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strong and large pups than if you had reversed the case, and there is much less risk to her when bringing forth. It is necessary that the bitch should not only be large, but of a large kind.

The next consideration is the colour, which ought to be as dark as possible, for nothing spoils the appearance of a pack of hounds so much as a third of it being slight coloured. You come to the particular parts of the hound. Age in him tells as much as it does in old horses or old men. The older he is the fewer pups will he get, and the smaller they will become. One with youth upon his side should therefore be chosen, to obviate this, if he can possibly be obtained. His pedigree ought not, in any part, to be connected with that of the bitch, as there is nothing like crossing, provided it be done judiciously. If these things be attended to, healthy, strong, young hounds will take the place of puny, rickety pups.

I know this opinion will be rejected by numerous and powerful opponents, but having seen the wonderfully good effects of judicious crossing, I cannot but speak loudly in its favour.

Age, colour, and blood having been settled, the points are now most carefully studied.

1. The head: this most essential part of the frame deserves a few words. There is no dispute among breeders as to the legs and feet, but both a big and a little head has its advocates; and it is really a matter of difficulty to decide this seemingly easy question. A largeheaded hound* will be found, as far as I have seen, a steadier, and consequently a better hunting hound. His appearance is disliked, and this is more apparent when brought along side of a smart, fashionable hound. In a skurry or hill run, too, the big head will be left far behind; but should a check occur, and the scent become ticklish, a word from him then is worth a thousand. The light-headed houndt is quite a different animal; pleasing to the eye, lively, active, and nimble as a roe; never tiring, and always in the van. When twenty couples of such hounds settle to a fox on a good scenting day, how quickly they dispose of him! At what a pace they go ! fearing nothing. A gorse cover they draw undauntedly, and in a masterly manner. But should there be a deficiency of scent to hold them on, and abundance of riot, they get impatient, lose temper, and run riot almost, I may say, unwillingly. If this is admitted to be correct, it will be obvious that the hound to be desired is one with a light, handsome head, possessing all the caution and patience of the big-headed hound ; and such a hound is valuable. With regard to points, the neck should be long, light, well set on, and not at all “throaty ;' the chest should be ample, and the pectoral muscles largely developed ; the fore extremities must be faultless; the scapula must be well tied down, and the elbows well in, the action depending mainly on these two points ; the legs must be straight and the feet small, well formed, and compact; his ribs ought to be deep, with a good curve, tapering gradually as they proceed backwards, and ending as near as possible to the ilium; the loins must be well furnished with muscle, and slightly arched, more than filling the hand when grasped; the distance between the crest of the ilium and the foot ought to be long, provided the distances between the joints be kept in view, which greatly increases the stride and speed; the haunch should be plump and the thigh long, but fine at the hock, which should be prominent and bony ; the stem should be well set on, nicely curved, and

* Of course what is here meant by a large-headed hound is one whose head is big, but at the same time well made, and no lumberabout it, and altogether of a large build. I admit he takes plenty of time to do his work, but what great advantage he is of in finding foxes ! the little hound goes over the ground probably in half the time, but should the scent be bad the big hound will find four foxes for the other's two.

+ In like manner a light-headed hound is one altogether of a smaller make than the former.

# The points here given answer for the bitch as well as the dog.

bushy.

STAG-HUNTING IN THE WEST.

of

The month of August last was ushered in by a hot sun and a parched ground ; this, which was full of ill omen to those who looked forward to mountain toil in the north, laden with gun and shot-bag, was to me full of hope, for I contemplated pursuing the red deer of Devon and Somerset with hound and horn over the soft expanse Edmore, for which country it cannot be too dry, as the turf is never hard there. I will not contrast the sport I am about to detail with the pursuit of the same animal as followed in the Scottish Highlands, for I am afraid, as the one is so little known, and has so poor an advocate for its charms, that the northern sport would eclipse its rival by almost universal consent, backed as it is by so many eloquent and spirited descriptions, and not unfrequently favoured by royalty itself. There may be some, however, who prefer following the stag, as well as meeting their foe, openly, instead of using a rifle from behind a rock for his destruction ; such, at all events, is the opinion to which I hold, and, I believe, most of those who have had the pleasure of a season with the Devon and Somerset hounds.

