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LORD.-"Wilt thou hunt ?

Thy hounds make the welkin answer them,
And fetch shrill echoes from the hollow earth!
1ST SERVANT,-Say, wilt thou course? Thy greyhounds are as swift
As breathed stags; ay, fleeter than the roe!


More than four-score years ago the pleasantly situated village of Turriff, in the north of Aberdeenshire, was the scene of as fine an annual gathering of noblemen and gentlemen, to enjoy the pleasures of the chase, as could be found taking the field in any part of the whole land. They went by the name of the " Turriff Hunt, and had an excellent establishment for the purpose of their meetings. For the horses and hounds they had extensive stabling and kennels, and kept a huntsman and a pack of hare-hounds throughout the year. For their own uses (pardon, kind reader, the precedence given to the "stud and the pack"), they had two large buildings, consisting of, besides the other requisite apartments, a large dining-room for the gentlemen, and a "ladies hall," as it was named. The scene at times, but not oft, of the evening's festivity where the flower of the fair-ones of the north, with not unfrequently the gay and fascinating Duchess of Gordon, the "merriest Ladie," aye, and the wittiest, and one of the fairest, too, of the Court of George III., at their head, waited their liege lords after the day's sport, to spend the evening with music and dancing.

The village of Turriff, which, however, has now extended beyond the dimensions of a mere village, is situated on the banks of the Deveron. The scenery on waterside is very beautiful. The district is at once fertile, and well covered, so that foxes and hares were plentiful, and, moreover, it is a capital one for a run. The village, apart from the establishment of" the Hunt" afforded sufficient, although not overabundant accommodation for the gentlemen and their attendants, and a merry time it was for all parties when, the stubble of October gave an open county to the horses and hounds. Turriff has always been held of some note by the lovers of the chase. The late Earl of Kintore, and his immediate predecessor generally kept a pack of hounds, stationed foxes walk about in clover, and out of it pretty securely, and the there during the hunting season. Coursing clubs have likewise from time to time been established, and on some occasions well attended. The "Turriff Hunt" was originated by Lord Banff, the last except one who bore that now extinct title, and consisted of upwards of a hundred members. As we have stated, a huntsman and a pack of harriers were kept at Turriff. In addition to these, the Duke of Gordon invariably brought his fox-hounds with him from Gordon Castle, and the two packs were hunted alternately, thus not only affording a day's rest to the hounds, but likewise an excellent diversification of the sport. It was a gallant sight to see from a score and upwards of scarlet


coats take the field together, in all the enthusiastic mirth that the buoyant anticipation of a day's sport inspired, with their hounds and their merry old Chef de chasse before, and a motley crowd of men and boys, to the number of a hundred or two bringing up the rear. When round the cover or in headlong chase after the hounds, with a wild "tallyho" rising from every corner, and the quick sharp cry of the pack a-head, or yet when returning from the day's sport, with the trophies of triumph borne before them, the scene was enlivening as well could be met with in a rural landscape.

At a place named Loncarty, in the neighbourhood, there was a fine cover, that we suppose has by this time been trussed over by the plough. This thicket was the abode of one of the wisest old foxes that ever robbed a henroost. He was known to the gentlemen of "the Hunt," as the " Tod of Loncarty," and was the subject of many a joke passed at the dinner-table, with a sly but good-humoured reference to the chairman, the Earl of Errol, whose family date their honours from the time when-in the tenth century-their founder, a peasant, with his two sons, armed only with the yokes of their oxen, turned the tide of battle on the "Leys of Loncarty,* against the Danes. This fox which seemed to have the sagacity of the sage and the strength of a champion of his race combined, had one season defeated the hounds on two or three successive occasions, and when the campaign closed, reynard was left for a while to roam his wild domains unmolested. Next season, when the hunter commenced, one of the first covers honoured with a visit, was that of Loncarty. The runs given by the old fox had always been excellent, although unsuccessful, and the sly fellow when last put to his mettle, he had shaken his brush with such a taunting defiance in their faces, that one-and-all, and especially the Duke's old huntsman, Ned Ward, a bluff rough neck-or-nothing, who seemed to look upon the matter as a personal affront; felt the honour of the hunt involved in his capture. It was a beautiful morning, near the end of October, when the "tantivy" of old Ward's horn called for a long array of cavaliers, and away with a following of some two hundred they rode to the cover at Loncarty. The cover was beat for an hour, when "tallyho" burst from the old huntsman, and away with a "view halloo❞ dashed horsemen and hounds down a long declivity, with reynard spanking it gloriously far a-head. Down they went out of sight in the hollow-up again on the opposite side-along the country face, as far as the eye could reach, with the fox still a long start before the foremost of the deep-mouthed, broad-chested beagles, that were on his track. At length all trace of the fox was lost at the side of a burn, which he appeared to have swam. The hounds crossed, and were once more on the scent; but the track doubled, and was again lost at the waterside. Up and down they wandered, round about and round about the dogs were tried, but were entirely at fault. "The Tod of Loncarty" had beat them again, for all their boasting. Next day that the fox-hounds were out, he was chased for a couple of hours, with no better success. He had become known in the village and round about it, and won a celebrity above that enjoyed by any fox of his day. He had the honour of being set down for the very devil himself in dis

