Robert Smith Surtees.

Jorrocks' Jaunts and Jollities online

. (page 3 of 22)
Online LibraryRobert Smith SurteesJorrocks' Jaunts and Jollities → online text (page 3 of 22)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Saturday being usually divided into three.

The ride down had somewhat sharpened Jorrocks's appetite; and feeling,
as he said, quite ready for his dinner, he repaired to Mr. Morton's
house - a kind of sporting snuggery, everything in apple-pie order, and
very good - where he baited himself on sausages and salt herrings, a
basin of new milk, with some "sticking powder" as he called it, _alias_
rum, infused into it; and having deposited a half-quartern loaf in one
pocket, as a sort of balance against a huge bunch of keys which rattled
in the other, he pulled out his watch, and finding they had a quarter of
an hour to spare, proposed to chaperon the Yorkshireman on a tour of the
hunting stables. Jorrocks summoned the ostler, and with great dignity
led the way. "Humph," said he, evidently disappointed at seeing half the
stalls empty, "no great show this morning - pity - gentleman come from a
distance - should like to have shown him some good nags. - What sort of
a devil's this?" "Oh, sir, he's a good 'un, and nothing but a good
'un! - Leap! Lord love ye, he'll leap anything. A railway cut, a windmill
with the sails going, a navigable river with ships - anything in short.
This is the 'orse wot took the line of houses down at Beddington the day
they had the tremendious run from Reigate Hill." "And wot's the grey in
the far stall?" "Oh, that's Mr. Pepper's old nag - Pepper-Caster as we
call him, since he threw the old gemman, the morning they met at the
'Leg-of-Mutton' at Ashtead. But he's good for nothing. Bless ye! his
tail shakes for all the world like a pepper-box afore he's gone half a
mile. Those be yours in the far stalls, and since they were turned round
I've won a bob of a gemman who I bet I'd show him two 'osses with their
heads vere their tails should be.[11] I always says," added he with a
leer, "that you rides the best 'osses of any gemman vot comes to our
governor's." This flattered Jorrocks, and sidling up, he slipped a
shilling into his hand, saying, "Well - bring them out, and let's see how
they look this morning." The stall reins are slipped, and out they step
with their hoods on their quarters. One was a large, fat, full-sized
chestnut, with a white ratch down the full extent of his face, a long
square tail, bushy mane, with untrimmed heels. The other was a brown,
about fifteen two, coarse-headed, with a rat-tail, and collar-marked.
The tackle was the same as they came down with. "You'll do the trick on
that, I reckon," said Jorrocks, throwing his leg over the chestnut, and
looking askew at the Yorkshireman as he mounted. "Tatt., and old Tatt.,
and Tatt. sen. before him, all agree that they never knew a bad 'oss
with a rat-tail."

[Footnote 11: A favourite joke among grooms when a horse is turned round
in his stall.]

"But, let me tell you, you must be werry lively, if you mean to live
with our 'ounds. They go like the wind. But come! touch him with the
spur, and let's do a trot." The Yorkshireman obeyed, and getting into
the main street, onwards they jogged, right through Croydon, and struck
into a line of villas of all sorts, shapes, and sizes, which extend for
several miles along the road, exhibiting all sorts of architecture,
Gothic, Corinthian, Doric, Ionic, Dutch, and Chinese. These gradually
diminished in number, and at length they found themselves on an open
heath, within a few miles of the meet of the "Surrey foxhounds". "Now",
says Mr. Jorrocks, clawing up his smalls, "you will see the werry finest
pack of hounds in all England; I don't care where the next best are; and
you will see as good a turn-out as ever you saw in your life, and as
nice a country to ride over as ever you were in".

