Meet of the Meadowbrook Hunt at Mr. Theodore Roosevelt 's house, Oyster Bay, Long Island.
A Meet of the.
The best hunting in the Genesee Valley is in November and December. The prettiest and gayest hunting is in October,
Rockaway Hunt Club.
To be jogging after Mr. Wadsworth's pack about eleven o'clock on a Saturday late in October, is to be riding through a charming valley at a delightful time of year, with every prospect of five or six hours of happiness. On such a Saturday in 1894 the meet was at a village some eight miles from the kennels. It was a pretty village, the day was a perfect October day, and the meet of hounds and horsemen, of ladies in carts and traps and on hunters, of participants and well-wishers and disinterested spectators, was a stimulating and cheerful sight. Then came the leisurely riding across country from covert to covert, through woods and down into gullies, over fences at one's leisure at the easiest place, all the time in the sunshine, with the brisk air making one younger with every breath of it, and the hounds working industriously, and keeping every observer's expectation primed.
And when presently, after an hour or more of progressive investigation, the hounds found and were off, what a stir and enlivenment, as the field broke into a gallop, and streamed off across country, over field and stream and fence and road, every emulous hunterman eager to better his place, every tyro shadowing his chosen pilot as closely as he dared, every bold and experienced rider speculating as he rides on the next turn of the pack, with a keen scrutiny as he rises at one fence for the weak place in the next one. When there is a weak spot or a low place, what a comfort to have it come conveniently into one's line ! When there is none, but the rails rise high and strong across the field, what joy, when one has tightened one's rein and made at them, to have one's horse actually clear them, and then to glance back and see the little group of less fortunate riders on the farther side ! It is conceivable that there are men who like to jump high fences; but doubtless the more common experience is, that a five-foot fence affords a delightful sensation after one is about three-quarters over it, but that up to that point it is a solemn and unwelcome obstacle, that cannot be dodged without loss and regret.
Do you suppose any sincere person really regrets it when there is a check after even three or four miles of hard galloping? To stop while the hounds are running is misery, of course; but to pull up with one's bones all whole and one's credit saved, - how can any hunterman of sound discretion regret that?
The day I speak of, the fox got away; but what a good and satisfying day it was, and how proud that little fox should have been to have made so much sport for so many honest folks at such comparatively insignificant inconvenience to himself! The lady who fell off got on again; the man who got the spectacular cropper wasn't hurt. The competent surgeon who usually rides in the first flight in the Genesee Valley runs got his exercise that day without ever getting off his mare, except to eat his lunch. And yet there are people who shudder at the hazards of fox-hunting, and grieve that sons of solicitous mothers, and fathers of dependent families, should venture their necks in such a sport!
The Button of the Montreal Club - the Oldest Organized Hunt Club in America.
Taking the Hounds out for Exercise. The Genesee Hunt Club.
Of the Canadian hunts, the chief is the Montreal Hunt, started as long ago as 1826, and probably the oldest organized hunt club in America. Its kennels and club-house are in Montreal. Its hunting country lies in the islands of Montreal, Jesus, and Bizard, good farming country, with timber fences, stone walls, and ditches. The members get to the meets by train or otherwise, according to the distance. The hounds meet three times a week at eleven a.m., from the middle of August to the end of November. There is an earth-stopper among the club servants, a consequence of which is that eight or ten brace of foxes are killed during the season. The club membership is about one hundred, and the dues of $50 a year help to maintain the pack. The present master is Mr. H. Montague Allan.
The London (Ontario) Hunt, another strong club with a large membership and a suburban club-house, dates from 1885. It has a pack of a dozen couples, and usually finds the toothless and insensate anise-seed bag more convenient for its pursuit than the evasive fox. Under the mastership of Mr. Adam Beck, it sometimes takes its hounds across the Detroit River, and makes a field-day for the riding population of Detroit.
Toronto, the horse-dealing centre of Canada, has its hunt, of course; a draghunt which combines the accomplishment of business ends with the pursuit of pleasure. Fifteen couple make up the present pack of the Toronto hounds, and Mr. F. H. Beardmore has them out three times a week during the short Canadian season.
The Pack of the Myopia Hunt Club.
With these twenty-five hunt clubs, - almost all of them started within twenty years, and most of them much younger, - it will be seen that hunting, as an American sport, has made a vigorous start, and promises to make a permanent and growing impression on the habits of our people.