders. But there were
other reasons. Hares were “game”; they were protected under the Game
Laws and by special statutes, such as that of 15 Henry VIII. cap. 18,
which made it a penal offence to destroy hares in the snow. The hare
was, moreover, ubiquitous, whilst foxes were vermin, and regarded as
noxious animals with a price on their heads, fixed by law or local
custom--they were scarce and held in contempt when packs of hounds
first came in vogue.

[Illustration: MISS LAVENDER PEASE ON “ZACCHEUS.”

From a painting by Mr. Heywood Hardy.]

Since penning this sentence I have turned over my Beckford. He says:
“The hounds most likely to show you sport are between the large,
slow-hunting harrier and the little fox-beagle. The former are too
dull, too heavy, and too slow; the latter too lively, too light, and
too fleet.” He thinks that if the day is long enough you might kill
with the first species, and if the country was deep and wet, the others
might be drowned. Beckford bred for many years an “infinity of hounds”
before he got what he wanted, but at last he had the pleasure to see
them “very handsome,” “small yet bony,” after which, he cynically
remarks, “when they were thus perfect, I did as many others do, I
parted with them.”

Again, the hounds of those earlier days were not, in point of pace
and quality, equal to hunting such wild foxes as there were. It was
only as the small harriers were improved into the type of what we call
fox-hounds, that hunting-men realised that fox-hunting was a high-class
sport. Harriers were first turned into regular fox-hounds about the
year 1740. From this date, then, we can begin to class hounds into
two divisions: the harriers, kept small, active, but slow, and, above
all, sure with their noses; and those improved in size, gradually
acquiring the dash and pace necessary for pursuing the fox. Success
in hare-hunting depends more on perseverance; that in fox-hunting,
on pace. It is curious to note that the old harrier type is being
destroyed. The slow, deep-mouthed southern hound, the beagle, and the
light, active, snipey-nosed harrier are going out before the modern
craze to have harriers dwarf fox-hounds. My own idea is that no sport
can be obtained equal to that which was afforded by harriers of the
stamp that distinguished the pack until lately hunted by Mr. Robert
Fellowes, of Shotesman,--little beauties, all quality and activity,
not too fast and flighty to hunt a cold line or a doubling hare, and
yet able to drive along when the opportunity arrived, and requiring a
good hunter under one when they meant going. It may be replied that
in adopting the dwarf fox-hound type, present Masters are reverting
to a still older standard. I readily admit it. Indeed, I was recently
looking at a print of Mr. Astley’s harriers in 1810, in which they are
something like “dwarf fox-hounds,” but they _are_ “dwarf,” and, behold,
a terrier accompanies the pack, telling the tale that they hunted
the fox as well as the hare. If the old type of hound had answered
its purpose, those generations which were hare-hunters rather than
fox-hunters would not have abandoned the dwarf fox-hound type for that
which was properly regarded as pure harrier. It is more than doubtful
if harriers ought to be more than eighteen inches high; and beagles,
for following on foot, should not exceed fourteen inches.

Certainly hare-hunting affords the greatest scope for the huntsman’s
craft and the finest exhibition of hound work. The hare is really
a much more _rusé_ animal than the fox; she can steal away better,
and, once started, there is no end to her wiles and dodges. She runs
craftily and cunningly, doubling back on her own foil, pricking her
way down watery furrows, or lobbing along the high road. She will
“squat” or “clap” just as hounds are carrying a head, or turn out
a fresh hare; if her pursuers overshoot her, she will sneak back in
the least expected direction. Hare-hunters are fond of talking about
straight-necked hares. My experience has been unfortunate. I have not
seen many good points made by hares, and it is not in the straight run
that the art of the huntsman and the virtues of the harrier are tested
and brought into play. To enjoy the regular sport with a pack, you must
have a keen appreciation of all the niceties of the game, and be able
to watch with pleasure all the ins and outs, the windings and twistings
so neatly unravelled with such a pretty hubbub of bass and treble music
from the busy little hounds. There is a joy quite of its own in the
cry of harriers and beagles (I am not speaking of dwarf fox-hounds).
A minute’s silence at the fault, the competition of all the little
beauties casting round--a sight delightful to the eye;--then a full
note of the pure truth, the rush up to the speaking hound, the chorus
of consent from a score of throats, swelling to the full cry of the
whole pack as they go driving away as if possessed by one soul--a sound
delightful to the ears, and not exactly described to me by a farmer as
“joost like a flock o’ craws gettin’ out ov a tater field.”

Every man has a right to his own opinion, and mine is that the
perfection of hare-hunting is with beagles. The average hare is
overmatched by the modern harrier. The beagle is not too fast, his
nose is finer, he far excels the harrier in vigilance, energy, and
persistency, whilst the music of a pack of beagles is unequalled. But
we live in fast times; we have not the leisure even to enjoy the time
it takes for a pack of 10 or 11-inch beagles to trace and puzzle out
the course of a hare with beautiful exactness till their perseverance
is at length rewarded. We must find a hare at once, and kill her in a
few minutes, and, if she is lost, find another without waste of time.
This, however, is not the spirit of hare-hunting, but the fever of our
day. As a spectacle, as a wonder, and an exhibition of the marvellous
senses and powers with which nature has endowed both hare and hound,
give me a pack of beagles at work. The present generation of followers
of harriers are scarcely aware of the perfection to which beagles can
be brought, and how undefeated even a 10-inch pack can prove itself to
be with the best of hares. I do not suppose there exists to-day a pack
like that of Mr. Honeywood’s, fifty or sixty years ago, not a hound
above 10 inches, all level, and every one pure white, a perfect little
lot. One contemporary writer said: “It is quite beyond credence the
number of hares they kill in the course of a season. When running with
a good scent, they might belong to the Fairy Queen, so small, fast, and
handsome are they.”

Hare-hunting ought to preserve an honoured place amongst our national
sports. For the young on foot it is a manly and healthy pursuit; for
those who have to ride, a pleasant and pretty pastime. It gives those
whose stud is too limited for fox-hunting an opportunity of sharing
the incomparable pleasures of the chase. The man on foot, if wind
and limb will not allow him to be with them, can see much of the game
from the hill-top, if not from the gate-post; while the man on his
only mount may see every detail of the hunt and have his three days a
week; he has, too, one advantage over the fox-hunter, that he is more
sure of his entertainment. His disappointments are fewer, for he does
not expect a 9-mile point or forty minutes racing across country. It
is a sport for rich and poor, for tender youth and old age, and for
all those who enjoy the niceties of the huntsman’s craft tested at its
highest.



V

FOX-HUNTING

[Illustration: DRAG HUNTING, CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY, 1879 From a sketch
by C. M. Newton.]



V

  “Hunting is the sport of kings, the image of war without its
  guilt, with only five-and-twenty per cent. of the danger.”


SO John Jorrocks felt and said; but in his oratorical effort to glorify
hunting he both over- and under-did his figures of rhetoric--for though
stag-hunting, so long as we have the buck-hounds, may yet be a royal
sport in Old England, the whole line of crowned heads that have done
us the honour of sitting on our throne would repudiate fox-hunting
as the sport of kings, while the people would claim it for their
own. It is the privilege of no class; its constitution is republican,
founded and living on liberty, equality, and fraternity. Fox-hunting
has grown out of ill-repute during the last two centuries, and has
long been placed first in popular affection. Good Queen Bess,[1] by
a statute (8 Eliz. cap. 15) “for killing of verming as foxes and
such like,” gave expression to her people’s wishes, and provided a
machinery of rewards for the head of every “fox” or “gray” (badger);
whilst St. John, in his speech on the trial of Strafford, makes the
blood of the modern sportsman run cold as he cries out: “It is true we
give law to hares and deer because they be beasts of chase. It was
never accounted either cruelty or foul play to knock foxes and wolves
on the head as they can be found, because these be beasts of prey.”
Mr. R. B. Turton, the editor of _The North Riding Quarter Sessions
Records_ (from whom I quote), truly remarks that, however shocking to
our feelings, fox-hunting seems to have occupied somewhat the same
position in this period that rat-catching does now. The statute of
Elizabeth just referred to remained on the Statute-Book till 1863, and
was actually in operation in Cleveland at least as late as 1847. There
are in the Register and Churchwarden accounts for Lythe many entries of
the rewards paid by the parish for “werment,” from 1705 to 1847. A few
extracts will suffice for my object, which is to find some excuse for
the illegitimate proceedings that have been continued even to my own
day in certain outlying districts of the Cleveland Hunt.

  1706.--Ugthorpe quarter--for 14 fullmor[2] heads      0 04 8
         Newton--for 11 fullmor and 3 fox heads         0 12 8
         Barnby--6 fullmor heads                        0 02 0
         Lythe--3 fox heads and 6 fullmor heads         0 11 0
  1787.--To 10 fox heads, 2 at Kettleness, 1 at
         Mickleby, 1 at Ugthorpe, 3 at Goldsbro’,
         and 3 catched in a trap at Mulgrave Castle     2  0 0

(We still know of the trap in which these foxes were “catched”!)

  1846.--1 jackal head                0 8 0
         5 fox heads                  1 0 0
  1847.--(Last entry) 1 fox head      0 4 0

From a study of the many entries similar to the above, it appears that
the price set on a fox’s head in Cleveland was, in the earlier period,
3s., and in the present century 4s. The “jackal head” is a mystery that
I cannot pretend to solve; the only jackal I ever heard of in Cleveland
being a tame one that I imported from Africa, which is living and
thriving to-day, after several years of domestic life in anything but
an African climate. When I was a boy, I was told by a very old sporting
yeoman farmer, that it was the custom in other days, after a kill with
the “Roxby and Cleveland” hounds, to go to the parson with the head,
get the head money, and then to adjourn to the nearest public-house and
expend the price of blood over a bowl of punch, the flavour of which
was heightened by the addition of a pad, the brush, or the whole head
to the mixture. This, I have no doubt, might correctly be described as
strong drink.

But to hark back on the line for a moment. I feel I must qualify my
opening paragraph, for I have suddenly remembered a passage I lately
read in one of the Reports of the Historical MSS. Commission, which
both shows that royalty in the seventeenth century countenanced
fox-hunting, and that it is of greater antiquity than some modern
authors generally suppose. Here is the extract taken from a Newsletter,
November 17, 1674: “11th, on Saturday or Sunday (!) next His Royal
Highness and the Duke of Monmouth and divers persons of quality go to
Chichester, where they are to lodge in the Bishop’s (!) Palace, and
expect all the gentry of the neighbourhood to repair with their dogs
for seven or eight days’ fox-hunting.” It must have been a curious
sight on that Sunday morning to see His Royal Highness, the Duke,
the Bishop, the divers persons of quality, with their dogs, at the
palace--and one can picture the appearance of the “dogs,” collected
from all parts of the country, of all shapes and sizes.

But I am hanging on the line, if not dwelling in covert, and all this
was meant to be by way of saying that these old-fashioned ideas of
fox-hunting seem to have penetrated, to some extent at least, to the
days when I first hunted with the Cleveland hounds. I can testify
that to many of the sportsmen on foot, even to many of the farmers on
horseback, the fox was certainly in the class of “verming and such
like,” and that they considered it a most magnanimous proceeding,
instead of “to knock” foxes on the head as they can be found, because
these be beasts of prey, “to shake him out of a bag and collect all the
dogs,” and have a “hoont.”

The reader must not be too hard on them; they were hard-working
farmers, with small means, who could not afford the serious
depredations that they suffered from foxes amongst their moor sheep,
and especially amongst their lambs in the spring. There was no M.F.H.,
in the modern sense. They kept a few hounds, one here and one there,
which were collected or “blown up” on hunting days, and they managed
their sport in a very homely and simple fashion, many of them never
having a horse to ride, and following on foot. For the man on foot
with fox-hounds I have the most profound respect and admiration. I
mean, of course, the genuine article,--not the loafer with a club
and a hare-pocket in the inside of his coat, nor the determined and
ignorant sightseer, who stands in the middle of the field next the whin
covert, displaying British independence when asked to “come in,” or
who obstinately sits on a gate hallooing every time a fox attempts to
break; but the dauntless man whose love of the sport and hound work is
such that he counts as nothing aching limbs and blowing bellows, nor
the weary tramp home, if he can only get a look in.

