Imágenes de páginas

o'clock to their friends, "what a the Park; just touched the corner, fool you are to ride so !"

keeping direct to Wade's Wood, There has been a piebald gentle- which he was seen to leave by Mr. man in this line, who has triumph- Hanbury's servants on the oppo. antly reigned through this season. site hill. Up to Coombe Wood I shall say something more of him the pace was more than huntinghereafter; but one word now. If he fine chasing, but not bursting. prove a good stallion, I hope he will After that, it gradually declined, inspire a little more straight-for- not from want of stoutness in the ward blood into his get. Upon hounds, but from their fox getting second thoughts I will not postpone more a head, and running over the matter, for thus he behaved on foiled ground. From Wade’s Wood the 1st of March. He slipped away he touched the high road within a from one of the Sacombe Park field of High Cross; turned to the Springs; but, being viewed instant- brick-kilns at Old Hall; and near ly, the hounds were very quickly that spot, after a two hours' turn, laidon, and for twenty-five minutes four o'clock and thoughts of enough they had so sharp a burst as only finished the day.--(À repetition of two or three of the toppers could two other fine runs, to strangers possibly catch a sight of

. At the better than to us, because to them moment of starting, the bourne, ringing is not so evident.)-There or gully, which runs through this were a number of visitors out, district, brought every body to many of whom rode well. After à check : it was quickly crossed the first burst all the old and good by two or three of the ready ones. ones took their usual places. To 1, in the rear, could not catch; but record names, without giving all, I could just see a grey, a strong would not be justice-like; so, my bay, and a dingy dun, with a chese fine fellows, read the chase, and nut, well placed in the race. fancy yourselves first! This was to the farthest of the I don't mean in this cast of rough pastures; and if the scent reflections to odiumise St. John's, and speed of the hounds had not Throcking, and away to Clothall been quite so flying, I think the Bury. My survey leaves stony short turn that brought the tail in, hills and labyrinth lines short of and saved Harlequin's life, would the first fine covert-one at which not have happened. He then set all Hertfordshire men brighten up his head homewards, changing his their looks. This is a fine part of mind by degrees, going straight the Hunt, and of some extent--very over White Hills, and across the distinct from the other, and always commons to the Lordship Wood. supplying plenty of foxes, and not Here he appeared to think of mend- bad runners. No wood has given ing his manners, and we were all more fine runs than St. John's. shying for St. John's; but turning It has an attractive power to a fox, away at Munden Parsonage, he rarely being drawn blank. Lord flew through the adjoining, and up Essex, its owner, has ever been an to Coombe Wood, forming the ex- active preserver for his brother tent of his round; turned short sportsmen. It lies ten miles N.W. back; crossed the green meadows, of Ware. and just skirted Munden village ; Farther on come Clothall and took the Springs in a line back to the Wallington Springs, forming a ridge in face of the open country, ing country both right and left; with Baldock and Bedfordshire on either returning by Moor Hall, the left, and Cambridgeshire on the towards St. John's; or taking the right. What native heart has not other line to Hyde Hall, Five thrilled to hear a fox-hound at Houses, and over the road to CaQuick Wood, and a distant halloo pons. This embraces generally to Bygrave! It is four miles to the western side of the high road. this insulated covert, all open field, There is one wood I have only and many a burst I have rode to it; named as a boundary, which was but the runs are in a series of years famous in olden times--Box Wood: but few that have occurred over it is too old a friend not to give a this country. I have known of nod to. The country is bad if you three or four in thirty years, quite go into stranger land"; but looking, into Bedfordshire, and have been and riding as you look-northerly at six o'clock at night at Potton and easterly-it makes a man think Wood myself.

of taking his own line, and keeping In the early part of this season it. It is occasionally drawn by they found, I believe, (for I was not the Salisbury hounds, more to keep present,) in Clothall Bury. He alive their right, than wishing to few directly through the Springs, intrude: on the whole it is more with a streaming scent, and faced domesticated with ours. I have the open without a turn. They often seen horses, blooming at the never checked for one moment, beautiful meet at the top of the and conquered their fox in a run of bill, looking very differently two eight miles straight, catching him hours after at Clothall, Friars, or in a small plantation just beyond St. John's. Odsey Heath in a trifle over forty We had a pretty skurry on minutes. The last two or three Saturday, March 7, after meeting miles they saw him sinking, with there from one of the Chesterfield the hounds improving; and I will Springs (close at hand). The whipventure to say, neither Beckford, per knew of a bye-earth; and,doubtnor Meynell, nor Tom Smith, ful of its being stopped, just got nor Osbáldeston, nor even Nim- upon the edge, when pug appeared, ROD himself, could ask for more. and absolutely suffered the whip It has been described to me by ca- more than once to touch him be. pital judges-some friendly, and fore he would leave home and one or two satirical ones (having a break. He then slipped behind the taste for cockney slander); and hounds, and set_his head straight they agree, one and all, a finer thing for Bramfield Park, taking Box was never rode nor seen, nor could Wood, Hyde Hall, and the edge of any hounds carry a better head. Aston Bury; left our country, This was only an entry to a series and with that left us behind man of fine runs, some of which you extremely pretty thing for thirty shall have in their proper place; minutes. But the sun then shone, but (as if I was hunting) to draw and away went scent, and away on.