* The one Loncarty is situated in a part of the county far distant from the other,

guise, or at least some local witch or wizzard, that amused a leisure hour by tantalising whoever gave chase to the counterfeit presentment out of all patience.

But every dog has his day, they say, and we suppose it may be said with equal truth that every fox has his. A countryman had, on one occasion seen reynard, when the hounds were out of sight, come out of a bush of reeds in the water, and after shaking his shaggy jacket, trudge home at his leisure. Next day, after a long chase, the hounds were again at fault, and might have been long enough had not the man just mentioned, half fearing to speak of so suspicious an animal as the warlock tod, half-induced by vanity, and the hope of reward to tell what he had seen, led the huntsman the better part of a mile down the side of the stream, and pointed out the spot from whence he had seen him emerge two days before. There was in the centre of a shelter and still pool of considerable breadth a small patch of sedges. Into this a stone was thrown. There was some motion observed, and in a moment reynard was out on the opposite side, and the hounds again in full cry behind him. The sagacious brute had, on taking the water half-a-mile above, swam down to this place of concealment, and lain with his snout above the water among the sedges, while his enemies had time upon time wandered along the bank in search of him. After an hour's chase he was run down, and the huntsmen bore home triumphantly the enormous brush of " the tod of Lancarty."

The harriers of the" Hunt" were however, fully a finer pack of dogs -better trained in every way than the Duke's beagles-but only when they heard the trumpet-toned voice of Dick Varny, then huntsman. No one else could manage them; but one word from old Dick made them auswer as sweetly as the turn of the helm does a ship. He would, with a single call, make every hound of them stand at once mute and motionless in the middle of the chase, with their noses turning the hare's fur. Dick Varny was the beau ideal of a huntsman, though withal a little given to a glass extra after the chase was over, but in that, we believe, he only followed the example of many of his superiors, for these were no teetotal days, and there were a good few five-bottle men in the Hunt. But he was a jolly old fellow. What a "harkaway" was his! what a voice he had! so powerful and melodious in its pealing tone, that was in the chase what warlike music is in the battle-field! you would have heard it in a calm day amid the baying of his hounds, full five miles distance. Poor Dick, the prince of huntsmen and hostellers, knew a horse or a dog, or a quench of good ale with the best man in the country; but except on these branches of knowledge he made few pretensions to any extensive erudition.

The dinner was invariably served in the hall at six o'clock, and as invariably the Earl of Errol took the chair. His lordship was perpetual president, notwithstanding the presence of noblemen of higher rank, and this tribute of honour was paid with the utmost unanimity, and accorded in more heartily by none than the Duke of Gordon. The noble earl's claims to the office were numerous. He united the most mild and conciliating manner, and a happy flow of spirits and ready wit, with the most manly firmness, and apart these physique excited no little moral influence. He was held to be the finest-looking fellow of his day. Although of almost gigantic proportions his face and form

