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the Boreenmana road, between the Blackrock and Passage roads; it was a painful circumstance to notice that Lieutenant Herbert's house was in view of the spot selected for the duel, and still more extraordinary and more painful the fact that Mrs. H. viewed the fatal scene when it was being enacted from her bedroom window.
There was no time lost after the parties took their ground; the pistols were loaded, and each was handed the deadly weapon. Lieutenant Welsh said, before he was placed, "I have no cause of quarrel with my friend except his horse-whipping me; but as he supposed my absence from home, when he was invited, was an insult, and one premeditated, to him, which I here solemnly deny, I will not fire at him."
Herbert, who was a brave man, but who suffered from a bad wound in the head, received in battle, which, when he was excited, caused him to act more like a madman than many incarcerated in a lunatic asylum, swore out a tremendous oath that "he came there for satisfaction, and that nothing but blood would satisfy him." I must confess my feelings at the time were the excess of nervousness and horror at the oath and sentiment; I trembled from head to foot. In reference to the state of my feelings, I often since thought "coming events cast their shadows before."
The seconds finding it useless to interfere, calculated that Welsh's firing in the air would satisfy his opponent, but in this they were mistaken. The words "present-fire were given quickly; Herbert took deadly aim at his antagonist, who fired in the air. But Welsh was untouched. An endeavour was then made to arrange matters, but wholly in vain. Welsh was willing to do anything that was honourable, but his opponent's obstinacy was not to be overcome. It was awful; I use the word "awful" because he more than once swore fearfully, and only a few moments before his death, by his Maker, using the name of his Redeemer, "that he would pink his man."
I never saw-I never would wish to see-such an expression of hopeless misery as that depicted on Lieutenant Welsh's countenance, on hearing the words used by his former friend.
He spoke aloud nearly as follows: "Let God bear witness I stand here to defend my life against a madman-and I will do so."
Again were the loaded pistols placed in their hands; the seconds retired, and again" present-fire" was quickly spoken. Both shots were as one; but ere the smoke could be said to curl upwards from the weapons' mouth, Herbert fell on his back on the ground, a corpse. Not a sign of life was visible; his was instant death.
I must confess I was not prepared for this fatal termination, and if we were to judge of the conduct of the lookers-on, neither were they; a panic seemed to take possession of all present, and I found myself, with about fifty others, literally running away from the scene. On getting to the gate of the field, I looked back, and what a scene did I witness; there was the dead body, with Lieutenant Welsh over it on his knees, his hand inside the waistcoat of his former friend, striving to find the beat of a pulse he silenced for ever. In vain his second strove to lead him away; he still hoped against hope; called to his dear friend Herbert to answer him and relieve him from the blasting thought that he was his murderer.
I saw at the time Doctor Sharp riding by the road on his well-known
cream-coloured nag, and knowing the doctor intimately, I called to him to come into the field, as I believed a person was killed in a duel. He dismounted and came to the dead man, and on his looking at him, at once pronounced life extinct; he requested Welsh to leave the place and avoid an arrest, which he reluctantly complied with, when the doctor said, "Let me see, where did he hit him?" and turning the body round on the side, he found where the ball had entered, between the fourth and fifth ribs; he then laid the body on his back, and actually passed his cane through the body from side to side, and with the utmost unconcern, exclaiming "Why here is daylight enough let in to kill a giant."
At the following assizes Lieutenant Welsh surrendered to take his trial; there was no prosecution-the duel was considered fair; I was present when he was placed in the dock, only to be discharged; but the load of fifty years was added to the appearance and gait of as fine a young man as I ever saw on the day of the fatal duel.
Those duels were originals in themselves, and how different the termination of each! In one, the challenger lost a finger; in the other, the challenger lost £100 damages and sixpence costs; and in the last, the challenger lost "his life."
CONVERSATION THE FOURTH.
Nephew.-Glad to see you have returned safe from Ascot, my dear uncle; that's a very dangerous place for respectable old gentlemen, upon whom lobster salad, and pink-bonnets, are apt to make serious impressions. I hope you liked the racing.
Uncle S.-I liked my company; and it's more than I always do. As to racing, I told you before that Newmarket was the only course in the world on which to see that. However, independently of the racing, I did a little in my own line: I saw a pack of hounds, and remarkably nice-looking hounds too.
