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side lane into the high road. "I have been with the Sanderstead, sir - a
very capital day's sport - run five hares and killed three. We should
have killed four - only - we didn't." "I don't think Mr. Meager has done
anything to-day." "Yes, he has," said a gentleman, who just joined
with a hare buckled on in front of his saddle, and his white cords all
stained with blood; "we killed this chap after an hour and forty-five
minutes' gallop; and accounted for another by losing her after running
upwards of-three-quarters of an hour." "Well, then, we have all had
sport," said Jorrocks, as he spurred his horse into a trot, and made for
Morton's stables - "and if the quarter of house-lamb is but right, then
indeed am I a happy man."


Our readers are now becoming pretty familiar with our principal hero,
Mr. Jorrocks, and we hope he improves on acquaintance. Our fox-hunting
friends, we are sure, will allow him to be an enthusiastic member of the
brotherhood, and though we do not profess to put him in competition with
Musters, Osbaldeston, or any of those sort of men, we yet mean to say
that had his lot been cast in the country instead of behind a counter,
his keenness would have rendered him as conspicuous - if not as
scientific - as the best of them.

For a cockney sportsman, however, he is a very excellent fellow - frank,
hearty, open, generous, and hospitable, and with the exception of riding
up Fleet Street one Saturday afternoon, with a cock-pheasant's tail
sticking out of his red coat pocket, no one ever saw him do a cock tail
action in his life.

The circumstances attending that exhibition are rather curious. - He had
gone out as usual on a Saturday to have a day with the Surrey, but on
mounting his hunter at Croydon, he felt the nag rather queer under him,
and thinking he might have been pricked in the shoeing, he pulled up at
the smith's at Addington to have his feet examined. This lost him five
minutes, and unfortunately when he got to the meet, he found that a
"travelling[13] fox" had been tallied at the precise moment of throwing
off, with which the hounds had gone away in their usual brilliant style,
to the tune of "Blue bonnets are over the border." As may be supposed,
he was in a deuce of a rage; and his first impulse prompted him to
withdraw his subscription and be done with the hunt altogether, and he
trotted forward "on the line," in the hopes of catching them up to tell
them so. In this he was foiled, for after riding some distance, he
overtook a string of Smithfield horses journeying "foreign for Evans,"
whose imprints he had been taking for the hoof-marks of the hunters.
About noon he found himself dull, melancholy, and disconsolate, before
the sign of the "Pig and Whistle," on the Westerham road, where, after
wetting his own whistle with a pint of half-and-half, he again journeyed
onward, ruminating on the uncertainty and mutability of all earthly
affairs, the comparative merits of stag-, fox-, and hare-hunting, and
the necessity of getting rid of the day somehow or other in the country.

[Footnote 13: He might well be called a "travelling fox," for it was
said he had just travelled down from Herring's, in the New Road, by the
Bromley stage.]

Suddenly his reverie was interrupted by the discharge of a gun in the
field adjoining the hedge along which he was passing, and the boisterous
whirring of a great cock-pheasant over his head, which caused his horse
to start and stop short, and to nearly pitch Jorrocks over his head. The
bird was missed, but the sportsman's dog dashed after it, with all the
eagerness of expectation, regardless of the cracks of the whip - the
"comes to heel," and "downs to charge" of the master. Jorrocks pulled
out his hunting telescope, and having marked the bird down with the
precision of a billiard-table keeper, rode to the gate to acquaint the
shooter with the fact, when to his infinite amazement he discovered his
friend, Nosey Browne (late of "The Surrey"), who, since his affairs had
taken the unfortunate turn mentioned in the last paper, had given up
hunting and determined to confine himself to shooting only. Nosey,
however, was no great performer, as may be inferred, when we state that
he had been in pursuit of the above-mentioned cock-pheasant ever since
daybreak, and after firing thirteen shots at him had not yet touched a

His dog was of the right sort - for Nosey at least - and hope deferred had
not made his heart sick; on the contrary, he dashed after his bird for
the thirteenth time with all the eagerness he displayed on the first.
"Let me have a crack at him," said Jorrocks to Nosey, after their mutual
salutations were over. "I know where he is, and I think I can floor
him." Browne handed the gun to Jorrocks, who, giving up his hunter in
exchange, strode off, and having marked his bird accurately, he kicked
him up out of a bit of furze, and knocked him down as "dead as a
door-nail." By that pheasant's tail hangs the present one.

