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jump this," cries "Swell," as he gathers him together, and prepares for
the effort. He hardens his heart and goes at it full tilt, and the leggy
animal lands him three yards on the other side. "Curse this fellow,"
cries Jorrocks, grinning with rage as he sees "Swell" skimming through
the air like a swallow on a summer's eve, "he'll have a laugh at the
Surrey, for ever and ever, Amen. Oh, dear! oh, dear! I wish I durst leap
it. What shall I do? Here bargee," cries he to a bargeman, "lend us a
help over and I'll give you ninepence." The bargeman takes him at his
word, and getting the vessel close to the water's edge, Jorrocks has
nothing to do but ride in, and, the opposite bank being accommodating,
he lands without difficulty. Ramming his spurs into his nag, he now
starts after "Swell," who is sailing away with a few couple of hounds
that took the canal; the body of the pack and all the rest of the
field - except the Bromley barber, who is now floundering in the
water - having gone round to the bridge.

The country is open, the line being across commons and along roads, so
that Jorrocks, who is not afraid of "the pace" so long as there is no
leaping, has a pretty good chance with "Swell." The scene now shifts. On
turning out of a lane, along which they have just rattled, a fence of
this description appears: The bottom part is made of flints, and the
upper part of mud, with gorse stuck along the top, and there is a gutter
on each side. Jorrocks, seeing that a leap is likely, hangs astern, and
"Swell," thinking to shake off his only opponent, and to have a rare
laugh at the Surrey when he gets back to Melton, puts his nag at it most
manfully, who, though somewhat blown, manages to get his long carcass
over, but, unfortunately alighting on a bed of flints on the far side,
cuts a back sinew, and "Swell" measures his length on the headland.
Jorrocks then pulls up.

The tragedy of George Barnwell ends with a death, and we are happy in
being able to gratify our readers with a similar entertainment. Already
have the best-mounted men in the field attained the summit of one of the
Mont Blancs of the country, when on looking down the other side of the
"mountain's brow," they, to their infinite astonishment, espy at some
distance our "Swell" dismounted and playing at "pull devil, pull
baker" with the hounds, whose discordant bickerings rend the skies.
"Whoo-hoop!" cries one; "whoo-hoop!" responds another; "whoo-hoop!"
screams a third; and the contagion spreading, and each man dismounting,
they descend the hill with due caution, whoo-hooping, hallooing, and
congratulating each other on the splendour of the run, interspersed with
divers surmises as to what mighty magic had aided the hounds in getting
on such good terms with the warmint, and exclamations at the good
fortune of the stranger, in being able (by nicking,[4] and the fox
changing his line) to get in at the finish.

[Footnote 4: A stranger never rides straight if he beats the members of
the hunt.]

And now some dozens of sportsmen quietly ambling up to the scene of
action, view with delight (alone equalled by their wonder at so unusual
and unexpected an event) the quarrels of the hounds, as they dispute
with each other the possession of their victim's remains, when suddenly
a gentleman, clad in a bright green silk-velvet shooting-coat, with
white leathers, and Hessian boots with large tassels, carrying his Joe
Manton on his shoulder, issues from an adjoining coppice, and commences
a loud complaint of the "unhandsome conduct of the gentlemen's 'ounds in
devouring the 'are (hare) which he had taken so much pains to shoot."
Scarcely are these words out of his mouth than the whole hunt, from
Jorrocks downwards, let drive such a rich torrent of abuse at our
unfortunate _chasseur_, that he is fain to betake himself to his heels,
leaving them undisputed masters of the field.

The visages of our sportsmen become dismally lengthened on finding that
their fox has been "gathered unto his fathers" by means of hot lead and
that villainous saltpetre "digged out of the bowels of the harmless
earth"; some few, indeed, there are who are bold enough to declare that
the pack has actually made a meal of a hare, and that their fox is
snugly earthed in the neighbouring cover. However, as there are no
"reliquias Danaum," to prove or disprove this assertion, Tom Hills,
having an eye to the cap-money, ventures to give it as his opinion,
that pug has fairly yielded to his invincible pursuers, without having
"dropped to shot." This appearing to give very general satisfaction, the
first whip makes no scruple of swearing that he saw the hounds pull him
down fairly; and Peckham, drawing his mouth up on one side, with his
usual intellectual grin, takes a similar affidavit. The Bromley barber
too, anxious to have it to say that he has for once been in at the death
of a fox, vows by his beard that he saw the "varmint" lathered in style;
and these protestations being received with clamorous applause, and
everyone being pleased to have so unusual an event to record to his
admiring spouse, agrees that a fox has not only been killed, but killed
in a most sportsmanlike, workmanlike, businesslike manner; and long and
loud are the congratulations, great is the increased importance of each
man's physiognomy, and thereupon they all lug out their half-crowns for
Tom Hills.

