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be remedied for years ; in fact, I cannot forgive myself for not breaking through the terms of my agreement, and at once quitting the detestable place for a more civilised locality. I afterwards found by experience that Cirencester affords most comfortable quarters ; that they have all the advantage of being close to the kennels, which are situated in Lord Bathurst's park ; that they include within reach a most social and agreeable neighbourhood, and have a convenient branch of the G. W. R. which communicates with the town. From Cirencester, also, you may see the old Berkshire Hounds in their best country, and enjoy, as I have done, some of the finest runs that man ever witnessed on the Uffington Wood, the Bourton, the Buscott and Watchfield side. Besides, within the circuit of a few miles, there is another town or two, in which friends of mine were located, and of which they speak in high terms ; there's Cricklade and Farringdon on one side, and Malmsbury on the other ; and if you go, as you talk of going, into the Vale, I would advise you, Bob, by all means, to take up your quarters in one of these towns; but wherever you go or whatever you do, avoid for your life such dens as the Chequers.
ERNEST ATH ERLEY;
BY LORD WILLIAM LENNOX,
“ Alas! I have had playmates, I have had companions,
All, all are gone, the old familiar faces !
Christmas at Atherley Manor-Fox-hunting-Death in the Field. There is an indescribable mournful pleasure in reverting to the companions of our youth, and we are still old-fashioned and perhaps unworldly enough, to have juvenile feelings and strong associations spring up in our minds upon such occasions. The death of an associate of one's boyish days especially calls forth from the heart many a kindly feeling that has been from time to time imperceptibly stored there-past acts of attachment-bygone feelings of kindness——temporary matters of interest—all rise up to the memory in the freshness of their first impression : such impressions wake up the recollection of early dreams, of hopes gone by, of joys never again to return. Alas, for the brilliant imaginations of our youth! bright and beautiful as they are, they wither away. These melancholy reflections completely absorbed every thought when the mournful event to which I am about to refer took place.
A large party was assembled, during the Christmas holidays, to welcome my father back to Atherley Mavor. Christmas, that inclement but hospitable season, when good fellowship is more keenly and uninterruptedly enjoyed than ever, when the nipping frost without, makes our roaring fires and kindly sympathies burn brighter within. This happy season was kept up with all the good old customs of our ancestors (albeit the feudal grandeur had in all other respects decayed), and was revered by all classes, not alone as a season of solemn festival, but as one of jocund mirth. The crowded halls were enlivened with the busy hum of men ; the tables groaned beneath the smoking sirloin ; the mistletoe bough furnished much merriment among the rustic beauties of the neighbourhood-all, all was joy and happiness. Having appeared in the gazette as Ensign in the I was now emancipated from my tutor's controul, and for the first time was permitted to dine at the table with the assembled guests, instead of taking up my usual post at the side-board, with other school-boys and “hobbledehoys.” Never shall I forget the pride with which I tendered my arm to a young lady to conduct her to the dining-room : no peacock ever strutted with more self-sufficiency than did I upon that occasion. I will not stop to present to my readers the party who surrounded the festive board-alas!
"Of all the hearts That beat with anxious life at sunset there,
How few survive-how few are beating now !! Of the “roof-tree," I have only to say-need I say more ?—that he was a genuine sample of the olden time—a good soldier, a plain, honest, kind-hearted English gentleman, a staunch fox-hunter, and a true sportsman in every sense of the word.
“ You will hunt to-morrow, I presume ?" said my neighbour, Miss Clairville.
I answered in the negative.
“I must speak to your father to get you a mount," she continued ; " and I hope for your sake we shall have a run. Hunting and soldiering,” she proceeded, " ought to go hand in hand together. Lord Wel. lington encouraged his officers in India to follow the chase, so as to render them hardy, quick, and persevering; and I hear will soon have a pack of hounds in Spain.”
"I am told some of ours," I responded (thus early adopting the regimental phraseology), " are very good across the country; but I shall know more next month, as I join my regiment at Portsmouth on the 10th."
In this strain the conversation was carried on during dinner, and I received many a valuable suggestion from this lady, who combined great beauty of person with a most accomplished mind. Emily Clairville was a standing toast at every fox-hunter's table throughout the country. She was a thorough sportswoman, charmed with the music of the chase, one who was damped by no disappointment, checked by no difficulties, terrified by no examples : superior to all sense of danger, she flew over hedge and ditch with amazing temerity, and gallantly fol. lowed the hounds after many first-rate lords of the creation had cried “ hold, enough!” No county in England ever produced a finer horsewoman, or a better rider to hounds, than this graceful Harpalyce of modern days.