went fox. The hounds were blown I now go to Westay, Sandon at the first check, and I think Row, back to Friars, Bradfield, George was too. and Throcking--a chain of fine Having mentioned Capons, i coverts, and commanding a stream- must just give a word of that dis

hat to you.

trict, lying between the two roads, Hormead, through the Pelhams to before I speak of the Essex side of Bearden Park, Battles Wood, to the country. This is a magnifi. Broom, at the edge of the Newcent covert, about two miles to the market road-or with a wider right of Buntingford; has ever wheel to the left, take Beeches, been a most valuable head of earths and shoot away at once smack to for breeding; and, in recording Scales Park, and the whole of that books, been subject matter of some wild track-I say, cast yonr eye of the finest runs in the country. over this panorama, and then make I have heard Mr. Bell (one of the your choice for a fine run, over oldest Hertfordshire sportsmen of large fields, through a country not this day) say that his journal pre- over-peopled-over fences strong, sents histories of more fine runs but something to look at with from this wood than any other. ditches for horses to see-over Of late years it has not been so ploughed land certainly—but all fertile. Oh shooting! shooting! alike, deep at times, but always it is all owing to pheasants ! Fly sounder than a loose gravel with which ever way he may, a fox clay—and, if no atmospherical car

go wrong. Have but a scent, rying prevails, always giving fine and if you don't cry peccavi, or scent. It matters not to me how your horse, it matters not which, you will direct the pencil for a fifty before

you can reach tracts of co- minutes'chase—for if you can ride, verts, or chance of changing, or you may choose your own way, and change of soil, I doff my

see as much or as little of it as you Placing myself once more at please. It must not be for less Puckeridge, I must now talk of than an hour, or you would not do other appearances and characters justice to my excellent breed of -a field I confess more congenial foxes, nurtured and watched with to my own particular taste; and anxious care in Hormead Park, teeming altogether with more bold with my friend John Chapman for and of wilder features. I will one keeper, and the right-hearted leave what I call the home dis- Mr. Barnet for the other. There trict from Esly Park, near Ware, must be a charm in nature: it is a to Standon—the interior of which spell over one's blood, born in its is nearly allied to its opposite neigh. birth, that binds one to native soil bour, of Munden breed.

aud climate. This I suppose gives To begin with one ofour meets, my enthusiasm in thinking and the village of Darsell, about the speaking of this district, Bearden thirty-mile stone, on the Barkway Park! It makes my heart beat to road, for Turks Wood, Hormead write it-and a run to it, or from Park, and so on-leaving Hadham it, in any part of this country to to take care of itself, with all its any given point-all of which I bothering springs and turn-about have rode over--is not to be exgentry in them. I beg of any of celled in any ploughed country in my readers who kuow it as well as England. I do, to take a glance from Turks This beautiful covert has become to Albury-across to Hadham a victim of fashion, and another Park-perhaps (which I can never victim to the taste of ballucing. I forget) to Maddoms, and even to remember when it was the wildest Littly one way or the other-10 of the wild, never entered but by my

fox-hounds--impassible to a horse year, to save the more valued counwith four or five-year olds lying all tries

. It has its treats and its deover it, and never failing to hold a feats--as all other big objects have. fox that wanted all the stout call. I have known both often and often: ings to kill him. Now, there's a fine worried with bad scent and many ride in it! Now, pleasant shooters foxes; charmed with a brilliant for ever! School boys at Christmas find, and intoxicated at a break rabbit hunting! and this at Bear- through Chrysall, and over the den Park!! profanation !!! You open; been left with a tired horse, may draw and draw, and hope and and never out of the infernal rides; hope ; one little corner looks like and been left with a tired horse, peaceful rest; all other parts cut after some as fine runs, with whoup-NO

Fox!_and you stroll hoop at the end, as ever were seen. down the green ride by the side all this I have known-and one dejected and forlorn! at least it thing more worth hearing, and I was so with me, and not long ago! have done. I saw from this wood

