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hounds, was the conduct of the two young Oldakers, his sons-Henry as huntsman, and Robert, as first whip. Taken conjointly, nothing could be more sportsman-like, nothing more efficient than their entire conduct appeared in my eyes, and it fully justified the remark I made some time previously, viz.—"that if it were possible to put old headson young shoulders, one huntsman in the prime of life is worth a dozen Tom Roses, or Steven Goodalls, or Ben Jenningses, with their grey hairs and all their experience to boot. A huntsman and one whipper-in should never lose sight of hounds when once the chase begins, and Henry and Bob Oldaker were never many yards from theirs. Other things may have combined towards producing the desired object, but this I will say—hounds steadier from riot, or truer to the line than Mr. Combe's were at the period I speak of, did not exist, and this I attributed, in great part, to the extreme activity of the brothers. As for Bob, he appeared to me worth a brace of most whippers-in we went with, and a little specimen of his zeal may here be quoted. When riding to turn his hounds, one of the field called out to him as he approached a fence, to “mind what he was about, as there was a yawner on the other side.”
“ A saw pit or a coal pit,” said he, “ is all one to me,” and over it he went to his hounds.
And what a treat did these brothers afford me, when at another time I met Mr. Combe's hounds at Len Heath, three miles from Witney. After running our fox with only half a scent for ten miles, they killed him in a woodland of seventeen hundred acres (part of Witchwood Forest), but not before he had given them two hours' hard work, with all sorts of difficulty to contend with.
Then, setting purse and pluck aside, Mr. Combe has another good qualification for a master of hounds, namely, an unconquerable activity of mind and body. When he hunted a part of Oxfordshire, no man in England perhaps, not professionally on the road, travelled more miles in the week than he did to enable him to get to his hounds.
I am unable to say any thing of the history of Mr. Combe's kennel when he took to it, by reason of Tom Oldaker, when he hunted the old Berkeley pack, not having been a breeder of hounds for several of his last years, but dependent on drafts from others of his craft; but I remember Mr. Combe purchasing Sir Jacob Astley's pack, which hunted a part of Norfolk, a miserable country for fox-hunting, I imagine—as all your readers know. He afterwards got possession of Mr. Osbaldeston's crack pack, which it was my intention to have seen in their kennel last spring, but circumstances arose to prevent me. My object was, to ascertain whether they still preserved their character for high form and high breeding for which they were so pre-eminent when last I saw them in Mr. Osbaldeston's kennel. Your readers are likewise aware that they are hunted by Will Todd, late second whip to the Duke of Beaufort, and a skilful man in the field.
MR. PARKER. I had many a gallop with Mr. Parker, when, conjointly with the present Sir Richard Puleston, he kept a small pack of harriers in Worcestershire, but I was only out twice with him after he became a master of fox-hounds; and as I have no recollection of any thing particular occurring, it may be presumed that they were days of that description -so many of which are passed with all packs—when nothing did arise beyond finding a fox and running him, sufficiently interesting to be impressed on one's mind, and above all, to stamp the impressior so deep as to remain indelible for twenty years, or very little short of that period.
Of the two excellent qualifications which I have allotted to Mr. Combe, as a master, one is possessed by Mr. Parker to no small degree. A more plucky man in a saddle, or a better rider to hounds than he was at one period of his life, would have been difficult to meet with ; in fact, he is the only man I know who would have done what I saw him do-namely, ride a crippled horse over a five-barred gate, when the ground was as hard as stone, from frost; but alas! the other requisite, the purse-was wanting. In my opinion, strengthened by the litile I saw,
and the great deal I heard, Mr. Parker was just the man to hunt a rough fox-hunting-like country, and to make the best of it. When I was in the Oakley country, two seasons back, I heard a good character of him as a sportsman, and, I have reason to believe, he left behind him one equally favourable in that respect, in all others which he hunted. But a master of hounds without money-to borrow one of Dr. Maginn's similes, may be compared to the Archer in the battle without his quiver.
