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respectively operate as causes demanding far superior skill and courage than that required by the ancient manner of going across country." Without, therefore, wishing for a moment to detract from the reputation of the foxhunter of old, it may fairly be alleged that a comparison need not be dreaded by one of the present day. In no pursuit, whether of an important or unimportant nature, has there been, or indeed could there be, a greater change; and however doubtful may often be extreme alterations in the shape of improvement, yet it inust be conceded that those effected in foxhunting are entitled to rank as a near approach to perfection.
Since hound first threw tongue or horn was "touched," a greater enthusiast in foxhunting never existed than the late Thomas Asshe ton Smith. Before bringing, therefore, these slight sketches of the Past and the Present to a close, "the great English hunter," as Napoleon the First designated him, must not be omitted; although his recent death having drawn forth all that could be said or written concerning his public career as a master of foxhounds, nothing remains to be added in the shape of information, and therefore slight shall be the pencilling.
-With Thomas Assheton Smith, hunting was not only the business of his life, but he considered that it should form part and parcel of the business in the lives of others. He conceived the enlarged opinion that everybody should hunt. Thoroughly comprehending the fascinations of the pursuit into which he had plunged, one of the strongest desires of his life was that that cosmopolitan "everybody should take a dip as deep as himself. The intimacy existing between the late Duke of Wellington and himself led to the great soldier entertaining a most favourable opinion concerning the effects of hunting upon the thews, sinews, and spirit of "Young England." It was his belief that cavalry officers could not have so excellent an introduc tory training for their profession as the hunting field, and exultingly exclaimed at the finish of an unusually fast ran with The Vine→→→→ "Nothing but artillery could have stopped such men.'
In the absence of enthusiasm, nothing can be expected to succeed worthy of an effort. The main object of Thomas Assheton Smith's life was to attain perfection in all that belonged to foxhunting. Possessed of an income of £40,000 per annum, and devoting six days a week-four public ones and two byes-to the sport, it may readily be conceived that the means were at his absolute disposal for the attainment of the design. His hounds and horses were beyond the reach of criticism; and the management, both in the field and in the kennel, was all that the most fastidious could desire. Nothing, perhaps, is easier than to find fault; and this devotion to one object has, since his decease, brought down some ill-timed and truly useless.comments. Whether his social position justified him, or otherwise, in adopting this absorbing pursuit as the business of his life, could not be a question of the slightest utility after the grave had closed upon the
mortal remains of Thomas Assheton Smith. Whatever his errors may have been, whether of omission or commission, he will be remembered as one of the best sportsmen that ever carried a horn at his saddle. In contributing so largely to the sport of foxhunting, and which he considered should be upheld as a national pastime for the
recreation of all classes, he conscientiously believed that he was discharging a social duty; and "appetite appeared to grow on what it fed," as in the sere and yellow leaf of life he was still as ardent as of yore. His invigorating enjoyment was fully shared by those in whose hearts he will yet live while English minds and manners may be found.
A few years since, the Devon and Somerset Staghounds were presided over by the Hon. Newton Fellowes, whom the writer met many a time, in days gone by, in the wilds of the West: a man of extraordinary energy, and devoted to stag-hunting as followed in the fair, sportsman-like style of unharbouring the deer in his native coverts. Mr. Fellowes continued for many years the master of the only pack left in this country which hunts the wild stag and hind. Of a some what irascible nature, nothing annoyed him more than hallooing or interference on the part of anyone in hunting his hounds, excepting, perhaps, the hounds themselves taking notice of the voice of a stranger. Determined to check, at least, an inclination to hearken to sounds to which a deaf ear had far better be turned, Mr. Fellowes adopted a measure which possessed originality of design, whatever less attractive features might surround it. Assembling on an open common a sufficient number of assistants for the practical carrying out of the purpose, Mr. Fellowes gave instructions that each, in turn, should exercise the strongest powers of lungs from the respective and remote stations occupied. As may be inferred, in spite of severe rating, none but the old and steady could withstand the temptation of flying to the view-halloo, when each of the rioters was taken up and flogged in a way which operated with powerful effect upon the memory. After a few repetitions of this kind, the desired end was attained, in not a single hound taking the smallest notice of the seducing sounds so made; but when hunting in reality, the lesson seemed in a great measure to be either forgotten or unheeded.