It is not the footman who alone sins through carelessness and
ignorance--in some riding-men the latter quality seems invincible.
I knew one, a regular follower of hounds, who went out with Lord
Zetland’s and finished with the Hurworth, without ever discovering that
he had changed packs. Such good fellows as the followers of hounds on
foot ought to receive the fraternal welcome of their mounted colleagues
in the field--whilst a kind word, instead of choice Billingsgate, will
do more than restrain the ignorant sinner, and tend to his better
understanding of what is required of him. Every man, as long as he
respects the rules of the game, has a right to be there. It occurs
to me, as I turn over the leaves of my hunting diary, that I was not
always so patient with the footmen, as, for instance, on December
26, 1881, when I record: “Monday, Hounds at Paradise Farm. A most
inappropriate name for a most unfortunate day--the country flooded
with foot people. The sky-line black with them--a most horrible sight!
We had soon a fox on foot, but, headed in every direction, he fell a
victim to the mob’s thirst for blood. A like horrible fate awaited the
second fox on Guisborough Moor, above Bethel Slack; the spectacle of
the hundreds round the corpse of the poor murdered brute, clamouring
for fox-skin, was heartrending. What added to the mortification was the
fact of the day being an ideal one, soft, cloudy, scenting. Some of the
remarks I overheard tended to relieve the dark melancholy of the day.
One delightful ruffian, with an awful club, turned to another with a
bludgeon in his hand. ‘The dogs never gav oos a chance, they moordered
him, not killed him.’ Mr. ---- nearly rode over one of the crowd,
and on the nearly overridden one remonstrating in forcible language,
soothed him with the remark, ‘There’ll be plenty more left when you’re
done for,’ which, however unfeeling, was the naked truth. Another scene
of this unhappy day that gave a momentary joy was that of two men on
bare-backed, hairy-heeled farm horses with blinkers on. One said to the
other, ‘Blame it all! I wish we could get away from these foot people!’”

Years ago, when I was a boy, it was not a rare thing with the farmer’s
trencher-fed pack with which I hunted to turn a fox down in the
moorland district where grouse-preserving or sheep-farming made a find
always uncertain and often impossible. Thirteen minutes was the law
allowed, and when time was called, hounds were laid on. There is no
denying that if pace and distance are the only desiderata, a stout old
moor- or cliff-fox, turned down some distance from home, will give a
better run than any you are likely to get by legitimate methods in a
season. The blot on such a performance is not so much unfairness to the
fox, for with thirteen minutes’ law a good fox was more than often a
match for the hounds, even when aniseed or turpentine had been applied
to his pads. He had at least as good a chance of saving his bacon as
if he had been found in the whin covert, where many a good fox has
been chopped before making his try for the open. No, it is not the pace
of a run, the distance from point to point, or the perfection of the
country, that make up the whole sport of hunting. The sport consists
in the meeting of the hound and the animal hunted on nature’s own
terms in a free field with no favour, and in being there to see the
struggle. And to the man with real hunting instinct, no steeplechase
after aniseed or a bagman can give the satisfaction and delight of the
success in accounting for a wild-bred fox, whether the day be bright
or dull, the scent hot or cold. And while no one could derive greater
enjoyment from the fast good thing over the pick of the country, more
than half his pleasure is due to the feeling that the reward of a
red-letter day has been worked for honestly and is due to no resort to
artifice.

Contrast the pleasure that the man with no idea beyond his boots,
coat, tie, galloping and jumping, extracts from a day’s hunting,
with that which the man who is a genuine “hunter” obtains. Putting
aside the social pleasures of the chase, the meeting of friends by
the covert side, and the incidents of interest and amusement in the
field, the pleasure of the one is dependent on being well mounted in
a good country after a straight-necked fox; and he is an exacting and
hypercritical follower of hounds. The other feels the longest day
too short, and can enjoy hounds puzzling out a line, bustling a fox
through woodlands, or driving him over a moor, with one idea uppermost
--to be there to see every detail of their work as if he were a hound
himself. Weather, indifferent scent, bad countries, ugly fences, and
even an imperfect mount, are but to him difficulties he can delight
in fighting with. He rides to hunt; but he who hunts to ride will, as
years pass by, find the bad days are too many, the good days too few,
the country too familiar to ever taste the rapture and expectation
that charmed his younger days: either he abandons the chase or comes
out for air, exercise, and gossip. But from youth to age the other’s
interest never flags. When a boy the hounds are a wonder; the country
is an immense and mysterious paradise; the hard man is his model; the
huntsman his hero; and in every fox he sees the possibility of the
run of the season; truly the life with horse and hound is his ideal of
earthly bliss. For him, as for us all, time brushes away the mysteries,
and the scene loses its fresh enchantment. Hope is the richest treasure
of warm-blooded youth, gilding each day with glorious possibilities,
but the old enemy is gentler with him than with the other. He may no
longer spring lightly on to the hunter with the wild eye and winging
quarters, feeling equal to sending him along, no matter where, no
matter how far--his eye kens each corner of the once unknown land,
he has tasted all the joys and triumphs that the chase can give. The
red-letter days, he knows, are few and far between, and when they come
they but jog his memory of a better. But if his heart no longer beats
with the hot anticipation of the long ago, his experience gives him a
conscious power, and an ability to appreciate niceties unnoticed by
the crowd; his memory is a storehouse in which he delights to rummage.
The melancholy that must accompany age, he, like others, may not
escape from--the moments when he re-peoples his country with those who
have gone, and remembers the voices that are heard no more. But the
landscape from the covert side is all the dearer to him for the echo
of voices long since stilled, and the cry of those hounds whose blood
still flows in the streaming black and white and tan with whom he still
holds a place.

Well, then, if it was almost like a habit in some districts, where
foxes were systematically kept down, for a past generation to save the
day’s sport by resorting to a bagman, the reader must not be shocked
if I confess to being a living witness to what in charity we may
ascribe to an hereditary tendency. After all, there was more excuse for
them than for some noblemen. They at least dug out the wild fox from
the sea-cliffs, while the fashionable game-preserver, or the titled
vulpicide, purchased his fox in Leadenhall.

I have just turned up an old ballad which I have never seen in print,
and as it touches on the subject, I may as well give it a place here,
premising, however, that I cannot but think it is libellous, looking
to the way in which subsequent bearers of the title of Lonsdale have
associated themselves with the best interests of real sport.

  LORD LONSDALE’S HOUNDS:

  1849-1850.


  It was an Earl of ancient name
  Who hunted the fox, but preferred him tame,
  Though his sire had been a hunter free,
  As bold as e’er rode o’er a grass countree.

  The sire would mount his high-bred horse,
  And view the wild fox from the hillside gorse;
  The son goes down by a second-class train,
  Worries a bagman, and home again.

  ’Tis half-past twelve by the railway clocks,
  And the Earl has called for his horse and his fox;
  And behind the Earl there rides the Earl’s groom,
  And then comes a man with a long birch broom,
  Clad in the Earl’s discarded breeches,
  Who will tickle the fox when he comes to the ditches.

  The Earl’s admirers are ranged in Brown’s yard,
  They all wear top-boots and intend to ride hard;
  Whether “wily fox” or timid hare
  Be the game to-day, none of them care.
  Well was it the Earl had called for his fox,
  And brought it from Tring in a little deal box,
  For three hours and more they drew for a hare,
  But drew in vain! All was blank despair.
  Then said the Earl to the elder Brown,
  “Open your box and turn him down.”

  So they turned him down in Aylesbury vale,
  In front of a fence called a post and a rail,
  To suit the views of a certain gent,
  Who rather liked “Rails,”[3] and thought he went.
  Over the rails the first to fly
  Was the gent of course, but the fox was shy,
  And would have declined, but the Earl and his groom,
  The huntsman and whip, and his man with the broom,
  Two boys in a cart, and the Browns, Sam and John,
  Wouldn’t hear of his shirking, and drove him along.

  A pleasant line the captive took,
  Wouldn’t have doubles, avoided the brook;
  As you may imagine, he ran by rule,
  Only taking the leaps he had learned at school.

  Two hounds of Baron Rothschild’s breed,
  Unmatched for courage, breath, and speed,
  Close on his flying traces came,
  And nearly won the desperate game.
  But just as the Earl was preparing to sound
  The dreaded “whoo-whoop”--why, he ran to ground;
  So they dug him out; and the Earl and his groom,
  And the Browns and the gent and the man with the broom,
  And the fox and the hounds are at Tring again,
  And the Earl has gone back by the five o’clock train.

How well I remember some of those illegitimate days, and at this
distance of time I can do no harm in telling tales of those with whom
I was a _post facto_ accomplice. Not only I, but the very hounds knew
what was “up” when we met at Liverton. Hounds’ heads all one way; ears
cocked and sterns waving, and every now and again a dash of the wilder
members of the pack, followed by cracking whips and hunt servants
galloping round the paddock. Such days remain clear in my memory. The
fox generally had been procured overnight from the great sea-cliffs
of Boulby, where it was dangerous for hounds to draw, and where many
a leading hound has met his end with a last fearful fall of 600 feet
into the North Sea. I recollect a particularly long and trying run,
when, after a fast twenty minutes over the stiff enclosures between
Moorsholm and Grinkle, and after crossing two of the deep gills that
run up inland from the sea, our fox took the open moor, with some seven
or eight survivors of the field in hot pursuit. His first point was
Danby Beacon, and, keeping the high ridge of the moor for awhile, he
turned south into the valley of the Esk. A very excellent specimen of
the Cleveland hunting farmer, George Codling, senior, who will after
this lapse of time forgive me for naming him, had now the best of it,
and beat me to Castleton Park, being clearly first up when hounds
pulled down their fox on the very edge of the Esk River. I was there a
moment after Codling, and struggled with him to reach the fox, now in
deep water, in the midst of the swimming pack, for these were the days
when men turned their horses adrift, and almost fought for the honour
of the brush, which fell to him who took the fox from the hounds. In
our scuffle at the water’s edge, while we were using our hunting-crops
as boat-hooks, I unintentionally knocked Codling’s hat into the river,
thinking little of such a trivial accident at such a moment; but not
so Mr. Codling, who was hot with excitement, and annoyed by my efforts,
which so far had only resulted in boat-hooking the fox into deeper
waters. To lose the brush and his hat was too much, and though it was
sleeting and bitterly cold, we both of us had difficulty in keeping
our language at a decent temperature. I was too intent on my fishing,
being up to the waist and having a tug of war with the hounds over the
disputed trophy, to much heed the noise of my companion. When, at last,
after a successful dive for the remains, I regained the bank with the
head, backbone, and brush, I thought that he would be appeased when
I handed him the brush, for by this time I was cool enough, dripping
and shaking all over; but not a bit of it: the brush, of course, was
his before, so there was nothing generous in my handing it to him.
It was only adding insult to injury, to hand him a brush as if I was
presenting a testimonial. Well, anything for peace and quietness, so
in I went again for his hat, but still all efforts to make myself
agreeable were in vain. What was the use to him of a hat full of mud
and water on a coarse day like that? As we were wet through, and
covered with bog mud, I thought a wet and muddy tile was all that
any reasonable man had a right to expect, but I think I promised him
a new hat; if I have never given him one (and my memory fails me on
this point), I shall be most happy to do so now. I am certain of this,
that he demanded a new hat all the way homewards. What opportunities
artists miss! I can imagine no more comical scene for a looker-on.
Codling, in hatless wrath, with the draggled brush so hardly earned
and rescued, pouring curses on me, whilst I stood open-mouthed, blue,
and shaking, with the dripping head in my hands, the hounds crouching
and shivering and wretched around us, and the backbone of the fox
lying between us--our horses disappearing on the horizon! I think
what has stamped this day on my memory was the awful journey home in
a blizzard with a tired horse. I hardly knew what I did, but in those
days the head at my saddle, and the thought of the run, were ample
compensation for all I had endured from the water, the weather, and
the wrath of my successful competitor. I think that the disrespect I
showed to Mr. Codling’s hat rather increased in the end the friendly
relationship between him and myself. It formed a fresh link in our
hunting association, and he was far too keen a sportsman himself not to
forgive an excess of zeal on the part of another, even when it had gone
the length of nearly putting him in after his hat.

  [Footnote 1: _Vide_ Turton’s “The Honor and Forest of Pickering,”
  _North Riding Records_.]

  [Footnote 2: Foumart, foulmart, or polecat.]

