Riding for Pleasure
IN the autumn of 1903 we went to stay with Major and Mrs. W. Austin Wadsworth in Geneseo for the opening meet of the Genesee Valley Hunt. Austin Wadsworth, owner of broad ancestral acres, kept a fine pack of English foxhounds, He was an old friend of my husband, who had long been an habitué of the hospitable Homestead and a member of the G. V. H. From Washington, Tuxedo Park, New York, or wherever we happened to be living, Wintie would, during the hunting season, take a night train that reached Geneseo or a neighboring station in time for the meet, would perhaps stay over for another ‘couple or three’ gallops, and come home refreshed and rejoicing. ‘It is God’s own country,’ he would say, and add ruefully, ‘but it is real country and you would not like it.’
Brought up in Rome, I had spent uneventful summers in Italian villas where one dreamed away the hot months in the shade of ilex trees by moss-grown fountains. Since our marriage we had passed summers at Newport and Bar Harbor, had lived several years at Tuxedo Park. The fact was, I knew nothing of real country life.
In the days when Wintie went to Geneseo without me, Austin Wadsworth was unmarried and kept bachelor’s hall at the Homestead. I had occasionally been invited, but I was loath to leave the babies, and Wintie, not sure that I should enjoy it, had never urged me to go along. Now Austin Wadsworth, who had become a Major during the Spanish War, had lately taken to himself a wife, the handsome Miss Elizabeth Perkins of Boston and Coluit, a tall, spirited girl much younger than himself. He could not have found a more appropriate or a more devoted helpmate; she was — and still is, I am happy to say — a fine rider, a great lover of dogs, an enthusiastic gardener, initiated from childhood in the duties and interests, the pleasures and predicaments, of country life. She survived the Major, who died toward the end of the Great War, and brought up their only son, William Perkins, administering the estate until he was of age to take it over. William P. Wadsworth is now Master of the Genesee Valley Hounds, and long life to him!
The Wadsworths have always held their own in their country’s history. The house is full of family portraits — a Revolutionary general and worthies of every sort. A well-stocked library contains Audubon’s famous folios of birds and the noble army of classics which the present day seems to have so little use for. The whole place has the increasingly rare quality of having been a home for many generations of pleasant living. It has, since anyone in the Valley can remember, been the centre of cordial hospitality.
Austin Wadsworth was an accomplished horseman and breeder of horses. He kept a large stable of excellent hunters and his guests were royally mounted.
It was an amber-gold October morning; the hounds met before the Big Tree Inn on the unpaved village street. I rode Enid, a grand chestnut mare, spirited and kind, warranted an undefeated jumper, she and I both inwardly excited with that delicious tingle of eagerness and apprehension which horse and rider feel together before hunting. As a girl I used to feel it before a ball; the first good waltz with the right partner dispelled it. And so it is with fox hunting. Once over the first jump, all your tremors are gone and the physical joy of living and riding is all you are conscious of.
The members of the Hunt were all strangers to me, but Wintie had long been a favorite with them and they were kind to his wife; I met that day people who have been my friends and neighbors ever since. This first meeting, on horseback, was very gay and informal. I have the impression that, as we cantered side by side over the Oak Lot on our way to the covert, three or four of us burst into song. There were many bold riders in the field: the Wadsworths, Lords of the Manor, well represented by various branches of the family, among them the witty Jim Sam, something of a black sheep, who attached unforgettable nicknames to this and that member of the hunt — ‘Red Raven Splits,’ ‘Angry Mat,’ ‘Little Potatoes (are hard to peel),’ and many more.
From Buffalo came the tall Milburn brothers, of whom Devereux later won fame as a polo player and winner of international matches, and the whole tribe of Carys and Rumseys, sportsmen all and hard riders. There were six Cary brothers, most of them generally in the field.
The Carys originally came from Batavia, where they owned a handsome old house now converted into an Historical Museum. Long before I met them, the family had moved to Buffalo, where Dr. Charles, one of the six brothers, married a Rumsey, as did their only sister, Miss Evelyn Cary. The Rumseys owned houses and lands in Buffalo and the two families made a powerful clan. A whole chapter could easily be written about the Carys alone. When the youngest of the seven children was still a baby in arms they had all been taken to Europe by their parents, Dr. and Mrs. Cary, and had made the grand tour in a coach and four — their own four. Dr. Cary was a famous four-in-hand driver and drove himself. The older sons followed, riding extra horses. At some wayside inn where they were putting up for the night, it was found, on getting the children ready for bed, that Baby Seward was missing. Someone then remembered that he had been put to sleep in the rumble of the coach. Search was made, lantern in hand, in the dark coach house, and the baby was found. This same baby grew up to be a great polo player. He is now a grandfather of grown children; I saw him last in the hunting field not many months ago. We pulled out together after we had both had enough.
