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In the mean-time Céline's beauty had made sad havoc with my heart. I found myself head and ears in love.
I now returned to my dressing-room, highly elated by my introduction to the fair Céline, and delighted with the thought that she would not witness the extravagant antics I was about to perpetrate.
My toilette concluded, I quaffed a bumper of champagne to my ladye love, and entered the green-room in the most exuberant spirits.
“ Overture on!” cried the call-boy. “Squire Bugle for the first
I attended the summons. The pantomime commenced, and although I
say it that should not, nothing could go better. The novelty of amateurs in a harlequinade seemed to amuse the audience, and the grotesque movements of the pantaloon, the activity of the motley hero, the beauty of the columbine, the grace of the cabin-boy, and last, not least, the drollery and fun of the clown, brought down shouts of applause. The sailor's hornpipe and the song of " Tippitiwitchet” were vociferously encored, and the curtain fell amidst the acclamations of the assembled multitude.
Although our tragic scenes had been flat, dull, and unprofitable, happily they were not sufficiently so to create a laugh, or we should have found ourselves in the predicament of an honourable amateur who performed upon one occasion “Hamlet” and “ Caleb Quotem,” and who, according to the critics of the day, is said to have excited the risible faculties of the audience to so great an extent in the tragedy, that they had not a smile left for the after-piece.
We now got rid of our pantomimic costume, and appeared in our private dresses just as a waiter from a neighbouring coffee-house announced that supper was ready.
Monsieur de Tourville offered his arm to the eldest Miss Sissmore, Charles to her sister Miss Euphemia, while I, anxious to hear more of my fair one, paid homage to the queen of the revels, Madame de Tourville. Vain, however, were my attempts to draw from her any particulars respecting Madame Mireval and her niece, except those which I have previously laid before my readers ; so I contented myself with the hope that I should again meet the beauteous Céline during the period she was under the tuition of the Maitre de Danse.
The supper went off splendidly ; the healths of the amateurs were proposed and drunk with enthusiasm. Elated with my success upon the boards, enchanted with the impression I flattered myself I had made upon the unsophisticated girl, I found myself in such a state of transport that I could scarcely restrain my joy within bounds.
It was late before we separated. Returning to Dean's Yard, I essayed a copy of verses to my charmer ; then, fatigued by bodily and mental labour, I sought my pillow, to think of her who had captivated my young heart, and for whom I felt the most romantic devotedness, inwardly vowing eternal constancy.
My “ rosy dreams” were shortly dispelled by the entrance of my fag" to tell me I had only half-an-hour to spare before Carey went in.
No sooner was school over, than the theatrical triumvirate, F-, Kirkonnel, and myself, strolled through the cloisters to talk over the previous night's performance, and to arrange for another.
As we returned towards our boarding house, the ever vigilant Dick
told me that a letter had just arrived, directed to me, and marked "immediate.” I ran to the window of the housekeeper's room, in which all the epistolary correspondence was placed, and found an ominous-looking letter, in my father's hand-writing. Upon opening it, I found it contained a mild and gentle rebuke for the time I had misemployed upon private theatricals, and concluded by urging me to give up the performance, which some good-natured anonymous friend had written to say was about to take place in Queen's-square. The kind conciliatory tone in which the advice was couched produced a greater effect on my mind than it would have done had it been conveyed in more severe and arbitrary terms, and I at once determined to drop the sock and buskin for the present.
While communicating the contents of my father's letter to F— and Kirkonnel, a message was brought to us from Dr. Cary, saying he wished to see us at his own private residence. Conscience, which makes cowards of us all, did upon the present occasion unnerve us; for although we felt we had not transgressed any scholastic laws, we knew too well how unprofitable our pursuits and life had lately been.
Upon entering the presence of the head master, our fears vanished, when, instead of a countenance of severity, we observed a cheerful aspect.
“ Pray sit down,” said Carey with the utmost courtesy. “I am anxious to lay before you some letters I have received from your parents.” He then opened the subject of our private theatricals, pointed out the contamination that was likely to be produced by associating with persons of low habits, praised the general manliness of our characters and occupations, and appealed to our consciences and better feelings whether the pursuits we had lately indulged in were calculated to raise our moral principles, advance our intellectual ability, or promote that gentleman-like bearing, which would be so essentially necessary to us in the military professions we were about to enter.
