Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

he is convulsively seizing his long whip and gloves (the former of which he intimatingly cracks) and is hurrying towards the stable, where Boniface is nervously awaiting his master. Look at him when mounted—why, you might think that he had spent his life in the saddle, he appears as much at home astride the pig-skin as the most white-livered cockney on his high stool in the chambered purlieus of Cornhill or Cheapside, and wonder you may, how that plump, muscular thigh has ever been thrust into these wrinkleless tegumentory coverings,—and if it shall be a rainy day, pray, rector, by what mechanical means of traction do you then divest yourself of the still more pertinaciously adhering coriacious diffensibles ? But Boniface, despite of his rider's distended stomach, will steal away at a tolerable trot; and we are at the cover-side, the hounds are just browing the adjoining hill, and a few straggling horsemen are already on the ground.

As preparatory to ensuing trials, his reverence steathily extracts from his left

breast a small silver flask, and gives one or two hearty sucks, merely by way of comforting his gastric mucous membrane, and giving a fillip to the digestive disintegration of the hot rolls and fried ham. A ploughman has just shouted (he is still waving his hat and can be seen in maniac jesture), “Tally-ho, Tally ho!” and the fact that pug has stolen away is communicated from front to

The hounds have dashed over that wall, and are in full cry. The parson is now very rapidly becoming deranged, he is in such a frenzy that he neither knows nor cares whither he is going,-Boniface is shaking his neck, and hauling at the bridle. Well done, rector, that gate was gallantly taken! It has ever been thy boast to ride well up to

rear.

'em.

“By all that's mortal, parson, don't gallop past the hounds and beat the fox !” shouts Sir Harry, "verily, Boniface has got on his back, the world, the flesh, and the devil! Hang him ! look there, he has ridden over Ranter, or 'tis

"Oh! he'll ride rough-shod over any species of dissent—he'll care nothing about killing a Ranter," laughingly interrupted an equestrian hard by.

“Never was such a fellow," continued Sir Harry, "he'll gallop into that chalk pit—but facilis descensus Aver—" In his wrath, he had almost added the concluding syllable !

Away they go at a slashing pace, and in less than three minutes nothing in the way of horsemen is to be seen, and exceedingly little heard. Away they go, and after what, nobody has beheld anything except Rusticus, and Rusticus may have been mistaken? There's no mistake-in the process of time the unseen will be seen the invisible become visible. Christopher North says, “It is an Idea that is pursued on a whirlwind of horses to a storm of canine music.” An Idea, shade of John Wilson-but his reverence who is enthusiastically following it out, in the sure and certain hope of a speedy development, will teil you it is a very good Idea-one that ere long will Le a practical, tangible, reality, unlike to a number of chimerical airy, insubstantial imaginings, which men, in all sorts of schemes and descriptions of projects, huntafter now a days—ere long the Idea will be realized in the shape of a four-footed, flesh and blood ocular demonstration.

There he is ! 'Tis precisely two hours and fifty-five minutes “by the stop-watch, my lord,” since the rustic shouted, and the canine organs of ideality were aroused--they are in upon him! Sir Harry has been gallantly carried on Crazy Brains, and ditto the Oxford Mixture, on Bonny. A few stragglers come up, and ere long the field are present. His reverence takes off his Theodore Beza, and with 66 snowy kerchief" wipes the perspiration from his bald head, which is as smooth as a pumpkin, and shines in the mid-day sun as if it had been subjected to a covering of copal varnish. Poor Bonny, he is in a state of intense physical exhaustion, his large thin nostrils are wildly distended at every heaving breath, to insufilate as much oxygen as possible, and from his wet working flanks, sweat, as blood from the dying gladiator, is falling, “like the first big drops of a thunder shower !"

[ocr errors]

He returns home well pleased with his day, undergoes a thorough ablution, takes a tea-dinner (he has long been aware that too much of solids wont do after great bodily fatigue, that a heavy meal causes a restless night; he cannot account for the fact physiologically, but he knows it is so); yes, he takes a tea-dinner, then his half-bottle of bee's-wing, and dozes awaya very considerable part of the evening, basking over a comfortable fire, and cushioned softly on the hide of poor old Shiver the Timbers !

During those intervening winter days when the hounds were not within reach, and when the lemon-and-whites, and the featherlegs were foot-sore, why, then he would mount, and just take a ride to the Uplands, or down to the Carrs, if it was dry or frosty, and invite Blue-cap and Barmaid to accompany him, as perchance she might be found on the fallow, or reposingly squatted under the shelter of some furze-bush. He had coursed on Marlborough Downs and Yorkshire Wolds, but the hares about Elleringay were as difficult to catch as Will-o'

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »