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for the Hermitage ozier bed, to a running commentary from the Captain that “the beggar ought to be well licked.
And, naturally enough, this kind of chorus got about, for Captain Browthers was just the man to carry out any such obligation. He had quite the length of the other, if not all his weight; but then he made up in wire and muscle for any want of mere garbage. But, above all, like the gay dog in the fable," he loved fighting,” if not “ better than his food,” still well enough to give some study to the science. He was a very pretty man with the gloves on, and between ourselves backed and brought out the renowned Dan Fluellyen, who had held his own in the London circuit, when the Ring had yet a repute, and Bell's Life was called an “ Oracle."
“He ought to be well licked," reiterated the Captain, and “I ought to swear the peace against him," said Mr. Jenkins, when he heard of it, as of course he did. And so matters stood at the commencement of another season, when, under the shade of the Hazles, the Squire issued his now customary caution to his friends and bis servants : “ If the hounds cross Mr. Jeukins lands to-day, I hope you will keep as clear of them as you can, as we shall most likely be able to nick in again as they rise the hill. It's a great nuisance; but I'm afraid there's no help for it !”
And almost before the worthy Master—who hated “speechifying" as much as most good men will do—had time to deliver himself of his address, he was away! with his head as usual straight for the ozier beds. In fact, it was a very scrambling start, and the Captain had scarcely time to pull the hot four-year-old together before he was in the thick of it; while the gentleman jockey lost his hat at the first fence, and the Reverend Rector, thoroughly flurried out of his self-possession, took it bodily in his stride.
Mr. Jenkins, however, was prepared for the occasion. The gates wore new locks, the notice-boards showed fresh paint, and with a formidable spud in his fist the owner of the soil planted himself in a twenty-acre field, through which they were bound to pass if they ever came at all. And, true enough, the glorious cry was soon growing on his ear-only to be further corroborated by his eye as the hounds race by him in utter defiance, and he makes a savage cut at Artful and Dimity, who lift their sweet voices in very derision, as it were, as they struggle for a lead. But still the man's feud is not with the dogs," and so he brandishes his stick and raises his voice only the more as he shouts “ War! wheat! You can't come here! I'll indict you all for trespass! and I know all your names !"
And the Rector is viewed sneaking down a lane, as the Master stands at the corner with his hand up by way of a caution, and Ben, seeing what a head they carry, makes to meet them at the hills. There is a gleam of savage triumph creeps over the unsavoury countenance of Mr. Jenkins, as he gesticulates and shouts more than ever, “ I won't have you here! I told you I would'nt have you here! It's no use, you shan't come here !" And at that very instant a fiery chesnut steed comes well on to the headland of the twenty-acres ; and Mr. Jenkins's objurgations only increase at the sight of him. “D-n you, sir !
I won't have you here! War wheat, sir! Go back, sir! or I'll piake you!" These threats, moreover, are apparently not without their effect. The rider of the chesnut pulls at him with all his might, while the deep ground aids his efforts, and Captain Browthers stops his horse almost suddenly within a few yards of the irate proprietor, Still more rapidly does be throw himself from his saddle, and at the very next moment has pulled off his coat !
Mr. Jenkins stayed to see no more-the Captain was going to carry out his wish—and the other fairly turned and fled ! Still, when he had placed one of his own great gates between himself and the enemy, he turned just for another look, and this is what he saw :-the chesnut left to his own devices, madly careering over the twenty-acres, and sending the young plants flying at his heels: while the Captain, utterly regardless of his horse, stands in the middle of the field in á blind paroxysm of fury, stamping and jumping on the coat of which he had in vain divested himself. Mr. Jenkins never stopped, nor turned again after that, until he had double-locked the front door, and rung the alarum bell as if the house were on fire.
There is a good old proverb which goes to say there is no smoke without some fire, and there was some fire here. In that very quick find, on that very hot chesnut, the Captain had thrust his old pipe * all any-how" into his pocket, and so by the time they were reaching the forbidden territory he was blazing away with a vengeance. Hence that sudden stop and vehement peeling at the voice of the charmer ; and hence the happy consequences arising therefrom. For Mr. Jenkins did not stay much longer for his promised visitation, as the country got too hot for him in all sorts of ways. A beginning was but a beginning of the end. The boys cried “ FIRE !” as he drove down the street; and every morning's post for weeks and weeks brought him the prospectus of some Insurance Company, inculcating the good policy of his taking a policy. He shuddered at the sight of a lucifer, and discharged the keeper-bailiff there and then on his asking when they should burn the couch on the twenty-acre piece? And next he discharged himself. Mr. Jenkins has gone to live in some happy land where fox-hunting is unknown, and the Hermitage, twenty-acres, and all, has been let to a tenant who, according to his wife's showing, “thinks more of the litter of the cubs under the hill than he does of his own children."
There should be a very palpable moral to this story, with which we make a beginning, and such as we recommend to the best attention of the Reverend gentleman down in The Shires, who is said to expound the case after this fashion ; “Suppose instead of hunting a fox he took to hunting a butterfly, and in July or August rode for that purpose into their gardens and across their flower-beds, " and so forth. But then there is a good deal more to be “supposed" on the top of this ; and a man who'd be a butterfly has, as Dick Knight said, “no business in this here Shire."
CUB-HUNTING, AND ITS CONNECTIONS.
