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sition, a character, in the breed of foxes as there is known to be in the breeds of hounds and horses, which endows them with certain faculties that are most probably entailed from one generation to another. We find some countries invariably stocked with foxes possessing such attributes as to render them totally worthless in shewing sport; and again in others they are as essentially superior. This distinction is very frequently observable in coverts very nearly adjoining to each other. The nature of a country has doubtless much influence in this respect, and the manner in which it is hunted has certainly a very great effect on the habits of the foxes. By this I should explain myself as intending to shew the necessity of frequently hunting extensive woodlands, from which foxes are reluctant to depart: but with every effort which human skill can devise, unless the vulpine race possess a disposition to face an open country, they will never shew really good sport, and, after running a few fields from their native woods, will invariably return to them again. When such foxes as these are killed it is a very great desideratum: the essential requirement of blood is obtained without sacrificing an animal that has shewn, or in any probability ever would have shewn much amusement; but when a really good fox dies, it cannot fail to produce feelings of regret in the breast of every true Sportsman. It has been a rare occurrence of late years to find foxes in the Withington and Chedworth Woods, in the Earl Fitzhardinge's country, that could be induced to leave their sylvan refuge. This season the charm appears to be broken, and an excellent run (the details of which will be given in the proper place) has been the result. It was over a capital line of country, and the only circumstance for regret exists in that of so gallant an animal being killed-an expression, however, in which Ayres, the Noble Earl's huntsman, will not I am aware coincide with me.
In my last communication I mentioned the circumstance of Lord Gifford's hounds having had a most excellent run, but was unable to learn the particulars in time to accommodate the industrious machinery of the Press. I have since that period made the requisite inquiries, and relate the tale " as it was told to me," with a similar account of another "clipper" which they had in the succeeding week. I must here observe, these are not the only good runs His Lordship's hounds have shewn, for they have had up to the commencement of the frost a most excellent season; but they are the two best, and the first especially was such a one as seldom falls to the lot of any pack.
It is publicly rumoured that Lord Gifford retires from the list of Masters of Foxhounds after the conclusion of the present season. During the period he has kept hounds, the zealous attachment which he has evinced for the "Noble Science" has elicited the highest esteem in the Sporting World; and the motive for His Lordship relinquishing a post which he has maintained with such universal éclat is stated to be an attachment of a different nature, which renders the Mastership of Hounds incompatible with its full enjoyment.
On Thursday, November 14th, Lord Gifford's hounds met at Kempsford, but the surrounding country being inundated with water, a retreat was sounded towards higher ground, and the locality of Furzy Hill was selected. Into a small copse, nearly adjoining that celebrated covert, the hounds were thrown, and scarcely had they entered it when
the full chorus which emanated from the pack proclaimed them to be on excellent terms with one of the crafty inhabitants of the woody glen, one of the wildest, gamest, and best of the vulpine genus ever recognised by a hound. Instantly, upon hearing those notes which could not fall upon his senses but with the most unwelcome tidings, he flew like an arrow from his resting place. The first point he sought was Lady Lamb's copse, which afforded him no shelter: the pack carried the scent quickly through it, and over the turnpike-road, through Honeycomb Lees, at a tremendous pace; indeed, so great was the speed at this point as completely to defy the efforts of the horsemen to live with the pack, and when they arrived at Quenington Coneygeres, there was not anyone with them. The very wet and consequently deep state of the land gave a most decided turn in favor of the hounds; but as they came to a check at the road near the Coneygeres, it enabled some of the leading horsemen to reach the pack. Here the scent being quickly recovered, very little breathing time was afforded to the already distressed nags. The fox now took a line to the left in the direction of Ready Token, leaving Sharborough on the right, when Bibury appeared to be his point; but, leaving that place also on the right hand, proceeded for Arlington Village, to Ablington Grove. Lord Gifford and one or two others, endeavouring to keep on the line of the hounds, were impeded by some water, and eventually compelled to retrace their course, much to their discomfiture, as with horses in distress, and hounds going at such a pace, the most trifling delay was rendered an object of importance. At this crisis three hounds contrived to get away with the scent considerably in advance of the body of the pack. This it is supposed was accomplished by their going on with the scent on one side of a wall, while the remaining hounds on the other side followed the cry, till from some cause or other it ceased, with no one sufficiently near to detect the mischief. These three hounds carried on the line to Sherborne Lodge Park, the pack following them, with whom were Lord Gifford, Grant the first Whip, and a select few. The time occupied from finding to this point was exactly one hour.-A fresh fox here got up, to which the body of the pack settled, and went away to Sherborne Park, where the Whipper-in succeeded in stopping them. By this occurrence the life of the gallant animal which had afforded this brilliant run was saved: he is a right good one, and it is to be hoped there are more of his kindred in the same locality, or that his life will be prolonged to permit of his leaving a numerous progeny equally good. The line of country cannot be excelled: it is for the most part level, the fields are large, and the only impracticable impediments were met with at Ablington Grove, which of necessity compelled the horsemen to deviate from the direction where the hounds were enabled to cross. All the horses which attempted to follow throughout this splendid run were beaten. Grant, the Whipper-in, rode a clever chesnut horse, which Lord Gifford purchased last season from Mr. William Hewer, of Northleach, and which carried him in a most brilliant manner.