I found a letter from my husband written about the time we first came to Geneseo; he was staying with Mrs. Wolcott across the valley. ‘Last night we were quite a house party. The smaller Rumsey girl, Miss Wilcox, David Gray, were the other guests. To-day brings old Mrs. Cary, who looks like the mother of a battalion, as Mrs. Wolcott says, and her sister, Miss Maria Love, who looks as if she ought to have been. . . . There will be more later. Old Mrs. Cary said to Mrs. Wolcott, “ This a bad day! My dear, I would have come if it had poured with rain.”
‘It seems she is very proud of her sons’ various arrests for assault and battery and always sent them the amount of their fine in gold. All of them have been arrested at times. Once at a dinner-party or luncheon George was recalling the different arrests and imprisonments of himself and brothers. The old lady broke in when he was through with the list, “Why, you have forgotten Charlie’s arrest in Florence.”’
Dr. Cary died long ago. It was Madam Cary and her sister who brought up the large family — brought them up with complete fearlessness. When a neighbor rushed in one day to tell them ‘Sewardy’ (the baby who had been forgotten in the rumble of the coach), who was now about twelve years old, was hanging by his hands from the gutter of the roof of the three-story house, his mother merely put her head out of the window and called to him: ‘Come down, Sewardy, you are disturbing the neighbors.’
The two tall gray-haired sisters were a remarkable pair as they drove about in their great barouche with silver mountings on carriage and harness. They kept open house for all the many descendants into the fourth and fifth generation, and made strangers welcome within their gates. They were admirable women and great ladies, more of the mediæval castle type than of the court of Versailles.
In the course of playing an important polo match, Charles Cary had a bad fall; as he lay unconscious from a serious concussion, the game momentarily suspended, Mrs. Cary stood up in her carriage and called aloud, ‘Is there no other Cary in the field to take his place?’ Tom Cary, another son, answered the call. The riding boots were stripped from the unconscious Charles, his brother put them on, jumped into the empty saddle, and the Buffalo team won the match.
Trumbull Cary, the oldest son, lived in the old house in Batavia and was president of a bank there. He kept a string of horses for pleasure and profit. He had three daughters who rode with the best; for the hunting season he brought them and the horses to Geneseo. These girls schooled their father’s horses, rode them at horse shows, and qualified them as ladies’ hunters. Admirable in their courage, skill, and good humor, they were always a pleasure to watch as they mastered their often unruly mounts. To see Margaret dealing with the well-named ‘Tête-àTête,’ a mare so nervous that she had to be kept from the rest of the field, was a lesson in horsemanship.
Charles Cary Rumsey, their cousin, who achieved distinction as a sculptor, was a matchless rider; so was his brother, Lawrence. They were not like any people I had seen before, so careless of danger, so boisterous and lighthearted. If a rider fell, a shout of laughter went up among them. So the young centaurs may have laughed when they saw man and horse come apart. Yet they were not unkind.
An old gentleman, Mr. Robert Brookings, founder of the Brookings Institution, told me not long ago, when he heard I came from Geneseo and knew the Carys, that as a very young man he had gone to Batavia to buy a horse of Trumbull Cary. He had been taken into the paddock and asked to try a lively four-year-old. He took him over a jump, fell off, and broke his leg. The Carys kept him in their house and took good care of him until he was well enough to travel, then lent him a pair of crutches to go home with. The family assembled on the porch to bid him good-bye, and he saw they were amused at something; on his asking what it was, Mr. Cary replied, ‘It is the eleventh time we have lent that pair of crutches to a departing guest.’ Loud laughter.
On that first morning, we hunted the beautiful country north of Geneseo, great open fields for perfect galloping alternating with rides cut through primeval forests and steep adventurous scrambles up and down the gullies and hogbacks, the Sugar Bush, the Big Woods, the Oxbow. In those days this part of the country was all fenced with timber — snake fences which had to be taken at the proper angle, and straight board fences where the top board was often broken by one or another of the riders and thus made easier for those who were not overbold. The landscape is lovely in every direction, with rich variety of field and forest, wide pastures and wooded hills. The Genesee River meanders through it in endless curves and ‘oxbow’ loops, bordered on either bank by fringes of woodland. The country is intersected by deep gullies cut by streams that swell to torrents in rainy seasons and wither to an imperceptible trickle during the summer.