They reach the meet - a wayside public-house on a common, before which
the hounds with their attendants and some fifty or sixty horsemen, many
of them in scarlet, were assembled. Jorrocks was received with the
greatest cordiality, amid whoops and holloas, and cries of "now
Twankay! - now Sugar! - now Figs!" Waving his hand in token of
recognition, he passed on and made straight for Tom Hill, with a face
full of importance, and nearly rode over a hound in his hurry. "Now,
Tom," said he, with the greatest energy, "do, my good fellow, strain
every nerve to show sport to-day. - A gentleman has come all the way from
the north-east side of the town of Boroughbridge, in the county of York,
to see our excellent 'ounds, and I would fain have him galvanised. - Do
show us a run, and let it end with blood, so that he may have something
to tell the natives when he gets back to his own parts. That's him, see,
sitting under the yew-tree, in a bottle-green coat with basket buttons,
just striking a light on the pommel of his saddle to indulge in a
fumigation. - Keep your eye on him all day, and if you can lead him over
an awkward place, and get him a purl, so much the better. - If he'll risk
his neck I'll risk my 'oss's."

The Yorkshireman, having lighted his cigar and tightened his girths,
rode leisurely among the horsemen, many of whom were in eager council,
and a gentle breeze wafted divers scraps of conversation to his ear.

What is that hound got by? No. How is that horse bred? No. What sport
had you on Wednesday? No. Is it a likely find to-day? No, no, no; it was
not where the hounds, but what the Consols, left off at; what the four
per cents, and not the four horses, were up to; what the condition of
the money, not the horse, market. "Anything doing in Danish bonds,
sir?" said one. "You must do it by lease and release, and levy a fine,"
replied another. Scott _v._ Brown, crim. con. to be heard on or before
Wednesday next. - Barley thirty-two to forty-two. - Fine upland meadow
and rye grass hay, seventy to eighty. - The last pocket of hops I sold
brought seven pounds fifteen shillings. Sussex bags six pounds ten
shillings. - There were only twenty-eight and a quarter ships at market,
"and coals are coals." "Glad to hear it, sir, for half the last you sent
me were slates." - "Best qualities of beef four shillings and eightpence
a stone - mutton three shillings and eightpence, to four shillings and
sixpence. - He was exceedingly ill when I paid my last visit - I gave him
nearly a stone of Epsom-salts, and bled him twice. - This horse would
suit you to a T, sir, but my skip-jack is coming out on one at two
o'clock that can carry a house. - See what a bosom this one's got. - Well,
Gunter, old boy, have you iced your horse to-day? - Have you heard that
Brown and Co. are in the _Gazette_? No, which Brown - not John Brown?
No, William Brown. What, Brown of Goodman's Fields? No, Brown of - -
Street - Brown_e_ with an _e_; you know the man I mean. - Oh, Lord, ay,
the man wot used to be called Nosey Browne." A general move ensued, and
they left "the meet."

"Vere be you going to turn out pray, sir, may I inquire?" said a
gentleman in green to the huntsman, as he turned into a field. "Turn
out," said he, "why, ye don't suppose we be come calf-hunting, do ye?
We throws off some two stones'-throw from here, if so be you mean what
cover we are going to draw." "No," said green-coat, "I mean where do
you turn out the stag?" - "D - n the stag, we know nothing about such
matters," replied the huntsman. "Ware wheat! ware wheat! ware wheat!"
was now the general cry, as a gentleman in nankeen pantaloons and
Hessian boots with long brass spurs, commenced a navigation across a
sprouting crop. "Ware wheat, ware wheat!" replied he, considering it
part of the ceremony of hunting, and continued his forward course. "Come
to my side," said Mr. - - , to the whipper-in, "and meet that gentleman
as he arrives at yonder gate; and keep by him while I scold you." - "Now,
sir, most particularly d - n you, for riding slap-dash over the young
wheat, you most confounded insensible ignorant tinker, isn't the
headland wide enough both for you and your horse, even if your spurs
were as long again as they are?" Shouts of "Yooi over, over, over
hounds - try for him - yoicks - wind him! good dogs - yoicks! stir him
up - have at him there!" - here interrupted the jawbation, and the whip
rode off shaking his sides with laughter. "Your horse has got a stone in
each forefoot, and a thorn in his near hock," observed a dentist to a
wholesale haberdasher from Ludgate Hill, "allow me to extract them for
you - no pain, I assure - over before you know it." "Come away, hounds!
come away!" was heard, and presently the huntsman, with some of the pack
at his horse's heels, issued from the wood playing _Rule, Britannia!_
on a key-bugle, while the cracks of heavy-thonged whips warned the
stragglers and loiterers to follow. "Music hath charms to soothe the
savage beast," observed Jorrocks, as he tucked the laps of his frock
over his thighs, "and I hope we shall find before long, else that
quarter of house-lamb will be utterly ruined. Oh, dear, they are going
below hill I do believe! why we shall never get home to-day, and I told
Mrs. Jorrocks half-past five to a minute, and I invited old Fleecy, who
is a most punctual man."