The following Thursday was another propitious day. Seven Bridges was appointed as the place of meeting, but proceedings were unceremoniously procrastinated by a dense fog, which so completely enveiled the surface of the earth that the hounds were not put into
covert till twelve o'clock. Water Eaton copse and Bury Town brake were both drawn blank. Crabtree copse was then called upon, and proved fortunate. Another of the good sort of old-fashioned wild foxes was in readiness, and, without occupying much unnecessary time in preliminaries, hastened to quit the covert, pointing for Lissil Hill, when he headed back to the left, over the Shire ditch. The river Thames formed the succeeding impediment, which he unhesitatingly crossed, about a mile on the left of Castle Eaton. This formed an obstacle which was for a time fatal to the enjoyment of the greater portion of the Field. Although this part of the Father of British Rivers is not quite so broad as it is at Westminster Bridge, still its width is considerable, besides which the muddy nature of the bottom and the boggy state of the banks render it a question of experiment, whether, having ridden into it, it may not form not only an unpleasant stable for a horse, but eventually become an everlasting resting-place for his bones. Moreover, on the opposite side was placed a row of hurdles, one of which it was necessary to remove before a passage could be effected. Nevertheless, Mr. Parker, of Cricklade, was the first to challenge the fickle Goddess by making the attempt, and, fortunately for him, he was successful in finding a tolerably sound bottom; and, having removed the barrier in the form of hurdles, effected an opening for himself and others. By this time the Field had taken their course for the Bridge at Castle Eaton, piloted thither by those most intimately acquainted with the country. In crossing the river, Mr. Rawdon, anxious to effect a passage with greater expedition than waiting for the removal of a hurdle, rode his horse some distance down the stream, by which the life of the animal was placed in considerable danger. Mr. Colquit Goodwin, Mr. John Phillips, Mr. Wills, and Mr. Lucre, with, I believe, one or two more, but whose names I have not been able to learn, crossed at this place. Having got over the river, the hounds streamed away at a great pace for Down Amney, which they passed on the right, making for Maisey Hampton, when they bore to the left for Poulton, and straight on to the Red Lion, Easington, where they made a turn back, running under Poulton, direct to the coverts at Driffield. Here the career of this gallant fox terminated, after a most brilliant chase of one hour and fifty-five minutes. By comparison, this does not appear to have equalled the one on the preceding Thursday either for pace or the direct line from point to point. Reference to one of the Red Hunting maps will shew that the first run was as nearly as possible direct from South to North, whereas various deviations from a direct line occurred in the last. In fact, I am led to believe the run on the 14th was one of the quickest and straightest ever known in this or any other country.
Subsequently to the posting of my last communication, the Earl Fitzhardinge's hounds have enjoyed a succession of most brilliant sport, although there were two days on which their operations were interdicted by the elements, on the 13th and the 18th of November—on the former day in consequence of the rain, and on the latter on account of the fog.
Tuesday, November 19, although frosty, dawned with propitious aspects, and a very large Field mustered at Puzedown. The hounds
found their first fox in Hazleton brake, and running him, or, more correctly, racing him to Salperton, they killed him in a spinney before you could say "Jack Robinson:" in fact, it was so expeditiously executed, and the varmint so speedily demolished, that it was scarcely known to many that he was killed. It is somewhat of a novelty to see barley standing in the fields in the month of November; but such was the extraordinary season of last summer, that there is, even at this period, much of that grain, as well as of oats, unharvested on the Coltswood Hills: the consequence of which is, the foxes very frequently seek shelter in the corn-fields in preference to the coverts. Such being the case, the Noble Earl considered it expedient to draw a field of barley near Salpertore, and here, sure enough, a fox was reposing; and as there was no covert to shelter him, he had but one alternative, that of making the most speedy flight in his power. His course was first for Puzedown, and across the Northleach and Cheltenham Road, sinking the Vale as if he intended to go to Chedworth or Star Wood. This being up wind, the scent was tolerably good, upon which he made a turn to the left, and recrossed the road on the left of Puzedown Inn. As he was now running down wind, the scent very materially failed, yet they succeeded in hunting him to the New Gorse, with occasional checks, the delay arising from which rendered the scent still worse, and he was given up near Naunton Inn.