MR. TEMPLAR. There are what may be called regular and irregular masters of hounds --that is to say some gentlemen-and in the Sister kingdom especially, bunt both fox and hare, and occasionally I believe, stag, with the same pack. Such, however, was not the case when I hunted with Mr. Templer's hounds in Devonshire, inasmuch as they never hunted any thing but fox, although all of them were not thorough bred fox-hounds. Their standard indeed not being over nineteen inches, at once accounts for their not being such, unless all the kennels in England had been
Since this account was penned, Tbe “ Old Berkeley" have passed into the bands of Lord Southampton; and Mr. Combe bas wound up his career as a master of fox-bounds, equally respected and esteemed throughout his country for his liberality in the kennel, and his kindness in the field.-Ed. N. S. M.
ransacked for what may be termed dwarfs, and even then it would have been difficult to find them,
The extraordinary circumstance in reference to this Mr. Templer's establishment, is the fact, that, in their home country, they were never suffered to taste the blood of a fox if it were possible to stop them froin doing so. And strange to say, difficult as the country is in which they were thus managed, it seldom happened that a sinking fox was not picked up before them by one or another of the field, who were singularly adroit in this rather hazardous act. Their chief game, howeveralthough they generally first tried for a wild fox, was hunting bag-men, as foxes turned from a bag are not inaptly called, and for this purpose Mr. Templar had, when I visited him, nearly thirty brace of old and young foxes in cubs, some of the former of which have been hunted several times. One indeed, had afforded no less than thirty-six days sport, returning at night to his cub, when he succeeded in beating his pursuers! There is an apparent tameness in these proceedings, but to show that these hounds were really good of their kind, and could kill wild foxes if permitted to do so, I may state the fact, that when taken to the Chumleigh club, during the season of my seeing them, for the purpose of hunting alternate days with those of Mr. Newton Fellowes, and Sir Arthur Chichester, they killed three braces of foxes in four days.
That Mr. Templar, like Mr. Musters, had an extraordinary method of engaging the affection of his hounds, and rendering them strictly subservient to his will, I had abundant proof when in the field with him. I saw a fox turned down in their view, and within twenty yards of where they stood, when not a hound stirred until he gave the word " away.”
I consider Mr. Templar to be, by nature, a thorough sportsman, notwithstanding that objections may be raised, and justly so, against the system he pursued, as wanting the liveliness and spirit of fox-hunting. Still, had it been his lot to have been at the head of a pack of well-bred fox-hounds in a good country, I have reason to believe be would have distinguished himself. In one respect he could not fail of doing so–in pleasing his field by his amiable and gentlemanlike deportment to all descriptions of persons, which rendered him beloved and respected wheresoever he was known.
THE LATE MR. MYTTON.
Here is another of the “irregulars.” But why call Mr. Mytton an irregular? He was a master of fox-hounds—my reader may exclaim. Indeed he was, and not with a bad pack neither, considering who was at the head of them. Then why“ irregular?” I answer, because he would turn out bag foxes before them. As a master of hounds this was a than many
blot on the sporting reputation of my old friend ; and I shall not forget the quiet rebuke Sir Bellingham Graham gave him when, after inspecting his hounds in the Halston kennel, he was shown a leash of foxes in another place. Mr. Mytton believed them to be Welch ones, from a distance; but it was by no means impossible that they might not have been taken in some of the best covers in the part of Shropshire at that time hunted by Sir Bellingham.