"When I can't ride stag-hunting," said Mr. Fellowes to the writer, as three couple and a-half of old hounds were tufting for a stag in the Hawkridge covers, "and the gout puts me, as I fear it will, on my back some day, it's my intention to have holes cut in the floor of my bedroom, and ferret rabbits, by way of a substitute."
Perceiving that a doubt existed as to the sincerity of the intention, he begged to be believed that he was never more serious in his life, "for," continued Mr. Fellowes, "I can't think of anything else in the shape of bed-side sport."
The runs chronicled with these hounds have not unfrequently appeared little short of impossible. Across Exmoor and Dartmoor the game has been known to stand for upwards of thirty miles without a check. To be in at the death-for it should be stated the deer is generally killed when taken-is necessarily a task not easily accomplished. Ordinary wind and limb must fail long before the distance is done, and no liberties can be taken with even the best.
Towards the close of Mr. Fellowes' mastership, a run, both for speed and distance, is spoken of, even at the present day, as one never exceeded. Perchance, of those now living, not one possesses a more vivid memory of the circumstances attending it than the late master of the Tiverton foxhounds, Thomas Carew, Esq., of Collipriest.
Between Hawkridge, where the stag was unharboured, and going to soil within a short distance of Mr. Knight's then solitary retreat on the banks of the stream called the Barle, a distance had been traversed of at least thirty miles without a check. Out of a large field, few lived to see the finish, comprising some half-dozen, including Roots the huntsman. Among the select number, however, was Mr. Carew; but scarcely had he time to congratulate himself upon the result, than down his horse went, as if shot through the heart. Such was the state of exhaustion of the animal, that for a considerable period he looked as if doomed never to rise again, and more than once was pronounced to be beyond the reach of remedies. With careful nursing, however, he was once more lifted to his feet, and his owner in a few days had the satisfaction of again beholding him in his stable.
The night had far advanced, when two travel-worn, hungry, and subdued-looking horsemen-one mounted on a blind Exmoor pony anything but up to his weight, the other balanced on a broken-kneed, stumbling brute of the same breed, which pitched on his nose at every second step-might have been seen creeping over the moor towards Dalverton, but making sorry progress in their way. Patience, however, having overcome all obstacles, that haven of rest was at length reached, and the pilgrims, first obtaining necessary supplies for pressing exigencies, posted to the Palmerstonian town of Tiverton, where greetings awaited them for the dangers past and victory achieved.
"How it could be done," remarked the host of "The Angel" as the chaise drew up at the door, "may I take a flutter to the shady side of Queer-street if I know, or shall ever find out!"
The number of hounds kennelled in the cider-making county of Devon is almost fabulous. Staghounds, foxhounds, otterhounds, and harriers hunt in close proximity to each other; and not unfrequently, when "Parson Froud" was out, two packs have been seen "amalgamated" in running a fox under orders from the reverend, but eccentric, gentleman to his huntsman, "to let the Tiverton Hunt see what his blood was made of." As a hunting country, however, Devonshire, taken as a whole, must occupy inferior rank. The small enclosures and impracticable banks render straight riding to hounds beyond the reach of possibility. Roads and lanes are resorted to, from sheer necessity; and the best-mounted and pluckiesh horseman in England would find himself too often no nearer to the front than "the Sporting Doctor" on his rough-coated, grass-fed cob, always embracing a favourable opportunity of pounding along beds of flints and over ruts as deep as the graves in which too many of his confiding patients lie buried.
Notwithstanding "currant-jelly hunting" meets with the ill-concealed sneer of the stag and foxhunter, the most eminent masters of foxhounds have frequently commenced a brilliant career with a few couple of harriers. The zest first obtained through the medium of "currant jelly" has led to the establishment of the most splendid packs of foxhounds of which the sporting world can boast, and consequently there is no just reason for holding in contempt the less ambi
tious pursuit. That it is of a "meeker" description there cannot be a question; but in a good country hares will not unfrequently run as "straight as a gun-barrel," and stand before hounds with the gameness of a good fox.
