Jorrocks' Jaunts and Jollities Part 1

Jorrocks' Jaunts and Jollities.

by Robert Smith Surtees.


What true-bred city sportsman has not in his day put off the most urgent business--perhaps his marriage, or even the interment of his rib--that he might "brave the morn" with that renowned pack, the Surrey subscription foxhounds? Lives there, we would ask, a thoroughbred, prime, bang-up, slap-dash, break-neck, out-and-out artist, within three miles of the Monument, who has not occasionally "gone a good 'un" with this celebrated pack? And shall we, the bard of Eastcheap, born all deeds of daring to record, shall we, who so oft have witnessed--nay, shared--the hardy exploits of our fellow-cits, shall we sit still, and never cease the eternal twirl of our dexter around our sinister thumb, while other scribes hand down to future ages the paltry feats of beardless Meltonians, and try to shame old Father Thames himself with muddy Whissendine's foul stream? Away! thou vampire, Indolence, that suckest the marrow of imagination, and fattenest on the cream of idea ere yet it float on the milk of reflection. Hence! slug-begotten hag, thy power is gone--the murky veil thou'st drawn o'er memory's sweetest page is rent!

Harp of Eastcheap, awake!

Our thoughts hark back to the cover-side, and our heart o'erflows with recollections of the past, when life rode the pace through our veins, and the bark of the veriest mongrel, or the bray of the sorriest costermonger's sorriest "Jerusalem," were far more musical sounds than Paganini's pizzicatos or Catalani's clamorous caterwaulings.

And, thou, Goddess of the Silver Bow--chaste Diana--deign to become the leading star of our lucubrations; come perch upon our grey goose quill; shout in our ear the maddening Tally-ho! and ever and anon give a salutary "refresher" to our memory with thy heaven-wrought spurs--those spurs old Vulcan forged when in his maddest mood--whilst we relate such feats of town-born youths and city squires, as shall "harrow up the souls" of milk-sop Melton's choicest sons, and "fright their grass-galloping garrons from their propriety." But gently, Pegasus!--Here again, boys, and "let's to business," as they say on 'Change.

'Twere almost needless to inform our readers, that such portion of a county as is hunted by any one pack of hounds is technically denominated their country; and of all countries under the sun, that of the Surrey subscription foxhounds undoubtedly bears the bell. This superiority arises from the peculiar nature of the soil--wretched starvation stuff most profusely studded with huge sharp flints--the abundance of large woods, particularly on the Kent side, and the range of mountainous hills that run directly through the centre, which afford accommodation to the timid, and are unknown in most counties and unequalled in any.

One of the most striking features in the aspect of this chosen region of fox-hunting, is the quiet easy manner in which the sportsmen take the thing. On they go--now trotting gently over the flints--now softly ambling along the grassy ridge of some stupendous hill--now quietly following each other in long-drawn files, like geese, through some close and deep ravine, or interminable wood, which re-echoes to their never-ceasing holloas--every man shouting in proportion to the amount of his subscription, until day is made horrible with their yelling. There is no pushing, jostling, rushing, cramming, or riding over one another; no jealousy, discord, or daring; no ridiculous foolhardy feats; but each man cranes and rides, and rides and cranes in a style that would gladden the eye of a director of an insurance office.

The members of the Surrey are the people that combine business with pleasure, and even in the severest run can find time for sweet discourse, and talk about the price of stocks or stockings. "Yooi wind him there, good dog, yooi wind him."--"Cottons is fell."--"Hark to Cottager! Hark!"--"Take your bill at three months, or give you three and a half discount for cash." "Eu in there, eu in, Cheapside, good dog."--"Don't be in a hurry, sir, pray. He may be in the empty casks behind the cooper's. Yooi, try for him, good bitch. Yooi, push him out."--"You're not going down that bank, surely sir? Why, it's almost perpendicular! For God's sake, sir, take care--remember you are not insured. Ah! you had better get off--here, let me hold your nag, and when you're down you can catch mine;--that's your sort but mind he doesn't break the bridle. He won't run away, for he knows I've got some sliced carrots in my pocket to reward him if he does well.--Thank you, sir, and now for a leg up--there we are--that's your sort--I'll wait till you are up also, and we'll be off together."