Neph. That's exceedingly liberal of you, sir, to allow that. I never knew any one, who pretended to be a judge of fox-hunting, who did not make it a point of abusing his neighbour's pack. So far from adopting old Jorrocks's style of safe commendation, as to "good limbs" or a "niceish lot," they are all "crooked-legged devils" and "throaty curs," unless they belong to our country. I think you must have had a quarrel with your county member, or been blackguarded by the master,
Uncle S.-Our master, young gentleman, never blackguards anybody: if we are not kept in the best order, we are treated like gentlemen at all
Neph. But whose hounds are these, whose praises you were about to sing so cheerily ?-Mr. Wheble's?
Uncle S.-No: Her Majesty's.
Neph.-Whew! staggers-is it possible? Why if I had said one word in favour of such a thing, I should never have heard the end of my calf-hunting propensities, as you used to call them. But I congratulate you, my very worthy uncle, upon a victory over your prejudices, and shall be delighted to mount you with the Baron in the winter. And you really like the stag-hounds?
Uncle S.-I do, very much indeed-the bitches especially. Davis, the Queen's huntsman, whom I have known for years as one of the finest huntsmen and most excellent fellows alive, gave me permission to amuse myself in my own way, before the races began: I, and two gentlemen who went with me, walked across the heath to the kennels, than which nothing can be better in arrangement; we saw everything worthy of notice, excepting the horses, down to the very finest and tamest badger you ever met with. The young hounds seem very promising, and his old hounds are well-known to be of a first-rate character; they are a large class of fox-hound. The old original stag-hound, to which the great guns of the last generation bumped along on a bobtailed cob, has long been got rid of. In their place, you find some admirable blood; and though, as I imagine, the first requisite is pace, they are by no means deficient in substance. The bitches I prefer to the dogs. Here and there you might have selected a perfect model for beauty: their appearance too, as to health and condition, reflects the highest credit upon the whole establishment. However, for that you want one great essential, which these hounds possess; I mean, a huntsman who, distinct from all sport, is himself fond of a hound: Davis's delight is a hound; independently of all hunting or riding, he loves the animal; and his brother has immortalised some beauties upon canvass, and the original pictures are hanging against the walls of the cottage on the heath.
Neph.-Ah! I know the style of place: most comfortable thing in the world for a hunting man: little thatched cottage-cocoa-nut matting.
Uncle S.-On the contrary, a most comfortable house, such as you will never live in, if you have to wait till you deserve it.
Neph.-Hounds nothing like the Pytchley of course, sir.
Uncle S.-Something of the same form; but not averaging the height by about 1 inch. The buck-hounds average about 23; the Pytchley about 25 inches.
Neph. Two or three that I saw at Brixworth were certainly as large as a young jackass.
Uncle S.-You ought to be a better judge of the size of a young jackass, than of a fox-hound.
Neph.-May I ask who assisted you in your inspection of the Royal kennels.
Uncle S.-Two gentlemen, as I told you before; the one, a very young man, a master of hounds, however, and certainly with more taste and feeling for the points of a hound than any man of his age I ever met with. The fact is, that generally speaking, young men are bored beyond expression by a visit to the kennels: they go through the ceremony of the morning's ride, the long whip and the long grass of the establish,
ment, the stink and the pedigree, the distemper, foot-lameness, and Scotch meal, with a philosophy which, in other distasteful things, one cannot but envy. As to caring for a hound, or knowing any more about them when they come away than before they went, that does not happen to be part of the business. To go, is one thing; to carry away any information on the subject, is another.
Neph.-Was your other friend equally interested.
Uncle S.-Perhaps not; but he knows what a hound is, if being alongside of them in a good thing will teach him. You know little Drowsy: I should scarcely, perhaps, pick him out as the most considerate man across a country, and I think he would rather have been riding a steeple-chase, than standing on damp bricks, in a drizzle, to look at the beauties; but he bore that, as he does many other things, with a great deal of pluck, and I honour him for it.
Neph.-Drowsy! Surely he was the well-known Ch. Ch. man, who excited such intense admiration among the Oxford cads, in the start with the drag: "I say, Bill, who's him? What, not know him! why that's young Drowsy, of Ch. Ch. ; a of a pluck'd un." Strong expressions, which bore most unequivocal testimony of his pluck, whatever they might have thought of his judgment; but you know the story very well, my dear uncle.
Uncle S.-Oh! perfectly: a lady's man too, in his way-they all are ; Tibullus knew human nature.
"Audentes Forsque Venusque juvat."
