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ever seen, and you might have fancied them all made of bronze and cast in the same mould—in fact, it was scarcely possible to tell one from the other. As soon as they saw mine uncle, they rushed up to him, dragging with them the valet by their couples, who in vain attempted to restrain them. At a few paces behind us we perceived two other personages, whose business at first I had some difficulty to make out : one of these carried a kind of hod covered all over with green baize ; the other led a mule, on whose back I soon perceived was a sort of equipage which resembled a travelling cook-shop.
". How is poor old Ramoneur this morning ?' inquired mine uncle of the man who carried the hod. " • He has been in such pain, Monsieur le Marquis, that he has been
1 howling all night,' responded the man ; but as soon as it was light I applied the dressing of camphorated spirits of wine, and now he seems much better, and has eaten his soup for breakfast.'
“Well! let us start,' said mine uncle, ‘for I am sure that Marcassin will be before us at the rendezvous.'
“We were soon on our road, and although we certainly had not above a mile to reach the place of meeting, it took us nearly an hour to perform the journey. Nevertheless it was not mine uncle who retarded us in our going, for he marched along at the head of our little party more like a young man of thirty than like an octogenarian. The road was so frozen that we slipped and stumbled, and even tumbled down continually, during which time mine uncle tried to enliven this most disagreeable walk by relating some extraordinary accounts of his prowess in the chase, and which I will not weary my readers by retailing here, as I really believe that they who did not know the man so well as I did would never believe me. The total amount of tne wild boars which he had killed himself was enough to make all the sportsmen of the present day die of envy, when there appears at the bottom of the account added up 144 ; but mind you, this occurred in the year 1789. The name of poor old La Jeunesse often occurred in mine uncle's narrations, and it was invariably accompanied by a word of praise, or an expression of regret. • What a man he was !' he used to say ; 'there is not an oak tree within all the thirty or forty thousand acres of forest which surrounds us, that has not some circumstance attached to it which might bring to our remembrance the feats of this man. Even the night before he died he evinced the greatest uneasiness that his funeral would even for one day prevent our hunting, and it was not before I had promised him to speak to the curé to allow the ceremony to take place early in the morning, so that we should be enabled to hunt after it, that his mind seemed in any way at ease. That promise was his last and greatest pleasure in this world. As we were passing through a little valley between two high mountains, transformed on that day into two great blocks of ice, mine uncle stopped short (I really believe he wanted to take wind), and said to me : This place reminds me of a very extraordinary circumstance in my life ; it was here that I had the command of a band of brigands.'
"How was that ?' said Í.
“ • It was in the year 1754, during my leave of absence from my regiment, that I was returning one evening from hunting, accompanied by my old piqueur La Jeunesse, when in going down this road which
we are now passing, we perceived at the very place where we are now standing a troop of three or four hundred men, all awful-looking fellows, armed to the very teeth, and each clad in the most fantastic manner, and, if it were possible, one more ridiculously than the other. They were ranged in line of battle, and performed with guns of every size and bore a kind of exercise, which a man on horseback, and who appeared to be their chief, gave the order for. La Jeunesse and I pulled up short to look at them, and much we were in need of stopping for a few instants, for we were carrying upon our shoulders, suspended by a pole, a tolerably sized boar of some hundred-and-ninety pounds. One of our hounds set to barking with anger and astonishment at this unseemly crowd, gathered as they were in this desert spot; at that noise, the man who appeared to be the chief of the party turned his head, and seeing us, came up to us directly at a gallop. “ Are not you the Marquis de Bologne ?” he said, with the tone and manner of a perfect gentleman, taking off his hat with the greatest politeness. I of course replied in the affirmative. “I know,” said he, “that you are one of the best officers in his Majesty's army, and you will oblige me if you will be kind enough to put these men of mine through their manæuvres for a few minutes ; I have almost forgotten what I ever did know of the matter, and these stupid fellows won't listen to a word I have to say to them.” 6 Whom have I the honour to address?" I demanded of the speaker, who, by-the-bye, was really a devilish fine fellow I can assure you. “I am,” said he, “the terror of the Excise, and the dread of the Custom-house-my name is Mandrin!” “ Well then, Monsieur Mandrin, I shall be only too much enchanted to assist you !” and leaving my wild boar where it was, marched up directly and boldly to the front of these rascals, and made them perform all their exercise for a good half-hour; after that we parted the best friends in the world. On the day after, there was found on the kitchen table, without anyone knowing how they came there, or who brought them, two parcels, one very large and heavy, and addressed to me; the other much lighter, and addressed to my poor wife, who was then living ; the first contained twelve pounds of excellent contraband tobacco, the second a piece of magnificent English lace; these were the two acknowledgments of Monsieur Mandrin’s gratitude. By Jove ! added my uncle, who was no admirer of the revolution, 'the smugglers of that time were worth a thousand of the honest men of the present
“ This last story finished our conversation for the time, as we had now arrived at the rendezvous, where we found Marcassin awaiting us.