  [Footnote 3: The “gent” named in verse six was a great speculator
  in railway shares.]



VI

FOX-HUNTING


[Illustration]--_continued_



VI

  Stags in the forest lie, hares in the valley--O!
  Web-footed otters are speared in the lochs!
  Beasts of the chase that are not worth a tally-ho!
  All are surpassed by the gorse-cover fox.
            Fishing, though pleasant,
            I sing not at present,
            Nor shooting the pheasant,
            Nor fighting of cocks;
            Song shall declare a way
            How to drive care away,
                Hunting the fox!


THE fox-hunter loves the morning with a cloudy sky and a touch of
east in the wind, and, luckily for him, he lives in a land where he
can get it. From November till April he is happy to live without the
sun, and it is the little red rover that makes him more than content
to stay at home, while his unlucky compatriots are chasing the sun to
Monte Carlo or the banks of the Nile. There is a charm about English
country life that is a full compensation for all the discomforts of a
fickle climate. The inconstancy of the sun, and the variableness of
our weather, prevent life in England from ever being monotonous. A
hunting-man cannot go to bed with any certainty of being free from an
exciting anxiety about the weather, any more than he can go to cover
with any confidence that scent will be good or that a fox will run
straight. He can get between the sheets, and let his fancy picture an
ideal day’s sport on the morrow, and himself being well carried over
the cream of the country; and yet, when he wakes, he hurries downstairs
and on to the lawn with a stick, to poke about to see whether it will
be possible to hunt at all.

If we could hook a salmon every time we made a good cast; if we could
curl up the rocketing pheasant every time we pressed the trigger;
if we could kill our stag every time we beaded him, there would be
no pleasure and no satisfaction in such pursuits. No sport can give
a greater variety of incident than fox-hunting, or such wondrous
transformation scenes. Chance is the magic attraction of such pursuits;
the element of the unknown the soul of all adventure.

All the surroundings of the chase minister to man’s passion for
novelty, change, excitement, and to his love of movement, of display
of colour, or of the picturesque. The scene in which each act takes
place varies not only with the formation of the ground, the alternation
of hill and vale, of woodland and field, but alters its dress with
every month, or with the infinite changes wrought by sun and skies.
The line of a fox may be guessed, but never counted on; the pace of a
run may be fast or slow; the end may be near or far distant. Scent, as
incomprehensible as woman, may be good, bad, or indifferent; and when
you trust it, it may suddenly jilt you; when cold, may turn as suddenly
hot. The ill fortune of a day may be turned by a happy hit of hound
or huntsman, or a run lost by a careless halloo or an unlucky cast.
Your place with the pack will often depend on a decision taken quick
as lightning at a critical moment, or your discomfiture arise from
half a pound too much pull on your rein as you come up to a fence. All
these, and a thousand other elements of chance, keep the fox-hunters’
passion evergreen. The fisherman may weary of flogging the unresponding
waters; the best shot, no matter how satisfactory his own performance,
may feel sated with killing, grow disgusted at the shriek of dying
hares, and have moments when he asks in vain for a logical defence of
pleasure derived at the expense of wholesale slaughter and mutilation.
There is no sport without blood, but there is no field sport with so
little bloodshed about it as hunting. When the common fate overtakes
the little marauder of the night, it is usually after a well-matched
struggle, and his end is swift as the lightning flash.

Every act in the drama on nature’s stage is full of interest and life,
from the moment that hounds burst like a flood through the kennel
door, the huntsman astride his knowing horse shoves his horn into the
case, and “whips” scramble into their saddles--until, when the Master
has sounded “home,” the last good-night has been answered as heads
are turned in different directions, and the patter of the pack on the
muddy road, and the echo of the horses’ feet, fades on the ear as at
kennel fadge they trot home in the dusk. And in the interval between
the dawn and close of a hunting-day no man can tell what he may do or
what he may see; a wild racing ten minutes’ burst, twenty-five minutes’
glorious galloping and jumping, or fifty minutes over the broad vale.
However many good things a man in a long life may see with hounds, he
will never see two alike; each will make a different call on his valour
or discretion, and yield some new experience of the wonderful power of
a good horse.

There is a fine array of arguments made use of by those who think it
necessary to defend hunting or to recommend it. The farmer may be told
it is good for him to see his seeds ridden over and his fences gapped,
and that barbed wire is the unpardonable sin referred to in Holy Writ;
that it is good for him, because hunting will enable him to sell hay,
oats, and straw, and provide horses for his landlord’s stud; and
that his tolerance of damage will gain him the generous consideration
of the proprietor of his fields; the statistician may marshal his
figures and demonstrate the economic value of hunting to the provincial
communities and the nation; the man with a liver may be recommended
the exercise for his health; and the evolutionist may point out the
progressive and physical development of man and horse that has resulted
from this pastime of a country life. But hunting will never be pursued
for utilitarian ends, or live because of the benefits it undoubtedly
bestows on either the individual or the community. These apologies or
commendations are the result of that solicitude that accompanies true
love. The chase is so dear to the hunter that he has always the dread
upon him of losing it, as a lover’s hopes are mixed with the fears of
losing what in his eyes only makes life worth living. Love of hunting
is a passion, and, like other passions, is unreasoning and illogical.

A man may marry, but does he love a woman because she brings him
a fortune, because it is his duty to the community, or because he
feels he is a better man in doing so? While his passion lasts he is
indifferent to the superior beauty, accomplishments, or wealth of any
other.

A man loves the air of a hunting morning, the horse he is astride
of, the cry of the hounds, the sound of the horn, and the cheer of
the chase without knowing why or wherefore; and though there be no
reason for it, the instinct is buried in the breasts of thousands
of non-hunting people, and the undefined sympathy of public opinion
causes it to countenance visible damage that it would never tolerate
for any arguments, however convincing, of duty to country or indirect
benefit to the individual. It is to any thinking being touching to see
the patience and kindliness shown, by a class that cannot afford loss,
to those who ride over their holdings in pursuit of pleasure, which
is often done with too little consideration for those without whose
passive support their sport must come to an end.

The question of wire has in many districts become a serious one, but
let the hunting-man ask himself how he would regard the subject if
his own livelihood and home depended entirely on what he could make
of one or two hundred acres of land, and he were asked to forego, for
the pleasure of others, the substantial saving and economy that a
particular kind of fencing would enable him to make. No man hates the
sight of wire, or laments the invention of the hideous barbed variety,
more than the writer; but it appears to him worse than unjust to
abuse and upbraid the farmer who puts it up. In the first place, the
landlord, who is more often a worse friend to hunting than the tenant,
is the man to whom representation should be made. A farmer may say,
My ability to pay my rent depends on my carrying out this, with other
economies; and if an occupier does not hunt, the only proper way to
prevent his putting up wire is to compensate him for the loss which
he incurs by foregoing his right to do so. The men who can afford
thousands for the maintenance of their studs may be expected to respond
to an appeal to find a few pounds to secure the existence of hunting.
On the other hand, the farmer who places wire so as to be a trap,
without notice, deserves the censure of all who dislike a mean or cruel
deed. In the north of England there are few counties where wire is a
serious inconvenience, and I know of none where it is a danger that is
likely to entrap a man, save on the rarest occasions.

Not only does the non-hunting farmer deserve all the assistance
that lies in the power of master and field to show to him, but the
shooting tenant should equally be the object of thoughtful and
kindly consideration. Half the sins of hunting-men, and nearly every
complaint on their part of being ill-used, are the result of their
own thoughtlessness and carelessness. As life yields its experience,
the similarity of the average human nature, whether a man be peer,
commoner, or peasant, becomes more and more apparent, as does the
magic power of charity, that best cure and preventive of bad blood. A
little attention, a little effort towards acquaintance, a few minutes
given up now and again to a friendly chat, a word or two indicating
an interest in their sport, or even a courteous salutation whenever
occasion offers from the Master and his friends, will turn opposition
into genial welcome in nine cases out of ten. It should be remembered
that these men are brother-sportsmen; circumstances or the ties of
business may have placed hunting out of their reach. Love of field
sports has led many men to make pecuniary sacrifices to obtain shooting
for themselves and their friends. There is many a hard-worked man
of business whose sole recreation consists in a day snatched from
the cares of his office, or earned by working overtime. He may have
one covert, affording one or two days’ sport out of the year, and
he naturally looks forward to these rare occasions; but to have his
little preserve rummaged by hounds, and himself abused for not having
a fox always within it, will never teach him to love the fox-hunter.
Great care should be used by an M.F.H. not to disturb and draw such
places without a courteous consideration of the shooting-tenant’s
convenience, and when this is done it will generally be found that the
shooting-man generously responds to the desire not to spoil his sport.
Little harm is done to game by running through a covert, and unless
the Master knew that such a place was just about to be shot, he could
not be expected in a good run to stop hounds. Necessity knows no law,
and in a good thing, and in the heat of action, fox-hunters would be
false to their calling to abandon the pursuit without a very strong
reason. Where there is any danger of an annoyance to a covert owner,
a polite letter, or, still better, a call to explain, will probably
cause the aggrieved one to discount heavily his previous estimate
of damage done. There is little danger of misunderstanding between
game-preservers and hunting-men so long as they cultivate a neighbourly
feeling and are kind to each other’s little weaknesses. Some of the
best fox-preservers are game-preservers, and the best among these are
not always those with the most extensive shooting. But where is the sum
of all these generalities when the circumstances of each county differ?
In some counties the game-preserver is a difficulty; in others, as in
Norfolk, he has, with his armies in velveteen, kept fox-hunting almost
off the land; in others there is little shooting and much hunting; in
others again a good deal of both. In one hunt the very number who turn
out, or a tactless Master, spoil the sport, while in another the field
consists, in the main, of farmers who take a neighbourly delight in
riding over each other’s holdings. Whenever you see a hunt where wheat
and seeds are ridden over more ruthlessly than usual, you may be sure
it is a farmer’s country.

There are as many ways of hunting a country as there are styles of
riding a horse. The object of one huntsman is to kill foxes, of another
to give his field a run, of another to see hounds work. The character
of the country itself decides in some degree whether hounds are to be
left to themselves or handled. The great points and fine runs are for
the open countries where coverts are few and foxes sufficient, but not
too plentiful. In wild or rough countries, or in high-banked counties
like Devonshire and Cornwall, hounds must to a great extent be made
self-reliant and left to hunt themselves. But fox-hunting, to be the
real thing, must have dash and go. To spend half your life standing
by a gorse watching a huntsman sauntering about, evidently equally
pleased if he can catch a fox within its precincts as in the open; to
march leisurely from one draw to the next; to see hounds kept to the
skulking fox when old Cæsar has taken the open; to follow a pottering
hunt through hand-gates and across fences, when the huntsman’s course
is pioneered by timber-felling and gap-making servants, is not hunting.

There are few ideal huntsmen. There is many a good kennel-huntsman,
many a good rider to hounds who carries the horn; but they mostly fall
into two categories, hound-men or horsemen. What is wanted is the
combination,--the man who can get anywhere with his hounds, who can
infect the pack with his fire and dash while holding them in hand, who
can throw their heads down or lift them, who never leaves them there at
the critical check to mark the place where they had it last, and who,
whilst rejoicing in the race for blood, can, when scent is catching and
fallows are cold, keep himself in hand and enjoy the slow and patient
unravelling of the puzzle. Swift and sure when he has the chance, slow
but sure when needs must. A pack takes its cue from the huntsman,
provided always he has a knowledge of his craft, for a pack will never
heed a fool. A fast huntsman will make a fast pack; a pack handled by a
dashing huntsman, if he be a huntsman, will drive; the slow huntsman
will have slack hounds,--but there is less danger that a cautious
and deliberate huntsman will spoil hounds or mar sport more than the
man who is for ever galloping his hounds. Do not imagine that when I
speak of a dashing huntsman I mean a noisy, hollering, horn-blowing,
harum-scarum Hotspur; but one to whom hounds rush, knowing he means to
give them sport; who goes sharp to cover, and into it as if he meant
business; who expects, as soon as the clear view-halloo tells that a
fox has “gone away,” that, as he flies to the open, his whips will look
sharp and get every eager hound to him; who intends that every man who
wishes to go shall have the chance if he can give it them; and that
till his fox is accounted for, his place is with his flying beauties.

