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Full text of "The out-of-door life of the Rev. John Russell, a memoir"

THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 
OF CALIFORNIA 



PRESENTED BY 

PROF. CHARLES A. KOFOID AND 
MRS. PRUDENCE W. KOFOID 



THE OUT-OF-DOOR LIFE 



OF THE 



REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 



When autumn is flaunting his banner of pride 

For glory that summer has fled, 
Arrayed in the robes of his royalty, dyed 

In tawny and orange and red ; 
When the oak is yet rife with the vigour of life, 

Though his acorns are dropping below, 
Through bramble and brake shall the echoes awake, 

To the ring of a clear Tally-Ho I " 

WHYTE-M ELVI LLE. 




THE REV JOHN RUSSELL 



THE OUT-OF-DOOR LIFE 



OF THE 



REV. JOHN RUSSELL, 



A MEMOIR. 



BY 



THE AUTHOR OF "DARTMOOR DAYS," ETC. 



etrtttcw. 




LONDON : 

RICHARD BENTLEY & SON, NEW BURLINGTON ST. 
lisjurs iit ^rbinarg to flu glajestg % (Qattn. 
1883. 

(All rights resen-ed.) 



THE 

SECOND EDITION OF THIS MEMOIR 
$& gtbicafeb 

BY THE AUTHOR 

TO 
JOHN ANSTRUTHER THOMSON, ESQ., 

A FRIEND LONG VALUED 
AND A MAN AFTER RUSSELL'S OWN HEART. 

November 6th, 1883. 



INTRODUCTION. 



THE Reader will be glad to know, as the 
Author is to state, that before a line of the 
first edition of this Memoir was published, the 
proof-sheets of every chapter were duly sub- 
mitted to Mr. Russell himself, in order that any 
statement, affecting directly or indirectly the 
authenticity of his personal history, might be 
corrected, refuted, or substantiated by his own 
hand. 

That advantage the present edition lacks 
only in the final chapter ; which is now added 
to wind up the history of his last years, and at 
the same time to record as the Author does 
with unspeakable regret the closing scene of 
his prolonged and active life. 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTEk I. 

John Russell's Education under his Father Is sent to 
Plympton School His First Fight with J. C. Bulteel 
Is removed to Tiverton School Keeps Hounds 
there, and gets into Trouble with Dr. Richards, the 
Head Master Is admitted into Exeter College, 
Oxford, in 1814 ..... 



CHAPTER II. 

Buys his First Horse at Tiverton Fair, and sees his First 
Stag killed with Lord Fortescue's Hounds Learns 
to spar at Oxford, and sets-to with Denne and others 
Wrestling Matches in Devon and Cornwall his 
great delight . . . . . .22 



CHAPTER III. 

A Day with the Heythrop and Sir Thomas Mostyn's 
Packs Russell's Terriers Anecdotes of Tip and 
Nelson The Process of manufacturing so-called 
" Fox-Terriers " for the Market . . 45 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER IV. 

PAGE 

Is Ordained and Licensed to his First Curacy Keeps 
Otter-Hounds at South Molton, and hunts with Mr. 
Froude Anecdotes of that Gentleman and Dr. 
Phillpotts, the late Bishop of Exeter . 72 

CHAPTER V. 

The Teignbridge Cricket Club and the Party at Stover 
Mr. George Templer and the "Let-'em-alones" 
The " Bold Dragoon "The Rev. Henry Taylor and 
his Horse "Nunky" . . . . loi 

CHAPTER VI. 

He falls in Love Rides by Night to Bath His Grotesque 
Mount in Milsom Street Is Married, and removes 
to Iddesleigh Keeps Foxhounds, and forms an 
Alliance with Mr. C. A. Harris Difficulties with 
Fox-killers . . . . . .120 

CHAPTER VII. 

The Artificial Fox-earth Accession of Country The 
Bodmin Meetings Long Distances to Cover Sir 
Tatton Sykes The Ivy-Bridge Hunt Week Rides 
Home ....... 153 

CHAPTER VIII. 

Has no Regular Whip His Three Horses Termination 
of the Alliance and Contraction of his Country Mr. 
J. Morth Woolcombe The Pencarrow Run Mrs. 
Smith, of Porlock The Four Vixen Cubs . .185 



CONTENTS. xi 



CHAPTER IX. 

PAGE 

Removes to Swymbridge His Kindness to the Gipsies 
St. Hubert's Hall -The Vine Draft The Chumleigh 
Club The Bishop of Exeter and the Charges 
against Russell Bishop revokes the Curate's 
License Mr. Trelawny on the Chumleigh Meetings 217 



CHAPTER X. 

His Power in distinguishing Hounds after once hearing 
their Names Parts with his Pack Starts again 
Kennel Management Firing, etc. Four Days' 
Work Mr. Houlditch as Whip Kindness to a 
Curate A Scene between them at Lanacre Bridge 
on the Moor ... . . . . 243 

CHAPTER XI. 

The South Molton Club Stopping out the Foxes 
"Beatrice and Barbara "Russell and Radcliffe's 
Stories The "Little Specklety Hen "Russell's 
Ducking in the Barle Mallard and Cat snapped 
up by Foxes in Chase ..... 272 



CHAPTER XII. 

The South Molton Meetings Limpetty, Mr. Trelawny's 
Huntsman, rides over a Flood-Hatch on "Jack 
Sheppard" Russell ceases to be a Master of Hounds 
His Long Devotion to the "Antient Sport of 
Kings "A Brief Sketch of the Staghounds A Bar- 
rister and his Gallant Grey brought to Grief in an 
Exmoor Bog Anecdote of Hind and Calf . . 301 



xii CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

PAGE 

Russell and his Friend, the Rev. A. F. Luttrell, of 
Quantockshead Danger of Handling a Stag at Bay 
Man and Hound Injured, and both Saved by 
Russell Ladies to the Front over Exmoor Mrs. 
Cholmondeley's Perilous Fall . . . .333 



CHAPTER XIV. 

Visits Marham Hall and Sandringham Dances the Old 
Year out and the New Year in with the Princess of 
Wales Manly Traits in the Young Princes Sorrow 
at Home His Clerical Life Tiverton Old Boys' 
Meetings ...... 355 



CHAPTER XV. 

Russell Removes to Black Torrington A Disastrous 
Fire in his New Stables Hunts with the Quorn, 
the Cottesmore, the Belvoir, and the Beaufort 
Hounds Visits Col. J. Anstruther Thomson, and 
goes with him and Mr. J. Whyte-Melville to Ascot 
Hunts with the Staghounds, and again Visits 
Sandringham His Last Illness Death and Funeral 387 



MEMOIR OF 
THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 



CHAPTER I. 

John Russell's Education under his Father Is sent to Plympton 
School His First Fight 'with J. C. BulteelIs removed to 
Tiverton School Keeps Hounds there, and gets into trouble 
with Dr. Richards, the Head Master Is admitted into Exeter 
College, Oxford, in 1814. 

" Boys, to the hunting field ! though 'tis November, 

The wind's in the south ; but a word ere we start 
Though keenly excited, I bid you remember 
That hunting's a science, and riding an art." 

EGERTON-WARBURTON. 

THE subject of the present memoir, the Rev. 
John Russell, was born on the 2ist of Decem- 
ber, 1795. His father was the well-known 
rector of Iddesleigh, in the north of Devon, 
but resided, when John was born, and for a 
short time afterwards, at Dartmouth, where he 
took pupils, and at the same time kept hounds. 



MEMOIR OF 



It is recorded of him that not only was he care- 
ful to instruct the former in the rudiments of 
Greek and Latin, but in those of the " noble 
science " ; the full enjoyment of the one being 
made subservient to the due acquirement of the 
other. 

" Work and play " was the good man's 
motto ; and to carry out this principle he 
adopted the novel plan of keeping a pony- 
hunter expressly for the benefit of the boys ; 
and he who managed to gain the highest marks 
for his wofk during the week was rewarded 
with sole possession of the pony on the follow- 
ing hunting-day. 

As might be expected, no stimulant could 
have been more effective : the boys worked like 
Trojans at their school tasks. 

During this eventful era, however, the child 
" Jack" was in petticoats; and before he became 
old enough to compete for a mount, his father 
removed to Southhill Rectory, near Callington. 
But, inheriting as he did a double portion of 
that sire's hunting blood, had the chance been 
given him, it may well be imagined how he 
would have stepped first and foremost into the 
academic ring, and how he would have striven, 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 



early and late, to secure so glorious a reward. 
His " Propria quae maribus," we may be sure, 
would have been perfect ; his knowledge of the 
Concords and Syntax equally faultless ; nor, 
the victory gained, would he have failed to 
acknowledge that the day's sport, thus earned, 
had been doubly sweetened by the very labour 
he had taken to obtain it. 

A Cornish gentleman, whose father had 
been educated by the elder Russell, writes thus 
to the author of these memoirs: "My father 
has long been dead : he sleeps in the Consul's 
garden at Tangier ; but I can well remember 
the delight with which he was wont to talk of 
his school days at Dartmouth, and the admira- 
tion he felt for his dear old master. Of him he 
would say : ' He was one of the best classics, 
one of the best preachers and readers, and by 
far the boldest hunter in the county of Devon. 
Not unfrequently, too,' my father would add, 
* have I seen the fine old fellow's top-boots 
peeping out from under his cassock.' " 

His son became a fair classical scholar, no- 
thing more ; but, otherwise, to no one in the 
West of England would this description apply 
with more fidelity than to John Russell ; whose 



MEMOIR OF 



fine sonorous voice, distinct enunciation, and 
earnest exhortations have long established his 
repute, both in desk and pulpit, as an ex- 
pounder of truth second to none. A story is 
told that, on the occasion of his preaching a 
sermon, either at the re-opening of a church 
newly restored, or on behalf of the North 
Devon Hospital (to which, in this way, he has 
ever been a ready and bountiful contributor), 
the late Bishop of Exeter, Henry Phillpotts, 
travelled a long distance on purpose to hear 
him. The stout-hearted prelate, himself a 
master of eloquence, was so taken with the 
matter of the discourse and the style of its 
delivery, that he pointedly expressed his com- 
mendation of both to those assembled around 
him at the luncheon-table. 

" Yes, my lord," said a lady sitting next to 
him, who happened to be nearly connected 
with the preacher, and very well known as a 
prominent rider in the hunting-field, "yes, Mr. 
Russell is very good in the wood ; but I should 
like your lordship to see him in the pigskin." 

But, having anticipated the period of his 
middle-life by this anecdote, it will be necessary 
now to revert to the boy's school days, and 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 



follow him through the bright but not un- 
clouded portion of that somewhat eventful 
time. 

An old-established grammar school was 
that of Plympton, the go-cart of Sir Joshua 
Reynolds, to which he was first sent. There, 
it would appear, the head master maintained 
the block-system in full force ; not, however, 
for the purpose of checking, but rather of ex- 
pediting the educational progress of his pupils ; 
for, when a boy's head appeared to be too hard 
to comprehend and remember some crabbed 
line of Phaedrus' Fables or Caesar's Commen- 
taries, it was duly whacked into him at another 
more sensitive point. 

Such, however, was the training at that 
time, which scholars like Dean Gaisford, Bishop 
Copleston, and the late Mr. Justice Coleridge 
were probably compelled to submit to, notwith- 
standing the grand brains with which Nature 
had blessed those distinguished men, 

Here it was he first met his fellow-pupil, 
John Crocker Bulteel, " the heir-apparent of 
Flete," afterwards so well known in the county, 
not only as a popular master of hounds, but as 
one of the most genial and talented of men. 



MEMOIR OF 



The old borough of Plympton the stronghold 
of the Treby family, till the brush of the Reform 
Bill swept away its charter was proud enough 
of its then flourishing grammar school ; but 
prouder still was John Bulteel of being " cock 
of the walk" over the many juveniles who 
flocked from all quarters to that establishment. 

On more than one occasion he had ex- 
hibited a disposition to crow over Russell, but 
he was very soon taught a lesson that few boys 
would be likely to forget so long as they lived. 
Bulteel, at length, brought matters to a crisis 
by saying something to Russell's disparage- 
ment, in his absence, which, of course, was 
speedily conveyed to him in an exaggerated 
form by one of his schoolfellows. The offender, 
however, was not to be found at the moment, 
so Russell, seeing a book with " J. C. B." in- 
scribed on it, pounced upon it at once, and in 
his wrath tore it to shreds ; this he did under 
the full conviction that Bulteel, on discover- 
ing the outrage, would lose no time in resent- 
ing it. 

"Who tore this book ?" demanded Bulteel, 
coming in soon after, and viewing the pages of 
his new Gradus scattered on the school floor, 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 



like autumn leaves that strew " the brooks in 
Vallombrosa." 

" I did ! " responded Russell, defiantly, as he 
doubled his fists and prepared for the imminent 
encounter. 

" Then take that," said Bulteel, acting on 
the principle that " the first blow is half the 
battle," and hitting him like a flash of lightning 
on the most prominent feature of Russell's 
face. 

A sharp and severe encounter then followed. 
Russell, however, at length prevailed, winning, 
as he would call it, his first spurs, and at the 
same time securing ever after the unqualified 
respect of his antagonist as a foeman worthy of 
his steel. 

Soon after he had attained his fourteenth 
year, John Russell was removed to Tiverton 
School, then under the able mastership of Dr. 
Richards, a disciplinarian strict as Draco, who, 
by the success of his tuition and the obedience 
he enforced, elevated the standard of his school 
to a rank equal to that of Reading or Sherborne 
in their best days. Nor were the worthies of 
Devon slack in availing themselves of these 
and other educational advantages offered by 



MEMOIR OF 



Blundell's school ; for, when Russell joined, it 
was swarming with pupils, several of whom 
represented, more or less directly, a goodly 
portion of the county families. 

He had been but a short time at this 
Spartan seminary when, daily provoked by the 
tyranny of a boy called Hunter, a monitor in 
the first class, and a notorious bully, Russell 
avowed himself a champion of the oppressed, 
and, for his own sake and that of others, deter- 
mined to fight him on the first opportunity. 
Now, if a junior boy presumed to challenge a 
monitor, it was regarded as a serious and 
punishable offence ; but if he struck him, so 
dire an act of insubordination was promptly 
visited by expulsion. 

To bide his time, therefore, was Russell's 
only safe policy ; but the trial of doing so 
tested his utmost patience ; for the longer he 
managed to submit to Hunter's bullying, the 
more oppressive and galling it became. The 
long-deferred chance, however, came at last. 
Dr. Richards having discovered that several of 
the boys kept rabbits, gave a peremptory order 
that they were to be got rid of forthwith. 
Accordingly, on being dismissed from dinner 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 



the owners all, with one exception, posted off 
to dispose of their rabbits ; that exception being 
Hunter, who, possessing a choice breed, de- 
layed to execute the order, with the intention 
of asking permission to send them home, on 
the ground that his rabbits were so valuable. 

Russell, in the meantime, observing the 
monitor's neglect of duty, and ignorant of the 
cause of it, resolved to see the edict fulfilled to 
its bitter end, and proceeded at once to do for 
Hunter what he seemed so loth to do for 
himself. Russell kept ferrets, and, like most 
boys of a manly nature, held those who kept 
rabbits in supreme contempt, denouncing them 
as milksops, only fit to live and associate with 
maiden aunts. So it can well be imagined how 
the spirit of retaliation took instant possession 
of him, and with what zest he conveyed the 
rabbits to his ferret-box. As well might the 
innocent victims have been tossed into a 
python's den, for they were all dead before the 
owner became aware of their untimely fate or 
his own grievous loss. 

But he was not long in discovering it ; nor 
was Russell, who avowed himself the per- 
petrator, slow to discover that the maledictions 



io MEMOIR OF 



and fierce threats of Hunter, who swore he 
would give him" a sound thrashing-, would all 
end in smoke, and that, in fact, the bully was 
what he had suspected him to be, an arrant 
coward. 

Though older and stronger than Russell, 
and boiling with rage, he dared not strike him, 
which the junior fully hoped he would have 
done ; but off he started, as fast as his legs 
could carry him, to tell Dr. Richards, whom he 
accosted with a torrent of tears, as he met him 
returning on his brown cob from his daily ride 
in the country lanes. 

" What are you crying for ? " inquired the 
really kind-hearted doctor, touched by the 
boy's distress, and exhibiting a weakness he 
rarely showed within the precincts of the 
school. 

" My rabbits, sir," replied Hunter, still 
blubbering aloud ; " Russell has killed them all 
with his ferrets." 

" Killed your rabbits," responded the doctor, 
gravely ; " and with ferrets, too ? Are they his 
own ferrets, did you say ? " 

" Oh yes, sir, his own ; he keeps a lot of 
them," added Hunter, observing that a storm 



THE RE V. JOHN RUSSELL. 1 1 

was brewing which would break with awful 
effect on Russell's head. 

On arriving at the school-house the culprit 
was instantly sent for by Dr. Richards. 

" Now, sir," he said, in a voice of thunder, 
"what right have you to kill Hunter's rabbits, 
and what reason can you give for committing 
so gross an outrage on your schoolfellow's 
property ? " 

"It was your own order, sir," pleaded 
Russell, fearlessly, " that all the rabbits should 
be killed ; and as Hunter did not seem inclined 
to kill his, I did it for him." 

" And with your own ferrets, too," added 
the doctor, seizing Russell by the collar and 
flogging him with his long, heavy riding-whip, 
till the whalebone appeared in splinters at its 
end. 

Many a week passed before the marks of 
that castigation became invisible on Russell's 
back ; but never from that day did he suffer 
further persecution either from Hunter or any 
other bully of the school ; for, though good- 
natured to a fault, he was discovered to be too 
dangerous a customer to trifle with. 

Without hunting, Jack Russell could not 



12 MEMOIR OF 



have lived ; and severe as he knew the penalty 
would be if he were caught indulging in it, 
still hunting he must have in some shape or 
other. Then, as ever since, it has been the 
one master-passion of his life. " Men," some 
one has truly said, " do not lose their passions 
till they get their wings ; " and certainly from 
his earliest years Russell's passion for the chase 
has clung to him closely as his own skin, 
through good report and evil report, cheering 
him in storms which few but he would have 
faced ; and in all weather, fair or foul, asserting 
its ruling, nay, its paramount influence over 
him even down to the close of his life. 

But after that episode with Hunter, either 
by compulsion, or more likely from inclination, 
Jack disposed of his ferrets, and took to keeping 
hounds. He had already won the good-will of 
the neighbouring farmers by joining them in 
many a lively rat-hunt among their stacks and 
barns ; in bolting rabbits, too, from their over- 
stocked hedges he had ever readily lent a useful 
hand, doing them a substantial service, and 
treating himself to a labour of love. 

This sport, however, such as it was, did not 
long satisfy the boy's aspirations. He was 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 13 

now sixteen years of age, and craved daily, as 
he said, " for the ding-dong of hounds," a music 
to which, by nature, his ear had been so finely 
attuned. A schoolfellow of his own standing, 
called Bob Bovey, appears also to have had a 
strong strain of hunting-blood in his veins ; and 
hearing Russell's oft-expressed wish to keep a 
few hounds, he came to him one day, and 
despite the danger of doing so, proposed to 
join him in starting a pack. 

Accordingly, the two boys, forming a joint 
mastership, were very soon able to muster a 
scratch lot, consisting of four and a half couple 
of hounds, which they kept at a blacksmith's on 
the outskirts of Tiverton town. The worthy 
Vulcan must have been a kindred spirit, for he 
seems not only to have given up a linhay adjoin- 
ing the forge for the use of the hounds, but to 
have run the risk of incurring Dr. Richard's 
displeasure and losing his custom, solely for the 
love of hunting, and the sheer sake of promot- 
ing the sport. 

Those were glorious days so long as they 
lasted ; the farmers, to a man, seeing the hounds 
chiefly managed by Russell, giving them a hearty 
welcome over their land, and supporting them in 



14 MEMOIR OF 



various ways calculated to show their cordial 
interest in the welfare of the pack. One, for 
instance, would say, " he'd a got a hare sitting 
in fuzzy-park bottom, and ef Maister Rissell 
wid on'y bring up his cry, he'd turn un out, and 
they'd have a rare crack o' hunting, sure enow." 
Another would inform him that " his auld blind 
maire had mit wi' a mishap, got stogged in a 
mire, zo he'd a knacked her in th' head, and 
Maister Rissell was kindly welcome to her 
vor the dags.'* 

Then, there was no end to the bread-and 
cheese and cider, which the hospitable and 
hound-loving yeomen of that county pressed 
upon him and his companions, whenever the 
chase led them within hail of their farm home- 
steads. Perhaps the happiness of a schoolboy 
was never more complete. Being a fair classical 
scholar, and gifted with far more than ordinary 
abilities, which in any profession might have 
carried him, but for his devotion to hounds, to 
the top of the tree, he found no difficulty in 
satisfying Dr. Richard's class -requirements, and 
at the same time, whenever a half or a whole 
holiday occurred, in following the pastime he so 
keenly loved. 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 



The feeling, too, that he was snatching a 
stolen pleasure might have enhanced 

"... that theft of sweet delight " 
a hundredfold ; but dark clouds were now loom- 
ing in the horizon, portending a short season 
and disastrous end to this enjoyable life. A 
shaft from some hidden enemy (and well for 
him was it that his name was never discovered) 
did the mischief. Some one, purporting to be 
" a friend to good discipline," wrote to Dr. 
Richards, and communicated the astounding 
intelligence that a cry of hounds were kept by 
his scholars, Bovey and Russell, and that the 
latter, if he was not sole manager, acted at least 
as huntsman to the pack. 

11 Ringleader, in fact, of the hunting gang," 
exclaimed Richards, indignantly, as an expres- 
sion of grave import darkened his whole coun- 
tenance. " What ! set my discipline at nought, 
and bring discredit on the honoured name of 
Blundell ?" 

He sent for Bovey, and expelled him on the 
spot. Russell came next, little doubting that he 
should share a similar fate ; as, like a mouse 
tortured by a cat, he underwent a preliminary 
examination before the fatal blow fell. 



1 6 MEMOIR OF 



" You keep hounds, don't you ? " demanded 
the autocrat, in a stern and pitiless tone. 

" No, sir." 

" Do you dare to tell me a lie ? Bovey has 
just told me you do keep them," said Richards, 
striking him in his wrath with great violence. 

" 'Tis no lie, sir," pleaded Russell, pathetic- 
ally ; " for Bovey stole them yesterday, and sent 
them home to his father at Pear-tree." 

" Then that's lucky for you," responded the 
doctor, " or I'd have expelled you too." 

After this narrow escape, Russell, it would 
appear, was compelled to quench as best he 
could the latent flame that burned within him, 
and pay due deference, at least outwardly, to the 
more than ever strict discipline exacted by Dr. 
Richards. 

It may be inferred, too, that he was now com- 
pelled to give more attention to his studies than 
he had hitherto done ; for, soon after his fall as 
a master of hounds, two prizes were offered for 
competition an exhibition of ^30 per annum, 
tenable for four years, and a medal for elocution 
both of which he won in a canter, regaining at 
the same time the favour of Dr. Richards. But, 
had the worthy man been able to foresee the use 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 17 

Jack made of the first 30 he received as an 
exhibitioner, he would certainly have denounced 
him as a most unworthy recipient of Blundell's 
bounty. Our hero expended it in buying a horse 
from the Rev. John Froude, of Knowstone ; 
and, as he soon found to his cost, did not get 
the best of the bargain. 

The day, however, was nigh at hand when 
the pent-up flame was destined to be no longer 
suppressed. Oxford was before him, the seat, 
in those days, not of learning only, but of much 
liberty and little restraint. 

In 1814, when he had just completed his 
nineteenth year, he was admitted a commoner 
at Exeter College, his matriculation being rather 
a matter of form than dependent on the amount 
of scholarship he had acquired at Tiverton 
School. An easy-going head was Dr. Cole, the 
rector of Exeter at that period ; the tutors, too, 
taking their cue from him, with here and there a 
sturdy conscientious exception, rarely interfered 
with the daily life of the undergraduates, so 
long as chapel and lectures were attended with 
tolerable regularity. 

Consequently, men did much as they liked 
at all other times ; shot, fished, and hunted ; 



1 8 MEMOIR OF 



boated, sparred, and drove tandem ; finishing 
each day with heavy drinking and convivial 
songs. 

In this land of freedom, emancipated from 
the Spartan discipline of Dr. Richards, and now 
his own master, Russell found, to his unspeak- 
able delight, an open and congenial field for 
the cultivation of that science so deeply im- 
planted in his nature, and in the acquirement of 
which he had already proved himself so apt a 
pupil. 

Cicero has said that without the divine 
afflatus no one has ever become a distinguished 
man ; and it has been long accepted, but by 
whose authority I believe is unknown, that a 
poet must be born a poet, or he can never be- 
come one either by education or art. So the 
talent required by a huntsman must be inborn 
the gift of nature alone or the very founda- 
tion on which he builds, no matter how he may 
labour, or what experience he may have, will be 
defective and unreliable to the end. 

Endowed, then, by Nature with the first and 
most essential element required in a huntsman, 
Russell, as might be expected, lost no chance of 
improving the gift, and gaining by experience a 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 19 

sound practical knowledge of the infinite mys- 
teries pertaining to the " noble science." 

If, however, the University, otherwise so 
liberal with respect to its pupils, had omitted the 
duty of providing instruction in that department, 
Russell, at least, found no lack of first-class 
professors in the surrounding neighbourhood. 
Philip Payne and Will Long were at Heythrop, 
huntsman and first whip to his Grace the sixth 
Duke of Beaufort, who, in addition to his 
" Home Country," hunted the Oxfordshire hills 
in those days with his grand badger-pies ; while 
at Bicester, Stephen Goodall, and Tom Wing- 
field, under Sir Thomas Mostyn, possessed a 
knowledge of woodcraft second to none in Great 
Britain. Heroes, in fact, were those four men, 
in their line, worthy of song as the heroes of 
Homer. 

Then there was Mr. John Codrington on the 
Old Berkshire side, an amateur who, in all the 
details of field or kennel management, knew 
scarcely a whit less than his professional fellow- 
workmen of the Oxfordshire hills and vale. 
Being a Master of the Meynell school and an 
ardent promoter of the modern foxhound, 
Codrington was eminently qualified to give 



20 MEMOIR OF 



any tyro, who had the luck to hunt with him, 
most instructive lessons in all that pertained to 
the newest style of breeding hounds and killing 
a fox. 

No wonder, then, that at the feet of such a 
Gamaliel, and with such professors so near at 
hand, Russell should have proved himself a 
ready and proficient scholar ; nor that, with his 
natural aspirations, quick perception, and de- 
cisive action, he should have gained that 
practical knowledge of the " noble science " 
which few have attained to and none have 
surpassed. 

It was fortunate for Russell that his passion 
for hunting was limited by the tide of his 
exchequer, which, never overflowing, was too 
often reduced to the lowest ebb ; for, had it 
permitted him to hunt his four or five days a 
week, it is very questionable if ever he would 
have passed his final examination, and then 
taken his degree an important matter to him, 
although in those days by no means a difficult 
task. He himself was wont to say, "It was no 
marvel Oxford was so learned a place, for men 
brought up a fair stock of school learning, but 
carried little away with them." 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL* 21 

When tempted by some hunting friend to 
"send on," perhaps to Bicester-Windmill, or 
Bradwell Grove an arrangement involving a 
heavy expense as to hack, hunter, and groom 
Russell would point pathetically to his own 
broad chest and lament his inability to do so in 
dolorous tones : " Impossible, my dear fellow ; 
I'm suffering just now from tightness of the 
chest ; it's the old complaint ; and my doctor 
won't let me hunt at any price." 

Still, hunting would have its vent, and Jack 
managed to enjoy a liberal share of hunting, in 
spite of Plutus and every other impediment. 



22 MEMOIR OF 



CHAPTER II. 

Buys his First Horse at Tiverton Fair, and sees his First Stag 
killed 'with Lord Fortescue's Hounds Learns to Spar at 
Oxford, and Sets-to with Denne and others Wrestling 
Matches in Devon and Cornwall his great delight. 

" Pastime for princes ! prime sport of our nation ! 

Strength in their sinew, and bloom on their cheek ; 
Health to the old, to the young recreation ; 
All for enjoyment the hunting-field seek." 

EGERTON-WARBURTON. 

OF the many hunting days enjoyed by Russell 
in early life, no one stood out in such strong 
relief as the 3Oth of September, 1814, for on it 
he saw his first stag found and killed under 
somewhat memorable circumstances. The 
tedium of a long vacation at home, with little 
or no sport to satisfy the cravings of his nature, 
was beginning to tell heavily upon him, when 
one day, as he sat pondering over the beauties 
of Somerville's Chase, scarcely knowing how 
else to amuse himself, his father appeared, and 
with a few magic words put life into him. 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 23 

" Come, Jack," he said, " my boy. The 
hounds are going to meet at Baron's Down, 
and I should like to show you a stag. Tiver- 
ton Fair will take place to-morrow ; so you shall 
go there early and buy a horse for yourself ; but 
mind, he must be a well-bred one and up to your 
weight." 

Jack felt as if he should require a strait- 
waistcoat almost beside himself on hearing 
such joyous news ; for of all things on earth a 
day with the staghounds, and that, too, on his 
own horse, was then, in the heyday of his youth, 
the climax of his ambition. 

Accordingly, the next morning, long before 
daylight, he was off for Tiverton Fair, at that 
time considered the Howden of the West, so 
far as a goodly show of Exmoor ponies, Devon- 
shire pack-horses, and half-bred hunters could 
justify such a comparison. Nor did he waste 
much time in making a selection ; a brown 
mare with big limbs and a lean head, belonging 
to a dealer named Rookes, caught his eye, and 
as she proved to be a good mover, and was said 
to be a five-year-old, he bought her after a few 
words for ^30. 

Alas ! The mare proved to be only a two- 



24 MEMOIR OF 



year-old ; but, although Russell was unmerci- 
fully quizzed as a second Moses of green spec- 
tacle celebrity, she turned out to be as honest a 
beast as ever looked through a bridle. 

A saddle and bridle having been readily lent 
him by a friendly farmer, Jack, unconscious of 
the tender age of the mare, and relying confi- 
dently on his father's promise that " he would 
send on a fresh horse for him to the meet," rode 
her along at a hand canter, and without drawing 
rein from Tiverton town-end to Baron's Down, 
a distance, by the old road, of at least fifteen 
miles. 

" Never before, and never after," records 
the son, " do I remember my father failing to 
fulfil a promise he had made me ; but there, 
at Baron's Down, for some reason which I 
cannot now remember, the fresh horse did not 
appear/' 

The young mare was of course blown, but, 
happily for the rider, not yet beaten. The 
harbourer had reported a " warrantable deer ;" 
but the woodland was a deep one in which he 
had made his lair, and many a change took place 
before the two couple of tufters could rouse 
and force the right animal away. By that time 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 25 

the mare, under the freshening influence of 
gentle exercise and the breezy moor, had fairly 
recovered herself, and as Jack avowed, was then 
" fit as a fiddle to go for her life." 

But now an awkward accident occurred that 
suddenly checked^ and might have terminated, 
our hero's career before he had gone ten strides 
with the hounds. Mr. Stucley Lucas, of Baron's 
Down, who at a later period became Master of 
the Stag-hounds, was riding a racehorse called 
Erebus, and, as that gentleman was known to be 
an authority on all matters relating to the moor 
and the running of the deer, Russell very natu- 
rally looked to him as the pilot for the day. The 
racer, however, appears to have had but little 
fancy for Jack's company, for, on approaching 
incautiously within reach of his heels, he was 
kicked under the stirrup-iron with such force 
that he was thrown headlong to the ground. 

But as the stirrup had acted as a shield to 
his foot, so the friendly heather, breaking the 
violence<of his fall, saved his bones and enabled 
him promptly to remount his steed and follow 
the chase, if not a sadder, certainly a wiser man 
for the rest of his life. 

Jack, now taking his own line, made the best 



26 MEMOIR OF 



of his way to Hawkridge, from the high ground 
of which he could view the hounds driving hard, 
and the field following at a long distance from 
him ; and just as he had determined to start in 
pursuit, a gentleman trotted up from an opposite 
direction and counselled him to remain where 
he was, " for," said he, " they'll be sure to come 
this way, and you can see the sport better from 
this point than if you were with them." 

Comprehending intuitively that his Mentor 
spoke with authority, Russell without hesitation 
adopted this kind advice, and again easing his 
mare led her to and fro along the ridge, as he 
feasted his eyes on the wild and stirring scene 
taking place on the opposite moor. 

Russell's patience as a quiet looker-on was 
not long tried ; for even now the heads of the 
leading hounds were turning towards him, and 
he could distinctly hear the deep chop of their 
musical tongues, as, sinking the valley near 
Tarrsteps, they crossed the Barle and pointed 
directly for Hawkridge Moor. 

Jack was now in his glory, alongside them 
on a willing steed, and they tearing ahead over 
the purple heather, as if on the very haunches 
of their game. With a trimming scent and 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 27 

never a check, it lasted for three long hours, 
when the deer, to baffle the pack, took soil 
under Slade Bridge, sinking himself in a deep 
pool and allowing little more than his nostrils 
to appear above the wave. 

But the stratagem availed him not a rush ; 
some five or six couple of old hounds dashed 
into the stream, and swimming in full cry, passed 
over him at first for a hundred or more yards ; 
when James Tout, the huntsman, turned the 
pack, and then casting them steadily back, they 
winded him at once in his retreat. Every hound 
was at him in an instant, and a gambol of por- 
poises in that moorland stream could scarcely 
have created a greater commotion. " There 
stood the stag, beneath them in the stream," 
writes Charles Kingsley, who must have wit- 
nessed a similar turmoil, " his back against the 
black rock, with its green cushions of dripping 
velvet, knee-deep in the clear amber water, the 
hounds around him, some struggling in the deep 
pool, some rolling and tossing and splashing in 
a mad, half-terrified ring, as he reared in the air 
on his great haunches, with the sparkling beads 
running off his red mane, and, dropping on his 
knees, plunged his antlers among them with 



28 MEMOIR OF 



blows which would have brought certain death 
with it if the yielding water had not broken the 
shock." 

With such a scene enacted before his eyes, 
Jack Russell must have been chained down to 
remain a passive spectator for a single moment ; 
nor, had Dr. Richards and all the Dons of 
Oxford been present, could they have restrained 
the wild impulse he felt to take part in the fray ! 
A struggle it was for life and liberty ; the last 
effort of the noble beast to escape from his 
foes. Naturally, however, the young hunter's 
sympathy being wholly with the hounds, in he 
plunged waist-deep into the flood, eager at once 
to encourage and help them in the somewhat 
dangerous work of capturing and killing the 
deer. 