Now Nosey Browne and Jorrocks were old friends, and Nosey's affairs
having gone crooked, why of course, like most men in a similar
situation, he was all the better for it; and while his creditors were
taking twopence-halfpenny in the pound, he was taking his diversion on
his wife's property, which a sagacious old father-in-law had secured to
the family in the event of such a contingency as a failure happening; so
knowing Jorrock's propensity for sports, and being desirous of chatting
over all his gallant doings with "The Surrey," shortly after the
above-mentioned day he dispatched a "twopenny," offering him a day's
shooting on his property in Surrey, adding, that he hoped he would dine
with him after. Jorrocks being invited himself, with a freedom peculiar
to fox-hunters, invited his friend the Yorkshireman, and visiting his
armoury, selected him a regular shot-scatterer of a gun, capable of
carrying ten yards on every side.

At the appointed hour on the appointed morning, the Yorkshireman
appeared in Great Coram Street, where he found Mr. Jorrocks in the
parlour in the act of settling himself into a new spruce green cut-away
gambroon butler's pantry-jacket, with pockets equal to holding
a powder-flask each, his lower man being attired in tight drab
stocking-net pantaloons, and Hessian boots with large tassels - a
striking contrast to the fustian pocket-and-all-pocket jackets marked
with game-bag strap, and shot-belt, and the weather-beaten many-coloured
breeches and gaiters, and hob-nail shoes, that compose the equipment of
a shooter in Yorkshire. Mr. Jorrocks not keeping any "sporting dogs," as
the tax-papers call them, had borrowed a fat house-dog - a cross between
a setter and a Dalmatian - of his friend Mr. Evergreen the greengrocer,
which he had seen make a most undeniable point one morning in the
Copenhagen Fields at a flock of pigeons in a beetroot garden. This
valuable animal was now attached by a trash-cord through a ring in his
brass collar to a leg of the sideboard, while a clean licked dish at his
side, showed that Jorrocks had been trying to attach him to himself, by
feeding him before starting.

"We'll take a coach to the Castle", said Jorrocks, "and then get a
go-cart or a cast somehow or other to Streatham, for we shall have
walking enough when we get there. Browne is an excellent fellow, and
will make us range every acre of his estate over half a dozen times
before we give in". A coach was speedily summoned, into which Jorrocks,
the dog Pompey, the Yorkshireman, and the guns were speedily placed, and
away they drove to the "Elephant and Castle."

There were short stages about for every possible place except Streatham.
Greenwich, Deptford, Blackheath, Eltham, Bromley, Footscray, Beckenham,
Lewisham - all places but the right. However, there were abundance of
"go-carts," a species of vehicle that ply in the outskirts of the
metropolis, and which, like the watering-place "fly," take their name
from the contrary - in fact, a sort of _lucus a non lucendo_. They are
carts on springs, drawn by one horse (with curtains to protect the
company from the weather), the drivers of which, partly by cheating, and
partly by picking pockets, eke out a comfortable existence, and are
the most lawless set of rascals under the sun. Their arrival at
the "Elephant and Castle" was a signal for a general muster of the
fraternity, who, seeing the guns, were convinced that their journey was
only what they call "a few miles down the road," and they were speedily
surrounded by twenty or thirty of them, all with "excellent 'osses, vot
vould take their honours fourteen miles an hour." All men of business
are aware of the advantages of competition, and no one more so
than Jorrocks, who stood listening to their offers with the utmost
sang-froid, until he closed with one to take them to Streatham Church
for two shillings, and deliver them within the half-hour, which was a
signal for all the rest to set-to and abuse them, their coachman, and
his horse, which they swore had been carrying "stiff-uns" [14] all night,
and "could not go not none at all". Nor were they far wrong; for the
horse, after scrambling a hundred yards or two, gradually relaxed into
something between a walk and a trot, while the driver kept soliciting
every passer-by to "ride," much to our sportsmen's chagrin, who
conceived they were to have the "go" all to themselves. Remonstrance
was vain, and he crammed in a master chimney-sweep, Major Ballenger the
licensed dealer in tea, coffee, tobacco, and snuff, of Streatham
(a customer of Jorrocks), and a wet-nurse; and took up an Italian
organ-grinder to ride beside himself on the front, before they had
accomplished Brixton Hill. Jorrocks swore most lustily that he would
fine him, and at every fresh assurance, the driver offered a passer-by
a seat; but having enlisted Major Ballenger into their cause, they at
length made a stand, which, unfortunately for them, was more than the
horse could do, for just as he was showing off, as he thought, with a
bit of a trot, down they all soused in the mud. Great was the scramble;
guns, barrel-organ, Pompey, Jorrocks, driver, master chimney-sweep,
Major Ballenger, were all down together, while the wet-nurse, who sat at
the end nearest the door, was chucked clean over the hedge into a dry
ditch. This was a signal to quit the vessel, and having extricated
themselves the best way they could, they all set off on foot, and left
the driver to right himself at his leisure.

