The Master of Hounds

Photo Caption: The Marquis of Zetland, KC, PC – otherwise known as Lawrence Dundas
Son of: John Charles Dundas and: Margaret Matilda Talbot
born: Friday 16 August 1844
died: Monday 11 March 1929 at Aske Hall
Occupation: M.P. for Richmond Viceroy of Ireland
Vice Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire
Lord – in – Waiting to Queen Victoria
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland

 

THE MASTER OF HOUNDS

The great masters of antiquity, if we may so style them—Meynell, Beckford, Corbet, Lee Anthone, John Warde, Ralph Lambton, Musters—have been described as paragons of politeness as well as models of keenness. George Osbaldeston hardly possessed the former quality in so marked a degree. Coming to present times, I cite as examples the late Lord Penrhyn, Lords Portman, Lonsdale,  and Harrington, and Mr. R. Watson of Carlow, Mr. J. Watson (Meath), Captain Burns- Hartopp, and Captain Forester, eminently successful masters. Last but not least the eighth and present Dukes of Beaufort.

     Money ! money ! money ! is perhaps the most important attribute after keenness and temper. A real keen’un will generally get a country. Happy is the country possessing a master with these qualifications, and they are by no means easy to acquire—the boldness of a lion, the cunning of a fox, the shrewdness of an exciseman, the calculation of a general, the decision of a judge, the purse of Squire Plutus, the regularity of a railway, liberality of a philanthropist, the politeness of a lord, the strength of a Hercules, the thirst of a Bacchus, the appetite of a Dando, a slight touch of Cicero’s eloquence ; even more so when the field overrides badly, and a temper as even as the lines of a copybook. So says “The Analysis of the Hunting Field.”

     Lor’ bless us, what a combination of qualities! An M.P. is generally supposed to have a ticklish, uphill game to play. The M.F.H. has just as difficult a one. He has to keep his soft-sawder pot boiling all the year round, healing real or imaginary wounds, both of his field and the farmer’s as to poultry and damage. Possessing, as our model M.F.H. is supposed to, the patience of Job, and the tact of an M.P., he can only be written down as ” the best fellow under the sun.” They must have these same qualities, and may have very different ways of showing them. About the keenness there must be ” no mistake,” as the great Duke of Wellington would have said. A qualified liking would not do for a “best fellow under the sun.” He must be a real out and outer. Keenness covers a multitude of sins. City people, perhaps, would put money first, but that shows they know nothing of fox hunting. Wealth, birth, keenness, all combined, won’t do unless he has the sincere desire to please, and the desire not to hurt any one’s feelings unnecessarily. Making too much of a business of hunting makes nervous and irritable masters. ” Better luck next time ” is a fine consoling axiom, cheering alike to fox-hunter, gunner, and fisherman. Fox-hunting, being a sport, whether a fox is killed, or a fox is lost, or a fox is mobbed, or a fox is earthed, makes no difference in the balance at the bankers.

     On the principle that a new broom sweeps clean, gentlemen taking the onus upon them of M.F.H. are apt to slave and toil like servants. The fox-hunter goes out to “fresh fields and pastures new,” hears all the news, the fun, the nonsense, the gossip of the world ; his mind enlarged, his spirits raised, his body refreshed, and he comes back full of life and animation.

     Dining out is almost indispensable for an M.F.H. , for friendship can only be riveted over a mahogany. It is convenient, too, in some cases, such as hunting a distant part of the country. An agreeable change this, if the party have not been hobnobbing at the county club for weeks together. One of the mistakes non-hunting people used to make : ” None but fox-hunters will do to meet fox-hunters.” We have changed all that now. In a few hunts at any rate hunt dinners are still in vogue. These reunions among members of hunts have somewhat lapsed ; not so the balls in January and February.

     To discuss further the duties of the would-be successful master, I quote from Beckford : ” A gentleman might make the best huntsman. I have no doubt that he would, if he chose the trouble of it.” It is just the ” trouble ” that chokes people off half the projects and enterprises of life. Gentlemen who hunt their own hounds should remember they are huntsmen. He is a public character, and as such is liable to be criticised by the field adversely, or not, in accordance with the day’s sport. The generalship of a master consists in making the most of a country, and the greatest use of his friends—that is, exhort the members to put their shoulder to the wheel in the cause of fox-hunting. Diplomacy (a genteel term for “humbugging”) is another requisite for an M.F.H.