That event speedily followed ; and Jack, 
being duly " blooded " according to the usage of 
the period, received an impression of stag-hunt- 
ing, deep-cut, enduring, and only to be effaced 
when the stream of life ceased to flow in his 
veins. 

The late Earl Fortescue, Lord. Lieutenant 
of the county, was at that time, from 1812 to 
1818, Master of the Staghounds ; and " those," 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 29 

Mr. Collyns tells us, "were glorious days ; 
ninety deer, forty-two stags, and forty-eight 
hinds having fallen in fair chase during the six 
years of his Mastership.* The halls of Castle 
Hill rang merrily with the wassail of the hunters, 
and many a pink issued from the hospitable 
seats of the neighbouring squires, on the bright 
autumn morning, to participate in the pleasures 
of the chase. When a good stag had been 
killed, the custom was for James Tout, the 
huntsman, to enter the dining-room at Castle 
Hill after dinner in full costume, with his, horn 
in his hand, and after he had sounded a Mort, 
' Success to stag-hunting ' was solemnly drunk 
by the assembled company in port-wine, after 
which Tout again retired ' to his own place,' 
and rested himself after the labours of the day 
in company with one or two favourites whose 
escape from the kennel had been connived at. 
There, before the ample fire, the huntsman 
dozed away his evening, and killed his deer 
again ; while 



* The Devon and Somerset Staghounds, under the able 
Mastership of Mr. Fenwick Bisset, killed fifty deer (stags and 
hinds) from August to December, 1876* 



30 MEMOIR OF 



" ' The staghound, weary with the chase, 
Lay stretched upon the rushy floor, 
And waged in dreams the forest race 
From Castle Hill to wild Exmoor? " 

The eyes of the noble master, being him- 
self an enthusiastic stag-hunter, must have 
sparkled with delight on witnessing the daring 
ardour of the young Oxonian, as he struggled 
through the deep water to collar the deer, and 
finally emerged red-handed from the fight. 
Russell, on that occasion, was not invited to 
enjoy the princely hospitality of Castle Hill, 
and to celebrate in due form the death of his 
first deer ; but, if such honour had been done 
him, certain it is that he would have been the 
first of the company to forswear the wassail 
bowl, and to bid one and all an early " good- 
night." For has not his old friend, the late 
accomplished and much-beloved Devonshire 
squire, George Templer of Stover, chronicled 
his unvarying habit in this respect ? In poetic 
strain he writes thus of him : 

"Another Prime Minister rode from the North, 
Of his talents Southmolton can best tell the worth ; 
So prone to the -chase that he followed each scent, 
From the stag in the forest to ' bubble-a-vent ; ' 
More attached to his bed than a lover of wine, 
He was sure to be sound on his pillow at nine." 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 



" Bubble-a-vent is a term used in otter 
hunting ; when the quarry, bolting in a hurry 
or becoming distressed by the chase, is com- 
pelled to vent ; and thus, by a chain of silver 
bubbles rising to the surface, unconsciously 
reveals his course beneath the turbid wave. 
But more of that anon ; when Russell himself, 
a few years afterwards, started a pack of otter- 
hounds, and, as he says, " did little more than 
disturb the sleeping echoes of the North Devon 
combes." 

It was but a short time since, namely in 
1876, when he was dining with the present 
Lord Fortescue at Castle Hill, that the remem- 
brance of his first entry with staghounds in 
1814 was brought back to his mind with vivid 
effect after the lapse of so many years. He had 
said "good night" to his hospitable and kind 
host, and, homeward bound, was making his 
way towards the hall door, accompanied by 
some of the junior members of the family 
holding on to his skirt, when Lord Ebrington 
begged him to relate when and where he had 
seen his first stag killed. 

" With your grandfather," was the ready 
reply ; " we found him in Padwells, and killed 



32 MEMOIR OF 



him on the Barle, under Slade Bridge, on the 
3<3th of September, 1814; and there he is," 
added Russell, catching sight at that instant of 
the head and antlers of the very animal, under 
the frontlet of which appeared a tablet indi- 
cating the above particulars. 

Those who have once heard Russell tell a 
story, especially if hunting were the theme, will 
never forget the charm of his graphic touches, 
the intensity of his tone, and the point he had 
the power of imparting to the minutest detail. 
They will remember it as a picture painted by 
a master-hand, with its light and shade strong 
as one of Rembrandt's ; a picture true to life as 
was ever transferred to canvas. 

It may well be imagined, then, how effec- 
tually those poetic touches must have inspired 
his youthful hearers with a longing to traverse 
the same wild moors, to witness the same 
exciting scenes, and to play their part as their 
forefathers and he had done, with like energy 
and like love for the manly game. With hunt- 
ing blood already running richly in their veins, 
he must have stirred it to the very depths of 
their hearts ; and, beyond all doubt, the poetry 
of the scene, the music of the hounds, and 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 33 

the odour of the heather will cling to their 
memories for many a day to come. 

Russell's return to Oxford about the 2Oth 
of October brought his stag-hunting to a close 
for the remainder of that season ; but he must 
have been a gourmand indeed, if the bountiful 
bill of fare provided by Alma Mater did not 
fully satisfy his physical as well as mental 
requirements. He had only been a short time 
in residence at Exeter when a Kentish man, 
called Denne of Lydd, a gentleman-commoner 
of the same college, introduced him to a pro- 
fessor of pugilism, one Rowlands, who, having 
graduated in the school founded by John 
Broughton and the Duke of Cumberland, had 
come down from Westminster to instruct the 
youth of Oxford in the then popular art of 
self-defence. 

Jack, now standing just six feet in his shoes, 
furnished with big limbs, a long reach, and 
withal a stalwart frame, required little persua- 
sion from his friend Denne to attend and take 
part in the course of muscular lectures delivered 
by Rowlands in that gentleman's rooms. Nor 
was it long ere the professor was able to pro- 
nounce him one of his most promising pupils 

3 



34 MEMOIR OF 



a compliment duly appreciated by Russell, who, 
although far from being either a quarrelsome or 
a pugnacious character, possessed the ambition 
of Caesar, if attacked, to prove himself a man to 
the backbone. 

In those days Exeter College teemed with 
gentlemen - commoners, who, as a rule, were 
either the eldest sons of large landed proprie- 
tors in the West of England; or men already in 
possession of their paternal acres, to whom the 
payment of double fees was a matter of less 
consideration than the distinction conferred by 
the silk gown and velvet cap, which the Univer- 
sity permitted them to wear. They dined, too, 
at a separate table from the commoners, namely, 
at the first below the dais ; and, exalted by these 
and other privileges, here and there a fool would 
give himself airs and affect to consider the latter 
simply as beings of an inferior caste, companion- 
ship with whom it was his bounden duty to 
eschew. 

Such was Gordon, a gentleman-commoner 
of Exeter at that time ; a conceited young 
spark, whose chief ambition it was to associate 
with out-college men, especially those of Christ 
Church, to quote their sayings and doings at 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 35 

every turn, and, in reference thereto, to institute 
comparisons far from complimentary to the 
members of his own college. In fact, he was a 
tuft-hunter, and doubtless suffered as much con- 
tempt from the men whom he courted as from 
those whose society he would fain have ignored. 
Denne, on the other hand, was as fine a 
specimen of manhood as ever stepped in shoe- 
leather ; independent as Achilles himself, lithe, 
long-limbed, and of rare muscular development ; 
he might have taken rank among the Promachi 
of old, so skilled was he in the use of the csestus, 
and so powerful was his blow. At Eton he had 
been contemporary with Ball Hughes, the noted 
dandy of the 7th Hussars; with Harris of 
Hayne, the ally and strenuous supporter of 
Russell in after days ; and with that far-famed 
sportsman, Sir Harry Goodricke. Denne was 
there distinguished as a great foot-ball player ; 
but especially as the avenger of the lower boys, 
who never failed to find shelter under his aegis, 
when oppressed by the bullies of the upper 
school. At Oxford, in a town-and-gown row, 
he had knocked down the ringleader of the mob 
a prize-fighting butcher, the terror of the 
slums with such force that his comrades who 



36 MEMOIR OF 



lifted him up carried him to the rear in a state 
of insensibility, shouting as they did so that a 
coroner's inquest would sit upon the corpse, 
and hang Denne for the murder. 

The butcher, however, lived to fight at 
many a town-and-gown row after that day, but 
never again could be induced to confront Denne 
in single combat, either by the jeers of the 
gownsmen or the encouragement of his friends. 

It was only at rare intervals that Gordon 
favoured the hall at Exeter with his company 
at dinner, for as a general rule he preferred 
taking that meal with his Christ Church friends, 
either at Saddler's, the Mitre, or at the Maiden- 
head Hotel. But dropping in on one occasion, 
he had scarcely been seated five minutes at 
table when the "art of sparring" became the 
subject of conversation, and the insolent tone in 
which he vaunted the prowess of the Christ 
Church men, and disparaged that of his own 
college, so disturbed the usually placid current 
of Denne's temper, that he challenged him 
forthwith to arrange a meeting and prove his 
words. 

" Bring your three best men," he said, " from 
Christ Church to my rooms, and if they can 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 37 

only stand up in a fair set-to against three of 
Exeter, we'll give your heroes full credit for all 
you say of them, but not till then." 

" Thank you, Denne, for your most courteous 
insinuation," replied Gordon, curling his upper 
lip, and speaking in atone of the bitterest irony; 
" there will be no difficulty whatever in finding 
three good men and true to accept your chal- 
lenge ; indeed, a score, if necessary, would be 
forthcoming, so name your day, and they shall 
be ready." 

It was not usual for the commoners, before 
the high table had risen, to move from their 
seats and hold conversation with those at 
another table, much less with the gentlemen- 
commoners ; but Russell, who was seated at a 
short distance below the latter, and had over- 
heard all that had passed, could restrain himself 
no longer. " Don't forget me, Denne," he said, 
jumping on his legs and stalking up to his 
friend's side ; " I'll be one of the three, mind 
that, and the sooner we meet the better." 

The Fiery Cross of Clan-Alpine was never 
carried with such speed through the Trosachs 
as Gordon's message to the Christ Church men ; 
nor did the interest excited by it flag for an 



38 MEMOIR OF 



instant, till three of them had been chosen, who, 
in the opinion of all, were best qualified to 
accept the challenge and carry to the front the 
colours of the college. 

On a fixed day, then, soon afterwards, the 
party on both sides having assembled in Denne's 
rooms, with Gordon alone to witness the match, 
Russell was deputed to open the ball, the anta- 
gonist selected to meet him being the second 
best man of the Christ Church lot. It was a 
brisk set-to while it lasted, but, evidently, a one- 
sided affair from beginning to end ; for Russell's 
long reach, and quick, straight blows, which fell 
with tremendous thuds on his adversary's visage, 
brought the trial to a close in little more than 
ten minutes. 

The latter, admitting himself overmatched, 
then declined the unequal contest ; while Russell, 
self-reliant and still "fresh as paint," refused to 
take off his gloves, calling stoutly for the next 
man to come on. Denne, however, interposed 
and would have his turn ; going in first with 
No. i, then No. 3, and finally polishing them 
both off with as much ease as if they had been 
two old women. 

" Now," said Russell, addressing Gordon 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 39 

aside, " I think you had better take your three 
fellows home ; and don't make such fools of 
them again." 

But the meeting did not end there. Denne, 
willing to show the Christ Church men what a 
real set-to meant, invited Russell to put on the 
gloves with him and give them a lesson. Now, 
Denne being a master-hand at the work, it was 
no joke setting to with him, for Rowlands him- 
self had acknowledged that he could teach him 
nothing. Nevertheless, Russell, regardless of 
the punishment he knew must follow, responded 
readily to the summons. He stood up, and 
stopped and countered with the coolness of a 
professional, but, as he soon found, to little pur- 
pose. Denne forced him into a corner, paused 
a moment, and thus warned him : " Now, Jack, 
you are going to catch it ! " 

" Perhaps I am,' r said the other; "but don't 
make too sure of that." 

The words had scarcely escaped the enclo- 
sure of his teeth, ere a tremendous left-hander, 
coming straight from the shoulder, caught him 
on the lower jaw with such violence that it sent 
him reeling against a table, bringing him and 
it to the ground with a fearful crash. " I 



40 MEMOIR OF 



really thought," said Russell, relating the story 
to a friend long afterwards, " that my chin 
had been knocked away ; nor could I masti- 
cate a bit of roast beef for many a subsequent 
day. 1 

On the table that fell with him had stood 
a brass-bound writing-desk, which, besides the 
usual materials of such an article, contained a 
number of letters and notes, curiously folded, 
and written on coloured and gold-edged paper, 
while not a few other souvenirs, more or less 
valuable, were scattered broadcast on the floor. 
Shocked apparently by this unwonted exposure, 
Denne, amid an outburst of laughter from the 
Christ Church men, dropped on his knees as if 
he was shot, and, gathering the precious favours 
together, crammed them again into the trea- 
cherous receptacle, denouncing as he did so, 
in no measured terms, the ill-luck that had 
revealed them to view. " 

Denne, like a good fellow, did his best to 
solace the wounded pride of his visitors by 
giving them a sumptuous champagne breakfast ; 
but, " nothing could a charm impart " to Gor- 
don's spirits, who, according to Russell, " carried 
his tail between his legs like a cur-dog that had 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 41 



been worrying sheep, and from that day never 
cocked it again." 

Prize-fighting was then the order of the 
day ; and a set-to between two professionals of 
celebrity would bring together men of all ranks, 
patricians and proletarians, from the most re- 
mote parts of England, to witness what it would 
have been heresy then to call a barbarous ex- 
hibition. The vale of Bicester, being on the 
borders of two counties, was a convenient ren- 
dezvous for such encounters ; and thither, on 
the occasion of a grand fight, the University 
would pour forth its legion of gownsmen ; some 
betting heavily on the event, and some, chiefly 
amateurs in boxing, going there for the sole 
purpose of taking a first-class lesson in the 
" noble art of self-defence." 

For such ruffianism, however, Russell had 
no taste ; nor, skilled though he was in spar- 
ring, could he ever be induced to ride even so 
far as Bicester to witness a prize-fight. 

" No ! " he would say to Denne and others 
pressing him to accompany them, " if I do get 
on a horse, it shall be to see a hound with his 
natural enemy, a fox, before him a cross- 
country fight, not one in a ring." 



42 MEMOIR OF 



Still, the Greeks of Homer's song never 
enjoyed the display of athletic skill more em- 
phatically than John Russell ; for, when a " turn 
at wrastling " was about to be played be- 
tween Cann and Polkinghorn -the champions 
respectively of Devon and Cornwall he has 
ridden a hundred miles in a day to see the 
manly game come off. Then, if Cann, his com- 
patriot, proved successful in giving his adver- 
sary a fair back-fall, i.e., in bringing three points 
of his back to the earth without touching it 
with his limbs, every star in the sky would 
have cheered him on his long ride home ; ay, 
and he would not have failed to describe every 
feature of the " play " for months afterwards 
with sparkling comment and unflagging zest. 

Prize-fighting, indeed, popular as it was 
during the first quarter of the present century, 
never appears to have taken the same hold of 
the public mind in Devon and Cornwall as it 
did in other parts of the United Kingdom. 
The worthies of those counties adhered, with 
better taste, to their ancient and manly game 
of wrestling, which they rightly regarded as 
testing to the utmost the strength, skill, and 
courage of the combatants ; but, at the same 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 43 

time, exhibiting none of the brutality that in- 
variably characterized every pugilistic en- 
counter. 

During the summer season, but especially 
at that period of it between the hay and corn 
harvest, when the cereals were assuming a 
golden hue, and the orchards bending under 
their burden of fruit, there was scarcely a large 
village in the West which did not offer its 
prizes, and enjoy annually the time-honoured 
spectacle of a game at wrestling, the players 
coming from all parts to contend for the 
mastery. 

I have heard Russell relate that, on a cer- 
tain Sunday while at church in Cornwall, he 
saw a man posted just outside the churchyard 
gate ; six silver spoons were stuck into the 
band of his hat, and there he stood, shouting at 
the top of his voice : " Plaize to tak' notiss. 
Thaise zix zilver spunes to be wrastled vor next 
Thursday, at Poughill, and all gen'lemen wrast- 
lers will receive fair play." The man, with the 
spoons in his hat, then entered the church, went 
up into the " singing gallery," and hung it on a 
peg, from which it was perfectly visible to the 
parson and the greater part of his congregation. 



44 MEMOIR OF 



On another occasion in the same locality, 
but not in the same church, snow lying deep on 
the ground, the clergyman was reading the 
second lesson, when a man opened the church 
door, and, with a loud voice, proclaimed, " I've 
a got 'un ! " and immediately withdrew. But 
he had sounded the well-known note ; every 
farmer and labourer who possessed a gun soon 
followed him, and, within a couple of hours, 
brought to the village inn a fine old fox, dug 
out and murdered in cold blood. 

As in Cornwall, so formerly in the forest of 
Dartmoor; Tom French, the once notorious 
vulpicide, was wont to say of a fox, " 'Tis a 
nasty varmint, I tell 'ee, and aufght to be killed 
on a Sunday, so well as on a week day"; a 
doctrine he was not slow to practise, especially 
when a fall of snow gave him the chance : 

" While faithless snaws ilk step betray 

Whar he has been . 

BURNS. 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 45 



CHAPTER III. 

A Day with the Heythrop and Sir T/wmas Mostyrfs Packs 
Russell's Terriers Anecdotes of "Tip" and " Nelson " The 
Process of Manufacturing so-called " Fox-terriers " for the 
Market. 

" They ehamp'd the bit and tvvitch'd the rein, 
And paw'd the frozen earth in vain ; 
Impatient with fleet hoof to scour 
The vale, each minute seem'd an hour." 

EGERTON-WARBURTON. 

FROM the period of his -first matriculation at 
Oxford to that on which he donned his bache- 
lor's gown and quitted the University, Russell 
appears to have kept no regular record of his 
hunting days. Nevertheless, when in genial 
company, the sport and incidents of many a 
run, witnessed at that time and chronicled on 
the unwritten pages of his memory, were still 
ever and anon flashed out with the freshness of 
a schoolboy who has only recently enjoyed his 
first mount with a pack of hounds. Upwards 
of sixty years had rolled by since then ; yet 



46 ' MEMOIR OF 



every detail of those early scenes he still painted 
in colours so fresh and vivid, that it was difficult 
to believe they could have occurred in the days 
" when George the Third was King." 

The man who has once heard Russell hold 
forth on some favourite topic, must indeed have 
a very defective memory if he ever forget the 
charm of his earnest, natural manner, or the 
epigrammatic and pointed style in which he 
was wont to tell the simplest tale ; like the 
Wedding-guest, the listener " cannot choose 
but hear," spell-bound at once by his glittering 
eye and winged words. 

To attempt a description of the sport he 
saw with hounds during his residence at Ox- 
ford, in the absence of written records, would 
be a task beyond the design of the present 
memoir ; but the adventure of one disastrous 
day, on which he went to a distant meet and 
never saw a hound, must not be omitted, for it 
left such an impression on his memory that to 
his latest hour he spoke of it with mixed feel- 
ings of disappointment and remorse. 

The fixture was Sandford Brake ; the hounds 
those of his Grace the sixth Duke of Beaufort, 
who, as [the reader has already been informed, 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 47 

hunted the Oxfordshire Hills from Heythrop 
at one season of the year, and his " home 
country " from Badminton at another. The 
fame of the pack, the favourite colour being 
badger-pie, had at this period traversed the 
length and breadth of the land. There were 
no hounds like them ; none that combined so 
perfectly the close hunting and hard driving 
qualities required in a foxhound ; none that 
surpassed them in power, symmetry, and gran- 
deur of form. 

Russell had never yet seen this noble pack ; 
but at every wine and supper party he attended, 
if there were any hunting men present, the 
chief theme of their conversation invariably 
turned on the Beaufort badger-pies ; so it may 
well be imagined how he longed to feast his 
eyes on so attractive a sight, to watch them at 
work, and enjoy the sport they so rarely failed 
to show. 

With his head, then, brimful of such antici- 
pations, dry indeed must he have found the 
task of getting up the Greek lecture over which 
he was poring, when one morning his friend 
Peter Jackson, a Yorkshireman devoted to 
hounds, rushed into his rooms, and exhibiting a 



48 MEMOIR OF 



card of the Hunting Appointments, put his 
finger on " Sandford Brake," and said : 

" Now, then, Russell, throw that physic to 
the dogs ; here's a chance of seeing the Hey- 
throp Hounds ; let's be off at once to secure 
the two best nags we can find in Oxford." 

No invitation could have been more accept- 
able. 

"With all my heart," responded Russell, 
chucking his Herodotus to the far end of the 
room, and starting off, in company with his 
friend, to Austin's stables, reputed in those days 
to be the first in Oxford. 

Their selection was soon made ; Jackson 
choosing a big thorough-bred chestnut, with 
sloping shoulders, flat hocks, and rare sinewy 
thighs ; while Russell fixed on a well-known 
horse called " Charlie," which, though " speech- 
less in one eye," Austin declared " could see a 
weak place in a bullfinch better than ever a 
horse in his stable." 

Accordingly, on the day before the meet, 
Charlie and the chestnut, ridden by a couple of 
grooms, were duly " sent on " to the Chequers 
Inn, there to rest for the night, the stables of 
that hostelry being only at a short distance from 



THE RE F. JOHN RUSSELL. 49 

the cover-side ; while, in the morning, if Russell 
and his friend had been mounted on two fiery 
dragons, they could scarcely have been carried 
through the air with more speed and impetuosity 
than by the two raw-boned hacks which, ewe- 
necked and clean as Eclipse in their pasterns, 
bore them to the meet in so short a time. 

But, could they have anticipated the fruit- 
lessness of their haste, they might have spared 
the poor brutes* legs, and their own pockets at 
the same time ; for the roads were hard as iron, 
and no hounds had as yet arrived. In fact, a 
keen north wind had set in at daybreak, and 
although a goodly company had mustered at 
the cover-side, a feeling of mistrust prevailed, 
that unless a speedy change took place, hunting 
would be out of the question for that day. 

Now it was, for the first time, that Russell 
met those celebrated brothers, Mr. Rawlinson 
of Chadlington and Mr. Lindo, a pair of reso- 
lute and brilliant horsemen who were not to be 
beaten in any country. The former will also 
be remembered as the owner of Revenge and 
Ruby, and subsequently of Coronation, winner 
of the Derby in 1841 ; while, of the latter, it is 
scarcely too much to say that every hunting man 

4 



So MEMOIR OF 



in the kingdom either knew him personally or 
knew him by his portrait, which, admirably 
painted by some sporting artist, appeared in all 
the print-shops of town and country at that 
period. Even on snuff-boxes Mr. Lindo might 
have been seen standing up in his stirrups, and 
going " a slapping pace " on his famous horse 
the Clipper a horse so quick at his fences, 
that it was said he could " go a mile and a half 
over a country while others were going a 
mile." 

But the man of all others who attracted the 
admiration of our Oxonians was Sir Henry 
Peyton, the second baronet of that name. He 
had driven four greys to the meet, and with 
characteristic good-nature had entered at once 
into a horse - and - hound conversation with 
Russell, whose impatience at hot seeing the 
hounds he had observed with no little sym- 
pathy. 

" 'Tis a north-easter, keen as a knife," said 
the baronet, pointing with his crop to the very 
eye of the wind. " Hard lines on you, young 
fellow, for I dare say you've cut lecture to come 
here, and now, I fear, the hounds are going to 
cut you." 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. 5 1 



" I hope not, Sir Henry ; for that would be 
the unkindest cut of all." 

" Never mind ! come again ; better luck 
next time. I knew by the going of the near 
leader that the road was getting harder and 
harder every yard of the way. I've lately had 
him nerved ; and when there's a touch of frost 
in the ground he can't keep his secret a bit ; but 
he's all right at other times." 

" I can see nothing amiss, Sir Henry," 
replied Russell, whose interest in that new 
operation, which he now heard of for the first 
time, made him forget for a moment the non- 
arrival of the hounds ; "he looks, however, like 
a hunter all over." 

" The cleverest horse across country I ever 
owned," said the baronet, right pleased with the 
observant remark. He then took up the fore- 
leg of the leader, and drew Russell's attention 
to the all but invisible marks of the operator's 
skill, adding, " It's an ill wind that blows no 
luck ; for he bids fair to be as good in harness 
as out of it ; so I ought not to grumble." 

No man of that day, as Russell well knew, 
could do more with a horse than Sir Henry 
Peyton. In the saddle or on the box, he was 



52 MEMOIR OF 



equally at home ; the prince of all coachmen, 
gentle or simple, and as brilliant a performer 
across a country as ever rode to hounds. 

A small knot of gentlemen had now gathered 
round the drag, admiring the well-appointed 
team, and exchanging short greetings with its 
pleasant owner, when at length a horseman in 
green plush, pricking along at a quick trot 
towards the meet, was viewed in the distance, 
and at once recognized as Will Long. 

" His Grace's compliments to the field," said 
the well-mannered whip, as he lifted his cap 
respectfully to one and all, "and begs to say 
the frost is too hard to take the hounds out of 
kennel." 

" Then," said Russell, in an agony of disap- 
pointment, " I hope when you get back that 
you'll find them all dead on their benches." 

It is almost needless to say that, if such a 
calamity had -occurred, no man on earth would 
have deplored it more than John Russell, as 
every one who knew the humanity of his 
nature and his love for a hound will readily 
understand. Hard words they were, it is true ; 
but, beyond all doubt, they were words only, 
and not wishes, which he thus allowed himself 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 53 

to blurt out ; and, as the keenest remorse over- 
took him with no limping foot, let us hope that 
the recording angel has long since blotted out 
the angry speech for ever. Will Long, however, 
never forgot it ; for, years afterwards, when the 
" chilling touch of Time " had turned the locks 
of both of them to silver-grey, and they were 
returning together to Badminton, after a hard 
day with the present Duke's hounds, Russell 
asked him if he remembered the first time they 
met at Sandford Brake. 

" Yes, sir," said Will, " and I'm not likely to 
forget it. You hoped I should find all the 
hounds dead upon the benches. But there, I 
didn't think you meant it." 

" Quite right, Will ; in two minutes after- 
wards I could have bitten my tongue out for 
having made such a speech." 

It is impossible to overrate the estimation 
and respect with which Will Long was re- 
garded, not only by the Beaufort family, but by 
all who followed him to the chase and enjoyed 
his cheery company in days gone by ; still, bril- 
liant horseman as he was acknowledged to be, 
I have heard Russell declare that as a practical 
huntsman he could never hold a candle to old 



54 MEMOIR OF 



Philip Payne nor to the present Duke. That 
probably was the case : nevertheless it must 
not be forgotten that Will Long hunted those 
hounds with signal success from 1826 down to 
October, 1855, a period of twenty-nine years ; 
when, overtaken at length by the infirmities of 
age, he retired from active service, carrying with 
him his well-earned laurels, and enjoying, by 
the bounty of his noble master, a comfortable 
cottage, a steady hunter, and a handsome pen- 
sion to the last day of his long life. In Feb- 
ruary, 1877, poor Will was borne to his narrow 
home " an earth made for rest " at the patri- 
archal age of fourscore years and four. He was 
buried at Oldbury-on-the-Hill, where Philip 
Payne lies ; and never to its kindred clay were 
committed the relics of a kindlier spirit or a 
truer man : 

" Reliquit equos, cornu, canes, 
Tandem quiescant ejus manes." 

The last time Russell met him he inquired 
if his brother Michael were yet alive. 

" Yes," replied Russell, " and well too." 
"I'm glad to hear that," responded the 
veteran; "he gave my son Nimrod his first 
mount, took him out of my wife's arms and held 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. 5 5 

him on the saddle when he was only a month 
old. Please give him my duty." An early 
entry this for that well-known huntsman, 
Nimrod Long. 

Among the many hunting friends with 
whom Russell associated at Oxford, there was 
no one, perhaps, whose sympathies accorded so 
closely with his own as did those of Mr. Philip 
Dauncey, of Little Horwood, a Buckingham- 
shire gentleman, even then distinguished as a 
bold rider and thorough houndsman ; and who 
subsequently became widely known as a suc- 
cessful breeder of Guernsey cows, the cream 
and butter of which obtained such high favour 
in the royal household. Like tendencies, the 
love of hunting, with all its accompanying 
charms, had brought them together on many 
occasions to the merry cover-side ; but one 
day, on which they had met Sir Thomas 
Mostyn's hounds, stood out in strong relief 
on the tablet of Russell's memory, and pro- 
bably left a like impression on that of Mr. 
Dauncey. 

Stephen Goodall, a real Titan himself, and 
the progenitor of a race of Titans the three 
Goodalls of whom the country that bred them 



56 MEMOIR OF 



may well be proud, was about to draw a small 
willow spinney on the north side of Bletching- 
ton House, when a fox, closely pursued by the 
Duke of Beaufort's pack, crossed in view of his 
hounds, and, putting his head like an arrow for 
Gravenall Wood, led the now united field and 
packs at a terrific pace over the stiffest portion 
of the Bicester Vale. The brook is a bumper, 
even with its banks that brook which has bap- 
tized more Oxford men than any parson in the 
county and the hounds, five or six couple 
abreast, are flinging desperately for the lead, as 
they make straight for the stream, and dash into 
it amid a cloud of spray. 

" Give them room, gentlemen, do," shouted 
Will Long to the field, as his horse, pricking 
his ears and measuring the tide, was the first to 
sweep over, like a swallow on a summer's eve. 
Rivalry was running high, and the warning was 
little heeded by a couple of Heythrop thrusters, 
who, pressing too closely on Will's heels, gave 
their horses no chance of distinguishing the 
water lying on the bank from the real channel 
of the brook ; consequently they floundered 
headlong into the flood ; and, like the famous 
Brewers, immortalized by Mr. Egerton-War- 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 57 

burton, they very narrowly escaped " a watery 
bier? 

Russell and Dauncey were more fortunate ; 
the latter on a game little mare, well bred and 
stout as whalebone, and the other on old 
Charlie, taking it evenly in their strides, and 
landing together on the right side, a bowshot 
clear of the pack ; while Lord Jersey, Sir 
Henry Peyton, Captain Evans, and Tom Wing- 
field men whom nothing but the Styx itself 
could stop were the only others well up, as the 
hounds, now all but mute and carrying a des- 
perate head, were breaking the fence into the 
lower quarter of Gravenall Wood. 

But the fox was sinking ; and Will Long, 
acting as whip and huntsman in one (for Philip 
Payne, Stephen, and Griff Lloyd had not yet 
crossed the Rubicon), knew it full well, as he 
dashed over the cover fence and rang out the 
death-knell in a strain of ecstatic delight. 

" Never before," said Russell, as he de- 
scribed the scene to an old friend, " never 
before had I witnessed so glorious a run ; and 
you may well imagine the pride I felt on finding 
myself in such good company. I could have 
hugged old Charlie on the spot! And as for 



58 MEMOIR OF 



Will Long, I looked upon him as something 
more than mortal a demigod in disguise." 

The Christ Church drag, consisting recently 
of four and a half couple of hounds with a bag 
of aniseed or a red herring for their fox, had, I 
believe, no existence in those days at all 
events, I never heard Russell allude to it ; but 
if such had existed, he certainly would have 
been the last man to join so spurious and ques- 
tionable a sport. The love of orthodox hunt- 
ing ; the instinct of the hound in its fullest 
development ; the science, in fact, so ably 
taught by such men as Philip Payne, Stephen 
Goodall, and Mr. John Codrington, had already 
taken so strong a hold of his mind and that of 
his contemporaries, that they were little likely 
to swerve from the faith and fall into such a 
heresy. 

The use of the hound for the purpose of 
hunting a red herring was certainly never con- 
templated by Somerville when he penned 

" The chase I sing, hounds and their various breed, 
And no less various use." 

No ! the poet's animated and fine verse 
applies only, as we know, to the chase of the 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. 59 

stag, the fox, the otter, and the hare, those deni- 
zens of the stream and forest the legitimate 
" beasts of venerie" in all ages. In any pack 
of Russell's, hunted by him during the last fifty 
years, the fate of a hound touching on such riot 
would have been quickly sealed ; on returning 
to his kennel I can almost hear him say to old 
Will Rawle, his faithful and devoted henchman 
for forty years, " Will, that hound eats no more 
of my meal, mind that ; " and the culprit would 
thenceforth disappear from the scene. 

In less than ten years, however, after Russell 
had taken his degree, steeple-chasing, with its 
concomitant vice of heavy betting, became the 
popular amusement of the University ; and about 
the same period the drag, established at Christ 
Church, provided an afternoon " grind " across 
country for the men, who either were unable to 
cut college lectures, or cared not a rush whether 
it was a fox or a red hen ing they rode after, so 
long as they had their " grind." 

The line of country chosen for the drag was 
generally a stiff one, and the pace frequently a 
cracker from first to last, consequently the stay- 
ing powers of every hack-hunter in Oxford were 
gauged to a pound ; and bitter enough were the 



60 MEMOIR OF 



complaints of the stable-keepers at the beaten 
and maimed condition in which their horses 
were often brought home after a day with the 
drag. 

" No, sir," said Squeaker Smith to a member 
of Christ Church, surnamed Hard-riding Dick, 
" no, sir, you ain't a-going to have a horse of 
mine again in a hurry for that drag ; I picked 
thorns enough to make a crow's nest out of 
Woodman's legs the last time you rode him, 
and he never touched a grain of corn for a week 
afterwards. 'Tisn't hunting, nor 'tisn't hacking ; 
but, to speak plainly, 'tis barbarous cruelty to a 
noble animal. 1 * 

Smith was quite right ; and Russell, had he 
been present, would have highly commended 
the humanity of his decision. 

Russell had been in residence some fourteen 
terms, and was now, with a view to his final 
examination, busily employed in preparing 
for the schools and furbishing up his old 
Tiverton armour, which, he was not slow 
to discover, had grown somewhat rusty by 
habitual disuse and the easy conditions of 
his college life. His degree being of para- 
mount importance to him, the short period that 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. 6 1 

now remained for getting up his books was 
naturally accompanied by the inevitable doubt 
and anxiety, which even the ablest scholars are 
apt to feel at such a time. 