In the meantime our "Swell" lays hold of his nag - who is sorely damaged
with the flints, and whose wind has been pretty well pumped out of
him by the hills - and proceeds to lead him back to Croydon, inwardly
promising himself for the future most studiously to avoid the renowned
county of Surrey, its woods, its barbers, its mountains, and its flints,
and to leave more daring spirits to overcome the difficulties it
presents; most religiously resolving, at the same time, to return as
speedily as possible to his dear Leicestershire, there to amble o'er
the turf, and fancy himself an "angel on horseback." The story of the
country mouse, who must needs see the town, occurs forcibly to his
recollection, and he exclaims aloud:

"me sylva, cavusque
Tutus ab insidiis tenui solabitur ervo."

On overhearing which, Mr. Jorrocks hurries back to his brother
subscribers, and informs them, very gravely, that the stranger is no
less a personage than "Prince Matuchevitz, the Russian ambassador and
minister plenipotentiary extraordinary," whereupon the whole field join
in wishing him safe back in Russia - or anywhere else - and wonder at his
incredible assurance in supposing that he could cope with THE SURREY
HUNT.



II. THE YORKSHIREMAN AND THE SURREY

It is an axiom among fox-hunters that the hounds they individually hunt
with are the best - compared with them all others are "slow."

Of this species of pardonable egotism, Mr. Jorrocks - who in addition
to the conspicuous place he holds in the Surrey Hunt, as shown in the
preceding chapter, we should introduce to our readers as a substantial
grocer in St. Botolph's Lane, with an elegant residence in Great Coram
Street, Russell Square - has his full, if not rather more than his fair
share. Vanity, however, is never satisfied without display, and Mr.
Jorrocks longed for a customer before whom he could exhibit the prowess
of his[5] pack.

[Footnote 5: Subscribers, speaking to strangers, always talk of the
hounds as their own.]

Chance threw in his way a young Yorkshireman, who frequently appearing
in subsequent pages, we may introduce as a loosish sort of hand, up to
anything in the way of a lark, but rather deficient in cash - a character
so common in London, as to render further description needless.

Now it is well known that a Yorkshireman, like a dragoon, is nothing
without his horse, and if he does understand anything better than
racing - it is hunting. Our readers will therefore readily conceive that
a Yorkshireman is more likely to be astonished at the possibility of
fox-hunting from London, than captivated by the country, or style of
turn-out; and in truth, looking at it calmly and dispassionately, in our
easy-chair drawn to a window which overlooks the cream of the grazing
grounds in the Vale of White Horse, it does strike us with astonishment,
that such a thing as a fox should be found within a day's ride of the
suburbs. The very idea seems preposterous, for one cannot but associate
the charms of a "find" with the horrors of "going to ground" in an
omnibus, or the fox being headed by a great Dr. Eady placard, or some
such monstrosity. Mr. Mayne,[6] to be sure, has brought racing home to
every man's door, but fox-hunting is not quite so tractable a sport. But
to our story.

[Footnote 6: The promoter of the Hippodrome, near Bayswater - a
speculation that soon came to grief.]

It was on a nasty, cold, foggy, dark, drizzling morning in the month of
February, that the Yorkshireman, having been offered a "mount" by Mr.
Jorrocks, found himself shivering under the Piazza in Covent Garden
about seven o'clock, surrounded by cabs, cabbages, carrots, ducks,
dollys, and drabs of all sorts, waiting for his horse and the appearance
of the friend who had seduced him into the extraordinary predicament of
attiring himself in top-boots and breeches in London. After pacing up
and down some minutes, the sound of a horse's hoofs were heard turning
down from Long Acre, and reaching the lamp-post at the corner of James
Street, his astonished eyes were struck with the sight of a man in a
capacious, long, full-tailed, red frock coat reaching nearly to his
spurs, with mother-of-pearl buttons, with sporting devices - which
afterwards proved to be foxes, done in black - brown shag breeches, that
would have been spurned by the late worthy master of the Hurworth,[7]
and boots, that looked for all the world as if they were made to tear up
the very land and soil, tied round the knees with pieces of white tape,
the flowing ends of which dangled over the mahogany-coloured tops. Mr.
Jorrocks - whose dark collar, green to his coat, and _tout ensemble_,
might have caused him to be mistaken for a mounted general postman - was
on a most becoming steed - a great raking, raw-boned chestnut, with a
twisted snaffle in his mouth, decorated with a faded yellow silk front,
a nose-band, and an ivory ring under his jaws, for the double purpose
of keeping the reins together and Jorrocks's teeth in his head - the nag
having flattened the noses and otherwise damaged the countenances of his
two previous owners, who had not the knack of preventing him tossing
his head in their faces. The saddle - large and capacious - made on the
principle of the impossibility of putting a round of beef upon a pudding
plate - was "spick and span new," as was an enormous hunting-whip, whose
iron-headed hammer he clenched in a way that would make the blood curdle
in one's veins, to see such an instrument in the hands of a misguided
man.

