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ought to be the study of its patrons to render it, and the actors in it, as respectable as possible—not to lower it by using terms in description that can only be tolerated in a pothouse. Might it not be as well said, that Double-joint got a severe straight blow on the nose, ear, jaw, or stomach, as to say it reached his “smeller,’ ‘listener,’ his ‘left chaff-grinder,’ or that it paid a visit to his ‘victualling office'?” and much more to the same effect, which I confess I do not understand. I make no objection to the doings of Gully, Belcher, Gregson, &c.; but then I make no objection to their language either. I can understand you, who object to the thing, objecting also to the language; but the one is consistent with the other at all events, which the friend can scarcely be said to be with himself. Uncle S.—You are right, Charlie : wrong in not objecting to the thing, which 1 look upon as the semibarbarous remains of a chivalrous age; but right in not objecting to have things called by their proper names. The moment a man descends into the prize ring, to batter his neighbour for two hundred sovereigns (which, by the way, become at once the rowdy), or be battered by him, his features assume a different expression, and consequently become known by a different name. A nose is no longer a nose, but a smeller; a mouth becomes a chaff-box, and a head a nut—a conk. The men who had “stomach '' for the fight lived in Henry the Fifth's reign, and fought at Agincourt; the men with “victualling offices” are reserved for a more civilized age, and pitch their tents in A-gin-palace. As to rendering the actors at a prize fight “as respectable as possible,” it's like teaching a man to pick a pocket honestly. If there descended into the ring our friends the Marquis of Downeybird and Lord Charles Knocktonbury, supported by the Bishop of Devon and Lord Eustace Fitzhamilton on the one side, and the Archbishop of St. James's and the Duke of Dunderhead on the other ; if their crib was Devonshire House, and the match was made after a ministerial dinner, with the Right Honourable the Chancellor of the Exchequer holding the stakes; if the ring was kept by the Junior Ensign of the Grenadier Guards, and its front row occupied by the Ladies of the Bedchamber, I can easily understand why a nose should remain a nose, and a head a head; simply because the people most interested would best understand it. But as long as the thing comes off between two confounded blackguards, only known as Big Ben the bargee, and Walloping Dick the bandy-legged scavenger, the language in which the reports are printed will not much alter the facts of the case. Of course, if drawing-room language will bring drawingroom company to the borders of three counties, I have nothing to say against it. What I say now is, reform the thing first, and we'll talk about the language afterwards. Neph.-Thank you, uncle; I never have been more edified in my life. That's just what I meant to have said myself; my sentiments to a turn, sir. Uncle S.—Long may they remain so. Only I ought to add, that we are none of us answerable for our friends' delinquencies; and Harry Hieover tells us that he has had many a turn-up himself, and partakes of his friend's opinions only in “a mitigated degree.” Neph.-May his friend be forgiven for such “unmitigated nonsense.” Good night, sir.
“Hounds of their various sort, and no less various use.”
What was the origin of the term hound I never heard; others may have done so, but I never have been informed of the derivation of the epithet. If intended to specify a dog used in the pursuit of game in general terms, why not apply it to all used for such purpose ? the pointer and setter would then be distinguished as partridge or grouse hounds. It was not meant to specify dogs hunting by scent; for we originally spoke of the gaze, now grey-hound. We can only, therefore, conclude it to be a word that, like many others, has come into general use, why or wherefore we know not. It is by no means a perfect or specific appellation, because we are obliged to make use of an antecedent ere we can clearly specify the particular kind of hound we allude to. In specifying and attempting to accurately describe different sorts of hounds of chase, it will be absolutely necessary to first mention the staghound, not out of any peculiar respect for him or his pursuit, but that in point of antiquity he takes precedence of the foxhound, or of the various kinds of hound that are in use to hunt hares; in fact, without we had first had the staghound, our present race of the foxhound would not have existed; and it would sound no little discordant in the ears of my brother fox-hunters, should I say—and fact only induces me to write the truth—the foxhound we so glory in is, as regards his family and ancestry, a mongrel. I must, I fear, anticipate no trifling expression of indignation from fox-hunters on reading a word so repugnant to the ideas of the sportsman, and the more so when applied to an animal his beau ideal of perfection in the race of dogs. I trust, however, he will suspend his denouncement of me till I have brought forward such reasons as I consider, or at least hope, will justify me in the unusual remark—in fact, assertion—that I have made. Although we may feel quite certain the staghound existed long before any other modern sporting dog in use, we must not (or, at all events, it would be quite useless to) say anything about his native (or rather original) country. A few centuries ago no such animal as our