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building gorse nurseries, and employing an agent to rob the next county but one to furnish them. If you voted the wrong way, back the compliment's sent in death to the Duke's foxes; if you looked the wrong way, and cut the soap-maker's missis, out they take it in traps and guns on the Latherington property; and, in short, if you would go armed against a blank day, you shake hands with, and almost "hail-fellow” every fellow that has or holds an acre of land in the land you live and hunt in.
And now turn the pen-and-ink sketch over, and take a look at the master of stag-hounds on the other side. Here are his hounds, his horses, and his men, like his brother F.H. has them; and there, a little further on, aré his foxes, or that he is well satisfied to take in place of them. These are his preserves, within two hundred yards of the stable and four of the kennel; and, thus provided, what cares he for neighbours and friends, or-just as likely-neighbours and enemies? Talk of the freedom of the fox-hunter! what can that be, compared to the independence of the stag-hunter ? See, out he sallies, like a travelling tradesman, or another Noah, with all the necessaries of life packed up to accompany him! Saucy keepers he fees not, hen-roost robberies he fears not, and swaggering natives he knows not. Yet stay ! just at the last moment Grazier Greensward thinks the comitatus a leetle too large, and so must decline the honour of the monarch of the chase being bade“ Good speed !" on his premises. And what's to be done then ? What now becomes of the independence of our self-providing and self-relying friends? One fool makes many; and if the grazier who had given his word sees reason to withdraw it, we may find it difficult to find a volunteer at so short a notice. Nonsense! for here's our host of the Garter, with a ten-acre close at the back of his yard that stretches right away for the Greensward preserve; or, again, not a quarter of a mile off, Crabtree Common, with a site and space equal to Ascot Heath.
This is convenience number one; the convenience of independence, when a man affords health, happiness, and sport to a whole country without feeling that heavy debt of gratitude the fox-hunter should, for being allowed to do so. Convenience number two, applies more to the field, and becomes associated very much with a certainty. The honourable Captain Rattletit, of the Guards, wants, what his man says two or three of his stud do, a little work, and accordingly rigs himself out for “a hunting morning.”. Sir John Cope meets one side of him, her Majesty on the other: and the Captain, as we have just stated, wanting a gallop, comes in this way to a decision. Sir John, perhaps, won't find, or if he does find perhaps Sir John's fox won't break; contra, “the royals" must find, and break too, and so Captain Rattletit appears in the Post” as one of the fashionables who shone at the meet and showed at the take on Monday last. In an equal degree the convenience of certainty has its weight with Mr. Cent-or-scent, the City-broker, Squire Whole-hog, the Piccadilly dealer, or his friend Jack Evans, the tailor, from Bond-street. Here old Cent-or-scent, who is bona fide a bit of a sportsman, snatches a moment or two of ecstasy; here the swell dealer is sure of a fine show-off for his last long-priced one, and the tailor of as fine a display for himself. Mark the method too with which it is all done, and the decision with which our metropolitan customers can arrange. Down by train, so long; with hounds, so long ; back by train, so long; and then to breeches-building, book-squaring, flat-catching, or evening parties, as the Fates may determine. We have only just one little amendment to press on this point, and which we are induced to beliere would make the rule and regulation of modern stag-hunting complete, viz., that to the published meets of her Majesty's, Baron Rothschild's, and the Surrey staggers, there should be appended a notice, more MeLPOMENE: “Doors (of the deer-cart) open at eleven o'clock, and performances commence at ten minutes past precisely.” With the Surrey especially, where the free-list is entirely suspended, we think that a British audience is fully entitled to such a courtesy on the part of the management.
In the item of convenience, then, both to master and man, we have tended to show how superior stag-hunting is to fox-hunting, and how this said convenience, rather than Mr. Taplin's humanity, is the chief reason of the numerous fields we find with hounds whose orders are to save and not to slay. On one head, however, this very readiness and opportunity for a run has told against its votaries. The quickness of the start, the provision made for a gallop, and the too-artificial character of the whole thing, has rendered its supporters more or less careless about the genuine hunting and sport. It was lately affirmed in this magazine, by an undoubted authority, Harry Hie-over to wit, that hare-hunters were generally less affected, but yet better sportsmen than fox-hunters. In the very same words, we are sure we may continue, that fox-hunters are less affected, and show much less of the pomps and vanities, but are still far better sportsmen than staghunters.
It sounds a little out of order for one to write down his own theme, but we have been all against the “national” sport so far, and this is a “whole truth” that justice herself must admit.
The scene, so ably depicted by Mr. Davis, is one calculated to test to the utmost the powers of all concerned in it. Deer have frequently been known to run for miles together in view, and when without a favourable opportunity of taking soil, a great distance with hounds right on them. At such a time the pace even for stag-hunting becomes terribly severe; and was the pursued to run till he was fairly pulled down or dropped before his enemies, few horses could live to the finish. It fortunately happens, however, that the good stag generally compromises the take by a bit of a parley until the horsemen can come to his assistance. Otherwise with every hound at him, and a fine line of country before him, the plain fact would but authenticate the ideas of our artist, which lucus a non lucendo, show by not showing all the field beaten clean out of sight. Our print, it should be added, is intended more especially to represent a day with the Royal Hounds, so that our subscribers may be left to imagine the somewhat incongruous company, “lords, hawkers, and jockeys," dragons, black-legs, and cockneys, who are cramming and nicking to answer
of “ Who's up at the rescue ?"