Much of the comfort and pleasure depends on the Master; and if huntsmen
vary, how various are the types of Masters! There are the jolly
familiar ones, and the “speak-to-me-if-you-dare-sir” sort; there are
the military precision, and the no-discipline-at-all kind. There is
the M.F.H. who notices none but his intimates, who does not take the
trouble to recognise his field, or say “good-morning” to the farmer,
or “thank you” to the man who opens the gate. There is the damning
cursing, swearing species--with varieties: the one that swears from
bad temper; the one that swears thinking it is professional; and
the one that swears from pure excitement. The first sort is always
offensive, the second makes a mistake, and the last is sometimes
amusing. I have heard remarkable language proceed from the mouths of
M.F.H’s., and heard them scream, bellow, and yell, sometimes with some
cause, sometimes without. We can forgive it when it is the froth of
enthusiasm. A friend of mine told me he heard a Master say to himself
under his breath, while he watched his hounds eating their fox after
a good run, with keen longing in his eyes, “Lucky devils. Now why the
---- can’t I do that?”

When following the same hounds, I heard a whip slanged by one of the
field for not getting a gate open quicker. “Well, you are a blank
fool,” said the critic. “And so would you be a blank fool if you was
called one every ten minutes.” But unhappily the expressions used by
M.F.H’s., when they throw their tongues, cannot always be considered
fit for print. I heard a story once of a mail coachman who had been
using such frightful language to his team that the passenger beside
him at last remonstrated and said, “My friend, you should not use such
language. Remember the patience of Job!” The coachman replied “Yes,
sir; but did Job ever drive three blind ’uns and a bolter?” There is
no doubt that a M.F.H. requires the patience of Job. His office at
home, in the kennel, in the field is no sinecure; and few things try
the temper more than to have worked hard to show sport, and then to
see yourself defeated, and the enjoyment of your field spoiled by some
individual act of thoughtlessness, ignorance, or idiocy. I am always
much more struck by the patience and forgiving disposition of masters
than by their rough words. It is hard for the eager and impetuous, with
every desire to give room to hounds, to have his forbearance rewarded
by seeing some less scrupulous rider take his place. It is hard
sometimes on a tearing flyer to get him pulled in at a moment’s notice.
But a follower of hounds knows when he has done wrong, and seldom does
a man catch it without deserving it; and if he is a sportsman, whose
zeal only has outrun its discretion, he may be sure of forgiveness.

This is not the time to debate whether fox-hunting has a long life
before it in crowded little England. Its existence depends on its
popularity. As long as an Englishman loves a horse and a hound, as long
as hunting-men maintain the principles of equality and fraternity in
the hunting-field, are generous to those who afford them the sport, are
willing to give when they take, are considerate and kindly in their
behaviour to all and every class with whom they associate--so long will
the country be proud of its packs, and its people enjoy the sight of
the scarlet coats coming by road and bridle-path, and public opinion
will check the gin and gun of those who have a vulpicidal tendency.
Like all the best amongst our institutions, fox-hunting is secure so
long as it is broad based upon the people’s will.



VII

CUB-HUNTING

[Illustration: FROM A SKETCH BY THE LATE SIR FRANK LOCKWOOD.]



VII


THERE hangs in the drawing-room of Skelton Castle, in Cleveland, a
picture of Heywood Hardy’s, which illustrates to the full that artist’s
wonderful power in combining the life and colour of a sporting subject
with the poetry of English scenery. We are accustomed to many varieties
of hunting pictures, but how few are worthy of the painter’s art.
There is a dreadful family likeness amongst them--so many pink-faced
sportsmen in tall hats and vermilion coats, so many white pairs of
breeches, and so many tri-colour hounds. Sometimes we have these
objects arranged standing at a meet, as if to be photographed. As we
gaze, we are sad to think that they will continue to stand till time
rots the canvas, and how long time will be about it; that those wooden
hounds will never be thrown into cover; that the pink-faced huntsman
in the scarlet coat will never get the horn, which he clutches in his
dog-skinned hand, to his mouth; and that all those straight-limbed,
clean-legged horses will never dash a speck of mud on to those
spotless boots and awfully white breeches! But a more ambitious
artist, wrestling with his difficult but popular subject, will make
his red-coats leap over insignificant or impossible fences; he will
have his hounds flying out of the picture to meet you as they dash
over a rail or thread a fence; and will create not only a remarkable
study in foreshortening of hounds, but one that fills the onlooker
with amazement at the courage of the artist who, in order to make his
study, must have placed himself and his canvas betwixt fox and hound,
and braved the rush and charge of the yelling pack. The fox is often
introduced upon the scene, that fox we so frequently hear about, “dead
beat, with his tongue hanging out,” but so beautifully clean that one
wonders where is that mudless country in which, instead of dashing at
a draggled fox with his back up, the hounds follow this galloping and
cleanly animal, with his mouth wide open and, of course, his tongue
hanging; out. How different is the artist’s treatment of his subject
in the picture at Skelton Castle. There is no fox, there is not a
fence, there is not a covert, there is not even a picturesque top-hat
or top-boot. The picture is called “A Summer’s Day in Cleveland,” and
the scene is on the beach,--hounds swimming, splashing, and dashing
out of a tidal pool on a sunny morning, accompanied by the old squire
on a pony, the young squire (master and huntsman), and two servants in
pink exercising coats, the picture combining the beautiful animation
of the hounds with a wonderful harmony of colour and poetry of scene.
Behind, the sparkling splash and spray, in the foreground are the
breakers, whose white foam fades into the deeper grey of the North Sea
and then into the pale blue of a summer sky, while beyond loom the
rugged rocks of Huntcliffe Nab. As an admirer of the study, I can look
long at this wonderful example of catching and fixing for ever the
prettiness of a scene of a summer’s morning; but as a sportsman I begin
to get impatient with the sun, and to wish that the hounds will be done
splashing and “come on out of that”; that the master would change his
straw hat (which certainly is better in the picture than a splash of
black velvet) for his cap, and let us get up from the beach and go and
find a fox.

As August draws to a close, we know that, now the reapers are silent
and the stubbles are bare, we shall soon be once more astride of our
equine companions in the chase, that we shall see the covert quivering
and shaking, and sterns waving among the whins. Cub-hunting is a most
excellent and pleasant introduction to the serious business of the
season. We all--foxes, hounds, horses, and men--require the preparation
and the bustling about that the early hours of September and October
place within our reach. Much of the season’s success depends on how
the pack is used during these two months. A pack, as someone has said,
is made or marred in cub-hunting. After the 1st November there is
comparatively little opportunity for educating either cubs or puppies.

A man does not go to covert side in September to ride across country;
he goes to realise with his own eyes and ears the delightful fact that
another hunting-season has begun, to inhale the fresh air of the
early morning, to exercise his unconditioned horse, and to join those
choice spirits who love the cry of hounds better than their pillows. He
knows that it will be “Tally-ho back! tally-ho back!” all the morning,
and if, by a lucky chance, a cub is followed into the open air for
ten minutes, and he gets a gallop, it is but a _hors d’œuvre_ to whet
his appetite for better and more substantial things to follow, and to
serve as a reminder to his horse, when blind ditches entrap him, that
a good hunter must take care where he puts his feet, and jump big when
the boundary between fence and field is undefined. A master is seldom
hampered by an unwieldy “field” when he meets at six o’clock. Those
who are out at that time are likely to be sportsmen, and able to
appreciate the fact that all are there for educational purposes.

Those who, when the season is in full swing, are crowding and watching
for a get away and a good start, and causing throughout the day untold
anxiety to the huntsmen, are now in shooting-caps and leggings,
chatting and indulging in gossip and chaff in a manner that would be
regarded as unprofessional when in tall hats and top-boots. Probably
nothing exasperates a hunting-man more than when, on the tip-toe of
expectancy, as hounds speak in covert, he is compelled to listen to
some bore who thinks the occasion suitable for airing his views on
local or Imperial politics, or for relating his own exploits of
valour the day you were not out. Business and politics should never be
permitted as subjects of conversation in the hunting-field, not even
during cub-hunting, when any other topic may certainly be tolerated, if
not encouraged. One of the secondary pleasures of the chase is social
intercourse, the cementing of friendships, and the opportunities of
better acquaintance with neighbours which it affords.

These opportunities are not always taken advantage of, for though we
all can point to fields where most of the regular followers are on such
terms as to make it almost a happy family circle, we probably all know
one or more hunts where jealousy, pride, or pure foolishness spoil much
of the comfort and pleasure of all. In most fields there is, however,
at least one individual whom all agree in desiring to avoid,--some cad,
some snob,--to escape whom we hang back in covert, jump some appalling
place, or, if in a crowd, endeavour to get our worst enemy or most
unselfish friend between him and us. If one of these objectionable
persons, or well-meaning bores, comes out cub-hunting, we are at his
mercy; he can get at us, and the music of the hounds is mingled with
his ceaseless jabber; our only escape is the road home to breakfast.
Oh, gentle reader, have you not often, at covert side, endeavoured
to stay the torrent of “shop” poured into your ear, by assenting to
any opinion, acquiescing in every view put forward, no matter at what
violation to conscience and conviction? Have we not all, in the dread
that an objection or divergent view, however gently expressed, might
open another floodgate, been false to our creeds, and thrown our most
cherished prejudices overboard? I wonder if Egerton Warburton had some
particular man in his eye when he wrote the following stanza in his
famous song, “Quaesitum Meritis.” I am certain that many a man who has
sung this verse has thought of some one to whom the words particularly
applied--

  “For coffee-house gossip some hunters come out,
  Of all matters prating save that they’re about;
  From scandal and cards they to politics roam,
  They ride forty miles, head the fox, and go home.
  Such sportsmen as these we good fellows condemn,
  And I vow we’ll ne’er drink a _quaesitum_ to them.”

The master, huntsman, and servants are, during the cub hunting-season,
free from many of the annoyances that a large and mixed field too
often brings in its train, but they have need of the liberty which
a small following and early hours afford. Some M.F.H.’s do not make
known their intentions as to when and where they hunt, and small blame
to them, for at the very beginning of the season the fewer there are
out the better, as thirty, forty, or more couple of hounds, including
entering puppies, will require their undivided attention. Yet if they
meet at 5.30 or 6 a.m. there is little to fear; for the men who hunt to
ride, the men who follow the ladies rather than the hounds, the men who
come out to display their attire, and even the horse-breakers who like
to educate their young ones at the expense of the hounds, are all most
likely still in their earths. A kindly Master who takes a pleasure
in seeing the schoolboy on his pony, and a pride in seeing these
youngsters enter well, will give them a chance to put in a day or two
before the summer holidays end, and will let every regular and trusted
member of the hunt have an opportunity of being present. It is to the
genuine Nimrod a pleasant thing to get up in the dark, and, after a
light breakfast, hastily swallowed, to mount in the dawn and once more
find himself jogging beside the hounds along the road on an autumn
morning. His mind is easy and his temper unruffled by struggles to get
into leathers and top-boots, or by the memory of letters unanswered
on his table; any clothes will do, and he will be home again in time
to attend to pressing matters of business. There are no lurking fears
as to whether his mount is equal to the task before him; there is no
waiting at the meet, and hounds are busy in the covert as soon as it
is reached. The sound of the horn, the opening pack, the view-halloo
from the whipper-in, the crack of the men’s whips, and the rattling
and rustling in the gorse, are pleasanter because of the interval that
has passed since last they woke the woodlands, and for the stillness
of the outside world at this early hour. Soon after the first brace of
cubs have been killed, and hounds are being taken to the next cover,
the labourer going to the field and the horses to the plough remind
him how young the day still is; and a little later the sun on his
back, and the “had enough” appearance of the five or six couple of
hounds trailing behind the huntsman, tell him that it is still only
cub-hunting, and time for all to be going home. There are, on these
days, reminders that one year has gone and another begun, and you miss
some of the old veterans with grizzled and scarred muzzles, and hear
that a few of those you welcome, as you have welcomed them for half
a dozen seasons, when work with cubs began, are there only till the
young ’uns have been entered; and you see the new entry, with their as
yet unfamiliar forms, answering to unfamiliar names. In October many
a run takes place that would do credit to the open season, and these
fast spins across the country, when the ground is hard and fences and
ditches horribly blind, can test the mettle of horse and rider, and
make any man feel very comfortably satisfied with his performance,
if, by luck or good management, he negotiates the hidden dangers that
lurk on one side or the other of most October fences. In a run at this
time of the year, gates are as yet fastened up, the gaps of a past
season are undiscoverable, the weak places and the strong blackthorn
branches are covered with the leaf and bramble. The fastest twenty-five
minutes I ever saw was run on a certain 14th October, hounds getting
away together in a bunch from Seamer Whin, and killing their fox in
ground now covered by the suburbs of smoky Middlesborough. It was
not cub-hunting, yet one of those delightful “things” that is the
well-earned reward of the constant follower, the envy of the absent
one, and ten times more enjoyed for being unexpected.