     I regret that this chapter must be somewhat curtailed. I quote, however, the words of a Lord Petre to Mr. Delme Ratcliffe, who was then taking over the Hertfordshire : ” Remember, however,” added his lordship, after going through a recapitulation of the hundreds, ” you will never have your hand out of your pocket, and must always have a guinea in it.” Most readers of these pages know what a master can reasonably expect from his field, and what the field expects from the master. ” A country should be hunted, the good and the bad alternately, to give general satisfaction, and in the long run better sport will be enjoyed.” Beckford makes some distinction be tween managing a pack of hounds and hunting them.

     Various are the opinions as to the best man to fill the position of M.F.H. The great question hinges on the style of man himself. We all know the ease and readiness with which people find fault. It may be of interest to quote “Gentleman” Smith’s—a former M.F.H. of the Pytchley and Craven Hunts—ideas of a perfect huntsman. ” He should possess health, memory, decision, temper, and patience, voice and sight, courage and spirits, perseverance, activity ; and with these he will soon make a bad pack a good one. If quick, he will make a slow pack quick ; if slow, he will make a quick pack slow.” Mr. Smith continues, ” But first, to become a good one he must have a fair chance, and should not be interfered with by any one after leaving the meet. Granted he is in the master’s confidence. … He should be able to think for himself when hounds check.” Beckford’s qualifications are to be summed up in the single word ” youth.” Doubtless perpetual evergreenness is a most desirable attribute. The old head on young shoulders is probably the one attribute referred to.

     A man may certainly be born to become a huntsman. We have heard Mr. C. M’Neill spoken of as a ” born huntsman.” There are very many families of huntsmen indeed. The following is Beckford’s ideal : ” He should be young, strong, bold, and enterprising ; fond of the diversion, and indefatigable in the pursuit of it ; he should be sensible and good-tempered, and sober ; exact, civil ; naturally a good horseman, his voice should be strong and clear, have an eye so quick as to perceive which of the hounds carries the scent, when all are running ; and should distinguish the foremost hounds when he does not see them. He should be quiet, patient, and without conceit he should not be too fond of displaying these attributes, till necessity calls them forth. He should let his hounds alone, whilst they can hunt, and he should have the genius to assist them when they cannot.” Many professional huntsmen, however, have combated with age and weight. I quote these qualifications as many masters hunt their own hounds.

     The idea of this work is not one of laying down the law, but has been compiled as a work of useful reference merely. The scope of this work does not admit of the M.F.H.’s deportment at the meet, the roles of huntsmen, whippers-in, and second horsemen to be discussed therein.

     The following rules were found in the Diary of W. Summers, huntsman to Mr. Napper in the forties. He was kennel huntsman to the late Mr. W. C. Standish during that gentleman’s master ship of the Hursley and the New Forest fox hounds. I quote them here in the interest of all concerned.

     ” No man should attempt to hunt a pack of fox hounds who has not a cool head, and particularly a good temper. An excitable temperament is not an acquisition ; its possessor may ride as hard as he likes ; he will never make a good huntsman—but that never catches foxes. Most huntsmen, to our idea [Summers says], ride too hard ; nineteen out of twenty override their own hounds, and drive them hundreds of yards over the scent, leading the field after them ; for very few of the sportsmen who attend the meets ever look at the hounds : they ride at the huntsman, not to the hounds. A huntsman will tell you that it is not his fault that he overrides his hounds, but ‘ the gentlemen do press on me so.’

     “A cool-headed huntsman with nerve will not allow himself to be hurried, and will see when his leading hounds have the scent and when they have not. He will take no notice of any man, and hunt hounds as though he, and he alone, were present, and consequently give satisfaction to the few that know anything about it (hunting) and catch his fox. He need take no heed of holloas or ask advice when hunting his hounds, but should have his own opinion, and stick to it. He will let his hounds alone as much as possible : they will know more than he does about making their own cast first ; and should they fail to recover the scent, then let him try what he can do ; he should remember foxes seldom wait, and he should make up his mind quickly what he means to do. The worse the scent, the quieter he will be with his hounds ; full well he knows that if he once gets their heads up, it will take him all his time to get them down again. He must have his eyes everywhere, and so he will quickly detect what has probably headed the fox—a man ploughing, a flock of sheep, or a herd of bullocks.”

     Hounds are often overridden by an impatient or unsportsman-like field of horsemen, or galloped to holloas by an ignorant huntsman.