As the 12th of August opens the grouse season, so does it bring in that of our stag-hunting; and the 13th of that month saw a small field assembled at Hawkridge, five miles from Dulverton : it was a wet

morning, and after waiting some time, the whip came to say that the hounds were gone to Hynam, and that a stag had been seen going into a wood near that place. The news turned out correct; several people had seen the deer go into cover by himself; so the pack was taken to Drayton Wood, and commenced drawing: unluckily, a hind was in company with the gentleman, and with the usual gallantry of his sort, he pushed her up, and laid himself down, and the whole pack were soon rattling at her ladyship’s heels

. They were light however, and soon made way; the scent proving very indifferent,

not

seen

she was not pressed at all, and going by Court Down and Baron's Down reached Haddon; here the hounds changed and changed, now a hind, now a calf, now a young male deer, until one of the last sort, some two years old or so, was run into the find and go away were very pretty, but the run bad, and the finish worse.

FRIDAY, 16th.-“ Brendon Barton." Up jogs the old keeper on a beautiful morning. “Well, keeper, single stag harboured, I hope?” “No, yer honour, thay be zeven on 'em upon Oare, and

a deer by himself anyways upon this part of the forest.” “ We'll try to ride one out,” says some one.

Easier said than done, thought I: however, on trotted fourteen couple to Oare Common, and when we got there, the deer had walked on to the opposite hill, and joined seven or eight more; so they were let alone, and an unfortunate hind happening to peep at us just then, the pack was laid on her, and chivied her over the hills to Brendon Covers, and change, change, change was kept up during the rest of the day; without blood! TUESDAY, 20th.-Keeper's news a shade more enlivening; he had

a deer walking away from a herd of stags early in the morning, but the fog had prevented his harbouring him well : it was on Badgeworthy Common, and an adjournment thither took place accordingly. When we approached the place, the keeper went forward to reconnoitre, and in doing so disturbed three stags, which galloped towards us. As prospects of a single deer were not of the brightest, we laid on the trio; but they, envious of the chorus belind them, picked up four more, considering, probably, that in union was strength. But they did not long stick to their text, for in five minutes they were dispersed here, there, and everywhere : this was just what was wanted: they all got frightened, and scampered away over different parts of the forest, to be found singly some day, and afford a good run.

I was riding a young horse for the first time with hounds, and got flung out by his refusing a wall: as I was endeavouring to cut in, two noble stags passed me at different times, with a hound or two running each, so as just to keep them moving : the huntsman, with a few hounds, stuck to another; and just as I caught them up above Milslade, the stag rose from a field of standing barley, in which he had ensconced himself with a hope to escape detection. “ That's not the fust time her's been in mey feald by many," cries a farmer, digging in his spurs with increased energy, and going off down a steep path as if the take of the deer altogether depended upon the pace with which he descended the acclivity. Again we paid the Brendon Covers a visit, and in a short time the stag crossed to Countisbury Hill, and the sea. A boat put out from Lynmouth to capture him, but he was not to be taken on board; so leaving the water, tried his running powers again, and ascending the cliffs returned to Brendon, with two or three couple at his heels: he was too pressed to try the open again, and the rest of the pack, which were shut up at the Barton, being let out, soon brought him to bay in a beautiful spot some hundred yards above Waters-meet, affording an excellent opportunity for entering the puppies. He was a tolerably-headed animal. Brow, bray, tray, and two on top, on one horn, and an upright on the other.

