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races of this description. Of two years old we have had the usual abundance, and though it might be difficult at present to name many stars, there are some highly-promising liorses coming on, of which the men of the south- mirabile dictu- appear once again to have the advantage. As every part and party should have a turn, I hope for a season or two they may keep it.
BY NED IIALYARD.
Huntsman, wake! the sun is up,
And merrily sounds thic horn.
It is the hunting morn ?
“ Miss Pet” now paws the ground in haste,
By Jove! le runs too fast.
What! has sleep flown at last ?
Rouse up! I will no longer stay ;
There's music in that horu.
SKETCHES FROM A SPORTSMAN'S PORTFOLIO.
BY THE SPORTSMAX.
NO. 1.-A BOAR HUNT, ECT., IN THE MORVAN. In November, 184—, while at Mortjen, the ancestral chateau of Count Talleyrand—not the Talicyroni, but a namesake--it was agreed by a party of sportsmen, of whom I formed one, that on the eighth day following we would all meet at l'ours, in the Morvan, for a regular week's sport. The Morvan was formerly a province of the Nivernais, but is now divided between the departments of the Nièvre, the Yonne, the Côte d'or, and the Saone-et-Loire, each having their slice. It is a monntainous and broken country, with vast and sombre forests ; rapid torrents ; stagnant pools, surrounded by lofty hills, covered with turze; silent valleys; noisy covers; and abandoned castles, looking like eagles eyries, whence the birds have flown. Here it was we were about to hunt, however--and a first-rate place it was, let me tell you.
An accidental delay occasioned Count Bcaussancourt, the Baron de Saint-Pierre, and myself, who had agreed to proceed to the rendezvous together, to be twenty-four hours behind our time, which cansed us to lose the first hunt. This was the more unfortunate as, while changing horses at the poste before arriving at Fours, we heard a commis-voyageur give a inost fearful account of the said sport. According to him a wild boar, weighing five hundred pounds, had been started, which had killed forty logs previous to giving in, a course of proceeding which it could not be pursuaded to undertake until it had received a furious poke with the hunting knife from the Prince de Talleyrand!
“What!” exclaimed one of the by-standers, “ does the old diplomatist still hunt?"
“Certainly,” replied the commercial traveller, with gravity; “I saw the whole pariy on leaving Fours, and none rode his horse like that eminent personage. He really does look quite young for his age.”
The commis-voyageur had heard that there was a Count Talley. rand among the noble hunters, and, to give effect and importance to his narration, had somewhat embellished his simple store of facts.
Though in November, the evening was magnificent. A thick dew, which froze upon the moon-lit surface of the meadows, caused them to sparkle as if covered with a net-work of pearls. The mountains, between which wonnd the road, stood out in bold relief against the sky, awakening deep and serious thoughts, which strangely blended with our natural, careless joy. Sometimes our coach rolled irith noise over broken stones, washed bare by the late rain; sometimes over a
thick layer of damp and faded leaves, first victims of the autumnal winds. At times we walked for half an hour without meeting a living creature, and then we hurried through villages animated by the rural sounds of evening—the clear bell in the stable—the song of young girls round their fire—the creaking car in some hollow road—the neighing of horses. We had just climbed a hill, and were preparing to descend it, when the merry notes of a horn smote on
We answered by a huntsman's cry, our postilion chorussed with his whip, and we entered Fours amid the acclamations of our companions; from whom we learnt that a boar had been killed, weighing some two hundred pounds less than five, and after killing only three dogs instead of forty.
I pass over the events of the evening, and descend at early morn into the wide and only street of Fours, which presented the most animated of scenes. The sportsmen in frocks faced with black, exposing scarlet cloth waistcoats, were hurrying from their different lodgings to the head inn, where breakfast was laid out; grooms walked the elegant, and vigorous horses ; the valets des chiens kept under by dint of many a stroke of the whip their anxious dogs; while the dulcineas of the place, with their great red arms akimbo, looked admiringly on. At nine we were en marche. Forty minutes later we were at the cross roads, called the Croix Rouge, and here we awaited the report of the huntsmen, who had started at early dawn. A fire of bushes was made, cigars were lit, and impatient looks were cast along the vistas of the forest. Presently an object was seen advancing along one of the alleys. All eyes took that direction, and a host of voices exclaimed “ Racot !"
Racot was the piqueur of the Marquis of M‘Mahon; an extraordinary man, if ever there was one, with the ardent impetuosity of youth, the prudence of riper age, and the experience which comes only in the decline of life. Racot advanced ; his manner was grave and modest, his physiognomy calm and impenetrable; he threw the cord of his hound to one of his subordinates, received in exchange a pain blanc and a piece of cold meat, and took his breakfast in cold disregard of our anxious countenances.
“I fear his news is bad news,” said I to Count Alexandre de Vitry.
“Not at all; I know the man, and answer for him. Be prepared for a rough ride.”
“Gentlemen, to horse !” said Racot, pulling on his riding boots.
We started, and presently I advanced to Racot, and, as he and I were tolerable good friends, questioned him as to the day's work.