It was on a glorious afternoon towards the 

end of May, when strolling round Magdalen 

meadow with Horace in hand, but Beckford in 

his head, he emerged from the classic shade of 

Addison's Walk, crossed the Cherwell in a punt, 

and passed over in the direction of Marston, 

hoping to devote an hour or two to study in the 

quiet meads of that hamlet, near the charming 

slopes of Elsfield, or in the deeper and more 

secluded haunts of Shotover Wood. But 

before he had reached Marston a milkman 

met him with a terrier such an animal as 

Russell had as yet only seen in his dreams ; 

he halted, as Actaeon might have done when 

he caught sight of Diana disporting in her 

bath ; but, unlike that ill-fated hunter, he 

never budged from the spot till he had won the 

prize and secured it for his own. She was called 

Trump, and became the progenitress of that 

famous race of terriers which, from that day to 

the present, have been associated with Russell's 

name at home and abroad his able and keen 



62 MEMOIR OF 



coadjutors in the hunting-field. An oil-painting 
of Trump is still in existence, and is, I believe, 
possessed by H.R.H. the Prince of Wales; 
but as a copy, executed by a fair and talented 
artist, is now in my possession, and was ac- 
knowledged by Russell to be not only an 
admirable likeness of the original, but equally 
good as a type of the race in general, I will 
try, however imperfectly, to describe the por- 
trait as it now lies before me. 

In the first place, the colour is white with 
just a patch of dark tan over each eye and ear, 
while a similar dot, not larger than a penny 
piece, marks the root of the tail. The coat, 
which is thick, close, and a trifle wiry, is well 
calculated to protect the body from wet and 
cold, but has no affinity with the long, rough 
jacket of a Scotch terrier. The legs are straight 
as arrows, the feet perfect ; the loins and con- 
firmation of the whole frame indicative of hardi- 
hood and endurance ; while the size and height 
of the animal may be compared to that of a full- 
grown vixen fox. 

" I seldom or ever see a real fox-terrier 
nowadays," said Russell recently to a friend 
who was inspecting a dog show containing 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. 63 

a hundred and fifty entries under that 
denomination ; " they have so intermingled 
strange blood with the real article that, if he 
were not informed, it would puzzle Professor 
Bell himself to discover what race the so-called 
fox-terrier belongs to." 

" And pray, how is it managed ? " inquired 
the friend, eager to profit by Russell's long 
experience in such matters. " I can well re- 
member Ruble's and Tom French's Dartmoor 
terriers, and have myself owned some of that 
sort worth their weight in gold. True terriers 
they were, but certainly differing as much from 
the present show dogs as the wild eglantine 
differs from a garden rose." 

" The process," replied Russell, " is simply 
as follows : they begin with a smooth bitch 
terrier ; then, to obtain a finer skin, an Italian 
greyhound is selected for her mate. But as 
the ears of the produce are an eyesore to the 
connoisseur, a beagle is resorted to, and then 
little is seen of that unsightly defect in the next 
generation. Lastly, to complete the mixture, 
the bulldog is now called on to give the neces- 
sary courage ; and the composite animals, thus 
elaborated, become, after due selection, the 



64 MEMOIR OF 



sires and dams of the modern fox-terriers. 
This version of their origin," continued he, " I 
received from a man well qualified to speak on 
the subject." 

The bulldog blood thus infused imparts 
courage, it is true, to the so-called terrier ; he 
is matchless at killing any number of rats in a 
given time ; will fight any dog of his weight in 
a Westminster pit ; draw a badger heavier than 
himself out of his long box ; and turn up a tom- 
cat possessed even of ten lives, before poor 
pussy can utter a wail. But the ferocity of 
that blood is in reality ill suited nay, is fatal 
to fox-hunting purposes ; for a terrier that goes 
to ground and fastens on his fox, as one so 
bred will do, is far more likely to spoil sport 
than promote it ; he goes in to kill, not to bolt, 
the object of his attack. 

Besides, such animals, if more than one slip 
into a fox-earth, are too apt to forget the game, 
and fight each other, the death of one being 
occasionally the result of such encounters. 
Hence, Russell may well have been proud of 
the pure pedigree he had so long possessed and 
so carefully watched over. Tartars they were, 
and ever have been, beyond all doubt ; going up 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 65 

to their fox in any earth, facing him alternately 
with hard words and harder nips, until at length 
he is forced to quit his stronghold, and trust to 
the open for better security. 

A fox thus bolted is rarely a pin the worse 
for the skirmish ; he has had fair play given 
him, and instead of being half strangled, is fit 
to flee for his life. The hounds, too, have their 
chance, and the field are not baulked of their 
expected run. 

Russell's country is technically known as a 
hollow one ; that is, a country in which rocky 
fastnesses and earths, excavated by badgers, 
abound in every direction. Consequently, on 
every hunting day a terrier or two invariably 
accompanied him to the field ; and certainly no 
general ever depended with more trust on the 
services of an aide-de-camp than he on those of 
his terriers. If in chase they could not always 
live with the pack, still they stuck to the line, 
and were sure to be there or thereabouts when 
they were wanted, if the hounds threw up even 
for a minute. 

" I like them to throw their tongue freely 
when face to face with their enemy," said 
Russell one day, as he stood listening to his 

5 



66 MEMOIR OF 



famous dog Tip, marking energetically in a 
.long drain some six feet below the surface ; 
"you know then where they are, and what 
they're about." 

The late Earl Fitzhardinge, one of the 
finest sportsmen of his day, was wont to give a 
very similar reason for mounting his whips on 
confirmed roarers. 

. ".' " I like to know where the beggars are," he 
would say ; " for, with the bagpipes going, I can 
hear, if I don't see them, in the densest cover." 

Entered early, and only at fox, Russell's ter- 
riers were as steady from riot as the staunchest 
of his hounds ; so that, running together with 
them, and never passing over an earth without 
drawing it, they gave a fox, whether above 
ground or below it, but a poor chance of not 
being found, either by one or the other. A 
squeak from a terrier was the sure signal of a 
find, and there was not a hound in the pack 
that would not fly to it, as eagerly as to 
Russell's horn, or his own wild and marvellous 
scream. 

This steadiness from riot was, of course, 
the result of early education on one object the 
fox ; nor did Russell consider it needful to 



THE RE V. JOHN RUSSELL. 67 

train his terriers by progressive steps, according 
to the plan adopted by Dandie Dinmont. 

" A bonny terrier that, sir ; and a fell chiel 
at the vermin, I warrant him that is, if he's 
been weel entered, for it a' lies in that." 

" Really, sir," said Brown, "his education 
has been somewhat neglected, and his chief 
property is being a pleasant companion." 

" Ay, sir ! that's a pity, begging your pardon 
it's a great pity, that beast or body, educa- 
tion should aye be minded. I have six terriers 
at home ; forbye twa couple of slow hounds, 
five grews, and a wheen other dogs. There's 
Auld Pepper and Auld Mustard, and Young 
Pepper and Young Mustard, and Little Pepper 
and Little Mustard. I had them a' regularly 
entered, first wi' rottens, then wi' stots or 
weasels, and then wi 5 the tods and brocks ; and 
now they fear nothing that ever cam' wi' a 
hairy skin on't." 

A hundred anecdotes might be related of 
the wondrous sagacity displayed in chase by 
Russell's terriers ; but as Tip's name has been 
already mentioned, one of his many feats will 
suffice to show, not merely the large amount of 
instinctive faculty, but the almost reasoning 



68 MEMOIR OF 



power with which that dog was endowed. 
Russell himself told me the story, as, some 
thirty years ago, irr going to cover, he drew my 
attention to a deep combe not far from Lidcote 
Hall, the seat of Sir Hugh and the birthplace 
of poor Amy Robsart. 

" Do you see," he said, " that dark patch of 
hanging gorse, hemmed in on the northern side 
by yonder knoll ? Well, I've seen many a good 
run from that sheltered nook. On one occa- 
sion, however, I had found a fox which, in spite 
of a trimming scent, contrived to beat us by 
reaching Gray's Holts and going to ground 
before we could catch him. Now those earths 
are fathomless and interminable as the Cata- 
combs of St. Calixtus. They are so called 
' Gray ' from the old Devonshire name signify- 
ing a badger, a number of those animals having 
long occupied that spot. Consequently such a 
fortress once gained is not easily to be stormed, 
even by Tip or the stoutest foe. 

" Again, we found that fox a second time ; 
and now, while the hounds were in close pursuit 
and driving hard, to my infinite surprise I saw 
Tip going off at full speed in quite a different 
direction. 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 69 

" ' He's off, sir, to Gray's Holts ; I know he 
is,' shouted Jack Yelland, the whip, as he called 
my attention to the line of country the dog was 
then taking. 

" That proved to be the case. The fox had 
scarcely been ten minutes on foot when the dog, 
either by instinct or, as I believe, by some power 
akin to reason, putting two and two together, 
came to the conclusion that the real object of 
the fox was to gain Gray's Holts, although the 
hounds were by no means pointing in that 
direction. It was exactly as if the dog had 
said to himself: 'No, no! You're the same 
fox, I know, that gave us the slip once before ; 
but you're not going to play us that trick again.' 

" Tip's deduction was accurately correct ; for 
the fox, after a turn or two in cover, put his 
nose directly for Gray's Holts ; hoping, beyond 
a doubt, to gain that city of refuge once more, 
and then to whisk his brush in the face of his 
foes. But in this manoeuvre he was fairly out- 
generalled by the dog's tactics. Tip had taken 
the short cut the chord of the arc and, as the 
hounds raced by at some distance off, there I 
saw him," continued Russell, " dancing about on 
Gray's Holts, throwing his tongue frantically, 



70 MEMOIR OF 



and doing his utmost, by noise and gesture, to 
scare away the fox from approaching the earths. 

" Perfect success crowned the manoeuvre : 
the fox, not daring to face the lion in his path, 
gave the spot a wide berth ; while the hounds, 
carrying a fine head, passed on to the heather, and 
after a clinking run killed him on the open moor." 

Tip scarcely ever missed a day for several 
seasons, and never appeared fatigued, though 
he occasionally went from fifteen to twenty 
miles to cover. He died at last from asthma in 
the Chorley earths ; Russell having dug up to 
him and the fox in half an hour ; but, to his 
master's great grief, the poor old dog was quite 
dead. 

Russell looked upon his terriers as his fire- 
side friends \hepenates of his home ; nor was 
he ever happier than when to some congenial 
spirit he was recording the service they had 
done him in bygone days ; and vast indeed was 
the store from which he drew so many interest- 
ing facts connected with their history. 

One peculiarity of Tip's, however, must not 
be omitted : on a hunting morning no man on 
earth could catch him, after he had once seen 
Russell with his top-boots on. 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 71 

Nettle, too, a prodigy of courage and 
sagacity, would follow no one but her master ; 
and not even him, except the hounds were at 
his heels ; knowing full well that her services 
were only required in connection with the hunt- 
ing-field. 

Then there was the one-eyed Nelson, a 
genius in his way ; and, in point of valour, a 
worthy namesake of England's immortal hero. ' 
Russell had run a fox to ground near Tetcott, 
the seat of Sir William Molesworth ; but tiers 
of passages, one under the other, rendered the 
earth so perfect a honeycomb that the terriers 
were soon puzzled, nor did the diggers know 
what line to follow ; there was scent everywhere. 
Nelson at length came out, and at some distance 
off commenced digging eagerly at the green- 
sward : " Here's the fox," said Russell, " under 
Nelson's nose, or I'll forfeit my head." The 
dog went in again, and marking hard and sharp, 
under that very spot, the men broke ground 
and speedily came upon the fox. Russell then, 
with his arm bared, drew him forth ; and setting 
him on his legs, treated his field to as merry a 
ten minutes over that wild country, as man's 
heart could ever wish to enjoy. 



72 MEMOIR OF 



CHAPTER IV. 

Is Ordained, and Licensed to his First Curacy Keeps Otter- 
hounds at South Molton, and Hunts with Mr. Froude 

Anecdotes of that Gentleman and Dr. Phtllpotts, the late 
Bishop of Exeter. 

HAVING resided the necessary number of terms 
required by the University, Russell entered the 
Schools for his final examination, declaring, as 
he crossed the awful Quadrangle, that he felt at 
that moment " very like Atlas, with a world of 
weight on his shoulders." However that might 
be, the stock of erudition he had acquired at 
Tiverton stood him again in good stead, and 
enabled him, with a very small amount of pre- 
vious preparation, to sustain the ordeal bravely. 
His ambition did not prompt him to go up for 
honours, nor did his name appear in the class 
list ; but, having satisfied the examiners and 
obtained his pass paper, he turned his back on 
the Bodleian Library with a grateful and joyous 
heart. 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 73 

That night, in accordance with an old Uni- 
versity custom, the happy event was celebrated 
with a grand supper ; and if, during the orgies 
that followed, the toast of fox-hunting, given 
with nine times nine and three cheers more, did 
not effectually wake up the Dons, not only of 
Exeter, but of Lincoln and Jesus, they, too, 
must have swallowed a magnum of port, or they 
never could have slept through such a din. 

Once more, before he quits the University, 
but this time with a light and elastic step, if not 
" with pride in his port," he crossed that same 
Quadrangle, where 

" Bacon's mansion trembles o'er his head," 

to put on his Bachelor's gown ; and being 
soon afterwards nominated by the Rev. W. B. 
Stawell to the curacy of George Nympton a 
rural parish, with a sparse population, near 
South Molton he was ordained a deacon in 
1819, and priest in the following year. George 
Pelham, then Bishop of Exeter, performed the 
ceremony, in the Chapel Royal, London, where, 
notwithstanding the long double journeys by 
coach, and the expenses incidental thereto a 
serious tax on a salary of ^60 a year the 



74 MEMOIR OF 



young candidate was summoned to attend on 
each occasion. 

" The railway between Exeter and London 
has been a great boon to me," said the late 
Bishop of Exeter to his son, Charles Phillpotts, 
"for by it not only do I save time, but I can 
now travel to town with the utmost comfort for 
a $ note ; whereas formerly, by sleeping a 
night in Bath, and posting it the whole way, it 
cost me ^50, and much fatigue on every 
journey." 

That still more primitive Churchman, the 
judicious Hooker, must have fared far worse 
than either of his clerical brethren, when he 
undertook a journey on foot from Oxford to 
Exeter, taking Salisbury on his way, to see his 
friend and patron, the good Bishop Jewel. 
The story is so quaintly told by that genial 
old fisherman, I zaak Walton, that I am tempted 
to quote the passage verbatim : 

"At the bishop's parting with him, the 
bishop gave him good counsel and his benedic- 
tion, but forgot to give him money ; which when 
the bishop had considered, he sent a servant in 
all haste to call Richard back to him ; and at 
Richard's return, the bishop said to him, 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. 7 5 

' Richard, I sent for you back to lend you a 
horse, which hath carried me many a mile, and 
I thank God, with much ease ; ' and presently 
delivered into his hand a walking-staff, with 
which he professed he had travelled through 
many parts of Germany. And he said, ' Richard, 
I do not give, but lend you my horse ; be sure 
you be honest, and bring my horse back to me 
at your return this way to Oxford. And I do 
now give you ten groats to bear your charges 
to Exeter ; and here is ten groats more, which 
I charge you to deliver to your mother, and tell 
her I send her a bishop's benediction with it, and 
beg the continuance of her prayers for me. And 
if you bring my horse back to me, I will give 
you ten groats more, to carry you on foot to the 
college ; and so, God bless you, good Richard.' ' 
That Russell entered on the work of the 
ministry with a due sense of the sacred office 
and his own responsibility, will no doubt be 
charitably questioned by many, who have only 
heard of his fame in the hunting-field. But, if 
an ever-earnest readiness to visit the sick and 
world-weary ; to administer consolation to all who 
needed it ; to relieve the wants of his poorer 
brethren, however poor himself; to preach God's 



76 MEMOIR OF 



Word with the fervour, if not the eloquence, of 
a Bourdaloue ; to plead in many a neighbouring 
pulpit, whenever invited to do so, the cause of 
charitable institutions, the funds of which never 
failed to derive substantial aid from his advocacy 
during a period of fifty years if such things be 
of good report, and carry any weight, no human 
being can say of him though he would be the 
first to say it of himself that his mission as a 
Christian minister had been altogether that of 
an unprofitable servant. 

It was on the i/j-th July, 1877, that Mr. 
Russell, verging on his 82nd year, received a 
letter from the Rev. A. E. Seymour, the vicar 
of Barnstaple, inviting him to come over and 
help him with a charity sermon, adding, " Mr. 
Wallas (the late vicar) tells me you preached 
for the Blue-Coat School in this town fifty years 
ago, and thinks you would be willing to do so 
again next September. This I hope may be 
the case, and I know that many of my parish- 
ioners are hoping so too." 

Mr. Wallas also informs him that " the re- 
ceipts on that occasion were more than they 
have ever been since, except once, when the 
late Bishop Phillpotts preached ; and then his 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 77 



lordship's collection only exceeded yours by a 
few shillings." 

That gifted bishop, it will be remembered, 
was second to no man of his day in point of 
powerful reasoning and persuasive eloquence ; 
he had, too, the advantage of being a bishop 
a dignitary formerly so seldom seen in those 
parts that the country people, according to 
Grose, in their eagerness to catch sight of him, 
left their milk-pans on the fire till the cream 
was " smitched," or, perhaps, burned ; and 
hence the proverb, " The bishop has put his 
foot in it." 

The public, doubtless, no longer extend to 
the clergy addicted to field sports the same 
toleration they were wont to show them in 
former times. Those times have, indeed, 
undergone a change ; but, with latitudinarian- 
ism, if not infidelity, rampant on one side, and 
Ritualism on the other, sapping the very foun- 
dations of our noble Protestant Church, and 
creating a widespread, menacing cry for its dis- 
establishment, it may well be doubted if either 
the cause of pure religion or the social welfare 
of the country is likely to be benefited by 
recent changes. 



78 MEMOIR OF 



For instance, there are clergymen amongst 
us in the present day notoriously taking the 
pay of one Church and doing the work of an- 
other. Members they are of a secret society 
Jesuits, it may be, in disguise who, with 
" The Priest in Absolution " in one hand, and 
a manual " for the young " in the other, are in- 
culcating the necessity of confession on chil- 
dren at the tender age of six or six and a half 
years ; thus soiling the infant mind with the 
foulest suggestions, outraging the first instincts 
of English nature, and, as Archbishop Tait 
said, " conspiring " against the doctrine, disci- 
pline, and practice of our Reformed Church. 

The hunting parson is, at least, no " con- 
spirator " ; and if he stand true to the colours 
under which he enlisted, conscientiously endea- 
vouring to do his duty so far as light is given 
him to do it, who shall cast a stone at him for 
accepting the exhilarating and innocent recrea- 
tion which Nature has given him a taste for, 
and which the charms of the country invite him 
to enjoy ? 

The truth is, the spirit of the Pharisee is 
too apt to warp not only our judgment but our 
charity ; that of the writer, it may be, on the 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 79 

subject of enforced confession, and certainly 
that of the public on the hunting parson. It is 
a common fault with men, as Butler quaintly 
says, to 

" Compound for sins they are inclined to, 
By damning those they have no mind to." 

If hunting in itself be no sin, then it is an 
innocent pastime ; and if so, why, if their sacred 
duties be duly fulfilled, should clergymen be 
denied its enjoyment ? Is it not an act of 
tyranny and asceticism to say to them, " You 
are free to boat, shoot, fish, play cricket or 
lawn-tennis, and ride but not with hounds ; 
no, that is a recreation you shall not share with 
your fellow men ? " 

But the French proverb which says, " Qui 
s excuse s accuse" must not be forgotten ; and 
Russell himself would have been the last to 
admit the need of apology on such a point. He 
would have said what an old country clergyman, 
who had been scurrilously attacked for his love 
of the chase, said before him : " I only wish my 
hours of recreation had all been spent as hap- 
pily and as innocently as in the hunting field ; 
but point out to me the moral turpitude of hunt- 
ing, and I'll never follow a hound again." 



So MEMOIR OF 

To be planted as a curate on 60 a year at 
George Nympton, and to vegetate like a cab- 
bage among a scanty population, engaged chiefly 
in agricultural labour ; to pass his days without 
one out-of-door occupation beyond that of pay- 
ing an occasional visit to a suffering cottager or 
a busy farmer ; to endure the solitude of an 
Eremite, compared with the lively, social scene 
he had so recently quitted, was a state of exist- 
ence so little in accordance with the stirring 
aspirations of Russell's mind, that the want of 
" something to do" became almost torture to 
him. 

Against books requiring close study his 
whole nature rebelled ; they had too long been 
his bane both at school and at college ; and 
rather than be forced to read, he would almost 
have endured the pains of purgatory. 

The God of Nature would surely never 
have given him that innate love for a sylvan 
life which possessed him even on entering the 
world ; nor would He have blessed him with 
those eagle wings which have enabled him so 
long to enjoy it, if he had been intended for a 
recluse or a mere book-worm ; for, as well 
might the spots of the bearded pard be ex- 



THE RE F. JOHN RUSSELL. 8 1 

punged, as that instinct blotted out from 
Russell's nature. 

He had been but a short time in harness at 
George Nympton when he was required by his 
rector, who was also the incumbent of South 
Molton, to undertake the weekly duty of that 
parish besides that of his own. With this re- 
quest he readily complied ; and settling at South 
Molton, that being a convenient centre for his 
double work, he fulfilled the duties of both 
parishes for a considerable period ; and this, 
too, with no little amount of additional labour, 
but without additional pay. 

Nevertheless, had the sphere of his duty 
been quadrupled, the parochial work alone 
would still have been utterly insufficient to 
supply a man of Russell's powers with full 
occupation of body and mind. The early 
habits of his life, his wondrous energy, his 
muscular frame, the strength and endurance of 
which no fatigue seemed capable of subduing ; 
and, above all, that innate fire his love, or, to 
call it by its right name, his passion for the 
chase combined irresistibly to suggest a 
stronger exercise than any he could find from 
the due fulfilment of parochial labour, however 



82 MEMOIR OP 



great that might be. So to hounds he turned 
the summit to him of earthly enjoyment and 
manly recreation. 

To hunt the otter, of all beasts of venerie 
the least known and most inscrutable, was his 
first effort ; and, for that purpose, a scratch lot of 
five or six couple of hounds were soon gathered 
from his neighbouring friends. 

If, in adopting that particular recreation, his 
object were to keep his muscles in strong play, 
and at the same time to delight his eye with 
the beauties of Nature, so profusely lavished on 
the meads, the moors, and the combes of that 
picturesque country, he could scarcely have 
made a better choice. But, in all likelihood, 
the low condition of his exchequer, coupled 
with that innate impulse which prompted him 
to long for the company of hounds at all sea- 
sons of the year, had far more to do with it 
than a craving for mere bodily exercise or a 
love of scenery. 

The hounds, it has been said, were a 
" scratch lot," and Russell, even then a some- 
what experienced amateur, must have felt as 
little proud of them as Jack Falstaff did of the 
ragged scarecrows before whom he marched so 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 83 

unwillingly into the town of Coventry. How- 
ever, if they had only fulfilled the adage of 
" handsome is that handsome does,' 5 he cer- 
tainly would have been the last man to find 
fault with any amount of mere outward defects 
in size, shape, or comeliness of form. 

But not so ; there was not a hound amongst 
them that would touch a trail ; not one that 
would come to a mark and give him the slightest 
clue to the whereabouts of the hidden game ; 
indeed, both his patience and energy were well- 
nigh exhausted by the continuous difficulty of 
holding them on a stream. Wander away they 
would, into every brake and cover on his line of 
march ; and if perchance a fox or a hare could 
be raked up, from that moment farewell to the 
rioters and the chance of aquatic sport for the 
rest of the day. 

" I walked three thousand miles," said Rus- 
sell (the country-people must have taken him 
for Van Wodenblock), " without finding an 
otter ; and although I must have passed over 
scores, I might as well have searched for a 
moose-deer." 

In failing, however, to make the acquaint- 
ance of that animal, his long tramps in quest of 



84 MEMOIR OF 



him did not, in one respect, prove altogether 
profitless ; for then it was he acquired that rare 
knowledge of his country which ever since has 
remained, like an Ordnance map, imprinted on 
his memory. In after years, on many a starless 
night, with many a long mile between him and 
his kennels, through ravines dark as Erebus, 
through fords flooded by storms, over the path- 
less moor, by bog, fell, and precipice, that know- 
ledge did him good service, bringing him always, 
like the instinct of the carrier pigeon, safely to 
his home. 

In clinging to the course of the rivers a 
point of the first necessity in drawing for an 
otter the scenery that met Russell's eye on 
every side must have mitigated, to some little 
extent, the daily chagrin he could not help 
feeling at not being able to find the game to 
blood his hounds. The farmers, too, that fol- 
lowed him, not getting their sport, would be 
sure to express their incredulity in the very 
existence of the animal ; and the assurance that 
" they had never seed no sich varmint up their 
bottoms " must have frequently grated on his 
ears during that long and profitless walk of three 
thousand miles. 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 85 

Still, he was walking through an Arcadia. 
The meads, full of flowers, rivalling " the mosaic 
of a Swiss meadow ;" the woods and slopes, wild 
as fancy ever painted them ; the hill-tops, clad 
with heather, bracken, and golden furze ; the 
combes, luxuriant with a variety of ferns of 
exquisite form and beauty, the Queenly Os- 
munda being among the number ; and, to crown 
all, even the bogs and brooks, mantling with 
the forget-me-not, which, by its soft, tur- 
quoise hue, might lead one to imagine their 
whole surface was studded with those precious 
stones. 

Then there was the water-ousel, now dip- 
ping, and now running in search of its food, 
even while submerged, among the pebbles and 
sands of the silvery streams ; and, more beau- 
tiful still, the lustrous kingfisher, glancing past 
him like a living emerald on lightning wings. 

These were treats of Nature which proved 
a perpetual feast to Russell's eye ; but the word 
" beaten " was not to be found in his vocabulary ; 
like Robert Bruce, the oftener he was defeated, 
the stronger grew his will to conquer, and 
although, as Barbour relates, that monarch 
was so hotly pursued by John of Lorn, his 



86 MEMOIR OF 



inveterate foe, till the echoes of Scotland did 
actually 

. .. . ring 
With the bloodhounds that bayed for her fugitive king ;" 

still the Bruce persevered, and did conquer in 
the end. 

So did Russell ; but in a far more peaceful 
way. The change in the tide of his affairs took 
place thus : Mr. John Morth Woolcombe, of 
Ashbury, near Hatherleigh, kept at that time a 
fine pack of hounds, averaging twenty-three 
inches at the shoulder foxhounds, in fact, they 
were, as high bred as those of Meynell, although 
it was his pleasure to pursue with them the timid 
hare only. 

Russell, happening to meet with a farmer 
who kept hounds in the neighbourhood of 
Hatherleigh, and hunted indiscriminately fox, 
hare, and otter, discovered from him that a 
hound called Racer, drafted from Mr. Wool- 
combe's pack, had fallen into his hands, and, 
moreover, that he was either too fast or too 
mute for his own old-fashioned cry. 

" Now," thought Russell, " here's my oppor- 
tunity ; Racer must at least know what an otter 
is, so I'll buy him if I can." 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 87 

" Will you sell the hound ? " inquired he, in 
an off-hand way. 

" Certainly," said the farmer, " with all my 
heart ; but I must first ask Mr. Woolcombe's 
permission to do so." 

That permission being readily granted, Rus- 
sell paid the farmer a guinea, the price he asked 
for him ; and, well pleased with his bargain, he 
brought the hound back with him to South 
Molton. It turned out, afterwards, however, 
that Racer had only once before tasted the 
scent of an otter ; still he loved it dearly, and 
oft have I heard Russell declare he was the 
best otter-hound he ever saw. 

Now Racer, as Russell soon found, com- 
bined in himself the twofold qualities especially 
required in an otter-hound ; for though mute 
before the otter was found, he was nevertheless 
a good trail-hound, and a sound, persevering 
marker ; the very animal needed to guide and 
instruct the unscientific corps under Russell's 
command. So from that day the scratch lot 
began to understand what manner of beast it 
was they were required to hunt. 

Their education may be thus described : As 
soon as Racer hits upon a trail, though he does 



MEMOIR OP 



not speak, his action indicates his love of it so 
strongly that the rest of the pack no longer 
stray from the stream ; then, as the scent im- 
proves under the shade of some dark, over- 
hanging alder, here and there a hound chimes 
in and backs him up ; till at length, attracted by 
the eager and persistent mark of their pilot, 
tearing at the otter's door and announcing him 
" at home," one and all unite in a wild chorus ; 
and thus by degrees, after a few such lessons, 
followed by an occasional find and kill, Russell 
has the satisfaction of seeing the whole lot 
changed into a working and useful pack of 
otter-hounds. 

Hitherto, Russell had himself only seen one 
otter killed, and that was by Mr. Cooke, of 
Uplowman, near Tiverton ; but, after Racer 
became his property, he scored the death of 
thirty-five right off the reel ; a boon for which 
every son of Zebedee in that county must have 
been duly grateful. 

During the six years he kept these otter- 
hounds in South Molton, none of which were 
ever kennelled, but found each a welcome home 
before the fire of an inhabitant, twenty couple 
at least passed through his hands, not one of 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 89 

which could ever be induced to touch the scent 
of an otter. 

It is quite clear, however, that Russell did 
not at first know what age and experience after- 
wards taught him, namely, that the scent of the 
otter is not one to which hounds, of their own 
accord, will naturally stoop ; but he might well 
have guessed it by the result of that fruitless 
leg-labour to which he patiently resigned him- 
self for so long a time. 

It is a curious fact that the veriest cur, the 
first time he crosses the line of a deer, will drop 
his nose and carry the scent as instinctively as 
a blind puppy will hunt for the teat of its dam. 
It requires, too, as every one knows, but little 
persuasion to induce hounds to enter at fox and 
hare ; simply because those animals are their 
natural prey. But not so with the otter, the 
scent of which, until he is trained to it, appears 
to have little or no attraction for the nose of a 
young hound. Indeed, let a whole pack, how- 
ever well trained, find an old otter in moderately 
strong water, and if left entirely to themselves, 
and man's hand and eye give them no aid, the 
chances of a kill, except by accident, will in 
every case be dead against the hounds. 



90 MEMOIR OF 



It may fairly be inferred, therefore, from the 
unreadiness of hounds in first taking- to the 
scent, as well as from the all but insuperable 
difficulty of killing the animal without supple- 
mentary aid, that Nature never intended the 
otter to be an object of prey for hounds ; and 
that, in fact, the sport is to them an artificial one 
from beginning to end. 

Nevertheless the otter is a really wild beast ; 
his efforts to escape, when put down, are mar- 
vellously clever ; the hounds become very fond 
of the scent, and the sport he shows, if given 
fair play, no pen can adequately describe. But 
it lasts only for a season of four short months, 
and it will be asked what, by way of recreation 
and congenial exercise, did Russell find to do 
during the other eight of the year ? 

The answer will, of course, be anticipated. 
He hunted whenever he had the chance of 
doing so. At that time, and for many years 
afterwards, a rare pack of hounds were kept in 
the neighbourhood by the Rev. John Froude, 
of Knowstone, a man better known, perhaps, in 
the western counties, for his utter disregard of 
episcopal, and, indeed, of all human authority, 
than even for the celebrity of his hounds. With 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 91 

him and his pack, then, Russell managed to 
hunt on every available occasion ; enjoying to 
his heart's content both the sport and hospi- 
tality which Froude never failed to show him, 
and tiding over the winter season in a very 
happy way. 

A fine, wild country was that in which the 
vicar of Knowstone took his pastime; but espe- 
cially that portion extending towards East and 
West Anstey and Molland Down ; a land of 
heath, bracken, and furze, with moors " im- 
measurably spread " in every direction. Know- 
stone and South Molton, where Russell then 
lived, are, more or less, about ten miles apart ; 
but as now, so then, whenever the hounds met, 
whether on his side of the country or on the 
other, neither the most inclement weather nor 
the longest distance to cover seemed ever to 
cause him a moment's hesitation. 

In a letter Russell addressed to an old 
friend, he says : 

" My head-quarters at that time were at 
South Molton ; and I hunted as many days in 
every week as my duties would permit with John 
Froude, the well-known vicar of Knowstone, 
with whom I was then on very intimate terms. 



92 MEMOIR OF 



" His hounds were something out of the 
common ; bred from the old staghounds light 
in their colour, and sharp as needles plenty of 
tongue, but would drive like furies. I have 
never seen a better or more killing pack in all 
my long life. He couldn't bear to see a hound 
put his nose on the ground and ' twiddle his 
tail.' ' Hang the brute,' he would say to the 
owner of the hounds, ' and get those that can 
wind their game when they are thrown off.' 

" Froude was himself a first-rate sportsman; 
but always acted on the principle of ' kill un, if 
you can ; you'll never see un again/ 

" I saw him once shoot a hare sitting near 
a farmhouse where his hounds met on the 
following day ; and where, of course, they did 
not find. He hunted on three days of the week, 
and shot on the others, when he could walk 
most men off their legs. I never saw him with 
a rod and line in his hand ; but he was very 
expert with nets on land or in water. He was 
the most original man I ever met with. He 
had an old liver-coloured spaniel called Crack, 
a wide ranger, but under perfect command. He 
used to say he could hunt the parish with that 
dog from the top of the church tower. You 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. 93 

could hear his view-halloo for miles ; and his 
hounds absolutely flew to him when they heard 
it. Let me add, his hospitality knew no 
bounds." 

This last tribute to Mr. Froude's memory 
will remind many a west-countryman of a story 
which, among the hundred and one related of 
him, described the reception he is said to have 
given to his Diocesan, the late Lord Bishop of 
Exeter. Week after week sundry newspapers 
had been publishing articles of the most scur- 
rilous description, headed " Knowstone again ;" 
the burden of which reflected on Froude's mode 
of life and the lawless acts perpetrated in that 
parish. These, of course, never failed to reach 
the bishop's eye ; consequently the stout-hearted 
prelate, always a friend to be depended on when 
his clergy were, as he thought, unfairly assailed, 
summoned Mr. Froude to appear at the palace, 
and explain the grave charges thus publicly 
brought against him. 

But neither did Froude obey the summons, 
nor would he give the bishop a chance of wig- 
ging him by attending his visitations ; so, like 
Mahomet and the mountain, the bishop deter- 
mined to go to him ; a course which, short of 



94 MEMOIR OF 



legal proceedings, was the only one now open 
to him. 

Accordingly, on a bitter winter's morning, 
the bishop, conveyed by a post-chaise from 
Tiverton, arrived at Knowstone vicarage, and 
having inquired if Mr. Froude were at home, 
was told he was, on hearing which he entered 
the house. 

After a short delay in the cold guest-chamber, 
the bishop was shown into another apartment, 
where sat Mr. Froude before a comfortable fire, 
his head muffled in flannel and his voice appa- 
rently as hoarse as that of a carrion crow. 

