The Finest Run That Ever Was Seen!

Hoo--ray, Jack! Hoo--ray!’ exclaimed Lord Scamperdale, bursting into his sanctum, where Mr Spraggon sat in his hunting coat and slippers, spelling away at a second-hand copy of Bell’s Life by the light of a melancholy mould candle. ‘Hoo--ray, Jack! hoo--ray!’ repeated he, waving that proud trophy, a splendid fox’s brush, over his grizzly head.

His lordship was the picture of delight. He had had a tremendous run -- the finest run that ever was seen! His hounds had behaved to perfection; his horse -- though he had downed him three times -- had carried him well, and his lordship stood with his crownless flat hat in his hand, and one coat lap in the pocket of the other -- a grinning, exulting, self-satisfied specimen of a happy Englishman.

‘Lor! what a sight you are!’ observed Jack, turning the light of the candle upon his lordship’s dirty person. ‘Why, I declare you’re an inch thick with mud,’ he added: ‘mud from head to foot,’ he continued, working the light up and down.

‘Never mind the mud, you old badger!’ roared his lordship, still waving the brush over his head: ‘never mind the mud, you old badger; the mud’ll come off, or may stay on; but such a run as we’ve had does not come off every day.’

‘Well, I’m glad you have had a run,’ replied Jack. ‘I’m glad you have had a run; ‘adding, ‘I was afraid at one time that your day’s sport was spoiled.’

‘Well, do you know,’ replied his lordship, ‘when I saw that unrighteous snob, I was near sick. If it were possible for a man to faint, I should have thought I was going to do so. At first I thought of going home, taking the hounds away too; then I thought of going myself and leaving the hounds; then I thought if I left the hounds it would only make the sinful scaramouch more outrageous, and I should be sitting on pins and needles till they came home, thinking how he was crashing among them. Next I thought of drawing all the unlikely places in the country, and making a blank day of it. Then I thought that would only be like cutting off my nose to spite my face. Then I didn’t know what on earth to do. At last, when I saw the critter’s great pecker steadily down in his plate, I thought I would try and steal a march upon him, and get away with my fox while he was feeding; and, oh! how thankful I was when I looked back from Bramblebrake Hill, and saw no signs of him in the distance.’

‘It wasn’t likely you’d see him,’ interrupted Jack, ‘for he never got away from the front door. I twigged what you were after, and kept him up in talk about his horses and his ridin’ till I saw you were fairly away.’

‘You did well,’ exclaimed Lord Scamperdale, patting Jack on the back; ‘you did well, my old buck-o’-wax; and, by Jove! we’ll have a bottle of port -- a bottle of port, as I live,’ repeated his lordship, as if he had made up his mind to do a most magnificent act.

‘But what’s happened you behind! -- what’s happened you behind?’ asked Jack, as his lordship turned to the fire, and exhibited his docked tail.

‘Oh, hang the coat! -- it’s neither here nor there,’ replied his lordship; ‘hat neither,’ he added, exhibiting its crushed proportions. ‘Old Blossomnose did the coat; and as to the hat, I did it myself -- at least, old Daddy Longlegs and I did it between us. We got into a grass field, of which they had cut a few roods of fence, just enough to tempt a man out of a very deep lane, and away we sailed, in the enjoyment of fine sound sward, with the rest of the field plunging and floundering, and holding and grinning, and thinking what fools they were for not following my example -- when, lo and behold! I got to the bottom of the field, and found there was no way out; no chance of a bore through the great thick, high hedge, except at a branchy willow, where there was just enough room to squeeze a horse through, provided he didn’t rise at the ditch on the far side. At first I was for getting off; indeed, had my right foot out of the stirrup, when the hounds dashed forrard with such energy -- looking like running -- and remembering the tremendous climb I should have to get on to old Daddy’s back again, and seeing some of the nasty jealous chaps in the lane eyeing me through the fence, thinking how I was floored, I determined to stay

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