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more proper master of foxhounds for the county of Northampton could not be. Mr. Payne is in every sense of the term a sportsman, and in his social capacity certainly as generally popular as any man of his time. He combines every quality for a M. F. H.-birth, condition, great local influence, and large local possessions. Jack Stevens still remained ; but he died soon after Mr. Payne's resignation, in the service of Lord Chesterfield, then master of the Pytchley. Will Derry, thereupon, became huntsman, and with Webb and Ball as whips, the noble lord of Bretby took the field in this crack country in fitting array. The mise en scene was magnificent : his stud was perfect, and almost without a limit, and it was no uncommon thing to see five-hundred men at a favourite meet. At this time Nimrod wrote, on a flying visit to Northampton :-" I had no opportunity of seeing the entire stud of Lord Chesterfield, but I heard from good judges that I should have seen about forty hunters, very superior to those generally found in any one man's stables." This nobleman reigned for two brilliant seasons at the head of the Pytchley, and once more the country went a-begging.
Nobody was desirous of volunteering to be my Lord Chesterfield's foil ; and as no one could hope to be his rival, or even to smell at the same nosegay, matters were in a desperate condition when Mr. Smith, of the Craven, at the last moment undertook to form an administration. He certainly put his best leg foremost, and under every disadvantage he opened the campaign. It was a hazardous experiment—if not quite a forlorn hope. It was all very well for Cato to affect the victa causa, but it was an affair that might have given better men pause that entering at such fearful odds on the Pytchley woodcraft. However, with a spirit full of confidence in his own resources, this did the ex-master of the Craven, resolved to make up in out-and-out persevering sport for any want of ecldt in the materiel of his establishment. With every difficulty to contend with ; in the face of abated style and depreciated appearance, Mr. Smith went to work with a will that soon found its way to many a whoo-whoop. He proved himself in Northamptonshire quito as relentless a foe to the fox as in Berkshire, and breasting the storm he continued at the head of the Pytchley for two seasons. He was then beaten, and so would the country have been but for the sinews of war most liberally furnished by Lord Cardigan. That nobleman, it was tinderstood, proposed to give to the country one of the most accomplished sportsmen that had ever shone in it or over it; but for some local reasons the plan fell to the ground, and for å space Sir Francis Holyoake became master of the Pytchley. Peradventure it has at length chanced upon happier fortunes. Mr. Payne, of Sulby, again was elected chief, and that his reign might be as long as it was destined to be profitable, was the universal hope of all who have the best interests of the country at heart. While he continues to minister to its prosperity the Pytchley shall surely rank, as it does, as the crack rural country of English fox-hunting.
HIGHLAND SPORTS, AND SPORTING QUARTERS.
(Continued.) When the day had nearly closed, we found ourselves again on the grassy park immediately fronting the castle ; and as the fast receding liglau tan autumnal evening left us but little time for consideration, we determined at once to settle our affairs with the gentleman in the basket, whom we had removed from his stony hiding-place. Among the canine race then enjoying a séjour in the Meggernie kennels were two well bred greyhound pups. These had hitherto scarcely ever seen a hare; certainly they had never tasted the excitement of an actual chace. We determined therefore on forthwith granting them this pleasing amusement, with the true spirit of “doing to others, &c.," and we certainly had had our quantum of sport : ergo, the aspirants for future fame at Altcar were produced and secured in slips, and a graceful pair of puppies indeed were they. On the cover of the basket being lifted, away went puss, without hesitation, doubtless nothing loath--like what shall we say?-like the diable?— no! but like an uncommon strong and speedy hare, who had been well frightened, but not injured or disheartened by a few hours' imprisonment. The slips were loosed : Nature taught the rest, and away flew the puppies, proving well their good breeding by stamina and fleetness. Twice had the snow-white hare been turned, when again she stretched before her eager pursuers, immediately in front of the castle where we stood, as if determined to swim for life across the river, rather than die by such young foes, when lo! a new enemy appeared on the field of action, who soon decided the question. The scene was truly one of amusement: we had at the moment entirely forgotten that, previous to leaving the castle in the morning, a favourite and first-rate greyhound bitch, then heavy with pup,
had been left in one of the rooms fronting the park, where the chace was then proceeding. The window of this room had unfortunately been left open, inasmuch as being from eighteen to twenty feet from the ground, it was never imagined that an animal in her state would endeavour to escape therefrom: nevertheless, we were deceived ; she managed, on hearing the halloos which sounded through the glen as encouragement to the young dogs, to raise herself on her hind legs and look out. The scene which presented itself was doubtless most satisfactory to her mind, for not a moment did she hesitate. Out from the window she sprung, heavy as she was, and alighted without injury on her feet: a few strides she made across the park straight for the hare, which was running at right angles to her. They met, and in an instant it was flung high in the air. Breathless with astonishment, the pups stopped their rapid career, and gazed on the life
less body of their prey; whereas the old lady, none the worse for her prowess, walked quietly back towards the castle, as much as to say“That's the way to do the trick, young ’uns: go, get your suppers, and recollect the lesson.” This self-said bitch has figured in the Coursing Calendar, as the receiver of many a stake; and the pups she produced on this occasion only one week after this window-flight all proved very superior dogs; indeed, they may fairly be said to have been in training in their mother's womb.