[Footnote 14: Doing a bit of resurrection work.]

Ballenger looked rather queer when he heard they were going to Nosey
Browne's, for it so happened that Nosey had managed to walk into his
books for groceries and kitchen-stuff to the tune of fourteen pounds, a
large sum to a man in a small way of business; and to be entertaining
friends so soon after his composition, seemed curious to Ballenger's
uninitiated suburban mind.

Crossing Streatham Common, a short turn to the left by some yew-trees
leads, by a near cut across the fields, to Browne's house; a fiery-red
brick castellated cottage, standing on the slope of a gentle eminence,
and combining almost every absurdity a cockney imagination can be
capable of. Nosey, who was his own "Nash," set out with the intention of
making it a castle and nothing but a castle, and accordingly the windows
were made in the loophole fashion, and the door occupied a third of the
whole frontage. The inconveniences of the arrangements were soon felt,
for while the light was almost excluded from the rooms, "rude Boreas"
had the complete run of the castle whenever the door was opened. To
remedy this, Nosey increased the one and curtailed the other, and the
Gothic oak-painted windows and door flew from their positions to make
way for modern plate-glass in rich pea-green casements, and a door of
similar hue. The battlements, however, remained, and two wooden guns
guarded a brace of chimney-pots and commanded the wings of the castle,
one whereof was formed into a green-, the other into a gig-house.

The peals of a bright brass-handled bell at a garden-gate, surmounted by
a holly-bush with the top cut into the shape of a fox, announced their
arrival to the inhabitants of "Rosalinda Castle," and on entering they
discovered young Nosey in the act of bobbing for goldfish, in a
pond about the size of a soup-basin; while Nosey senior, a fat,
stupid-looking fellow, with a large corporation and a bottle nose,
attired in a single-breasted green cloth coat, buff waistcoat, with drab
shorts and continuations, was reposing, _sub tegmine fagi_, in a sort
of tea-garden arbour, overlooking a dung-heap, waiting their arrival to
commence an attack upon the sparrows which were regaling thereon. At
one end of the garden was a sort of temple, composed of oyster-shells,
containing a couple of carrier-pigeons, with which Nosey had intended
making his fortune, by the early information to be acquired by them: but
"there is many a slip," as Jorrocks would say.

Greetings being over, and Jorrocks having paid a visit to the larder,
and made up a stock of provisions equal to a journey through the
Wilderness, they adjourned to the yard to get the other dog, and the
man to carry the game - or rather, the prog, for the former was but
problematical. He was a character, a sort of chap of all work, one, in
short, "who has no objection to make himself generally useful"; but if
his genius had any decided bent, it was, perhaps, an inclination towards

Having to act the part of groom and gamekeeper during the morning,
and butler and footman in the afternoon, he was attired in a sort of
composition dress, savouring of the different characters performed. He
had on an old white hat, a groom's fustian stable-coat cut down into a
shooting-jacket, with a whistle at the button-hole, red plush smalls,
and top-boots.

There is nothing a cockney delights in more than aping a country
gentleman, and Browne fancied himself no bad hand at it; indeed, since
his London occupation was gone, he looked upon himself as a country
gentleman in fact. "Vell, Joe," said he, striddling and sticking his
thumbs into the arm-holes of his waistcoat, to this invaluable man of
all work, "we must show the gemmem some sport to-day; vich do you think
the best line to start upon - shall we go to the ten hacre field, or the
plantation, or Thompson's stubble, or Timms's turnips, or my meadow, or
vere?" "Vy, I doesn't know," said Joe; "there's that old hen-pheasant as
we calls Drab Bess, vot has haunted the plantin' these two seasons, and
none of us ever could 'it (hit), and I hears that Jack, and Tom, and
Bob, are still left out of Thompson's covey; but, my eyes! they're
'special vild!" "Vot, only three left? where is old Tom, and the old
ramping hen?" inquired Browne. "Oh, Mr. Smith, and a party of them 'ere
Bankside chaps, com'd down last Saturday's gone a week, and rattled
nine-and-twenty shots at the covey, and got the two old 'uns; at least
it's supposed they were both killed, though the seven on 'em only bagged
one bird; but I heard they got a goose or two as they vent home. They
had a shot at old Tom, the hare, too, but he is still alive; at least
I pricked him yesterday morn across the path into the turnip-field.
Suppose we goes at him first?"