“I think," said he, “I have traced a fellow that will give us work. But silence, we are near my hunting tracks.” In ten minutes more a boar was started; I saw him cross a field, dash over a fence and through a river, and I reckoned with Racot that a day's work was before us. Each followed the way that pleased him best; I stuck to Alexandre de Vitry, who knew the country. I shall not weary my reader, who perhaps has not the sacra fames so strong in him as I have, with every minute particular; first, however, he bid ; and then, finding this vain, would have driven off the dogs- no easy
matter, however, when he had five-and-forty Anglo-French rascals at his heels, combining Britannic tenacity with Gallic impetuosity; at length, after three baffling hours, the animal made up its mind, and left its cover.
Then, in truth, it was a gallant spectacle to see the hunters, before scattered through the forest, uniting on the edge of the wood, and darting in pursuit of the tired but still intrepid boar. The music of the dogs, the cries of the huntsmen, the re-echoed flourishes, the ringing of the horses' hoofs on the stony plain or rocky hill, formed a delicious concert. Each instant the scene changed with the site, and new incidents varied our pleasurable emotions. I could not, if I would, recount the hedges that were leaped, the ravines that were crossed, the villages through which we dashed, amid the acclamations of the populace. The boar, despising all or seeing nothing, entered the farmfarms, wallowed in the water-tanks, upset the women, and still went ahead, without either gaining or losing ground.
I was still beside Alexander de Vitry, and we were crossing together a low and damp meadow, a little apart from the other hunters, when my companion cried—“ Take care of the morte!”
I cast my eyes around some steps before me, and in the midst of certain little ponds I perceived a plot where the sward was finer and greener than elsewhere. Making sure this was not the place, I guided my liorse in its direction. Scarce had Rob Roy reached the spot, when I felt him sink under me; and I found myself on foot, standing beside my horse, and penetrating each instant below the surface. I was in the morte. Roars of laughter were heard, and then the whole party dashed by, with the true egoistical indifference of sportsmen. "Rob Roy meantime had floundered out, while I sank deeper and deeper. Presently the idea struck me of throwing myself forward and lying horizontally, when I should no longer be like a nail in a glue-pot. I made the attempt-it succeeded-and, crawling on my hands and knees, in five minutes was on horseback. While I listened to discover the direction taken by the hunt, I looked upon the treacherous morte to seek traces of my mishap: there were none, all had disappeared, and the sward was as green and fresh as ever, whilst I and Rob Roy were plastered with mud. In vain I listened for any sound to guide my steps, and was preparing to dismount, and endeavour, Indian like, to trace their footsteps, when I heard the trotting of a horse behind. I turned, in the expectation of greeting some good fat curé, when, to my astonishment, I beheld my friend J-- P- advancing, as usual, cool as a cucumber, and munching a piece of chocolate. His Pegasus had not turned a hair ; not a spot of mud soiled his boots.
“ You have been in a bog,” said he, quietly.
“ But you have found me, which is absolutely the same thing, for I know where it is.”
“ Come, then, clap your spurs into your beast, and away!"
“ Tut, tut ! man; one would imagine you were on a friend's horse Mine belongs to me, and I always husband him. Follow me, and don't be uneasy
I was forced to submit. The wind brought me no sound, and I did not know the country ; so I trotted along as leisurely as my companion. An hour passed, and I fancied I heard the hinunds. I remarked so to P
“ I was sure of it; this way."
The sounds became more distinct ; but I was rather surprised to hear the bay of not more than eight or ninc dogs, instead of five-an:forty; and said so.
“All right; the animal has got ahead of the main body. Now is the time for action.”
In an instant we were at the top of a little hill, at the opposite slope of which we saw, in a field of broom, the wild boar, no longer able to run, facing with angry impetuosity some dozen dogs which held him at bay. Beyond, at a much greater distance than ourselves, was the whole hunting party, dashing with all the laste possible towards the animal. Wc reached the spot before the rest; then came Racot ; and when in a short time the whole party were united, the Marquis de Vitry, our president, was invited to finish the boar with a rifle shot, and, an instant after, a dozen deep-mouthed horns sounded a peel of victory.
“That devil of a P- is like nobody else," said the Marquis of Macmahon, the master of the hunt: “no one sees him during the hunt, and he is always in at the death.”
P-- smiled, and triumphed demurely, as all clever people do. Our return was magnificent: at the moment we mounted the hill which, a few minutes before, we had descended, the sun was setting in a cloud of purple and gold, and its last rays illumined the summits of the mountains; while the deep shadows of twilight spread over the valleys. The air was sharp, vivifying, and pure ; the forests, just now so noisy, were again silent; and we calm, as good taste should ever make conquerors feel, allowed the reins of our horses to float, and we thought already of the victories of the morrow. We reached Fours altogether, when every one dispersed to his own apartinent to dress--a very necessary matter with me, thanks to the bog! At six we were in the grande salle of the auberge de la porte, kept by old Saclier. I will not say the dinner was good, but I will affirm it was gay; if the fowls were bad the appetites were excellent, and the quantity of champagne soon caused its quality to be forgotten.
Next day it rained as it only rains in the Morvan in November ; but, as we were quite as good philosophers as hunters, we resigned onrselves to the trial without a murmur, only the cotelletles of the père Saclier appeared more tough, and his wine less authentic, than the day before. In fine, it cleared up, and for one whole week we ransacked the neighbourhood; and when we separated, it was with a sincere determination of meeting there again the same time next year. Et ainsi soit-il.
II. - A MATCH-LOCK SHOOTING IN 1843. One of my particular and special friends over the water was last ycar summoned before the tribunal of Saint Quentin, to pay a fine for sporting over ground from which the harvest had not been cleared.