" I've come to see you, Mr. Froude," com- 
menced the bishop, " to inquire if " 

" Oh, yes, my lord ; 'tis cold work, sure 
enough, travelling over our moors ; but do 'ee 
take a glass of hot brandy-and-water, 'twill keep 
off the shivers when nought else will." 

Then, in spite of the bishop's protestations 
that he. needed no alcohol, especially in the 
morning, Froude rang the bell and ordered a 
glass of brandy-and-water to be mixed forthwith, 
" hot and strong for the bishop." 

Again his lordship positively declined the 
stimulant, and endeavoured to explain the object 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 95 

of his visit ; but Froude, apparently not hear- 
ing a word he had uttered, cut him short by 
saying, " It's my only doctor, my lord, is a drop 
of brandy ; and if I had but taken it when I 
got my chill I shouldn't now be as. I be, deaf as 
a haddock, and nursing this fire like an old 



woman." 



The bishop would hear no more ; but mak- 
ing him a grave bow, took his leave, entered 
his carriage, and returned whence he came. In 
ten minutes from that time, so goes the story, 
Froude was seen to mount his horse and trot 
away in company with his hounds. ' 

" I cannot tell how the truth may be ; 
I say the tale as 'twas said to me." 

Russell, however, who knew Froude's say- 
ings and doings better than any man living, and 
was wont, like Yorick, " to set the table on a 
roar " when throwing his tongue on that lively 
subject, maintained that if the bishop had in- 
vaded Froude's domain a dozen times the result 
would have been precisely the same ; but that 
he only went once to Knowstone, and then, 
being admitted for a few minutes, beat a hasty 
retreat, and escaped from the house much faster 
than he entered it. 



96 MEMOIR OF 



This is the story as Russell told it : 

" The bishop at length was determined to 
have an interview with Fronde, and as his lord- 
ship was staying at the time with, I believe, 
that pattern of a country gentleman, Tom Carew, 
of Collipriest, he ordered a pair of horses from 
Cannon and started for Knowstone with that 
object in view. 

" By some intuition, however, peculiar to 
himself, Froude suspected that such an event 
might occur, and at once set to work to frustrate 
the bishop's design. He stationed a signalman 
within hail of his house, on the only road lead- 
ing to it from Tiverton, giving him orders, if he 
saw a chaise and pair travelling towards the 
vicarage, to hasten thither and sound the alarm. 

" Accordingly, when the bishop did appear, 
Froude and his household were not only ap- 
prised of his approach, but duly prepared for 
his reception. 

"'Can I see Mr. Froude?' inquired his 
lordship, in that mild, measured tone which he 
habitually adopted when he meant to carry his 
point. * Be good enough to say the Bishop of 
Exeter wishes to have a few words with him." 

" ' Please to walk in, my lord,' replied the 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 97 

old housekeeper, Jane, who had gone to the 
door, and would have gone to the stake to serve 
her master. * Mr. Froude is at home, but is 
up abed wi'some ailment or other.' 

" * Nothing serious, I hope ? ' said the bishop, 
taking a seat in the state apartment ; ' and if 
so, I daresay he would not object to see me at 
his bedside.' 

" Jane paused for a moment, and then, with 
some hesitation, replied, * Perhaps not, my lord: 
leastwise, if you bean't afeered o' going there. 
'Tis a faver o' some soart, but I can't mind what 
the doctor calFth it.' 

" The bishop cocked his ear and looked 
uneasy. ' A fever, did you say ? Rheumatic, 
perhaps, from exposure to wet ? ' 

" ' No, no ; I've a got that myself bad 
enough. 'Tis something a deal worse, I reckon/ 

" ' Not scarlet fever, I hope ? ' 

" The housekeeper shook her head despond- 
ingly. * Worse than that, my lord,' 

" ' Typhus ?' inquired the bishop, no longer 
able to hide his look of alarm. 

"'Iss, that's it; seem'th to me that's what 
the doctor ca'd it. 'Tis a whisht job, fai.' 

" The bishop clutched his hat, and with 

7 



98 MEMOIR OF 



little ceremony took his departure ; and although 
he announced his intention of repeating his 
visit at a more convenient season, he never 
again set foot in the parish of Knowstone. 

"When the bishop had -fairly disappeared," 
Russell adds, " Froude put on his long gaiters 
and went out hunting for the rest of the day." 

" I told ee so, Jack ; I know'd he come," he 
said to Russell the first time he met him after 
that event. " But there, he's never likely to 
come again ; the air of Knowstone's too keen 
for him, I reckon." 

Though an athlete in intellect, the bishop, 
according to Russell, was no match for Froude 
in those minor tactics, the success of which 
depended on manoeuvre and finesse ; in that 
line he could have beaten Machiavelli himself. 
His lordship, it is said, met Froude one day 
with a greyhound, commonly known in Devon- 
shire as "a long-dog," walking by his side: 
" And pray, Mr. Froude," said the bishop, with 
a courteous, but restrained air, "what manner 
of dog may you call that ? " 

" Oh ! that's what we call a lang-dog, my 
lord ; and if yeu was on'y to shak' yeur appern 
to un, he'd go like a dart." 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. 99 

The idea of that dignified and ceremonious 
prelate shaking his apron, like an old woman, 
to frighten the dog, is so ludicrous that, if 
it did not beget even in his eye a twinkle 
of mirth, he must have struggled hard to 
restrain it. 

Russell's anecdotes of Froude would fill a 
volume ; but to produce a tithe of them in these 
pages would be to give the latter undue pro- 
minence in the present memoir. Besides, 
however pointed anecdotes may be if told by a 
racy tongue like Russell's, still, when written, 
they are very apt to meet the reader's eye with 
a lifeless and blunted effect. 

There can be little doubt that the friendship 
and example of a man like the vicar of Know- 
stone did not only influence Russell at the very 
outset of his professional career, but, in all 
likelihood, biassed the whole course of his after 
life. To a young man, socially inclined and 
fond of hunting, the attraction of Froude's 
company must have been irresistible ; for 
Froude was witty, original, hospitable ; and, 
moreover, exercised a kind of mysterious power, 
such as men of strong will are known to 
possess, over those with whom he associated. 



ico MEMOIR OF 



Above all, he had a crack pack of hounds, and 
was himself, as Russell described him, a " first- 
rate sportsman." 

This rare quality, had he possessed no other 
fascination, would have been alone sufficient to 
charm Russell's heart ; ay, and to lead him, as 
it did from that day forth, into a willing and 
life-long captivity. 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. I o i 



CHAPTER V. 

The Teignbridge Cricket Club and the Party at Stover Mr. 
George Tempter and the " Let-'em-Alones" The "Bold 
Dragoon? " Nunky" and the Rev. Henry Taylor. 

" Whate'er the stranger's caste or creed, 

Pundit or Papist, saint or sinner ; 
He found a stable for his steed, 
And welcome for himself, and dinner." 

WINTHROP PRAED. 
i 

DURING the next six years of his life, that is, 
from 1819 to 1825, Russell still continued to 
reside at South Molton ; doing his work as a 
curate to the satisfaction of his parishioners ; 
and, when off duty, rarely missing a day in the 
winter season, either with the hounds of his at- 
tractive neighbour, Mr. Froude, of Knowstone, 
or with the far-famed pack of Mr. Templer, of 
Stover ; where, come when he would, he was at 
all times sure to find a hearty welcome and the 
best of company. 

Those six years may fairly be termed the 
period of his final apprenticeship in woodcraft ; 



102 MEMOIR OF 



for, soon afterwards, we find him in the respon- 
sible position of an M.F.H., playing, it is true, a 
somewhat uphill game, but still adhering with 
unflinching tenacity to that sylvan groove which 
Nature apparently had formed him to fill, and 
from which he never deflected throughout the 
long course of an eventful life. 

During the summer season, however, another 
out-of-door recreation, besides that of otter- 
hunting, appears to have provided him, so long 
as he indulged in it, with strong exercise and a 
pleasant pastime. It was the game of cricket ; 
which, although established at Lord's by the 
Marylebone Club so far back as 1787, had taken 
many a year to travel into Devonshire, where 
it is doubtful if it became generally played 
before 1823 or 1824. The up-and-down char- 
acter of the country, in which it would be 
difficult in scores of parishes to find a perfectly 
level field, might have been some reason for its 
long-deferred introduction into that county. Be 
that as it may, there are no records to show 
that the noble game of cricket became an in- 
stitution in Devon before the i8th of May, 
1824; w r hen a club was formally established at 
Teignbridge ; that locality being admirably 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 103 

adapted for the purpose, the play -ground being 
level as a die, and conveniently near to the 
houses of several of its most prominent 
members. 

Russell attended the first meeting, held in a 
" linhay " or cowshed, on that occasion; played 
in the first game ; and, with two of his brothers, 
was constituted an honorary member of the 
club on its natal day. But, whatever his quali- 
fications might have been, it cannot be said that 
he afterwards became an ardent cricketer ; nor 
is it related of him by his contemporaries that 
he ever distinguished himself, either as a good 
" field," batsman, or bowler. His thoughts, in 
fact, were still on hounds intent ; the ruling 
passion had sole possession of him, and he could 
no more have devoted his energy to cricket 
than to a game of marbles. 

The Rev. Henry Taylor, of West Ogwell, 
the Rev. John Templer and his elder brother, 
Mr. George Templer, of Stover, were members; 
the former having been chosen as president, 
and the latter as vice-president of the newly- 
formed Club. Mr. Templer, a gentleman of 
brilliant intellect and most charming manner, 
had for some time previously established at 



104 MEMOIR OF 



Stover a pack of dwarf fox-hounds, averaging 
nineteen inches at the shoulders, with which he 
hunted, when he had the luck to find him, the 
real wild article ; but, when a blank was appre- 
hended, a bagman, which, always at hand, was 
turned down in view of the hounds. 

The system was a novel one, hitherto un- 
practised in this or any other country ; but the 
sport shown and the hard riding it gave rise to, 
owing to the habit of saving the fox alive, when 
the hounds had fairly run up to him, will be 
remembered in the county so long as Heytor 
Rock looks down on any one survivor of Temp- 
ler's friends. At least a score of foxes were 
kept within two spacious yards expressly for 
this purpose ; and as they were attached, each 
one to its separate coop, by a long chain re- 
volving on a swivel, they were able to take 
plenty of exercise and keep themselves in good 
wind ; the gallop of the animals, like that of a 
horse in a circus, being sometimes accelerated 
by a light tandem-whip handled by a groom. 
Of the stoutness of one, yclept the " Bold Dra- 
goon," I have heard both Templer and Taylor 
relate some stirring tales : he had been turned 
out thirty-six times, had generally led them a 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 105 

long dance, and never failed to enjoy a fresh 
rabbit for supper on safely returning to his 
kennel home. 

When Mr. Templer parted with his pack, 
in 1826, a lot of the larger hounds went to the 
Rev. H. F. Yeatman, of Stock House, Dorset- 
shire ; while the lesser, including the far-famed 
" Let-'em-alones " (the bag-fox pack), were dis- 
persed throughout the country ; Sir Henry 
Carew, Mr. Hammett Drake, Mr. Worth, of 
Worth, Mr. Hole, of Georgeham, and others, 
having purchased the whole of them in separate 
lots. From these precious relics, as they were 
speedily discovered to be, many couples were 
subsequently secured and brought together 
by the united efforts of Russell and his co- 
adjutor, Mr. Arthur Harris, of Hayne ; and 
formed the nucleus of that famous pack which 
showed such unexampled sport over the Tetcott 
and Pencarrow countries in 1828 30; a wild 
moorland district extending from Torrington to 
Bodmin, in Cornwall, unquestionably the finest 
hunting-ground in the West of England. 

Thirty odd years have drifted away on the 
stream of time since the genial and big-hearted 
George Templer was carried to his last ances- 



106 MEMOIR OF 



tral home at Teigngrace ; but it will interest 
the reader to know something more of the man 
who is acknowledged to have been Russell's 
chief Gamaliel, and whose hunting-horn, as Mr. 
Harris tells us, "passed so worthily to his apt 
and favourite pupil." 

Templer's hospitality at Stover literally 
knew no bounds. The company, too, he se- 
lected for his guests were for the most part 
men of standing in the county Worthies of 
Devon the bare fact of their being sportsmen, 
as well as gentlemen, being the "open sesame" 
to Templer's heart. 

"A Party at Stover in 1823," written in 
elegant verse by the gifted host, includes, for 
instance, the names of no less than four guests 
who were subsequently Masters of Foxhounds 
in his own or the adjoining county of Cornwall : 
namely, those of Sir William Salusbury Tre- 
lawny ; Mr. John King, of Fowelscombe ; Mr. 
John Crocker Bulteel, of Flete, Russell's first 
antagonist at Plympton School ; and that of 
John Russell, then, however, a Master of Otter- 
hounds only. 

Sitting at Templer's ample board, it may 
well be imagined how Russell, if no wine-bibber, 



THE RE V. JOHN RUSSELL. 107 

still drank in and enjoyed, to his heart's con- 
tent, those racy draughts of hunting lore, of 
which his host possessed so copious a supply ; 
and which he (Russell) profited by so largely in 
after years. He must have felt, as he would 
himself have said, " up to his hocks in clover" 
among such company. 

Templer's power over fox-hounds, governed 
more by kindness than the lash, delighted his 
eyes ; so unique was the system of discipline 
and control with which they were managed, 
even in the presence of a fox. " His mode of 
tuition," writes Mr. Harris, " was so perfect 
that each hound comprehended every inflexion 
of his voice ; every note of his horn was intelli- 
gible to them, and conveyed a full meaning ; 
and to the wave of his hand an instant obedi- 
ence was given that required neither rate nor 
sterner discipline to urge. He was ably 
seconded by his friends and assistants, the late 
Mr. Harry Taylor and Mr. Russell ; and per- 
haps there never was exhibited a greater per- 
fection of hunting, of scientific control over 
hounds, and of skill in eliciting their utmost 
powers of chase and hunting, than was afforded 
by the establishment of Stover, under the 



io8 MEMOIR OF 



superintendence of this memorable trium- 
virate." 

When a bagman was about to be turned 
out it was always done in view of the hounds, 
Templer standing among them with his hunt- 
ing-watch open in hand ; nor would a hound 
attempt to stir till fair law had been allowed, 
and the last word of the signal, " One, two, 
away ! " bid them to the chase. A hound, 
called " Guardsman," had become so very 
knowing at the work that, instead of looking 
after the fox, he kept his eye fixed on the 
watch ; and, the moment he saw the case 
closed, away he went, like an arrow from a 
bow. 

The business then was to save the fox alive ; 
and, whether he were a wild fox or a bagman, 
such was the hard riding and such the obedience 
of the hounds to a rate, that, nine times out of 
ten, the animal was picked up before them, with- 
out a hair of his skin being broken. Blood was 
a finale to which, at home, they were never 
treated, and yet a harder-driving lot never 
entered a cover. But as Nimrod, after his visit 
at Stover, tells us, " To show that Mr. 
Templer's hounds can kill foxes when suffered 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 109 

to do so, it may not be amiss to mention that 
whilst they were at North Molton, for the pur- 
pose of hunting alternate days with Mr. Fel- 
lowes's or Sir Arthur Chichester's hounds, at the 
Chumleigh Club, they killed three brace of foxes 
in four days." 

And those foxes, be it observed, were the 
wild moorland tartars, bred in the rough country 
surrounding Exmoor. 

Under a tutor, then, so well qualified to in- 
struct him in the countless mysteries of the 
" noble science," it would, indeed, have been a 
wonder if Russell, so fashioned by Nature for 
the chase, had not fulfilled to the utmost the 
expectations with which he was then credited by 
so able and experienced a master. That he did 
not disappoint him, the world will bear strong 
witness in the pupil's favour. 

Nimrod, who was fortunate in meeting both 
the Rev. Henry Taylor and Russell at Stover, 
has left us the following brief sketch of those two 
men : 

" There is one gentleman who is a constant 
attendant on Mr. Templer's hounds, a very fine 
horseman over a country, and report says, quite 
the clipper of the West. This is the Rev. 



1 10 MEMOIR OF 



Henry Taylor. There is another gentleman of 
the same cloth, the Rev. John Russell (but much 
better known by the name of ' Jack Russell '), 
who, though he resides about thirty miles from 
him, hunts a good deal with Mr. Templer, and 
who also stands high among the Devonshire 
bruisers. This gentleman finds hunting so con- 
ducive to his health, that with stag-hounds, fox- 
hounds, harriers, and otter-hounds, he contrives 
to enjoy it all the year round. The last-men- 
tioned pack are kept by himself; and he has 
killed the almost incredible number of twenty- 
five otters in the last two summers, for which he 
should receive the thanks of the fish ! Each of 
these gentlemen spent the evening with us at 
Mr. Templer's, and added much to its con- 
viviality and pleasure." 

Where all were welcome, it would be almost 
invidious to single out one as the most favoured 
and constant guest of the Stover party ; but, in 
truth, Henry Taylor of Ogwell the boy known 
at Eton as Ninth Harry was that man. But 
for him, on his famous horse Nunky, the career 
of the " Bold Dragoon " would have been cut 
short very early in the day, and his dark hide 
converted into " a hundred tatters of brown : " 



THE RE F. JOHN RUSSELL. 1 1 1 

for a finer horseman or a nobler man never 
followed a hound ; and he it was who almost 
invariably contrived to save the life of that 
gallant fox. 

On one occasion, however, both he and 
Nunky nearly came to serious grief, and nar- 
rowly escaped with their lives. The anecdote 
was first told me by Mr. George Templer, and 
afterwards confirmed by Taylor himself; whose 
natural modesty and true nobility of soul, though 
I had the honour of knowing him intimately for 
nearly a quarter of a century, would never per- 
mit him to tell me a tale in which he himself 
figured as the hero. 

The " Bold Dragoon " had been turned out 
in the Vale of Teigngrace ; and crossing the 
River Teign, then flooded by heavy rains, was 
leading the pack at a rattling pace in the direc- 
tion of Ugbrook Park, when the whole field 
were brought to a sudden check at sight of the 
" brimming river." 

The ford, known to a few, was now invisible, 
and the only bridge, more than a mile away, 
seemed too far to be available. What then was 
to be done ? The fate of the " Bold Dragoon " 
was a certainty, if there were no one up to rate 



ii2 MEMOIR OF 



the hounds : and his Colossus mare was scarcely 
more valued by Templer than that fox. 

"Go for Jew's bridge," shouted a cautious 
member of the hunt; "that's our only chance 
for catching the hounds : " and away went the 
field helter-skelter, in that direction ; every man 
of them except Taylor. 

Seeing a flight of rails close to the river 
bank, and concluding they were placed there to 
prevent cattle from crossing the ford, Taylor 
rode his horse straight at them, thinking to land 
him, perhaps, up to his girths on dropping into 
the stream. But, alas ! the spot proved to be 
one of the deepest pools in the Teign river : the 
horse and rider disappeared ; but the latter, 
having been an expert swimmer at Eton, soon 
came to the surface, and, striking out vigor- 
ously, gained the opposite bank in safety. But 
now, great was his dismay on looking round to 
find that Nunky was nowhere to be seen ; not a 
wave nor a gurgle indicated his whereabouts 
below ; and, for some seconds, Taylor felt assured 
the horse had been stunned, and had gone down 
like a stone to the bottom. 

Happily he was wrong ; as the hoofs first, 
and then the legs, of the animal gradually 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 1 13 

appeared above water ; and then, as the body 
grounded about twenty yards below on the 
gravelly ford, which Taylor had failed to hit, 
he discovered that his horse's fore -legs had 
been caught by the reins, and that every time he 
struck out he jerked his own head under water. 

To plunge again into the whirling stream, to 
unclasp his knife, cut the reins, and take a pull 
at Nunky's head, was the work of a second, 
when the brave beast jumped on his legs, and 
after a few sobs to clear out his pipes, Taylor 
vaulted into the saddle and dashed off in pur- 
suit of the hounds. 

A fever he had caught at Eton had utterly 
destroyed the hair of his head, and consequently 
he always wore a sandy-coloured wig, made by 
that eminent artist, Mr. Piper, of Exeter. His wig 
and hat, however, were carried to sea, while he 
was discovered scudding away under bare poles, 

" Taking hedges for billows and mountains for seas ; " 

nor, like the moss-trooper of old, did he slacken 
his rein or " stint to ride," till he had picked up 
the fox and bagged him alive. 

I drew the story out of the dear old fellow 
over a bottle of port wine in his sanctum at 

South Poole, when he added, " It's quite true, 

8 



ii 4 MEMOIR OF 



but Templer didn't tell you all. On crossing 
the Newton road I met an old woman, and toss- 
ing her a shilling she handed me her blue flannel 
apron, which I wrapped round my head, and 
thus turbaned, rode like a grand Turk to the 
end of the run." 

Such was the man and such the horse of 
whose deed Templer wrote in a strain of the 
truest admiration : 

" Fearless and first Ninth Harry urged his course, 
Charging the fences with resistless force ; 
Poor Nunky pays for all, a friend indeed 
So good a Nunky proves in time of need." 

That uncle was Mr. Edward Cooke, who, 
sometime Under-Secretary of State for Ireland 
during the administration of Lord Castlereagh, 
gave him the horse. 

But to return to the Teignbridge Cricket 
Club : that Russell took no active interest in 
the game may be inferred from the fact that, 
notwithstanding the high popularity to which 
the Club soon attained in the county, he ceased 
to be a member of it early in the day. The 
ground, it is true, was at a long distance from 
his home at South Molton, some thirty-five or 
forty miles away ; but had he really loved the 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. 1 1 5 

game, that distance would certainly not have 
been an impediment to which he would have 
given a moment's thought. 

The] Club, ^however, 4iad already done him 
good service ; it had] brought him into friendly 
association not only with the Stover party, but 
with many influential men connected with that 
side of the county. At the death of one of its 
best players, and certainly one of its most 
valued members, the Rev. Henry Taylor, his 
bat, carrying like Curius Dentatus the marks of 
many a hard-fought tussle on its battered front, 
was presented to the Club by his late widow, 
and being elevated to a niche of honour in the 
banqueting-room, received from the pen of a 
loving friend the following inscription : 

" Hail, honoured relic of the manly fame 
By Taylor won at every noble game ! 
Some gentle stream may haply mourn the tree* 
That decked its -margin, ere it fell for thee ; 
But deeper far Teignbridge laments the day, 
When that stout arm was turned again to clay : 
Relic, alas ! thy gladsome work is done, 
Death is the bowler, and the game is won : 
But rest thou here, still eloquent to tell 
The grief of those who loved the man so well. 

E. W. L. DAVIES." 

* It may not be generally known that cricket-bats are made 
from the willow tree. 



Ii6 MEMOIR OF 



The hunting men, however, with whom 
:Russell associated at Teignbridge, brilliant 
riders and first-class sportsmen as a few of 
.them were, constituted but a small portion of 
the party who met at Stover to enjoy Mr. 
Templer's hospitality, and hunt with his hounds. 
The following gentlemen, fellow-sportsmen with 
Russell, the remembrance of whom will long be 
cherished in the county of Devon, are notably 
mentioned in the spirited verses, to which allu- 
sion has already been made. 

First on the list comes Mr. John King, of 
Fowelscombe, "John King of the West," an 
able sportsman, who, according to Russell, knew 
the habits of a fox better than most men of his 
day. After hunting a portion of Mr. Pode's 
country in Devon, Mr. King became Master of 
the Hambledon Hounds, and subsequently, 
while following Mr. Trelawny's pack, died in 
the saddle on Dartmoor. 

2. Mr. John Crocker Bulteel, of Flete, the 
originator of the Lyneham Pack, afterwards so 
famous under the mastership of Mr. Trelawny. 
Besides being a keen sportsman, Mr. Bulteel's 
genius was one of the highest order, and the 
sallies of wit, which, like the sparkling brooks 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 117 

of his native country, flowed so pleasantly from 
his tongue, must have made the very rafters of 
Stover ring with merriment. In such company, 
whether in the field or at "table-board," 
good-fellowship and sport must have reigned 
supreme. 

3. Mr. Thomas Bulteel, the " spruce little 
cousin" of Mr. J. C. Bulteel, a light-weight and 
a bold rider, whom, when hounds were running 
hard, no timber could stop, no fence dismay. 

4. Mr. Paul Ourry Treby, of Goodamoor, 
the well-known " fox-hunter, rough and ready,'* 
a classic scholar, and a rare specimen of a high- 
minded English gentleman. 

5. Mr. Salusbury Trelawny, afterwards Sir. 
William S. Trelawny, a lineal descendant of 
Jonathan Trelawny, Bishop of Bristol, who, 
with six other prelates, was sent to the Tower 
by King James the Second ; an act that gave- 
rise to the patriotic song still sung by Cornish- 
men with unabated enthusiasm, a verse of which 
runs thus 

" And have they fixed the where and when ? 

And shall Trelawny die ? 
Then twenty thousand Cornishmen 
Shall know the reason why ! " 

Of Sir William and a hound of his, called 



1 18 MEMOIR OF 



Whirligig, Mr Arthur Harris, of Hayne, records 
the following interesting anecdote : 

" According to tradition Whirligig was an 
extraordinary hound in everyway, and it is said 
that he could kill a fox single-handed. Certain 
it is that both the hound and his master per- 
formed feats that old men still love to chronicle. 
On one occasion, the story goes, Salusbury 
Trelawny had brought his fox, late in the day 
and nearly at nightfall, to a point on the Tamar 
below Newbridge. The river was swollen and 
rapid, and it was judged impossible for a fox to 
have swum such a distance in so rapid a stream. 
Salusbury Trelawny thought otherwise, so did 
Whirligig, and neither were of a temper to be 
diverted from their purpose. Getting into a 
small boat, he rowed over to the other side, 
sitting in the stern and holding the bridle of his 
hunter, Cattern or Lufra, lightly in hand, while 
the mare and the hound both animals attached 
in a singular degree to their chivalrous master 
crossed together, swimming side by side. 
Not a hound followed. Whirligig recovered the 
line on the other side, killed the half-drowned 
fox, and master, hound, and horse, with the 
head and brush, returned the way they came. 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. 1 1 9 

Brave ' Old Sarum ! ' he was indeed a glorious 
fellow : he and Newton Fellowes were samples 
of the ' gemis homo ' not easily to be found in a 
modern day." 

In addition to the names already mentioned, 
nine other guests are severally described as 
forming the 

" . . . . party assembled at Stover 
To hunt in the morning, and feast when 'twas over." 

They were the Rev. Edward Clarke, of St. 
Dominick, Mr. George Leach, the Rev. John 
Templer, Mr. William and Erving Clark, of 
Buckland Tout-Saints, Mr. Charles Gandy, Mr. 
Henry Twysden, R.N., Mr. John Lyne Tem- 
pler, of Highland House, and Captain J. Avern, 
R.N. 

Alas ! to Death's grim Ferryman all, in- 
cluding the subject of this memoir, have been 
summoned to pay their last copper ! 



120 MEMOIR OF 



CHAPTER VI. 

He Falls in Love Rides by Night to Bath His Grotesque 
Mount in Milsom Street Is Married, and removes to Iddes- 
leigh Keeps Foxhounds, and forms an Alliance with Mr. 
C. A. Harris Difficulties with Fox -killers. 

" Without the smile from partial beauty won, 
Oh ! what were man ? a world without a sun ! " 

CAMPBELL. 

TOWARDS the end of 1825, or the beginning 
of 1826, an event affecting the happiness of 
Russell's life, at home and abroad, bid fair, 
at least for a time, to imperil the devotion 
which, up to this period, he had so exclusively 
shown to the sylvan Queen, who beyond all 
doubt hitherto had reigned in his heart with- 
out a rival. 

But strong and enduring as the bonds were 
in which the goddess retained her willing cap- 
tive, the time had now arrived when they were 
destined to prove but as green withs com- 



THE RE V. JOHN RUSSELL. 1 2 1 

pared with those of Venus, whose power both 
the gods and men have alike shown to be 
irresistible. 

About this time he met with a lady whose 
attractions at once arrested the current of his 
thoughts, and brought him on bended knee to 
sue for her hand. That lady was Miss Penelope 
Incledon Bury, the daughter of Admiral and 
Mrs. Bury, of Dennington House, near Barn- 
staple. Both the father and mother being pure 
North-Devoners, and claiming descent from 
two good old county families, they were proud 
of the " haveage " to which they belonged. 
Nor could they have taken exception to 
Russell's pedigree ; he himself being a des- 
cendant of the Russells of Kingston-Russell ; 
for, at the time of the Sampford Courtenay 
riots in the West, Lord Russell, then at Exeter, 
appointed one of his own relatives to preach 
against "the old religion;" and from him came 
the Russells who have remained in the county 
ever since. 

Mrs. Bury, the mother of Penelope, was of 
the knightly family of Chichester, of Hall, whose 
pedigree is chronicled by John Prince, the 
worthy Vicar of Berry Pomeroy. 



122 MEMOIR OF 



If Russell, then, had an eye to a 'Mass wi' a 
lang pedigree " a point he would have con- 
sidered of the first importance in selecting a 
horse or a hound he could scarcely have made 
a better choice. But it is obvious that other 
and broader views must have influenced his 
judgment in this matter ; for a more sensible, 
warm-hearted, generous woman than Penelope 
Bury proved herself to be, never breathed the 
breath of life. Russell must have stood an inch 
higher in stature when he found himself first 
favourite for so fair a prize the only real prize 
in life he may, with truth, be said to have ever 
won. 

But the event should not be anticipated. 
When Mr. George Templer, of Stover, parted 
with his big pack to the Rev. H. F. Yeatman, 
in the early part of 1826, Russell and Templer 
paid him a visit at Stock House, near Sher- 
borne ; when, under his inauguration, the Black- 
moor Vale country was first established. To 
entertain his friends, whether indoors or out of 
doors a felicitous gift he possessed beyond 
ordinary mortals Mr. Yeatman ordered out his 
own famous pack of harriers (which, by-the-by, 
were dwarf fox-hounds, as perfect in shape as 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 123 

they were in work), and showed them a capital 
day's sport ; when the hare was sinking, Rus- 
sell, to save her, put his horse at a chained 
gate, rode over it, and picked up the hare in 
front of the hounds. 

Nearly fifty years after that event, Mr. 
Digby, of Sherborne Castle, finding himself in 
company with Russell at, I believe, Lord Polti- 
more's house in Dorsetshire, asked him if he 
remembered the first time they met in the 
hunting-field ? 

" Perfectly well," replied Russell; " it was 
with dear old Yeatman's hounds in 1826 ; the 
first time Templer and I stayed with him at 
Stock House." 

"Quite true," replied Mr. Digby; "you 
rode over a chained gate, and took up the 
hare before me. I could have shot you on the 
spot." 

" You'd have spoiled some sport if you 
had," said Russell, not a little amused that the 
incident, and youthful jealousy it had given rise 
to, should be remembered after the lapse of so 
many years. 

That very night, after the dinner and day's 
sport had been duly discussed, Russell mounted 



124 MEMOIR OF 



a hack, one he had brought with him from 
South Molton, and, starting from Stock, he 
shaped his course, as he best could, directly for 
Bath, hoping to reach that city, a distance of 
some fifty odd miles, before the inns and stables 
were all closed for the night. At Warminster, 
however, he found it expedient to leave his 
own horse behind him, and hire a fresh one, 
the landlord of the principal inn being quite 
ready to supply him with " a rare goer," which 
he averred " would carry him like an infant in 
a cradle, and cover the ground in less than two 
hours." 

" Bring him out, then," said Russell, 
"as quickly as you can; that will suit me 
exactly." 

The night was now pitch dark ; not a moon 
nor a star in the sky ; not a ray of light, except 
that from a dim horn-lantern, enabling Russell 
to distinguish the head from the tail of the 
horse on which he was about to mount. How- 
ever, he was soon in the saddle ; the beast, too, 
was a willing one, being probably, like John 
Gilpin's horse, 

" . . . . right glad to miss 
The lumb'ring of the wheels ;" 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 125 

but never before nor since did Russell undergo 
such a bumping as on the ribs of that War- 
minster hack. 

On his arrival at Bath, long after midnight, 
happily for him one hostelry still remained 
open, the White Lion Inn ; where, finding he 
could obtain a bed for himself and a stall for 
his horse, he rested for the night. But when 
he quitted the animal and committed him to the 
charge of the ostler, such was the darkness still 
prevailing, that Russell knew no more about 
the shape, appearance, and colour of the beast 
than he did about the Greek horse that entered 
Troy. He might have known, however, that 
the heroes inside that wooden steed must 
have had a rough time of it, if its movements 
were not easier than those of his Warminster 
hack. 

" Feed him well," said Russell to the ostler, 
as he groped his way out of the yard; "and 
don't forget to bring him in the morning 
to No. 9, Milsom Street, exactly at eleven 
o'clock." 

The Pump Room books of that day, if in 
existence, would still show the names and num- 
bers of the visitors who were then occupying 



126 MEMOIR OF 



No. 9 in that fashionable locality ; they were 
no other than Admiral, Mrs., and Miss 
Penelope Bury, from Dennington House, North 
Devon. 

Here, then, was the guiding star which had 
led Russell to abandon both friends and hounds 
at Stock ; and in spite of the gloom, had lighted 
his path with a hopeful ray to the city of waters, 
at which we now find him safely arrived. He 
had promised Miss Bury to ride with her in the 
morning, and of course took care to be in 
attendance at No. 9 in good time before the 
horses were ordered and the lady prepared to 
start. Other cavaliers, however, had been 
invited to join the party ; notably, the Rev. 
Alexander Baillie, a fine, handsome young 
fellow, as agreeable as he was good-looking, 
and a perfect beau ; also the long-lamented 
John Bayly, a finished horseman, and one of 
the best men across country in all England ; 
besides one or two more, mounted on steeds 
well-bred and with skins glossy as satin 
itself. 

Miss Bury, too, was now in the saddle ; and 
but for a short delay, occasioned by the non- 
arrival of Russell's horse, the whole cavalcade 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 127 

were prepared to start at the appointed time. 
At length the ostler made his appearance, 
hurrying forward, as he best could, an animal 
that seemed only fit for a dog-kennel ; he was 
black as ink, had no hair on mane or tail, 
and scarcely an ounce of flesh on his bones ; 
for, literally, 

'* His strutting ribs on both sides show'd 
Like furrows he himself had plow'd ; 
For underneath the skirt of pannel, 
'Twixt every two there was a channel." 

Above all, an old-fashioned post-boy's saddle, 
brass-mounted and secured by a huge crupper 
to his rat-tail, formed a conspicuous feature on 
the garran's back ; and that, coupled with his 
poster-like appearance, was quite enough to stir 
up first a titter, then a roar of laughter, as it 
quickly did, among the lookers-on. 

Never, perhaps, was lover placed in a more 
trying predicament ; the shafts of ridicule being 
the most fatal of all weapons to a man bidding 
for promotion, if he is made the unhappy butt 
at which they are aimed. Many a hero, with 
courage enough to head a Balaclava charge and 
face the deadliest foe, would have shuddered to 
mount that beast under existing circumstances, 



128 MEMOIR OF 



and would certainly have darted off in search of 
another charger less picturesque in his points, 
and more befitting the light brigade assembled 
in Milsom Street on that eventful morn. Com- 
paring their steeds with his own, he might well 
have thought that the companionship of such a 
Rosinante would not only compromise his own 
dignity, but outrage the feelings of his gay and 
well-mounted comrades. 

But Russell had no such apprehension ; he 
stood his ground and joined heartily in the 
laugh ; told them of the landlord's craft at War- 
minster, and his own inability to detect it, owing 
to the Stygian darkness that prevailed at the 
time and throughout his journey. He then 
sprang into the saddle ; and by him at least, if 
not by one other of the party, the quaint figure 
and accoutrements of his horse were speedily 
forgotten ; nor for one moment did they appear 
to trouble his thoughts during the rest of the 
day a day he loved to record as one among 
the happiest, if not the happiest, of his long life. 

But if, on this memorable visit to Bath, 
there were other gallants in the field better 
mounted and better equipped "than the Devon- 
shire parson, certain it is that he, like Ulysses 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. \ 29 

of old, held his own against all comers ; for, 
on the 3Oth of May, 1826, the fair Penelope 
honoured him with her hand, and converted him 
thenceforth into a happy Benedict. Soon after 
this auspicious event, he retired from the charge 
of George Nympton and South Molton parishes .; 
and, after devoting but a brief period to the 
usual hymeneal holiday and its attendant mys- 
teries, he removed with his handsome bride to 
Iddesleigh, near Hatherleigh ; and, his father 
being the rector, he accepted the curacy of that 
parish under him. 

There is a story current, however, that 
before he finally quitted South Molton, he and 
Mrs. Russell attended divine service at that 
church, and occupied of course a pew together. 
Now at that time there lived at Whitechapel 
Farm, near South Molton, a celebrated charac- 
ter called John Sanger, an eccentric, hard-riding 
yeoman, who, although weighing eighteen stone 
and mounted on a thirteen-hand Exmoor pony, 
had more than once beaten over the moor Mr. 
Newton Fellowes, the great Squire of Egges- 
ford, whose hunters were notably well bred and 
the talk of all the country. Sanger belonged to 
Bishop's Nympton parish ; but, on that Sunday, 

9 



130 MEMOIR OF 



when Russell and his bride made their appear- 
ance at South Molton Church, he occupied a 
seat at a little distance off, but exactly fronting 
their pew. 

Immediately on coming out of church he 
marched up to Mrs. Russell, and with hat in 
hand, and a profound bow, he said 

" Good morning to you, ma'am ; I have 
never seen in all my life such a fine woman as 
you are. But you have spoiled my devotions ; 
for I couldn't take my eyes off you all church 
time." 

This, beyond all doubt, was no mere com- 
pliment ; but the honest expression of a plain, 
out-spoken man. 

It was but a short time after his marriage 
with Miss Bury that Russell continued to keep 
otter-hounds, for on removing to Iddesleigh, 
the proceeds of which living his father had 
assigned to him, he found himself in the centre 
of a country so gloriously wild, and so adapted 
to fox-hunting, that he determined at once to 
elevate his standard and follow that sport in 
preference to the other. Accordingly, in the 
autumn of 1826, when the woodlands were 
changing colour and draft-hounds their kennels, 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. 1 3 1 

Russell, gathering together about ten or twelve 
couple from various sources, but chiefly from the 
relics of the famous Stover pack, entered on his 
first campaign in the wilds of Hatherleigh, 
" hunting," as he says, "anything he could find 
around his own garden ; " for the bounds of his 
maiden country, if such it could be called, were 
at first woefully confined to a very limited 
area. 

The Rev. W. H. Karslake, of Dolton, 
appears to have been the only gentleman who, 
at that time, kept hounds within a short distance 
of Iddesleigh ; but as they were harriers, it 
occurred to Russell that the enjoyment of the 
nobler sport might well be secured in so inviting 
a field, not only without prejudice to that gentle- 
man, but with the concurrence, and, as he hoped, 
the good-will of the two neighbouring Masters 
of Foxhounds, the Hon. Newton Fellowes and 
the Rev. Peter Glubb. The latter had for many 
years kept and hunted a very killing pack near 
Little Torrington ; while the former, who lived 
at Eggesford, occupied, with his grand pack of 
foxhounds, a rough and extensive country, over 
which, by virtue of his manorial possessions, he 
claimed, if he did not exercise, the almost feudal 



132 MEMOIR OF 



rights of a baron of the fifteenth century. For 

though, 

" Kind, like a man, was he ; like a man, too, would have his 



way." 



The kennels of both these packs were within 
ten miles of Iddesleigh, and nearly equidistant 
from that place ; consequently, in so circum- 
scribed a country, over which he might almost 
have flown a paper kite, the prospect of pursuing 
the wild animal with success would indeed have 
been a hopeless one. It would also have in- 
volved him in endless strife, for he must inevit- 
ably have encroached on the conventional rights 
of those gentlemen, and aroused their jealousy 
and ill-will at every turn. Iddesleigh, if he did 
so, he was well aware would be looked upon 
as the centre of a civil war, and he as a kind of 
Rob Roy a marauder and freebooter, who, by 
violating a law strict as that of the Medes and 
Persians, would be entitled to no quarter under 
such outrageous circumstances. 

To obtain, then, an enlargement of his too 
narrow bounds just a few outlying covers get- 
at-able by him, but rarely drawn by them 
Russell, rather than incur such odium, appealed 
point blank to Mr. Newton Fellowes and Mr, 



THE RE V. JOHN RUSSELL. 133 

Glubb, both of whom readily and kindly con- 
curred in granting him the favour he asked ; 
namely, a slice of their respected countries on 
either side of Iddesleigh. By that cession, 
which, with his little pack, proved to be a suffi- 
ciently ample one, he found, as he described it, 
" flinging room both for himself and hounds." 

But notwithstanding the unexampled sport 
he was able to show with his first scratch lot, 
some of which were mute and some too free of 
tongue, many given to riot, to skirting and other 
hereditary faults, he was not long in discovering 
that he had still an uphill game to play in at- 
tempting to establish an independent dynasty in 
that country. 

The sport of legitimate fox-hunting being 
utterly ignored by a majority of the natives, it 
had long been, and still was, their practice to 
kill a fox whenever and however they could 
catch him, fulfilling to the letter the sentiments 
of the Highland chieftain 

" Who ever reck'd, where, how, or when, 
The prowling fox was trapp'd or slain ? " 

In fact, to such an extent did this practice pre- 
vail, that for the first season or two, owing to 
the scarcity of foxes, Russell was compelled to 



134 MEMOIR OF 



adopt the primitive plan of hunting both fox and 
hare with the same hounds ; so that when the 
real wild article was not to be found, the other 
was always at hand to give his hounds a spin 
and keep his field in good-humour. 

He had not been long at Iddesleigh when, 
one day as he was drawing for a fox, at some 
distance from home, his ear caught the sound of 
a church bell, rung in a jingling fashion, and 
with more than usual clamour. A stranger 
might well have supposed it to be a signal of 
alarm intended to warn the country-side that a 
fire had broken out on some neighbour's pre- 
mises, and that the need of help was urgent 
and pressing. But no such thing ; as Russell's 
prophetic spirit too well divined, it was the 
signal that a fox had been tracked to ground, 
or balled into a brake ; and the bell sum- 
moned every man who possessed a pickaxe, 
a gun, or a terrier, to hasten to the spot 
and lend a hand in destroying the noxious 
animal. 

Russell's letter is now before me, describing 
his first adventure with a party bent on murder- 
ing a fox in his new country : 

" During the winter of the first year I was 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. 135 

at Iddesleigh, the snow at the time lying deep 
on the ground, a native Bartholomew alias Bat 
Anstey came to me and said, ' Hatherley bell 
is a-ringing, sir.' 

" * Ringing for what ? ' I inquired, with a 
strong misgiving as to the cause of it. 

" ' Well, sir, they've a-traced a fox in some- 
where ; and they've a-sot the bell a-going to 
collect the people to shoot un.' 

"'Come, Bat, speak out like a man,' I replied, 
' and tell me where 'tis.' 

" ' In Middlecot earths, sir ; just over the 
Okement.' 

" I was soon on the spot with about ten couple 
of my little hounds, and found, standing around 
the earths, about a hundred fellows the scum 
of the country headed, I am almost ashamed 
to say, by two gentlemen, Mr. Veale, of Passa- 
ford, and his brother-in-law, Mr. Morris, of 
Fishley, the father of Colonel W. Morris, of the 
' Light Brigade ' that brilliant swordsman to 
whose memory a monument is erected on 
Hatherleigh Moor. 

" I remonstrated with these gentlemen, and 
told them plainly that if they would leave the 
earths, and preserve foxes for me, I would show 



136 MEMOIR OF 



them more sport with my little pack in one day 
than they would see in a whole year by des- 
troying the gallant animal in so un-English a 
way. 

" Impressed, apparently, by what I had said, 
both gentlemen instantly bade me a ' good morn- 
ing,' turned on their heels and left the place ; 
while a few shillings, distributed among the 
crowd by way of compensation for the dis- 
appointment I had caused them, induced them 
to disperse and leave me almost sole occupant 
of the ' situation.' 

" Then, after waiting half an hour or so 
near the spot, I turned my head towards home ; 
but, before I arrived there, I met a man open- 
mouthed, bawling out, * They've a-traced a fox 
into Brimblecombe ; for I hear Dowland bell 
a-going.' 

" So off I went to Dowland in post haste ; 
found out where the fox was lying, turned him 
out of a furze bush, ran him one hour and forty 
minutes a blaze of scent all the way and took 
him up alive before the hounds on the very 
earths I had so lately quitted ; where, unfor- 
tunately for him, a couple of scoundrels 
had remained on the watch, and had conse- 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 137 

quently headed him short back from that 
stronghold." 

But Russell had not yet finished with the 
fox-killers ; for, as he says, " The very next day 
after the run from Brimblecombe, a man came 
to Iddesleigh on purpose to inform me that 
the bell was going at Beaford, and that a fox 
had been traced into a brake near that hamlet. 
The brake, in reality, though not far from 
Iddesleigh, was in Mr. Glubb's country ; but, 
feeling sure that the necessity of the case 
would justify the encroachment, I let out the 
hounds at once, and hurried to the spot with all 
speed. 

" On arriving at the brake I found only one 
man near it ; and he, placed there as sentinel, 
was guarding it from disturbance with a watchful 
eye. I asked him to tell me where the fox was; 
but he gave me a very impertinent answer, say- 
ing ' he knawed better than that ; and wasn't 
a-going to do no such thing.' 

" I kept my temper, however, as well as I 
could ; and pulling out half-a-crown, I said, 
' There, my man, I'd have given you that if you 
had told me where he was.' 

" The fellow's eye positively sparkled at sight 



1 38 MEMOIR OF 



of the silver. ' Let me have it, then,' he replied, 
1 and I will show you where he is to a yard.' 

" On giving him the money, he pointed 
to a tree on the opposite side of the valley, 
and said, ' There, do you see that tree t'other 
side ? Take the hounds to it, and they'll soon 
find him.' 

" ' I've drawn the brake inside that hedge 
already,' I said, 'and he isn't there.' 

" ' No,' he replied ; * but he's on the comb of 
the hedge, close to that tree.' 

" And so he was. I ran him an hour, and 
lost him near where he was found. Then, just 
as I was calling the hounds away to go home, 
down came a crowd of men, women, and child- 
ren, the first chiefly from the village inn, to see 
this fox murdered. Many of them had brought 
their loaded guns, were full of beer, and ' eager 
for the fray.' And when they discovered that I 
had disturbed their fox, as they were pleased 
to designate him, their language was anything 
but choice. 

" A strapping young fellow, one of the prin- 
cipal farmers in the parish, came up to me and 
said, ' Who are you, sir, to come here and spoil 
our sport ? ' 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. 1 39 

" 'You would have spoiled mine,' I replied, 
'if you could.' 

" ' You have no business here,' he said 
defiantly. 

" ' As much as you have,' I replied ; i for the 
owner has given me leave to hunt over this 
estate, and I mean doing so, too, whenever I 
please. So get a horse, come out with me, and 
I'll show you some fine sport, if you'll only give 
up shooting foxes.' 

" ' We'll shoot them whenever we can ; that 
I'll promise you,' he said, in an angry tone. 

" At that moment one of the hounds began 
to howl. I looked round, saw she was in pain, 
and asked, in a threatening manner, 'Who 
kicked that hound ? ' 

"No one spoke for half a minute, when a 
little boy said, pointing to another, ' That boy 
kicked her.' 

" ' Did he ? ' I exclaimed ; ' then 'tis lucky 
for him that he is a little boy' 

" ' Why ? ' said the farmer with whom I had 
previously been talking. 

" ' Because,' I replied, ' if a man had kicked 
her I would have horsewhipped him on the 
spot.' 



140 MEMOIR OF 



" ' You would find that a difficult job, if you 
tried it,' was his curt answer. 

" I jumped off my horse, threw down my 
whip, and said, * Who's the man to prevent me ?' 

" Not a word was spoken. ' I stood my 
ground, and one by one the crowd retired, the 
young farmer amongst the number ; and from 
that day forward I secured for myself and suc- 
cessors not only the good-will and , co-operation, 
but the friendship, of some of the best fox- 
preservers that the county of Devon, or any 
other county, has ever seen." 

The names of a few are still to be found 
in the parish of Beaford : viz., Hearn, Snell, 
Arnold, Leverton ; and especially a well-to-do 
farmer at Dolton, named Wadland, who, though 
harriers were kept in his parish, preferred 
hunting with fox-hounds ; and many a time, 
as Russell relates, has he seen him and a white- 
smith, called Heard, of Beaford, crossing and 
recrossing the Torri'dge on foot and in the 
depth of winter, following his hounds. Fox- 
hunters both were to the backbone. 

After that event there can be little doubt 
that the farmers, to their great credit, from one 
end of the country to the other, finding the 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 141 

kind of man they had to deal with, and the rare 
sport he was able to show, by degrees gave up 
the malpractice to which they had been so long 
addicted ; and before two years were over, so 
far from persecuting the fox, many a moor 
farmer would rather have lost the best sheep in 
his flock than seen the gallant animal killed in 
any fashion except by hounds. 

The influence, indeed, that Russell very 
soon acquired, not only among the farmers, but 
the great cover-owners of that country, was 
quite marvellous ; it was not attributable to 
territorial or monetary qualifications ; for, as all 
the world knew, he certainly was no Carabbas, 
nor did the tide of his exchequer ever rise 
above low-water mark ; but it was entirely due 
to his manly power as a sportsman, to his acute 
knowledge of the fox's habits, his mode of 
getting at him and driving him through the 
strongest covers, to the fascination of his thrilling 
cheer, and, above all, to the charm and hearti- 
ness -of his manners. In truth, the feeling of 
the farmers towards him amounted almost to a 
devotion, and he was treated with a kind of 
hero-worship, as if he were a man formed in a 
different mould from other men. 



142 MEMOIR OF 



The following anecdote, kindly contributed 
by the Rev. H. Bourchier Wrey, who vouches 
for its authenticity, affords a strong illustration 
how a word from a man of Russell's influence 
might have had such effect on a common-sense 
juryman as to enable mercy to triumph over the 
strict letter of a law which, from its undue 
severity, became abrogated not long after the 
event here recorded. 

Tom Square was a man of peculiar habits 
off by night and abed by day ; earth-stopping 
in the season, and, when that business was 
over, discovering the whereabouts of Jitters, 
and whether the young vagabonds had after- 
wards strayed : these were the exploits for which 
Tom was renowned. His nocturnal habits, how- 
ever, led eventually to serious results : the 
sharp moor air, acting keenly on a probably 
empty stomach, tempted him to look with 
hungry eyes on some well-to-do Exmoor hog- 
getts, which, from time to time, the owners 
found to be absent without leave. 

In a word, he took to sheep-stealing ; and 
as that crime was known to be increasing in the 
neighbourhood, the farmers combined to set a 
watch and, if possible, detect the culprits. So 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 143 

our poor friend Tom, with others, " got into 
trouble." He was suspected, watched, caught 
red-handed, and, although many believed his 
assertion that " 'Twas the very fust time he had 
ever doo'd zich a thing," yet was he proceeded 
against according to law ; he was arraigned, 
tried, found guilty, sentenced, and the extreme 
penalty carried out in fact, poor Tom Square 
was hanged. 

Shortly after this sad event, Russell hap- 
pened to fall in with James R., a neighbouring 
farmer, who, as the former had been told, had 
served on the jury in the above case. "Why, 
Jem," said Russell, accosting him in a tone of 
strong remonstrance, " how came this about ? 
You were on the jury which tried Tom Square ! 
there surely was something to be said for the 
poor fellow. I've been told it was the first time 
he had ever done so. You know what a quiet 
man he was, always ready to do a good turn 
for a neighbour. 'Twas a pity, Jem, that you 
should have given your voice against him." 

" Bless us, Mistre Rissell, yeu doan't zay zo. 
My senses ! If us had on'y but knaw'd they 
was yeur honour's thoughts, us wid ha* put it 
right, fai'. But there, my Lord Jidge said he 



144 MEMOIR OF 



did ouft to be hanged and zo us hanged un. 
But, bless 'ee, if us had on'y knaw'd yeur 
honour cared about un, us wid ha' put it right 
in quick time." 

Again, a case of libel was about to be tried 
at Exeter between Russell and a gentleman 
called Nott. A special jury being sworn, one 
of them, Captain Adney, thus addressed his 
brother jurymen : " Now, gentlemen, pray 
understand me! I've a pair of new buckskin 
breeches on " (he always wore them and top- 
boots), "and I've made up my mind to sit here, 
till my skin comes through them to the bare 
boards, before I give a verdict against Jack 
Russell." In five minutes afterwards the case 
was compromised, to the relief and entire satis- 
faction of Captain Adney. 

Some years afterwards I was present myself 
when Russell received the following letter from 
a farmer on the North Molton side of his 
country ; it ran thus :- 

" SIR JOHN RISSELL, 

" Yeur honour will plaize to cum up 
to Ben Twitching wi' th' dogs : us be ate out o' 
they voxes. Mistiss kipth on a-telling up and 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 145 

zeth, us shan't ha' a Geuse to kill, cum Chris- 
mus. But I've a zaid, I'd gi' her a new gown 
to mak' up for't ; zo, her han't a vexed zo mich 
zince. But do ee cum & gi' us a bit o' sport, 
Sir. 

" Yeur honour's humbl Sarvent, 

" T T " 

To give a catalogue of all the farmers' 
names who hunted with Russell and became 
eventually the staunchest fox -preservers, would 
now be a long and difficult task ; for so many 
were they that the list would at least fill a 
column or two of the Times. A few, however, 
must not be omitted ; such good men and true, 
for instance, as Mr. Peter Tanton, of Wrays 
Farm, whose brake at Wrays never lacked a 
litter of foxes. He was the owner of a cele- 
brated grey mare by " Crickneck," her dam 
being a grey Exmoor by " Katerfelto " this 
last horse, the sire of such wondrous stock, and 
the hero of that attractive story written by Mr. 
Whyte-Melville, is said to have been captured 
after his long run on Exmoor ; and then bought, 
according to a tradition still prevalent in the 
region of Hatherleigh, by the Rev. John Rus- 



10 



146 MEMOIR OF 



sell, sen., the rector of Iddesleigh, and Russell's 
father, in whose possession the horse died. 
Then there was Mr. John Brendon, of Red 
Windows, near Chillaton, a fine rider, with con- 
summate nerve and good hands. The East- 
cotts of Broad wood widger and Norton ; Brown 
of Hollacombe, Parson of Panson, Seccombe of 
Seccombe, a family that have held their own at 
Seccombe from a period antecedent to the 
Norman Conquest ; Cory of Staddon, Oliver 
Palmer of Tinhay, Tickel of Bratton-Clovelly, 
and that rare specimen of a yeoman, Smale of 
Thorn. 

But the encouragement Russell met with 
from the cover-ow T ners around him was, in some 
respects, equally warm and gratifying ; for, be- 
sides the cession of the country made to him 
by Mr. Newton Fellowes and Mr. Glubb, an- 
other large landed proprietor, Mr. John Morth 
Woolcombe, of Ashbury, undertook to preserve 
the wild districts of Broadbury for him ; while 
he himself, although hunting three days a week 
with his own hounds, rarely failed to join Rus- 
sell's little pack, whenever they met within 
reach of Ashbury. Many others, too, supported 
him in like manner, promising to preserve 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 147 

foxes, and inviting him with much heartiness to 
draw their covers whenever it suited his pur- 
pose to do so. 

But, as a general rule, the support they gave 
him was limited chiefly to such concessions ; 
material aid, in the form of a subscription, was 
neither asked for nor given ; and, although 
large fields attended his meets, the sinews of 
war for hounds, horses, and keepers were at first, 
with one exception, provided by himself alone. 
That exception was Mr. C. Arthur Harris, of 
Hayne, a young enthusiastic squire, devoted 
to hunting, and himself a Master of Hounds. 
He had made Russell's acquaintance in 1826, 
at the Chumleigh Club, which flourished for so 
many years under the able auspices of Mr. 
Newton Fellowes, Mr. J. M. Woolcombe, " the 
Lord of Ashbury," Mr. L. Buck, Mr. J. Dicker 
Fortescue, and other Devonshire Worthies, 
both of the Northern and Southern divisions of 
the county ; but of that club more anon. 

One day's hunting together was alone suf- 
ficient to convince Harris that Russell's know- 
ledge of the craft and management of hounds 
was of no ordinary stamp or quality ; and 
shortly afterwards, out of sheer admiration for 



148 MEMOIR OF 



his " talents," which a few more days had con- 
firmed, he proposed throwing in his lot with 
him and bearing a liberal share, but not an 
equal one, in the maintenance of the united 
packs. 

They struck hands at once ; the offer being 
accepted by Russell subject to the following 
reservation, namely, that the hounds should be- 
long to him, and that he alone should hunt and 
control them, terms to which the younger and 
less experienced sportsman very sensibly agreed. 
Accordingly, on a given day in 1827, the two 
packs met at Five Oaks, near Okehampton, in 
all about seventy couple, which Russell, know- 
ing to a handful of meal the value of every 
hound, quickly drafted down to thirty-five 
couple. With this lot he proposed hunting fox 
alone, giving the country two days a week, 
with an occasional bye-day according to circum- 
stances. 

It should be mentioned, however, that, pre- 
vious to this arrangement, sundry interchanges 
of hounds, and especially of puppies, had taken 
place between him and Mr. Harris ; all above 
twenty inches going to Russell, and those under 
that standard to the Hayne kennels. It was at 



THE RE V. JOHN RUSSELL. 1 49 

this period that a hound in Russell's pack, called 
" Daphne," by Meynell's " Dreadnought," from 
Meynell's " Princess," attracted the special 
admiration of all who witnessed her marvellous 
sagacity and power of nose. She was perfect 
in every way : in drawing, in driving, and in 
line-hunting. With a wave of the hand from 
Russell she would draw a linhay, a pig-sty, or 
any conceivable place in which a beaten fox 
would try to conceal itself. 

It is related of her that, after a hard chase 
in the Hatherleigh country, the hounds had 
brought their fox into a farmyard, where they 
threw up, and failed to carry it a yard farther. 
" Daphne," however, flinging to the front, held 
the line into a vacant cow-house ; then on to 
the manger, half filled with hay, where she just 
whimpered, then clambering over the rack into 
the loft, or "tallet," forced, as it were, the run- 
ning, and out bolted the fox, ran the ridge of a 
thatched outhouse, jumped down into a pig-sty, 
and there the hounds had him in a moment. 
"Mr. Woolcombe, of Ashbury, nearly rubbed 
his nose off with delight." 

The combination of the two packs had taken 
place but a short time, when, towards the end 



150 MEMOIR OF 



of the season of 1827, an episode occurred 
which, but for an immediate explanation on the 
part of Russell, might have caused a rupture of 
the newly-formed alliance, and brought it there 
and then to an untimely end. A bye-day had 
been arranged, near Five Oaks, in the Bratton- 
Clovelly country, for the purpose not only of 
enjoying a day's sport, but of closely testing the 
merits of the united pack. True to his time, 
Mr. Harris, accompanied by two friends who 
were staying with him, namely, Mr. John Glan- 
ville and Mr. William Coryton, of Pentillie, 
made his appearance at the appointed rendez- 
vous ; but there they found no hounds, no 
Russell, nor a human being to greet their 
arrival. 

After waiting for some time, not without 
sundry growls and misgivings, Harris, unwilling 
to lose the chance of sport and disappoint his 
friends who had been invited purposely to 
witness the work of the combined forces and 
Russell's skill in handling them pulled out his 
watch and proposed allowing another half-hour 
before they gave him up and returned whence 
they came. In the midst of this quandary the 
music of a pack of hounds in full cry suddenly 



THE RE V. JOHN RUSSELL. 1 5 1 

burst on their ears ; and at the same time, a 
countryman coming up, Harris inquired if he 
had seen the hounds, and whose they were then 
running so merrily. 

" Passon Rissell's, sir, in coose," responded 
the man ; " they'm a driving hard, sure enow ; 
and he home to the tails o' mun." 

Utterly unable to account for such an extra- 
ordinary proceeding on the part of Russell, the 
three gentlemen determined to go in pursuit 
and ask him to explain his apparent want of 
courtesy in throwing off so " wide of the meet," 
and disappointing them of their day's sport. 
On coming to a turn of the road near Inward- 
leigh Moor, there they spied Russell, cool as a 
cucumber, sitting at his ease on the back of 
Billy, his ' famous pony-hunter, and quietly 
watching the hounds. 

" What on earth are you about ? " inquired 
Harris, in a somewhat hasty and impatient 
tone. 

" Very sorry to have kept you waiting, 
Arthur," responded Russell, good-humouredly, 
" but the truth is, I fed rather late last night, and 
the hounds being scarcely fit to trim a good fox 
at once, I thought I'd find a hare first, and let 



152 MEMOIR OF 



them clear their pipes a bit before they tackled 
the stouter animal. They'll come to the road in 
a minute, and I'll stop them then." 

So he did. The hounds were then trotted 
off to a small spinney at the back of Five Oaks, 
where they found at once ; and away they went, 
straight as a bee-line, over the Inwardleigh 
Moor, carrying a fine head over Bowerland 
Moor towards Bridestow, and on to Sourton 
and Prewley Moor ; killing him between that 
and Lidford, on Dartmoor. Time, one hour 
and forty-five minutes. 

It is superfluous to add that, under the 
influence of that glorious run, the cloud of the 
morning vanished like a summer mist, and 
never more darkened a day of that brief but 
happy alliance. 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 153 



CHAPTER VII. 

The Artificial Fox-EarthAccession of Country The Bodmin 
Meetings Long Distances to Cover Sir Tatton Sykes The 
Ivy Bridge Hunt Week Rides Home. 

" O, said he, you will never live to my age, without you 
keep yourself in breath with exercise, and in heart with 
joyfulness ; too much thinking doth consume the spirits ; 
and oft it falls out, that, while one thinks too much of his 
doing, he leaves to do the effect of his thinking." 

SIR PHILIP SIDNEY. 

RUSSELL had been married one year, within a 
day, when, on the 2Qth of May, 1827, his wife 
presented him with his first-born son, whom 
they named John Bury a precious though a 
short-lived offering, for the child died, and was 
buried in Iddesleigh Churchyard on the follow- 
ing 3ist of May. On the 23rd of August, 
however, in that year, 1828, just three months 
afterwards, a second son was born to them at 
Dennington House, and received the names of 
Richard Bury Russell a gentleman who for 
some time was Colonel of the North Devon 



154 MEMOIR OF 



Militia Artillery, a J.P. for that county, and 
died in 1883. 

On turning over some manuscripts relating 
to those early days and the versatile power of 
his little pack, I find, in Russell's handwriting, 
the following letter, which, for the uncommon 
day's sport it records, is entitled to a prominent 
place in this memoir : 

" One evening, soon after the hounds had 
been fed, who should ride to our door at Iddes- 
leigh but Billy Morris, a great chum of mine, 
then a small boy living with his father and 
mother at Fishley, but afterwards a distinguished 
swordsman, and one of the glorious Six Hun- 
dred in the Balaclava Charge. 

" ' I've a holiday to-morrow, Mr. Russell,' 
he said, 'and I've come to ask if you will 
kindly bring out your hounds, and show me a 
day's sport.' 

" ' With all my heart,' I replied ; ' but I have 
promised your father's tenant at Norleigh to kill 
a hare for him ; so come and meet me there at 
ten o'clock.' 

" ' I'll be there to a minute,' he said, thank- 
ing me warmly, and then galloping off on his 
pony, ' big with hope/ 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. 1 5 5 

"It was a wretched morning a regular 
downpour of rain and no one came to the 
meet but dear little Billy and Lord Clinton's 
steward from Heanton. Well, the hounds 
found a hare, and killed her ; found another, 
and she went as straight as a line to Gribble- 
ford Bridge, on which we also killed her. 

" ' Now,' said Billy, 'just throw them into 
uncle's covers ; there's a fox there, I know.' 

" ' Not on any account,' I replied, 'till I have 
his permission to do so.' 

" ' But I'm sure you may,' he continued ; 
1 for he told me so last night.' 

" I begged him, however, to ride up to 
Passaford, half a mile off, and bring me word 
( yea or nay,' from his uncle, and promised that 
I would wait an hour for his return. I did wait 
a full hour, when suddenly the hounds dashed 
in over the road-fence, and in an instant a fox 
was on his legs. Ran him up close to the 
house, but I saw nothing of Billy ; then break- 
ing away, he put his head straight for Dart- 
moor ; but the hounds raced up to him before 
he reached Sourton. I viewed him ahead, and 
saw him crawl into a large furze-bush on the 
open moor ; rode up to it, and, before the 



156 MEMOIR OF 



hounds arrived, had him in my arms. But 
there was no house, and therefore no bag, 
within a couple of miles ; so I threw him down, 
and they ate him no one up but myself. I 
then went back to Norleigh ; but, before I 
arrived there, a farmer came up and asked me 
to kill a hare for him, which I did ; the hounds, 
however, tore her so much that he begged me 
to try again. I did so, and found a tough old 
lady, that gave me as good a run as the dog- 
fox had done, though not so straight ; and I 
killed her also two brace of hares and a fox 
a very satisfactory day's work, which was talked 
about at every farmer's ordinary, far and near, 
and established my little pack on a firm footing 
from that day forth." 

But to return to his coadjutor, Mr. Harris, 
of Hayne. Owing to the hitherto malpractice 
of the natives for so long a time, and the con- 
sequent scarcity of foxes throughout the land, 
he quickly saw that unless some plan were 
adopted by which he could at once protect the 
stock and secure a find, even two days a week 
would be too much for the country ; especially 
as Russell, unlike the man whom one jack-snipe 
supplied with sport for a whole season, almost 



THE RE V. JOHN RUSSELL. 1 57 

invariably killed his fox whenever he found him. 
In the year 1828, for instance, Russell found 
thirty-two foxes killed twenty - eight, and 
earthed a brace ; besides killing seventy-three 
brace of hares with the same scratch pack, of 
which hares the hounds certainly ate their 
share, namely, thirty-six brace. 

Foxes, however, and foxes only, were the 
sole object of the new alliance ; and with a view 
to cultivate and increase their number, besides 
feeing keepers and propitiating the farmers' 
wives with attractive and useful presents a 
handsome red shawl to one and a family Bible 
to another Mr. Harris set to work to construct 
artificial earths in three of the chief covers on 
the Hayne Estate ; the plan for which had been 
given him by Mr. Paul Ourry Treby, of Good- 
amoor, one of the best friends to fox-hunting 
the Dartmoor country ever knew. 

The following rough sketch will probably 
enable the reader to understand the plan on 
which the earth was formed. It consisted 
simply of a narrow walled drain ; which, being 
just large enough to admit a small terrier, was 
constructed on the slope of a hill in the shape of 
the letter Y. 



158 MEMOIR OF 



In the lower or main entrance was an iron 
plate worked by a spring, but fixed by a pad- 
lock, and covered with earth, over which plate 
the foxes travelled habitually. 

In the centre was a wide circular chamber, 
from which the upper passages branched off; 
and the top of that chamber being covered with 
a close-fitting lid, the food for the cubs was 
popped in through it. These were fed twice in 
the week until full-grown, and afterwards every 
Saturday. 

When a fox was wanted, the spring plate 
was unpadlocked ; and the upper entrances 
being stopped, each with a strong gorse faggot, 
the moment he entered, the plate tripped up 
behind him, and there he was safe and ready 
for the coming event. 

It was usually a two o'clock affair ; and 
when a glass or two of old sherry that spur in 
the head which is said to be worth two on the 
heel had been handed about in front of the 
mansion, Blatchford, the keeper, at a given sig- 
nal, ungorsed the upper entrances just before 
the hounds came up ; then put in a terrier at the 
lower end, and away. 

It never failed; but it was a curious fact that 



THE RE V. JOHN RUSSELL. 1 59 

foxes bolted from the Newton Wood earth, at 
one end of the park, almost invariably made for 
the wilds of Dartmoor, while those found in the 
Townleigh earth, on the other side of the park, 
broke away in quite a different direction. It 
puzzled even Russell to account for the why and 
the wherefore of this understanding between 
the fox families, but so it was. 

The secret was well kept for years ; but the 
certainty of having a fox on foot, directly after 
the sherry had been imbibed, gave rise to many 
strange reports on the subject : some said it was 
a bagman from Leadenhall Market : others 
fancied the natives notably that there was 
some " whistness," or witchcraft, in the busi- 
ness ; it might be, as they thought, the work of 
Dick Down, the old huntsman who was eaten 
by the Hayne hounds, and whose ghost was 
known to haunt the covers round the park. But 
Mr. John Crocker Bulteel, in his humorous 
mood, gave another version of the matter, and 
amused the county with a story which Blatch- 
ford, he said, had told him, when he brought 
down a hound to Flete from the Hayne kennels. 
On asking Blatchford how the world went with 
him, he replied : " Well enough, sir, thank 'ee, 



160 MEMOIR OF 



on the whole ; but, Lor, my stummick be almost 
a wored out by lying so long, wi' the fox in a 
bag, on that cold ground up to Newton Wood, 
a-waiting for the squire's holley, and for Passon 
Rissell to bring up they hounds, and then to let 
un goo. I've scarce no stummick left, yeur 
honour ; 'tis fairly stived up wi' th' cold." 

The foxes, however, were no bagmen, but 
the real old Hectors of the moor, as they so 
often proved themselves to be by going straight 
away for their native and far-distant homes. 
Vixens and game were scarce in those days, 
and, to satisfy the cravings of nature, it was 
marvellous how far a fox would travel in search 
of the one and the other. The cubs fostered 
in the artificial earth on arriving at maturity 
soon brought immigrants to the colony from a 
distant land, and with one of these before him, 
whether found in the drain or a neighbouring 
cover, it was no child's-play for Russell and his 
hounds to pull him down ere he reached his own 
diggings in some inaccessible tor on the rugged 
Dartmoor. 

Oh! it would stir a man's heart to the core 
to hear Russell describe some of those Broad- 
bury runs, which the brush of a Carter, or the 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 161 

pen even of a Whyte-Melville would have been 
powerless to paint with a like effect. But to have 
seen and enjoyed them, as he and his friends 
did, must have been a foretaste to them of the 
Elysian fields. 

"It was said by Voltaire, that Marlborough 
had never besieged a fortress which he had not 
taken, never fought a battle which he had not 
won, never conducted a negotiation which he 
had not brought to a prosperous close." So 
wrote Lord Stanhope ; and every one who has 
read his charming history of Queen Anne's 
reign will remember that the Duke of Marl- 
borough's achievements himself, beyond all 
doubt, one of the first military chiefs of that or 
any age could never have been so brilliant and 
so uniformly successful but for the support he 
obtained from "the Grand Alliance." 

In like manner, if it be permitted to compare 
great things with small the war of powerful 
nations with the sylvan campaign which Russell 
was waging among the remote and peaceful 
Britons of the far West it is equally certain 
that he too proved himself a great general in his 
way ; killing or accounting for his fox almost 
every time he found him ; and conquering all 



ii 



i62 MEMOIR OF 



classes, not less by the sport he showed than by 
his genial fellowship, manly bearing, and con- 
summate tact. Nor should the support he met 
with from his alliance with Mr. Arthur Harris, 
of Hayne, remain unacknowledged ; for, beyond 
all question, the active and liberal co-operation 
of that gentleman did him invaluable service in 
his first start as a Master of Hounds. 

Although not yet in possession of that pro- 
perty, his father and mother being still alive, the 
young squire brought- all the influence of his 
paternal acres to bear not only, as we have seen, 
on the cultivation of foxes, but on the still fur- 
ther extension of the country ; promising Russell 
he would not rest, nor would he let his friends 
rest, till he could draw every cover, if no bigger 
than a blanket, from Torrington to Bodmin. 

In helping Russell to promote these objects, 
which he did with unflagging zeal and energy, 
Mr. Harris had the good fortune to be materially 
supported by a kind maiden aunt, yclept Pene- 
lope ; and so zealous was she in the cause of 
fox-hunting that, in her eighty-eighth year, she 
remained for some hours in her pony-carriage 
watching Mr. Henry Deacon, the present able 
Master of the H.H., drawing the Hayne covers, 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 163 

and finding his fox at length in Arraycot 
Wood. 

Among the best of the hounds selected by 

4^* 

Russell from the Hayne kennels, and afterwards 
drafted by him, was a litter of five, bred from 
the Belvoir Rosamond by a noted hound of 
Russell's, called Mercury ; they were not only 
pictures to look at in point of shape and beauty, 
but hard drivers and never idle. Unfortunately, 
however, they were very small hounds, and did 
not nearly come up to the standard which Rus- 
sell, with the prospect before him of seeing his 
country largely extended, was anxious to raise 
to twenty-two inches ; so, matchless as they 
were, both in work and form, the Rosamond lot 
were sent to Mr. Tout, of Burrington ; while 
others, for a like reason, went to Col. Lloyd 
Watkins, of Pennoyre, Mr. George Coham, of 
Coham, the Rev. E. Clarke, of St. Dominick, and 
lastly, to the Rev. Pomeroy Gilbert, of Bodmin 
Priory ; a gentleman, in Russell's pwn words, 
" blessed with a big heart, given to hospitality, 
and withal a most accomplished sportsman." 

' To many a remonstrance against drafting 
such a valuable lot, Russell would simply quote, 
if not the very words, at least the opinion of a 



1 64 MEMOIR OF 



well-known authority on such matters : "A little 
hound will go well in some countries : a large 
hound, if fed to go, will go well in all ; " and 
he would add emphatically, " that's my opinion 
too." 

But the sport he had shown, and continued 
to show, with his little pack had already made 
his name famous throughout the western coun- 
ties ; insomuch that many large landed pro- 
prietors, whose covers pertained neither to Mr. 
Glubb's hunt, nor to that of Mr. Newton 
Fellowes, came forward and invited him not 
only to draw them when he pleased, but to 
consider them for the future as part and parcel 
of his own country. Among those may be 
mentioned Mr. J. M. Woolcombe, of Ashbury, 
Mr. Savile, of Oaklands, Mr. Tremayne, of 
Sydenham, and Mr. Harris Arundell, of Lifton 
Park. 

But, in addition to these valuable acquisi- 
tions, the trustees of Sir William Molesworth, 
then a minor, were good enough still further to 
enlarge his borders by giving Russell per- 
mission to draw the Tetcott and Pencarrow 
covers. Again, the Duke of Northumberland's 
covers at Werrington, the Duke of Bedford's at 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 165 

Endsleigh, those of Mr. Baring Gould, Colonel 
Fortescue, of Buckland Filleigh, Mr. Luxmoore, 
Mr. Buckingham, and of Lord Clinton, were all 
placed at his disposal, while at the same time a 
general promise was given that foxes, for the 
future, would receive fair play. 

When the season, then, of 1828 had fairly 
set in, Russell must have felt as if the morn of 
a golden age was dawning upon him, so full of 
promise, so bright and encouraging was the 
prospect that now lay before him. Like the 
Colossus of Rhodes, he had one foot on Broad- 
bury and the other planted on the Bodmin 
moors ; with not one, but many great rivers 
between them ; and a country abounding in 
wild open moors, fairly undulated, and holding 
a grand scent, over which a hound and a horse 
could travel together at tip-top pace, while every 
passage of a run might be seen by the rider ; a 
country, in fact, such as Meynell and Warde 
never saw in their happiest dreams. 

Like the "Old Berkeley" of former days, 
which, when hunted by Mr. Harvey Combe 
and Mr. Majoribanks, with the famous Harry 
Oldaker for their huntsman, extended from 
Barnett to Cirencester, this grand moorland 



1 66 MEMOIR OF 



country stretched east and west, literally from 
Torrington to Bodmin, a distance of upwards 
of seventy miles, including the vast intervening 
space, north and south, between Exmoor and 
Dartmoor. Then, for the convenience of the 
hounds in so wide a range, they occupied, 
according to their meets, kennels at Iddesleigh, 
Hayne, Bodmin, and Pencarrow ; Iddesleigh, 
of course, being their head-quarters at all other 
times. 

It would be a long task, and in most cases a 
downright infliction on the reader, however 
patient under the recital of mahogany-runs that 
reader might be, if even a tithe of the brilliant 
and continuous sport show r n by Russell from 
1828 to 1832 were recorded in this memoir. 

Nevertheless, in order to represent the man 
in his true colours, and show that, as a hunts- 
man, he was equally good all round, a few only 
of his most remarkable runs brilliant with a 
burning scent, line-hunting with moderate, or, 
again, with a cold and catching scent have 
been selected for that purpose. 

Late in the autumn of 1828, the fixture 
being Broadbury Castle, Russell and his little 
ones met with a greeting such as few have 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 167 

received and he could never forget grips of 
welcome on every side from the large field 
assembled to hunt with him in that wild country. 
Conspicuous among the Worthies of Devon 
and Cornwall were J. M. Woolcombe, of Ash- 
bury ; " Gallant Tom Phillipps," of Landue ; 
the late lamented baronet Sir Walter Carew ; 
W. Cory ton, of Pentillie ; F. and J. Glanville, 
of Catchfrench ; Arthur Harris, of Hayne ; 
Captain M. Louis ; Paul O. Treby, of Gooda- 
moor ; H. Bourchier Wrey, a gentleman always 
well mounted, and from his spurs to his hat 
neat as a new pin ; L. Buck, of Moreton ; 
Whyte, of Pilton ; Erving Clarke, of Buckland 
Toutsaints ; W. Gurney, of Bratton-Clovelly ; 
and Moore-Stevens, of Cross. 

Russell, as it happened, was short of horses 
on that occasion ; but, as luck and good fellow- 
ship would have it, he was gloriously mounted 
by a friend in need, Mr. Arthur Harris, 
who put him on Reuben Apsley by Gains- 
borough, a chestnut horse, perfect as a fencer 
and a rare goer in deep ground. Found and 
away at once ; over the moor at a trimming 
pace to Hindabarrow, where they threw up. 
Russell, however, in spite of advice to the con- 



1 68 MEMOIR OF 



trary, caught hold of his hounds, and taking 
them back to a road where he had seen a hound 
hesitate for a moment, hit off his fox ; held the 
line for a mile or more steadily along the high- 
road, then, quitting it, dashed over the moor 
and raced up to him in Germanswick Wood, 
bringing him away in view, and running into 
him on Brockscombe Moor. Time, forty 
minutes. 

Returning homewards, a fox jumped out of 
a hedgerow capped with gorse, and away they 
went at score, over Beaworthy Hollow and 
Soper's Moor, across Wagaford Water, running 
from scent to view and rolling him over on the 
open moor in fifty-two minutes, without the 
ghost of a check from find to finish. 

Heavy and deep were the moorlands, while 
the boundary fences were big enough to stop a 
red-deer. Russell, in each run, went straight 
away with his leading hounds, taking the fences 
as they came, and maintaining the lead from 
first to last ; though Phillipps on Foster, a 
noted hunter by Gainsborough, Morth Wool- 
combe on Crown Prince, Treby on Spectre, L. 
Buck on Alpha, Captain Louis on Harlequin, 
Cory ton on Raven, Harris on Rosabel, and Mr. 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 169 

H. Bourchier Wrey on Bodkin, struggled hard 
to catch him ; but in vain. He rode like a 
man, and handled his hounds, according to the 
opinion of all present, as no one else in Devon 
could then have done. 

When congratulated on the place he had 
kept, he jocularly replied, " No wonder, Arthur; 
it was your horse ; but they were my own 
spurs." 

Then, to begin the New Year auspiciously, 
on the ist of January, 1829, Russell displayed a 
rare acquaintance with the tactics of a dodging 
fox ; and a perseverance in pursuing him worthy 
of a sleuth-hound. Found in Harper Wood, 
and went away to Abbot's Hill, skirting covers 
and running a line of inclosures down to the 
Torridge, which they crossed and recrossed 
with slow hunting and an indifferent scent ; 
Russell very patient, but now and again hazard- 
ing a wide cast to get, if possible, nearer to his 
fox. At length, the scent mending, he cheered 
on his hounds, and catching an occasional view, 
as the fox dodged over his foiled line, he 
clapped them on from time to time, forced him 
into fresh ground, crossed the river again, and 
at last pulled him down gallantly, after a long 



i;o MEMOIR OF 



and trying chase of two hours and fifteen 
minutes. 

Mrs. Russell was out on the above occasion, 
and held, as usual, a forward place throughout 
the run ; the patience of her husband and the 
perseverance of the hounds giving her the 
greatest delight. 

Cornwall, like its sister county, is famed, as 
all the world knows, for its hospitality ; and now 
it was that certain Cornish gentlemen threw 
open their halls, their covers, and their kennels, 
to welcome Russell across the border and pro- 
vide him and his field with a fortnight's hunting 
twice in the year and such hunting, over those 
wild moors, the Roughtor and Brown willy wastes 
the grassy, scent-holding lands of Tetcott and 
Pencarrow as made the country ring with the 
sport from Tavistock to the Land's-End. 

" Many a tale," writes Mr. Harris, "is even 
yet told in the settle of the wayside inn, of the 
runs that happened during that hunting period 
of unwonted brilliancy. No farmer within the 
adjoining or distant parishes, who had a horse 
or a pony, failed to be present ; labour was com- 
paratively suspended ; and even the women 
' care creature ' put on their Sunday bonnets 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. 1 7 1 

and shawls to go and see Mr. Russell find a fox. 
The houses in the neighbourhood were full of 
guests, and these hunting meetings possessed 
rather the character of triumphant ovations than 
the appearance of ordinary fixtures. Petitions 
were made by the farmers to arrange the meets 
so as not to interfere with Tavistock market ; 
and a sale of stock was not exactly put off, but 
the advertisement of it was once delayed until 
after the Russell fortnight." 

These were the Bodmin Meetings, one of 
the chief promoters of which was that excellent 
sportsman, the Rev. Pomeroy Gilbert, of Bod- 
min Priory ; for he it was who secured Russell 
as his guest, whose kennels and stables were 
placed entirely at his disposal, and whose in- 
fluence, had Russell needed it, would have been 
amply sufficient to insure for him a hearty recep- 
tion throughout that land. At Pencarrow, too, 
though Sir William Molesworth was not yet of 
age, friends assembled from afar, till the house 
was filled to the rafters ; stalls for two horses 
being allotted to each guest ; and the kennels, 
when required, to the use of Russell's hounds. 

The country houses, in fact, vied with each 
other in the warmth and extent of their hospi- 



172 MEMOIR OF 



talities ; insomuch, that the old-fashioned sign 
of the wayside inn might have been aptly hung 
over their own doors : " Good entertainment 
here for man and horse." 

A memorable day was the 1 6th of February, 
1829, when Russell found three foxes together 
in Deviock Wood, near Bodmin, and killed all 
three before the sun set on Brownwilly tors. A 
brace broke cover at once, going away, like a 
loving pair, side by side ; while the third stole 
off without being viewed, and put his head 
straight for the moor. 

Breaking on their very brushes, the pack 
stuck to the former, pelting after them like a 
storm of hail ; when, after a short burst, the 
foxes separated, and so did the hounds ; Russell 
sticking to one division and screaming to his field 
to stop the other. Stop them, indeed ! the moor 
was before them, the scent breast-high, and the 
best horse that ever was foaled would fail to 
head them now in their desperate onward course. 

Mr. Harris on Rosabel, an Irish mare by 
Poteen, did his best ; so did Colonel Raleigh 
Gilbert and many others ; but they never came 
up even to a tail-hound. 

And now occurred an incident which, but 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 173 

for the clever animal under him, might have 
terminated with serious, if not fatal results, both 
to Rosabel and her rider. Coming best pace to 
a high boundary fence, built with stone and 
coped with turf, the mare faced it gallantly in 
her stride, bucked upon top, and then, with a 
vigorous spring, fairly cleared a couple of bul- 
locks standing for shelter under the moor-wall. 
Had either of the beasts shifted its position and 
turned moorwards, a collision must have occurred, 
which would probably have brought the day's 
sport to a tragic end. 

Another very remarkable feat of equitation 
was performed by the same gentleman about 
this time. On returning, after a day's fox- 
hunting, to Hayne via Tinhay Bridge, his pro- 
gress was momentarily arrested by discovering 
that the bridge, consisting of five arches, was 
under repair ; four of which were only partially 
finished, while the space intended for the centre 
arch was left entirely open ; the river running 
rapidly and visibly some fourteen feet below. 
Mr. Harris, happily, was on Skylark, a Foxbury 
mare bred by Mr. Brendon, of Cazantick, and a 
perfect hunter. To the horror of the adjoining 
cottagers, many of whom were watching him 



! 



174 MEMOIR OF 



from their doors, Mr. Harris rode over the 
hurdles that fenced off the bridge ; then, giving 
the mare her head, she felt cautiously for a sure 
footing amid the broken masonry, and, collect- 
ing herself, jumped to the top of the first arch, 
then on to the second, paused a moment on the 
brink of the centre arch, as if measuring the 
exact width of the chasm, then rose coolly and 
collectedly and cleared it at a bound. The two 
remaining arches were easily topped ; then 
came the hurdles, and away. 

Gaylass, Woodbine, Guilty, Comedy, Despe- 
rate, Madcap, Singer, Daphne, and Mercury 
are running for blood, and will not be denied. 
And though Harris and Colonel Raleigh Gilbert, 
the future hero of many a brilliant campaign in 
India, and afterwards sp famous at home both 
in " silk and scarlet," are riding like madmen to 
stop them, their efforts are utterly vain. Nay, 
had Jove's winged messenger been there, the 
god himself could never have stopped those 
nine merciless hounds, as on they sped, like 
very demons, in pursuit of their prey. 

In thirty-five minutes the fox that gay 
Lothario bright as a new guinea when he first 
broke cover, but now beaten and begrimed with 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 175 

soil, bites the dust, and is torn, as Mr. Whyte- 
Melville has it, into 

" A hundred tatters of brown." 

But what of Russell ? On bringing back 
the hounds to Helland Wood there they found 
him, sticking to his fox, like the Old Man of the 
Sea to Sinbad the Sailor ; and driving him, like 
wildfire, through that great cover, as if it was 
no bigger than a willow-spinney. 

" A fresh hat in the ring," thought Russell, 
as he greeted the nine hounds thrown in at 
head : " Now then, Arthur, we shall have him 
in no time ; " and they killed him in an hour 
and twenty minutes. 

. On counting the hounds it was found that 
three of them were missing ; and anon came 
tidings that a third fox had slipped away, and 
that those hounds had been seen by a turf-cutter 
near the Jamaica Inn, streaming away towards 
Brownwilly. Jemmy Reynolds, kennel-man to 
Mr. Pomeroy Gilbert, was then despatched after 
them ; and, on approaching a tor of that wild 
moor, he heard the three hounds beneath it, 
marking among the cavernous rocks that lay at 
its base. In went his terriers ; and Jemmy, 



176 MEMOIR OF 



soon handling his fox, brought him home 
that night, in great triumph, to the Priory 
kennels. 

A friend, who was present on that occasion, 
writes thus : " I never knew of a pack finding 
three foxes at once with scent breast-high 
and accounting for all three of them, as Russell's 
did on that day." 

Perhaps there is no more remarkable feature 
in Russell's long career than the hardihood of 
frame and power of endurance he has exhibited 
and that, too, without showing fatigue in 
riding long distances to cover, hunting his 
hounds all day, and returning home at night, 
from points frequently far more distant than 
even the morning meets. In all the annals of 
the Chase few men, if any, taking the outside 
of a horse as their conveyance, have equalled 
him in this respect. 

The late Sir Tatton Sykes, a man of Her- 
culean strength and courage, comes nearest to 
him in the long road distances he was wont to 
accomplish in the saddle alone. But it will be 
remembered that Sir Tatton rode only thorough- 
bred hacks, animals that travelled like oil, and, 
from their fine condition, did their ten miles an 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 177 

hour with ease to themselves and luxury to 
their rider. 

His kennel at Eddlesthorpe was at least 
fifteen miles from his mansion at Sledmere, and 
he was constantly in the habit of riding thither 
on hunting mornings before his hounds left for 
a meet yet many miles farther. It is related of 
him that, " if asked to go a hundred miles to 
ride a race, he puts a clean shirt in his pocket, 
his racing jacket under his waistcoat, a pair of 
overalls above his leathers, and, jumping upon 
a thoroughbred tit, arrives there the next day 
by the time of starting ; and, when the race is 
over, canters his thoroughbred home again." 

Far different was Russell's case from Sir 
Tatton's. Subject always to a short stud and 
indifferent hacks, which not unfrequently were 
Exmoor ponies, sometimes half-broken and wild 
as the red-deer, Russell fought his way over the 
roughest roads in England, starting often be- 
fore daylight, and returning still oftener long 
after nightfall, guided by instinct or the stars of 
heaven to his far-distant home. 

It may well be imagined, therefore, that in 
the matter of hacks and cross-country roads, 
Sir Tatton's performances, however long in the 



12 



1 78 MEMOIR OF 



saddle, were scarcely more than pleasant exer- 
cise compared with those of Russell's. Still, 
Sir Tatton was a wonder ; and in Yorkshire, 
for many a future day, anecdotes of his kindly 
but quaint habits, and especially of his manly 
prowess, not only as a sportsman, but as ai 
accomplished athlete, will be cherished even as 
household words. 

Once, on paying his annual visit to London, 
whither he had ridden, as usual, every yard of 
the way from Sledmere, he called in at Tom 
Spring's, in Holborn, and, speaking in the 
shrill tone which characterized his voice, he 
begged to be served with a tankard of their 
oldest and strongest ale. Besides himself and 
the barmaid, the only other person in the room 
was a square-set, broad-shouldered man, evi- 
dently a member of the pugilistic fraternity. 
On seeing the tankard brought in, the man 
said, in a mimicking way, " Here, Betsy, bring 
that ale to me, and take a jug of mild beer to 
that old woman." 

Sir Tatton turned up his cuffs and buttoned 
his coat a process which brought the prize- 
fighter to his legs in one moment ; and at it 
they went, there and then. 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 179 

In less than ten minutes the ruffian was 
knocked into a coal-scuttle ; and, having dis- 
covered his error, refused to continue the un- 
equal fight any longer. 

" You may now drink the ale, my man," 
said Sir Tatton ; " and then go home and tell 
your wife you have been well thrashed by an 
old woman." 

This is exactly what Russell might have 
done in the heyday of his Oxford life. 

But now, a few examples will suffice to show 
how severely long were the distances to cover 
which Russell habitually performed, both with 
foxhounds and staghounds, from the first hour of 
his mastership down to the last year of his life. 
More than once has he gone, in the grey of 
the morning, on horseback, from Iddesleigh to 
Four-hole Cross on the Bodmin moors over 
fifty miles hunted as long as there was light 
to see a hound, then, singing, " Dulce, dulce 
domum," turned his horse's head and ridden, 
through the gloom of night, back to his 
home. 

Milestones were never heeded by him when 
the object was to meet hounds ; indeed, along 
the wild tracts and by-roads over which his 



I So MEMOIR OF 



course usually lay, no such landmarks could 
have been seen on the longest summer-day. 

During the stag-hunting period of 1877, 
Russell, in accordance with his custom for 
the last sixty years, on every occasion but 
one, rode to Cloutsham Ball and Hawk- 
combe Head, hunted all day, and returned to 
his residence at Tordown by eleven o'clock 
p.m. ; the distance to either meet being about 
twenty-five miles, more or less, and the road in 
many parts little better than a mere bridle-path. 
Long habit, which is second nature, added to a 
physical frame apparently insensible of fatigue, 
could alone enable a man in his eighty-second 
year to do such distances in the saddle, not only 
without suffering, but with a rare appetite for 
the next day's sport. 

But a week's work performed in the spring 
of 1874, when he was only in his seventy-ninth 
year, has, I believe, no parallel in the records 
of such feats. He was invited by Admiral 
and Mrs. Parker to stay a week with them 
at Delamore, their seat near Ivybridge, on 
the southern side of Dartmoor, to meet Mr. 
Mark Rolle, whose hounds were about to 
hunt that country, by invitation from Mr. 



THE RE V. JOHN RUSSELL. 181 

Trelawny, on alternate days in conjunction with 
his own. 

Russell would unhesitatingly have said 
" Nolo Episcopari," if even the Palatinate of 
Durham had been offered to him ; but to enjoy, 
at the same time, the hospitality of Delamore 
and the treat of a week's hunting with the 
crack packs of his two friends was more than he 
could resist ; so he responded to Mrs. Parker's 
bidding with a grateful acceptance. 

Accordingly, on Monday, the 23rd of March, 
he was off betimes, riding part way and doing 
the rest by rail a distance altogether of more 
than eighty miles. Arrived in time for the meet, 
and hunted all day with Mr. Rolle's hounds. 

Tuesday, met Mr. Rolle at Ivybridge. 

Wednesday, Mr. Trelawny, Newnham Park. 

Thursday, Mr. Rolle, Brent Station. 

Friday, Mr. Rolle, Delamore. 

Saturday, Mr. Trelawny, Hanger Down. 

Unfortunately, the weather during the week 
was not favourable to scent ; consequently, with 
no lack of foxes, the sport did not prove exactly 
the dainty dish Mr. Trelawny 's hospitality 
would have set before his friends. Having 
earthed their fox within a mile or so of Ivy- 



1 82 MEMOIR OF 



bridge on that sixth day, Russell looked at his 
watch, and, finding it was just two o'clock, he 
took his hat off to Mrs. Parker, bid her and 
the field good-bye, and then, homeward bound, 
steered his course northwards directly over the 
moor. 

Between his home and Hanger Down, 
whence he started, the distance is roughly esti- 
mated at seventy miles ; and as he pricked on 
merrily, and never quitted his saddle, with the 
exception of changing his horse midway, till he 
reached his own stable door at eleven p.m., it 
cannot be less He then dined heartily, slept 
well, and the next day, to crown the week's 
work, performed three full services in his parish 
with his wonted animation, earnestness, and 
effect. " Before he had taken anything to eat, 
however," writes Admiral Parker, " he sat down 
and filled a sheet of note-paper to my eldest 
daughter, saying he had tasted nothing, not 
even a biscuit, since he left our breakfast-table 
that morning at ten, and that he felt neither 
hungry, thirsty, nor tired after his day's work. 
The distance from Hanger Down to Denning- 
ton," the Admiral adds, " cannot be less than 
seventy miles." 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. 1 83 

But, besides Russell, there were a few others 
in that country, kindred spirits and friends of 
his, whom no road-work could daunt when the 
meet was a good one ; gentlemen who, hunting 
either with Russell, Mr. Tom Hext, of Restor- 
mel, or the Landue hounds, were in the habit 
of riding incredible distances to cover, and re- 
turning afterwards to their homes at night, 
because they could find no comfortable sleeping 
quarters in the neighbourhood of such popular 
meets as Tetcott, Broadbury Castle, Chapman's 
Well, or Dosmary Pool. 

Mr. Trelawny, of Coldrennick, who hunted 
the Dartmoor country for thirty years with such 
signal success, was notably one of these ; but 
again, like Sir Tatton Sykes, the hacks he 
rode Lalage, Melmoth, and Landsend were 
simply perfect. 

Another was Mr. C. A. Harris, who, to 
meet hounds near Beaford, started from Pen- 
tillie Castle at six a.m., and, after a blazing run 
and a kill in Castle Hill Park, sixty-five miles 
from Pentillie, returned thither to dinner at half 
after six, the distance in road-riding alone being 
about one hundred and fifteen miles. It was 
done with a couple of hacks, " Meg Merrilies " 



1 84 MEMOIR OF 



and " Ladybird," the last by " Anacreon " from 
Mr. H. Bourchier Wrey's " Ellen," by " Rain- 
bow," doing her eighteen miles an hour each 
way. The country-folk, at first sight, must 
have taken him for Dick Turpin himself ; and, 
if they did not raise the hue-and-cry, 

" Stop thief! stop thief! a highwayman ! " 

they must have been sharp enough to discover 
that the mare Mr. Harris rode was a bright 
bay, and not the veritable " Black Bess," of 
matchless speed and historic renown. 



THE RE V. JOHN R USSELL. 185 



CHAPTER VIII. 

Has no Regular Whip His Three Horses Termination of the 
Alliance and Contraction of his Country Mr. J. Morth 
Woolcombe The Pencarrow Run Mrs. Smith, of For lock 
The Four Vixen Cubs. 

" When the country is deepest, I give you my word 

'Tis a pride and a pleasure to put him along ; 
O'er fallow and pasture he sweeps like a bird, 
And there's nothing too wide, nor too high, nor too 
strong." 

WHYTE-MELVILLE. 

THE formation of Russell's new and " indepen- 
dent dynasty," and the grand sport he was able 
to show with his little pack, gathered though it 
was from all points of the compass, has been 
roughly sketched in the foregoing chapters ; and 
now, it will be asked, by what active and com- 
petent whip was he supported, or what other 
efficient aid did he receive to enable him to 
bring about such satisfactory results ? The 
question is easily answered : so strongly was he 
animated by the spirit of " self-help," so well 
did he know the country and the habits of the 



i86 MEMOIR OF 



wild animal he hunted, that, with the exception 
of casual and very uncertain assistance from 
his field, and the occasional service of a raw 
lad a Jack-of-all-work called Sam he literally 
did the work single-handed, and depended on 
no one but himself. 

To ride a long distance to cover in the morn- 
ing, to hunt a pack of foxhounds all day, and 
at night to jog slowly home with them to their 
perhaps far-distant kennel, is usually held to 
be work enough and to spare for any ordinary 
man ; but if, in addition to these duties, he 
has to depend mainly on himself to keep them 
together when they divide, to stop them on 
riot, and, in fact, to do the work of a whip, or 
even two whips, besides his own, he need, like 
Alcides, have a double share of strength, 
activity, and endurance to do it all, and do it 
efficiently. 

Nevertheless, this task, the ordinary work 
of at least two men, imposed as it was upon 
Russell by that old complaint of his tightness 
of the chest was not only no toil to him, but a 
real labour of love one he would have ridden 
" bare ridge " to perform, nay, sacrificed his last 
crust to enjoy. 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 187 

Beckford, the Blackstone of hunting law and 
practice, informs us that " no pack of foxhounds 
is complete without two whippers-in," and, 
moreover, adds this testimony to the advantage 
gained by the help of a good whip : " I 
think I should have better sport and kill more 
foxes with a moderate huntsman and an excel- 
lent whipper-in, than with the best of huntsmen 
without such an assistant." Again, " No one 
knows better than you do how essential a good 
adjutant is to a regiment ; believe me, a good 
whipper-in is not less so to a pack of fox- 
hounds." Then, with reference to the duty of a 
whipper-in, he continues, " While the huntsman 
is riding to his head-hounds, the whipper-in, if 
he has genius, may show it in various ways ; he 
may clap forward to any great earth that may 
by chance be open ; he may sink the wind to 
halloo, or mob a fox when the scent fails ; he 
may keep him off his foil ; he may stop the 
tail-hounds and get them forward, and has it 
frequently in his power to assist the hounds 
without doing them any hurt, provided he has 
sense to distinguish where he is wanted most. 
Besides, the most essential part of fox-hunting, 
the making and keeping the pack steady, 



i88 MEMOIR OF 



depends entirely upon him, as a huntsman 
should seldom rate, and never flog a hound." 

Notwithstanding the importance, then, at- 
tached by Beckford to the business of a whip, 
and the high qualifications which should be 
found in a man acting in that capacity, Russell 
managed for some time to do well without one, 
depending, as we have seen, solely on himself 
and the rough boy already referred to. But, 
though rough in appearance, Sam had his wits 
about him, and very soon profited by the 
lessons in which his master spared no pains to 
instruct him. For instance, Sam, with a view 
to his education, was occasionally permitted 
to join the well-appointed pack of the Hon. 
Newton-Fellowes, and at such times was espe- 
cially charged to keep his eye on Stephen, first 
whipper-in to the latter, and carefully to note 
his tactics. 

Then, the pastime of the day over, Russell 
would summon the lad to his dining-room, put 
him through his facings, and minutely test the 
result of his day's schooling by asking him such 
questions as the following : 

" Now, Sam, you saw the second whip 
riding after and rating those riotous puppies, 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 189 

Fleecer and Frantic, when he was a lanyard 
or more behind them ; was he right or wrong 
in doing so, and what would you have done ? " 
" Got to their head, sir, and then rated 
them." 

" Quite right, Sam ; but, bear in mind, if 
you want to punish a hound, you should hit him 
first and rate him afterwards." 

" Supposing a change takes place in cover, 
and the hounds divide, which lot should you 
stop ? " 

" That depends on the huntsman, sir : if he 
holds to one lot, I should stop the other, and 
get them forward as fast as I could." 

" That's right, Sam ; and don't forget to do 
the same by the tail-hounds. Good boy ; you 
may go now." 

Thus schooled, theoretically as well as prac- 
tically, Sam, blessed with some genius and 
strong common sense, became in the course of 
a few years as useful and clever a whip as ever 
followed a hound ; so that, with his help and 
the use of his own significant horn, Russell, not 
caring a button for show, but only for the sport, 
could well afford to dispense with the needless 
encumbrance of a more costly staff. 



190 MEMOIR OF 



Some years afterwards John Beale, hunts- 
man to Sir Walter Carew, and subsequently to 
the Tiverton Hounds, did wonders single- 
handed with the latter pack. He had the rare 
knack, when a fox was up, of getting to their 
head and keeping his horn going merrily along- 
side the leading hounds, a signal so well under- 
stood by the rest of the pack, that he rarely 
left a hound behind him in breaking away from 
the deepest covers. Many condemned him as 
being a tinker in his trade, making more noise 
than was either necessary or agreeable ; never- 
theless, the system worked admirably that 
lively blast and sharp wild cheer of his gathered 
up the deep-drawing hounds as no whip in the 
world could have done it, and brought them, 
out and together, on the very back of their fox ; 
for nobody knew better than he did that "a fox 
well found is a fox half killed." 

Thus, without the help of a regular whip, 
" old John Beale " killed his foxes, and did it 
handsomely, showing such sport as, so long as 
that generation lasts, will not readily be for- 
gotten in the Tiverton country. 

Russell's plan was very much the same his 
horn was half the battle to him ; but, educated 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 191 

as he had been in the high-class school of Mr. 
George Templer and Mr. John Codrington, his 
style, as might be expected, was that of a gen- 
tleman ; for although quite as energetic as John 
Beale, and with an eye like a hawk to his head- 
hounds, no one was ever heard to object either 
to the lively shake of his horn, or to the soul- 
stirring echoes of his musical cheer. On the 
contrary, as a farmer was once heard to say, 
"It fairly mak'th a man's heart jump in his 
waistcoat to hear Passon Rissell find his fox ; 
'twixt he and the hounds, 'tis like a band of 
music striking up for a dance." 

The history and character of the pack 
hunted by Russell during his residence at 
Iddesleigh having been thus briefly recorded, 
the reader will now expect to learn something 
of his stud, what his powers as a horseman 
were, and how he acquitted himself as a rider to 
hounds. 

To describe him as having been a brilliant 
performer across country, or to compare him, 
for instance, with such men as Mr. Assheton 
Smith, Mr. Lindo, or Lord Alvanley, would be 
wholly beside the mark ; for, in the first place, 
Devonshire, with its picturesque scenery, deep 



192 MEMOIR OF 



woodlands, hollow combes, and banks averaging 
ten or twelve feet in height, is a very different 
country to ride over from the undulating pas- 
tures and flyable fences of the Midland counties. 
In the next place, his financial means, to which 
allusion has already been made, always acting 
as a drag on his wheel, not only limited his 
choice, but constrained him to the disadvantage 
of a short stud, and to the absolute necessity of 
husbanding its resources, whenever an oppor- 
tunity enabled him to do so. 