Countries vary so much in the proportion of woodland they contain, and
in the stock of foxes that may be depended upon, that the circumstances
of each district influence the character of cub-hunting. Where coverts
are extensive and numerous, and litters abound, cubbing may mean the
deliberate killing down of a great number of cubs in the interests
of the sport that is to follow, and far beyond what is required for
blooding hounds. When foxes are well preserved, and in plenty, a Master
does well to kill a large number, for there is this amount of truth in
the saying, “The more foxes you kill, the more you will have,” that
owners of game coverts and non-hunting proprietors are unwilling
very often to encourage foxes or to have litters on their places if a
fair proportion are not killed. In such a country as this, even when,
owing to an early harvest or absence of arable land, a start is made
in August, cub-hunting may be cub-hunting and cub-killing all the
time up to the end of October. In other hunts, after a week or two’s
cubbing, hunting may be very much the same as after the opening day,
the scarlet coat and top-boot alone marking the transition. The conduct
of the huntsman will not be so much actuated by blood-thirstiness,
as by the wish to discover where there are foxes, to give the cubs a
little instruction in going away, and hounds a few lessons of how to
behave in the open. He will not, or need not, ask every time whether
a fox is an old one or not, and many a run that would be considered
good in the winter can be enjoyed in October in such a country as this.
But for the great majority of hunting-men, these early days are but
the time for getting their studs together, their horses and themselves
into condition; and custom and tradition has consecrated the first
hunting-day in November as the New Year for a follower of hounds.



VIII

THE GREATEST RUN I EVER SAW

[Illustration: INCIDENTS WITH THE CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY DRAG. From a
sketch by C. M. Newton.]



VIII


IF anyone were to ask me which was the best run I ever saw, I should
say the great run with the Cleveland hounds on Monday, January 9, 1882.
Probably many, if not most, hunting-men would turn up their noses at
it if they saw the country over which the most extraordinary fox in my
experience took us, for I admit that nothing but the fact of having
been bred in such a wild hunting country would make it in the widest
sense a rideable one. I must further confess that the fact of being
sole survivor of it makes its memory all the dearer, though I regret to
this day that I had no companion during the last twenty-five minutes to
support my evidence, or to discuss with me in after years its wonders.
I trust that in attempting to describe it, if I seem to be utterly
devoid of modesty and to be blowing loud blasts on my own horn, it will
be remembered that every man has some day in a long life, in which he
is conscious that he has had the best of it. This was my day, and I
certainly felt at the end of it that it would have been worth risking
one’s life for; it gave me the sensation that comes now and again in
every life, of not having lived in vain. The following account is for
the most part from my diary, written while I was still stiff from the
previous day’s exertions.

Monday, 9th January 1882.--Hounds met at Ayton, where there was
breakfast at the Buck. This was the most extraordinary day I ever
had. I rode Queen Mab in the morning till she got an overreach, when
I changed on to Faraway, on which horse I finished the first, and was
there when Bob Brunton took the fox from the hounds in Hell Gill. I
state this to correct the press accounts, which describe my getting
my second horse in the great run--not to save my own credit, but to
preserve the record of my horse’s marvellous performance. The first
was a ringing run, fairly fast, on the hills between Roseberry Topping
and Guisborough Banks, and for forty minutes I rode Faraway up and
down the hills, over the moors, and in and out of the gills before we
found the second and ever-memorable fox. My brother Jack did not have
a second horse, but rode his mount (a blood Irish hunter called Sligo,
that cost two hundred and fifty guineas, and was worth every sixpence
of the money) all day, and “let him have it” in the first run. If we
had both started from scratch, he might have taken first honours; as it
was, he took the second place in a numerous field, as the sequel will
show. I have no doubt that the competition between us ministered to my
success, for we generally rode a trifle jealous, but were always best
pleased when we could share the honours.

I must for a moment depart from my diary, and say a word about
Faraway. He was an Irish thoroughbred, by Fairyland, purchased at
Tattersall’s in 1880, from the stud of chestnuts sent up by Captain
Amcotts, of the 5th Dragoon Guards. He was knocked down to me for fifty
guineas. I followed him back to his box, and when I asked the groom
why he had only two old shoes on, and what was wrong with the brute,
he said, “Sure, he’s a grand hunter, and nothing wrong wid him; but
ye can’t shoe him, clip him, or physic him.” Some years after I found
that he had killed a blacksmith just before I bought him; he was quite
capable of killing any number of that profession or any other--yet it
was not temper, but fear and nerves, that made him dangerous. Fast
as the wind, hard as nails, wild as a hawk, are all expressions
that fitted him. His little failings were discourtesy--for he met
strangers visiting his box on his hind-legs and sparred at them--and
buck-jumping, at which he could beat anything I ever saw at the Wild
West Show, refusing to let anyone hold his bridle or to stand still
while being mounted. One great fault he had--he would not, when hounds
ran, allow you to open a gate, always managing, if you did succeed
in getting your hand out to reach the catch, to dive under your arm
and whip round; while, if anyone opened the gate for you, he went
through it like a bullet. But when once I had become familiar with his
eccentricities, and abandoned all attempts to differ with his methods
and manners, I found him one of the most delightful mounts I ever got
across--all life, liberty, and whalebone, and impossible to tire. I
counted him among the most precious of my possessions, till after a bad
fall he nearly killed me, breaking a few of my bones, and making me
literally sit up and spit blood. I then yielded to the solicitations of
my friends, and sold him to Mr. James Darrell, who told me he had gone
well in Leicestershire in other hands.

To return to my diary. After the first fox had been broken up, and
the brush presented to the Hon. A. Sidney, of Ingleby, the head being
attached to my own saddle, we went to Highcliff, where we found the
real old Cæsar, a great grey-hound fox. He broke over the moor at once,
and we raced across to Bethel Slack. They drove down Wiley Gill,
making the ravine ring again, as far as Slapewath, and then he again
took the open for a short time, till he got level with Cass Rock. He
then took along Guisborough Banks to where we found him, hounds running
hard all the way. He now tried a change of tactics, and took a line
that was to astonish all and to make most cry “_capevi!_”[4] breaking
on to Guisborough Moor. Hounds followed at a terrific pace, leaving
all but the blood horses far behind. By Sleddale he turned west and
crossed the great bog. My brother (who was level with, or in front of
me here) and I went straight at it, our only chance of getting near
the now flying pack being to take everything as it came. In we went,
both together, he getting to the other side with a frantic struggle;
Faraway, mad with being thus checked, rolled, plunged, and kicked, so
that I could not recover the reins after I had got on to my feet. After
a minute’s delay, that seemed an eternity, we bucketed up the hill,
while below us were others in the bog, looking in vain for a crossing.
When I reached the sky-line, nothing could I see or hear. One moment of
agonising anxiety, and I caught a glimpse of my brother’s hat, bobbing
up as he rose a distant hill. As hard as I could take my horse, I made
for this ever-blessed top-hat, and came up with him near the Piggeries,
as he rode at the tail of the now almost silent pack, streaming in
a file along the moor road. They ran as if it were a drag; it was
real business. A mile like this on the straight, and then a swift,
sure swing over the wall to the right, and they were flying over the
Kildale Valley--my brother and I, in our glory, taking every wall and
fence as it met us. A left turn, and in a minute we were going up the
valley to the moors above Baysdale. Here were sheep pastures enclosed
with hideous walls, wire on most, and all uphill. Sligo takes a line
of barricaded gaps; Faraway goes slap-bang through the first gate,
and then takes the timber decently and in order. Another bog, another
stream, a few more fences, and then the open moor. How much longer can
a horse go this pace? It is too serious a business to speak to each
other as we pound down into Baysdale, the hounds getting the better
of us. As we cross the enclosures by Baysdale Abbey, the one solitary
ploughman in the out-of-the-world valley stops in his work to look at
the rare spectacle.

“Have you seen him?” I shout.

“Ay! a gurt grey-hound fox.”

“How long since?”

“Seven minutes.”

Seven minutes, and hounds racing like this! Will they never check?--no,
they never will, and some will never return to the kennel again. The
Abbey is passed in one hour and twenty minutes from the find, with
only one momentary check, and the mountain beyond looks impossible
to negotiate. I cross the stream, and begin the ascent with a few
tail hounds. They have shot their bolt, and are struggling on with
bloodshot eyes, dropping into my wake as I pass them.

“Come on, Jack! You must do it.”

“I can’t. Look at Sligo.”

Sligo was standing rocking at the foot of the hill, with his back
up and staring eye--he was completely done. Could I get up to that
sky-line where the last trailing hounds were disappearing? It looked
desperate, but Faraway did it, and now I must give him a minute. I had
dismounted the last twenty yards to pull him up the top edge of the
scar. I could see about eleven couple filing away along the ridge of
the moor half a mile ahead. Absolutely nothing but range after range of
barren moors was now in sight! Where was this strange fox bound for?
I was astonished to find my horse still full of going, as I got on to
the ridge and on to sound ground, and in a few minutes I was alongside
the leading seven couple. Hounds now bore along for the Farndale head
moors, and one by one the stragglers gave up the chase. Now and then
one of these would pull up all at once. I saw the veteran Hermit roll
into the heather, where he was found cold and dead next day. Still the
leading bunch held on, and Wrangle (from the Oakley) is driving away
first, followed closely by Statesman, Bajazet, Rascal, and Ringwood.
As they crossed a boggy slack, I strained my eyes to see this terrible
fox; it was impossible he could stand up many minutes more. I felt for
my knife--but the end is not to be yet. The thought uppermost in my
mind is, what a wonder my horse is! Is it possible for any animal to
survive this? and yet he is going strong. The moors look endless; I can
see, even in the fast-deepening dusk, miles of desolation in front.

A turn to the right, and we reach the edge of the hillside above
Ingleby. Down the rocks and the cliff-side dash the now only seven
couple, and once more open into cry. The pace on the moor was too great
for much speaking. I cannot get down there. I make a despairing effort
to cross a bog at the top--I cannot do it. The north wind is blowing
a cloud of spray from the dripping bog at the edge of the cliff, and
the stars are coming out. I see beyond me an abandoned workman’s
shanty, and my mind is made up. The door is locked; a good kick and
it is open. In the inside there is just room for my horse. The ceiling
is low, but so is now his head. I shut the door and run as fast as
top-boots will allow along the edge of the cliff to the top of Midnight
Crags. Here I hear the hounds still running some hundred of feet below
me in the darkness. I labour on, till, exhausted, I sit down above
the pass into Bilsdale. I can still hear them occasionally, in spite
of the wind howling up the gully, and then all is still. I wait some
minutes, then halloo with all my might. They have either killed or run
to ground, but wherever it is, I cannot reach them.

Eventually five and a half couples came to me, and I floundered and
blundered over the moor to my horse. I had not a match, so as to
examine the mouths of the hounds, but, as far as I could judge, they
had not killed. I could find no blood--perhaps if they had run into him
they had not managed to do more than just kill. I drained my flask,
and led my horse down the Ingleby incline, reaching at length Ingleby
village.

When I got to the inn, to my surprise, there was Bob Brunton, who,
having lost all trace of us in Kildale, whither he had tracked us,
had ridden on here with Richard Spink of the Bilsdale, where, night
overtaking them, they had sought shelter and refreshment. Bob, on
seeing me, literally hugged me, and swore I ought to be knighted. We
got the hounds bedded in a barn and fed, and my horse gruelled, and
then I jogged home--but sleep was banished by aching limbs, and the
excitement of the day. All night I saw the whole scene enacted over
again. The streaming ten couple always tearing and racing on as if
for ever over valley and lonely moor. I felt my horse floundering
through the bogs again; myself clambering up and down those gills under
the stars--each wall and stream, gate and stile were jumped a dozen
times. I could see again the straggling hounds, run out, sitting in
the heather, and hear their dismal howling as they realised they were
“done” and “lost.”