     ” How often have we seen a fox, who, to all appearance, was as good as killed, unaccountably lost owing to impatience. Either the huntsman has viewed the fox away, or the shepherd has who is holloaing him ; thus he begins to blow his horn and cheers on his hounds at best pace. Unluckily their heads go up, and the fox is lost. He can’t make out why, neither can half the field, who don’t care much, and ride home satisfied they have had a gallop and a jump, and think the fox a good one ; in fact, they are glad he is spared for another day. But the sporting M.F.H. knows why that fox was lost, and wishes there had been a potato in his huntsman’s mouth when he viewed him. Had the hounds been left alone, he knows that fox’s hours were numbered, whereas the hounds are rather disgusted at the day’s toil. A general, however brave a man he may be, if he has no head, is useless in command of an army ; and the brainless huntsman, gallant rider though he may be, can never command hounds. Riding propensities of hunt servants are over estimated, and knowledge of hunting science is not taken into account by the field. Those who hunt to ride merely estimate the huntsman by the number of his falls and useless jumping of fences. Then an ignorance of fox-hunting is displayed.”

     Summers pertinently goes on to say, ” Servants are sent out hunting to assist the hounds, and not ride to the gentlemen, but follow the pack the nearest and quickest way, and not jump fences because Captain ‘ Bellairs ‘ does so ; that gallant man of war may stop his horse and break his neck, too, but the huntsman and whips are required for the day ; they should nurse their horses for the afternoon run. They are no use lying in bed with broken limbs ; but in the field is their place, where they ought to be of use, and are paid to be so, and assist in promoting the most liberal and noblest of sports.”

     Captain W. C. Standish, M.F.H., contributed
Summers’ Diary to Baily’s Magazine.

          ” To take a lesson from his book,
And at his system fairly look,
Would Quorndon’s hero only deign,
He would not hunt his fox in vain.
But no ; with him it’s all the pace :
The hounds will look him in the face,
And seem to say, ‘ Our noble master,
You would not have us go much faster ;
For we, on flying so intent,
A mile behind have left the scent.’
Indeed, good sir, you’ll shortly find,
And ever after bear in mind,
That if you wish your hounds to shine,
Keep only those who hold the line.”
Ode to Assheton Smith, 1813.

From: Fox-Hunting Past & Present by R.H. Carlisle(“Hawk Eye”, Late 14th P.W.O. Regiment)

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Sir Peter Francis Bourgeois and the Dulwich Picture Gallery

Noel Desenfans and Sir Francis Bourgeois, circa 1805 by Paul Sandby, watercolour on paper

The Dulwich Picture Gallery was England’s first purpose-built art gallery and considered by some to be England’s first national gallery. Founded by the bequest of Sir Peter Francis Bourgois, dandy, the gallery was built to display his vast [...] Read more →

Arsenic and Old Lace

What is follows is an historical article that appeared in The Hartford Courant in 1916 about the arsenic murders carried out by Mrs. Archer-Gilligan. This story is the basis for the 1944 Hollywood film “Arsenic and Old Lace” starring Cary Grant and Priscilla Lane and directed by Frank Capra. The [...] Read more →

Commercial Tuna Salad Recipe

Tom Oates, aka Nabokov at en.wikipedia

No two commercial tuna salads are prepared by exactly the same formula, but they do not show the wide variety characteristic of herring salad. The recipe given here is typical. It is offered, however, only as a guide. The same recipe with minor variations to suit [...] Read more →

Carpenters’ Furniture

IT requires a far search to gather up examples of furniture really representative in this kind, and thus to gain a point of view for a prospect into the more ideal where furniture no longer is bought to look expensively useless in a boudoir, but serves everyday and commonplace need, such as [...] Read more →

Some Notes on American Ship Worms

July 9, 1898. Forest and Stream Pg. 25

Some Notes on American Ship-Worms.

[Read before the American Fishes Congress at Tampa.]

While we wish to preserve and protect most of the products of our waters, these creatures we would gladly obliterate from the realm of living things. For [...] Read more →

Travels by Narrowboat

Oh Glorious England, verdant fields and wandering canals…

In this wonderful series of videos, the CountryHouseGent takes the viewer along as he chugs up and down the many canals crisscrossing England in his classic Narrowboat. There is nothing like a free man charting his own destiny.