It is this union of the elegant courtesies and business of life with the energetic sports of the field, that constitutes the charm of Surrey hunting; and who can wonder that smoke-dried cits, pent up all the week, should gladly fly from their shops to enjoy a day's sport on a Saturday?

We must not, however, omit to express a hope that young men, who have their way to make in the world, may not be led astray by its allurements. It is all very well for old-established shopkeepers "to do a bit of pleasure" occasionally, but the apprentice or journeyman, who understands his duties and the tricks of his trade, will never be found capering in the hunting field. He will feel that his proper place is behind the counter; and while his master is away enjoying the pleasures of the chase, he can prig as much "pewter" from the till as will take both himself and his lass to Sadler's Wells theatre, or any other place she may choose to appoint.

But to return to the Surrey. The town of Croydon, nine miles from the standard in Cornhill, is the general rendezvous of the gallant sportsmen. It is the principal market town in the eastern division of the county of Surrey; and the chaw-bacons who carry the produce of their acres to it, instead of to the neighbouring village of London, retain much of their pristine barbarity. The town furnishes an interesting scene on a hunting morning, particularly on a Saturday. At an early hour, groups of grinning cits may be seen pouring in from the London side, some on the top of Cloud's coaches,[1] some in taxed carts, but the greater number mounted on good serviceable-looking nags, of the invaluable species, calculated for sport or business, "warranted free from vice, and quiet both to ride and in harness"; some few there are, who, with that kindness and considerate attention which peculiarly mark this class of sportsmen, have tacked a buggy to their hunter, and given a seat to a friend, who leaning over the back of the gig, his jocund phiz turned towards his fidus Achates, leads his own horse behind, listening to the discourse of "his ancient," or regaling him "with sweet converse"; and thus they onward jog, until the sign of the "Greyhound,"

stretching quite across the main street, greets their expectant optics, and seems to forbid their passing the open portal below. In they wend then, and having seen their horses "sorted," and the collar marks (as much as may be) carefully effaced by the shrewd application of a due quantity of grease and lamp-black, speed in to "mine host" and order a sound repast of the good things of this world; the which to discuss, they presently apply themselves with a vigour that indicates as much a determination to recruit fatigue endured, as to lay in stock against the effects of future exertion. Meanwhile the bustle increases; sportsmen arrive by the score, fresh tables are laid out, covered with "no end" of vivers; and towards the hour of nine, may be heard to perfection, that pleasing assemblage of sounds issuing from the masticatory organs of a number of men steadfastly and studiously employed in the delightful occupation of preparing their mouthfuls for deglutition. "O noctes coenaeque Dem," said friend Flaccus. Oh, hunting breakfasts! say we.

Where are now the jocund laugh, the repartee, the oft-repeated tale, the last debate? As our sporting contemporary, the _Quarterly_, said, when describing the noiseless pursuit of old reynard by the Quorn: "Reader, there is no crash now, and not much music." It is the tinker that makes a great noise over a little work, but, at the pace these men are eating, there is no time for babbling. So, gentle lector, there is now no leisure for bandying compliments, 'tis your small eater alone who chatters o'er his meals; your true-born sportsman is ever a silent and, consequently, an assiduous grubber. True it is that occasionally space is found between mouthfuls to vociferate "WAITER!" in a tone that requires not repetition; and most sonorously do the throats of the assembled eaters re-echo the sound; but this is all--no useless exuberance of speech--no, the knife or fork is directed towards what is wanted, nor needs there any more expressive intimation of the applicant's wants.

[Footnote 1: The date of this description, it must be remembered, is put many years back.]

At length the hour of ten approaches; bills are paid, pocket-pistols filled, sandwiches stowed away, horses accoutred, and our bevy straddle forth into the town, to the infinite gratification of troops of dirty-nosed urchins, who, for the last hour, have been peeping in at the windows, impatiently watching for the _exeunt_ of our worthies.--They mount, and away--trot, trot--bump, bump--trot, trot--bump, bump--over Addington Heath, through the village, and up the hill to Hayes Common, which having gained, spurs are applied, and any slight degree of pursiness that the good steeds may have acquired by standing at livery in Cripplegate, or elsewhere, is speedily pumped out of them by a smart brush over the turf, to the "Fox," at Keston, where a numerous assemblage of true sportsmen patiently await the usual hour for throwing off. At length time being called, say twenty minutes to eleven, and Mr.

Jorrocks, Nodding Homer, and the principal subscribers having cast up, the hounds approach the cover. "Yooi in there!" shouts Tom Hills, who has long hunted this crack pack; and crack! crack! crack! go the whips of some scores of sportsmen. "Yelp, yelp, yelp," howl the hounds; and in about a quarter of an hour Tom has not above four or five couple at his heels. This number being a trifle, Tom runs his prad at a gap in the fence by the wood-side; the old nag goes well at it, but stops short at the critical moment, and, instead of taking the ditch, bolts and wheels round. Tom, however, who is "large in the boiling pieces," as they say at Whitechapel, is prevented by his weight from being shaken out of his saddle; and, being resolved to take no denial, he lays the crop of his hunting-whip about the head of his beast, and runs him at the same spot a second time, with an _obligato_ accompaniment of his spur-rowels, backed by a "curm along then!" issued in such a tone as plainly informs his quadruped he is in no joking humour. These incentives succeed in landing Tom and his nag in the wished-for spot, when, immediately, the wood begins to resound with shouts of "Yoicks True-bo-y, yoicks True-bo-y, yoicks push him up, yoicks wind him!" and the whole pack begin to work like good 'uns. Occasionally may be heard the howl of some unfortunate hound that has been caught in a fox trap, or taken in a hare snare; and not unfrequently the discordant growls of some three or four more, vociferously quarrelling over the venerable remains of some defunct rabbit. "Oh, you rogues!" cries Mr. Jorrocks, a cit rapturously fond of the sport. After the lapse of half an hour the noise in the wood for a time increases audibly. 'Tis Tom chastising the gourmands. Another quarter of an hour, and a hound that has finished his coney bone slips out of the wood, and takes a roll upon the greensward, opining, no doubt, that such pastime is preferable to scratching his hide among brambles in the covers. "Hounds have no right to opine," opines the head whipper-in; so clapping spurs into his prad, he begins to pursue the delinquent round the common, with "Markis, Markis! what are you at, Markis? get into cover, Markis!" But "it's no go"; Marquis creeps through a hedge, and "grins horribly a ghastly smile" at his ruthless tormentor, who wends back, well pleased at having had an excuse for taking "a bit gallop"! Half an hour more slips away, and some of the least hasty of our cits begin to wax impatient, in spite of the oft-repeated admonition, "don't be in a hurry!" At length a yokel pops out of the cover, and as soon as he has recovered breath, informs the field that he has been "a-hollorin' to 'em for half an hour," and that the fox had "gone away for Tatsfield, 'most as soon as ever the 'oounds went into 'ood."

All is now hurry-scurry--girths are tightened--reins gathered up--half-munched sandwiches thrust into the mouth--pocket-pistols applied to--coats comfortably buttoned up to the throat; and, these preparations made, away goes the whole field, "coolly and fairly," along the road to Leaves Green and Crown Ash Hill--from which latter spot, the operations of the pack in the bottom may be comfortably and securely viewed--leaving the whips to flog as many hounds out of cover as they can, and Tom to entice as many more as are willing to follow the "twang, twang, twang" of his horn.

And now, a sufficient number of hounds having been seduced from the wood, forth sallies "Tummas," and making straight for the spot where our yokel's "mate" stands leaning on his plough-stilts, obtains from him the exact latitude and longitude of the spot where reynard broke through the hedge. To this identical place is the pack forthwith led; and, no sooner have they reached it, than the wagging of their sterns clearly shows how genuine is their breed. Old Strumpet, at length, first looking up in Tom's face for applause, ventures to send forth a long-drawn howl, which, coupled with Tom's screech, setting the rest agog, away they all go, like beans; and the wind, fortunately setting towards Westerham, bears the melodious sound to the delighted ears of our "roadsters," who, forthwith catching the infection, respond with deafening shouts and joyous yells, set to every key, and disdaining the laws of harmony.

Thus, what with Tom's horn, the holloaing of the whips, and the shouts of the riders, a very pretty notion may be formed of what Virgil calls:

"Clamorque virm, clangorque tubarum."

