Nicely he had cleared it for them all; and the pent-up tide of equestrianism now poured over the park like the flood of an irrigated water meadow. Such ponies! such horses! such hugging! such kicking! such scrambling! and so little progress with many!
The park being extensive -- three hundred acres or more -- there was ample space for the aspiring ones to single themselves out; and as Lady Scattercash and Orlando sat in the pony phaeton, on the rising ground by the keepers house, they saw a dark-clad horseman (George Cheek), Old Gingerbread Boots, as they called Mr Sponge, with Lucy Glitters alongside of him, gradually stealing away from the crowd, and creeping up to Mr Watchorn, who was sailing away with the hounds.
What a scrimmage! exclaimed her ladyship, standing up in the carriage, and eyeing the
Strange confusion in the vale below.
Theres Bob in his old purple, said she, eyeing her brother hustling along; and theres Fat in his new Moses and Son; and Bouncey in poor Waxs coat; and theres Harry all legs and wings, as usual, added she, as her husband was seen flibberty-gibbertying it along.
And theres Lucy; and wheres Miss Howard, I wonder? observed Orlando, straining his eyes after the scrambling field.
Nothing but the inspiriting aid of chumpine, and the hope that the thing would soon terminate, sustained Mr Watchorn under the infliction in which he so unexpectedly found himself; for nothing would have tempted him to brave such a frost with the burning scent of a game four-legged fox. The park being spacious, and enclosed by a high plank paling, he hoped the fox would have the manners to confine himself within it; and so long as his threadings and windings favoured the supposition, our huntsman bustled along, yelling and screaming in apparent ecstasy at the top of his voice. The hounds, to be sure, wanted keeping together, for Frantic as usual had shot ahead, while the gorged pig-pailers could never extricate themselves from the ponies.
F-o-o-o-r-r-a-r-d! f-o-o-o-r-r-a-r-d! f-o-o-o-r-r-a-r-d! elongated Watchorn, rising in his stirrups, and looking back with a grin at George Cheek, who was plying his weed with the whip, exclaiming, Ah, you confounded young warmint, Ill give you a warmin! Ill teach you to jaw about untin!
As he turned his head straight to look at his hounds, he was shocked to see Frantic falling backwards from the first attempt to leap the parkpalings, and just as she gathered herself for a second effort, Desperate, Chatterer, and Galloper, charged in line and got over. Then came the general rush of the pack, attended with the usual success -- some over, some back, some a-top of others.
Oh, the devil! exclaimed Watchorn, pulling up short in a perfect agony of despair. Oh, the devil! repeated he in a lower tone, as Mr Sponge approached.
Wheres there a gate? roared our friend, skating up.
Gate! theres never a gate within a mile, and thats locked, replied Watchorn, sulkily.
Then here goes! replied Mr Sponge, gathering the chestnut together to give him an opportunity of purging himself of his previous faux pas. Here goes! repeated he, thrusting his hard hat firmly on his head. Taking his horse back a few paces, Mr Sponge crammed him manfully at the palings, and got over with a rap.
Well done you! exclaimed Miss Glitters in delight; adding to Watchorn, Now old Beardey, you go next.
Beardey was irresolute. He pretended to be anxious to get the tail hounds over.
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