Neph.-I should hardly think Mr. Cecil, of N.S.M. celebrity, could have caught sight of our friend on the day which he describes with the Pytchley. He's not half considerate enough for a crack country. The notion of your hunting a fox in Northamptonshire, in that absurdly slow manner which has been adopted in the provinces-I mean by allowing the hounds to do their own work—is rather too good a joke. The man must be mad to have expressed his surprise; and his friend, Mr. Henry Hall, must have been humbugging him (il se moque de tout le monde, ce Monsieur-la), when he led him to expect that the thing was done in the ordinary way. I say, uncle, can't you imagine what a pretty figure old Cecil must have cut, waiting for the hounds to acknowledge the scent, while little Drowsy, and a few choice spirits, set-to over the grass, and another hundred-and-fifty along the turnpike, to that single couple of hounds; which had sense enough to know, that unless they went away at score, they were safe to be ridden over. Fancy the old fellow's astonishment at seeing Charles blowing his heart out, but riding just as hard as if he had toute la boutique before him; while Jack whipped in his spurs, leaving Ned to see after those one or two couples of hounds which appear to have been left in cover, with a chance of finding a second fox, and having a day's sport to himself. 'Cute fellow, Jack; much 'cuter than Mr. Cecil!
Uncle S.-What, by the bones of St. Hubert, are you talking about? Neph.-Here, sir, read that: N.S.M., page 52, July number. You call yourself a sportsman, and the Pytchley men sportsmen; Oh! fie, governor! "One couple of hounds, and about one hundred and fifty men along the road." What would you have said to me? You, who call me a brown-booted Leamingtonian, and an elbow-squaring steeple-chaser,
because I don't like to be behind-hand in a start: when I attempted to spin a yarn about the sport of the N.V.S.D. hounds, or the D.W.R.N.K.Q. pack, I am always stopped by the Pytchley. Whereas it really appears, sir, that you are made up of half-a-dozen old fogies, would be sportsmen, who see nothing; and some hundred and fifty road riders, trying to kill the fox themselves.
Uncle S.-Cecil's remarks have some truth in them, I am willing to admit. There is too much over-riding of hounds; too great an eagerness to get away, arising however chiefly from the enormous difficulty of recovering a good place, if once cut out of it; and the hounds are themselves so extremely fast, that the same liberty cannot be taken with them which may with many others. Catching them on a good scenting day is almost impracticable. To hold one's own is no easy matter alongside of them, amongst the crowd of thrusting rascals to be seen at every good meet :
"Non cuivis homini contingit adire Corinthum."
It is not every man's good fortune to be a Corinthian. Cecil, however, though thus far right, is wrong upon one point. A good mount should make everything "couleur de rose." Did his hospitable friend figure amongst the one hundred and fifty? or did he stop behind, to take care of Mr. Cecil, and bring up the body of the pack? What's the use of a whipper-in if you give him nothing to do? Threading a crowd of horses makes hounds handy; besides, who cares about a run, when runs are as common as blackberries? The fact is, the Pytchley fields have not more to do with the Pytchley country than with Change-alley: not so much, now I think of it. If Cecil waited behind, how came he to see all that went on in front? and if not, I suppose he was about as keen as the rest of them. What with a mineral bath on one side, a barrack on the other, and a few hard-riding farmers, jealous of one-another's wheat all round, you cannot have things quite on the square. If they were, the country would never hold the crowd. It's all that "Now then, sir, are you going, or are you not?" that disgusts some and frightens others; so that the sport is still supportable, with all its disadvantages.
Neph. I wish I were master for a week.
Uncle S.-Yes, that's about the time you would take to tire of it yourself; we should have had enough of you before: but what would you do?
Neph.-Take the hounds home on one or two occasions.
Uncle S.-Really? that would stop it effectually, for the day; but you might happen to disappoint some of your very best customers: a gentleman who had lost all his chickens, or the owner of some wellstocked covers, or a dealer with his horse to sell, or a parson with only one holiday a week (and that not Sunday); or if you were as fond of the sport as some masters, you might disappoint yourself, and that you know would never do. Depend upon it, a master of hounds, though in an enviable position, is not so because of his hounds. Neph.-I do not see that.
Uucle S.-Because if he takes the pleasure of it, he must also take the pain; not the paying, because that is but a small item in the affair. He must know men he has never seen; ride over a fence, when he would rather go through a gate; go out to dinner, when he would rather