I have now ridden over these banks and braes for thirty years, have cantered happily over the wide, open spaces, and their beauty never fails. As I write, my daughter comes in, flushed with the joy of a forty-five-minute run on the Home Farm Flats. ‘And oh, Mummy, it was so beautiful! We were galloping as fast as we could and yet I could not forget how lovely the whole picture was.’ I know how she felt, how I still feel, for all my threescore years and ten, though now my love of riding has survived my hunting ardor, and I enjoy an easy canter more than a fast run.
I fell in love with the happy Valley on that bright October morning. I liked it indeed so well, and Wintie was so pleased with my liking it, that we have lived there ever since.
It was riding that brought us to Geneseo and riding became our chief concern; except in the hunting season we rode every afternoon, weather permitting. The children on their ponies would accompany us as far as was deemed advisable. They hated to be sent home, and always assured us they were not a bit tired and did not want their supper, but Knight, the faithful English groom, would take them back and they knew they were missing the best of the ride.
Knight was a good horseman and scrupulously conscientious. He highly disapproved of ‘larking’ — that is, jumping fences just for fun — on a quiet afternoon ride. The children were of course all for it, as were their elders, and had no objection to risking an occasional spill. ‘Ah, but if you get the right kind of a fall, Miss, it is the end of you.’ Wintie called him the ‘nightblooming cereus,’ but valued him for his many sterling qualities.
We grown-ups would go far afield and often came home after sunset and moonrise, threading our way through the darkling woods. To ride with Wintie was always an adventure, always gave one a sense of the wind on the heath. He was more than fearless — indeed, a touch of danger was part of the fun; and he expected the same spirit in those that rode with him. The difficult obstacle must be taken without hesitation — ‘Who’s afraid?’ We swallowed our qualms and were more afraid of his displeasure than of the picket-wire fence or the slippery steep. There were, of course, occasional spills and minor mishaps, but no serious accidents that I can remember — none at least to the children, though Wintie himself had plenty of them on the hunting field and elsewhere, so many that the company with which he was insured against accidents at last refused to renew his policy. They had paid three compensations in one year, and then he went up in a balloon which made a rough landing and rebroke a collarbone that had barely knit. They would not, they said, have further dealing with such a client. What made him go up in a balloon? He was registered on his policy as a trustee, and a trustee had no business to meddle with aeronautics. He transferred his insurance to another company which took a more liberal view of the sporting life.
I like riders and hard riders — not all, but most of them. They do not, as a rule, take much interest in Shakespeare and the musical glasses, but they must have pluck and skill, they love our brother the horse, are glad to endure a measure of hardships and fatigue, and above all they know it is good to be alive. In the cushioned ease of civilian existence we rarely have the occasion to test our courage and endurance. ‘Fox-’unting,’ says the immortal Jorrocks, ‘is the himage of war without its guilt and only five and twenty per cent of its dangers.’ So here’s to fox hunting!
One of the proofs of its effect on character is that you know the morale of the people you have hunted with as you know that of no others. Their faults and their virtues are as manifest in the hunting field as the color of their coats. As easily distinguishable as good and bad horsemanship are prudence and temerity, generosity and self-seeking, modesty and exhibitionism.
There is, however, one weakness which they nearly all share: horses and their doings become the topic of endless conversation, and few know how to make this amusing. The evenings before and after hunting seem well-nigh interminable. I used to feel that æons of time had passed over me, and look at my watch to find it was only half-past nine; or get so sleepy that, had a kingdom been mine, I would have given it gladly for a few moments of oblivion. Cards would have been a blessed resource, but the ruling family did not play cards; neither did my husband, and there was nothing for me to do but sit and blink. I always wished the noble animals might be left in their stable to munch their grain in silent contentment, while their riders talked of something else.
Women and Horses and Power and War,’
sang the poet. But the American gentlemen who gathered round the dinner table in their gay pink coats could not possibly talk of women and love before their ladies, and there was no war — so it had to be always horses.