Now this run was an extraordinarily long one; it cannot be made less
than 19 miles, and is more like 21. It was 11 miles from point of find
to Ingleby Landslip; but where I think it tops the record is the pace.
I believe the whole run to have occupied 1 hour and 45 minutes--1 hour
and 20 minutes to Baysdale, and 25 on to the landslip. I know that it
will not be credited by most hunting-men, but it must be remembered
that it was mostly over open moorland, with few obstacles to check
hounds, and, except the solitary ploughman in Baysdale, no sign of
humanity all the way. Three hounds died of exhaustion, and the other
lost ones were only got back by degrees during the week following.

In connection with this run I think the following performance of
Bob Brunton’s worth recording. He had hunted all day, being at the
meet at Ayton some miles from his home, and I found him at Ingleby
at night. He remounted after he had attended to the hounds, and
rode to Guisborough, say 8 miles, where he looked in at a political
meeting which was being held; he rode on the same night to the
Kennels at Warrenby, 8 miles more, and found the huntsman sitting up
disconsolate and refusing to go to bed without his hounds. He started
before daybreak (3 a.m.), and, riding the same horse, accompanied
the huntsman, Will Nicoll, to Ingleby (12 miles); hence he helped to
collect the lost hounds on the moor and in Bilsdale; and the following
afternoon I met him, still on the same horse, now more like a gigantic
grey-hound than anything else, escorting the hounds back to Warrenby
from Ingleby (16 miles); and when this was accomplished, he rode home
to Marton (7 miles); so that if we put down 40 miles for the long hard
day’s hunting, we have

  To the meet and two long runs, and to Ingleby    40
  Ingleby to Guisborough                            8
  Guisborough to Warrenby                           8
  Warrenby to Ingleby                              16
  Collecting hounds                                10
  Ingleby to Warrenby                              16
  Warrenby to Marton                                7
                                                  ―――
                                                  105
                                                  ―――

a total of 105 miles, 65 of which were undoubtedly ridden after the
day’s hunting by Mr. Brunton on the same horse that he had ridden hard
(for he was among the hardest riders ever seen in Cleveland) during the
longest and severest day the Cleveland hounds have had in my lifetime.

As for the horses, Faraway was at covert side again within three weeks.
Sligo, with whom it appeared to be a case for an anxious hour or so,
came up to time as well.

Finally, a few words about the hounds that led the van. Two couple were
to the front the whole time, and Wrangle led throughout.

   1. Wrangle was a powerful bitch that Mr. Wharton, now master
      of the Cleveland, brought from the Oakley. She was by the
      Milton Wrangler, out of Oakley Flora. She was 5 years
      old at the time of this run, and was on the list of the
      running hounds till 1885, and at the great age of 9, for a
      hunting-hound, could still hold her place. From this bitch
      are descended many of the best hounds in the Cleveland kennel.

   2. Ringwood, by Lord Fitzwilliam’s Champion, out of his
      Roguish, was 7 years old.

   3. Bajazet, by Milton Bajazet, out of their Scornful, was 6
      years old.

   4. Rascal, by the Milton Ransack, out of Lord Zetland’s
      Careless, was 5 years old.

   5. Statesman, by the Belvoir Saffron, out of their Redcap,
      was 6 years old.


The following were the remainder of the leading bunch as they ran into
the darkness:--

   6. General, by Major Brown’s Chorister, out of his Gracious,
      7 years old.

   7. Songstress, by Cleveland Jovial, out of Cleveland
      Symmetry, 7 years old.

   8. Arthur, by Lord Yarborough’s Ranger, out of his South
      Durham Actress, 5 years old.

   9. Gertrude, by Cleveland General, out of Cleveland Careless,
      5 years old.

  10. Novelty, by Cleveland Nelson, out of Cleveland Friendly,
      3 years old.

  11. Merryman, by Cleveland Senator, out of Cleveland Maypole,
      3 years old.

The surviving hounds were thus--

  Hounds 7 years old   3
    "    6   "    "    2
    "    5   "    "    4
    "    3   "    "    2
                      ――
                      5½ couple.
                      ――

It is a little painful to confess that other blood than Cleveland
made this run the memorable one it is. But so it was that in a chase
that tested the pace, stamina, and endurance of hounds to their
utmost limit, the Milton blood showed best in front. I have placed
the ages of these hounds on record as being evidence of the value of
mature-seasoned hounds, and in the hope that it may discourage the
tendency of many M.F.H.’s, in these days, when stoutness is so often
sacrificed for appearance, to yield to the temptation of replacing
hounds in their prime by a big entry of promising and shapely puppies.
I shall ever maintain that the proved hounds of from 4 to 6, or
even 7 years old, should form the main body of a pack, and I firmly
believe that there would be more straight-necked foxes and good
runs satisfactorily finished were this the rule. As it is, there are
generally twice, or even three times, the number of hounds 1, 2, or 3
years, than of older ones.[5]

Since this day I have seen many a good run, over every variety of
country, and each hunting morning that I ride out I start hoping for
such another; but as the seasons slip away and years roll on, the hope
grows fainter and fainter, and I begin to think that as long as life
lasts I shall never again see anything like it. Like others, as they
begin to get grey, I become _laudator temporis acti_, and ask, Where
are now the hounds that could do this? Where is there another fox like
old Cæsar? And, worst of all, I doubt if I or any horse of mine could
struggle to the end if such an opportunity should ever return.

There have, of course, been many more remarkable runs than this one
recorded. One of my father’s tenants, who recently died, told me he
remembered, when a boy, Ralph Lambton coming into Bishop Auckland on
foot, with one and a half couple of hounds and a fox dead beat a few
yards in front, calling through the streets, “Hoick to Jingler!” The
fox lay down in the main street, and the hounds, quite done and unable
to tackle him, lay down beside him. The master gave them a few minutes
to kill him, but as they could not, he had the fox attended to, and
turned down again in his native covert in the Sedgefield country.

  [Footnote 4: Mr. John Jorrocks’s Latin.]

  [Footnote 5: On Thursday, 19th November 1776, the
    Duke of Beaufort’s hounds had an extraordinary
    day, from Lyde Green head, Bristol, two rings in
    the Vale (15 miles), then to the hills, first to
    Sir William Codrington’s woods at Doddington,
    then to the Duke’s wood at Didmarston, Hanbury,
    Upton, Killcott, and killed between Killcott and
    Forcester--found at 7.30 and killed at 4. All the
    field thrown out, and six couple out of seventeen
    in at the death. They were found lying on their
    bellies, with Reynard in their midst. “Estimated
    distance, 50 miles,” and “the largest fox seen in
    these parts.”]



IX

BADGER-HUNTING



IX


THE badger is of such a shy and self-effacing disposition that
he seems likely to retire altogether from amongst us, unless the
sportsman’s interest in him can be revived. The badger’s love of
seclusion and natural instinct to avoid observation will become more
and more difficult for him to gratify, unless his kind receive special
protection in most parts of England. The humane Act that rendered the
brutal pastime of badger-baiting illegal no doubt has encouraged his
destruction and extinction in many districts. The demand for badgers
ceased; the supply diminished. We would gladly believe, in a more
merciful age, that, apart from legality or illegality, men nowadays do
not generally regard badger-drawing out of boxes or tubs as a reputable
sport. All genuine sportsmen have something of the naturalist in their
composition, but where this instinct is not developed, the average
sportsman is unlikely to trouble himself about an animal that is seldom
_en evidence_, who selects the night for his appearance, and whose
invasions into man’s sphere are of so unobtrusive a character. The fox,
the otter, and other beasts of chase keep themselves before the public
by their crimes, but the self-renouncing modesty of the badger has led
him to be neglected or despised. Yet, apart from shaving brushes, a
badger has his uses. He is a destroyer of wasps and small vermin, and
an excellent maker of fox-earths. In countries where mange in foxes
has become a scourge, the preservation of badgers would do much to
rid fox-hunters of this plague--for they are wonderful cleansers of
earths, cleaning those they frequent in the most thorough manner; and,
unless very numerous, they encourage foxes, as their “sets” are the
fox’s favourite resort. The badger may live in our midst, almost at
the threshold of our doors, and yet leave us ignorant of his presence.
I once asked a Cornish farmer if there were badgers about his place;
he not only answered there were none, but that he had never heard of
or seen any during the many years he had lived on the farm. Within
ten minutes from receiving this information, one of my terriers had
“found” in a culvert that ran at the back of his barn, causing intense
astonishment. His scepticism, however, did not finally give way to
conviction till two badgers were unearthed, after a night of toil, at
five o’clock in the morning. Once, when travelling on the Great Western
Railway, I overheard the following conversation between two gentlemen:--

First well-informed gent: “Seen this in the papers about badgers being
caught in Essex?”

Second: “No. How interesting!”

First: “Yes. Very curious, isn’t it?”

Second: “By the way, what is a badger like?”

[Illustration: THE CLEVELAND FOX-HOUNDS AT EXERCISE. From a photograph
of Mr. Heywood Hardy’s picture, “A Summer’s Day in Cleveland.”]

First: “Oh--er--a badger is an animal that lives in the water,
something like a seal.”

Second: “No, no! That’s an otter. I know what an otter is. A badger is
more like a ferret or weasel.”

First: “Yes, I believe you’re right, but I fancy it’s larger than that.”

Second: “How big would you say?”

First: “Oh, I don’t know exactly, but nearly as big as a hare.”

Second: “Oh, of course! They used to bait badgers with dogs; they must
be larger than a ferret.”

And so they went on, much to my amusement; and when they had set
up their badger, I rather cruelly knocked it over, and gave them a
little elementary education on the badger and his ways. Now, these
two persons had both of them a natural disposition to be interested
in badgers, and, astounding as is the ignorance of thousands who are
fond of animal life, it requires but a very few words to arouse their
interest in the rarer species of wild animals that we can still boast
of as British.

The fact is, since the cruel and brutalising sport of badger-baiting
has been stamped out, the badger has been forgotten except by a few
naturalists, sportsmen, and by the gamekeeper. Being neither furred
nor feathered game, the keeper, of course (where his master’s wishes
to the contrary are not expressed), treats him as vermin and wages war
on all his tribe. With all their good qualities, keepers are too apt
to consider that nothing but game has any right to live in an English
covert.

  The mousing owl he spares not, flitting through the twilight dim,
  The beak it wears, it is, he swears, too hook’d a one for him.
  In every woodland songster he suspects a secret foe,
  His ear no music toucheth, save the roosting pheasant’s crow.

Down go the falcons, the buzzards, the hawks, the jays, the magpies,
the owls, the woodpeckers, the kingfishers, and any other bird that
“wears a beak too hook’d,” or a dress gaudy enough to attract his
attention. Badgers and squirrels are put into the same category as
polecats, stoats, and weasels, and with almost as little compunction.
Yet a badger is practically harmless to game, though I will not
pretend to acquit him of the charge of taking a rabbit out of a snare,
or of digging out a nest of young rabbits on occasion. He is, however,
death on small vermin and such pests as wasps, though his main food
consists of roots, fruits, wild honey, beetles, and insects. I believe
that badgers eat slugs, but I have placed dishes of assorted kinds,
from big black to small white, before my tame ones, and never could
induce them to partake of them.

I see no other method by which the badger’s continued existence can
be assured than that of hunting him. Personally, I should be content
if I could believe that the desire to keep an English species from
extinction would perpetuate his existence; but I fear that, like
the red deer, fox, and otter, he will have to make his exit if he be
not hunted. Some object to badger-hunting underground because of the
punishment often inflicted on the terriers, and of the tendency that
the sport may degenerate into a sort of drawing match. If, however,
we are to compare one sport with another, there is nothing in a
properly managed badger-digging that can disgust the spectator as he
must be disgusted towards the finish of the otter hunt.

