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!

The Owl and the Earl

Book Review by Martha A. Woodham

the owl and the earlThe Owl and the Earl, Paul Smith, Silverwood Books, 2014, Paperback, 198 pages, $14.95As the newest Master of the Blankshire Hunt, our hero of The Owl and the Earl, Hector Griffiths, inadvertently steps into what is known as a “sticky wicket” when he is tapped to raise funds to build a new stable for the hunt.

Threatening to sabotage the fund raising is a rivalry between old money and new. The family of Lord Blankshire, the Hon. Alexander Bichester, came over with the Normans. By comparison, the fifth Earl of Melsham, aka “Sid,” is practically nouveau riche. Sid, known locally—but only behind his back—as “the belted earl,” likes to stick it to Alex every chance he gets, leaving poor Alex, a gentle soul, flummoxed, frustrated, and a bit peeved.

The Whip

the whip.lionel edwardsIllustration by Lionel Edwards

As, still as a statue, he sits on his horse,
    Watching and waiting,
Or rounding up stragglers behind in the gorse,
    Cursing and rating,
He’s always the same, hard-bitten and game.

The voice of a hound, or the click of a hoof
    Tell him what’s doing,
He knows, on the instant, alert and aloof,
    All that’s brewing;
Lean-visaged and tanned, he’s always at hand.

Remembering Anthony Trollope

anthony trollope.spy.vanity fairAnthony Trollope by Spy in Vanity FairIn 1971, Michael Hart, a student at the University of Illinois, conceived the most wonderful notion. He had access to a computer that was part of the government-sponsored research network that ultimately became the Internet. He set himself a goal to make the ten thousand most consulted books available to the public, digitally, by the end of the twentieth century. He plucked a copy of the Declaration of Independence from his backpack, and it became the first Project Gutenberg e-text. Hart named the project after the German printer Johannes Gutenberg, who revolutionized the printing press.

Today, there are about forty thousand texts in the Gutenberg collection, including works by Somerville and Ross, G.J. Whyte Melville, and other superb writers of foxhunting stories. Many are in the public domain and may be downloaded and freely reproduced. Periodically, we select a favorite and extract a selection both for your enjoyment and as a reminder of the wealth that Project Gutenberg keeps in store for us.

With this year marking the bicentennial of the birth of Anthony Trollope, a popular English novelist of the Victorian Era who tucked foxhunting scenes into most of his novels, we offer an excerpt from The Duke’s Children (1880), the last volume in his Palliser series.

Seabird

seabird.croppedSeabird illustration by Lionel Edwards

by Edric G. Roberts

He’s not very young and he’s not very sound,
   He’s not very fast, now, they say,
But nobody knows every inch of the ground
   Like Seabird, the dealer’s old grey.

He’s hunted more years than I care to recall,
   He’s carried us all in his day,
But no one has ever experienced a fall
   On Seabird, the dealer’s old grey.