I knew little about riding when I first began to hunt in the Roman Campagna. I have spoken of this in another book.2 I had never, properly speaking, been taught to ride, and while hunting had given me many a ‘crowded hour of glorious life,’ I always felt that my horsemanship was tentative, like the music of one who plays by ear. Following Wintie I managed to get on and over, and we were generally in the first flight. I had by nature light, ready hands and a fairly firm seat, but knew nothing of the art and science of controlling my mount. Horses went well with me; Wintie said I had a soporific effect on them, while his quick and active temper excited them. I could do nothing with a slug that he could get a good ride on. So I often rode nervous beasts I was a little afraid of. No harm ever came of it, but I sorely felt the need — or was it only the curiosity? — for more thorough understanding.
I had heard a great deal about de Busigni, a famous old French riding teacher, who had taught two or three generations of Bostonians and turned out excellent riders. Senator Cabot Lodge had learned with him — so had Brooks Adams; and several of his younger pupils, Miss Katrine Coolidge, Miss Abigail Adams, and others, came to hunt with us in the Valley and ‘witched the world with noble horsemanship.’ They had more style, more finish, than the local riders. So, finding myself in Boston for a week’s visit, I went to Mr. de Busigni and asked him to teach me what he could in so short a time. He was a famous haute école rider, a great performer in his day, and could make a horse gallop backward; Senator Lodge had seen him do it. I learned many things from him in the six or eight lessons he gave me, but above all I learned how much more there was I should like to know.
Two years later we went abroad for the winter, that Laura might study painting in Paris and Wintie go fox hunting in Ireland. We took a thoroughbred mare along; I found an excellent haute école teacher by the name of Émile Gauthier who initiated me and my well-named ‘Runaway Girl’ in the intricacies of passage, épaule en dedans, piaffer, pirouette, and finally the Spanish trot, which put both of us in a lather and was a good thing to finish the lesson with. He found Runaway Girl an admirable subject. She was rather hot and had plenty of temper and resistance, without which it is difficult to teach a horse these things. Where there is no resistance, there is no achievement. Without an opposing will there is no victory. I have heard teachers say the same of children.
It may well sound futile and superfluous to have spent so much time in studying the subtleties of an all-butforgotten art, learning to make a horse do things that are not in his nature; but I became deeply interested in the theory and practice of advanced equitation and took almost daily lessons for two winters. Runaway Girl became quite accomplished.
Man and horse have worked and played together for countless centuries. Saint James in his Epistle says, ‘We put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.’ It was perhaps for having said this that he became the patron of riders and a great favorite with crusading knights. They felt confident that a saint who knew about riding would take more interest in them than would another.
Of late years the emphasis is all on the forward seat, on jumping with the horse, adapting your movement to his as a dancer does to his partner. Riding has come to mean cross-country riding and jumping. Children are taught to jump before they know a bit from a bridoon. It gives them confidence and is all to the good; as they go sailing over the little obstacles in the ring they are made to let go the reins altogether and raise their arms in a graceful ballerine gesture. I am thinking of a children’s class we had in Geneseo not long ago in which several of my grandchildren learned to ride. Three generations of us were all being taught the forward seat; there were at different hours classes for the young, the grownups, and one or two superadultœ like myself. I for one became enthusiastic about the forward seat for jumping. I had some fifteen grandchildren when I acquired it, and have practised it ever since! But the modern school of riding seems to teach little or nothing about bitting and the handling of the reins, about collecting the horse or making him change his feet. Caracol, passage, and Spanish trot are long since out of date. They have gone on the scrap heap with minuets and court curtseys and many other pretty flourishes that have been dropped as superfluous to our practical, time-saving age. We have forgotten the qualities they implied and required, the physical discipline and accurate coördination that made them possible. In learning to put a horse through the various paces of haute école the rider acquires great control of his mount, the four reins each have their separate office, and he plays on them with conscious dexterity. ‘Ce n’est pas la main légère qu’il nous faut, c’est la main savante‘ — not the light hand but the skilled hand that we need, as old de Busigni used to say. Dante says it best of all when he speaks of Virgil’s ‘mani animose e pronte’ — hands spirited and ready.
I have forgotten much of what I learned from Gauthier during the two winters I worked with him in Paris, but I never regretted the time thus spent. It enabled me to enjoy riding into old age, to ride new horses without tremors, feeling myself to some degree mistress of the situation. To this day I know of no greater physical pleasure than sitting in the saddle with four sound legs under me to carry me whither I choose, instead of my own single pair on which the inexorable Anno Domini has begun to work its spite. Riding is a fountain of youth, a dispeller of care, the pleasure that is altogether innocent and life-enhancing.