Thus it may with truth be said that in 
moments of the purest enjoyment, when scent 
served and hounds were running breast-high, 
the thought of easing his horse and saving its 
legs was never absent from his mind ; that was 
the one Care that sat behind his saddle the 
spectre that haunted him when the game was 
at its height the one unpalatable drop in the 
bumper of enjoyment he was drinking to the 
dregs ; for the thought of to-morrow would 
obtrude itself, would make him constantly dis- 
mount and lead his horse over high banks; when, 
if his stud had been less limited, he certainly 
would have taken the quicker, and, to himself, 
the far easier mode of getting at his hounds. 



THE RE V. JOHN RUSSELL. 193 

Russell, therefore, could neither be called a 
bruiser, nor even a hard man, in the common 
acceptation of that term ; but his judgment as a 
horseman could never be impugned ; he had 
fair hands, a quick eye, a heart in the right 
place, and so firm and yet easy a seat in the 
saddle, that no one who looked at him when 
mounted but would say, " That's a workman, 
every inch of him." 

Nevertheless, despite the drawback men- 
tioned, and all other difficulties, Russell very 
rarely failed to be close to his hounds ; nor, 
though he lamented his " cumbrous weight " 
some twelve stone odd did the three brave 
horses that carried him so safely and well for 
many a hard season appear to be overtaxed 
by the work, or show any signs of unnatural 
decay. They were called Billy, Cottager, and 
Monkey. 

The last, a chestnut horse, although some- 
what uncertain in his temper, became a hunter 
of great renown in the country, doing his work 
admirably, and coming home gay as a lark after 
the longest day. The second was an entire 
horse, very clever at his fences, but very 
vicious ; he would turn round and bite like a 

13 



194 MEMOIR OF 



bull-dog, if the rider gave him the ghost of a 
chance. Even in his gallop he would occa 
sionally take a grab at the point of Russell' 
foot ; and, had he caught it, would have torn 
the boot ruthlessly from his leg. Twice he 
seized him by the coat, but fortunately without 
doing more damage than merely rending the 
garment. Once indeed he very nearly brought 
an old friend of Russell's, Dr. George Owen, to 
serious grief. They were riding in chase side 
by side the hounds running hard when Cot- 
tager, in a sudden paroxysm of temper, made 
a fierce grab at Owen's horse ; but, luckily, 
instead of catching him with his teeth, he 
only caught the saddle-cloth and one skirt of 
the rider's coat. These he tore from the back 
of both, leaving the worthy doctor the " Owen 
swift and Owen strong" of that country in the 
ludicrous predicament of Bailie Nicol Jarvie, 
when cut down by the dirk of the Highland 
gillie. 

On another occasion, Russell, when riding 
Cottager and hunting with a new draft from the 
Hambledon Hounds, found a fox near Beaford 
Moor, and pressed him in cover so sharply that 
he turned short and broke away, unknown to 



THE RE V. JOHN R USSELL. 1 95 

him, down wind. Losing sight of the pack, 
and fancying he viewed a tail-hound at the 
extreme end of the moor, he rode up, and there 
found an Irish packman, Peter Dougan by 
name, standing on a bank, and blown by the 
chase ; but still staring after it with bated breath 
and longing eyes. 

" Have you seen the hounds, my man ? " 
inquired Russell, eagerly. 

" Iss, your honour ; they're jist ahead, run- 
ning like a peal of bells." 

" Then jump up behind me, pack and all," 
said Russell, charmed with the man's enthu- 
siasm and evident love of hunting ; " jump up, 
and you shall see a bit more of the sport." 

"Bedad, then," said Peter, "that I'll do;" 
and as Russell adjusted Cottager to the bank, 
Peter and his pack took their place behind the 
cantle, notwithstanding the broad meanings 
displayed by the horse at being thus loaded. 
He then turned to kick furiously, and never 
stopped kicking till he had fairly floored Peter 
and his pack. 

Not long after this adventure, when Russell 
was riding the chestnut horse Monkey, Peter 
again met him, and said he had a great favour 



196 MEMOIR OF 



to ask him, and that was, that he would allow 
him to ride that horse over a five-barred gate, 
with his hands tied behind his back, his face to 
the horse's tail, and without saddle or bridle. 
"And," said Peter, entreatingly, "I'll give ye 
me pack, sir, af ye'll let me do it ; and, by me 
sowl, 'tis worth five pounds." 

Russell, in a state of wonderment, inquired 
why he was so anxious to perform such a feat, 
pointing out the danger of attempting it in such 
a fashion. 

" Faix, your honour," replied Peter, " I 
should like to tell 'em what I've done in 
England when I get back to the ould country." 

Monkey with hounds, and in a good temper, 
would jump any ordinary five-barred gate ; but 
otherwise wouldn't rise at a fender. " Had I 
granted his request," said Russell, " the horse 
would have broken Peter's neck to a dead 
certainty." 

For years afterwards the Irishman, on his 
annual journeys to England, never failed to 
include in his pack a few silk pocket-handker- 
chiefs of the blue bird's-eye pattern, which he 
brought especially for Russell's use ; and it was 
with no little difficulty that he could be per- 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. 1 97 

suaded to take payment for those articles, so 
devoted an admirer was he of Russell and his 
hounds. And so well known to the hawking 
fraternity in Ireland was Russell's name, that 
not five years ago forty years after Peter 
Dougan's date the former overtook two Irish- 
men near South Molton, and, having packs on 
their backs, he inquired whence they came : 
" From Ireland, your honour," was the reply ; 
44 we landed at Ilfracombe last night." 

" Have you any handkerchiefs of this 
pattern?" asked Russell, showing them a bird's- 
eye blue one. 

" No, your honour ; they are very scarce 
now." 

" Well," he replied, " I bought them from a 
countryman of yours, Pat Dougan by name." 

" Tis Peter Dougan you mane ; and you 
are Mr. Russell, ef you had them from him. 
Ah! poor Peter ; he dearly loved hunting, and 
was always talking about your riverence ; he's 
been dead many, many years." 

On parting company the packmen volunteered 
to bring him the handkerchiefs he required ; a 
promise which, after due time, they did not fail 
to fulfil. 



198 MEMOIR OF 



Now for Billy, the stand-by of Russell's 
stable, and, as he was wont to declare, the 
best horse he ever crossed in his life. Billy 
was a bay pony, fourteen hands high " big as 
a mountain and long as to-day and to-morrow." 
He was by a two-year-old grass colt by Twilight, 
a grandson of Eclipse, out of an Exmoor pony ; 
and was bred by Mr.Wreford,of Clannaborough, 
so well known to Devonshire men as one of the 
most successful breeders of blood stock in the 
West of England. 

Of the stout and enduring qualities of Billy 
it is enough to say that Russell never knew him 
beaten ; nor, as a proof of it, did he ever fail to 
come home merrily, however long the day, and 
pick up his corn, to the last grain in the manger. 
His staying powers in chase, his bank-fencing, 
and mode of getting through heavy ground, 
under the weight he carried and the pace he 
maintained, were truly marvellous. " Russell," 
writes Mr. Harris, "mounted me once on Billy, 
and little did I anticipate the great treat in store 
for me. The meet was at Broadbury Castle ; 
and thinking him a pony I at first rode him 
quietly ; but when the hounds began to run, 
Billy pulled at his snaffie, and letting him go he 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 199 

went with a will right up to the head, as if he 
had said to himself, ' That's my place, and I 
mean to keep it.' And so he did ; no bank 
could stop him ; no pace choke him off ; he 
could stay all day, and go a cracker through 
dirt up to the very last. In fact, he was in 
every respect a steed worthy of his renowned 
ancestor ; and I much doubt if Wreford ever 
bred a gamer or a better animal." 

Russell, it is almost superfluous to say, 
valued him as the apple of his eye ; nay, 
if he had suffered himself to be tempted by 
gold, he might at any time have filled his 
pockets with the price of Billy. But to all offers 
Russell cried, Avaunt ! and death alone divided 
the twain. 

Nor was that altogether strictly the case ; for, 
when the event took place after a faithful servi- 
tude of more than ten years, Billy's glossy hide, 
being removed by skilful hands, was sent to a 
tanner's, and afterwards formed the covering of 
a most comfortable armchair. The legs and 
hoofs, the latter beautifully polished and fitted 
with invisible castors, were all Billy's ; and well 
might Russell, reclining in the once familiar seat, 
and perhaps dozing after a long day's work, be 



200 MEMOIR OF 



led by fancy's dream to believe that Billy was 
again under him, sharing the sport together as 
of yore, and bearing him on eagle-wings to the 
front of the chase. 

Such a dream would surely be far less 
unnatural and far happier than the endless 
inconsequential visions in which men, dipped in 
Lethe's stream, are so apt to indulge. 

But, though Russell would ofttimes allude 
with tearful regret to the memory of Billy, he 
conferred the same honour on Cottager and 
Monkey ; and there they all stood in the dining- 
room at Tordown, as if the gods in a moment 
of compassion had transformed the trio into 
easy armchairs, determined that Russell and his 
friends, like Baucis and Philemon, should not 
be parted even by death. 

Such was his mode of cherishing the remem- 
brance of the faithful brute companions that had 
served him so well in life ; and on their part 
they were still, as it were, doing him grateful 
service by administering to the comfort of him- 
self and guests, and reminding them of many a 
bygone day of thrilling sport and innocent 
recreation. 

Frederick the Great, we are told, expressed 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 201 

a wish even in his will to be buried with his 
favourite dogs, and especially near the horse 
that had carried him so often to victory ; but 
Russell's fancy for conserving the relics of his 
mute friends and enjoying their company, still 
present in the form of armchairs, conveys a far 
pleasanter notion than that of the old warrior, 
whose last words were, " I shall be near him 
very soon." Notwithstanding his will, however, 
his faithful pets did not " bear him company," 
for his body received the burial of a Christian, 
and lies under the pulpit in Potsdam Church. 

Many a pleasantry would Russell pass when 
inviting a guest to take a seat on one of his old 
friend's backs. " There," he would say, "give 
old Cottager a turn ; he'll carry you as easily as 
a feather-bed ; and he never bites now." Or, 
" Try Billy ; if he can't go through dirt as he 
once could, he's up to any weight and won't 
give you a fall." 

These, however, are later reminiscences of 
Tordown, the Alpine home to which he removed 
on quitting Iddesleigh in 1832, and to which he 
once more recently returned ; hoping, as he then 
expressed it, to remain there till " the golden 
bowl be broken, and the spirit shall return unto 



202 MEMOIR OF 



God who gave it." But the sketch given of the 
horses has carried both writer and reader over 
the scent, and a backward cast never a 
favourite one of Russell's is now necessary to 
recover the line. 

Russell had now entered on the third season 
of his mastership, and so far had literally basked 
in the sunshine of success ; but in the autumn 
of 1829, without being an augur, he was not 
slow to observe that over the Tetcott and 
Broadbury districts loomed ominous clouds, 
which portended a break-up of the present 
arrangements, as well as probably an extensive 
change in the landmarks of his country. Nor 
was he kept long in suspense ; for on Friday 
the 1 3th of November his pack met at Five 
Oaks for the last time under the old regime. A 
glorious finale, however, crowned the event ; he 
killed a brace of foxes, the first in fifty minutes 
and the next at the end of a long dodging run, 
in which by the manner he handled his hounds 
Russell's woodcraft was eminently displayed. 

The circumstances that led to the change 
were complicated. In the first place the country 
was much too large for the means at command ; 
for, owing to the ardent support of the yeomen- 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 203 

farmers, far and wide, foxes had largely increased 
throughout the land ; consequently the damage 
fund and the expense of feeing the keepers, etc., 
rising proportionately, the sum total amounted 
soon to a serious charge on an exchequer too 
often inconveniently straitened and never over- 
flowing. This, perhaps, may be considered the 
root of the matter. But there was also a general 
suspicion among Russell's friends that jealousy 
had a finger in the pie ; and that that feeling, 
intensified by the impression that the country 
was insufficiently hunted, prompted a small 
party, including the Moles worth Trustees, to 
come forward and suggest the need of another 
pack of hounds, and therefore the curtailment 
of Russell's country. 

So the Landue pack, under the command of 
as gallant a rider as ever crossed a country, Mr. 
Phillipps, late of the ;th Hussars, better known 
as Tom Phillipps, was forthwith started, and the 
Tetcott, Hayne, and Broadbury covers wrested 
from Russell and handed over to him. He then 
took formal possession of the country, " the 
limits of which," writes Russell, " appeared to 
me to be illimitable ; for they claimed all the 
covers from Hatherleigh three miles from my 



204 MEMOIR OF 



kennels at Iddesleigh to Wade Bridge, ten 
miles below Bodmin." 

Phillipps, however, met one morning at Grib- 
bleford Bridge, only two miles from Hatherleigh, 
found four brace of foxes in the cover a dog, 
vixen, and three brace of cubs but made a 
mull of it, called off his hounds in disgust and 
went home, a distance of thirty miles at least to 
his kennel. After some time it was communi- 
cated to Russell that Phillipps would never draw 
those covers again ; so, as the country was a 
choice one, comprising the fine moorland dis- 
trict of Broadbury, the wildest in the West of 
England, Russell bethought him how he could 
best recover his footing and bring about the 
desirable end of securing it for his own. 

A turn in his favour by the wheel of fortune 
soon gave him a suitable opportunity. Mr. J. 
Morth Woolcombe happening to join him one 
morning, " they found," in Russell's words, " a 
right real Dartmoor Hector, and away he went 
for his native moorland, straight as a bee-line ; 
but he never set foot on it, for we ran into him 
about a mile short of his haunts. Just before 
we killed him, he crossed some enclosures, and 
the hounds coming back to us, I held up my 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 205 

hands and said, * Stand still, gentlemen, pray ! 
the fox is in this field.' It was not two acres 
and it was plough. 

" ( Nonsense!' cried Woolcombe ; ' we should 
see him if he were.' 

" ' He is here, I tell you, if I know my 
hounds.' And in a moment they seized him 
within a few yards of his horse's feet. 

"His delight was unbounded ; he begged 
me as a particular favour to go home by way of 
Ashbury, invited the whole field into the hall, 
drew cork after cork of champagne, toasted the 
little Iddesleigh pack and their master, and pro- 
mised similar hospitality whenever they killed 
a fox within reach of his domain. 

" He kept his word too up to a certain time, 
when, for some reason I never could fathom, he 
sent his brother Robert over to Iddlesleigh to 
negotiate for the purchase of my whole pack. I 
was not at home ; but when I returned to dinner, 
Mrs. Russell said, ' Robert Woolcombe has been 
here all the morning, waiting to see you.' 

" ' And did he say what he wanted ? ' I 
inquired. 

"' His brother is anxious to buy your hounds, 
and sent him over to treat for them ; they think 



206 MEMOIR OF 



that, as a clergyman, you ought not to keep 
them.' 

" * They are very kind neighbours,' I said, 
' and I fully appreciate their good feeling ; but 
at the same time I hope I do them no wrong if 
I altogether mistrust their motives.' 

" ' Robert is coming again to-morrow,' con- 
tinued Mrs. Russell, ' and is bent on seeing 
you.' 

" Before the morrow arrived, however, being 
forewarned as to the object of his visit, I was 
fully prepared with my answer. 

" The next day he accordingly came ; and, 
as he took me by the hand, I said, ' Well, 
Robert, and pray what's your pleasure ? ' 

" ' I came to buy your hounds,' he responded, 
bluntly ; ' what's your price ? ' 

"'Three hundred guineas,' I replied, 'for 
all but five couple, which I shall keep.' 

"'A bargain,' he said; "I'll take them. 
But what are you going to do with the five 
couple ? ' 

" ' Keep them as a nucleus for another pack.' 
" ' Oh, that will never do,' he said ; ' we 
want the country ; the hounds are no use to us 
without it.' 



THE RE V. JOHN RUSSELL. 207 

" ' Then you shall have neither, Bob,' was 
my decisive reply. 

" And so ended the negotiation. We then 
parted, and I went on hunting the country and 
killing the wild animal as heretofore." 

It was a real grief to Russell for many a day 
afterwards to discover, as he very soon did, that 
foxes in the Broadbury country became scarcer 
and scarcer yearly, and that at length Mr. 
Woolcombe went so far as to wage open war 
against the whole race by ordering his keepers 
and tenants to trap, shoot, and destroy every fox 
they found bred or travelling over his estate. 
And so rigorously was this mandate executed, 
that a paragraph appeared in the papers an- 
nouncing the number of vixens and cubs he had 
destroyed, and calculating that he had rid the 
country of no less than two hundred and fifty 
foxes, great, small, and forthcoming. Nay, 
large placards were printed at Okehampton and 
posted in the neighbourhood, setting forth the 
above gross statement, and justifying the 
slaughter as one of meritorious service to the- 
whole community. 

But although at the time it was denounced 
as a most unneighbourly proceeding on the part 



208 MEMOIR OF 



of Mr. Woolcombe, there are good grounds now 
for believing that he was, in truth, influenced by 
conscientious scruples only, rather than by any 
ill-will to Russell ; for in speaking of him apart 
from his profession, he was wont to express his 
unbounded admiration of his manly power and 
pre-eminent ability in all that pertained to the 
science of woodcraft. 

Great indeed was the indignation, especially 
of the hunting community, at this wholesale 
massacre of the foxes. One Jack White, a 
horse-dealer, is said to have upbraided Mr. 
Woolcombe, who was a very tall man, to his 
very face. 

" Let me tell you, sir," said Jack, " that 
you're six feet four of the very worst stuff as I 
ever seed wrapped up in one bundle. Gude 
morning, sir." 

It was not without good reason, therefore, 
that Mr. Phillipps, either from a mistrust in the 
friendship of the cover-owners, or from a manly 
feeling that he would be doing Russell an ill- 
service by continuing to hunt that country, 
declined, after the day at Gribbleford Bridge, to 
bring his hounds again to that locality, and 
thenceforth devoted himself exclusively to the 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 209 

region round about Tetcott and Pencarrow. 
One thing is certain, that in every transaction 
with respect to Russell and the Broadbury 
country, Mr. Phillipps's conduct was always 
straightforward and altogether unimpeach- 
able. 

Early in the spring of 1831 the young 
baronet, Sir William Molesworth, then in his 
twenty-first year, having invited a large party of 
gentlemen to meet Phillipps and the Landue 
hounds at Pencarrow for a fortnight's hunting, 
the house was filled to the rafters. Two stalls 
were allotted to each guest, and hacks ad 
libitum found room in the stables of the neigh- 
bouring tenants. The few survivors of that 
meeting and now, alas, they are very few 
will never forget the i6th of February in that 
fortnight, when a fox was found at Polbrock, 
near the riverside, every hound breaking away 
almost on his back, bringing him over the paling 
into Pencarrow Park, and by the Roman mounds 
away to Helland Wood ; thence tearing on with 
a burning scent over the virgin soil of the vast 
rough enclosures, they carried a grand head, 
and, dashing five or six couple abreast over the 
big boundary fence, broke out on the moor and 

14 



210 MEMOIR OF 



on to the Launceston and Bodmin road, where 
they dropped into slow hunting and then threw 
up. 

The road was of granite, hard as iron and 
dry as brickdust ; but a hound called Memory, 
with nose well down, held on, faintly feathering 
here and there, yet still on the rest of the 
hounds, with heads up, being hopelessly at fault. 
Phillipps, growing impatient and grasping his 
horn, was turning to cast them towards the 
Torrs northwards, when Russell, keeping his 
eye on Memory, held up his hand and exclaimed, 
" Do, pray, give her time. There ! she has it, 
I tell you, and will fling her tongue in half a 
minute, if you'll let her alone." 

But Phillipps would make his cast, while 
Russell and Mr. Pomeroy Gilbert remained 
stationary, intent only upon Memory, as she 
still persevered steadily on the road. At length, 
a patch of wet soil giving her a chance, she 
dropped her stern, and at the same time throw- 
ing her tongue, dashed over the heather-bank 
on to Temple Moor and away. Russell's scream 
was too thrilling, too rapturous, to describe. 
Away, away, over that grand waste of heather 
a thorough wilderness ; not a vestige of man ; 



THE RE V. JOHN RUSSELL. 2 1 1 

not a solitary patch of gorse ; not even a twig 
to shelter a wild animal for leagues. 

Racing him to the boundary fence of the 
moor above Trebartha the hounds caught a view, 
and instantly as if by a stroke of magic they 
and the fox vanished from the scene. It seemed 
to the foremost riders, Mr. Charles Trelawny 
on Oswestry, Mr. Phillipps on Foster, Mr. 
Harris, Mr. Cory ton, and Mr. Tom Hext, who 
was the first to view him, that the earth had 
opened her jaws and swallowed them alive ; and 
such was the case : the shaft of an old mine lay 
open, and they had fallen 

" Into utter darkness, deep engulphed." 

The fox, indeed, with the activity of a wild 
beast, had clambered on to a broken beam ; but 
three of the leading hounds were swimming 
about in the dark water at the bottom of the 
mine, some seven fathoms deep ; while the rest 
of the pack had stopped short of the abyss and 
scrambled out. 

" Gone to ground with a vengeance," ex- 
claimed Phillipps, with bitter emphasis, dreading 
the loss of his hounds. 

In a few minutes some miners appeared on 



212 MEMOIR OF 



the ground ; but not a man of them would go 
down, not daring to face the dangers of the 
decayed framework in the precipitous shaft. 
Not so, however, " Jack Russell," who, with a 
knotted rope in one hand and his hunting-whip 
in the other, lowered himself, amid a shower of 
loose stones and earth, to the beam on which 
the fox was crouching. Then running the 
thong through the keeper of his whip, and 
fixing the noose round the animal's neck, he 
shouted aloud, " Haul away, I've got him ! " 
and in half a minute he and the fox were landed 
again on terra firma. 

11 Save him, Phillipps ; he is a gallant fellow 
and deserves his life," said Russell, begging 
hard for a reprieve. 

But Phillipps sternly said, "No;" and tossed 
him to the hounds. 

Then, to save the three brave brutes now 
struggling in the pit from a longer immersion, 
Russell was again prepared to go to the rescue, 
had not Colonel (afterwards Sir Walter Raleigh 
Gilbert) persuaded a miner, by the bribe of a 
capfull of silver, to go down ; and secured by a 
rope round his waist, to bring up the hounds, 
one by one, safely "to bank." 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 213 

It was a grand run throughout : sixteen 
miles as the crow flies measured on the map 
and the last seven over the wild open moor 
without the shadow of a fence or check from 
first to last. 

Russell to the end of his life spoke of it as 
one of the finest things he had ever witnessed ; 
but the cream of the run, the finishing touch 
that brilliant passage over the Bodmin Moor 
was due to him and him alone. 

Of the many queer incidents that befell him 
in those early days, the one he met with at 
Porlock is by no means the least amusing ; and, 
as it illustrates the feeling of a strong partisan 
in favour of him and his hounds, it shall be told 
as nearly as possible in his own words. 

"In the spring of 1830 I took my little pack 
down to Porlock to enjoy a week's hunting in 
the open and extensive commons in that locality ; 
and rare sport we had day after day both with 
fox and hare. I was accompanied by the Rev. 
J. Pomeroy Gilbert, there to be joined by the 
Rev. H. Farr Yeatman, two of the best and 
most accomplished sportsmen I ever met, to 
whose names let me add that of George 
Templer, of Stover ; such a trio they were as 



214 MEMOIR OF 



the world has rarely seen together in the 
hunting-field. 

" On our return from the hills one evening, 
Mrs. Smith, our hostess at the Ship Hotel, 
where we were staying, thus accosted me 

" ' If you plaise, Mr. Rissell, that old scamp, 
Squire Tamlyn, as they call 'en, hath a been 
down here to forbid you from hunting over his 
property. Now hearken to me, sir, and us'll 
tackle 'en, as all sich varmint ouft to be tackled. 
Ask 'en to come here and dine with ee to- 
morrow, and when he'th a sot dow r n comfortable 
afore the fire, give the t'other gentlemen a wink 
to leave the room, and I'll come in quietly behind 
'en, seize his both arms, and then do you wallop 
'en over the face and eyes till he sings out for 
mercy. I'll never let 'en go, mind, till you've a 
finished with 'en ; and that I'll promise ye.' 

" At this point I ventured to remonstrate 
with her, urging, first, that it would be a gross 
breach of hospitality, and then that a summons 
for the assault would be sure to follow. 

" ' But,' exclaimed the woman, ' the magis- 
trates shan't get a word out of me to convict 
you, sir, if he doth get a summons ; and what's 
more, I'll tell 'em two or three such pretty 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 215 

stories about 'en, as he won't like to hear ; and 
there the matter '11 end.' 

"The next day," says Russell, with the 
view of propitiating Mr. Tamlyn, I wrote him a 
very polite note inviting him to dine with us ; 
but he declined the honour, much to the disgust 
of Mrs. Smith, who consoled herself with these 
words, 'Well, never mind, I'll give it to 'en 
myself the first time I set eyes on the mean 
old scamp.' 

"And," continued Russell, "I have reason 
to believe that she absolutely kept her word ; 
for she was a veritable termagant a tigress in 
petticoats." 

One result of the week's sport being some- 
what remarkable, it may interest the reader 
to have it in Russell's words : " The very 
day Tamlyn went to Porlock to forbid my 
hunting, I found a fox in the heath on Lucat 
Common, his property. Thinking it was a 
vixen, I rode up to the bush, out of which she 
jumped, and, behold ! curled up in a warm nest 
were four live cubs. I tied my handkerchief to 
a bush hard by, and rode after the pack as fast 
as my horse could carry me. But it was a 
blaze of scent all the way ; and in thirty minutes, 



2i5 MEMOIR OF 



to my great annoyance, they ran into and killed 
poor little Vicky. I then returned to her ken- 
nel, took up the cubs all four vixens and sent 
them by Bat Anstey to Iddesleigh, fifty miles 
away. An earth was made for them under 
Halsdon, Mr. Purse's residence ; and in and 
around that earth they remained, being ear- 
marked, and thriving well, till the following 
October, when suddenly they disappeared, and 
I never had the good luck to find one of them 
again with hounds. 

" Six years afterwards, I met the late Mr. 
Newton, of Bridestowe, in Barnstaple, and he 
asked me if I had ever ear-marked describing 
the mark any foxes and lost sight of them. 

" ' Yes,' I said; 'four cubs, all vixens.' 
* Then,' he replied, ' I found them last March in 
some brakes near Broadwood-Widger, twenty- 
five miles below Halsdon ; had good runs with 
each, and killed all four.' " 



THE RE V. JOHN RUSSELL. 2 1 7 



CHAPTER IX. 

Removes to Swymbridge His Kindness to the Gipsies St. 
Hubert's Hall The Vine Draft The Chumleigh Club The 
Bishop of Exeter and the Charges against Russell Bishop 
revokes the Curate's License Mr. Trelawny on the Chum- 
leigh Meetings. 

" His house was known to all the vagrant train, 
He chid their wanderings, but relieved their pain ; 
Careless their merits or their faults to scan, 
His pity gave ere charity began." 

GOLDSMITH. 

MR. RUSSELL had resided just six years at 
Iddesleigh, when, in 1832, the prospect of pre- 
ferment being held out to him, he was induced 
to remove to Tordown, in the parish of Swym- 
bridge ; a lone country-house overhanging a 
picturesque combe, and approached by a steep 
by-road leading from that village to Exmoor. 
To Mrs. Russell, especially, the change proved 
a most welcome one, inasmuch as it now brought 
her back to the scenes of her early youth, again 
to dwell among her own people ; Dennington 
House, the seat of Admiral and Mrs. Bury, 



2i8 MEMOIR OF 



being situated on the opposite side of the valley 
in the same parish. 

In 1833, soon after he had planted his 
garden and taken full possession of Tordown, 
the Perpetual Curacy of Swymbridge and Land- 
key became vacant, and the benefice being in 
the gift of Whittington Landon, then Dean of 
Exeter, Russell was appointed to it in that year. 

Appropriate enough was the title of " Per- 
petual Curacy " to such a benefice ; for the 
whole annual income derived by the incumbent 
amounted to less than ^180, out of which sum 
he was not only required to provide and pay a 
curate for the annexed parish of Landkey, but 
to meet perpetual calls from a large population 
of poor parishioners, who naturally in the first 
place looked to him for. help in their numerous 
emergencies. To have called it a " living " 
would have been simply a comedy ; for, when 
these and various other liabilities incidental to 
Church property had been deducted, the resi- 
due might be reckoned as nil, or even as some- 
thing less than that, for the incumbent to 
live on. 

Rightly, too, was it thus named in another 
sense ; for there Russell was planted for forty- 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 219 

five years and so far he may fairly be con- 
sidered the Perpetual Curate of Swymbridge. 
During that period, however, the parish has 
undergone various and important changes for 
the better ; its annexation with Landkey, for 
instance, has been severed ; new schools have 
been established and endowed ; while, at a dis- 
tant hamlet called " Traveller's Rest," a com- 
modious chapel has been built, the cost of which 
depended on means mainly raised by Russell's 
exertions. 

" When I was inducted," Russell writes, " to 
this incumbency, in 1833, there was only one 
service here every Sunday morning and even- 
ing alternately with Landkey, whereas now, I 
am thankful to say, we have four services every 
Sunday in Swymbridge alone." To this it may 
be added that the fine old church of that parish, 
described by Mr. Pearson, A.R.A., of Harley 
Street, as " one of the most interesting churches 
he ever saw," has been admirably restored by 
that gentleman at a cost of nearly ^3000. 

Russell's great influence among the yeomen 
and tenant-farmers of North Devon, and the 
genial spirit with which he managed them, as a 
Master of Hounds, has been already referred to 



220 MEMOIR OF 



in a former chapter ; a kind word from him 
doing more to secure their good-will, and pro- 
mote the cause of fox-hunting, than the Bank 
of England notes of less popular men. But, if 
little has hitherto been said on the subject of 
that inner circle his own parish over which 
he has presided for so many years, i^must not 
thence be inferred that he lacked at home the 
honour he found abroad ; for no man has been 
more venerated, nay, loved, by the poor among 
whom he has ministered than Mr. Russell. And 
with good reason, too ; for, in season or out of 
season, no one of them in distress ever appealed 
to him in vain. 

Nor did the wandering tribes of gipsies that 
were wont to sojourn a while on the waste spots 
in his parish that race of Ishmael of whom it 
is said, " his hand shall be against every man, 
and every man's hand against him," form an 
exception to that rule. 

Instead of persecuting them as trespassers 
and plunderers, by impounding their donkeys, 
compelling them to strike their tents at a mo- 
ment's notice, driving them and their children 
from pillar to post, and treating them more like 
wolves than human beings, he never failed to 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 221 

protect and befriend them, whenever he thought 
they were unmercifully or even unfairly used. 
It was one of the old gipsy regulations of the 
Kirk Yetholme tribe, Sir Walter Scott tells us, 
to respect, in their depredations, the property 
of their benefactors ; so these North Devon 
gipsies, in return for Russell's kindness, were 
always scrupulously careful to give him no cause 
to complain of their presence, or regret his own 
forbearance ; and whatever their shortcomings 
may have been with respect to other property, 
his, at least, never suffered from their depreda- 
tions in any way. Often has he been heard to 
say, "to the best of his belief he never lost a 
head of poultry, nor even an egg, by the hands 
of the gipsies." 

But their appreciation of his kindness was 
more than negatively shown ; they took active 
steps and a signal opportunity of proving their 
devotion to Russell by coming forward, of their 
own accord, to protect his dwelling-house, when 
they had reason to believe it was threatened by 
burglars. A desperate gang had infested the 
neighbourhood for some time, the houses of the 
clergy having been made the chief object of 
their depredations, far and near. At length it 



222 MEMOIR OF 



was whispered about that Russell's, which had 
so far escaped, would be the next to suffer, 
the gipsies not being the last to hear the 
rumour. 

The alarm, however, after some time passed 
off; and one day, as Russell was riding near 
Stonecross, on his way to Exmoor, he met Seth, 
the stalwart son of the King of the Gipsies, and 
thus accosted him : " Is it true, Seth, that you 
and your men, hearing that my house was likely 
to be attacked, have been keeping watch over 
it for many nights together ? " 

" Quite true, sir ; and let me tell you, if we 
had caught them on your premises, they would 
never have gone home alive. ' 

But, long before that event happened, Rus- 
sell had secured the good-will of the Romanies 
for ever by a somewhat risky transaction on his 
part. He was riding down to Haccombe on a 
visit to Sir Walter Carew, and passing by Part- 
ridge Walls, near Eggesford, was hailed by a 
blacksmith, who, coming out of his forge, begged 
his advice under the following circumstances : 
" If you please, Mr. Russell," he said, " here's a 
gipsy who wants to buy my black mare ; but he 
has no money in his pocket, and wants me to 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. 223 

trust him. Now, I can't afford to part with her 
and lose the money ; so what had I better do ? " 

The gipsy was standing by at the time ; 
and, as Russell fixed his gaze upon the open 
and manly face of the swarthy young fellow, he 
felt convinced by its expression that his pur- 
pose was an honest one, and, strong in that 
conviction, he asked him his name, putting a 
further question or two to him before he gave 
the blacksmith an answer. 

On hearing his name, Russell said, "Then 
you are the man who was encamped last year 
with your wife near Iddesleigh, soon after your 
marriage ? " 

" No, sir ; that was my brother." 

" If I pass my word for the money, will you 
pay it ? " 

" Yes, sir, I will," he replied unhesitatingly. 

"Then," said Russell, turning to the black- 
smith, " you may look to me for the money ; if 
he don't pay you, I will." 

The blacksmith appeared satisfied ; but, still 
anxious to clench the nail properly, he warned 
Russell that he certainly should come upon him 
if the gipsy failed to keep his word. 

About a week afterwards, Russell was again 



224 MEMOIR OF 



passing the blacksmith's forge, and, reining up 
his horse, he inquired if the money had been 
paid by the gipsy. 

" Yes, sir," he replied ; " every penny of it." 
In becoming " surety for a stranger," and 
that stranger a gipsy and a horse-dealer, it is 
only too wonderful that he did not "smart for 
it " : but it was just the reverse ; he gained by 
that and other acts of kindness to his race, the 
good-will and gratitude of the whole "vagrant 
train." Nor was their gratitude a matter of 
sentiment only, for the King of the Gipsies, a 
very old man, falling ill, and feeling that his 
earthly hours were drawing to a close, ex- 
pressed a last wish that a charm he had long 
worn and prized greatly it was a silver Spanish 
coin, Temp. Car. III. Rex Hispanise should 
be handed over to Mr. Russell, in token of the 
sympathy he had ever shown to him and his 
tribe. He left him also, as a legacy, his royal 
rat-catcher's belt ; and on his death-bed sent 
him a message, begging he might be buried 
in Swymbridge Churchyard by Mr. Russell 
himself. 