Jorrocks was right in his surmise. They arrived on the summit of a
range of steep hills commanding an extensive view over the neighbouring
country - almost, he said, as far as the sea-coast. The huntsman and
hounds went down, but many of the field held a council of war on the
top. "Well! who's going down?" said one. "I shall wait for the next
turn," said Jorrocks, "for my horse does not like collar work." "I shall
go this time," said another, "and the rest next." "And so will I,"
said a third, "for mayhap there will be no second turn." "Ay," added a
fourth, "and he may go the other way, and then where-shall we all be?"
"Poh!" said Jorrocks, "did you ever know a Surrey fox not take to the
hills? - If he does not, I'll eat him without mint sauce," again harping
on the quarter of lamb. Facilis descensus Averni - two-thirds of the
field went down, leaving Jorrocks, two horse-dealers in scarlet, three
chicken-butchers, half a dozen swells in leathers, a whip, and the
Yorkshireman on the summit. "Why don't you go with the hounds?" inquired
the latter of the whip. "Oh, I wait here, sir," said he, "to meet Tom
Hills as he comes up, and to give him a fresh horse." "And who is Tom
Hills?" inquired the Yorkshireman. "Oh, he's our huntsman," replied he;
"you know Tom, don't you?" "Why, I can't say I do, exactly," said he;
"but tell me, is he called Hills because he rides up and down these
hills, or is that his real name?" "Hought! you know as well as I do,"
said he, quite indignantly, "that Tom Hills is his name."

The hounds, with the majority of the field, having effected the descent
of the hills, were now trotting on in the valley below, sufficiently
near, however, to allow our hill party full view of their proceedings.
After drawing a couple of osier-beds blank, they assumed a line parallel
to the hills, and moved on to a wood of about ten acres, the west end
of which terminated in a natural gorse. "They'll find there to a
certainty," said Mr. Jorrocks, pulling a telescope out of his breeches'
pocket, and adjusting the sight. "Never saw it blank but once, and that
was the werry day the commercial panic of twenty-five commenced. - I
remember making an entry in my ledger when I got home to that effect.
Humph!" continued he, looking through the glass, "they are through the
wood, though, without a challenge. - Now, my booys, push him out of
the gorse! Let's see vot you're made of. - There goes the first 'ound
in. - It's Galloper, I believe. - I can almost see the bag of shot round
his neck. - Now they all follow. - One - two - three - four - five - all
together, my beauties! Oh, vot a sight! Peckham's cap's in the air, and
it's a find, by heavens!" Mr. Jorrocks is right. - The southerly wind
wafts up the fading notes of the "Huntsman's Chorus" in _Der Frieschutz_
and confirms the fact. - Jorrocks is in ecstasies. - "Now," said he,
clawing up his breeches (for he dispenses with the article of
braces when out hunting), "that's what I calls fine. Oh, beautiful!
beautiful! - Now, follow me if you please, and if yon gentleman in drab
does not shoot the fox, he will be on the hills before long." Away
they scampered along the top of the ridge, with a complete view of the
operations below. At length Jorrocks stopped, and pulling the telescope
out, began making an observation. "There he is, at last," cried he,
"just crossed the corner of yon green field - now he creeps through the
hedge by the fir-tree, and is in the fallow one. Yet, stay - that's no
fox - it's a hare: and yet Tom Hills makes straight for the spot - and
did you hear that loud tally-ho? Oh! gentlemen, gentlemen, we shall be
laughed to scorn - what can they be doing - see, they take up the scent,
and the whole pack have joined in chorus. Great heavens, it's no more a
fox than I am! - No more brush than a badger! Oh, dear! oh, dear! that I
should live to see my old friends, the Surrey fox'ounds, 'unt hare, and
that too in the presence of a stranger." The animal made direct for the
hills - whatever it was, the hounds were on good terms with it, and got
away in good form. The sight was splendid - all the field got well off,
nor between the cover and the hills was there sufficient space for
tailing. A little elderly gentleman, in a pepper-and-salt coat, led the
way gallantly - then came the scarlets - then the darks - and then the
fustian-clad countrymen. Jorrocks was in a shocking state, and rolled
along the hill-tops, almost frantic. The field reached the bottom, and
the foremost commenced the steep ascent.