A terrible noise is the result!

At the end of nine minutes or so, the hounds come to fault in the bottom, below the blacksmith's, at Crown Ash Hill, and the fox has a capital chance; in fact, they have changed for the blacksmith's tom cat, which rushed out before them, and finding their mistake, return at their leisure. This gives the most daring of the field, on the eminence, an opportunity of descending to view the sport more closely; and being assembled in the bottom, each congratulates his neighbour on the excellent condition and stanchness of the hounds, and the admirable view that has been afforded them of their peculiar style of hunting. At this interesting period, a "regular swell" from Melton Mowbray, unknown to everyone except his tailor, to whom he owes a long tick, makes his appearance and affords abundance of merriment for our sportsmen. He is just turned out of the hands of his valet, and presents the very beau-ideal of his caste--"quite the lady," in fact. His hat is stuck on one side, displaying a profusion of well-waxed ringlets; a corresponding infinity of whisker, terminating at the chin, there joins an enormous pair of moustaches, which give him the appearance of having caught the fox himself and stuck its brush below his nose. His neck is very stiff; and the exact Jackson-like fit of his coat, which almost nips him in two at the waist, and his superlatively well-cleaned leather Andersons,[2]

together with the perfume and the general puppyism of his appearance, proclaim that he is a "swell" of the very first water, and one that a Surrey sportsman would like to buy at his own price and sell at the other's. In addition to this, his boots, which his "fellow" has just denuded from a pair of wash-leather covers, are of the finest, brightest, blackest patent leather imaginable; the left one being the identical boot by which Warren's monkey shaved himself, while the right is the one at which the game-cock pecked, mistaking its own shadow for an opponent, the mark of its bill being still visible above the instep; and the tops--whose pampered appetites have been fed on champagne--are of the most delicate cream-colour, the whole devoid of mud or speck. The animal he bestrides is no less calculated than himself to excite the risible faculties of the field, being a sort of mouse colour, with dun mane and tail, got by Nicolo, out of a flibbertigibbet mare, and he stands seventeen hands and an inch. His head is small and blood-like, his girth a mere trifle, and his legs, very long and spidery, of course without any hair at the pasterns to protect them from the flints; his whole appearance bespeaking him fitter to run for half-mile hunters'

stakes at Croxton Park or Leicester, than contend for foxes' brushes in such a splendid country as the Surrey. There he stands, with his tail stuck tight between his legs, shivering and shaking for all the world as if troubled with a fit of ague. And well he may, poor beast, for--oh, men of Surrey, London, Kent, and Middlesex, hearken to my word--on closer inspection he proves to have been shaved!!![3]

[Footnote 2: Anderson, of South Audley Street, is, or was, a famous breeches-maker.]

[Footnote 3: Shaving was in great vogue at Melton some seasons back. It was succeeded by clipping, and clipping by singeing.]

After a considerable time spent in casting to the right, the left, and the rear, "True-bouy" chances to take a fling in advance, and hitting upon the scent, proclaims it with his wonted energy, which drawing all his brethren to the spot, they pick it slowly over some brick-fields and flint-beds, to an old lady's flower-garden, through which they carry it with a surprising head into the fields beyond, when they begin to fall into line, and the sportsmen doing the same--"one at a time and it will last the longer"--"Tummas" tootles his horn, the hunt is up, and away they all rattle at "Parliament pace," as the hackney-coachmen say.

Our swell, who flatters himself he can "ride a few," according to the fashion of his country, takes up a line of his own, abreast of the leading hounds, notwithstanding the oft vociferated cry of "Hold hard, sir!" "Pray, hold hard, sir!" "For God's sake, hold hard, sir!" "G--d d--n you, hold hard, sir!" "Where the h--ll are you going to, sir?" and other familiar inquiries and benedictions, with which a stranger is sometimes greeted, who ventures to take a look at a strange pack of hounds.

In the meantime the fox, who has often had a game at romps with his pursuers, being resolved this time to give them a tickler, bears straight away for Westerham, to the infinite satisfaction of the "hill folks," who thus have an excellent opportunity of seeing the run without putting their horses to the trouble of "rejoicing in their strength, or pawing in the valley." But who is so fortunate as to be near the scene of action in this second scurry, almost as fast as the first? Our fancy supplies us, and there not being many, we will just initialise them all, and let he whom the cap fits put it on.

