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In half an hour's time, a gradually lessening circle was formed, all proceeding as silently as possible, and taking advantage of every tuft of fern or stunted thorn, so as to get as near as possible before arousing the sleeping dog.
There was a distance of about eighty yards between each man, when the brute rose up, and stretched herself, showing her white and glistening fangs.
Uttering a low growl, as she became aware of her position, she set off in a long, swinging gallop towards the heather. Just in that direction there appeared to be a man missing from the cordon, and a wide gap was left, through which it seemed probable she would escape, and a storm of shouts arose. Just, however, as escape seemed certain, a sheet of flame poured out from behind a clump of thorn bushes and ferns, and a loud report went reverberating over the glens. The dog's neck turned red, and she rolled over and over, uttering yelp after yelp in her agony. There was a miscellaneous charge from all sides. Crash came the butt-end of the gun which had shot her on her body with such force, that the stock was splintered. Bang ! bang ! everybody tried to get a hit at her, even after she was dead. When life was quite extinct, we all gathered together, and a whoop of triumph awoke the echoes, startling the lapwings on the moorland.
As we marched down to the village we fired a volley in token of our success, and cheer after cheer told of the gladness with which it was welcomed by the villagers. The man who fired the lucky shot was carried through the streets of the village on the shoulders of two stout quarrymen, and the whole population gave themselves a holiday and made merry. A subscription was started, and contributed to handsomely, in order to pay for the hounds and other expenses.
Upon examination, the bitch was found to be branded on the left side with the letter “P”; so if any of my readers have lost such a dog, they will know what has become of it,
I do not suppose that a more exciting chase was ever witnessed since the old wolf-hunting days.
The reader may think that a great deal of fuss was made about a small matter, and that the dog might have more easily been secured, but those who know the district will know how easy it would be for a wild animal to evade all pursuit in the solitudes and fastnesses of the hills. A careful stalk might have brought a shooter within shot, but the excitable natures of the Cymry would scarcely be satisfied with such a finale under the circumstances. It must be admitted that the damage done by the dog was sufficiently provocative of excitement, and the desire to avenge their losses to make any trouble in the fulfilment seem small.
It may seem strange to many, as it did to me, that foxhounds should chase one of their own breed, but the fact remains that they did so.*
The occurrence above related is really a fact, and caused a great deal of excitement in the neighbourhood at the time. My account of it is taken from good authority, and I have since had it confirmed in every particular by eye-witnesses of the hunt. The article first ap. peared in “London Society," and was copied in the local papers, so that if I had failed in telling the tale as it was told to me, I should soon have met with contradiction. The dog is stuffed, and I believe may be seen at an inn at Llandrillo.—G. C. D.
VIRNIEWSIDE has seen some of my best remembered wanderings. To me the Virniew is one of the most attractive of rivers. Never, in all its course, so boisterous as its neighbour, the sacred Dee, you are not overwhelmed by the roar with which the latter deadens your angling faculties, and absorbs you in oblivious reverie as you stand gazing at the tumultuously rushing water.
My first acquaintance with it commenced when I was about thirteen years old. A friend and I came upon it at its source, after a toilsome walk over the hills from Bala. It was a terribly hot day. We had lost our way more than once, and had been chevied by a diminutive black bull of exceedingly fierce aspect and savage disposition. After our troubles it was delicious to come upon the tiny, lucid stream, and follow it down all the way to Llanwddyn, never losing the sound of its cheerful murmur. The inn we stayed at-I forget the name—is endeared to my memory by the excellent provender set before us, and the moderateness of the charges. After our meal we visited the stream, here of a good size, and flowing for some distance through very boggy land. The trout were numerous and large, and, from what I hear, have not deteriorated since. Few people seem to ascend so high, and I believe the place is comparatively free from the crowd of Lancashire anglers, who literally swarm on Vimniewside at Easter. It was at this place that an eminent solicitor of my acquaintance went poaching-in all innocence, though, for he was no angler. Perched astride the shoulders of a Welshman who knew the bog, none of his clients would have recognized their staid adviser, as he eagerly watched the operations of a gang of netters sweeping the stream. With his fingers clenched in the red hair of his twofooted steed, our friend tracked the trout to their holes, and was with difficulty restrained from taking a header after a three-pounder that threatened to elude the nets.