That the sort of off-hand talent displayed on all occasions by Mr. Mytton, should have been brought into action in a pursuit so congenial with his feelings as fox-hunting, is only what might have been expected, and to a considerable extent was it displayed in his character as a master of hounds. As for myself, I am at a loss to account for many things that came under my observation having reference to his foxhunting establishment. In the first place, with a very indifferent huntsman, and a very wild master, who would have looked for steadiness in Mr. Mytton's hounds ? And yet they were not more unsteady
others I could name. I here speak of the pack with which he hunted the Albrighton country-which he took to on the relinquishment of it by Mr. Cresset Pelham- from 1817 to the close of the season of 1821, inclusive, making five seasons in all, and five days in the week; and I may add, with a fair share of sport. Secondly, who would have looked for punctuality in the hour of meeting, from a person of Mr. Mytton's uncertain babits ? and yet, although he never possessed a watch, he was scarcely known to be half an hour beyond his time, come from where he might, and oftentimes would he ride fifty miles to cover, and return at night—that is, from Halston to the covers in the neighbourhood of Ivetsey Bank, where his kennel was. But, I repeat, who would have looked for any thing like inanagement or order in Mr. Mytton's hunting establishment? and yet it did exist. Who could have looked for any thing like steadiness in hounds, which he, once in my presence, let out of the kennel at Halston in a very hard frost, with a bagman before them,-returning as they might, for no horse could follow them,-after having amused themselves in any way that might have been agreeable to them?
All things considered, it was not likely that many masters of hounds would be inclined to breed from, still less to purchase, the contents of Mr. Mytton's kennel. On his giving up his first pack of fox-hounds, however,-for he had been a master of harriers from his boyhood, he luckily found an Irish customer for the greater part of them; whilst his second, which he purchased of Mr. Newman of Hornchurch, Essex, were sold for somewhere about the value of their skins. Nor was this to be wondered at. He not only hunted them himself, but would occasionally, as I have witnessed, and described in the Memoir I wrote of his Life, play all sorts of antic tricks with them, both in the kennel and in the field. For example: I once saw him, when well primed by a Shropshire luncheon, make two very wide casts for his fox, which he knew was not gone that way, merely for the sake of inducing his field to follow him over some rather awkward fences !
I could never discover whether or not Mr. Mytton was at heart a sportsman--that is to say, whether or not he enjoyed seeing his hounds at work, beyond the mere pleasure any master might feel at the finish of a good run; when-although he himself had little enough of that infirmity in his composition_his vanity might be flattered. I never heard him cheer an individual hound when drawing, or in chase ; nor, with the exception of Hudibras, whose portrait was taken with his own, had he any favourite hound, as most masters have; neither did he know the names of all the hounds in his kennel. This last assertion, however requires some qualification. He would tell his friends he did not know their names, but whether such was really the case, I cannot take upon myself to say, knowing his disposition on trifting matters to disguise his real sentiments.
I have said that Mr. Mytton's hounds had not justice done them by their huntsman, who was far from clever, although an excellent servant in all other respects. His name was John Craggs, and he was unfortunately killed by a fall from a restive horse in the stable yard at Halston. His second pack, as I have already said, were hunted by himself, and whipped in by Ned Evans, who was a beautiful horseman, and by no means deficient in his duties in the field.
Of Mr. Mytton as a horseman, it would be useless to say a word, were it not to confirm the truth of an opinion often urged by me namely, that men above eleven stone get better over a country than men under that weight. The fact is, strength will be served ; and to show how necessary it is in the saddle, in assisting a hunter over a country, Mr. Mytton was never known to have his so completely beaten as not to carry him to the end of a run ; neither was he ever obliged to walk home, as might have been expected to have been the case, from his desperate style of riding. He had a heavy hand; but, from the immense strength of his arm, it was a vast support to his horses ; and no horse ever yet foaled, would have carried his weightgood thirteen stone-at his pace, with a loose head and a slack rein.
THE DUKE OF BUCCLEUCH. Here we have another honour-doing nobleman to the truly British diversion of fox-hunting. His Grace, as is known to most of your readers, commenced as master with the Lothian hounds, having the good fortune to procure with them their famous huntsman William Williamson, of whom I spoke with such reverence in my Northern Tour.