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!

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

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."

Mr. Nappie’s Grey

This story, extracted from Trollope's The Eustace Diamonds, is populated by just about every character you ever met in the hunting field.

anthony trollope.spy.vanity fairAnthony Trollope by Spy in Vanity FairMounted on a bright-skinned, lively steed, with her cousin on one side and Lord George de Bruce Carruthers on the other, with all the hunting world of her own county around her, and a fox just found in Craigattan Gorse, what could the heart of woman desire more? This was to live. There was, however, just enough of fear to make the blood run quickly to her heart. "We'll be away at once now," said Lord George with utmost earnestness; "follow me close, but not too close. Just check your horse as he comes to his fences, and, if you can, see me over before you go at them. Now then, down the hill;—there's a gate at the corner, and a bridge over the water. We couldn't be better. By George! there they are,—all together. If they don't pull him down in the first two minutes, we shall have a run."

Lizzie understood most of it,—more at least than would nine out of ten young women who had never ridden a hunt before. She was to go wherever Lord George led her, and she was not to ride upon his heels. So much at least she understood,—and so much she was resolved to do. She would ride as fast as Lucinda Roanoke. That was her prevailing idea.

Taking a Toss

Another short story from the author’s Echoes of the Hunting Horn. Every foxhunter with warm blood will relate to the jumble of self-accusations tumbling through the author’s mind after getting tossed.

echoes of the hunting horn.lynch.whitmoreHounds are running hard for the past twenty minutes. Not a semblance of a check. The pace is terrific over a magnificent line of country with big sensible banks. One fairly-wide river, the honest variety, no slime or sponge-like edges; not a trace of wire anywhere. Horse never put a foot wrong since the Gone-Away . . . blowing somewhat now, though; last big wall took some negotiating. It seems to have thinned the already select field to a mere dozen. Thank Heaven for the down-hill gallop after that last stiff hill; horse's wind feels easier now. Out on the left, riders are heading for a gate. It seems a long way off, and this wall does not seem such a terrifying rasper. Come on, old Challenger, the wall will save time. Steady now, not so fast. Slower still, slower I say, Hup! Over! God bless us, oblivion.