“Bring another magnum of Sneyd,” exclaimed the host, as our party (from the absence of the ladies), now reduced to ten, gathered round the horse shoe mahogany, before a bright crackling wood fire ; "and, Stephens, put a little dash of cayenne on the next toasted biscuit.' The well-trained butler withdrew, and speedily returned, brushing the cobwebs from the neck of a bottle, whose rotundity vied with the enormous paunch of its bearer. The primitive veteran was a fine specimen of a class of domestics, who in the present days of innovation will soon cease to exist. He had succeeded Harry Arthur, who had been placed on the pension list, and had lived in the family nearly half a century ; looking with as much affection upon the members of it as if they were his own relations. With a countenance beaming with good nature and cheerfulness, Stephens proceeded to give fresh glasses, and carefully to decant the magnum: the cork was drawn, and an odour sweeter than the perfume of a bank of violets," stole into the air. Ample justice was done to the sparkling juice of the grape, the bottle went its round with unfailing regularity, was speedily drained and as speedily replenished; every glass was filled to the brim; for, alas ! temperance was not one of the virtues of that day.
My father's health was proposed amidst a triple peal of shouts and acclamations; this was followed by a bumper toast to “ Ensign Atherley, and the gallant corps to which he had recently been appointed.” No oblation made by the votaries of the rosy monarch of the vine, could be performed with more ceremony, or inspire greater satisfaction. Spirits rose with each sparkling draugbt-every one felt a wonderful inclination to take a leading part in the conversation, carrying out the principle of Horace" Foecundi calices quem non fecere disertum ?” (whom have not copious cups made eloquent ?)
The discourse then turned upon the “ noble science," and a gallant run of the previous day. Every minute incident, was told and retold. One boasted that his horse had cleared a gate of six feet, with an awkward grip on the further side-another had taken a brook of greater extent than ever was taken before, thirty-three yards and a-halfthird had set the entire field at a rasping bullfinch. The “landlord's bottle was now called for. “Ah, this is the genuine Sneyd, vintage 1800, six years in bottle,” exclaimed a young kind-hearted descendant of Milesius, whose patronymic, Terence O'Donnell, was always dropped for the sobriquet of the "Blazer "-"it would make the strictest Mussulman forswear his creed.”
At this moment the old huntsman, Tom Sewell, was announced, and our noble host, presenting him with a bumper of port (for Tom hated everything French), rose, and said “ Let us drink to Tom Sewell and fox-hunting ; fill your glasses--hip, hip, hurrah!”
“ Tom Sewell and fox-hunting,” echoed the party.
“ Arrah, now,” cried the “ Blazer,” “they could not show us such a run as we had yesterday, in ould Ireland, 'tho it was only five-an:l-forty minutes."
“Upon my word, these youngsters provoke me with their onlys,' replied the warm-hearted huntsman. In ny young days half that time was considered quite 'entertainment enough both for man and horse.'
Tom was about to leave the room, when I ran forward, and inquired after a favourite hound, called “ Chanticleer," which had been ridden over the previous day by a young “ middy” about to join his ship at Plymouth ; who, on the principle of the gallant Nelson, that “every man was expected to do his duty,” had done his, by riding as if he was determined to kill the fox himself, thus leaving the hounds little to do for themselves.
“ Thank ye, thank ye, Master Ernest, Chanticleer's doing well," replied Sewell, whose maxim was, love me, love my dog ;' “ but you'll be out to-morrow, a sure find—Ufton Wood.”
I pleaded many reasons ; although the first would have struck most persons to have been an efficient one, namely, not having a horse to ride.
Tom looked sly, and then said, “Get on your boots ; she's come, and if she aint quite fit, you shall ride • Black Bess'” (a favourite back of his), “ and my young'un shall stay at home. So set your mind at ease, and be at the kennel by eight.”
On my return to the table, I found that Tom's statement was perfectly correct. For some weeks I had urged on my indulgent parent to allow me to have a hunter from Warwick-one that was let out at thirty shillings per diem, and who had been in and over every diteh, and topped or gone through every fence in the county. The dealer had been desired to send over to Atherley Manor his best hunter for a fortnight, and two days before the dinner above described the animal had arrived. “Warwickshire Lass,” thorough-bred as Eclipse, by Driver, out of a Gohanna mare, warranted sound, exceedingly handsome, free from vice, a fast galloper and undeniable good fencer. So the pedigree and character went, which had been duly received from Frank Matson, who, in addition, assured my father that he had bought the mare expressly for the young officer.
