Mr. Jorrocks says "It is clearly the duty of every man to subscribe to a pack of 'ounds even if he has to borrow the money." The late Mr. T. Drake, speaking of a certain gentleman, remarked, "He doesn't know the rudiments of hunting. He doesn't know how to subscribe." It stands to reason that those who hunt should subscribe liberally to those packs with which they take their pleasure. The Secretaries of neighbouring hunts should combine to prevent niggards from shirking their duties.
Gentlemen should always turn out properly dressed for hunting. It is an insult to the master and the hunt in general not to do so.
The present fashion of turning out second horsemen in a sort of mufti which makes them look like third-class helpers in a livery stable is most objectionable. If a gentleman can afford a second horse, he can afford to dress his servant properly, that is in livery.
There are three hints with regard to riding to hounds which are often forgotten.
Take care at a fence to give the man in front of you plenty of room in case he should fall.
If you want to wake your horse up on nearing a fence remember that the spur is likely to stop him and put him out of his stride, therefore apply it some strides from the fence, press him with your legs and keep his head straight.
In riding at a fence in company always keep a fair interval between you and the next man, especially if on the left-hand side of him, for horses generally, if they refuse, run to the left, and you then will avoid a collision.
In going to cover, gentlemen should always avoid doing damage by riding over seeds, wheat, etc., and should never disturb a cover likely to be drawn in the course of the day, by going through or near it. Motor-cars have come into general use since these notes were made. If you use one for going to cover always slow down when passing horses led or ridden ; always stop at least a mile from the meet, and never allow your car on any pretence whatever to follow the hounds.
Gentlemen should never talk to a whipper-in when on duty, and avoid assembling behind him when watching a ride in covert. Conversation is sure to ensue, which is certain to take off his attention from what he is doing, prevent his hearing what is going on, and very likely head the fox back or cause him to let the fox cross unobserved.
Gentlemen should never ride amongst the hounds, nor should they ride too close to hounds when going from covert to covert, and when running should never press on them so as to drive them over the scent. Many a time what might have been a good run has been ruined by this, nor should they follow a huntsman about when casting, but stand perfectly still. When a fox is being broken up they should keep their horses well away from the hounds. The smell of blood excites them and causes them to kick at the hounds.
Gentlemen should watch hounds closely, and see and learn what they are doing; many fancy they are on the line again when they are really only casting themselves forward, and begin to niggle on, which interferes greatly with the cast and is most irritating to a huntsman.
If a gentleman is wide of the pack and sees the hunted fox and the hounds are on the line and within sight, he should not holloa, but wave his hat. If he lays down, let him be.
If they are at a check and well within hearing, he should stand exactly where he saw the fox and holloa and wave his hat, but he must be very careful not to ride the fox. If they are out of hearing he should mark the place exactly and go and tell the huntsman as quickly as possible.
Gentlemen, especially strangers, should always treat the farmers with courtesy. They are as a body most excellent, kind, hospitable men, who walk the puppies admirably, are always glad to see hounds, and even when they do not hunt themselves do all they can to promote the sport, and it is through them that hunting flourishes.
Gentlemen who do not farm themselves should purchase their forage from the neighbouring farmers if possible. I say if possible, because often farmers do not grow the necessary quality of oats. When possible, too, they should buy their horses from the farmers. It is by these means that hunting benefits the farmers.
Enormous sums are spent in hunting which would be spent elsewhere were it not for hunting, and though some people cry out and say they get but little good out of it, still the whole country most certainly does reap the benefit, and in all sorts of ways profits by hunting, and would soon find out the loss were it given up. Hundreds of hunting men subscribe to Agricultural Societies, Horse Shows, etc., in counties with which they are in no way connected, except that they come and hunt there, and I would beg of them always to subscribe to the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution.
A cheery word of good morning or good evening and a sixpence for services rendered goes a long way with the foot people out hunting, and these too can be of the greatest help and assistance to the hunt. Depend upon it, the more you keep in with them the better it will be for you. They are quite as keen as you are about the sport, and Masters should do all they can to encourage the good feeling and never disappoint them by meeting at one place and going off to draw at another.
I would recommend young gentlemen to remember the following lines. The rhymes are perhaps imperfect, but the advice is excellent:—
If you happen to think that the huntsman is wrong, And imagine you know where bold Reynard has gone, Keep that thought to yourself, for the language is strong That's addressed to the young British sportsman.