“Well! what news have you for us ?' demanded mine uncle.
“I have harboured a stag and hind,' replied the piqueur, in the underwood of Boncard ; Monsieur le Comte had better be placed at the tail of the pond of Ragny.'
“We set out immediately, the man accompanying us who carried the hod, as well as the attendant with the mule. At length Marcassin, who walked at our head, stopped, and showed us the spot where the animals had entered ; mine uncle also examined it, to see if it were good. Then he gave some especial orders to Marcassin about uncoupling the beagles, and we parted to place ourselves in readiness for the approach of the deer. In about twenty minutes we heard the cry of the hounds, wbich
had found, and in a very short time we perceived a stag and hind cross the riding at not more than forty yards from us; mine uncle hastened to the spot, and managed to arrive there before the pack came up ; he then took a little whip from his long leather gaiters, and when the beagles approached, he made them all stop with one crack of his whip.
". What are you going to do ?' I asked.
“ I am going,' he replied, “ to let my old Ramoneur have a taste of the scent ; for we shall perhaps want him before the day is over, to recover the chase, or to put the pack right if they should have the inisfortune to change the deer.'
“ The man with the hod came forward, and mine uncle removed from the hod its green baize covering, and I perceived at the bottom of the basket a black lump, which you might have taken for some lifeless object if it had not been for a pair of eyes which you saw sparkling like two carbuncles. Mine uncle laid hold of the black lump, and drew it out ; and 1 immediately recognised the old beagle which I had seen the night before warming himself in the kitchen between the legs of the Marquis de Bologne. That then was Ramoneur. The dog was then put on the ground, but not without some trouble, for the poor animal, a perfect cripple from rheumatism, uttered the most frightful cries; but he had not long felt his feet, and found himself free from the couples, than he set-to to crawl along as fast as he could on his poor paralyzed members ; at length he made the whole wood ring again with his tongue, which perfectly resembled the cough of some old man dying with the asthma.
“ • That will do,' said the Marquis ; ' he knows now a good deal more than we do ;' and waving his hand, the twelve bassets, not without showing some impatience in being made to wait till the end of the ceremony, went away iu full cry like a pack of little devils. Mine uncle, myself, and Ramoneur, fresh packed in his hod, set off immediately to the end of the pond of Ragny. As soon almost as we had arrived, the Marquis de Bologne told me in a great hurry to make the best of my way for about four hundred yards to a place where I should see an old pear-tree covered with ivy, and to watch there : *Your gun,” he said, * will soon give us the news. I followed his advice, and had not been concealed behind the old pear-tree more than five minutes, when I heard the stag approaching me, as well as the hind, which had not separated from him during the chase. When they were right opposite to me I shot, and down dropped the hind with a ball in her ribs.
"• How clumsy!' exclaimed mine uncle, who saw the stag bound away untouched ; but never mind, we shall have a good chase with the one that's left.'
“ The stag, disengaged from his companion, went right a-head for six miles, at the end of which he joined a herd of deer. The beagles, who could hardly hunt him over the land, inundated and frozen as it was, changed for a fresh deer. The Marquis, who was the first to see the error, drew out his little whip a second time, and quickly stopped them, and taking old Ramoneur from his hod, after an hour's research got the little pack upon the right line again. It is almost useless to add that it was through the efforts of Ramoneur that all this was affected. Tne stag at last returned to the pond of Ragny, and mine uncle, who was waiting for him, put a ball through his head at forty-five yards. It was now three o'clock, and as we had started from home soon after seven, we were of course not a little fatigued, and moreover in want of some refreshment; besides, we had at least two good hours' walk to reach the château.
“Marcassin, get the dinner ready!' said the Marquis.
