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finale of Mr. Mure's (the Suffolk) hounds, which, after eighteen seasons of most liberal and gentlemanlike maintenance by their worthy Master, are about to be given up, as it appears, from sheer want of the animal to hunt. It seems, from the letter of a "Friend to Fair Play," published in Bell's Life in London, "that the country is swarming with game, and foxes are seldom suffered to outlive the season"-two most unfortunate and fatal circumstances in connection with fox-hunting.
Mr. Onslow retires from the Mastership of the Hampshire hounds, after three years occupation of the country, which we believe is now vacant for any Gentleman wanting a friendly country, well stocked with foxes, and not badly off for money. Mr. Foljambe's unrivalled pack, we are sorry to see, is for sale in lots, no one having come forward to take this pack-second to none—as a whole.
It would be a strange thing, if, when all other sports are advancing, fox-hunting-the prince of all sports-should be retrograding. Look racing, coursing, yachting, shooting, fishing, &c., and see what strides each has made during the last twenty years-coursing and yachting in particular; and though some country races have been abolished, others have improved to more than the extent of the defalcation. Coursing is gaining ground every day, one of its great recommendations doubtless being that it is within the reach of the means of most people; and the immediate connection and personal interest each owner has with his dog is an advantage. Indeed it may be said to unite the two sports of hunting and racing: hunting, for there is a certain degree of excitement in finding and starting the game: and racing, for nothing can be a greater trial of speed and stoutness than the natural contest between well-matched dogs over an open favorable country. It is racing without expense or cruelty, saved in as far as the hares are concerned. The dogs are trained at home; there are no jockey's fees, or ruinous bills for innstanding; and the Sweepstakes are generally sufficient to produce excitement without degenerating into anything like gambling. It cannot surely be the want of pecuniary excitement that prevents hunting flourishing; and yet the advance of steeple-chasing would almost indicate as much.
No doubt the expense of hunting has increased amazingly within the last fifty years, but then it is made far more a business of than it used to be. Mr. Meynell's hounds only hunted three times a week during the last nine or ten years of the last century. This, according to Mr. Delmè Radcliffe, was during Mr. Meynell's absence, and while the hounds were under the management of Mr. Meynell's late friend, Mr. Loraine Smith: but if there had been many Sportsmen resorting to Leicestershire, we may easily suppose arrangements would have been made for more hunting. Indeed, according to the same authority, Mr. Meynell at no time had more then three or four subscribers to his hounds, and at first only two-Lord Robert Grosvenor and Mr. Boothby.
On referring to Mr. Radcliffe's book for the foregoing information, we came upon the following passage, ably inculcating the doctrine we are advocating, with which we will conclude this notice:
"It is highly important to the interests of the noble science," says he (p. 247), "that every man blessed with the means of promoting the sport of fox-hunting should endeavour so to do, to the utmost of his
power, in his own country. Happy is it for him who is located in the provincials, if his domestic comforts are such that he considers nothing could compensate for the loss of them: still happier, if he thinks that hunting from home is everything-that fox-hunting all over the world must be, and is, fox-hunting all the world over-that there is no country so bad that it may not be made better by a proper direction of energy towards the amelioration of any defects capable of improvements A bad country may be made worse by a bad establishment of hounds, &c., or better, by a good one."
CHASSE OF THE WILD BOAR AT TREVAREZ.
Ir the beautiful and ancient French Chasse, the "Chasse à cor et à cri," is rare at present, like everything that is noble and grand, there are still moments of revelry which bring to our recollection its glorious times! Witness the eight days that we passed last season at the old Castle of Trevarez with the Count Pontbellanger in the lower forests of Brittany. Vast heaths crowned by rocks, mountains, and torrents, thick brushwood or copse, and the old forest of Luz gilding the whole : such was the seat of our pleasures, not to be equalled by those of Kings for there we found in abundance the wild boar, the wolf, the chevreuil, the fox, great and small game of every sort. Our only difficulty was the choice of our sport for each day. But certes everyday of that joyous week has been celebrated by a triumph, and often by delights. The great day, however, was one which will form an epoch in the recollections of that country (which, we were told by its inhabitants, had seen some severe ones): it was that which saw fall under our balls an immense wild boar, famous for the crops he had laid waste, and at the time become, like that of Calydon, the terror of the country round!
Never since the death of M. Dubotderu, the illustrious Sportsman, whose memory will live for ever in Brittany; never, I repeat, was there a hunt so brilliant, so well directed, so beautiful in its episodes and in its results, or that echoed in so lively away in Menez du pun, Castel Nienez, to the valley of Convauz!
The pack was composed of sixty picked dogs, chosen from out the kennels of Messrs. De Pontbellanger, Du Halqouat, De la Roque, De Saint Luc, De Saint Prix, et De Penmelé, all of whom (except M. de la Roque, whose absence was much regretted) were present at
We take our description from the evening before.-Tuesday, the 18th October, two wild boars, one of the Desert, the other an animal of the ordinary kind, had been driven back into the marshes de la Reine. Six dogs from different packs were uncoupled about eleven o'clock, and roused at once the old boar. The wind was frightful, the rain came down at intervals; we could not hear each other at 20 paces distance; the hunters lost the track at every minute; the dogs themselves could scarcely rally in the midst of the storm, which was rattling down the mountain, bending the tops of the old oaks, and whistling through the rocks, One hound alone, the noted Ronflo, the property of M. du
Halqouet, already celebrated by numerous feats and honorable wounds, held to the charge in defiance of the tempest. The boar shewed himself, for the length of eight kilometres towards Quinec, always followed by the intrepid Ronflo. It was then three o'clock: they uncoupled ten fresh hounds; the animal shewed fight, at first rather shy; but towards the approach of night he resolved to defend himself; several times made head against the dogs, and in less than half-an-hour severely wounded six of them, which the night prevented the Huntsman from rendering any assistance to.