"Oh, Tom Hills! - Tom Hills! - 'what are you at? what are you after?'"
demanded Jorrocks, as he landed on the top. "Here's a gentleman come all
the way from the north-east side of the town of Boroughbridge, in the
county of York, to see our excellent 'ounds, and here you are running
a hare. Oh, Tom Hills! Tom Hills! ride forward, ride forward, and
whip them off, ere we eternally disgrace ourselves." "Oh," says Tom,
laughing, "he's a fox! but he's so tarnation frightened of our hounds,
that his brush dropped off through very fear, as soon as ever he heard
us go into the wood; if you go back, you'll find it somewhere, Mr.
Jorrocks; haw, haw, haw! No fox indeed!" said he. - "Forrard, hounds,
forrard!" And away he went - caught the old whipper-in, dismounted him in
a twinkling, and was on a fresh horse with his hounds in full cry. The
line of flight was still along the hill-tops, and all eagerly pressed
on, making a goodly rattle over the beds of flints. A check ensued. "The
guard on yonder nasty Brighton coach has frightened him with his horn,"
said Tom; "now we must make a cast up to yonder garden, and see if he's
taken shelter among the geraniums in the green-house. As little damage
as possible, gentlemen, if you please, in riding through the nursery
grounds. Now, hold hard, sir - pray do - there's no occasion for you to
break the kale pots; he can't be under them. Ah, yonder he goes, the
tailless beggar; did you see him as he stole past the corner out of the
early-cabbage bed? Now bring on the hounds, and let us press him towards

"See the conquering hero comes", sounded through the avenue of elms as
Tom dashed forward with the merry, merry pack. "I shall stay on the
hills", said one, "and be ready for him as he comes back; I took a good
deal of the shine out of my horse in coming up this time". "I think
I will do the same", said two or three more. "Let's be doing", said
Jorrocks, ramming his spurs into his nag to seduce him into a gallop,
who after sending his heels in the air a few times in token of
his disapprobation of such treatment, at last put himself into a
round-rolling sort of canter, which Jorrocks kept up by dint of spurring
and dropping his great bastinaderer of a whip every now and then across
his shoulders. Away they go pounding together!

The line lies over flint fallows occasionally diversified with a
turnip-field or market-garden, and every now and then a "willa" appears,
from which emerge footmen in jackets, and in yellow, red and green plush
breeches, with no end of admiring housemaids, governesses, and nurses
with children in their arms.