The estate, like the game, was rather deficient in quantity, but Browne
was a wise man and made the most of what he had, and when he used to
talk about his "manor" on 'Change, people thought he had at least a
thousand acres - the extent a cockney generally advertises for, when he
wants to take a shooting-place. The following is a sketch of what he
had: The east, as far as the eye could reach, was bounded by Norwood,
a name dear to cockneys, and the scene of many a furtive kiss; the
hereditaments and premises belonging to Isaac Cheatum, Esq. ran parallel
with it on the west, containing sixty-three acres, "be the same more or
less," separated from which, by a small brook or runner of water, came
the estate of Mr. Timms, consisting of sixty acres, three roods, and
twenty-four perches, commonly called or known by the name of Fordham;
next to it were two allotments in right of common, for all manner of
cattle, except cows, upon Streatham Common, from whence up to Rosalinda
Castle, on the west, lay the estate of Mr. Browne, consisting of fifty
acres and two perches. Now it so happened that Browne had formerly the
permission to sport all the way up to Norwood, a distance of a mile and
a half, and consequently he might have been said to have the right of
shooting in Norwood itself, for the keepers only direct their attention
to the preservation of the timber and the morals of the visitors; but
since his composition with his creditors, Mr. Cheatum, who had "gone to
the wall" himself in former years, was so scandalised at Browne doing
the same, that no sooner did his name appear in the _Gazette_, than
Cheatum withdrew his permission, thereby cutting him off from Norwood
and stopping him in pursuit of his game.

Joe's proposition being duly seconded, Mr. Jorrocks, in the most
orthodox manner, flushed off his old flint and steel fire-engine, and
proceeded to give it an uncommon good loading. The Yorkshireman, with
a look of disgust, mingled with despair, and a glance at Joe's plush
breeches and top-boots, did the same, while Nosey, in the most
considerate sportsmanlike manner, merely shouldered a stick, in order
that there might be no delicacy with his visitors, as to who should
shoot first - a piece of etiquette that aids the escape of many a bird in
the neighbourhood of London.

Old Tom - a most unfortunate old hare, that what with the harriers, the
shooters, the snarers, and one thing and another, never knew a moment's
peace, and who must have started in the world with as many lives as
a cat - being doomed to receive the first crack on this occasion, our
sportsmen stole gently down the fallow, at the bottom of which were the
turnips, wherein he was said to repose; but scarcely had they reached
the hurdles which divided the field, before he was seen legging it away
clean out of shot. Jorrocks, who had brought his gun to bear upon him,
could scarcely refrain from letting drive, but thinking to come upon him
again by stealth, as he made his circuit for Norwood, he strode away
across the allotments and Fordham estate, and took up a position behind
a shed which stood on the confines of Mr. Timms's and Mr. Cheatum's
properties. Here, having procured a rest for his gun, he waited until
old Tom, who had tarried to nip a few blades of green grass that came
in his way, made his appearance. Presently he came cantering along the
outside of the wood, at a careless, easy sort of pace, betokening either
perfect indifference for the world's mischief, or utter contempt of
cockney sportsmen altogether.

