Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Here you will find reviews of, selections from, and commentaries concerning books, many of which don't even appear on Amazon's radar. But what goldmines for the literate foxhunter!

Esmé

saki.hector hugh monroWriting under the pen name, Saki, British writer Hector Hugh Munro (1870–1916) was considered a master of the short story. Influenced by Oscar Wilde, Lewis Carroll, and Rudyard Kipling, Munro himself influenced A. A. Milne, Noël Coward and P. G. Wodehouse.

His witty and sometimes macabre stories satirize Edwardian society and culture. Here’s one that falls into the macabre, the Baroness lacking that measure of sensitivity with which many of the Edwardian British upper class were comfortably unencumbered.

"All hunting stories are the same," said Clovis; "just as all turf stories are the same, and all..."

"My hunting story isn't a bit like any you've ever heard," said the Baroness. "It happened quite a while ago, when I was about twenty-three. I wasn't living apart from my husband then; you see, neither of us could afford to make the other a separate allowance. In spite of everything that proverbs may say, poverty keeps together more homes than it breaks up. But we always hunted with different packs. All this has nothing to do with the story."

Cubhunting Starts

cubhunting starts lionel edwardsIllustration by Lionel Edwards

The trees and the hedges both touched with a glory,
   The bracken all turning to gold,
And grass in the mornings bejewelled and hoary,
   Are sights that are good to behold.

September is with us, and soon we’ll be hearing,
   As mists roll away from the dawn,
A note that is bandied from covert to clearing,
   The magical note of the horn.

And woods that have slumbered in peace and in quiet,
   The whole of the long summer through,
Will suddenly waken to clamour and riot,
   Now cubbing is starting anew.

Posted August 19, 2016

From Somewhere in England by Captain Edric G. Roberts, illustrated by Lionel Edwards

Staying at the Ringwell Kennels

siegfried sassoon2Sassoon was excited to be hunting in the Ringwell country this season. On his very first hunt as a youngster with the local pack, he had spied, admired, and envied another young boy, Denis Milden, who had appeared to be so experienced. That boy was now the new Master and huntsman of the Ringwell. It was an overnight trip to that country for Sassoon, and he had been invited to stay at the kennels with his old acquaintance, the Master, as often as he wished. What follows is extracted and condensed from Memoirs of a Foxhunting Man, Part Seven, Chapter III. Click for our earlier sampling from Part Seven, Chapter II.

Staying at the Kennels was the most significant occasion my little world could offer me, and in order that he might share my sublunary advancement I took Cockbird with me. In reply to my reserved little note I received a cheery letter from Denis: he would be delighted to see me and gave detailed instructions about my bag being called for and taken out to the Kennels from Downfield.

Memoirs of a Foxhunting Man

Extracted and condensed from Memoirs of a Foxhunting Man, Part Seven, Chapter II.

siegfried sassoonBritish author and war poet, Siegfried Sassoon

October arrived; the drought broke with forty-eight hours’ quiet rain; and Dixon had a field day with the new clipping machine, of which it is enough to say that the stable-boy turned a handle and Dixon did the rest. He had decided to clip the horses’ legs this season; the Ringwell was a bad country for thorns, and these were, naturally less likely to be overlooked on clipped legs, which also were more sightly and dried quicker than hairy ones.

Resplendent in my new red coat, and almost too much admired by Aunt Evelyn and Miriam, I went off to the opening meet by the early train from Dumbridge to Downfield. Half an hour’s ride took me to the kennels, where I joined an impressive concourse, mounted, in vehicles, and on foot. The sun shone after a white frost, and everyone was anxious to have a look at the new Master. My new coat was only a single spot of color among many, but I felt a tremendous swell all the same. Familiar faces greeted me, and when we trotted away to draw Pacey’s Plantation, old Mr. Dearborn bumped along beside me in his faded red coat and blue and white spotted birds-eye cravat. “This horse ought to have one of you young chaps on his back!” he exclaimed. “Jumps too big for an old buffer like me; never known him to put a foot wrong, clever as a cat—(hold up, will you!)...his clever hunter having tripped badly on some stones.