Glimpses from the Chase

From Fores’s Sporting Notes and Sketches, A Quarterly Magazine Descriptive of British, Indian, Colonial, and Foreign Sport with Thirty Two Full Page Illustrations Volume 10 1893, London; Mssrs. Fores Piccadilly W. 1893, All Rights Reserved.

GLIMPSES OF THE CHASE, Ireland a Hundred Years Ago. By ‘Triviator.’

FOX-HUNTING has, like Racing, [...] Read more →

Zulu Yawl

Dec. 10, 1898 Forest and Stream Pg. 477-479

Zulu.

The little ship shown in the accompanying plans needs no description, as she speaks for herself, a handsome and shipshape craft that a man may own for years without any fear that she will go to pieces [...] Read more →

The Black Grouper or Jewfish.

 

Nov. 5. 1898 Forest and Stream Pg. 371-372

The Black Grouper or Jewfish.

New Smyrna, Fla., Oct. 21.—Editor Forest and Stream:

It is not generally known that the fish commonly called jewfish. warsaw and black grouper are frequently caught at the New Smyrna bridge [...] Read more →

Classic Restoration of a Spring Tied Upholstered Chair

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This video by AT Restoration is the best hands on video I have run across on the basics of classic upholstery. Watch a master at work. Simply amazing.

Tools:

Round needles: https://amzn.to/2S9IhrP Double pointed hand needle: https://amzn.to/3bDmWPp Hand tools: https://amzn.to/2Rytirc Staple gun (for beginner): https://amzn.to/2JZs3x1 Compressor [...] Read more →

The Charge of the Light Brigade

Officers and men of the 13th Light Dragoons, British Army, Crimea. Rostrum photograph of photographer’s original print, uncropped and without color correction. Survivors of the Charge.

Half a league, half a league, Half a league onward, All in the valley of Death Rode the six hundred. “Forward, the Light Brigade! Charge for the [...] Read more →

Mortlake Tapestries of Chatsworth

Mortlake Tapestries at Chatsworth House

Click here to learn more about the Mortlake Tapestries of Chatsworth

The Mortlake Tapestries were founded by Sir Francis Crane.

From the Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 13

Crane, Francis by William Prideaux Courtney

CRANE, Sir FRANCIS (d. [...] Read more →

Chinese Duck Cooking – A Few Recipes

Chen Lin, Water fowl, in Cahill, James. Ge jiang shan se (Hills Beyond a River: Chinese Painting of the Yuan Dynasty, 1279-1368, Taiwan edition). Taipei: Shitou chubanshe fen youxian gongsi, 1994. pl. 4:13, p. 180. Collection of the National Palace Museum, Taipei. scroll, light colors on paper, 35.7 x 47.5 cm

 

Palermo Wine

Take to every quart of water one pound of Malaga raisins, rub and cut the raisins small, and put them to the water, and let them stand ten days, stirring once or twice a day. You may boil the water an hour before you put it to the raisins, and let it [...] Read more →

A Crock of Squirrel

A CROCK OF SQUIRREL

4 young squirrels – quartered Salt & Pepper 1 large bunch of fresh coriander 2 large cloves of garlic 2 tbsp. salted sweet cream cow butter ¼ cup of brandy 1 tbsp. turbinado sugar 6 fresh apricots 4 strips of bacon 1 large package of Monterrey [...] Read more →

Artist Methods

Como dome facade – Pliny the Elder – Photo by Wolfgang Sauber

Work in Progress…

THE VARNISHES.

Every substance may be considered as a varnish, which, when applied to the surface of a solid body, gives it a permanent lustre. Drying oil, thickened by exposure to the sun’s heat or [...] Read more →

Life Among the Thugee

The existence of large bodies of men having no other means of subsistence than those afforded by plunder, is, in all countries, too common to excite surprise; and, unhappily, organized bands of assassins are not peculiar to India! The associations of murderers known by the name of Thugs present, however, [...] Read more →

The First Christian Man Cremated in America

Laurens’ portrait as painted during his time spent imprisoned in the Tower of London, where he was kept for over a year after being captured at sea while serving as the United States minister to the Netherlands during the Revolutionary War.

The first Christian white man to be cremated in America was [...] Read more →

Fed Policy Success Equals Tax Payers Job Insecurity

The low level of work stoppages of recent years also attests to concern about job security.