THURSDAY, 22nd.–Our intelligence from the old keeper again led us to Badgeworthy, where a fine stag was said to be lying in the heather, which is particularly high in that place : as we neared the hunting-gate leading into the common, a herd of hinds and calves were seen moving about in the distance, and although many in their minds devoted young and old to destruction, for being so much in the way, yet really it was well that they were there, for the purpose of showing the excellent discipline of the hounds. Twenty different scents must have been crossed, and not a hound broke away; a little dash perhaps now and then, but a well-timed rate from the masier brought them back again to the huntsman's heels, until at length up rose the finest deer I ever saw some five hundred yards before us, and away went the pack to the cheer, nor did they stop racing for thirty minutes, in about which time the covers at Brendon were reached ; round about these, in the Lyn, and in the woods for some short time, and then up the opposite hill to Countisbury, along the edge of the cliffs nearly to Glenthorne, and down to the water between there and Lin ton. To all appearance the sport was up, and a boat put out to secure the deer, but (a most unusual occurrence) he left the sea, and ascended the cliffs to return Brendon-wards. Two and a half couple of hounds, with Mr. Newton Fellowes, Jun., met him, and put him back to the waters of the Lyn, to a pretty good tune: that part of the pack which had been left at Brendon Barton in the morning was now let out, and with the others from the cliffs made about thirty couple, which soon brought him to bay, and this king of the forest suffered death in a small spot of ground by the river's side, embedded by the hills and rocks. Those who took part in the proceedings were of course rather too excited to stand aloof, and admire the picture, but it must have been a grand sight, and worthy of Landseer's pencil: the antlers were the best I ever saw in this part of the world; brow, bray, and tray, wonderfully long and perfect, and three on top, on one horn, and two on the other. How rarely does a deer's head appear quite perfect! I only have seen two, whose points were good, and yet both horns alike. A sporting farmer named Snow, had been promised this head, and no doubt some day I shall have the pleasure of quaffing divers cups under these same antlers, for the possessor, notwithstanding his frigid nomenclature, is by no means wintry in his nature.

SATURDAY, 24th.-Two stags had been seen some way within the forest, somewhere near Exbottom. They had moved off, however, before our arrival, but not long enough to prevent the hounds going off pretty freely with their scent, and in a short time they began their usual pace. In goes Mr. Knight, up to his horse's belly in black bog-a fair warning; so off jump some dozen or so, and after a little running the unsafe ground is passed, and the honnds are running to our right, with the gentleman who had been bogged getting on pretty good terms with them: nicely had our leading man piloted us; be dropped us quite alongside of the pack, which had been making a bend in our favour the whole way. Thinking that now all was as it ought to be, I got careless, but was reminded that my eyes must now and then look downwards, by suddenly finding myself on the ground, with my cap flattened, and my little thorough-bred plunging in a bog, with a girth broken. After repairing damage, by way of a shot I cantered to Brendon, and was just in time to see the hounds running hinds, calves, &c., &c. One of the stags crossed however to the opposite hill, only three couple with him ; he ran over the Countisbury hill to Glenthorne, and towards Culbone, where he beat us; the other deer, with eight couple, took another turn on the forest, but also was too good for his pursuers.

TUESDAY, 27th.—A brace of deer at the farther end of Badgworthy; a fine rouse, away though Badgworthy Wood, with only Mr. Henry Sandford and another riding with them: on coming to the further end of the cover, a most notable stag broke close to me, three on top both sides; by dint of holloaing I brought seven and a half couple after him, and from that spot to Horner Wood not a check occurred, and racing pace; only myself and the whip lived with them for the entire run, Mr. Brown, of Porlock, and Mr. Ley chimed in for a short time; but when the check took place at Cutcombe (for that at Horner Wood was only a minute or so), not a man came up for ten minutes. I should say the time was an hour and twenty minutes. This last check saved the deer's life; he had been headed by an old woman, and making sure that he had gone to water, a long cast was made down a brook, and more than twenty minutes passed before we again hit off the line: then over the enclosures to Luckwell and Exford, not without frequent checks however, and the horses being all done, the prospect of securing our chase got very distant. A mile or so above Exford, some men laid hold of the stag, but he was then a little too strong for them, and broke away and out of the water. About an hour afterwards came the hunters, at a pace which only got slower the further they went, and the stag eventually beat us, getting back to Horner Wood. This run was the fastest and straightest I ever saw with these hounds to the check, it took us not less than twelve or fourteen miles, and some seven miles or so afterwards; but it is difficult to calculate distance in an open, uncultivated country: my horse was quite knocked up, and I had to make a walk of it for sixteen miles. Mr. Jeffries Esdaile lost a valuable horse; and the day was so severe altogether for horses and hounds, that the bye-meet intended for the following Thursday was obliged to be given up; and no further hunting took place until SATURDAY, 31st, when Badgworthy Wood was drawn by the pack, and a fine stag found by himself, as the keeper suspected would be the case. The run was not straight, but we got to Brendon, and crossed to Countisbury, and over the hill by Glenthorne, where lie went to sea for a short time, and then out again; the hounds checked at the place he took water, but the huntsman getting off, went down over the cliffs to the beach, and after casting along it a mile or so, hit off the scent into Culbone Wood, where they fresh found, and came down in view through the breakers

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