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fox, with anything like a scent, there certainly would be very little occasion to assist or interfere with them at all. I have frequently heard huntsmen blamed for casting their hounds back. As a general practice it is undoubtedly not right to do so ; but there are circumstances when it is quite correct ; for example, supposing a fox after breaking covert runs straight a mile, when he is headed, and bears away either to the right or to the left, he may eventually make his point good, or he may be making his way for some well-known carths, or a holding covert ; it is also possible that he may be working his way back to the covert in which he was found. Let it also be supposed, and it is very likely to happen, that the hounds, being pressed upon by an eager field of horsemen, did not throw their heads up at the end of the mile, but went on a quarter of a mile further, nine-tenths of those who go out to ride would not detect the occurrence, but a clever and attentive huntsman would, and thus be guided in his cast. In the case here described, much time would be lost by a forward cast, and very probably no further account given of the fox, as the horsemen would have spread all over the country, and consequently would have destroyed the scent before the hounds could be got back to the line. It should be a general principle, but not an invariable rule, to make good the head first. Circumstances may justify a deviation, and it is the discrimination in such cases that decides a huntsman's ability or incompetence. His best guide will always be his hounds, and the way they incline at the precise point where they experienced the check. Moreover, when a fox is beaten and running short, if a huntsman makes a wide forward cast he is almost certain to lose his fox by casting beyond him.
My last day this season with hounds was with the Craven, at Sidmonton, Brickkiln. They drew Fro Park and a considerable tract of country blank ; at length they found in a small covert, the name of which I was unable to ascertain, but it is a portion of what is termed the Kingsclere Woodlands, near to Hobb's Copse. With a very moderate scent, and a short-running fox, the hounds stuck to him most creditably, in which they were ably assisted by Foote and the whips, through a district abounding with woodlands. Finally a little turn of good fortune favoured their efforts. The fox, who had been up to this time some distance before the hounds, was quietly wending his way through a covert which he had visited before, and which was consequently much foiled, when he was met by the hounds ; they got upon his line close to him, forced him to change his tactics, when he instantly faced the open over Sidmonton Common, ran him a burst of twenty minutes from scent to view, and killed him by Mr. Collins's farm-yard, at Itchingswell. The whole of the run occupied one hour and thirty-eight minutes. Not having seen so much of these hounds as I wished, and intended to have done, I am not in a position to do them that justice from personal observation which I have every reason to believe they merit. Unfortunately, it happened, whenever they were within reach of me, that a frost prevented their hunting, or some pressing engagement in another direction prevented my meeting them. Indeed, it appeared as if a spell was interposed against my doing so. The pack which appeared at the covert-side on this occasion was composed of a powerful description of hound, showing the effects of having had to encounter some strong woodlands, which I understand in some parts of the Craven
country are numerous ; but from the manner of their performance I am quite prepared to state their condition to be good.
Taking the season throughout, I was told their sport had not come up to the usual average, though far better than most of the neighbouring packs have experienced. Foxes, I was very sorry to hear, were not so assiduously cultivated as they might be, and that one or two persons who were formerly in the habit of joining them in the field have shown much hostility to the valpine race. One individual, it was rumoured, had perpetrated fox destruction, because he had lost some pet poultry of a peculiar breed. Now, however annoying it may be for any man to lose anything which he sets his affections upon, every gentleman or wealthy farmer, indulging his taste for fancy poultry, may surely secure his protegés from vulpine jaws by a judicious arrangement of his henroost, and neglecting to do so deserves to lose his property.
In the year 1813 Mr. John Warde brought his hounds from the New Forest, where he had hunted six seasons, into the Craven country, and hunted it till the spring of 1826, at which period he sold his pack to Mr. Horlock, for 2,000 guineas ; the latter gentleman continued in the Craven Hunt I think only one year, when I believe Mr. Villebois took to the country, in which case it appears that he must have hunted it twentyone seasons; but upon this point I stand open to correction, not being quite certain whether Mr. Villebois succeeded immediately after Mr. Horlock.
At one period it was rumoured that two hunts in the aristocratic and sporting county of Salop would be “vacant ;" that, however, is fortunately not the case. In consequence of the inadequacy of the funds, Mr. Baker will no longer hunt the Shropshire country ; but, with a very indifferent subscription, Mr. Edward Corbet, of Longnor, takes to it, having purchased twenty-five couples of Mr. Baker's hounds. The kennels are to be at Dorrington. Mr. Corbet intends hunting the hounds himself, having a good assistant in Humphrey Pearce, who whippedin to Mr. Baker. The other hunt alluded to is the Ludlow, which Mr. Frederick Stubbs has presided over with occasional intervals for many years. When no one else could be found to work the pack, Mr. Stubbs has invariably responded to the voice of the country; and for so kindly acceding to the wishes of the promoters of fox-hunting they cannot but feel deeply indebted to him. He expressed his final, unequivocal, positive determination of resigning at the conclusion of the season, advertised the hounds and horses for sale, but was once more, and, as the auctioneers say, "for the last time,” prevailed upon to go on again ; reminding us of theatrical announcements, “positively for the last time," when some influential and wealthy patron bespeaks a play, and an additional performance takes place. Mr. Stubbs's zeal and perseverance is untiring; and it is to be hoped, so long as he can ride, cheer his hounds, and sound his horn, that the hills and valleys will re-echo the cheering response. I have not had the good fortune to see the Ludlow hounds for several years, but I understand they are a very efficient and business-like pack. It must be remarked that Mr. Stubbs has a son, a “ chip of the old block," who inherits his father's ardour for the chase. It would be figurative to state that he follows in his father's steps, because in the field, I hear, he sometimes takes the liberty of going before him. It is a principle that the young ones will beat the old ones ; nature's dictates must be obeyed, and on such occasions it is a venial transgression. In the absence of “the governer” Mr. Orlando Stubbs takes the management of the hounds, and likewise hunts them. Their concluding day this season was distinguished by a run of unusual excellence. They found their fox at the Titterstone Hill ; brought him away by Silvington to Bewdley Forest, a distance not less than ten miles, skirting the Forest, and running parallel with the Severn, crossed that formidable river ; they lost the fox at Dudmaston, in the Albrighton Hunt. I should have had great pleasure in recording this famous run more circumstantially, had I been in possession of the particulars, as the above inadequate account affords a stranger but a slight idea of the country passed over. This will be apparent from my not having mentioned the line more minutely over so great an extent as from the place they found at to Bewdley Forest, and again thence to Dudmaston, which is at the least ten miles, making altogether twenty miles; and that, I have no doubt, is much short of the distance the hounds ran. Only six of the field got away; and Mr. Orlando Stubbs had the lead throughout, across this difficult country.
Sir Watkin Wynne is reported to have had a fair share of sport this season, which he is unequivocally entitled to, as no expense is spared in the endeavour to procure it. His country is very extensive; and I hope next year to be able to give a personal description of his celebrated pack. The North Staffordshire can likewise boast of better doings than most hounds; having an excellent sportsman in their huntsman, Joe Maiden, their success is accounted for. The best account that I have heard of has fallen to the lot of the Heythrop hounds. They have killed forty-one and a-half brace of foxes, one more fox than they ever numbered before, mostly after long hunting runs. Now the fact is that Jem Hill's quickness has availed him : on a bad scenting day- and there were so many last winter—the talent of a huntsman is brought into action. With a blazing scent and a good start, hounds require no assistance : with a moderate scent, and a short-running or a ringing fox, it is a very different affair; every check occasions increased difficulties for the hounds, and affords an additional chance for the fox, which nothing but the assistance of an experienced and quick huntsman can overcome.
In former days, when “ the road” was in vogue as a summer amusement and means of travelling, those who devoted their winters to the chase were frequently inclined to spend much of their time in the now almost forgotten engagement. This will afford some apology for once more introducing the subject. Albeit the railways have annihilated the coaches on nearly all the main roads, still there are some few remaining through those parts where the iron surface has not penetrated, and over the bye-ways and cross-ways which afford communication between one line and another. At Hereford and Gloucester, for example, the roads are still alive with well-appointed coaches and bloodlike teams. Gloucester, between three and four o'clock in the afternoon, calls to remembrance the days when the mails presented such a gay and enlivening scene, leaving London by the various routes which they passed through on their respective destinations. After the arrival of the day mail-train at the station, four or five coaches may be seen following each other out of the old City, well appointed, well horsed, and well driven, principally by
coachmen who have learnt the art when the practice was in its zenith. There is one driven by an individual rejoicing in the name of Hobbs or Snobs, or some such appellation, worthy in its fullest application of the low-sounding distinction. A more uncouth or unaccommodating speci. men of mortality has not occupied the box of a coach for many years, as an event which recently occurred will illustrate. A lady and gentleman about to travel his road hailed him on the outskirts of the ancient City, with no other luggage than one small box, when he exclaimed, “Why did you not send your luggage to the railway station ?" (at least a mile off) “I can take you, but I shan't take the luggage." Indignant at such abominable rudeness, he was told to drive on, which he did without his passengers, and consequently without their fares, preference being given to a more accommodating driver, although a more expensive conveyance. Such discourtesy ill becomes a coachman at any time, neither is it characteristic with that calling. It need not to be remarked that there is no opposition, and is strong proof that the coach is paying well. There is a good bit of ground from Gloucester to Chepstow for a summer coach. The road is one of the most picturesque that the imagination can conceive, and where civility and good manners would be appreciated and patronized. For any amateur coachman desirous to embark in such a thing, nothing could be more agreeable ; and the distance is just right, being about eight-and-twenty miles twice a-day.
Life at lead Quarters-Cambray and Valenciennes - Return to England-Mary
Wilmot's death-Canada-Conclusion “Nothing so difficult as a beginning, unless perhaps the end."
Hunting, shooting, racing, balls, dinners, and private theatricals were the order of the day with the British army of occupation; and no one encouraged the sports of the field, or contributed more to the pleasures of social society, than Wellington himself. The Duke's fox-hounds hunted three times a week ; and the noble master, who was a most ardent lover of the chase, and a forward rider, seldom missed a day; occasionally a wild-boar hunt was got up, which proved a delightful contrast to the tame amusement of turning out a foreign “ bagman." After a time an importation of our own native “ varment” furnished us with many a gallant run, much to the delight of Tom Crane, the huntsman, who being a thorough John Bull (of those days) at heart, hated the parlez-vous reynards, as he called them, as much as he did the Frenchmen themselves. His Grace kept open house at his villeggiatúra, Mont St. Martin, some few leagues from his head-quarters at Cambray; and if a stranger had witnessed the life there, and watched the unostentatious hospitality of the distinguished occupier of it, he would have fancied himself in the country-house of an English gentle. man, “ all of the olden time,” and not in the château of the hero of a hundred fields-le vainqueur des vainqueurs.
At the period I write of, the late Frederick Yates of the Adelphi was attached to the Commissariat department at head quarters; and as I was still deeply devoted to the histrionic art, I struck up an intimate acquaintance with him. In vain did we attempt to establish an amateur company, but unfortunately there was no theatre in Cambray, nor any building that was calculated to be converted into one. A large granary over the stables of Le Grand Canard seemed the most likely spot, but the near locality to the posting stud rendered it not very desirable, except, indeed, for some stage-struck “ Richard," who need not have bid so high as a “crown " for a horse, when at least fourteen pair were always in readiness below. Failing in our efforts to enliven the garrison with our performances, we easily prevailed upon the good-humoured “ Duke” to allow us to get up amateur plays at the château, and a variety of farces, including “ All the world's a stage,” the “ Mayor of Garratt,” the “ Bee-hive,” “Who's the Dupe ?” were admirably acted by his Grace's personal staff, led by the gallant Andrew Barnard. Occasionally a great deal of mirth was created when some young ensign of the Guards, or officer of the line, decked themselves in female attire, and appeared as juvenile misses or antiquated matrons. The late Charles Mathews paid us a visit, and was quite “at home” on our boards. The rage for the drama extended to the garrison at Valenciennes, where one of the present Commissioners of the Bankruptcy Court-Fonblanque
—then an officer in the 21st Fusiliers, was appointed manager. There, with the advantage of a regular theatre, a strong and efficient company of amateurs, some talented professional actresses from England, they carried all before them. The performances, which included “ John Bull," " The Mountaineers,” “The Rivals," “ Douglas,” “Speed the Plough,” “ The Honeymoon,” “Beggar's Opera,” « Of age to-morrow,' “ The Poor Soldier," " Rosina," "The Weathercock,” were under the patronage of the late Sir John Keene and Sir Charles Colville, and were most fashionably attended, the officers of the garrison appearing in full uniform, and the civic authorities en grand costume. The late Duke of Kent, who was on a visit to the commander-in-chief, was highly delighted with the amateurs.
During the summer months the Duke of Wellington inspected the Russian and Prussian armies, and nothing could exceed the spirit and splendour of these reviews. Mimic representations of famous battles and sieges were got up, strongholds were attacked, rivers forded; upon one occasion his Grace maneuvered the whole of the allied force upon the plains of Denain, the "faint image of war" began with the operations of Vittoria and terminated with those of Waterloo. So great was the esprit de corps upon both sides, the assailants and the defenders, that I