I think it was the late Dr. Arnold, who thus wrote from Rugby :“I believe that boys may be governed a great deal by gentle methods and kindness. I have seen great boys, six feet high, shed tears when I have sent for them up into my room and spoken to them quietly in pri. vatc ;” and certainly, upon the occasion I allude to, Dr. Cary might with equal truth have said the same, for tears gushed from our eyes when, with the greatest delicacy of feeling, he pointed out to us the grief that we had caused our parents by an act which he trusted and believed was one more of folly and thoughlessness than vice, and in a strain of affectionate entreaty urged those Christian and moral duties which alone could render our manhood useful and honourable.
FOX-HUNTING IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE.
It is gene
Mr. EDITOR,--I am encouraged to write a second article on this subject by a short criticism on the first, which I read in a London paper ; being thus assured that you considered it worthy of your columns.
Our season heretofore has generally commenced on the first Tuesday in November (our hunting days are Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday), and the meet is at the race-course on the Bordeaux road. rally attended by a pretty large concourse of ladies in carriages, townspeople on foot, and by a good sprinkling of the subseribers, in scarlet; thus presenting-with the well-conditioned pack of staunch-looking English hounds, attended by a huntsman and whipper-in, clothed in the regular English hunting garb, with their little business-like horns at the saddlebows-a spectacle which would undoubtedly cheer the heart of any lover of the glorious sport who might dash by, en poste, on his way to the pretty little town of Pau. Last year, I find by my journal that the almost summer heat of the sun obliged us to defer the “ opening" to Saturday, the 6th. Even then we found the weather far from propitious from the same cause, and proceeded to draw Pau Wood, with slight hopes of a run. We soon found, as we generally do at this capital “meet ;' but there was no scent, and after galloping about the wood for a long time without ever once being on good terms with our fox, and despairing of forcing him out upon the Landes, which, notwithstanding the extent of this wood, we generally succeed in doing, we gave it up as a bad case. On the following day arrived that first-rate man (with hounds) and eapital companion in the field, Lieutenant-Colonel Whyte, preceding by a few days his string of three judiciously-selected horses, with which he was destined soon to lead the field. Being chief proprietor of some promising coal-mines in the neighbourhood, he had been persuaded by his brother, former master of this pack, to bring out two or three horses, with which to while away the time at this otherwisedull little place. One glance at the kind of animal he had chosen showed he had received a correct description of the country, which requires rather a clever and active horse than an extraordinary jumper or a flyer. A more cramped and puzzling description of fence cannot be conceived : the banks are made from the earth excavated from the ditches, which are deep and cut in the shape of wedge, while the former go up to a point, so that they offer a very insecure footing to a horse ; and woe be to the rider if his steed should roll back into these formidablelooking ditches, often full of water, with him underneath !
On Tuesday we met at Assat. After drawing some small covers, we found in a little wood, where “ hanging" was out of the question ; and as the earths were close by on the side of an almost-perpendicular hill, Reynard made a dash for them : finding them well stopped, he flew down the opposite side, and took his course along the valley, over a very good hunting country, and being closely pressed, tried to dodge liis pursuers by coming back over nearly the same line, and was finally picked up by old “Fallacy” in a small stream of water, after a delightful little run of about forty minutes. The foxes of this country are generally what are called “short runners,” and double just like hares ; when dead beat they almost always take refuge in the little streams by which this country is intersected.
On Thursday, the 11th, we met at the junction of the Tarbes and Morlaas roads, in order to draw some gorse on the edge of the Landes. The previous season we had had a capital run from it, and hoped for equal luck this time, but were disappointed. In such a climate as this one is frequently consoled for blank days by the exhilarating and cheerful weather ; indeed, the brightness of the sun is one of the main obstacles to a sure find and good scent. Driving to the meet over the glorious roads of this part of France, without the drawback of a single toll-gate, on a bright, clear morning, with the hoar-frost glittering in the sun like so many diamond-drops, is of itself a source of exquisite enjoyment. If uncheered by a single whimper while standing at the covert's side, there is often consolation in basking in the sun's warm rays; and then what pleasure in trotting on to another covert, in the midst of the indescribably beautiful scenery of this country!
