Page by Page Books
Read Books Online, for Free
Hunting Sketches Anthony Trollope

The Man who Hunts and Doesn't Like it

Page 3 of 4

Table Of Contents: Hunting Sketches

Previous Page

Next Page

Next Chapter

More Books

More by this Author

But the Ethiop cannot change his skin, nor can any man add a cubit to his stature. He doesn't like it, and all around him in the field know how it is with him; he himself knows how it is with others like himself, and he congregates with his brethren. The period of his penance has come upon him. He has to pay the price of those pleasant interviews with his tradesmen. He has to expiate the false boasts made to his female cousins. That row of boots cannot be made to shine in his chamber for nothing. The hounds have found, and the fox is away. Men are fastening on their flat-topped hats and feeling themselves in their stirrups. Horses are hot for the run, and the moment for liking it has come, if only it were possible!

But at moments such as these something has to be done. The man who doesn't like it, let him dislike it ever so much, Cannot check his horse and simply ride back to the hunting stables. He understands that were he to do that, he must throw up his cap at once and resign. Nor can he trot easily along the roads with the fat old country gentleman who is out on his rough cob, and who, looking up to the wind and remembering the position of adjacent coverts, will give a good guess as to the direction in which the field will move. No; he must make an effort. The time of his penance has come, and the penance must be borne. There is a spark of pluck about him, though unfortunately he has brought it to bear in a wrong direction. The blood still runs at his heart, and he resolves that he will ride, if only he could tell which way.

Tired of reading? Add this page to your Bookmarks or Favorites and finish it later.

The stout gentleman on the cob has taken the road to the left with a few companions; but our friend knows that the stout gentleman has a little game of his own which will not be suitable for one who intends to ride. Then the crowd in front has divided itself. Those to the right rush down a hill towards a brook with a ford. One or two, men whom he hates with an intensity of envy, have jumped the brook, and have settled to their work. Twenty or thirty others are hustling themselves through the water. The time for a judicious start on that side is already gone. But others, a crowd of others, are facing the big ploughed field immediately before them. That is the straightest riding, and with them he goes. Why has the scent lain so hot over the upturned heavy ground? Why do they go so fast at this the very first blush of the morning ? Fortune is always against him, and the horse is pulling him through the mud as though the brute meant to drag his arm out of the socket. At the first fence, as he is steadying himself, a butcher passes him roughly in the jump and nearly takes away the side of his top boot. He is knocked half out of his saddle, and in that condition scrambles through. When he has regained his equilibrium he sees the happy butcher going into the field beyond. He means to curse the butcher when he catches him, but the butcher is safe. A field and a half before him he still sees the tail hounds, and renews his effort. He has meant to like it to-day, and he will. So he rides at the next fence boldly, where the butcher has left his mark, and does it pretty well, with a slight struggle. Why is it that he can never get over a ditch without some struggle in his saddle, some scramble with his horse? Why does he curse the poor animal so constantly, unless it be that he cannot catch the butcher? Now he rushes at a gate which others have opened for him, but rushes too late and catches his leg. Mad with pain, he nearly gives it up, but the spark of pluck is still there, and with throbbing knee he perseveres. How he hates it! It is all detestable now. He cannot hold his horse because of his gloves, and he cannot get them off. The sympathetic beast knows that his master is unhappy, and makes himself unhappy and troublesome in consequence. Our friend is still going, riding wildly, but still keeping a grain of caution for his fences. He has not been down yet, but has barely saved himself more than once. The ploughs are very deep, and his horse, though still boring at him, pants heavily. Oh, that there might come a check, or that the brute of a fox might happily go to ground ! But no! The ruck of the hunt is far away from him in front, and the game is running steadily straight for some well known though still distant protection. But the man who doesn't like it still sees a red coat before him, and perseveres in chasing the wearer of it. The solitary red coat becomes distant, and still more distant from him, but he goes on while he can yet keep the line in which that red coat has ridden. He must hurry himself, however, or he will be lost to humanity, and will be alone. He must hurry himself, but his horse now desires to hurry no more. So he puts his spurs to the brute savagely, and then at some little fence, some ignoble ditch, they come down together in the mud, and the question of any further effort is saved for the rider. When he arises the red coat is out of sight, and his own horse is half across the field before him. In such a position, is it possible that a man should like it ?

Page 3 of 4 Previous Page   Next Page
Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
Hunting Sketches
Anthony Trollope

Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2004