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His life from henceforward was one perpetual scene of collision and strife: daily before the magistrates, prosecutor or traverser, cause and cross-cause, clever boys and market boys, gentle and simple, dandies, would-be gentlemen, all joined in the outcry against poor Daniel David. Amongst others, were two sons of a Major then stationed in Cork; an assault followed, and Mr: Daniel David was the prosecutor, and tendered us "our first brief." We stated his case-the wanton assault committed, his uniform quiet and gentlemanly deportment in society. The prosecutor, Daniel D., was placed in the witness's chair, and detailed the assault, before his then worship, W. W., Recorder of Cork. A young and very rising barrister, Mr. F. M., long since deceased, and who, had he lived, would have been high in his profession, was employed by traversers, and cross-examined Daniel D. Mr. F. M. was a gentleman of great satirical powers, and had a very marked Roman nose; he asked Daniel D., was he not a very pacific character. His answer, he was. Mr. F. M. put forward his face towards witness, and asked him, rather as a matter of curiosity, not evidence, "did he really weigh the cat." The words had scarcely passed his lips, when down went Daniel D.'s umbrella, with all the might of his arm, on the very prominent nose of counsel (we said in our story, he always carried an umbrella); a copious flow of blood followed; the Recorder started from his seat in apparent violent indignation. The trial was suspended; his worship left the court. We and our friend the counseller compromised the affair; we forgave traversers, and F. M., like a good-humoured fellow, forgave our friend Daniel David, who died in a few years after. So ends our story of "Our First Brief."
MEMOIRS OF SPORTING IN FRANCE.
LE MARQUIS ET LE COMTE DE FUSSEY.
Le Marquis et le Comte de Fussey were the most perfect specimens, types the most accomplished, of that valiant class of sportsmen, the disappearance of which from society must ever be a source of the deepest regret. Perhaps they had not had the honour of ruining themselves exactly, for that was already done for them by those of their family who came before them; but let that be as it might, they neither of them had more than a mere pittance to exist upon, the youngest brother in particular, who was almost without means; still, however, they contrived by economy to live on together in an old château, and to enjoy the chase almost every day of their lives. The family of Fussey is from Burgundy, where the race had flourished as persons of distinction for centuries. The old Baron de Jourzanvault, a learned genealogist, has af
firmed that they had the same origin as the Sombernons, a younger branch of the house of the Dukes of Burgundy. At any rate, it is quite certain that the family of Fussey stands in the same relationship to the house of Condé as the family of Lignéville, and that during the sixteenth and seventeenth ages formed many noble alliances in France.
Faithful to the traditions of their ancestors, the Messieurs Fussey, that is to say, the Marquis and the Count, of whom we are now speaking, continued to live in Burgundy; and it is in that noble province that they have left a remembrance cherished most ardently by all lovers of the chase. No two men in this world were ever known, who were more expert and more practically scientific than these two brothers, whose whole life seemed like one long hunting-day of three-quarters of an age, enlivened by the most brilliant "hallalis" that could be imagined by the most insatiable slaughterer of the wild denizens of the forest. In spite of the gout, which, as an hereditary alliance, thought it necessary to pay them pretty frequent as well as the most excruciating visits during the latter part of their long career, these two inseparable brothers were endowed by nature with a most marvellously appropriate organization for the kind of life that they had adopted-agility and strength united; a sound moral courage, to enable them to stand up against all hazards of fortune; tenacity, patience, great observation; eyes keen enough to count the tires on a deer's head at three-quarters of a league distance; the sense of hearing so fine, that, to use an old expression, they "could hear the grass grow, and the buds shoot on the trees;" nothing, in fact, by way of natural gifts and accomplishments, was wanting to them to aid them in the long sylvan warfare which they carried on in the immense forests which surrounded their habitation.
I have often heard old chasseurs speak, in my youth, of the Marquis and the Count with the greatest respect, with which I felt equally inspired as if Saint Hubert himself had been the subject of our conversation. One had seen the Marquis bring down a brace of wild boars at a double shot, with his horse going at the top of his speed; another boasted that he had learnt "faire le bois" from the Count himself; a third had accompanied the two brothers to England, where they went periodically for the purpose of purchasing hounds and horses; a fourth preserved as a precious relic an old hunting-horn quite burst by being blown so long and so loud in the chase.
The stories related of their exploits would alone fill a large book, to say nothing of their discoveries and wonderful recipes, and their innumerable secrets, which died with them. As long as they lived, " dog madness," that Sphinx of the science, was unable to spread its ravages; and no hound ever died in their kennel from the most cruel laceration that could be inflicted by the tusk of a wild boar. Their curiosity disdained no means, however humble, of obtaining useful information, and their experience was very rarely at fault; they formed their opinion of the capabilities of a horse from the way in which he pulled his hay from the rack, and of the goodness of a limier from the manner in which he lapped his soup. People brought their hound-bitches a hundred leagues to their kennel, for the sake of a well-bred alliance: they even brought their packs to be broken, mad-dogs to be cured, new piqueurs to be tried as to their capabilities; and half the old women in the neighbourhood brought their boys, who had learnt nothing but how to drive
the turkeys into the fields, to be initiated in the first rudiments of a science which was to enable them to obtain hereafter good places as "valets des chiens ;" and ever obliging as these two devoted huntsmen were, they never refused to assist any one, let his rank be what it would, to attain his wishes in any way relating to this their only passion: without making any invidious remarks or comparisons, where shall we find such men at the present day? As their own patrimonial property had dwindled down, and become rather hypothetical, they were obliged to pursue their favourite diversion in forests which belonged to their neighbours, and there was not a forest within twenty leagues of their kennel where they had not permission to take their hounds; for if they had not had it given them they would have taken it, and that was the same thing to them: as a proof of which, we will relate an anecdote illustrative of what we have been saying.
The crown possessed in Burgundy the manorial rights of Vergy, an immense tract of land, formed by degrees from the joining together of several smaller properties, which had been purchased at different times from gentlemen who had ruined themselves by their extravagance. Amongst thse fiefs was a small parish called Bouilland, situated in the midst of a forest perfectly alive with game of all descriptions. Bouilland was situated close to Berthenay, where the brothers lived: that was the first temptation. The second temptation was, the property was formerly in the family; and there was some doubt whether the right of hunting had been conveyed with the property to the purchaser. A hundred times had the chase been put an end to, for the day, out of respect towards his Majesty, when the Marquis and the Count had run their stag into this Government forest, and it became so vexing that they were determined to resist the temptation no longer, but let the chase continue, in whatever direction it might go; besides, "After all," said the Marquis, "this wood formerly belonged to us, and I don't believe that the right of hunting was ever properly given up. I am determined to search the title-deeds and make myself sure whether my ancestor has not reserved the right of chase," "You are quite right, brother," replied the Count, "for it is the greatest nuisance in the world to run so continually into this forest, and then to be obliged to stop the hounds. We certainly will have a look at the title-deeds."
Well! they searched the title-deeds; and as they could not find any particular mention made of the right of chase, they pronounced immediately that of course the right remained with them, and they were determined to avail themselves of their privilege by uncoupling the pack the very next morning in a quarter of the forest belonging to his Majesty Louis the Sixteenth. At the first sound of the horn, up comes the garde. "What right have you to hunt here, sir?" said he to the first sportsman he encounter'd: "Vol-ce-l'est," answered the Marquis, for it was no other person than himself, and he was then going to find the lair of the animal they were about to hunt; and away he trotted, leaving the garde perfectly stupified. Presently a second horseman rode by, upon which the garde went to meet him, and repeated the question, "What right have you to be hunting here, sir?" "Rallie-là haut," shouted out the Count, who at that moment caught the note of a hound which he knew to be a sure finder, and away he galloped. Some few hours after, a fine stag of ten belonging to his Majesty was killed after a good run,
and was carried heels upwards into the court-yard of the manor of Berthenay. The day after, a procès-verbal was served, followed by a decree of the Juge-Bailli" of Bouilland, against the Marquis and the Count his brother, condemning them in a heavy fine for hunting without permission in a forest belonging to his Majesty. Instead, however, of paying the fine, these two gentlemen committed a second trespass, and uncoupled their pack again in the same spot; they declared they had a right, and were determined to brave it out. This second fault created a great stir in the country: the "Juge de Bouilland," made a formal complaint to the higher authorities; and the consequence was, that the MM. Fussey were cited to appear at La Table de Marbre de Dijon. The idea of presenting themselves before the seat of justice never once entered the head of either of the brothers; and when the day specified in the summons arrived, the weather was so exceedingly favourable to the chase, that they preferred going out hunting, instead of riding over to Dijon.