One of the most cruel amusements, if we look closely into it, is
ferreting rabbits. And yet who will say that ferreting rabbits is
anything but a fair and reputable sport? But the man who is constantly
rabbiting will announce, with airs of superior humanity, that
digging out a badger is too brutal a sport for him. Why, there is no
comparison! In a properly managed badger-digging there is no cruelty
whatever. The badger is taken without so much as a scratch, and the
terriers consider their pleasure cheaply purchased when they have the
misfortune to get a kiss on the face from a badger. No man wishes to
have a good terrier mauled, and such men as enjoy taking the badger are
always ready to bear their own share of risk of punishment and exertion
in securing the prize. To dig out a badger in a strong “set,” requires
great and continuous exertion, considerable knowledge and skill in the
pursuit, and a well-trained and trustworthy team of terriers. The
terriers must, to be successful, combine discretion with valour and
pertinacity. A dog that goes to ground, and immediately tries a “set
to” with a badger, either gets badly punished or such a frightening
that he becomes a funker. All that a good terrier should do, when
despatched underground, is to follow the badger, giving tongue till he
corners him, and then lie up to him baying, keeping him there through
long hours, if necessary, while the digging proceeds; never heeding the
noise of spade, pick, and shovel overhead, and never fighting unless
the badger attempts to charge or leave his place. One reliable terrier
with a good voice is worth all the worrying, excitable terriers in the
countryside. I have seen a dog keep a dozen men digging for hours; and
when at last they got to him, they found he was only barking out of
the fulness of his heart, or scratching and chewing roots to get up a
rabbit-hole.

The scarcity of badgers, and the consequent restriction of
hunting-grounds, has deprived the terrier in a great degree of his
vocation. As the name terrier implies a dog adapted for “going to
earth,” no dog that cannot go to ground is properly a terrier; and
no terrier that will not go to ground is worthy of his name. It has
always seemed to me a reproach to my native county that the beastly
little lap-dog called a Yorkshire terrier should be so described, for
though no doubt a whole pack of these ridiculous creatures could go
down a rabbit-hole, yet if, by some inconceivable process, they were
induced to venture down a badger-earth, they would hardly afford a meal
for a brock. For a totally opposite reason another Yorkshire breed is
unfitted for the name of terrier--this is the Airedale. He is, as a
rule, a game sort of dog, and I have seen one look very much distressed
when he could only get his head into a large earth. The preposterous
size of this so-called terrier is such that he cannot go to ground;
this is also the case with the general run of Bedlingtons, Dandie
Dinmonts, black and tan, and even Irish terriers; though when a Dandy
or Irish terrier is small enough, he is excellent, and can claim the
title. The fox-terrier, whether wire-haired or smooth, is often an
excellent badger dog. The bull-terrier, as seen in the showyard, is too
big, and, when diminutive, is generally too pugnacious for the purpose,
and has too much of the obstinate and unreasoning ferocity of the
bull-dog to make a good badger dog. Yet it is sometimes useful to have
a strain of his blood in the fox-terrier, if it can be obtained in such
small quantity as neither to destroy the reliability and voice, nor the
less excitable disposition of the fox-terrier.

When pursuing a badger underground, the dog that does the most
satisfactory work is hard, strong, short-legged, sharp-tongued, and
discreet; one that is a sure marker, that will not go if there is
nothing to go for, that will not quit the pursuit as long as there is
game ahead—who, regardless of noise above and the onslaught of the
enemy underground, in spite of twisting passages and the interposition
of barricades, continues the attack, and never ceases from giving
tongue when in proximity to the foe. Such a terrier should not close
unless he is charged, and he must not be of so excitable a temperament
that he will bay an imaginary foe, or attack another dog despatched
underground to his relief. I am not sure whether a good Dachshund
(_Dachs_--German for badger) is not as useful as any other. The
properly trained sort is only “made in Germany,” and on the Continent
he is most intelligent and companionable, enormously strong, very
pertinacious, has a splendid voice, and beautiful teeth.

In our own island, the Scotch terrier is hard to beat. The right breed
are wonders of pluck, endurance, perseverance, and intelligence; their
voices are sharp and penetrating, and their long, lithe bodies are
carried on short, active legs; they are, moreover, charming companions,
and fasten on to their owner’s affections as firmly as to a badger’s
neck. The Irish terrier, when small enough, is a good one, and so is
the rarer old-fashioned English broken-haired black and tan.

Digging the badger is, perhaps, the most entertaining manner of taking
him. It is pleasant on a summer’s morning to start after daybreak with
an eager team of terriers, and all the appliances for laying siege
to the badger’s stronghold, in the hope that, after the sorties and
assaults of the day, you may return with something worth looking at in
the sacks. And there are many worse ways of spending a holiday than
in watching your terriers at their lawful and natural avocation, and
handling pick, spade, and shovel yourself. Some, however, shrink from
the labour and sweat of the digging, and prefer hunting the badger at
night above ground. For this sport any bobbery pack will do if the
members of it are a sporting lot, are fond of a scent, and can make a
good tow-row. Many sorts and conditions of dogs will do for the hunt
on a moonlight night, but the best run and the best music will be with
harriers.

A game fox-hound, a bob-tailed sheep-dog, or a retriever will come
in useful. The course of procedure is simple. About 10 p.m. the
badger-earths in the neighbourhood are stopped, with the exception of
two or three well-used entrances. In these are placed sacks with a
running cord through the neck of the bag, the ends of which are firmly
pegged and secured, so that when in his flight he charges into his
earth, he fastens himself neatly into the sack. A man should be posted
near (taking the wind into account) to make all quite safe--if the
badger falls into the trap laid for him. The pack is then taken out,
and coverts and hedgerows drawn, and when the scent is struck, a run of
a few miles may, at least, be hoped for. This kind of hunting yields
its full crop of disappointments.

I knew of one undergraduate at Oxford, whose sporting establishment
consisted of a tame badger, a beagle, and a bull-terrier. Whenever
he required a little exercise and a hunting-run, the badger was
turned out, the beagle laid on after a certain amount of law, and the
bull-terrier kept in reserve to recover the badger, should he go to
ground. This sporting quartette thoroughly understood each other, and,
as a rule, each kept to his own special department. The badger was
expected, at least, to give a two or three miles’ run over a country,
the beagle to speak to him all the way, and to account for him, the
man to keep the beagle in view, and the terrier to facilitate the
operation of bagging the badger at the finish. Thus all four obtained
in an original manner exercise and diversion. This form of amusement,
however, does not appear to reach a much higher level than hunting
carted deer.

In conclusion, I would appeal to all lovers of nature, among the best
of whom are numbered the true sportsmen, to use their influence in
securing a reasonable protection for the badger. And if they will take
the trouble of observing his habits and mode of life, I can predict
with confidence they will come to the same conclusion as the writer,
that he is an animal well worth preserving from extinction, both as
a beast of chase and on account of his many interesting and useful
qualities.



INDEX



INDEX

  AIREDALES, 247.

  Amcott, Captain, sent Faraway to Tattersall’s, 211.

  Antrobus, C., hunting with Drag, 20.

  Ashton, M.F.H., 32.

  Astley’s harriers in 1810, 118.

  Author (Alfred E. Pease)--
    Account of run with Cleveland, January 9, 1882, 209.
    Best run, 207.
    Entries of drags, 26.
    Experience of hare-hunting, 120.
    Extract from diary on footmen, 137.
    Master of Drag, 25, 27.
    Organises drag, 25.
    Rides in House of Commons Steeplechase, 33.
    Rode Queen Mab on January 9, 1882, 209.
    Run with Pytchley, 21.
    Runs with harriers, 106.
    Struggle with George Codling for brush, 150.
    Wins House of Commons Steeplechase 1891, 39.

  Aylmer, E., hunting with Drag, 20.

  Aylmer, Percy, at meet at Lords Bridge, 10.

  Aylmer, P., hunting with Drag, 20.


  B.

  BACHELOR described by Whyte-Melville, 82.

  Badger--
    Baiting illegal, 235.
    Digging, 250;
      not cruel, 244.
    Disposition of, 235.
    Habits and uses, 237.
    Hunting, at night, 251.
    Hunting, objections to, 243.
    Protection desirable for, 254.
    Qualities, 254.
    Scarcity of, 246.
    Threatened with extinction, 242.

  Badger dog, qualities necessary for, 248.

  Bajazet, 219;
    pedigree, 227.

  Ballad, “Lord Lonsdale’s Hounds,” 146.

  Barker winning drag, 28.

  Barnard, hunting with Drag, 20.

  Barton Drag, 15.

  Barton White Horses, 26.

  Baysdale Abbey, run by, 217.

  Beagles for hare-hunting, 121.

  Beagles, Honeywood’s pack, 123.

  “Beasts of venery,” list of, 113.

  Beatty, Captain David, entertains House of Commons riders, 31.

  Beaufort, Duke of, hounds, run from Lyde Green, 230.

  Beckford, Peter--
    Breeding hounds, 116.
    Huntsman on hounds’ names, 96.
    On hare-hunting (quotation), 105.
    On sporting hounds, 115.
    Paying “hare-finders,” 114.

  Beddington, Master of Drag, 27.

  Bedlingtons, 247.

  Beecher, Captain B., run to Thrapstone with Pytchley, 22.

  Bentinck, Lord Henry, in House of Commons Steeplechase, 30.

  Bentinck, Lord Henry, rides in House of Commons Steeplechase
  1891, 39, 40.

  Bentley, H. C., hunting with Drag, 20.

  Bilsdale, Author on pass into, 221.

  Binning, Lord--
    At meet at Lords Bridge, 10.
    Gets thorn in eye on Over Drag, 24.
    Hunting with Drag, 19.
    Wins Over Drag, 23.

  Boulby, fox procured from sea-cliffs of, 149.

  Bromley-Davenport in House of Commons Steeplechase, 30.

  Brunton, Bob--
    At Ingleby village, 222.
    Performance on January 9, 1882, 224.
    Takes fox from hounds in Hell Gill, 209.

  Bull-terrier not good badger dog, 248.


  C.

  CÆSAR, grey-hound fox, 213, 231.

  Cambridge, ride back to, 13.

  Cambridge University Drag--
    Author’s reminiscences of, 9.
    Masters of, 27.
    Members, 19.

  Carina, Queen Mab’s foal, 73.

  Chesham, Lord, and House of Commons Steeplechase, 29.

  Cleveland Hunt--
    Author hunting with, 133.
    Club rules, 108.
    Congratulates Author on winning House of Commons Steeplechase, 41.
    Hounds leading, January 9, 1882, surviving, 228.
    Hounds, Milton blood, 229.
    Proceedings in outlying districts, 130.
    Run on January 9, 1882, 207, 213;
      length of, 223.

  Cleveland hunting farmer, specimen of, 150.

  Cleveland, price set on fox’s head, 131.

  Cleveland, statute of Elizabeth in force till 1847, 129.

  Coachman’s retort when reproved for bad language to team, 179.

  Codling, George, struggle with Author for brush, 150.

  Codrington, Sir William, Woods at Doddington, 230.

  Conversation overheard by Author on badger, 238.

  Cornwall, hunting in, 173.

  Crossley, Sir Savile, at House of Commons Steeplechase, 33.
    Borderer fell in, 40.

  Cub-hunting, 190.
    Character varies in different districts, 201.
    Hour of meeting, 196.
    Runs in October, 199.


  D.

  DACHSHUND as badger dog, 249.

  Danby Beacon, fox making for, 149.

  Dandie Dinmonts, 247.

  Darrell, James, buys Faraway, 213.

  Devas, E., hunting with Drag, 20.

  Devas, E., hunting with the Fitzwilliam, 18.

  Devonshire, hunting in, 173.

  Discretion, favourite, at House of Commons Steeplechase, 33.

  Dons’ view of undergraduates’ amusements, 14.

  Downing Arms, 22.

  Drag, Authorities not liking the, 13.

  Drags, two in one day, 27.


  E.

  ELECTION, Author’s horse, 9.
    Characteristics, 11, 20.
    Finishing first, 12.

  Ellis, W. C., hunting with Drag, 20.

  English country life, charm about, 158.


  F.

  FARAWAY, Author’s horse, account of, 211.
    Ridden by Author on January 9, 1882, 209.

  Farmers’ attitude towards hunting, 166, 168.

  Farmers suffering from fox’s depredations, 134.

  Farndale head moors, 219.

  Fellowes, C. A., hunting with Drag, 20.

  Fellowes’, Robert, of Shotesman, harriers, 118.

  Ferreting rabbits, cruel amusement, 243.

  Finedon Poplars to Thrapstone, Pytchley run, 21.

  Fitzwilliam--
    Account of day with, 18.
    At Gidding Windmill, 17.
    Days with, hard for horses, 18.

  Fitzwilliam, Hon. H., hunting with Drag, 20.

  Fitzwilliam, Hon. R., hunting with Drag, 20.