While I was in Paris with Laura and the younger children, Wintie was happy in Ireland. He and three or four friends lived together at the ClubHouse Hotel in Navan and hunted the fox five days a week with the Meath Hounds. If that was not enough they could go out on the sixth day with the Ward Staghounds, a neighboring pack. They all had their own horses and the sport was of the best. Their cup was full. Wintie first went there in 1902 to stay with his friend, Charles Carroll, one of the original Navan group, who invited him to come over and see how he liked it. He sailed in the beginning of November and came home for Christmas.
Here is his good-bye from the R.M.S. Etruria (sent back by the pilot): ‘We are off, my Honey sweet, off at last, and I am blue as blue at going but that will pass after a good night’s sleep. . . . Lunch is ready, they tell me; I have been put at the purser’s table. There are about fifty people on board and each looks stupider than the other. . . .’
The next came from oversea: —
NAVAN, COUNTY MEATH
Monday, November 10
... I have had my first day with these famous hounds. Why, O why, have n’t we been here for the last ten years ? All grass — beautiful going — banks and ditches. You could do it perfectly two or three days a week and not get too tired. Some day we’ll try a season and you will love it. The horse Charlie gave me to-day would carry you safe as a church. . . . He is quite the best horse I ever rode in my life, wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove once the hounds are running. He is a queer customer at starting and hates to leave his stable. One could not ride him alone to the meet, they say; he simply would not go.
Well, we had a grand day. The first fox gave us about forty minutes with only one check that amounted to anything. They killed him in a gorse covert. We then found another (you could perfectly well have driven home after the first) who gave us a fair hunting run . . . eventually we lost him or it was getting late, but we had over forty minutes with him and some of it quite fast. You never saw such a day’s sport in all your time in Rome, yet here they make nothing of it.
November 15th. ... I rode another of Charlie’s horses to-day, a very stout common-bred beast, hight Mr. Pigg. He was fit to jump out of his skin, so fine was he feeling, and before the whole field, going down hill, tried to buck me off. Every man and woman present wanted to see him do it. ‘Look at that Yankee — now he’s gone!’ — so Charlie told me. I must admit Mr. Pigg nearly accomplished his fell (or fall) purpose, for he is very big and strong and did his best down a very steep place. Also his mane is hogged and he wore no breast-plate. There was nothing to hold on by. By great good luck I sat him out and clubbed and spurred him into a state of quiescence — to the great disappointment of everyone but Charlie, who said, ‘Chan, old boy, I am proud of you.’ After this ebullition of spirits, Mr. Pigg went as mild as a lamb and did some very good work.
Such a beautiful day as to-day was you never saw. We were on top of high hills most of the time and it was so clear you could see all Ireland.
You never saw such horses in your life as these Irish hunters — perfectly beautiful monsters of strength and grace — and moreover in a condition we never see at home. Here the going is deep and soft and wet most of the time. The horses are called upon to make great efforts in leaping over wide and high places (ditches and banks) and galloping in deep ground. And the girls! Lawks! what pretty quiet eyes with down-drooping lids, rose and ivory complexions, and voices soft as velvet. They all ride like angels with wings, or devils incarnate. You never saw such seats and hands and courage and nerve. I am quite content to follow them. In fact, whenever I try to give them a lead over, my horse invariably refuses and I cheerfully take second place. . . .
Wintie liked it all so well that he became an habitué of the Club-House Hotel in Navan, collected a string of hunters, and spent the next four or five winters there.
Here is a letter in a different mood written on a Wednesday in March from the Coburg Hotel, London: —
. . . A most glorious day. England is the most beautiful country, bar Ireland, on this earth, and the good God’s peace lay over the bustle of the vast town. I saw Henry Norman 3 or his double at 6.30. I watched and followed him (he was already dressed for dinner), but could not be sure enough of him to speak to him. You know that he is an M.P. now and a personage. Well, I did n’t dare! Still, he brought back old days—‘when all the world was young, lads, and all the leaves were green.’ . . . So I trudged off to the hotel with my mind far from London town and twenty-one years back next September, in Sant’ Agnello di Sorrento, and Peppino’s carrozzella, and orange-trees and bats, and the ever glorious sea, moonor star-lit, of that time and place. I was very tired and fagged after so much travel. I had a hot bath and a cold douche and changed into the ‘black samite, mystic wonderful,’ of convention and so out of the door and into the streets. First I went to Claridge’s and learned that Belle Herbert is in France and also Bob Winthrop. Thence I took a cab to the Carlton, for in my mood I wanted lights and music and could not bear to dine gloomily at the Coburg.