It was then resolved to adjourn the party to the following morning: they returned to the Castle, however, every man promising himself to revenge the blood which had reddened the leaves of the brushwood.
"Before Aurora with her rosy hand had opened the doors in the East," M. M. De Portbellanger and De Kerstrat were in the Forest. They had undertaken the charge of the Hunt, and would not confide in any one else, foreseeing a memorable day, which from its commencement was distinguished by an incident rare in the annals of the chase. For a length of time already they were exploring, without knowing it, the thicket from which the wild boar had been roused the evening before, but where, however, there was every reason to suppose he had returned. All at once, Ronflo, came on the haunt, turned round briskly, and got warmly on the scent. Whilst the Gentlemen were trying to ascertain if he was right, the wild boar of the evening before, the enormous Calydonian, which had just entered the wood, and was not many paces off, rushed on poor Ronflo, and in a jiffy he was flying in the air with his thigh lacerated by the boar's tusks, and then making rapidly towards the hunters, obliged them to seek their safety in a prompt flight! But he took covert again at some distance. These Gentlemen no sooner arrived to tell the tale, than they uncoupled thirty dogs on the bloody spot. The animal got off with difficulty: for more than an hour he made battle in the thicket: at length, pressed so close by the pack, who came on like a single dog, he broke covert from Ruinàc, but soon entered again into Luz. At this instant a fresh change of dogs was laid on, and this became the most interesting moment of the hunt. In a vast heath, scattered with copse-wood, the enormous beast, followed by the pack in full cry-the huntsmen-prickers sounding the bien-aller (hark-away!), and hunters on horseback, pushed on in full gallop, all which formed a magnificent and imposing sight: but in spite of all this crowd, all the music of the dogs, the horns, and the huntsmen's cries; in spite of every effort of the entire Field, the boar found means now and then to turn round and beat off the dogs which were most forward: however, seeing himself pursued, harassed on every side, he made a great effort and made off for Quienec. The hunters in full gallop cut across the heath of Roch-ar-Hastel. Here the scene was about to unravel itself which had lasted two days. It was M. Louis de Herstradt who found himself the first at the sortic from the wood: the wild-boar came straight towards him; he waited for him at ten paces, and wounded him severely with both barrels; but the animal always kept advancing, and this hunter would have run considerable risk, if M. de Mirabeau, who ran to his assistance, had not turned away the attention of the wild-boar, who, wounded, bloody, and ferocious, attacked him on his coming up. The latter, taken un
awares, and seeing no chance of salvation but in his address and sangfroid, knelt down on one knee, waited for the wild-boar at six paces, and sent two bullets into him, the one of which entered the corner of his mouth at the left, and broke one of his defenders and then traversed his heart; the other entered under his left eye and lodged in the abdomen. But for this lucky shot, which brought the wild animal to a stand-still, the intrepid hunter was a dead man! Notwithstanding, the agony of the monster was still terrible, he ripped up the bellies of the first hounds who fell on him. At length the entire Hunt arrived, and put an end to his fury. This wild-boar, one of the very finest that had been seen in Brittany for a length of time, weighed near four hundred pounds.
HUNTING THE RACOON.
Engraved by H. LEMON from a Painting by J. Bateman.
THE following extract from the letter of a trans-Atlantic friend will explain the subject of our plate. It was the text from which, with other hints, friend Bateman made his sketch-how faithfully we leave others to judge.
"We have another guess kind of sport here that you are not likely to experience in England, from want of the animal in the first place, and secondly to the disinclination of taking your delight on a shiny night,' as emulative of poaching. Hunting the racoon, or shooting him by moonlight, furnishes plenty of excitement in the wild woods of America, among the pines and hemlocks, and where the storm-worn oaks afford shelter for the cunning devils that explore and live in their hollows. It is a sort of scratch sport, nothing secundem artem as you manage things from hat to shoe-tie, and dogs of unimpeachable blood. Our quest is for the frolic and gratification of outwitting the varmint: that gives trouble enough unless you turn out with the moon and catch him out of his fastness. Fancy yourself on the verge of the forest covered with mighty timber trees standing in open ranks, and overshadowing a rugged surface covered with whortleberry, winter-green, and cranberries, the latter growing along the little watercourses that cross your path; here and there stony ledges and gray broken crags peering through the underwood matted with a thousand creeping vines and brambles. In open patches, where the bright light of the moon darts through the parted foliage, where, perhaps, a lightning-struck tree stands leafless, you may catch the racoon out upon furlough, indulging with his friends and relatives in fancied security. If you would succeed, your foot must fall lightly as a moccassin: the breaking of a dead branch, a stumble among the crisp and dried leaves will give the alarm. Blaze away when you get a chance, and trust the rest to your quadrupeds, rough or smooth it matters not, for you will have small chance, if any, left for another shot, the vagabonds tree with so admired an agility.
"Oh! it is rare sport in its way, and has furnished us with much adventure during a three-weeks sojourn in the woods with three or four of the right sort bent on taking quantum suff. of the wild sports Nature here affords us."