He was a melancholy, woe-begone-looking animal, long and lean, with a
slight inclination to grey on his dingy old coat, one that looked as
though he had survived his kindred and had already lived beyond his day.
Jorrocks, however, saw him differently, and his eyes glistened as
he came within range of his gun. A well-timed shot ends poor Tom's
miseries! He springs into the air, and with a melancholy scream rolls
neck over heels. Knowing that Pompey would infallibly spoil him if he
got up first, Jorrocks, without waiting to load, was in the act of
starting off to pick him up, when, at the first step, he found himself
in the grasp of a Herculean monster, something between a coal-heaver and
a gamekeeper, who had been secreted behind the shed. Nosey Browne, who
had been watching his movements, holloaed out to Jorrocks to "hold
hard," who stood motionless, on the spot from whence he fired, and
Browne was speedily alongside of him. "You are on Squire Cheatum's
estate," said the man; "and I have authority to take up all poachers and
persons found unlawfully trespassing; what's your name?" "He's not on
Cheatum's estate," said Browne. "He is," said the man. "You're a liar,"
said Browne. "You're another," said the man. And so they went on; for
when such gentlemen meet, compliments pass current. At length the keeper
pulled out a foot-rule, and keeping Jorrocks in the same position he
caught him, he set-to to measure the distance of his foot from the
boundary, taking off in a line from the shed; when it certainly did
appear that the length of a big toe was across the mark, and putting up
his measure again, he insisted upon taking Jorrocks before a magistrate
for the trespass. Of course, no objection could be made, and they all
adjourned to Mr. Boreem's, when the whole case was laid before him. To
cut a long matter short - after hearing the pros and cons, and referring
to the Act of Parliament, his worship decided that a trespass had been
committed; and though, he said, it went against the grain to do so, he
fined Jorrocks in the mitigated penalty of one pound one.

This was a sad damper to our heroes, who returned to the castle with
their prog untouched and no great appetite for dinner. Being only a
family party, when Mrs. B - - retired, the subject naturally turned upon
the morning's mishap, and at every glass of port Jorrocks waxed more
valiant, until he swore he would appeal against the "conwiction"; and
remaining in the same mind when he awoke the next morning, he took the
Temple in his way to St. Botolph Lane and had six-and-eightpence worth
with Mr. Capias the attorney, who very judiciously argued each side of
the question without venturing an opinion, and proposed stating a case
for counsel to advise upon.

As usual, he gave one that would cut either way, though if it had any
tendency whatever it was to induce Jorrocks to go on; and he not wanting
much persuasion, it will not surprise our readers to hear that Jorrocks,
Capias, and the Yorkshireman were seen a few days after crossing
Waterloo Bridge in a yellow post-chaise, on their way to Croydon

After a "guinea" consultation at the "Greyhound," they adjourned to the
court, which was excessively crowded, Jorrocks being as popular with
the farmers and people as Cheatum was the reverse. Party feeling, too,
running rather high at the time, there had been a strong "whip" among
the magistrates to get a full attendance to reverse Boreem's conviction,
who had made himself rather obnoxious on the blue interest at the
election. Of course they all came in new hats,[15] and sat on the bench
looking as wise as gentlemen judges generally do.

[Footnote 15: Magistrates always buy their hats about session times, as
they have the privilege of keeping their hats on their blocks in court.]

One hundred and twenty-two affiliation cases (for this was in the
old Poor Law time) having been disposed of, about one o'clock in the
afternoon, the chairman, Mr. Tomkins of Tomkins, moved the order of the
day. He was a perfect prototype of a county magistrate - with a bald
powdered head covered by a low-crowned, broad-brimmed hat, hair
terminating behind in a _queue_, resting on the ample collar of a
snuff-brown coat, with a large bay-window of a corporation, with
difficulty retained by the joint efforts of a buff waistcoat, and the
waistband of a pair of yellow leather breeches. His countenance, which
was solemn and grave in the extreme, might either be indicative of sense
or what often serves in the place of wisdom - when parties can only hold
their tongues - great natural stupidity. From the judge's seat, which he
occupied in the centre of the bench, he observed, with immense dignity,
"There is an appeal of Jorrocks against Cheatum, which we, the bench of
magistrates of our lord the king, will take if the parties are ready,"
and immediately the court rang with "Jorrocks and Cheatum! Jorrocks and
Cheatum! Mr. Capias, attorney-at-law! Mr. Capias answer to his name! Mr.
Sharp attorney-at-law! Mr. Sharp's in the jury-room. - Then go fetch him
directly," from the ushers and bailiffs of the court; for though Tomkins
of Tomkins was slow himself, he insisted upon others being quick, and
was a great hand at prating about saving the time of the suitors. At
length the bustle of counsel crossing the table, parties coming in
and others leaving court, bailiffs shouting, and ushers responding,
gradually subsided into a whisper of, "That's Jorrocks! That's Cheatum!"
as the belligerent parties took their places by their respective
counsel. Silence having been called and procured, Mr. Smirk, a
goodish-looking man for a lawyer, having deliberately unfolded his
brief, which his clerk had scored plentifully in the margin, to make the
attorney believe he had read it very attentively, rose to address the

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Online LibraryRobert Smith SurteesJorrocks' Jaunts and Jollities → online text (page 4 of 22)