displayed a symmetry seldom to be witnessed. Such external qualifications were in themselves enough to give a man some weight and influence, for if a man has not weight who weighs 24 stone, with his saddle on his horse's back, as the Earl of Errol did, who can, we should wish to know? There was a pleasant anecdote told of his lordship, which it may not be out of place to relate. At the coronation of George II., the Earl of Errol was present, and for the first time at Court, and when all the other nobility uncovered on the approach of the sovereign, the Earl of Errol struck with the splendour of the scene and the novely of his position, as he held some office near the King's person, forgot to pay the usual token of deference in the person of royalty, so that he and the King alone remained uncoverd. Observing his mistake from the attention he attracted, he took off his hat, and apologised to the King for his neglect. "Put on your hat, my lord," said the King, "put on your hat, the presence of such as you does much honour, you grace the coronation." His lordship obeyed the gracious mandate, and throughout the ceremony public attention was divided between the "pretty Scott," as he was popularly called, and his royal master. Such was the Earl of Errol, the grandfather, we suppose, of the present bearer of the title. The Duke of Gordon was about as popular as the noble chairman of the Hunt., He was much more devoted to the hilares venandi labores, to use the language of some old writer, and possessed to a remarkable degree the faculty of winning the regard of all classes. He was generous and humane; and as men of such natures are generally fond of drollery and frolic of every kind, consistent with the bearing of a gentleman, the homeliness of his disposition and his affability made him an unspeakable favourite with the humble classes. On one occasion two hares were started, and a small section of the pack broke off on the second start. These were followed by the Duke alone, the others pursuing the rest of the pack. After the chase was over, they were returning by a different route from that taken in the pursuit, and on turning the corner of a clump of trees came upon a small cottage, at the door of which stood the Duke's horse, held by a ragged urchin, while the hounds which he had followed were playing about near by. Some of the party rode up, and entering quietly saw the Duke sitting, partaking of a draught of warm milk, while the hare that he had captured was lying on the table. His Grace kept a fine stud at Turriff, during the time that the hunt lasted, and latterly, when his old huntsman became laid up in ordinary, unable to leave his house, or even his bed, the Duke, with much good nature and true sympathy in the old man's feelings, used almost every morning, to go with his grooms and horses, aud frequently his hounds likewise, and parade them before the old man's door, to afford him as much as possible of that pleasure which had been the passion of his life. It was a curious sight to see the bed-ridden man sitting up, and looking with delight among his old subjects, that were still almost as obedient to his voice as when he had led them to a field in former days. It was strange to hear the wild tally-ho from the old man's lips, and mark its effect on the hounds that were gathered about him in the house and out of it, and that his voice controlled so admirably. Poor old fellow! it was not unlikely that he died with a tally-ho upon his failing tongue.

There were in the earlier days of the Hunt gentlemen of different opinions on the then great political question of the succession that had been so lately decided at Colloden. More than one of them had been "out" in '45, but such subjects were kept in abeyance. Once, however, they were fully bought up by old Jonathan Forbes, of Brux, who had been a staunch adherent of the Pretender, and who, though not a member of the Hunt, had on passing, been invited to dine with them. After dinner, when toast and song was passing round, Mr. Forbes was called on for a song. "Oh!" said he, true to his principles. "Excuse me, I can sing none except loyal songs."

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"Oh never mind that," said the chairman, " a loyal song can never be a treasonous one: let's have it."

Jonathan demurred, but pressed on all sides, he sung with a heartiness that showed how much he felt the words of his ditty, an old Jacobite song, that we have never saw in print, and which for that reason we regret we cannot give entire :

"To the bonnets blue to Scotland true,
And the king that's over the water."

It was not very convenient to sing songs of so very loyal a nature in those days, but Jonathan was not the man to shrink, either with reason or without it, from giving utterance to his sentiments, whether in prose or verse. While "skulking," as it was called, after Colloden, he was employed in harvest and farm work in the West of England for a considerable time. It was customary before the sickle gave place to the scythe for the "hooks" to work in pairs, generally a man and woman shearing together. Jonathan Forbes had a pretty mate to lighten his hours in work, and, perhaps, did not leave the place without some longing regrets; for, after receiving the benefit of the actual indemnity, he returned to see his fellow labourers on the harvest field; but the girl who had “shorn" beside him, when she found out what her former neighbour was, was so much abashed, that she could not be prevailed upon to see him.

The Hunt, which was established about 1760, continued for nearly twenty years to be upheld with a good deal of spirit. The Duke of Gordon was for a time, when a very young man, a warm supporter of it. But graduallly the attractions of the South won more and more upon the more wealthy of the younger members. The older ones were fast dying away, or unable to join in the chase as in other years, and at length the Hunt was entirely abandoned. Now, there remains not one of its earliest members, perhaps, none of its members at all. They are gone all that gallant band. Their hearts are cold; their mirth and their laughter have died away for ever.

"No more with horse and hound

Do they wake the glorious morn;

No more the hills resound

To the notes of the huntsman's horn."

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