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BATTUEING. the Epping hounds (at least so he said, for I never joined the Hunt). He came to see me, on my promising to mount him with the (then) King's hounds and the Old Berkeley; but wishing to show himself a Sportsman in every way, he brought down a bran new Manton and (as I afterwards found out) a bran new dog. He stated that he brought but one, concluding I was a shot. Now I never pointed a gun at a head of game in my life. I did as a boy knock swallows and pigeons about, and made sad devastation along the hedgerows; and as I always insisted on the contents of my bag or pockets being made into pies, I may fairly assert, that I have devoured more larks, blackbirds, thrushes, sparrows, chaffinches, greenfinches, and every other finch, than perhaps any man in England, for no sort came amiss to me. So much for my shooting exploits. On expressing my regret at not having pointers or setters to lend, I offered as a substitute the choice of half-a-dozen capital bullterriers, or a French dog, which would ring the bell, fetch my hat, stand on his head, and perform various otherexhibitions, and might (for all I knew) find game. However, my offer was declined, adding, with a selfsatisfied look, that “his favourite was quite sufficient single-handed: he had always found him so whenever he had tried him.” (This was the truth.) Off we went, with a stable-boy carrying a new game-pannier. Carlo appeared perfectly steady, which my friend told me he was warranted to be when he first bought him, but he did not say that was within three days, and of some fellow in the City Road. Well, he trotted along after us as if he was led in a string. On getting to some fields where I knew birds always laid, his master gave the important wave of his arm, and “hie on!”
A RUM DISTILLER.
Carlo looked very much like wondering what the devil he meant. “Hie away!" cries his master in a louder tone. Carlo looked up in his face, and wagged his tail. His master said he was a timid, meek dog. He patted, and encouraged him. Carlo, in gratitude, saluted him with his dirty paws on the white cords. “ Hie on, good dog!” Carlo did now poke his nose into a furrow, very much as if he was looking for a mouse. My poor City friend could stand it no longer: he flew into a rage; and while I was bursting my sides laughing, he gave Carlo a whack with his gun, who in return gave an awful yell, and then incontinently took to his scrapers, topped the field-gate like a greyhound, and on our going to the hedge to look after the valuable animal, we saw him half a mile on the London high road at top speed; and as it was but twenty miles to town, I doubt not but Carlo got safe back to his kennel in the City Road before evening. I had asked a couple of friends to meet my City acquaintance, but spared him by not even mentioning Carlo. However, he could not stand the thing. My boy had told the story in the stable and kitchen, and off the Epping hero went the next morning. I dare say I lost a good thing by not seeing him go with hounds.
Now, though I am no shot, I know when a pointer behaves well or not; and as Carlo certainly afforded me ten times the amusement I should have enjoyed from the best dog Osbaldeston ever shot over, it is ungrateful in me to say a word in his dispraise. But I must candidly allow, that, if I did shoot, he was not just the sort I should like. Head was wanting in this case, either in the dog or his tutor, or both.
With many apologies to my Readers for this digres
OLD ENGLISH FARE.
sion, I will now return to the Kennel Huntsman. I must beg my Readers not to suppose the duty of a. Huntsman when out of the field to consist merely in seeing his hounds eat their pudding. “Do fox-hounds eat pudding ?” I think I hear some schoolboy ask, or perhaps some gentleman who may have left school some forty years (if either happen to read what I have written). Indeed, my good sir, they do, and beef, and broth, vegetables, milk, and other good things, at times; and what is more, each gentleman hound is separately invited to dinner, ushered into the dining room with all proper ceremony, and when there, if he does not conduct himself with proper dog courtesy to his fellow guests, is very severely reprimanded. I am free to allow the said guests, or most of them, do follow the American table-d’hôte custom of helping themselves to anything and everything within their reach, eating as fast and as much as they can, and then taking themselves off, the dinner conversation consisting in both cases of an occasional growl when interrupted in the process of bolting, I do not say masticating, their food.
That seeing his hounds get proper food, in proper quantities, proper medicine, and proper exercise, is one duty of the Huntsman, most persons know; but where head in him is chiefly required, is in the breeding of such hounds as are adapted to his particular country. Hounds that will sail away over the large inclosures and fine scenting-ground of Leicestershire would make no hand of some of our cold clayey small inclosed countries, nor would they like the dry flints of Kent Hounds may be too highly bred for some countries, where they hardly dare throw up their heads for twenty strides together, but must pick it
“STAND NOT, ETC. ETC., BUT GO AT ONCE.” 145 out every yard. Such hounds would lose patience, overrun the scent, and in such cases, their blood being up, would hunt anything, aye, the parson of the parish, if they got on the scent of him, and possibly kill him too, if they ran in to him. God send an attorney or two I know in his place!
That great judgment is required in forming a really perfect pack is shown by the fact, that where the master understands the thing, and will take the trouble of attending to it, we always see the best packs. Few huntsmen could have got together such a pack as the Raby when Lord Darlington personally attended to the breeding and hunting them; or such as at one time the Ward lady pack, and some others of the present day. Both the packs I have mentioned I saw when quite a boy, and have never forgotten them. This perfection was, however, the result of years of experience and expense. Hounds must not only have different qualifications as to speed for different countries, but different shape and make. In an open country, where hounds I may say race in to their fox, the tall, very high-bred, and somewhat loose coupled hound is required. In such countries where foxes go long distances in search of prey (and coverts generally lay wide), they (not the coverts) are in good wind, seldom over fat, and, knowing they have only speed to trust to to save themselves, go off at once, and go in earnest. If, therefore, their speed is great, what must the pace be to catch them ? Such hounds would not do however in hilly countries : hills would tire them to death; while their game, being a shorter legged animal, would beat them hollow. Here the well-knit low long and broad hound must be had : here positive physical strength is wanting both in
146 · LONG TAILS AND SHORT TAILS. hounds and horses. Fine noses are unquestionably most desirable in all hounds and in all countries, but are more indispensable in some instances than in others. I should say, where the very finest are required is in an open bad-scenting country. Here hounds have little or nothing in the shape of fences to stop them; and to carry on a slight scent at a racing pace requires the ne plus ultra of a nose. A very thickly enclosed country does not allow hounds to go this pace; consequently, if it is a bad. scenting one, hounds are more disposed to stoop to a scent. Speed also is a great desideratum in a hound; but, as in horses, there are two distinct sorts of speed, something like that of the greyhound and the rabbit. Now match these to run a hundred yards and start, I am not quite clear but bunny would have the best of it. He would get half the distance before the longtail would get to half his speed. Perhaps we should call the first quickness, the latter speed. It is this sort of rabbit-like quickness we want both in hounds and nags in a very inclosed country: both must be able to get to their best pace at once. Put me in a country where the fields were only an acre each, and on a quick cob, I would beat old Vivian in his palmy days, unless he is very much altered since the time I knew him ten years since-I mean, altered as to being quick and handy: he is altered enough in every other way. Now these different requisites a huntsman has to get into his hounds for his particular country, which can only be effected by judicious crosses: nor are they to be obtained in the first generation. Put a remarkably speedy, dashing, flighty dog to a meek, steady, slow, close line hunting bitch, or vice versâ, we must not flatter ourselves we shall