My journal tells me that on the following Saturday there was no meet, in consequence of the horse fair. Formerly this country was celebrated for a breed of well-bred, wiry little horses, descendants of the Arab, which were not to be surpassed for bottom by any race in Europe, Occasionally one can pick up a pure-bred little animal of the country, but they are almost extinct as a distinct breed. In our hunt there are three or four; and for light weights, from eight to ten stone, it would be impossible to find elsewhere a species of nag better suited to this cramped country. The introduction of the English horse--for we have a haras here — has destroyed this peculiar breed, producing generally washy and leggy animals, which are good for nothing in the hunting field, although making good " flatcatchers' in other respects. The peasants in this neighbourhood have a bad habit of not always cutting their colts, which they bring to market unbroken at the age of three and four years. The great demand for mules for the Spanish market --which are readily sold at this time for twelve pounds and upwards, at the age of six months-renders the breeding of this description of animal so lucrative, that the raising of horses is much neglected.
Tuesday, the 16th, the meet was at the twelfth mile-stone on the Bordeaux road, to draw Sauvagnon, a fine large covert, nearly always holding a fox, but difficult to get away from. On this occasion the pack was soon in full cry, and three or four times we were in hopes Reynard would take to the open ; but his heart failed him, and it became evident that he was doomed to die in covert. A " who-whoop!” from the huntsman proclaimed that all his dodging and doubling had failed in baffling his staunch pursuers. He had been taken in a little stream, and turned out to be the largest and fattest old dog-fox I almost ever saw. Had the countrypeople caught a glimpse of him, they would undoubtedly have called him a wolf, which they are very apt to do even in the case of smaller specimens. The brush of this gentleman was presented, as an encouragement, to a young officer of the “ Etat Major," who had joined us to-day for the first time. He appeared somewhat astounded at the rapidity with which the hounds disposed of the tough old fellow, skin, bones, and all. We then proceeded, drawing some smaller coverts on our way, to Séver, which is one of our crack places. On this occasion we drew it blank.
On Tuesday, the 23rd, we met at the old kennel, and proceeded to Lans. This is forbidden ground to our hunt, as several of the coverts belong to an old imperial officer commanding the department, who was made prisoner by our countrymen during the Peninsular War-a circumstance which has not tended to make him very amicably inclined towards us and our sports. The sight of the scarlet coats, associated with so many signal defeats to his otherwise invincible countrymen, flitting about in his woods, may not be fraught with much consolation to one of his irritable temperament; and it is therefore charitable not to be too hard upon him for his churlishness, particularly as we do not allow it to interfere with us in drawing his woods. On this particular occasion we found a dashing fine fox right under his nose, and rattled through his spinnies as if we were conferring a great benefit upon their gallant owner. Unfortunately, Reynard, from having breakfasted too bountifully, or from being very unwilling to face the open, sought refuge in a small earth, from which being bolted by old Fallacy, he got chopped up, and thus we had run the risk of a suit for trespass with but slight compensation. Some years ago this old gentleman had our huntsman imprisoned for presuming to enter his domains--a circumstance which prevented our being surprised on receiving a message from the keeper, on the following day, that the next time we were guilty of a trespass we would get a “procès verbal.”
I find that the heat prevented my turning out on the next hunting day. As nothing was done from the want of scent, I was spared the mortification which one feels at having missed a good thing, escaping likewise, in all probability, a rattling headache.
On Saturday, “ Gardères" was the rallying cry. This is one of our best meets, and is consequently sure to draw together a good field, notwithstanding the great distance. Mr. Livingstone's drag picked us up, and in little more than an hour our merry little party found itself at the twenty-first kilometre on the Tarbes road, after a most delightful drive over a road which left nothing to desire, and with weather completely in unison with the brightness of our hopes. .. . The wood we were to draw lies about eight kilometres to the north of the main road, so that we still had a good half-hour's ride before us. Drawing this one blank, we trotted on to Seron, where we were more lucky in respect to finding, but unluckily no one got away with the hounds but Colonel W. and the huntsman. After much delay we were enabled to get on their track, and, by asking the country people, succeeded in coming up with them at the end of forty minutes ; but it was all over, the fox having gone to ground : otherwise it was one of the best, straightest, and fastest runs of the whole season, and over a country which was pronounced by the lucky colonel to be the best he had seen here. The whole line having been pointed out to us, and hoping for better luck next time, we turned our heads homewards, the majority of us less cheerful than at setting out in the morning, for to lose such a run was indeed a misfortune. We were somewhat consoled, however, as we went along, by a little larking over some very tempting banks and ditches,