this fine beast is only hunted as occasion requires, three or four times during the season. Mr. E. F. Kelley is the present master, and he has got an excellent pack of hounds round about him.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]



Unless some very considerable change takes place, it is extremely likely that the harrier will not survive very many generations, at any rate in this country. His type has not been strictly defined for years, he has varied much in height, and has lately been crossed with the foxhound to such an extent as to further endanger his extinction. Moreover, several packs of harriers have recently taken to deer and stag hunting, and thus are still further losing their identity.

. Years ago much hare hunting was done on foot, and hounds were bred for this purpose, to find their own hare by questing and hunting her through all her windings and ringings, with a care that the modern foxhound-harrier, with his dash and go, would not take pains to bestow. The latter is almost as fast and keen as the true foxhound; he has, like him, to be fleet enough to get out of the way of careless riders, and give a sharp and merry burst, rather than a careful hunting run. Most hounds now kill their hare in from half an hour to an hour, and no wonder that they can do so when sometimes they have a turn with the fox, and perhaps oftener a chase with the "carted deer." The latter almost a necessity, because a mistaken and ill-judged legislation has caused hares to become very scarce in some districts, where a few years ago they were plentiful.

The harrier is quite as old a hound as any other. Caius calls him Leverarius, and the Book of St. Albans mentions the hare as a beast of chase in the same list as the fox, the deer, and the wild boar. Still, perhaps, as with most harriers to-day, those of Dame Berners' time would be as much at home with the timorous hare as with the cunning fox or the fleeter red deer. Some modern writers have gone so far as to say that such a thing as a true harrier, one without any dash of foxhound blood in him, is not to be found. Beckford wrote of the harrier as a cross-bred hound, and his own were bred between the large slow hunting southern hound and the beagle. They were fast enough, had all the alacrity desirable, and would hunt the coldest scent. These attributes, added to their plodding perseverance, gave them a distinctive

« ForrigeFortsett »