This year of grace will long be remembered as a period when panics have prevailed most extensively in connection with two of our influential pastimes-the turf and the chase. Touching the first it is not within my province on this occasion to dwell. I shall treat it briefly in the hope that past events will tend to cleanse away impurities, and render the constitution more healtby and vigorous. The numerous deaths and disasters that have occurred among masters of hounds and other eminent characters in the hunting-field, unparalleled, I think, during any term so brief, were duly chronicled as they happened during the commencement of the year. They were, however, circumstances over which human nature had no control, and a repetition is unnecessary. It is another affair with our social system, and how lamentable it is that so many acts of individuals should have transpired calculated seriously to injure our national sport of fox-hunting! It is not necessary to individualize; indeed it would be painful to all parties to do so. But what can be thought of a peer of the realm, an ex M.F.H., who has not a litter of cubs on his estate, and that in the country which stands Al on the list? However affluent, however independent a man may feel himself, he must be an unhappy mortal who loses the esteem of his neighbours and his fellow-men by acts of selfishness.
Much schism and annoyance has prevailed in some parts of Yorkshire, where the love of all our national diversions are characteristic incidents. Then, again, the foxes in the Hursley country are abandoned to the devices of insatiate game-preservers, and the hounds are given up: let us hope, however, to be restored. It has been suggested to establish staghounds in their stead, than which a greater insult to foxhunting could scarcely be perpetrated. Stag-hunting, no doubt, has its admirers, and let every man enjoy himself in accordance with his taste. As a companion to fox-hunting, hunting the stag is perfectly consistent; but it is a palpable indignity to the “noble science" to propose it as a substitute.
The North Staffordshire hounds are now established under entirely new auspices, with the Duke of Sutherland still a firm supporter, and the Earl of Shrewsbury a valuable and important friend, having Captain Nugent, a well-known performer over a country, as the acting master. Tom Clarke, so well known with the Duke of Beaufort's hounds, and previously to that with Mr. Morrell's, is appointed huntsman in place of Thomas Atkinson. The old pack, rendered very perfect by the late Mr. Davenport, is somewhat reduced, four couples of working hounds having been purchased at the sale in June by Mr. Boughey, and a similar number by Lord Eglinton. With the exception of Ringwood, who has distinguished himself as a sire, all the remainder were of the other sex, and a great acquisition they will be in the Albrighton kennels. In Lord Eglinton's lot was Benedict, another sire of good repute, and it seems rather surprising that some arrangements could not have been entered into for the purpose of keeping the pack on in
its entirety; but as Mr. Davenport had before his decease signified his intention of submitting them to the public through Messrs. Tattersall's influential agency, probably there was no alternative. No pack of equal pretensions has been sold for so little money as this produced for many a long year.
Cub-hunting has this season been procrastinated in many hunts in consequence of the dry weather; but Lord Fitzhardinge's hounds, true to their old-accustomed practice, made acquaintance with the cubs on the 16th of August, when they tasted a brace, and they have continued their attentions very unremittingly ever since. This establisment is remodelled, James Macbride succeeding Charles Hamlin as huntsman, the latter having gone to the Duke of Beaufort's. Wells, from Scotland, is first whip, and Charles Alkinson, son of the late Kit Atkinson, is being initiated as second whip. There are seven or eight fresh horses introduced into the stables, and all bids fair for a prosperous season. Macbride declares he never yet saw such a pack in their work-an opinion which I have long since expressed.
A boisterous change in the elements took place on the morning of Sunday, the 12th of September, and being accompanied with copious downfalls, the earth has become in a suitable condition for cub-hunting. The Rufford hounds were earlier in the field, and although confined to the forest side of their country, found a good supply of foxes, and soon brought to hand two brace and a-half. They have a most promising entry, numbering eleven couple and a half, all bred at home, Prætor is represented by four couples and a half, Richmond by four couples, Corsair by one couple, Lord Kesteven by a similar complement, and Lord Galway's Furrier and Duster have each a single hound. An analysis of their breeding exemplifies the good judgment that has been exercised. Prætor, a nice black, white and tan, is a home production, with an infusion of the Duke of Rutland's Rallywood, going back to many of Mr. Foljambes best straius. Richmond introduces the excellence of Lord Henry Bentinck's kennels, including bis Contest.
The Albrighton hounds commenced on the 9th of September, at Stretton, and reports are good as to foxes on that the best portion of
The charms of cub-hunting are not, perchance, appreciated by many -good sportsmen though they may beếto whom nothing less than the ultra excitement of twenty minutes and a roll over in the open is the summum bonum of their delight. Nevertheless, it is, without exception, the happiest and most appropriate tiine to enjoy the working of the pack, exerting to to the utmost their natural energies, unmolested by crowds of horsemen. The time of the morning is so refreshing: cool and agreeable, without refrigerating the system too intensely, as is oftimes the case in the dreary month of December.
The preservation of foxes is a subject which the more it is investigated the more paradoxical does the neglect of it appear. In many countries where they abound game is profuse, while in other parts they are destroyed to maintain a brood of pheasants. I have observed, however, that in places where foxes do not exist rats abound in profusion. It is well known that foxes prefer rats to any other kind of food, and which will destroy the greater quantity of game in the breeding season? Rats, most undoubtedly. Nothing will protect young birds from their
rapacious jaws; and then, again, the depredations they commit on the property of farmers is incredible and incalculable. It is now a frequent custom to construct corn-ricks in the fields, there to be thrashed out by steam-power : the ricks afford delightful shelter for the rats, of which they do not hesitate to avail themselves. A crusade has been raised against rabbits—very justly 80—and now let rats come under the same denunciations.
THE DARK GREY MAN.
“He sweeps along in his dusky pall,
Don Juan, Canto 16th.
Who is he, yon dark rider ?
He beat us all to-day.
In front he took his line,
Rode that Reverend Divine.
'Ere we reached the cover-side;
I was sure that he could ride.
And I marked him in the burst;
That dark-grey man was first.
His hand and seat were perfect,
Light was his form, and spare ;
Though time bad thinned his hair.
And his horse was never blown,
Of all, he rode alone.
Alas! but ill they sped.
Has landed on his head;
Another's horse got cast;
Was far too good to last.