W.H. DeCourcy Wright suffered a fatal fall from his horse while foxhunting on February 3, 1951. The horse stepped in a groundhog hole, throwing his rider heavily and breaking his neck. For years after that, Wassie Ball, another larger-than-life personage from the distant mists of Elkridge Harford Hunt Club history, albeit from a slightly more recent era than Mr. Wright, would thrill local youngsters by showing them that exact groundhog hole and then poking around in the loose dirt and stones surrounding the hole to find tiny shards of glass, ostensibly from the deceased foxhunter’s spectacles.
For my part, other than having a vague knowledge that DeCourcy Wright was one of the defining personages from the glory days of our hunt club before and after The War, and having an exact knowledge of which groundhog hole brought about his demise, I knew little about him.
Little, that is, until his grand-daughter Ann McIntosh left in my mailbox the collection of his writings that comprise this book. It turns out that this is one of the freshest, brightest, most brilliant and original collection of "sporting" pieces I have ever read. By the way, "sporting" is intended to be descriptive, not limiting. This is wonderful writing, period.