On the following Tuesday, these hounds had a capital run from Star Wood, where they met, but were deprived of the able assistance of their Noble Master, His Lordship being at that time in London. When good run is seen under unexpected circumstances, like all other mundane events, which exceed in profit or pleasure the amount of anticipated benefit, we naturally enjoy the occurrence with greater zest. The immense tract of woodland comprised in Chedworth, Withington, and Star Woods renders this place of meeting a doubtful one as regards sport; that is, in the estimation of those who consider a run in the open as an essential; and, with ninety-nine out of a hundred, such is at all events the declared opinion. Having drawn Star Wood, and found as usual, the fox slipped across the bottom to Chedworth, dodging backwards and forwards with apparently not a very good scent. This kind of diversion continued upwards of two hours, during which time several foxes were on foot: at length, one of them crossed from Chedworth to Star Wood, and the hounds on pretty good terms with him. They will taste him if we do not meet with an accident," exclaimed Ayres, as they ran him towards the upper end of the wood; but a horseman presenting himself on the outside, just at the spot where he was about to break, headed him back, and caused him to make another partial circuit of the covert. The coast being clear at the succeeding attempt, he went over Compton Park, and then bearing a little to the right, the wall, which is somewhat formidable, had to be negotiated by the few who were fortunate enough to get a start, an event not calculated upon, and consequently the Field were dispersed in all directions throughout the woods. This fox took an excellent line; in fact, the very best the country presents. After leaving Compton Park, he appeared to be steering for Hazleton, where he tried a drain on Mr. William Walker's farm, which being stopped, he turned to the left You YiTmn Sparse, N. &-No. 94,
towards Compton Village, and then direct to Sowden and Cleveley covert. Up to this point the Field was very select; but as the fox had in his course described a portion of a circle, those who persevered were enabled to get up, and as he waited a few minutes in the covert, an additional facility was afforded to the detachment of absent cavalry. Being compelled to leave the covert, he again faced the open, crossing the meadows on the left of Frog Mill Inn, so well known in the annals of Steeple-chasing, and also the brook. Among the foremost at this critical point was Mr. George Fletcher, who went gallantly over the brook, evidently delighted with the run; thence still bearing to the left, they went at a merry pace past Foxcote Village to the covert, where the gallant pack verified their Huntsman's prediction by venturing "to taste him," the honors of the day devolving on Mr. George Fletcher, he being the first up to claim the distinction due on such occasions.-The time occupied from the fox breaking covert at Star Wood to that of his being killed was exactly forty-four minutes.
Unless a country is well stocked with foxes, and the coverts are kept quiet, it cannot be expected that small plantations will be drawn with any chance of finding in a few days after hounds have run through them and, therefore, the expectation of Sowden holding a fox on the following Monday could not be estimated as a certainty. Frog Mill Inn was selected as the place of meeting. A sharp frost during the preceding night rendered the ground, especially the turf, somewhat hard, but not to such an extent as to prevent the hounds throwing off very soon after the accustomed time; but in consequence of the inauspicious appearance of the morning, several of the usual attendants were "just in time to be too late.” The great zeal and care which Mr. George Fletcher evinces in the preservation of foxes would have been ill repayed had his Sowden covert been drawn blank, malgrè the hounds had been through it so very recently; but they had scarcely entered it, when the universal chorus of the pack proclaimed the fact that they had not paid an unsuccessful visit; and without any ceremonious hesitation the fox instantly quitted the copse, sinking the Vale and over the brook to Foxcote, when he turned to the right for Sandywell Park still diverging to the right over some fine scenting grass land, he crossed the Cheltenham and London Road near Andoversford Inn, where the hounds came to a short check. Hitting it off again, they ran somewhat to the right, up the hill, leaving Brockampton Park on the right, near to which they had another short check: they then ran to Westwood, where the fox remained from ten to fifteen minutes, but the pack stuck to him incomparably well: at length, he quitted it, making for Corn Deans Plantation, where they ran him to ground and killed him. This was an excellent hunting run, and calculated to exemplify the working abilities of this most splendid pack.
On the following day, the Earl Fitzhardinge's hounds met at Naunton Inn, which enables me to add another memorandum of their gallant bearing. They soon found in Wynniatt's Brake, but at first the fox did not appear to be very anxious to leave his quarters: however, the pack stuck to him somewhat seriously, and, finding a good opening, he effected his passage at the lower corner, down the hanging bank, and over the brook, when, having run the distance of two fields, he turned