[Footnote 7: The late Mr. Wilkinson, commonly called "Matty Wilkinson,"
master of the Hurworth foxhounds, was a rigid adherent of the
"d - - n-all-dandy" school of sportsmen.]

"Punctuality is the politeness of princes," said Mr. Jorrocks, raising a
broad-brimmed, lowish-crowned hat, as high as a green hunting-cord which
tackled it to his yellow waistcoat by a fox's tooth would allow, as he
came upon the Yorkshireman at the corner. "My soul's on fire and eager
for the chase! By heavens, I declare I've dreamt of nothing else all
night, and the worst of it is, that in a par-ox-ism of delight, when
I thought I saw the darlings running into the warmint, I brought Mrs.
J - - such a dig in the side as knocked her out of bed, and she swears
she'll go to Jenner, and the court for the protection of injured ribs!
But come - jump up - where's your nag? Binjimin, you blackguard, where are
you? The fog is blinding me, I declare! Binjimin, I say! Binjimin! you
willain, where are you?"

"Here, sir! coming!" responded a voice from the bottom of one of the
long mugs at a street breakfast stall, which the fog almost concealed
from their view, and presently an urchin in a drab coat and blue collar
came towing a wretched, ewe-necked, hungry-looking, roan rosinante along
from where he had been regaling himself with a mug of undeniable bohea,
sweetened with a composition of brown sugar and sand.

"Now be after getting up," said Jorrocks, "for time and the Surrey
'ounds wait for no man. That's not a werry elegant tit, but still
it'll carry you to Croydon well enough, where I'll put you on a most
undeniable bit of 'orse-flesh - a reg'lar clipper. That's a hack - what
they calls three-and-sixpence a side, but I only pays half a crown.
Now, Binjimin, cut away home, and tell Batsay to have dinner ready at
half-past five to a minute, and to be most particular in doing the lamb
to a turn."

The Yorkshireman having adjusted himself in the old flat-flapped hack
saddle, and got his stirrups let out from "Binjimin's" length to his
own, gathered up the stiff, weather-beaten reins, gave the animal a
touch with his spurs, and fell into the rear of Mr. Jorrocks. The
morning appeared to be getting worse. Instead of the grey day-dawn of
the country, when the thin transparent mist gradually rises from the
hills, revealing an unclouded landscape, a dense, thick, yellow fog
came rolling in masses along the streets, obscuring the gas lights, and
rendering every step one of peril. It could be both eat and felt, and
the damp struck through their clothes in the most summary manner. "This
is bad," said Mr. Jorrocks, coughing as he turned the corner by Drury
Lane, making for Catherine Street, and upset an early breakfast and
periwinkle stall, by catching one corner of the fragile fabric with his
toe, having ridden too near to the pavement. "Where are you for now? and
bad luck to ye, ye boiled lobster!" roared a stout Irish wench, emerging
from a neighbouring gin-palace on seeing the dainty viands rolling in
the street. "Cut away!" cried Jorrocks to his friend, running his horse
between one of George Stapleton's dust-carts and a hackney-coach, "or
the Philistines will be upon us." The fog and crowd concealed them,
but "Holloa! mind where you're going, you great haw-buck!" from a
buy-a-hearth-stone boy, whose stock-in-trade Jorrocks nearly demolished,
as he crossed the corner of Catherine Street before him, again roused
his vigilance. "The deuce be in the fog," said he, "I declare I can't
see across the Strand. It's as dark as a wolf's mouth. - Now where are
you going to with that meazly-looking cab of yours? - you've nearly run
your shafts into my 'oss's ribs!" cried he to a cabman who nearly upset
him. The Strand was kept alive by a few slip-shod housemaids, on their
marrow-bones, washing the doorsteps, or ogling the neighbouring pot-boy
on his morning errand for the pewters. Now and then a crazy jarvey
passed slowly by, while a hurrying mail, with a drowsy driver and
sleeping guard, rattled by to deliver their cargo at the post office.
Here and there appeared one of those beings, who like the owl hide
themselves by day, and are visible only in the dusk. Many of
them appeared to belong to the other world. Poor, puny, ragged,
sickly-looking creatures, that seemed as though they had been suckled
and reared with gin. "How different," thought the Yorkshireman to
himself, "to the fine, stout, active labourer one meets at an early hour
on a hunting morning in the country!" His reverie was interrupted on
arriving opposite the _Morning Chronicle_ office, by the most discordant
yells that ever issued from human beings, and on examining the quarter
from whence they proceeded, a group of fifty or a hundred boys, or
rather little old men, were seen with newspapers in their hands and
under their arms, in all the activity of speculation and exchange. "A
clean _Post_ for Tuesday's _Times_!" bellowed one. "I want the _Hurl_!
(Herald) for the _Satirist_!" shouted another. "Bell's _Life_ for the
_Bull_! _The Spectator_ for the _Sunday Times_!"

