This section is from the book "Hunting: A Manual of Fox, Hare, Stag & Otter Hunting", by J. Otho Paget. Also available from Amazon: Hunting: A Manual of Fox, Hare, Stag & Otter Hunting.
There is a last word I have to say which ought to have been first, and that is about subscribing to the hunt you patronise.
Before you buy your horses, order your clothes, or decide on the size of your hunting-box, you ought to set aside a sum of money for subscriptions, and not only set it aside, but send it to the secretary ere you appear with the hounds. You ought not to require a reminder that your subscription is due, but should find out the proper person and send it him at once. Whatever you may give, the master is nearly certain to have to bear a large share of the expenses, so that you need not be afraid of giving too much. The usual question asked is, * What is the least I can send?' but instead of asking any one that question you should ask yourself, ' How much can I give ?'
A custom has grown up of sending in subscriptions at Christmas or afterwards, and then, if you leave before that time, it is very likely you will forget to send anything. You had no intention of behaving shabbily, and your tradesmen gave you no excuse for forgetting them; but because the hunt secretary did not like to dun you, some one else has to make good your share of the expenses. By paying at the beginning of the season you avoid the possibility of doing anything of this kind, and you will save the hunt official much trouble. Personally I think it would be a good plan if every one paid a regular recognised subscription at the beginning of the season, and then at the end they might add something more from the fulness of heart if they were satisfied with the sport they had seen, and felt disposed to be generous. Every one must see that it is impossible for a master to make rules that are binding on his field, and therefore I think it should be a point of honour to send a subscription without being asked for it. The careless and extravagant have all the desire to send a handsome subscription in March or later, but when that month arrives the expenses of housekeeping have swallowed up the year's allowance, and the hunt must then go without. That imaginary beginner whom I have been addressing all through this volume will, I am sure, take this last piece of advice to heart, and will not appear at the covert-side until his own subscription has been paid.
Printed by T. and A. Constable, Printers to Her Majesty at the Edinburgh University Press