Great was the emulation when any of these were approached, and the
rasping sportsmen rushed eagerly to the "fore." At last they approach
"Miss Birchwell's finishing and polishing seminary for young ladies,"
whose great flaring blue-and-gold sign, reflecting the noonday rays of
the sun, had frightened the fox and caused him to alter his line and
take away to the west. A momentary check ensued, but all the amateur
huntsmen being blown, Tom, who is well up with his hounds, makes a quick
cast round the house, and hits off the scent like a workman. A private
road and a line of gates through fields now greet the eyes of our
M'Adamisers. A young gentleman on a hired hunter very nattily attired,
here singles himself out and takes place next to Tom, throwing the
pebbles and dirt back in the eyes of the field. Tom crams away, throwing
the gates open as he goes, and our young gentleman very coolly passes
through, without a touch, letting them bang-to behind him. The
Yorkshireman, who had been gradually creeping up, until he has got the
third place, having opened two or three, and seeing another likely to
close for want of a push, cries out to our friend as he approaches, "Put
out your hand, sir!" The gentleman obediently extends his limb like the
arm of a telegraph, and rides over half the next field with his hand in
the air! The gate, of course, falls to.

A stopper appears - a gate locked and spiked, with a downward hinge to
prevent its being lifted. To the right is a rail, and a ha-ha beyond
it - to the left a quick fence. Tom glances at both, but turns short,
and backing his horse, rides at the rail. The Yorkshireman follows, but
Jorrocks, who espies a weak place in the fence a few yards from the
gate, turns short, and jumping off, prepares to lead over. It is an old
gap, and the farmer has placed a sheep hurdle on the far side. Just as
Jorrocks has pulled that out, his horse, who is a bit of a rusher, and
has got his "monkey" completely up, pushes forward while his master is
yet stooping - and hitting him in the rear, knocks him clean through the
fence, head foremost into a squire-trap beyond! - "Non redolet sed olet!"
exclaims the Yorkshireman, who dismounts in a twinkling, lending his
friend a hand out of the unsavoury cesspool. - "That's what comes of
hunting in a new[12] saddle, you see," added he, holding his nose.
Jorrocks scrambles upon "terra firma" and exhibits such a spectacle as
provokes the shouts of the field. He has lost his wig, his hat hangs to
his back, and one side of his person and face is completely japanned
with black odoriferous mixture. "My vig!" exclaims he, spitting and
spluttering, "but that's the nastiest hole I ever was in - Fleet Ditch is
lavender-water compared to it! Hooi yonder!" hailing a lad, "Catch
my 'oss, boouy!" Tom Hills has him; and Jorrocks, pocketing his wig,
remounts, rams his spurs into the nag, and again tackles with the pack,
which had come to a momentary check on the Eden Bridge road. The fox
has been headed by a party of gipsies, and, changing his point, bends
southward and again reaches the hills, along which some score of
horsemen have planted themselves in the likeliest places to head him.
Reynard, however, is too deep for them, and has stolen down unperceived.
Poor Jorrocks, what with the violent exertion of riding, his fall, and
the souvenir of the cesspool that he still bears about him, pulls up
fairly exhausted. "Oh, dear," says he, scraping the thick of the filth
off his coat with his whip, "I'm reglarly blown, I earn't go down with
the 'ounds this turn; but, my good fellow," turning to the Yorkshireman,
who was helping to purify him, "don't let me stop you, go down by all
means, but mind, bear in mind the quarter of house-lamb - at half-past
five to a minute."

[Footnote 12: There is a superstition among sportsmen that they are sure
to get a fall the first day they appear in anything new.]

Many of the cits now gladly avail themselves of the excuse of assisting
Mr. Jorrocks to clean himself for pulling up, but as soon as ever those
that are going below hill are out of sight and they have given him two
or three wipes, they advise him to let it "dry on," and immediately
commence a different sort of amusement - each man dives into his pocket
and produces the eatables.