The approach of our sportsmen was the signal for a change of the chorus,
and immediately Jorrocks was assailed with "A hunter! a hunter! crikey,
a hunter! My eyes! there's a gamecock for you! Vot a beauty! Vere do you
turn out to-day? Vere's the stag? Don't tumble off, old boy! 'Ave you
got ever a rope in your pocket? Take Bell's _Life in London_, vot
contains all the sporting news of the country! Vot a vip the gemman's
got! Vot a precious basternadering he could give us - my eyes, vot a
swell! - vot a shocking bad hat!_[8] - vot shocking bad breeches!"

[Footnote 8: "Vot a shocking bad hat!" - a slang cockney phrase of 1831.]

The fog, which became denser at every step, by the time they reached St.
Clement's Danes rendered their further progress almost impossible. - "Oh,
dear! oh, dear! how unlucky," exclaimed Jorrocks, "I would have given
twenty pounds of best Twankay for a fine day - and see what a thing we've
got! Hold my 'oss," said he to the Yorkshireman, "while I run into the
'Angel,' and borrow an argand burner, or we shall be endorsed[9] to a
dead certainty." Off he got, and ran to the inn. Presently he emerged
from the yard - followed by horse-keepers, coach-washers, porters, cads,
waiters and others, amid loud cries of "Flare up, flare up, old cock!
talliho fox-hunter!" - with a bright mail-coach footboard lamp, strapped
to his middle, which, lighting up the whole of his broad back now cased
in scarlet, gave him the appearance of a gigantic red-and-gold insurance
office badge, or an elderly cherub without wings.

[Footnote 9: City - for having a pole run into one's rear.]

The hackney-coach-and cab-men, along whose lines they passed, could not
make him out at all. Some thought he was a mail-coach guard riding
post with the bags; but as the light was pretty strong he trotted
on regardless of observation. The fog, however, abated none of its
denseness even on the "Surrey side," and before they reached the
"Elephant and Castle," Jorrocks had run against two trucks, three
watercress women, one pies-all-ot!-all-ot! man, dispersed a whole covey
of Welsh milkmaids, and rode slap over one end of a buy 'at (hat) box!
bonnet-box! man's pole, damaging a dozen paste-boards, and finally
upsetting Balham Hill Joe's Barcelona "come crack 'em and try 'em" stall
at the door of the inn, for all whose benedictions, the Yorkshireman, as
this great fox-hunting knight-errant's "Esquire," came in.

Here the Yorkshireman would fain have persuaded Mr. Jorrocks to
desist from his quixotic undertaking, but he turned a deaf ear to his
entreaties. "We are getting fast into the country, and I hold it to
be utterly impossible for this fog to extend beyond Kennington
Common - 'twill ewaporate, you'll see, as we approach the open. Indeed,
if I mistake not, I begin to sniff the morning air already, and hark!
there's a lark a-carrolling before us!" "Now, spooney! where are you
for?" bellowed a carter, breaking off in the middle of his whistle, as
Jorrocks rode slap against his leader, the concussion at once dispelling
the pleasing pastoral delusion, and nearly knocking Jorrocks off his
horse.

As they approached Brixton Hill, a large red ball of lurid light
appeared in the firmament, and just at the moment up rode another member
of the Surrey Hunt in uniform, whom Jorrocks hailed as Mr. Crane. "By
Jove, 'ow beautiful the moon is," said the latter, after the usual
salutations. "Moon!" said Mr. Jorrocks, "that's not never no moon - I
reckon it's Mrs. Graham's balloon." "Come, that's a good 'un," said
Crane, "perhaps you'll lay me an 'at about it". "Done!" said Mr.
Jorrocks, "a guinea one - and we'll ax my friend here. - Now, what's
that?" "Why, judging from its position and the hour, I should say it is
the sun!" was the reply.

We have omitted to mention that this memorable day was a Saturday,
one on which civic sportsmen exhibit. We may also premise, that the
particular hunt we are about to describe, took place when there were
very many packs of hounds within reach of the metropolis, all of which
boasted their respective admiring subscribers. As our party proceeded
they overtook a gentleman perusing a long bill of the meets for the
next week, of at least half a dozen packs, the top of the list being
decorated with a cut of a stag-hunt, and the bottom containing a
notification that hunters were "carefully attended to by Charles
Morton,[10] at the 'Derby Arms,' Croydon," a snug rural _auberge_ near
the barrack. On the hunting bill-of-fare, were Mr. Jolliffe's foxhounds,
Mr. Meager's harriers, the Derby staghounds, the Sanderstead harriers,
the Union foxhounds, the Surrey foxhounds, rabbit beagles on Epsom
Downs, and dwarf foxhounds on Woolwich Common. What a list to bewilder a
stranger! The Yorkshireman left it all to Mr. Jorrocks.

[Footnote 10: Where the carrion is, there will be the crow, and on the
demise of the "Surrey staggers," Charley brushed off to the west, to
valet the gentlemen's hunters that attend the Royal Stag Hunt. - _Vide_
Sir F. Grant's picture of the meet of the Royal Staghounds.]

"You're for Jolliffe, I suppose," said the gentleman with the bill,
to another with a blue coat and buff lining. "He's at Chipstead
Church - only six miles from Croydon, a sure find and good country."
"What are you for, Mr. Jorrocks?" inquired another in green, with black
velvet breeches, Hessian boots, and a red waistcoat, who just rode up.
"My own, to be sure," said Jorrocks, taking hold of the green collar of
his coat, as much as to say, "How can you ask such a question?" "Oh,
no," said the gentleman in green, "Come to the stag - much better
sport - sure of a gallop - open country - get it over soon - back in town
before the post goes out." Before Mr. Jorrocks had time to make a reply
to this last interrogatory, they were overtaken by another horseman,
who came hopping along at a sort of a butcher's shuffle, on a worn-out,
three-legged, four-cornered hack, with one eye, a rat-tail, and a head
as large as a fiddle-case. - "Who's for the blue mottles?" said he,
casting a glance at their respective coats, and at length fixing it on
the Yorkshireman. "Why, Dickens, you're not going thistle-whipping with
that nice 'orse of yours," said the gentleman in the velvets; "come
and see the stag turned out - sure of a gallop - no hedges - soft
country - plenty of publics - far better sport, man, than pottering about
looking for your foxes and hares, and wasting your time; take my advice,
and come with me." "But," says Dickens, "my 'orse won't stand it; I had
him in the shay till eleven last night, and he came forty-three mile
with our traveller the day before, else he's a 'good 'un to go,' as you
know. Do you remember the owdacious leap he took over the tinker's tent,
at Epping 'Unt, last Easter? How he astonished the natives within!"
"Yes; but then, you know, you fell head-foremost through the canvas, and
no wonder your ugly mug frightened them," replied he of the velvets.
"Ay; but that was in consequence of my riding by balance instead of
gripping with my legs," replied Dickens; "you see, I had taken seven
lessons in riding at the school in Bidborough Street, Burton Crescent,
and they always told me to balance myself equally on the saddle, and
harden my heart, and ride at whatever came in the way; and the tinker's
tent coming first, why, naturally enough, I went at it. But I have had
some practice since then, and, of course, can stick on better. I have
'unted regularly ever since, and can 'do the trick' now." "What, summer
and winter?" said Jorrocks. "No," replied he, "but I have 'unted
regularly every fifth Saturday since the 'unting began."

After numerous discourses similar to the foregoing, they arrived at the
end of the first stage on the road to the hunt, namely, the small town
of Croydon, the rendezvous of London sportsmen. The whole place was
alive with red coats, green coats, blue coats, black coats, brown
coats, in short, coats of all the colours of the rainbow. Horsemen were
mounting, horsemen were dismounting, one-horse "shays" and two-horse
chaises were discharging their burdens, grooms were buckling on their
masters' spurs, and others were pulling off their overalls. Eschewing
the "Greyhound," they turn short to the right, and make for the "Derby
Arms" hunting stables.

Charley Morton, a fine old boy of his age, was buckling on his armour
for the fight, for his soul, too, was "on fire, and eager for the
chase." He was for the "venison"; and having mounted his "deer-stalker,"
was speedily joined by divers perfect "swells," in beautiful leathers,
beautiful coats, beautiful tops, beautiful everything, except horses,
and off they rode to cut in for the first course - a stag-hunt on a


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