‘What a sell!’ exclaimed Sponge, in disgust, who, with Jack, saw the hopelessness of the case.

‘Yonder he goes!’ exclaimed a lad, who had run up from the cover to see the hunt from the rising ground.

‘Where?’ exclaimed Sponge, straining his eyeballs.

‘There!’ said the lad, pointing due south. ‘D’ye see Tommy Claychop’s pasture? Now he’s through the hedge and into Mrs Starveland’s turnip field, making right for Bramblebrake Wood on the hill.’

‘So he is,’ said Sponge, who now caught sight of the fox emerging from the turnips on to a grass field beyond.

Jackstood staring through his great spectacles, without deigning a word.

‘What shall we do?’ asked Sponge.

‘Do?’ replied Jack, with his chin still up; ‘go home, I should think.’

‘There’s a man down!’ exclaimed a groom, who formed one of the group, as a dark-coated rider and horse measured their length on a pasture.

‘It’s Mr Sparks,’ said another; adding, ‘he’s always rolling about.’

‘Lor’, look at the parson!’ exclaimed a third, as Blossomnose was seen gathering his horse and setting up his shoulders preparatory to riding at a gate.

‘Well done, old ’un!’ roared a fourth, as the horse flew over it, apparentlywithout an effort.

‘Now for Tom!’ cried several, as the second whip went galloping up on the line of the gate.

‘Ah! he won’t have it!’ was the cry, as the horse suddenly stopped short nearly shooting Tom over his head. ‘Try him again -- try him again -- take a good run -- that’s him -- there, he’s over!’ was the cry, as Tom flourished his arm in the air on landing.

‘Look! there’s old Tommy Baker, the rat-ketcher!’ cried another, as a man went working his arms and legs on an old white pony across a fallow.

‘Ah, Tommy! Tommy! you’d better shut up,’ observed another: ‘a pig could go as fast at that.’

And so they criticised the laggers.

‘How did my lord get his horse?’ asked Spraggon of the groom who had brought them on, who now joined the eye-straining group at the door.

‘It was taken down to him at the cover,’ replied the man. ‘My lord went in on foot, and the horse went round the back way. The horse wasn’t there half a minute before he was wanted; for no sooner were the hounds in at one end than out popped the fox at t’other. Sich a whopper! -- biggest fox that ever was seen.’

‘They are all the biggest foxes that ever were seen,’ snapped Mr Sponge. ‘I’ll be bound he was not a bit bigger than common.’

‘I’ll be bound not, either,’ growled Mr Spraggon, squinting frightfully at the man, adding, ‘go, get me my hack, and don’t be talkin’ nonsense there.’

Our friends then remounted their hacks and parted company in very moderate humours, feeling fully satisfied that his lordship had done it on purpose.

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