* The deer is sketched from Rob Roy, an importation from Scotland during the days of Lord Kinnaird, and celebrated ever since as a clipper.
BY THE EDITOR.
THE HOME COUNTRY,
Are types of the sport we may count upon there ?-
From “THE BRIDE-groom or Abydos.”
(A poem in MS., for want of a publisher). In a radius of miles surrounding the metropolis of Great Britainno longer relevant, now that time supplies the place of distancethere used to be certain districts, known to the lovers of woodcraft in that capital as the Metropolitan Hunting Countries. By-and-bye no one will have an idea of their limits : how should they? seeing that Mr. Brunel is making provision for a gentleman to carry his horse about at a pace, contrasted with which the best achievements of Childers or Eclipse would be but a snail's gallop. It is hardly worth while catalogueing these at this time of day, or telling of ihe past glories of the Old Berkeley (we protest against all political allusion here), or the ultra business form of Charley Newman, or the citizerpomp of the courteous sportsman Sampson Hanbury, or–or, in short, any of the worthies of " lang syne." "Hunting has been the sport of Cockneydom since the casting of Bow bells—and was so probably long before. Mr. Strut informs us that the Lord Mayor used to keep a pack of hounds, with which he was wont, accompanied by the aldermen, common council, and other civic dignitaries, to disport in Lincoln's-inn Fields, and over the wilds and commons now known as St. James's and May-fair.. ... As Epping Forest to Mr. Conyers, was Trafalgar-square to the chief magistrate of London a few odd centuries ago....Tempora mutantur–or, rather, the districts within the bills of mortality, have undergone the change. Adjacent to Primrose-hill, where puss used whilom to dwell and colonize, you would now find more hyenas than hares (notwithstanding the Zoological-gardens have fallen considerably out of fashion); and as for riding over the once-famed Harrow country, you might as well go for an airing on a chevaux de frize. There is, indeed, a deuced nice little “cry of dogs" that every now and then give a clipping forty minutes, not a hundred miles from Kensington-gardens—but that's a profound secret; we would'nt name it for any consideration to anybody breathing but yourself, courteous reader. For ourself, when we stand in need of a little woodcraft just to remind us of what playing at hunting might have been ere merrie England was all gardenground, and dames and palfreys did the sylvan—the shadow foretokening dimly what the chase should be--for ourself, in such necessity, we set our faces towards the Sussex coast—a direction they carry you in at an average of about fifty miles an hour, but with the promise to improve these slows. Well, when we desire to do a passage of unpretending rural pastime, we betake us to a certain mountain establishment for hunting the hare in its primæval character, known as “the Brookside," whose locality is hard by the town of Lewes, and whose hunting grounds are portions of those noble downs which sweep the coast from Beechy-head to Brighton. There you have a country where there is nothing to prevent you from being alongside hounds from find to finish, if your nerves are good enough to carry you the pace down the hills, and your horse's lungs good enough to carry him ditto up them. There is a glorious district, “a gentlemanly diggins, and no mistake," as a Backwood'sman, whom bad luck transported to Ireland, once observed of the county of Meath, "a clearing in which the President himself might be proud of being raised: without a tree within sight of the naked eye.”
But, to be sure, no man with pretension to a soul above buttons will admit that he can endure harriers. They constitute his instinctive abomination : he hates them as fat Jack did "thin potations," and Richard Brinsley Sheridan the hymeneal superstition. He regards it as a condescension when he patronises “the Queen's;" stag following just escapes sporting illegitimacy, and no more. Fox-hunting is his summum bonum : his force of fancy can no further go in search of the sublime than to an acre of gorse, which furnishes an afternoon fox, fated to die at the end of five-and-twenty minutes. Fox-hunting is his specific against "snobbery,” that epidemic lately discovered to abound in Great Britain by one“ Punch,” a great moral Everythingarian. Fox-hunting is to the civilian what a commission in the Household Brigade is to a soldier-it is, in effect, the degree of Bachelor of Arts-rural and récherché: it is the freemasonry of field sports.
For these reasons, and in some instances no doubt for its own sake, it has long been an especial pastime with the élite of our metropolitan amateurs of woodcraft. Like every other institution of social life, it had its parties. When Sampson Hanbury was a suburban Nimrod, the mighty hunters of the city elected him their Magnus Apollo; and when Mr. Delmè Radcliffe was arbiter elegantiarum to the Hertfordshire, the aristocratic division of the capital affected him. Some of them, however, had recourse to Lord Petre, particularly while his lordship hunted the Thorndon-ball country. Surrey used to be the resort of the fast men of the City-in Mr. Haigh's time, for instance; it is now, perhaps, a peg or so lower. Mr. Conyer’s was the other way: he was not fast himself-I imagine nor the cause of pace in others. Charles Newman was an undeniable artist : he would have done credit to any country in the world. Mr. Harvey Combe made a sporting name for the Old Berkeley; but they are now of the things that were. It once possessed a district of gigantic dimensions, commencing almost at what may now be called “the stone's end,” and reaching to Cirencester; something like eighty miles of length. Moreover, it was the ideal of a fox-hunting country, the cream of grassland, good fencing, and a glorious champaign, with here and there a brook for sifting the field snobs. The name of Oldaker, too, has given it a sort of classic prestige. But most localities that have ever been popular can boast these characters: who names the Surrey of byegone days without thinking of the “ Jolliffe,” that colonel of eccentric taste in “tiles"--who use to wear a hat which many a "funny" fancier in these times would be proud of for a wager craft? The Brighton railroad now passes over what was the site of his kennel. I