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Hunting Sketches Anthony Trollope

The Hunting Farmer

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O fortunati sua si bona norint farmers of England! Who in the town is the farmer's equal? What is the position which his brother, his uncle, his cousin holds? He is a shopkeeper, who never has a holiday, and does not know what to do with it when it comes to him; to whom the fresh air of heaven is a stranger; who lives among sugars and oils, and the dust of shoddy, and the size of new clothing. Should such an one take to hunting once a week, even after years of toil, men would point their fingers at him and whisper among themselves that he was as good as ruined. His friends would tell him of his wife and children; and, indeed, would tell him truly, for his customers would fly from him. But nobody grudges the farmer his day's sport! No one thinks that he is cruel to his children and unjust to his wife because he keeps a nag for his amusement, and can find a couple of days in the week to go among his friends. And with what advantages he does this ! A farmer will do as much with one horse, will see as much hunting, as an outside member of the hunt will do with four, and, indeed, often more. He is his own head-groom, and has no scruple about bringing his horse out twice a week. He asks no livery-stable keeper what his beast can do, but tries the powers of the animal himself, and keeps in his breast a correct record. When the man from London, having taken all he can out of his first horse, has ridden his second to a stand-still, the farmer trots up on his stout, compact cob, without a sign of distress. He knows that the condition of a hunter and a greyhound should not be the same, and that his horse, to be in good working health, should carry nearly all the hard flesh that he can put upon him. How such an one must laugh in his sleeve at the five hunters of the young swell who, after all, is brought to grief in the middle of the season, because he has got nothing to ride! A farmer's horse is never lame, never unfit to go, never throws out curbs, never breaks down before or behind. Like his master, he is never showy. He does not paw, and prance, and arch his neck, and bid the world admire his beauties; but, like his master, he is useful; and when he is wanted, he can always do his work.

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O fortunatus nimium agricola, who has one horse, and that a good one, in the middle of a hunting country !

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Hunting Sketches
Anthony Trollope

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