This is a comparison of old days oneof the longest chases ever known with younger ones ; but the latter in Hertfordshire on a 9th of April, come not out in despair : for this which you shall have an account of year some capital runs have oc- in my next-and from

friend curred from it-of which you shall Bell's journal--who was one of six hear anon; and it is pleasant to or seven who rode it. bear record, that, though the wood The tract of these woodlands is be altered in face and keeping, yet great; consisting of Scales Park, that its visitors inherit the spirit the Clarerings, Chrysall, Rofay, and game of its old air and climate. High Wood, and Rockalls, besides

The proximity of the situation collaterals. They have ever been to the large tract of woodlands, a valuable resorting depôt for young taking Scales Park as the head, hounds, and a great assistant when must always supply it with good supplies run short in the best foxes. It is from these districts countries. No country devoted -districts in which a man may to fox-hounds has been so invaeasily lose himself—that the best riably preserved, speaking geneblood emanates. They want force rally by all the proprietors, as for and scent at first to drive them; this Hunt; nor do I believe an but when a pack of hounds gets avowed enemy exists even in these well settled to a woodland fox, he days of temptation. But all prois sure to fly; and he is as sure to mises and all friendly intentions give them a lesson to keep steady, vanish, when long tails and green and reserve all their force and speed coats reign together; and if a fox to catch him. This is an immense should be by chance seen in a trap covert, and surrounded by compa- in a battue-day, a blind eye is imnions of no less growth. In my mediately turned towards it, and early days it was my pride to go no farther observation made than to Scales; and to go when half the “ Hie on, Rover !" world were afraid of it-afraid they marks thrust themselves upon me, should never get home again. It after knowing this particular chain was generally hunted in the mid- has been drawn blank more than dle of the week therefore, and ge- once this year. I remember Tom nerally too in the spring of the Hubbard's saying well, one day in

These re

one of these woods, more than stance-a preserved record--well twenty years since, “they have bound. brought them there pheasants into Nany years ago (I forget the the country; we shan't soon have period), one evening as the keepers no more foxes !” He was a su- were returning from shooting, perb huntsman, to be talked of they heard hounds running in Balby and bye.

sam Wood, to the left of Walden It really is grievous to have town. Knowing that their own such a beautiful district as this pack, kept at that time by Lord barren; besides its being, or ought Suffolk, were not out on that day, to be, as it were a warren to the with the lateness of the hour, they whole Hunt-it is so finely situate returned to the covert, and shortly for capital sport. From Scales to fell in with a hurdle of hounds, Bearden--from Rockalls or High tired, although still holding a Wood to Broom--or from Clave- scent; at last they were caught, rings or Pond Bottoms to Capons quite exhausted, and brought ora chevy through Rofay, Chry- home. The letter 0 on the side sall, to the How, and, perhaps, puzzled all the sportsmen of the over to Pounce Wood-these have neighbourhood, and it was some been-and why not again ?--but time before the mystery was unnot without foxes!

ravelled. At length, it was discoThis chain runs in a line from vered (through an advertisement) the village of Barkway on the that a pack of hounds, kept in the Cambridge road, to within a short low part of Kent-and by one of distance of Audley End, the seat the ancestors of that capital sportsof Lord Braybrook; some part of man, Sir Harry Oxenden of the which is in his manor; others be- present day-had found a fox in lovg to Mr. Wilkes, of Tofts the woods of Lord Darnley; and, both of whom are in high keeping after a bustling run, lost bim in of character as preservers of game. the vicinity of Gravesend. The Foxes and they, therefore, it can- three hounds before us brought the not be said, are in friendship's fox, however, across the Thames; bonds.

and, wonderful to relate, must I have now described the largest have held a scent on, through the division of the Hunt; but there whole county of Essex, to the spot is still another, which may be where they were found_more than called an outsider of a fine cha- sixty miles, as crows fly! Wheracter, entirely in the county of ther they changed their fox or Essex. Before I touch on this, not is immaterial ; the fact is no Audley-End House, that fine old- less extraordinary than true-and fashioned mansion, which displays it proves, in a remarkable manner, itself in picturesque beauty close what perseverance, what uncomunder Saffron Walden, and seen mon powers of lasting with tip-top to great advantage from the New- blood they must have possessed. market road at about the forty- Lord Suffolk's hounds drew Balmile stone, brings to my recollec- sam the next morning, and found tion an extraordinary anecdote of the tired fox, which they killed in fox-hunting: and, as variety is al- a few minutes. The late Mr. Thoways pleasing, I will stay my map mas Pennystone (Steward of Auddrawing, and tell you of a circuma ley) knew this fact, and I have heard

« AnteriorContinuar »