A very nice light dinner: a petite marmite, whitebait, a half chicken, salad and cheese and one whole bottle of champagne. I was, to tell the truth, back in ’86 all the time and in Sorrento at that. While I was munching and meditating on ‘the myrtle and ivy of sweet three and twenty,’ the most excellent band struck up ‘Musica Proibita.’ I nearly shouted — ’t was so in my mood — all started by a possible glimpse of Henry Norman. They played it beautifully. It is the first time in at least twenty years that I have heard it, except when I have asked chance Italians to play it. Back came the dear old half-mystic Altemps,4 the courtyard with the grooms cleaning carriages and singing that song! It was in ’84 when I first came to Rome. Do you remember, old Lady mine? Words by Serrao and sung by every ragamuffin in Italy that summer. For once Rome beat the Piedigrotta song.
Ah — dear — Rome has changed since then, has it not? No more music of fountains in old palace courtyards, no more interminable stairs to climb, no more nice simple people with charming manners and pleasant easy ways, asking little, enjoying much. When we thought it a treat to sit in the Piazza Colonna of an evening and eat ices — not a stranger in the place, no Grand Hotel and mob of rich barbarians. And You a little frail white vision in black bombazine, or was it alpaca? I can see you with the light in your eyes dimming the stars, and me ‘all overish’ with a boy’s bubbling joy and love mixed, and he did not know what it all meant or where it was taking him. Well, thank God! it all came out right in the end, ‘and so they were married and lived happy ever after’ as the story-books say.
When hard frost stopped the hunting, Wintie came to us in Paris and enjoyed the urban life for a change, provided it did not last too long. At the end of a fortnight he would begin to chafe if no thaw were reported. After one of these visits it happened that things were going well with the children and I felt that I could safely leave them and go to Ireland for a couple or three weeks of the glorious life.
I went out on my first hunt with some misgivings. I had heard so much about the steepness of the banks and the breadth of the ditches, of how important it was to let your horse negotiate them without interference; I had been told that the best thing one could do was to shut one’s eyes and say one’s prayers, above all never touch the curb. In spite of all I had heard, the first ditch surpassed my expectations and I demurred a little at putting my horse at the broad chocolate abyss. ‘Your horse can do it, Mrs. Chanler!’ sang out a cheery voice behind me, and over we leapt and away we galloped over the springy Irish turf and took the rest of the jumps ‘as they came at us.’
‘Your Mummy is enjoying herself enormously,’ wrote Wintie to one of the children; ‘she had her first hunt on the Thursday after her arrival. . . . There was a good hunt of forty minutes and your Mummy beat me all to pieces, getting in at the death and being given the brush by the Master. . . . Then I took her straight home and put her, babbling blissfully, to bed.’
Hunting in Ireland was by far the most exciting thing I had ever done, true crowded hours of glorious life. The sport seemed more native there than elsewhere; the whole countryside was alive to it. The smart pink-coated member of the Meath Hunt was no keener to know where the fox had gone than were the doctor, the priest, the farmers, and the raggedy peasant lads who managed to keep up with the field on their bare feet. It was the doctor who had encouraged me over my first ditch. Dr. Sullivan was an ardent fox hunter and had a great reputation for skill in mending broken bones. He would make conditional appointments with his patients—‘If the fox runs north you may expect me about halfpast four; if he turns south the devil himself does not know when I can get to you.’ But everyone was so fond of him that I am sure he got there when the patient really needed him. The priest was an equally familiar figure in the hunting field. I was told of a pious lady, a stranger in Navan, who felt she must get away from the perpetual horse-and-hound talk and had called on the priest in the hope of finding spiritual refreshment. At the end of fifteen minutes he was trying to sell her a horse.
‘And are you not the fool, Pat,’ said a well-mounted rider to the merry-eyed boy with hardly a shirt to his back who turned up at the check (as they always do), ‘are you not the fool to waste your days running after the hounds when you should be at work, earning your living?’ ‘Ah, your honor, and sure if there were nae fools, there’d be sorra few fox hunters.’
- Earlier chapters from Mrs. Chanler’s new book, Autumn in the Valley, appeared in the September and October issues. — EDITOR↩
- Roman Spring. — EDITOR↩
- Henry Norman was staying at Villa Crawford in Sorrento when Wintie and I became engaged there in September 1886. We were great friends at the time, but had lost sight of him of late.↩
- The house where Wintie first stayed with us, and from which we were married. — AUTHOR↩