“ Marcassin sounded two or three notes on his horn, which soon brought up the mule and his conductor, who quickly unpacked his two great panniers, which were slung on each side of the beast ; he then as quickly produced a complete service of plates, &c., all made of silver, glasses, bread, bottles of wine, and the remains of the ham which had served us for our breakfast. When all these things were laid out upon a table cloth formed of deerskin, he asked mine uncle if he should tremper la soupe ; having been ordered to get it ready immediately, he returned to the mule, and produced from an apparatus, made to fit upon the saddle between the two hampers, a kind of cauldron, in which had been stewing all the morning a most excellent soupe au choux. We soon enjoyed what appeared to me one of the best dinners I had ever eaten ; nevertheless, it by no means hindered mine uncle from eating a most plentiful supper when we returned home in the evening. This scene he repeated three-hundred-and-sixty-four times every year,' added my father, as he finished the story which I have just transcribed. When Eastereve arrived, mine uncle never failed to say : • How quick Easter seems to have come round again !'”
Three years after this visit of my father's, my poor great-uncle, notwithstanding his being above eighty years of age, and the inoffensive life which he had led, beloved as he was by all his neighbours and dependants, was arrested at the very moment when he was one morning setting out for the chase. He was made to mount a cart, and was immediately hurried off to Paris. Le Moniteur of that time will inform
of the rest.
THE PYTCHLEY AND ITS NEIGHBOURS.
There was once upon a time a clergyman, an excellent man of course, who was fond of impressing some wholesome truths upon his congregation ; and as the fountain from which he drew his discourses was not over deep (nor I suppose the box either), these same truths, unpalateable or not, came over pretty osten. But what was worse in the eyes of the parishioners, they came in the same dress. No one likes that. A pretty woman even, at least married men say so, is not find of exhibiting herself in the same costume every night in the season, however becoming. But these dresses of the parson's were plain, and were considered too durable by his hearers ; none of these sermons of his had new martingales or cruppers-he continued to call drunkenness drunkenness, and many other little accidents by their right names, until his congregation began to wish for something new. So they wrote to the Bishop
Now the Bishop was a just man, as Bishops ought to be ; and when he came in due course of time to enquire into the matter, the first question he asked was, whether after all this constant repetition of good advice (for you see no one complained of the matter, only that it came too often), the parishioners were any the better for it, whether the men got less drunk, or whether there were fewer little accidents, as they were politely called, among the ladies. And when the Bishop found that there was no improvement, at least none to speak of, he only directed the clergyman to continue his discourses until he made some impression upon these reprobates, for his Lordship knew that constant drippings wear away a stone.
There was once upon a time a writer, named Scribble-but you know the rest : and, my very excellent friends, if you were only to see the fields down here, I mean not only the Pytchley, but every pack of hounds in the Midland Counties, you would not be surprised at the Bishop's advice on the subject of repetition. It may be a bore to yon to read ; you may, once or twice during breakfast, or whatever time you keep for your light reading, throw down the N.S.M., and say “Well, really this is too much ; what, more overriding, more advice about crowding, heading the fox, skirting, fowling, and every other description of ignorance !” But if you only had to see it, and suffer by it, you would not be quite so ready to find fault, like the parishioners, with the oft-told tale. Besides, you do get it in a new dress, at least the martingale and crupper.
I think, if I remember rightly, we got through the first meet at Crick, Crick being generally considered an undoubted symptom of hunting in
You may go to the other covers, especially woodland, at the beginning of the season, in any dress you please ; you may have a run, or you may not ; but you have certainly no right to find favlt with
anything but a blank day. Later in the season, say February, you may look for brilliant runs from large coverts ; early in the season they are very serviceable for winding your horses and getting your scarlet and leathers into good condition. Up to Christmas your whole soul is set upon a patch of gorse : after the mince-pies are all gone, your desires are bounded by a hundred acres of wood.
Well, Crick was over, and the country began to fill. All sorts of men came down upon us. I like variety, even in costume, as the Latin poet wisely sings
" Nolo ego semper idem capiti suffundere costum.” But how to apply it to the head, except from the cap to the hat, or vice versâ and back again? It is not a part of the person in the male sex, that admits of much choice. To be sure, a man may have a shocking bad hat, or a very good one ; something between the two is the best for a grand field day. Not too good an one, if you intend, regardless of expense, to leave it where it falls, as an acquaintance of mine thought proper to do on Saturday. A hat must have become very bad indeed, when it ceases to be worth "
a cord.” And now everybody seems to be here. There are your scarlet and white men-neat or not, as the case may be ; but at all events intending to look like gentlemen. Amongst them you will find the best dressed and mounted men of every country; and here and there, one of them