  Five Bells, Oakington, 26.

  Flower, Cyril, Home Rule disqualified for House of
  Commons Steeplechase, 30.

  Follower of Lord Zetland’s hounds finishing with Hurworth, 136.

  Followers of hounds on foot, 135, 136.

  Fox, wild-bred, delight in hunting, 140.

  Foxes purchased in Leadenhall, 145.

  Fox-hounds--
    Characteristics, 83.
    Colour, 86.
    Conditions of good pack, 81, 85.
    Distinct individuality, 80.
    Following on foot, 135, 136.
    High standard required by breeders, 90.
    Ideal career of, 93.
    Kennel life, 97.
    Life of a, 79.
    Made or marred in cub-hunting, 190.
    Puppies, education of, 89.
    Puppies, mischievous proclivities, 94.

  Fox-hounds and harriers, distinction between, 117.

  Fox-hunter, morning loved by, 157.

  Fox-hunting--
    Condition of success in, 117.
    Elements of chance in, 160.
    Existence depends on popularity, 180.
    John Jorrocks on, 127.
    Old-fashioned, 133.
    Pleasures of genuine “hunter,” 141.
    Variety of incident in, 159.

  Fox-line never to be counted on, 160.

  Fox-terrier, good badger dog, 248.

  Fox’s Bridge, 27.

  Freake, F. M., Master of Drag, 27.

  Fulbourn Drag, 26.


  G.

  GAME-preservers and hunting, 172.

  Gamekeepers’ attitude towards game and “vermin,” 240.

  Garforth, W. H., of Gilling, 23.

  Gidding Windmill, the Fitzwilliam at, 17.

  Gingertail, Hon. S. G., Lawley’s horse, 10.
    Jumps gate-posts, 12.
    On Over Drag, 23.

  Gladstone congratulates Author on winning House of
  Commons Steeplechase, 41.

  Graham, hunting with Drag, 20.

  Guest, Ivor, Master of Drag, 27.

  Guisborough Moor, fox on, 137.


  H.

  HARDY, Heywood, hunting picture in Skelton Castle, 185.

  “Hare-finders,” 114.

  Hare-hunter, qualities necessary for, 106.

  Hare-hunting, 105.
    Ancient terms for, 112.
    Appreciation of, 120.
    Condition of success in, 117.
    Modern modes and spirit of, 122.
    Monopoly of huntsmen, 109.
    Old writers’ description of, 110.
    On foot, 123.
    Preferred to fox--reasons quoted, 113.
    Scope for huntsman’s craft, 119.
    With beagles, 121.

  Hare, wiles and dodges of, 119.

  Harriers and fox-hounds, distinction between, 117.

  Harriers turned into fox-hounds, 116.

  Heath, Colonel, in House of Commons Steeplechase, 30.

  Hermit, death of, 219.

  Hill, Tom, opinion of Queen Mab, 57.

  Historical MSS. Commission Reports, extract on Royalty
  countenancing fox-hunting, 132.

  Hodge’s Hermon rides in House of Commons Steeplechase 1891, 39.

  Honeywood, pack of beagles, 123.

  Hoole, hunting with Drag, 19.

  Hoole, killed riding for ’Varsity Whip at St. Ives, 19.

  House of Commons Steeplechases--
    Author asked for reminiscences of, 9.
    In 1889 (First), 28;
      conditions--result, 29.
    1890. Rugby--
      Account of, 31.
      Course, 32.
      Fourteen-stone class list, 35.
      Twelve-stone class list, 35.
      Two classes, 32.
    1891. Result; riders in, 39.

  Hunter--
    Exercise for, 71.
    Life of a, 45.
    Treatment for, 68.

  Hunter (human) delights of memory, 144.

  Hunter (human) pleasures of genuine, 141.

  Hunting--
    Apologies and commendations, 163.
    Day full of interest and life, 162.
    Love of, a passion, 165.
    Many ways of, 173.
    No field sport with so little bloodshed, 161.
    Opens in November, 203.
    Pictures, 185.
    Secondary pleasures of, 193.
    Should be picturesque, 85.

  Hunting and wire question, 166.

  Huntsman, description of a dashing, 176.

  Huntsman, the ideal, 175.

  Huntsmen, hound-men or horsemen, 174.


  I.

  INGLEBY village, Author meets Bob Brunton at, 222.

  Irish horse, condition of young, 52.

  Irish terrier, 247;
    as badger dog, 250.


  J.

  JACKAL head, reward for, 130.

  Jarvis, W., in House of Commons Steeplechase, 30, 34.

  Jorrocks, John, quoted on hunting, 127.

  Julian, George Lambton’s thoroughbred, 15.


  K.

  KILDALE Valley, run through, 216.

  Killcott and Forcester, fox killed between, 230.


  L.

  LAMBTON, George, riding in Barton Drag, 15.

  Lambton, Ralph, reaching Bishop Auckland on foot, 231.

  Lawley, Hon. A., hunting with Drag, 19.

  Lawley, Hon. A. G.--
    At meet at Lords Bridge, 10.
    Breaking girth on Over Drag, 23.
    Hunting with Drag, 19.
    Master of Drag, 10.

  Le Fleming, Master of Drag, 27.

  Leeds, Duke of, Master of Drag, 27.

  Lees, Elliot, in House of Commons Steeplechase, 30.
    First in, 35.

  Leete, dragsman, 12.

  Liverton, meet at, 148.

  Loates, T., scoring tosses, 28.

  Long, W. H., rides in House of Commons Steeplechase 1891, 39.

  “Lord Lonsdale’s Hounds” ballad, 146.

  Lords Bridge, meet at, 10.

  Lords Bridge, run from, 11.

  Love of hunting, a passion, 165.

  Lucifer, Capt. Philips’ horse, performance in one week, 17.

  Lyde Greenhead, near Bristol, run of Duke of Beaufort’s from, 230.

  Lythe Parish Accounts--
    Entries of rewards paid for “werment,” 129.
    Extracts from, 130.


  M.

  M.F.H.--
    Number of puppies of required standard, 91.
    Office no sinecure, 179.
    Trouble taken to secure good pack, 81.
    Types of, 177.

  Macreary, Master of Drag, 27.

  Magniac, Herbert, Master of Drag, 19.

  “Manacles,” account of, 72.

  Marlborough, Duke of, Master of Drag, 27.

  Meuricoffre, F. R., hunting with Drag, 20.
    Wins Drag, 26.

  Meux, Sir H., hunting with Drag, 19.

  Middlesborough, October run near, 200.

  Middleton, Captain “Bay,” remark on Author’s riding Nora Creina, 36.

  Middleton, Captain “Bay,” sad end, 28.

  Mildmay, F. B., in House of Commons Steeplechase, 30, 33.

  Mitchell of Forcett, at meet at Lords Bridge, 10.

  Moorsholm and Grinkle, run between, 149.

  Morning loved by fox-hunter, 157.

  Morocco, Lord Zetland’s horse, 72.

  Mosquito, Lord Binning’s horse, 10.
    Jump on Over Drag, 24.

  Moyes Farm, 26.

  Mud-fever, 69.

  Muntz, P. A., in House of Commons Steeplechase, 30.


  N.

  NICOLL, Will, huntsman, 225.

  Nora Creina, Author’s mare, account of, 33.
    Wins House of Commons Steeplechase 1891, 39.

  Norfolk, game-preservers in, 172.

  Norman, leading hound, 12.


  O.

  OSMAN, J. A. Pease’s horse, characteristics, 21.

  Over Drag, Author riding, 22.

  Over Drag, description of jump on, 24.

  Oxford undergraduates’ sporting establishment, 253.


  P.

  PARADISE Farm, hounds at, 137.

  Paulton, J. M., hunting with Drag, 20.

  Pease, Alfred E. (_see_ Author).

  Pease, J. A.--
    Hunting with Drag, 19.
    Living with Author in Trinity Street, 17.
    Master of Drag, 27.

  Peggy Dillon, Author’s Irish mare, scratched for House of
  Commons Steeplechase, 28.

  Philips, Captain B. H.--
    Hunting with Drag, 20.
    Living with Author in Trinity Street, 17.
    Rides on Lucifer in one week, 17.
    Run with Pytchley, 22.

  Pike, R. L., hunting with Drag, 20.

  Pytchley, Author’s run on Osman with, 21.


  Q.

  “QUAESITUM MERITIS” quoted, 195.

  Queen Elizabeth statute “for killing of verming as foxes
  and such like,” 128, 129.

  Queen Mab, Author’s mare, 22.
    At Cambridge, 57.
    At local shows, 64.
    At Tattersall’s, 55.
    Birth, 47.
    Colour, 49.
    Epitaph, 75.
    Foals, 72.

    Hunting Career, 64.
    Life of, 45.
    Paces, 65.
    “Pedigree unknown,” 49.
    Ridden by Author on January 9, 1882, 209.
    Sent to London, 53.
    Shipped to Liverpool, 52.
    Size, 63.
    Turned out, 67.
    Young days spent in Ireland, 51.


  R.

  RAIDERS (Dr. Jameson’s) at Cambridge, 14, 16.

  Rascal, 219;
    pedigree, 227.

  Rickaby at drag, 28.

  Ringwood, 219;
    pedigree, 227.

  Rolles, Hon. Mark, owner of Shamrock, 21.

  Ronaldshay, Lord, Master of Drag, 27.

  Roseberry Topping and Guisborough Banks, run between, 209.

  “Roxby and Cleveland” hounds, custom after kill, 131.

  Royalty countenancing fox-hunting, 132.

  Russell, H., hunting with Drag, 20.


  S.

  ST. JOHN, speech on trial of Strafford, on beasts of chase, 128.

  Saucebox, Author’s horse, characteristics, 20.

  Scotch terrier as badger dog, 250.

  Seamer Whin, October run towards Middlesborough, 200.

  “Senators’ Race, 1891,” Lines by W. P. Williams, 37.

  Shamrock, Author’s horse, 21.

  Shooting, recreation of business men, 170.

  Shooting tenants, 168, 170.

  Sidney, Hon. A., brush presented to, 213.

  Skelton Castle, hunting picture by Heywood Hardy, 185.

  Sleddale, crossing bog near, 214.

  Sligo, J. A. Pease’s hunter, 210.
    Done up, 218.
    Ridden by J. A. Pease on January 9, 1882, 210.

  Spencer, Hon. C. R., run with Pytchley, 22.

  Spencer, Lord, Master of Pytchley (Woodland), 21.
    Run to Thrapstone, 22.

  Sporting quartette at Oxford, 253.

  “Stags in the forest lie, hares in the valley--O!” etc., 157.

  Statesman, 219;
    pedigree, 227.

  Stowe Fox, Author finishes mastership of Drag at, 27.

  Stowe Fox, Author’s ride with Hon. R. White to, 16.

  Sultan, re-christened Home Rule, 31.

  “Summer’s Day in Cleveland” in Skelton Castle, 188.


  T.

  TERRIER, meaning of name, 246.

  Trinity Street, Author lives in, 17.

  Turton R., on fox-hunting in sixteenth century, 129.

  Two Pot House Drag, 26.


  U.

  UNDERGRADUATE’S horse, powers of, 17.

  Undergraduates’ ideas of Dons’ pursuits, 14.

  Undergraduates’ treatment of horses, 58.


  W.

  WARBURTON, Egerton, “Quaesitum Meritis” quoted, 195.

  White, Hon. R., hunting with Drag, 19.

  White, Hon. R., riding with Author to Stowe Fox, 16.

  Whyte-Melville, description of Bachelor, 82.

  Williams, W. Philpotts, Lines on Senators’ Race, 1891, 37.

  Willoughby, Sir John, hunting with Drag, 19.

  Willoughby, Sir John, riding against G. Lambton in Barton Drag, 15.

  Wiloughby, Master of Drag, 27.

  Wire, question of, 166.

  Woodburn at drag, 28.

  Wrangle, account of, 227.
    Kennel life, 97.
    Leads run on Farndale head moors, 219.


  Y.

  YARBOROUGH, Earl of, hunting with Drag, 19.
    Run with Pytchley, 22.

  Yorkshire terrier, 246.


PRINTED BY

MORRISON AND GIBB LIMITED, EDINBURGH



TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE.

1. Silently corrected simple spelling, grammar, and typographical
     errors.

2. Italic text is denoted by _underscores_ and bold
     text by =equal signs=.





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