I will not attempt to describe my delight : I ran first to my mother's room, to tell her the news ; then to the housekeeper's ; then to the pantry ; then to my own apartment, to look over my paraphernalia for the chase ; I had some idea of going to the stable, but deterred by the lateness of the hour I went to bed, where I dreamt of horses, hounds, Warwick, Tom Sewell, and Ufton Wood.
Acting upon the old proverb that "it's the early bird that picks the worm," I was up before daybreak," for Sewell was one of the old "peep-o'-day” boys. With what rapturous delight did I accoutre my self for the chase! It forms one of the brightest greenest spots" in “memory's waste.” Never shall I forget the pride and satisfaction with which I made my hunting toilet : à red coat, striped waistcoat, spotted silk neckcloth, white corduroys, unexceptionable top boots, a long pair of persuaders, a whip that had taken my savings for many months to purchase, and a black cord attached to my hat, to defy the powers of old Boreas in any attempt to unroof me.
By seven o'clock in the morning I found myself at the kennel, in a room decorated with foxes' brushes and other insignia of sport ; a good blazing wood fire; a splendid cold round of beef, a formidable loaf of brown bread, new laid eggs, a jug of old October, with two large drinking cups, one a silver-tipped horn, the other a fox's head in earthenware, constituted the morning's repast ; on a side table was the “ hissing urn,” and every preparation for that Chinese beverage, which Tom called "cat’s-lap-only fit,” as he said, " for boarding-school mistresses and antiquated tabbies."
Old Tom was a man of tolerably frugal and temperate habits, as he was never known to indulge in spirituous liquors; it was, however, a standing joke against him, that he was “a great friend to the excise ;" for according to his usual allowance of four quarts of home-brewed malt per diem, he had in forty-six years (we commence at his tenth year) drank 33,580 quarts, or two hundred and thirty-three barrels, amounting to the small item of nearly seven hundred pounds, had it been brewers' beer.
I was now all impatience to hear about my hunter, but Tom was silent, not liking to elate or “knock me down ” too much (as the case might be), with a description of the Warwickshire flyer.
"You'll find some jumping draughts, Master Ernest, in that corner cupboard, said the huntsman ; "I myself never taste any strong waters."
Opening the cupboard I found sundry bottles, which on tasting proved to be shrub, cherry and orange brandy."
"Its time to be off now, Master Ernest, I see Jem's brought your mare."
I ran out to the groom, who was leading a tall giraffe of an animal, that had evidently seen better days. “ Warwickshire Lass reminded me strongly of Burns' Rosinante “Jenny Gedes ;” “an auld ga'd gleyde o' a meere, wi’ a stomack that wad hae digested tumbler-wheels, for she'd whip off five stimparts o' the best oits at a down sittin', and ne'er fash her thumb.” Of her breeding there could be no doubt; I was rather sceptical as to her soundness; and as for her beauty, I was compelled to content myself with the idea “ that handsome is as handsome does.” She was one of that class yeleped “a rum one to look at:" whether or not “she was a good one to go" remained to be proved. Of her speed I had considerable doubt, albeit she was a decided speedycutter ; and as for her fencing, from the specimen she gave me at a small hurdle, she seemed to have as much idea of leaping as a clotheshorse.
In other respects she resembled her prototype Jenny, for when “ane her ring-banes and spavies, her crucks and cramps, were fairly soupld, she'd beat to, and aye the hindmost hour the tightest.
I proceed to the chase. We soon found in Ufton Wood. “ Yoicks! push him up !” cried Tom, in a tone" Ah,” as the song says,
" there never was a voice more sweet or melodious ”-and the fox broke and would have gone away, had he not been headed by a gaping straw-yard savage, who “whistled as he went, for want of thought.' The boor cried "Dang it, who'd ha thought it!" as he scared the wily animal back to the covert.
After some little time a gallant fox made for the open, in as good earnest as the most ardent lover of a good run could wish, giving a sharp burst to Long Itchinton, where a flock of sheep caused a check
; but in a few minutes he was viewed stealing away, when“ tallyho !” was again heard, and the hounds ran breast high. He went straight towards Marton and Princethorpe.
"Now, Master Ernest, cried Tom,“ mind you ride for the brush ; my young-un’s going like mad to-day, and you'll have some difficulty to beat him."
pushed my hunter along; the first obstacle was a flight of rails,