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 Fox’s Prophecy

fox.anthony barhamPainting by Anthony BarhamThe Fox’s Prophecy was written in 1871 by D. W. Nash and presented to the then Master of the Ledbury Hounds. Foxes have forever been suspected of harboring deep thoughts, and this poem certainly reflects those ancient superstitions. Through Nash’s fox we read predictions of a future that might well be recognizable to many readers in these times.

However, Foxhunting Life remains apolitical, as always, and, if you read carefully, you will find that for every stone cast by this poem at anyone who might take offense, be assured that there is a stanza here casting a stone as well at the opposite end of the spectrum. The fox, also apolitical, seems to believe that all humans have something to answer for.

For swiftly o’er the level shore
The waves of progress ride;
The ancient landmarks one by one
Shall sink beneath the tide.

Phillipa’s Fox-Hunt (Part 2)

somervilleross cover artIn this week's Bonus article, free to all (no subscription necessary), we rejoin Philippa as she is escorted into the dining room at Aussolas Castle after her first foxhunting experience. She is fully out of breath, having followed hounds by bicycle and across the country on foot led by two local country lads showing her the way. Major Sinclair Yeates, R.M., who has been following hounds on a supremely confidential hunter borrowed from Lady Knox, finds his new bride in a state of unsuppressed excitement scarcely recognizable from the proper young English lady he supposed he had married.

Mrs. Knox was already at breakfast when Philippa was led, quaking, into her formidable presence. My wife's acquaintance with Mrs. Knox was, so far, limited to a state visit on either side, and she found but little comfort in Flurry's assurances that his grandmother wouldn't mind if he brought all the hounds in to breakfast, coupled with the statement that she would put her eyes on sticks for the Major.

Morning Stables

hawken.stride for strideStride for Stride: A Country Life, Bartley Books, an imprint of Three Pounds Press, Millwood, Virginia, 2020, paper, cover art by Anita Baarns, 70 pp, 43 poems. Available from the author.This slim, award-winning volume of forty-three poems by Wendell Hawken speaks of horses, foxhounds, and country life. Writing with authority on hunting, scent, whelping, riding, animal husbandry, and woodlore, Wendy conjures vivid mental images easily recognized and pleasurably savored by foxhunters who have ‘been there.’ Several of the poems have been previously published in Foxhunting Life, eliciting high praise from readers and establishing this author, in my view, as the most prolific, talented, and serious writer of sporting poetry of the present time.

Wendy's poem, "Morning Stables," from this collection will resonate with horsemen and horsewomen who have tended their own, and will jiggle old memories especially of those who were favored with the horse gene as children, and no one else really understood!

The Silver Horn

john weatherford.e.iselin.masonColonel John Weatherford, MFH  /  Illustration by Eleanor Iselin MasonGordon Grand is one of my favorite sporting authors, and his short story, “The Silver Horn,” is one of my favorite foxhunting stories. The reader is transported, in the early part of the twentieth century, to “that venerable hotel on Albemarle Street” in London, which we may readily assume is Brown’s Hotel. Colonel John Weatherford, MFH is relating Florence’s story as she told it to him upon their chance meeting in the hotel dining room after breakfast. I have extracted just the kernel of the story to reproduce here.

Returning from the theater and supper [Florence] had drifted off into a sound sleep, from which she was gently and fancifully awakened without sensing the cause. Her watch showed three o’clock. The roar and rumble of London had faded to its lowest murmur. A midsummer moon filtered through and illuminated the street below. What was it that had so illusively awakened the sleeper? Again she listened. The faint mellow note of a hunting horn drifted up from Piccadilly.