present staghound was known in any country. We talk about the old English bloodhound: this would seem to infer that the bloodhound is an indigenous animal of our country: this is by no means certain; nor, from what I have read, do I believe it to be the case. I should rather say, his original country was Spain; but whether this be correct or not, it is quite certain he was known there long before he was so here. That he was the dog chiefly used in former days as the chief hound of chase, I should very much doubt; for, judging by very old pictures, the dogs represented there are far more of the greyhound breed than that of the slow but sure scenting animal, such as the bloodhound Talbot, or, indeed, any dog that trusted to his nose more than his speed; and this most likely was the case; for in times when to get the haunch for table was the chief incentive, and a run from Slough or Maidenhead thicket to Hendon was an exploit, on the part of deer, hounds, horses, or men, unknown and unwished for, it is probable such practice was adopted as appeared (or probably really was) the quickest mode of securing the game pursued. To this end, if pictorial representations are correct—independent of archers, who aimed at, wounded, or killed the game as it passed any open space, at such openings men were placed who each held a couple of dogs in leash, ready to let slip at the proper moment; these probably, like our greyhounds, either pulled down the game while it remained in sight, or, if they failed, were again coupled, to be let slip on the next occasion — probably the bloodhound or Talbot was employed in driving the game from the thickest part of the woods or forests; but it is quite clear these were not trusted or considered to be alone the agents by which the game was to be secured. In after years, when hunting became a pastime as well as pursuit, and the country became more peopled, these thick forests were more or less cleared and curtailed; this led to game being easily forced through, and indeed from cover, and as in such cases it took across the open country, archers on foot became useless; the hunters all took horse, and as it seems they found the bloodhound too slow to run up to game in any reasonable time. . So they found it would not do to trust to hounds that ran by sight only; an increased speed, with scenting powers, became necessary in their dogs of chase: to effect this, it is quite probable they crossed the bloodhound with the strong kind of gazehound then in use, and from that cross descended the staghound in use in the last century. So far as I can ascertain the fact, there were originally three distinct colours, distinguishing the different race of bloodhounds, and probably the different countries to which they belonged. There was the direct black and tan; the dark brown, with darker markings on the muzzle, down the back, and in other parts; and there was a breed of entire fawn colour: from the latter, I conclude, the staghound in use in the last century was descended, as those hounds were to a dog all fawn, or, as it is sometimes called, lemon and white pied. Such were the pack in use with his late Majesty George the Third. These hounds were of great size; their tone deep, like that of their ancestors, the bloodhound; and their speed far greater than might have been supposed; but, like the game they pursued, let the pace be what it might, they never appeared to be going fast. It is the same with the stag, he always appears to be taking the thing leisurely, even with the hounds close to his haunches; at least, this much I can say, that during seven consecutive seasons that I hunted with staghounds, I never saw a hunting deer so exert himself as to give the impression that he was at the top of his speed. If we see a hare closely pursued, there is an increased and emergetic jerk with her hind legs, that at once shews the great speed and exertion she is making use of. If a fox is unexpectedly run up to, while he has any increased exertion in him, he lays his ears in his pole and his legs to the ground in unmistakeable evidence of being at his best speed; but in the deer (that is, the large red deer) I never could perceive any corresponding increased speed or exertion: whether out of hearing of hounds or with them close on him, he strides along with a cool, collected, even stroke; the only perceptible difference I could ever perceive in this was a more lengthened stride, and a somewhat quickened stroke. We all know that the smaller the animal the quicker appear—nay, indeed are—its motions. I believe that, as regards comparative size, small animals are more speedy than large ones; still we are much deceived in this respect. The mouse appears quick as thought in its motions—so it is; but in an open space a man can far outwalk its utmost speed; this might account for why a large animal like the stag appears to be always going at his leisure. But we must bring against this the racehorse: in him we do see at different times very apparent difference of speed and exertion; and he, when near the ending post, shews at once that he is at the top of his speed—a manifestation we never see in the stag. It is just the same with the hounds that followed him at the period I have alluded to ; they went with the same measured stride as the stag they pursued, and from this no excitement stimulated them, What would have been the maximum speed of a staghound, if tried, it is impossible to say, as I believe the experiment never was made ; but, under any circumstances, I should say it would have been found greatly inferior