Riding costume for the Park.
Disappearance of the black coat.
The scope and limitations of the tweed suit.
A great change has taken place during the last few years in the character of riding costume for the Park. The subject may scarcely be a suitable one for a little book intended for those unaccustomed to the usages of the society of the wealthy. But there are almost always exceptional cases in which such information may be found of use. Only quite old-fashioned people ride in black coats, the usual gear consisting of knickerbocker suits with Norfolk, or other country jacket, brown tops and bowler hats. It must be admitted that this is a distinct gain in picturesqueness. Straw hats are often seen on riders in the Park, but these have not quite so good an effect. The old formalities in dress are rapidly disappearing. A man may ride in town in-a tweed suit, which once would have been considered highly heterodox. He may even walk about London in the height of the season in a tweed suit, but it is not considered correct for him to join his friends in the Park without reverting to the black coat and high hat. Many an old statesman is still to be seen in the Park riding in frock-coat and tall hat, just as John Leech depicted the men of his day.
The rule of the road for equestrians.
There are certain rules of etiquette connected with riding on horseback, which no one can afford to ignore. It is extremely ill-mannered to gallop noisily past a mounted lady, the risk being of startling her horse and inconveniencing her, if not subjecting her to an accident. The rule of the road for equestrians is to keep to the left, exactly the opposite to that for pedestrians. In passing others in front a detour is made to the right; in meeting other riders or wheel traffic of any sort the rider keeps close to the left. In accompanying a lady the gentleman keeps on her right hand, whether in town or on country roads.
At a meet of hounds.
A crime of the blackest dye.
A mans duty to his charge.
His responsibility ends only with the hunt.
At a meet of hounds, where ladies in carriages often assemble, it is not polite to keep too near them if mounted on a fidgety horse. When the hounds throw off, the inexperienced in such matters has a disagreeable way of getting in front in his eagerness, and sometimes overriding the hounds. This, in the eyes of the huntsman, is not a fault; it is a crime of the blackest dye. If commissioned to take charge of a lady in the hunting-field a man must sacrifice his sporting instincts to a certain extent in order to see her safe over her fences, giving her a lead, or following her lead as circumstances may dictate. His desire to be in at the death may be as great as hers, but he must not indulge it at the expense of his politeness. Very often his charge may beg of him to go on and leave her to her own devices. If he should perceive that she is really uncomfortable about keeping him back he may possibly yield to her persuasion, but in the case of any accident happening to her he would be certainly called to account by those who had placed her in his charge.
A common error.
Advice to the novice.
One of the mistakes made by novices in the hunting-field is that of getting themselves up in pink, though they may not be a member of any hunt. This is more particularly the case when the packs are near town. Good West End tailors would never allow their clients to make such mistakes as these. They are the best authorities on all the minutiæ of country riding costume, and it is well for the customer to put
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