‘Rather scarce in all gardens just now, I think,’ observed Jack; ‘at least I never hear of anybody with one to spare.’

‘Money’s like snow,’ said his lordship, ‘a very meltable article; and talking of snow,’ he said, looking up at the heavy clouds, ‘I wish we mayn’t be going to have some -- I don’t like the look of things overhead.’

‘Heavy,’ replied Jack; ‘heavy: however, it’s due about now.’

‘Due or not due,’ said his lordship, ‘it’s a thing one never wishes to come; anybody may have my share of snow that likes -- frost too.’

The road, or rather track, now passed over Blobbington Moor, and our friends had enough to do to keep their horses out of peatholes and bogs, without indulging in conversation. At length they cleared the moor, and, pulling out a gap at the corner of the inclosures, cut across a few fields, and got on to the Stumpington turnpike.

‘The hounds are here,’ said Jack, after studying the muddy road for some time.

‘They’ll not be there long,’ replied his lordship, ‘for Grabtintoll Gate isn’t far ahead, and we don’t waste our substance on pikes.’

His lordship was right. The imprints soon diverged up a muddy lane on the right, and our sportsmen now got into a road so deep and bottomless as to put the idea of stones quite out of the question.

‘Hang the road!’ exclaimed his lordship, as his hack nearly came on his nose, ‘hang the road!’ repeated he, adding, ‘if Puff wasn’t such an ass, I really think I’d give him up the crossroad country.’

‘It’s bad to get at from us,’ observed Jack, who didn’t like such trashing distances.

‘Ah! but it’s a rare good country when you get to it,’ replied his lordship, shortening his rein and spurring his steed.

The lane being at length cleared, the road became more practicable, passing over large pastures where a horseman could choose his own ground, instead of being bound by the narrow limits of the law But though the road improved, the day did not; a thick fog coming drifting up from the south-east in aid of the general obscurity of the scene.

‘The day’s gettin’ wuss,’ observed Jack, snuffling and staring about.

‘It’ll blow over,’ replied his lordship, who was not easily disheartened. ‘It’ll blow over,’ repeated he, adding, ‘often rare scents such days as these. But we must put on,’ continued he, looking at his watch, ‘for it’s half-past, and we are a mile or more off yet.’ So saying, he clapped spurs to his hack and shot away at a canter, followed by Jack at a long-drawn ‘hammer and pincers’ trot.

A hunt is something like an Assize circuit, where certain great guns show everywhere, and smaller men drop in here and there, snatching a day or a brief, as the case may be. Sergeant Bluff and Sergeant Huff rustle and wrangle in every court, while Mr Meeke and Mr Sneeke enjoy their frights on the forensic arenas of their respective towns, on behalf of simple neighbours, who look upon them as thorough Solomons. So with hunts. Certain men who seem to have been sent into the world for the express purpose of hunting, arrive at every meet, far and near, with a punctuality that is truly surprising, and rarely associated with pleasure.

If you listen to their conversation, it is generally a dissertation on the previous day’s sport, with enquiries as to the nearest way to cover the next. Sometimes it is seasoned with censure of some other pack they have been seeing. These men are mounted and appointed in a manner that shows what a perfect

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