The amount of game killed on this day's excursion, we do not name here with any intention whatever of calling attention to its amount; the rough account of our walk must speak for itself, and will quite sufficiently explain that with shooting we combined the pleasure — indeed, the endless delight to be found in Nature's picture gallery, so variedly and so beautifully set before us : besides which, had we not a variety of chaces—the last not the least exciting -to say nothing of the storming of black-cocks by which we commenced the various amusements of the day?
Three brace of these beautiful and glossy black-cocks, nine hares, three and a half brace of grouse, three golden plovers, two brace and a half of ptarmigan, making a total of twenty-nine head of game, was therefore all we could muster- quite sufficient, believe me, to afford an admirable day's amusement, even though we numbered four guns in the field. Let it be understood, however, that the grouse grounds of Meggernie produce quite sufficient game to secure the utmost amount of killed compatible, in our humble opinion, with the spirit of a true sportsman who shoots--not slaughters; indeed, at the moment we write this, we have before us two letters, dated, the one, Meggernie Castle, August 25th, 1846 ; the other, September 15th, which contains the following information:
“ We have not done much in the shooting yet, as my party are hardly assem bled ; Mr. H. has, however, been out a few times, and at his age (73) done wonders. He killed on fonr different days 26, 27, 30 and 21 brace. There will be no performance like this in Scotland this year. We have plenty of game. Millions of hares!"
Truly may this be called good sport; and we will answer for it, not a chirper or a bad-tried bird was found among the number. But this gentleman is a true sportsman by heart and deed, and has been so from seventeen till seventy-three. May he shoot on for years to come! The other letter states
“ The sport has been excellent. We have had great days with the hares. Above the wood, on Saturday, we killed 145 hares, 12 brace of grouse, 4 brace of ptarmigan, 1 roe, 1 golden plover! We have killed a thousand brace of grouse since the 12th of August, though there are but few young birds !"
Turning to another document, a paragraph taken from a newspaper, and we read that on the 12th of August the owner of Monzies, a large property near Crieff, in Perthshire, killed and bagged on his moors the astonishing amount of 190 brace of grouse.
We have no patience to proceed further in such details ; for without we heard the fact asserted by him who did the foul deed, which courtesy would compel us to believe, we own we imagine it to be impossible for any single gun to commit so great a slaughter
unless the packs of grouse rose every ten yards immediately under the nose of the shooter, so that each volley could settle a dozen birds at least. On naming this fact to a friend who, like ourselves, would rather at this moment be walking over the grouse hills, or riding at the rear of the stag-hounds over Dartmoor than be the last in London, he at first endeavoured to excuse the murder by saying that this feat, as he had been told, was undertaken for the purpose of proving the abundance of game to be found on this property, the proprietor being anxious to sell it. If such be really the case, we can only say that had we been desirous of becoming a purchaser, we should prefer to buy it with game on the grouse hills rather than without, which an act such as we have related must tend to annihilate for ever. According to the old maxim, however, every man has a right to do what he will with his own; and, having said thus much, we take our leave of the destroyer of one hundred and ninety brace of grouse, with the hope that he had the courtesy to send some of them to his friends in the south.