to that of the foxhound, the greatest proof of which is that after Majesty no longer honoured the royal chase by its presence, and the taste and wishes of gentlemen who hunted with the Royal Pack could be consulted, the old deep-flewed, pendant-eared, yellow and white pied hound was at once put aside, and the regular foxhound introduced to his new vocation of hunting the stag. The consequence of this has been that stag-hunting has become a chase, short, sharp, and decisive. We hear no more of “takes,” twenty miles or more from the turn-out ; and in my humble opinion, a great change this for the better. I dislike a journey on horseback under most circumstances, but a journey with hounds is sad work indeed. The very horses used in these days in the royal hunting establishment at once shew the different pace the hounds now go, to what they did fifty years ago: those used in such times were a good wear-and-tear sort, that did not mind one of the hunting journeys (then of frequent recurrence), provided the pace was not too great; but now Davis finds The Traverser not a bit too fast for his hounds. A somewhat delicate Newmarket gentleman this said flyer, that one of the old sort would wear out in a month, if equally worked ; but then, on one of those enduring ones, if the turn-out was the race-course, the hounds would be at Swallowfield ere their huntsman had passed Swinly Lodge enclosure. “Calf-hunting,” as fox-hunters jocosely, I must not say derisively, call stag-hunting, has now lost many of those features that formerly subjected it to such unsporting appellation. The pace equals fox-hunting; there it is no stopping hounds to accommodate royal convenience or prescribed etiquette ; so far, therefore, as the actual chase goes, it is as exciting as any other for those whose object is riding and a certain gallop. “But,” says a brother fox-hunter, “there is something so tame in turning out an animal merely to catch it again.”. I quite agree with my friend, and I think this destroys all the zest of the thing; but we must not forget that, in fox-hunting, there is occasionally such a
Now for the “mongrel” I have spoken of.
As sweet as a foxhound ! some one may ironically remark. In making the quotation, good critic, I did not mean it to bear on sweetness or its reverse, but on the little importance of epithets; but I will meet you on the score of what may affect the olfactories. A foxhound, I admit, is anything but sweet, if kept in an improper state; but with all deference to superior man, I maintain that a foxhound, kept in proper (that is, perfect) cleanliness, and in a well-ventilated habitation, is no more objectionable as regards his person than many animals we sometimes meet with, ranking higher in usual estimation; in fact, I should say, far less so than would be the person whose inattention to cleanliness might cause objection to be made to his proximity to the hounds. I believe any animal whose origin is not confined to a particular and distinct species, but on the contrary, is the offspring of two different breeds, is literally a mongrel; it matters not if one parent was the highest bred greyhound that ever won at Amesbury and Newmarket, the other the best pointer that ever gun shot over, a direct mongrel the produce would be. That no such animal as the foxhound formerly existed as a species of the dog is, I believe, an indisputable fact ; he has, therefore, arisen from an admixture of breed of some sort; that the bloodhound was on one side the founder of the foxhound there can be little doubt, but of what strain the other parent was is left in obscurity; it might be surmised that the foxhound was still the bloodhound degenerated in point of size; but this would not have altered the general appearance and characteristics of the animal. To effectually get rid of the enormous ears, large head, loose loins, over-hanging upper lip, dewlap and general throaty appearance of the bloodhound, a cross with a lighter and cleaner bred dog must have been made use of, probably the terrier (call him what they might in former days); for before foxhunting was carried on as it has been for the last hundred and fifty years, foxes used to be destroyed in their earths as vermin, and for this purpose a dog was used no doubt the prototype of our terrier. Of pointers, setters, or spaniels, we know little, or rather hear nothing of in ancient records, so we will not admit them as forming any collateral branch of the foxhound family. The shepherd's dog, no doubt, existed; but the bob or no-tailed animal we have, or the small bush-tailed Scotch dog, are both so totally unlike the foxhound, that we must equally reject them as the relatives of foxhounds. It is admitted by all naturalists that no animal indigenous to this country is seen in such variety of form as is the dog; this, of coarse, arises from the spontaneous crosses that take place; but these circumstances only occur among dogs of common breed, the purity of whose blood is a matter of no importance to any one. But dogs of value are so scrupulously watched at particular periods, that having got our breeds of sporting dogs perhaps as near perfection as they can be, there is no fear of our permitting them to degenerate while kept in this their own country; yet, whatever pains may be taken, no means have as yet been found to prevent sporting dogs losing caste, in every particular, shortly after their arrival in foreign ones: this, I believe, is found to be more the case with hounds than with pointers, setters, or dogs of any kind used in the pursuit of winged game; at