If we look to the left, nearly abreast of the three couple of hounds that are leading by some half mile or so, we shall see "Swell"--like a monkey on a giraffe--striding away in the true Leicestershire style; the animal contracting its stride after every exertion in pulling its long legs out of the deep and clayey soil, until the Bromley barber, who has been quilting his mule along at a fearful rate, and in high dudgeon at anyone presuming to exercise his profession upon a dumb brute, overtakes him, and in the endeavour to pass, lays it into his mule in a style that would insure him rotatory occupation at Brixton for his spindles, should any member of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals witness his proceedings; while his friend and neighbour old B----, the tinker, plies his little mare with the Brummagems, to be ready to ride over "Swell" the instant the barber gets him down. On the right of the leading hounds are three crack members of the Surrey, Messrs. B--e, S--bs, and B--l, all lads who can go; while a long way in the rear of the body of the pack are some dozen, who, while they sat on the hills, thought they could also, but who now find out their mistake. Down Windy Lane, a glimpse of a few red coats may be caught passing the gaps and weak parts of the fence, among whom we distinctly recognise the worthy master of the pack, followed by Jorrocks, with his long coat-laps floating in the breeze, who thinking that "catching-time" must be near at hand, and being dearly fond of blood, has descended from his high station to witness the close of the scene. "Vot a pace! and vot a country!" cries the grocer, standing high in his stirrups, and bending over the neck of his chestnut as though he were meditating a plunge over his head; "how they stick to him! vot a pack! by Jove they are at fault again. Yooi, Pilgrim! Yooi, Warbler, ma load! (lad). Tom, try down the hedge-row." "Hold your jaw, Mr. J----," cries Tom, "you are always throwing that red rag of yours. I wish you would keep your potato-trap shut. See! you've made every hound throw up, and it's ten to one that ne'er a one among 'em will stoop again." "Yonder he goes," cries a cock of the old school, who used to hunt with Colonel Jolliffe's hounds, and still sports the long blue surtout lined with orange, yellow-ochre unmentionables, and mahogany-coloured knee-caps, with mother-of-pearl buttons. "Yonder he goes among the ship (sheep), for a thousand! see how the skulking waggabone makes them scamper." At this particular moment a shrill scream is heard at the far end of a long shaw, and every man pushes on to the best of his endeavour. "Holloo o-o-u, h'loo o-o-u, h'loo--o-o-u, gone away! gone away! forward! forrard! hark back! hark forrard! hark forrard! hark back!" resounds from every mouth. "He's making for the 'oods beyond Addington, and we shall have a rare teaser up these hills," cries Jorrocks, throwing his arms round his horse's neck as he reaches the foot of them.--"D--n your hills," cries "Swell,"

as he suddenly finds himself sitting on the hindquarters of his horse, his saddle having slipped back for want of a breastplate,--"I wish the hills had been piled on your back, and the flints thrust down your confounded throat, before I came into such a cursed provincial." "Haw, haw, haw!" roars a Croydon butcher. "What don't 'e like it, sir, eh? too sharp to be pleasant, eh?--Your nag should have put on his boots before he showed among us."

"He's making straight for Fuller's farm," exclaims a thirsty veteran on reaching the top, "and I'll pull up and have a nip of ale, please God."

"Hang your ale," cries a certain sporting cheesemonger, "you had better come out with a barrel of it tacked to your horse's tail."--"Or 'unt on a steam-engine," adds his friend the omnibus proprietor, "and then you can brew as you go." "We shall have the Croydon Canal," cries Mr.

H----n, of Tottenham, who knows every flint in the country, "and how will you like that, my hearties?" "Curse the Croydon Canal," bawls the little Bromley barber, "my mule can swim like a soap-bladder, and my toggery can't spoil, thank God!"

The prophecy turns up. Having skirted Fuller's farm, the villain finds no place to hide; and in two minutes, or less, the canal appears in view. It is full of craft, and the locks are open, but there is a bridge about half a mile to the right. "If my horse can do nothing else he can 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.


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.

Chapter end

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