Daylight had now closed, and the bright moon shone in majesty over mountain, lake, and glen; millions of stars glittered in the mighty heavens ; the early frost of autumn already whitened the grassy park, and the keen atmosphere without told with double force on the comforts prepared for us within, as with one more look on the sparkling waters of the Lyon, and the shadows of the dark woods on its margin reflected by the moonbeams, and the towering bills beyond, we closed the shutters, and turned to the blazing wood and peat fire, and then joined our friends at the well-supplied board. Stewed hare at top; roast grouse at the bottom; then the hotch-potch and the haggies--the latter a dish the eating of which ought to have been forbidden by an article in the Union. Yet was this repast one most grateful to the palates of tired and hungry sportsmen; and as the toddy glass went round for those who preferred it, and the mulled wine for those who did not, and the skirmishes on the hilltops were fought over again and again, who so merry as we? Years have now passed : many many more may pass ; yet long shall we remember this brief visit to the Glen of Lyon as one bright spot in the journey of a life on which the clouds have not seldom lowered with unusual darkness. On the morrow we were to quit a scene, perhaps for ever, which had been to us one of unusual happiness. Well, be it so; yet long may the inhabitants of the wild glen live in peace and plenty! We sought them for our gratification; we left with much regret. It was our intention to start early, and walk direct through the glen, passing Loch Lyon and Ach and making our first halt at Inverouran, a small lone house, twenty-five miles from the castle westward. But as we hope for your company in our walk, so we shall defer our description of it till a night's rest has refreshed our mental as well as physical powers--s0
“ Good night! good night!
May visions bright
Nor fancy bring
Upon her wing
When most fatigued, however, sleep will not always readily obey the tired and fevered traveller or the over-fatigued sportsmanparticularly so when his brain is overwhelmed with thoughts which rush through the imagination, now bright and beautiful, then dark and gloomy ; like the stars of heaven, now shining forth in brightness, then lost to view by the passing cloud. This waking of the brain, though the body reclines in rest, may also be much increased by any little excitement previous to the hour of rest: and we must admit that we had a fair share of the grateful juice, which, doubtless, could the fruit which produced it have reasoned, as it ripened for the wine-press on the sunny hill of Portugal or France, would never have submitted to be bottled up for the gratification of grouse-shooters in the Western Highlands. Nevertheless it was there, and we drank it, possibly a glass, just one glass too much of it ; and the consequence was that instead of joining in the chorus of snores which sounded from time to time from neighbouring rooms, we lay thinking and ruminating and building castles, and bringing down grouse ; and among other things, we painted the following picture-perhaps not with the skill of an artist, but nevertheless truthfully—as far as our recollection will permit.
The hour was about six, the weather beautiful, the season late in July. We were strolling quietly homewards across Grosvenor Square, admiring with much satisfaction the unusual greenness of its central garden, the clear blue sky above us, and the many gay and well-dressed children who were enjoying their gambols within the iron rails : ruminating also, and with justice, on the many joys and comforts granted us, to mitigate the bitter cares amid life's dark and fleeting dream of wretchedness, as we watched the numerous splendid horses, handsome carriages, and fair and well adorned occupants as they rolled rapidly by, when our attention was more particularly called to an unusually well-appointed equipage which had stopped at one of the houses in the square. The horses were noble animals, the servants remarkably well but plainly dressed indeed, the carriage, the harness, and everything was peculiarly striking from its total absence of all unnecessary ornament, and yet complete elegance and distinction in general appearance : yet if the carriage, servants, and beautiful horses had caused us to turn our attention to them, how far more were we attracted by the appearance of the fair and elegant woman who so gracefully reclined within it, face to face with two as beauteous children as mother's eye ever looked upon with fondness, or we ever had the pleasure of beholding ; in fact, the whole picture, drawn as it is from nature—the high-bred mother, the lovely children, the horses, the whole combined was a most perfect specimen of the wife, the mother, and the parent of England's most noble race. And yet no pride nor care sat on her fair young brow, but the bright and beaming smile which lightened up her sweet face as she gazed on the loved ones near her, and the clear blue eye and winning grace of that gentle countenance, once seen could never be forgotten ; indeed, the sweet and childish expression of the girl who faced us as we passed slowly on can never be obliterated from our memory. This is a true but simple sketch of an English mother in the higher ranks of society; and if we may judge from the many beautiful children which are now daily to be seen driving