The sport afforded season after season by the pack of harriers kennelled at Marks Hall, Essex, and hunted by William Houy wood, Esq., is entitled to rank among the first of its class. Obtaining the best blood, Mr. Honywood made a good beginning, by superintending himself the breeding of his hounds and management of his kennel. The result, as generally is the case when the work to be performed is done by the most interested in the success, was all that the most fastidious could desire. In a few seasons the pack became as level as dice, and was fast enough for anything unassisted with wings.
The grains of sand run so quickly through the old enemy's hourglass, that although many "a change has come o'er the spirit of the dream" since the occasion about to be referred to took place, yet it seems but little further removed than yesterday when the writer had the pleasure of seeing these hounds out-run a field chiefly comprised of "Oxford men." With the exception of Mr. Honywood and a friend mounted by him on a straight-going favourite old horse, not one lived to see an approach to the finish of as straight-backed a bare as ever kept her nose up-wind six miles without a check. Well might "the Squire" exultingly ask, at the conclusion, as the "Oxfordmen came up by degrees " Where have you been? Thought we'd lost ye altogether.'
Explanations were of course rendered. Several could not get their horses over a certain brook; one was pounded in a yard with locked gates; another had the misfortune of going to grief in a deep ditch, from which it was impossible to extricate his animal without a large amount of assistance. Different, however, as were the causes, the effect was the same: Mr. Honywood and his friend had it all to themselves.
A pack of beagles kept by Mr. Philip Honywood, adjacent to Marks Hall, acquired the distinction of being the most perfect kennel of miniature hounds in the kingdom. Previous to the establishment of Prince Albert's harriers, a very large sum was offered by his Royal Highness for the purchase of them, but respectfully refused. At the present time, however, they are the property of Mr. John Lay, of Wacketts Hall, who hunts them with the spirit of one whose years sit lightly on him still. Long may they continue so to do.
(Late of the 13th Light Dragoons: Author of " Ubique," and " Letters from the Nile.")
[COMMUNICATED TO, AND EDITED BY, LORD WILLIAM LENNOX.]
Onwards we glided from one scene of beauty to another, landing at the extremity of Lago Lagano. We paid the government officials, not to inspect the contents of our trunks and turn everything topsy-turvy. Crossing an undulating tract of country rich in herbage, we then descended by winding sunny roads, from a lofty eminence commanding a wide and sudden burst of the blue Lake of Como, down through perfumed groves golden with the orange and citron, and bur dened with the olive, through the yellow corn, the fig, and the purpling vine, to the pretty town of Menaggio on the water's edge. A steamboat then conveyed us onwards through a dream of panoramic beauty, as it all rolled smoothly by-along, between the beautiful undulating shores clothed in stately woods, and bedecked with fairy pleasure-grounds and sparkling villas, rich in every bright shrub and flower of rarity that were ever painted by an Almighty hand, smiling in all the gladness and poetry of existence, and shedding forth, as if in gratitude, their offerings of sweetest odours to the Heaven which had given them life. All was full of the breath, the glory, the life of Nature. There, on our right, near Caddenabia, rearing in all its marble pride from a lawn of velvety green, which sloped to the water's edge, and was mirrored more splendidly back in the crystal wave, was the Villa Carlotta (formerly Sommariva), with its myrtle and orange-scented terraces, and noble back ground of soaring yet luxuriant mountains, "up to their summits clothed in green," while opposite lay the delicious promontory of Bellagio, with its cheerful villa village. Onwards, past Varenna, its lovely shaded groves, and the grand road to the Stelvio pass, and pleasant walks of endless beauty; then rolled into sight the Villa Lenno, the Tragedia" of Pliny, terraced round with sombre leafy shades; then glittered in the sunlight the gilded cage of the queen-bird of song, the unrivalled Pasta, and again the beautiful retreat of one of Terpsichore's most gifted daughters. Above and around the lovely lake was its coronet of lightly-rising mountains, "softly sublime," profusely fair, their teeming slopes gently resting on the bending beach, where, shaded by the trellised vine, and side by side with the haughty palace and elegant villa, there looked out upon the trembling azure waters the white-washed cottage, the towering campanile, and lowly chapel; whilst contrasting with the vivid green of the surrounding scenery, a glimpse of the far snow-gleaming Alpine world broke now and then upon the enraptured sight. Then, gradually and more lovely, as the sun was