Part of Jorrocks's half-quartern loaf was bartered with the captain of
an East Indiaman for a slice of buffalo-beef. The dentist exchanged
some veal sandwiches with a Jew for ham ones; a lawyer from the Borough
offered two slices of toast for a hard-boiled egg; in fact there was a
petty market "ouvert" held. "Now, Tomkins, where's the bottle?" demanded
Jenkins. "Vy, I thought you would bring it out to-day," replied he; "I
brought it last time, you know." "Take a little of mine, sir," said a
gentleman, presenting a leather-covered flask - "real Thomson and Fearon,
I assure you." "I wish someone would fetch an ocean of porter from the
nearest public," said another. "Take a cigar, sir?" "No; I feel werry
much obliged, but they always make me womit." "Is there any gentleman
here going to Halifax, who would like to make a third in a new yellow
barouche, with lavender-coloured wheels, and pink lining?" inquired
Mr. - - , the coach-maker. "Look at the hounds, gentlemen sportsmen,
my noble sportsmen!" bellowed out an Epsom Dorling's
correct - cardseller - and turning their eyes in the direction in which
he was looking, our sportsmen saw them again making for the hills.
Pepper-and-salt first, and oh, what a goodly tail was there! - three
quarters of a mile in length, at the least. Now up they come - the "corps
de reserve" again join, and again a party halt upon the hills. Again Tom
Hills exchanges horses; and again the hounds go on in full cry. "I must
be off," said a gentleman in balloon-like leathers to another tiger; "we
have just time to get back to town, and ride round by the park before it
is dark - much better than seeing the end of this brute. Let us go"; and
away they went to canter through Hyde Park in their red coats. "I must
go and all," said another gentleman; "my dinner will be ready at five,
and it is now three." Jorrocks was game; and forgetting the quarter of
house-lamb, again tackled with the pack. A smaller sweep sufficed this
time, and the hills were once more descended, Jorrocks the first to lead
the way. He well knew the fox was sinking, and was determined to be in
at the death. Short running ensued - a check - the fox had lain down,
and they had overrun the scent. Now they were on him, and Tom Hills's
who-whoop confirmed the whole.

"Ah! Tom Hills, Tom Hills!" exclaimed Jorrocks, as the former took up
the fox, "'ow splendid, 'ow truly brilliant - by Jove, you deserve to
be Lord Hill - oh, had he but a brush that we might present it to this
gentleman from the north-east side of the town of Boroughbridge, in the
county of York, to show the gallant doings of the men of Surrey!" "Ay,"
said Tom, "but Squire - - 's keeper has been before us for it."

"Now," said a gentleman in a cap, to another in a hat, "if you will
ride up the hill and collect the money there, I will do so
below - half-a-crown, if you please, sir - half-a-crown, if you please,
sir. - Have I got your half-a-crown, sir?" - "Here's three shillings if
you will give me sixpence." "Certainly, sir - certainly." "We have no
time to spare," said Jorrocks, looking at his watch. "Good afternoon,
gentlemen, good afternoon," muttering as he went, "a quarter of
house-lamb at half-past five - Mrs. Jorrocks werry punctual - old Fleecy
werry particular." They cut across country to Croydon, and as they
approached the town, innumerable sportsmen came flocking in from all
quarters. "What sport have you had?" inquired Jorrocks of a gentleman in
scarlet; "have you been with Jolliffe?" "No, with the staghounds; three
beautiful runs; took him once in a millpond, once in a barn, and once in
a brickfield - altogether the finest day's sport I ever saw in my life."
"What have you done, Mr. J - - ?" "Oh, we have had a most gallant thing;
a brilliant run indeed - three hours and twenty minutes without a
check - over the finest country imaginable." "And who got the brush?"
inquired the stag-man. "Oh, it was a gallant run," said Jorrocks, "by
far the finest I ever remember." "But did you kill?" demanded his
friend. "Kill! to be sure we did. When don't the Surrey kill, I should
like to know?" "And who got his brush, did you say?" "I can't tell,"
said he - "didn't hear the gentleman's name." "What sport has Mr. Meager
had to-day?" inquired he of a gentleman in trousers, who issued from a

1 3 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

Online LibraryRobert Smith SurteesJorrocks' Jaunts and Jollities → online text (page 3 of 22)