Upon this occasion La Table de Marbre condemned the delinquents in double the amount of fine and expenses. It even did more: it issued an order to prevent them hunting during the summer-a practice which they constantly followed, having enjoyed the right as louvetiers for
Let it be which way it would, whether these two mighty hunters were in the wrong or the right, the sentence of La Table de Marbre set the province in a perfect blaze. The nobility considered themselves insulted, and immediately sent an address to S.A.S. Monseigneur le Prince de Condé, who had arrived at Dijon for the purpose of holding a court. The judges carried their complaint before the garde-des-sceaux and this produced more petitions, and reclamations, and informations, and discussions, and even duels: Burgundy had never seen such a row since the days of the League. The only persons who did not appear to care about the matter were the brothers Fussey, and their time was too much occupied to attend to it, as they went hunting as usual every day, and even occasionally in the Royal Forest.
The authorities sent an officer to oblige them to desist from uncoupling their hounds; the day he arrived at Berthenay, the two brothers were gone to Esbaugis. The officer followed them to Esbaugis: they had started at daybreak to spend a week with the Curé de Chapaize. At the end of a month the interest of the public was excited to the highest pitch, and the power of the law seemed to be set perfectly at defiance : MM. Fussey, to show how little they cared about the matter, sent an enormous "hure de sanglier" (a wild boar's head) to "Monsieur le président de la Table de Marbre," to grace a banquet which they recommended him to give to his colleagues, and a magnificent pair of stag's antlers to the "Balli du fief de Bouilland," to hang the bags containing his procedures upon. The affair lasted about two years, and as there were continual attempts to bring the matter to an issue, the party. feeling on either side became more rancorous than ever, to such an extent as had never before been witnessed in like cases. Things were in this state, when an event occurred that appeared as if the face of the business would be changed. The trial of the two brothers had been brought before the King's Privy Council, and the council had delivered their decree, one of the most memorable that had ever occurred since
royalty had stepped forward in aid of the rights of the nobility. We are in possession of this document; and as it is a curious revelation of the manners of those times, we could not do better than transcribe it, in its original characters, for the benefit of our readers; but the great length of it will necessarily prevent the possibility of our inserting it in these pages.' Sufficit to say that in this decree his majesty Louis the Sixteenth claimed the right of settling the business himself, with the joint assistance of his "Grand Veneur," which of course he did soon after, to the great satisfaction of the brothers Fussey and the whole party of nobility who had so warmly espoused their cause.
A la bonne heure! There indeed was a king who knew what was due to gentlemen whose long line of ancestors had invariably been amongst the foremost to uphold the rights and privileges of the throne. That was not all in 1786 the Count de Fussey was presented at court; and the King, who possessed that extraordinary memory so characteristic of the elder branch of the house of Bourbon, said to the Count, with that blunt frankness which he could never divest himself of, excepting in the presence of his murderers, "Monsieur de Fussey, I am afraid you are a little bit of a poacher; but who is not?" "I fear it is too true, sire: but I have to acknowledge the friends I met with in your Majesty's council," answered the Count, as he bowed most respectfully.
The union of these two brothers was not dependent alone upon the bond of this one great passion for the chase common to them both: it was cemented, moreover, by a perfect conformity of ideas and character in everything connected with their lives: the result was an unbroken continuance of good and affectionate feeling towards each other, which neither time nor circumstances could alter, and which frequently produced the most amusing jokes. At one time, for instance, the Marquis stuck a most detestable grey horse into the Count, for which he had paid double its value, fancying at the time he bought him that he had picked up a perfect wonder; the Count in no way complained of this little bit of fraternal jockeyship, but only remarked, when he laughed at the trick, that he supposed he must get rid of him to some friend in the same manner. A few weeks after, the Count went to England to purchase hounds and horses: amongst the latter was a most beautiful pied horse which a celebrated foxhunter in Northamptonshire had sold to "the French gentleman" for nearly his weight in gold, to speak figuratively. His pedigree was undeniable, and he could not only perform wonders over a country, but had also beaten some of the best nags of the day across the flat; in fact, there never was such a perfect horse seen before on the Gallic side of the Straits of Dover. "I wish you would sell me that new horse of yours," said the Marquis to his brother, who was, as if by chance, relating to him the wonderful performances of his fresh purchase, Dévorant; for that was the name of the animal. "Do you take me for a born fool to part with such a treasure?" replied the Count. "How much do you expect to gain for your bargain?" again demanded the Marquis. "I won't sell," said his brother. "I will give you in a swap Mandrin and Bélisante." Mandrin was such a limier as no one had ever seen, and Bélisante was such a bitch as will never be seen again. "Well, you may have him, as it is you; but no one else
*This document is dated from Versailles, 8 April, 1780.