Testimony of Chairman Alan Greenspan The Federal Reserve’s semiannual monetary policy report Before the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, U.S. Senate February 26, 1997

Iappreciate the opportunity to appear before this Committee [...] Read more →

How to Distinguish Fishes

 

Sept. 3, 1898. Forest and Stream Pg. 188-189

How to Distinguish Fishes.

BY FRED MATHER. The average angler knows by sight all the fish which he captures, but ask him to describe one and he is puzzled, and will get off on the color of the fish, which is [...] Read more →

The Field of the Cloth of Gold

Reprint from the Royal Collection Trust Website

The meeting between Henry VIII and Francis I, known as the Field of the Cloth of Gold, took place between 7 to 24 June 1520 in a valley subsequently called the Val d’Or, near Guisnes to the south of Calais. The [...] Read more →

The Hoochie Coochie Hex

From Dr. Marvel’s 1929 book entitled Hoodoo for the Common Man, we find his infamous Hoochie Coochie Hex.

What follows is a verbatim transcription of the text:

The Hoochie Coochie Hex should not be used in conjunction with any other Hexes. This can lead to [...] Read more →

Vitruvius Ten Books on Architecture

VITRUVIUS

The Ten Books on Architecture

TRANSLATED By MORRIS HICKY MORGAN, PH.D., LL.D. LATE PROFESSOR OF CLASSICAL PHILOLOGY

IN HARVARD UNIVERSITY WITH ILLUSTRATIONS AND ORIGINAL DESINGS PREPARED UNDER THE DIRECTION OF HERBERT LANGFORD WARREN, A.M.

NELSON ROBINSON JR. PROFESSOR OF ARCHITECTURE IN HARVARD [...] Read more →

Tuna Record

TROF. C. F. HOLDFER AND HIS 183LBS. TUNA, WITH BOATMAN JIM GARDNER.

July 2, 1898. Forest and Stream Pg. 11

The Tuna Record.

Avalon. Santa Catalina Island. Southern California, June 16.—Editor Forest and Stream: Several years ago the writer in articles on the “Game Fishes of the Pacific Slope,” in [...] Read more →

A Survey of Palestine – 1945-1946

This massive volume gives one a real visual sense of what it was like running a highly efficient colonial operation in the early 20rh Century. It will also go a long way to help anyone wishing to understand modern political intrigue in the Middle-East.

Click here to read A Survey of Palestine [...] Read more →

The Hunt Saboteur

The Hunt Saboteur is a national disgrace barking out loud, black mask on her face get those dogs off, get them off she did yell until a swift kick from me mare her voice it did quell and sent the Hunt Saboteur scurrying up vale to the full cry of hounds drowning out her [...] Read more →

Antibiotic Properties of Jungle Soil

If ever it could be said that there is such a thing as miracle healing soil, Ivan Sanderson said it best in his 1965 book entitled Ivan Sanderson’s Book of Great Jungles.

Sanderson grew up with a natural inclination towards adventure and learning. He hailed from Scotland but spent much [...] Read more →

Historic authenticity of the Spanish SAN FELIPE of 1690

San Felipe Model

Reprinted from FineModelShips.com with the kind permission of Dr. Michael Czytko

The SAN FELIPE is one of the most favoured ships among the ship model builders. The model is elegant, very beautifully designed, and makes a decorative piece of art to be displayed at home or in the [...] Read more →

Indian Modes of Hunting – Musquash

Hudson Bay: Trappers, 1892. N’Talking Musquash.’ Fur Trappers Of The Hudson’S Bay Company Talking By A Fire. Engraving After A Drawing By Frederic Remington, 1892.

Indian Modes of Hunting.

IV.—Musquash.

In Canada and the United States, the killing of the little animal known under the several names of [...] Read more →

The Charge of the Light Brigade

Half a league, half a league, Half a league onward, All in the valley of Death Rode the six hundred. “Forward, the Light Brigade! Charge for the guns!” he said. Into the valley of Death Rode the six hundred. Home Top of [...] Read more →

U.S. Plant Variety Protection Act – Full Text

WIPO HQ Geneva

UNITED STATES PLANT VARIETY PROTECTION ACT

TITLE I – PLANT VARIETY PROTECTION OFFICE Chapter Section 1. Organization and Publications . 1 2. Legal Provisions as to the Plant Variety Protection Office . 21 3. Plant Variety Protection Fees . 31

CHAPTER 1.-ORGANIZATION AND PUBLICATIONS Section [...] Read more →