The patriarch's chief legatee could scarcely 
do less than comply with so simple a request ; 



THE RE V. JOHN RUSSELL. 2 2 5 

and accordingly in that God's-acre, where " the 
rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep," he now 
lies ; and there, to his memory, his people have 
erected a substantial monument, acknowledging 
the receipt and marking the last resting-place of 
his borrowed earth. He was buried on a Satur- 
day afternoon, Russell exacting a promise from 
his son Seth, that he and his camp would not 
move on the Sabbath-day. But, on the follow- 
ing Monday, Russell having occasion to travel 
moorwards, found them on a waste place near 
Stonecross, four miles from the encampment 
they had occupied on the Saturday. 

" How's this ? " said he, hailing the young 
gipsy, who stepped out to meet him ; " you pro- 
mised me not to move till this morning ; and 
you must have come here yesterday. I thought 
I could trust you, Seth." 

" So you can, sir ; but we couldn't help it. 

Mr. " (a neighbouring magistrate) "sent a 

constable to order us off directly, or he said we 
should all be locked up in jail." 

While they were yet speaking, a handsome 
young gipsy woman, apparently in the bloom of 
health and vigour, came forth from one of the 
tents, and, with a prophetic air, said, " Good 

15 



226 MEMOIR OF 



morning, Mr. Russell ; the next person you bury 
will be myself." And on that day week, as the 
Swymbridge register will testify, he buried her. 
She was the old king's daughter. 

Now, Russell was neither a superstitious nor 
a very credulous man the Vicar of Wakefield 
and he in that respect could scarcely be more 
dissimilar ; but, from that day, he was tainted, 
if not impressed, with the belief that something 
of the Cassandra foresight the power of look- 
ing into futurity, that abyss of impenetrable 
darkness is possessed by the gipsy race ; at all 
events, prevalent as such an idea has been 
among men of the strongest minds and their 
name is legion it may be doubted if many, or 
any, could give better grounds for their phan- 
tasy than Russell. 

Testimonials, in the form of silver goblets, 
salvers, and such-like presents, are far from 
being always a proof that the recipients have 
really deserved them ; nor, though Russell has 
had in his day a fair share of such honours, 
would they now be referred to if one of a very 
unusual and remarkable character had not been 
conferred on him some time before he had fairly 
settled at Tordown. 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 227 

Mr. C. A. Harris, of Hayne, animated by a 
strong and unqualified admiration of Russell's 
powers, both as a huntsman and a man, con- 
ceived the notion of doing him honour by a plan 
of singularly novel and unique design. It hap- 
pened that, after a sharp burst with a fox in 
that country, Russell ran him to ground in an 
old quarry near Hayne, the excavation of which 
had been long discontinued. Whether he killed 
him or not, deponent sayeth not ; but it is on 
record that from that date Mr. Harris deter- 
mined to convert the quarry into a rustic temple 
in honour of Russell and his friends. 

The quarry, overhung by old trees and 
situated on a dry rocky bank, was first hollowed 
out and paved with blocks of Dartmoor granite ; 
an entire British village, including two or three 
kistvaens being utilized for that purpose. 
Then, round the circular enclosure were formed, 
out of the same relics, twenty-two stalls, over 
each of which the carved head of a fox and an 
heraldic banner with a motto appropriate to 
each occupant were displayed, the name and 
residence of the knight being added thereto. 

A fete of inauguration, including all the chief 
families of the district, took place at the time, 



228 MEMOIR OF 



and from that day St. Hubert's Hall has been 
the rendezvous of many a picnic party, attracted 
thither no less by the picturesque scenery than 
by the singular honour done to fox-hunting. 

It was only a short time before Russell had 
made up his mind to quit Iddesleigh, the fame 
of his little pack having exceeded all expecta- 
tion, that a break occurred in his hunting life, 
which created a general sensation, not only 
among his own devoted followers, but among 
others who only knew of his intense delight in 
the company of hounds. He parted with the 
whole lot, lending them, at least for a time, to 
Mr. T. Hext, of Restormel Castle, a gentleman 
in whose hands he well knew they would suffer 
no harm. 

The pressure of a few friends, who probably 
believed they were doing him good service, had 
at length prevailed, and he was forced, as it 
were, at the point of the bayonet, to adopt their 
well-meant advice. But it was a trial and a 
wound to his feelings, the keenness of which 
Time, that soother of all sores, w r as ineffectual 
to heal. 

For two long years this interregnum a 
period of constrained inactivity and bondage, to 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 229 

one of his muscular habits weighed like an 
incubus on his spirits, and clogged the wheels 
of his life with the daily want of something 
he missed, and of something more to do. The 
tedium, in fact, had become almost unbearable, 
when one day, as he was leisurely inspecting the 
blossom on his apple trees and calculating their 
autumn crop reckoning his chickens before 
they were hatched a surprise awaited him for 
which he was little prepared. 

Six and a half couple of strong young 
hounds, a draft from the Vine, had been sent 
to him from Mr. Harry Fellowes, with an 
intimation that " they had all passed the dis- 
temper, and that no better blood had ever 
tackled a Devonshire fox." " There they stood," 
said Russell, " alone in my kennel the greatest 
beauties my eye had ever rested on looking 
up in my face so winningly, as much as to say, 
' Only give us a trial, and we'll not disappoint 
you,' that I mentally determined to keep the lot 
and go to work again." 

But the same friends were still at hand to 
counteract the temptation ; and so great was the 
pressure put upon him, that again he consented 
with a heavy heart to abandon his design, and 



2 3 o MEMOIR OF 



send the six and a half couple after the rest 
down to Restormel. 

Accordingly, they were actually taken out of 
kennel to be so forwarded, when Mrs. Russell, 
witnessing her husband's dejection at parting 
with them, interposed and said, " Then they 
shan't go, John, if you don't like it. I don't see 
why you shouldn't have your amusement as well 
as other people." So back they went into 
Russell's kennel, and from that day he con- 
tinued to keep hounds till 1871, when he parted 
with his last pack to Mr. Henry Villebois, of 
Marham Hall, Norfolk, a gentleman well known 
to the world as an old master of hounds and a 
distinguished sportsman. 

It is related of the late eminent Bishop of 
Exeter, Henry Phillpotts, that soon after his 
appointment to that diocese in 1831, he was 
travelling on a visitation tour through the north 
of Devon, and seeing a pack of hounds in full 
cry, and a large number of gentlemen in black 
coats crossing the road in close pursuit, he 
turned to his chaplain, and said in a solemn 
tone, " Alas ! this neighbourhood must have 
been visited by some fearful epidemic. I never 
saw so many men in mourning before." 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. 23 1 

The chaplain knew the country better than 
the bishop, and said nothing; while he identified 
the mourners, one after the other, as brethren 
of his own cloth, and personal friends. But not 
long did that keen and far-sighted prelate remain 
unacquainted with the habits of his clergy in this 
respect ; and although for years he did all in his 
power to discountenance and suppress the prac- 
tice, the love of hunting was too strong even for 
him ; it still flourished like a plant indigenous 
to the soil deep-rooted and ineradicable. 

Russell, as might be expected, became the 
especial object of his fatherly solicitude ; he held 
what is called " a chapter living," and besides, 
he was known by the bishop to be an able and 
popular preacher, and as such, it was only 
natural that his diocesan should be doubly 
anxious lest the effects of his ministerial elo- 
quence should be weakened by his prominent 
and avowed association with the hunting-field. 
" As you live" would the bishop say, " so will 
men believe ; and if the shepherd go astray, 
well may the flock." 

But Russell, unable to see, if he endeavoured 
conscientiously to fulfil his duty, that he was 
either going himself or leading his flock astray 



232 MEMOIR OF 



by indulging in his favourite recreation, with- 
stood the bishop's monitions with a firm but 
respectful attitude. After a time, however, his 
lordship, a man of inflexible purpose, on re- 
ceiving a serious charge against him, and 
believing it to be well founded, pounced upon 
Russell with the swoop of an eagle, and sum- 
moned him and his accuser forthwith to the 
palace at Exeter. 

The charge was this, that he (Russell) had 
refused to bury a child on the day named by 
its parents, because it was his hunting day. 

Both parties being assembled before hinv- 
with Mr. Secretary Barnes seated at a side- 
table taking notes on the bishop's behalf, his 
lordship recited the charge, and said gravely, 
" Is that true, Mr. Russell ? " 

" Will your lordship permit me to ring the 
bell ? " 

" Certainly," replied the bishop. 

The bell was then rung, and a servant 
making his appearance, Russell said, " Be so 
good as to send in that woman who is now 
waiting in the hall." 

As she entered the room, Russell turned to 
the bishop and said, " That is the mother of the 



THE RE V. JOHN RUSSELL. 233 

child, my lord. I requested her to accompany 
the clerk of the parish (Wm. Chappie) to the 
palace to-day, paid her fare, and here she is. 
But, otherwise, I have not said one word to 
her on the subject of the present inquiry. Your 
lordship can put any question you please to her." 

The bishop then asked her if the charge 
were true. 

" Nit a word o't, my lord," she answered, 
unhesitatingly. 

He then requested her to state what had 
taken place on the occasion, and given rise to 
such a report. 

She replied that her husband had asked Mr. 
Russell to bury the child on a Wednesday or 
Thursday, on whichever day was most con- 
venient to him ; that he chose the latter, and 
buried the child on that day. 

" And pray," said the bishop, " were you at 
all inconvenienced by keeping the body a day 
longer ? " 

" Not a bit o't, my lord ; us might have kep' 
un till these day 'twas but a poor atomy thing;" 
meaning it was quite a skeleton. 

The bishop, finding in this charge r\.Q primd 
facie case made out against Russell, proceeded 



234 MEMOIR OF 



at once to investigate other charges brought 
by the same accuser ; who, as it turned out, 
had been grossly misinformed on each and all ; 
and as they too shared the like fate, falling to 
the ground without a tittle of evidence to sup- 
port them, but, on the contrary, with much 
to disprove them, his lordship turned sharply 
on him and said : "I am quite shocked 
to think, sir, that you should have brought so 
many charges against Mr. Russell, and been 
unable to substantiate even one of them." 

Much disappointed apparently at the result 
of the inquiry, and still unwilling to relax his 
grasp upon Russell, the bishop thus addressed 
him 

" But the fact still remains, I grieve to say, 
that you, the incumbent of Swymbridge, keep 
hounds, and that your curate " (who was also 
present) " hunts with you. Will you give up 
your hounds ? " 

" No, my lord ; I decline doing so." 

He then turned to the curate and said, 
" Your license, sir, I revoke ; and I only regret 
that the law does not enable me to deal with the 
graver offender in a far more summary way." 

" I am very happy to find you can't, my 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 235 

lord," said Russell, " and still happier to know 
that I have done nothing in contravention of 
the law ; and that it protects me. May I ask 
then, my lord, if you revoke Mr. Sleeman's 
license, who is to take the duty at Landkey next 
Sunday ? " 

" Mr. Sleeman may do it." 

" And who the following Sunday?" inquired 
Russell. 

" Mr. Sleeman again," responded the bishop, 
"if by that time you have not secured another 
curate." 

" I shall take no steps to do so, my lord ; 
and, moreover, shall be very cautious as to 
whom I admit into my church," replied Russell, 
significantly. 

It may be added that, immediately on hear- 
ing the result of that conference, the parishion- 
ers of Landkey sent up their churchwarden 
with a " Round Robin " in Sleeman's favour ; 
and from that day he remained the curate of 
Landkey, till he married and removed to 
Whitchurch, a family living near Tavistock, to 
which he succeeded on the death of his father. 

" But, my lord," continued Russell, " there 
are many other clergymen in your diocese who 



236 MEMOIR OF 



keep hounds" here a groan from the bishop 
" why am I singled out among so many ? " 

" Name them," said the bishop impatiently. 

"That I decline doing," replied Russell, 
firmly. Whereupon the whole party, to their 
great relief, were dismissed from the episcopal 
presence. 

Mr. Ralph Barnes, however, overtaking 
Russell at the palace gate, stopped him by say- 
ing, "You told the bishop there were other 
clergymen in the diocese who keep hounds ; 
you are bound to name them, sir." 

"Well," said Russell, "as I believe that one 
of them, at least, would not object to my doing 
so, I give you the name of the Rev. John 
Froude, of Knowstone." 

That gentleman, as the reader is aware, had 
already given the bishop more than one back- 
fall, which neither he nor his secretary would be 
likely to forget ; he had proved himself, in fact, 
more than a match for both ; and his lordship 
was far too clever a strategist to renew an attack 
which, if unsuccessful, his good sense told him 
would only weaken his episcopal authority. 

It is no figure of speech to say that, at that 
period, there were probably a score of clergy- 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 



men who had packs of their own in the diocese 
of Exeter ; three of whom kept foxhounds only, 
while the others hunted nominally the hare. 

So the bishop, in commencing, as he very 
soon did, an energetic crusade against them, 
had a host to deal with ; every one of whom, 
not being a curate, would be likely to cry "no 
surrender " nay, to defend their right of 
recreation in that fashion to the last shot in 
their locker. 

There is a story of one the vicar of St. 
B. an old friend of Russell's on whom soft 
words and angry monitions were expended 
alike in vain ; both being equally powerless to 
bring him either to the bishop's palace or his 
visitation courts. At length, his patience being 
exhausted, his lordship issued a formal citation 
commanding him, at his peril, to attend his next 
triennial visitation at T , on a given day. 

This step on the part of the bishop, it should 
be premised, took place at the time when he 
was engaged in the great Gorham trial ; a case 
which the Judicial Committee of the Privy 
Council decided against him by an overwhelm- 
ing majority ; Knight Bruce being the only 
legal member of the committee who did not 



238 MEMOIR OF 



agree with that decision. So marked a judg- 
ment in favour of Mr. Gorham, who had 
been the object of a long and harassing law- 
suit without, as was then believed, due and 
reasonable cause, gave rise, of course, to 
strong comments on the part of the Liberal 
press ; which, adding fuel to the fire, brought 
down a certain amount of obloquy on the 
bishop's name. 

Just at the time when the result of this trial 
was in every man's mouth, the visitation at 

T took place. On the appointed day, the 

bishop having delivered his charge, the appari- 
tor then proceeded to summon the clergy sever- 
ally by name ; and as each came forward to 
answer the roll-call, a pause and dead silence 
ensued when the name of the vicar of St. B. 
was twice called without any response. 

" Is the churchwarden of St. B. present ? J) 
inquired the bishop in a solemn voice. 

On which a fine old-fashioned yeoman, of 
portly figure and ruddy countenance, stalked up 
in his top-boots, and stroking his head deferen- 
tially announced himself as the churchwarden of 
St. B. 

" I am very sorry to hear," said the bishop, 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 239 

addressing him, " the sad things that reach me 
respecting your vicar " 

" My lord," said the yeoman, interrupting 
him, " don't believe a word of them. I hear 
strange tales about your lordship, but I don't 
believe a word of them, not I." 

Another story is told of the bishop and a 
clergyman in his diocese, who, if not Russell 
himself, must have been some one very like him : 
" I am told, my lord," said the latter, " that you 
object to my hunting." 

" Dear me," said his lordship, with a per- 
fectly courteous smile, ' ' who could have told 
you so ? What I object to is, that you should 
ever do anything else." 

Sarcasm could scarcely go farther. 

I will now give a few extracts from the 
letters of an old friend, Mr. Trelawny, of Cold- 
renick, who writes thus respecting Russell and 
his hounds : 

" The rising generation the gormandising, 
battue-shooter, and similar people should learn 
something of the heroes of old, who, alas ! are 
dying out and leaving few behind them to fill up 
the gaps. Where now are your Osbaldestones, 
Kintores, Rosses, and such-like men ? 



240 MEMOIR OF 



" Even in fox-hunting, the number slain is 
everything ; and owing to the number of foxes 
bred, how seldom do we see a run of ten miles 
from point to point, much less the fifteen or 
twenty of olden times ; I have long thought the 
number spoils the sport. 

"When, let me ask, will Lord- -see such 
a fortnight as was once seen at Chumleigh ; 
when with Carew's and Russell's hounds, in 
twelve consecutive hunting-days, the shortest 
runs were twelve miles from point to point, as 
the crow flies ? 

" But, in those days, five and twenty brace 
killed by a four-day-a-week pack was voted 
enough. Now, forsooth, if * my lord ' cannot 
count sixty brace of noses on his kennel door, 
he is miserable." 

Then, the nightly meetings after the day's 
sport was over, Mr. Trelawny describes with a 
few happy and graphic touches : 

"It would not be easy, nowadays, to muster 
at a fox-hunting dinner such men as the two 
Russells, father and son ; Sir John Rogers 
(uncle to the present Lord Blachford), George 
Leach, George Templer, and the late John 
Bulteel. The pointed and playful sallies of wit, 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 241 

with which the two latter enlivened the meetings, 
combined with the racy anecdotes and classical 
combats of Mr. Russell, sen., and Sir John 
Rogers, who kept the ball going with unceasing 
gaiety, was indeed a, treat never to be for- 
gotten. 

" I remember that once, at Chumleigh, we 
had no less than six M.F.H.'s present at one 
dinner-party, viz., Newton Fellowes, who sat 
next to me, John Bulteel, John King, Templer, 
Sir Walter Carew, and Jack Russell. The first 
stuck to his port like a man, flooring his two 
bottles in true orthodox style ; while the others 
drank punch Henley Rogers (the Admiral) and 
Sir John mixing the ' materials ; ' Sir John of 
gin, most patronized, and the Admiral of rum." 

Again, Mr. Trelawny adds : " Whenever I 
have sat at the same dinner-table with Jack 
Russell he has been the life of the party." 

The sale of horses by auction, which took 
place after dinner, while the symposium was at 
its height, was often considerable, and added no 
little to the amusement and sociality of the 
Chumleigh meetings. It was competent for 
any one to put up his friend's horse without even 
consulting him ; the rule being that the owner 

16 



242 MEMOIR OF 



should be allowed one bid only to protect him 
self. Consequently, many a man, bidding care- 
lessly, too often found himself in the possession 
of a steed or steeds he had not the remotest 
intention of buying ; the owner declining to 
interfere by a bid of his own with the last 
bidder. 

A shilling being dropped into a wine-glass 
and the horse named, the bidding was then 
started by the auctioneer to the club an office 
ably, and often wittily, fulfilled by Mr. John 
Dicker Fortescue, at Chumleigh, and, at a later 
date, by Mr. John King, of Fowelscombe, at 
the South Molton meetings. 

But Russell, never a good sitter round the 
wassail-bowl, very rarely took part either as a 
buyer or seller in these auctions ; for, at the 
hour of their commencement, generally a late 
one, he would, as a rule, steal away to rest, 
enforcing, as he did so, his old maxim on those 
who pressed him to stay : " Hunting, I tell you, 
is worth any sacrifice ; and if you sit up and get 
a headache, you can't thoroughly enjoy it. So, 
by your leave, good-night, gentlemen." 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 243 



CHAPTER X. 

His Power in Distinguishing Hounds after once Hearing their 
Names Parts with his Pack Starts again Kennel Manage- 
ment Firing, etc. Four Days' Work Mr. Houlditch as 
Whip Kindness to a Curate A Scene between them at 
Lanacre Bridge on the Moor. 

" Here's a health to ail hunters of every degree, 

Whether clippers, or craners, or hill-top abiders ; 
The man that hates hunting, he won't do for me, 
And ought to be pumped on by gentlemen riders." 

OLD SONG. 

THE old saying that the "dog will have his 
day," is a proverb by no means inapplicable to 
the Chumleigh Club ; for, after flourishing with 
much vigour and success for more than twenty 
years, symptoms of decay set in, and at length 
became too apparent, when Mr. Templer, Sir 
John Rogers, Mr. Bulteel, and other promi- 
nent members ceased, one by one, to attend its 
meetings. 

The dog had had his day ; but still, fox- 
hunting in the North of Devon not only suffered 



244 MEMOIR OF 



no check on the ultimate dissolution of that 
club, but, on the contrary, exhibited year after 
year a strong and increasing vitality, striking 
deep roots into the genial soil, and thriving 
steadily and vigorously under the fostering care 
of John Russell and Newton Fellowes. 

The latter gentleman, indeed, besides main- 
taining a noble pack of hounds on a grand 
scale, and doing all in his power to promote the 
cause of fox-hunting, not less by territorial 
influence than by his own kind-heartedness and 
hospitality, did more to improve the breed of 
horses than any man in the West of England ; 
Czar Peter, Escape, Colossus, Anacreon, and 
Mufti forming a part of his stud, the last 
being an invaluable hunter, bred by the Duke 
of Bedford. 

Partial, however, as Mr. Fellowes was to 
thoroughbred stock, it was a favourite theory of 
his that to breed a useful Devonshire hunter a 
weight-carrier with powerful quarters and airy 
forehand the produce of a thoroughbred mare 
by a strong but light-actioned pack-horse was a 
far better cross than the one so commonly 
adopted by the farmers of that country, namely, 
a cross from a pack-dam by a thoroughbred sire. 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 245 

But on this point his own practice, it must be 
remembered, was little in accordance with the 
above theory ; as, indeed, might be expected 
from so great a lover of blood-stock as the 
Squire of Eggesford. 

So much for Russell's neighbour ; now for 
himself. The big, raking hounds in which Mr. 
Fellowes so delighted, and which swept the 
moor with so grand a head, were in Russell's 
estimation too big for the high banks and close 
covers of that country. Still, their power of 
driving on a half-scent, their indomitable per- 
severance, and, above all, their tambourine, 
sonorous tongues, which made the deep combes 
of Devon ring again with applause, fairly 
charmed Russell's heart. He could thus tell to 
a yard how they were turning in cover ; and 
barring their unwieldy size, so far as his means 
would permit, he did all he could to fashion his 
own pack after that model. But, of course, it 
was an unequal game between the pocket of 
the feudal lord on one side, and that of the 
perpetual curate of Swymbridge on the other ! 
And although the latter contrived, by hook or 
by crook, to get together after a time quite as 
killing a pack of hounds as any in England, 



246 MEMOIR OF 



they were the gleanings only of many kennels, 
and consequently, in point of uniformity and 
grand appearance, were as unlike those of his 
neighbour as a Satyr might be to Hyperion. 

Still, "handsome is that handsome does ;" 
and year after year the sport Russell continued to 
show equalled, at least, if it did not surpass, that 
of any pack in the country. With him, in those 
days, so long as a hound was a good worker, it 
mattered little what his looks were. " Let me 
go into a strange kennel," he would say, "give 
me the pick of the pack and I'll take first and 
foremost the plain-looking ones ; there is sure 
to be good stuff in them, or they wouldn't be 
there. The same may be said with regard to 
the fair sex ; when you see a plain woman 
married, depend upon it, she has been chosen 
for qualities which amply compensate for the 
absence of mere beauty. Nature, you know, is 
just, and ever loves a fair balance." 

To ordinary observers, unaccustomed to 
hounds, one hound is so like another that, unless 
the colour were distinct, they would, in ten 
minutes after their names were given, be unable 
to say, "This is Dulcimer and that Dardan." 
Nay, the great majority of men, who go on 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 247 

hunting for season after season with the same 
pack, would be hopelessly at fault if called on to 
point out a single hound by his right name, 
often as he may have led the pack and they 
heard his name. The features of a flock of 
sheep Southdown, for instance are all alike 
to men who are no shepherds ; nevertheless, to 
those whose care they are, the visage of each 
sheep is as well known as that of every hound 
in his pack to a kennel-huntsman. 

Russell, however, had a marvellous power, 
amounting almost to an instinct, in this respect ; 
the gift of nature it w r as, beyond a doubt, culti- 
vated by long and familiar association with 
hounds a gift which enabled him, after he had 
once seen a pack leisurely drawn from one 
court into another, to distinguish them, and for 
the most part call them by their right names 
when he met them in the field on the follow- 
ing day. 

Will Long, huntsman to the Badminton 
hounds under three Dukes of Beaufort, was so 
impressed by this faculty of Russell's, that it 
quite astonished him. " I have been mixed up 
with hounds all my life," said the veteran, " but 
I never met any man like Mr. Russell. Why, 



248 MEMOIR OF 



he was a couple of hours on our flags one day, 
and the next, when we were out hunting, he 
didn't want me to tell him the name of this 
hound or that ; he knew them almost as well 
as I did." 

A curate of Russell's, in the absence of the 
higher authority, was once consulted by a gentle- 
man, who had been recommended by his phy- 
sician to keep a pack of harriers. 

" But," said he, "as I shall never remember 
their names, nor know one hound from another, 
if I get a whole pack at once, I have determined 
to buy a couple at a time, and make their 
acquaintance before I take in any more." 

And this method of learning their names he 
absolutely adopted. 

During his long residence at Tordown, 
Russell more than once parted with the greater 
part of his pack, retaining only a few couples as 
a nucleus for a fresh and stronger lot. On one 
occasion some twenty couples had been drafted 
for foreign service, and it is a fact that the gen- 
tleman who became their master, and hunted 
them himself for the whole season, knew the 
name of but one of them a hound called 
" Primrose " at the end of it, her colour being 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. 249 

different from that of the other hounds. Neither 
did he trouble his head to inquire the history of 
a single hound. 

" Tyrell told me," wrote Mr. Russell to an 
old friend, " that he gave him (the aforesaid 
gentleman) a setter and a pointer in the month 
of August, and that he could not, in the follow- 
ing Christmas week, tell him the names of 
either, nor which was the pointer and which 
the setter, though he had shot over them for 
four months." 

Again, among the lot he took was a hound 
called " Abelard," to whose classical name in 
connection with the ill-fated " Eloise " that 
most exquisite poem his reading had never 
soared. Never, too, having noticed the name 
in any list of hounds, he was sorely perplexed, 
and came to the conclusion that some mistake 
must have occurred, and that the hound's real 
name was " Happy- Lord." " Tis a merry little 
hound, you % know, and that's why, I suppose, 
Russell gave him that queer name," he said, as 
he drew the hound with the point of his whip, 
and distinctly cajled him " Happy-Lord." 

There is a story told of a fine old-fashioned 
Devonshire squire, a friend of Russell's, long 



250 MEMOIR OF 



since passed away, that having a fancy for 
hounds' names terminating with "maid," he 
gave orders to his huntsman to call the 
first three bitches that came up from walk 
as follows : " Barmaid," " Dairymaid," and 
" Ganymaid." 

Nor is that a solitary instance of the con- 
fusion created by the sex of Jove's cupbearer ; 
for Russell relates that Dr. Troyte, of Hunts- 
ham, having received a dog-hound, so called, 
from Mr. Newton Fellowes, old Will Dinni- 
combe, his huntsman, refused point-blank to 
call the hound by that name ; declaring to his 
master that " nobody, as he knowed, but Squire 
Fellowes wi'd a ca'd a dog-hound Ganymaid ; 
and ef yeu plaise, maister, us'll call un Gany- 
boy ; 'tis more fitty like." Will had his way, 
and from that day the hound went by the latter 
name. 

Hounds, as we all know, are governed by 
their likes and dislikes, their fancies and preju- 
dices, very much in the fashion of human 
beings ; but with this difference the honest 
brutes do not disguise their feelings, as the 
animals gifted with reason are too apt to do. 
Sir John Eardley-Wilmot, in his very interesting 



THE RE V. JOHN R USSEL L. 251 

" Reminiscences of the late Mr. Assheton 
Smith," represents that eminent sportsman as 
having possessed a " fascination " over hounds ; 
while they, on their part, always evinced the 
strongest attachment towards him. 

" I recollect," relates one of his friends, "his 
once having out five couples of drafts whom he 
had never seen before. Sharp, his kennel- 
huntsman at that time, gave him the names 
written down ; he then called each hound 
separately, and gave him a piece of bread, and 
then returned the list to the huntsman, saying, 
' I know them now ;' and so they did him. On 
other occasions, when the fixture was ' Oare 
Hill,' and the hounds were awaiting his arrival, 
Dick Burton used to say, * Master is coming, I 
perceive, by the hounds ;' and this long before 
he made his appearance. When he came 
within three hundred yards, no huntsman or 
whip in the world could have stopped the pack 
from bounding to meet him. In the morning, 
when let loose from the kennel, they would 
rush to his study window, or to the hall door, 
and stand there till he came out." 

Mr. Musters, too, that paragon of gentlemen 
huntsmen, although he seldom visited his ken- 



252 MEMOIR OF 



nel, and saw little of his pack except in the 
hunting-field, was the very idol of his hounds ; 
nor, associated as he was with the sport they 
enjoyed, was such an attachment to be won- 
dered at, for he led them in the chase, and 
where their instinct failed, his judgment stepped 
in and cheered them to victory. 

And, for that very reason, no man in the 
world was ever more loved by hounds than 
Russell himself. " It isn't the man," as he 
rightly maintained, "who feeds the hounds 
whom they most like ; but the man who opens 
their prison door, lets them out of kennel, and 
says, ' There, go forth and enjoy your liberty;' 
and then helps them in their work." 

On one occasion, owing to the inveterate 
opposition he met with from a great landed pro- 
prietor, whose tenants and keepers were ordered 
to kill foxes over the whole extent of his wide 
domain a difference in politics being the chief 
gravamen Russell once more came to the 
conclusion that, for the sake of peace, he would 
give up his hounds, and again he parted with a 
large draft. 

Soon after this event he met Sir John 
Duntze, who, hearing what had taken place, 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 253 

seemed loth to believe the unwelcome news. 
" You can't live without hounds, Russell I 
know you can't," said the incredulous baronet. 
" Now, I'll make you an offer ; I'll give you 
five pounds, if you'll give me one, for every 
year that you don't keep hounds." 

And Sir John was right ; for the following 
season saw Russell reinforced with a strong 
draft from the Hambledon, which, with old 
Milliner and a few hounds of the Mercury 
blood set him going again with renewed vigour. 
That Milliner was a hound after Russell's own 
heart. A light whimper from her for she'd 
occasionally speak on a drag had a world of 
meaning in it for his ears. 

" We shall find in this cover," he would say; 
" that's a tongue that never told a lie." 

Then came the double-tongue, and the fox 
was on his legs that instant. 

His best friend at this time, both as a fox- 
preserver and a liberal supporter of his hounds, 
was Sir Arthur Chichester, of Youlston, who, 
although still with his regiment, the 7th Dra- 
goons, not only gave Russell the benefit of his 
territorial influence, but aided him handsomely 
with the sinews of war. Sir Arthur, in early 



254 MEMOIR OF 



youth, had been well entered by his father, who 
kept hounds at Youlston, and who, when Mr. 
Templer's packs were broken up, was lucky 
enough to secure a fair share of the " Let-'em- 
alones " for his own kennel the best of 
which, however, fell soon afterwards into 
Russell's hands. 

The present baronet had succeeded to his 
title and retired from the army for some time, 
when Russell, paying him a visit on a beautiful 
summer's morning, found him in the park 
busily engaged in riding down the deer, which 
he had made up his mind to get rid of and kill, 
one by one, as they were wanted for his own 
and his friend's use. His mode of operation 
being somewhat unique and original, Russell's 
interest was much attracted by the exciting 
scene. By the help of a second, and even a 
third horse, Sir Arthur was able to ride down 
the stoutest buck ; and then with a lance, after 
the manner of pursuing the boar in India, he 
contrived to spear it with marvellous adroitness 
and precision. 

" I'll give you that fawn, Russell, if you can 
catch it," said the baronet, pointing out a lively 
little fellow, galloping beside its dam. 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 255 

In a moment Russell's horse was in full 
swing ; and in less than ten minutes he had 
captured his panting little prize, alive and 
unhurt. He carried it to Tordown in his arms; 
and happening to have a hound-bitch, called 
Cloudy, whose puppies had been destroyed on 
that very day, he put the fawn to her, and after 
a brief but cautious introduction, had the satis- 
faction of seeing the pair nestling together on 
the most intimate terms. This fawn, brought 
up among the hounds, and subject like them 
to kennel discipline, waxed after a time into a 
fine, healthy, and bold animal ; so bold, that it 
would knock the hounds off the benches without 
ceremony, in order to get at and cuddle by the 
side of its foster-mother. But, alas ! like most 
pets, it came to an untimely end ; the hounds 
had been taken out of kennel, and the poor 
fawn, in rushing after Cloudy and attempting to 
jump through a gate, dashed its brains out 
against the bars and died on the spot. Will 
Rawle Russell's henchman, kennel-man, and 
faithful servant for forty years was inconsolable, 
declaring he would rather have lost his Christ- 
mas pig than that fawn. 

Perhaps at no period of Russell's life was 



256 MEMOIR OF 



his pack stronger, or more efficient, than about 
the year 1 840 ; but as, with the exception of a 
few hounds bred by himself from the old Stover 
strain, it consisted mainly of drafts from other 
kennels, the lot as a whole were, of course, 
unlevel and ill-matched, and on that account 
would scarcely have passed muster at a flag- 
scrutiny even in those days ; still, if taken 
individually, every hound had a character of his 
own, and bore the tower-stamp impressed on 
his face, and, we may be very sure, was fairly 
entitled to his daily meal. Deeds, and not 
looks, were the prime consideration ; for, as in 
the celebrated Tom Hodgson's case, " no 
Modishes and Merkins were kept, because 
they were too handsome to hang, and too 
bad to give away ; but almost every hound 
looked like his master, as if he knew how to 
kill a fox." 

It is almost needless to add that, notwith- 
standing the care of the kennel-man already 
referred to, the condition of his hounds was 
closely and constantly supervised by Russell 
himself ; nor is it too much to say that, the con- 
stitution of each individual hound being so well 
known to him, he could tell to a scruple the pro- 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. 2 5 7 

portion of broth, or flesh, which should be given 
to one and not to another. That, in fact, was 
the great secret of their killing and enduring 
powers ; they were always up to the mark, 
and consequently far superior in condition to 
the wild animal they were called upon to 
hunt. 

" I was in the kennel with him on one occa- 
sion," records an old curate, "when, pointing to 
a hound with a long face and a high crown, 
callecj Gainer, he said, ' That hound has been 
injured in the stifle, but he's so good on the 
line that I can't afford to draft him ; fire is 
the only remedy, and the sooner it's done the 
better.' 

" So, suiting the action to the word, he 
ordered Will Raw r le to couple up the hound 
and lead him to a post in the courtyard. On 
that post, about four feet from the ground, was 
a strong iron ring, through which the chain- 
couple was passed, and the hound hauled up 
till he stood almost erect on his hind legs, with 
his head close to the post, around which the 
couple was then secured. The iron being 
quickly heated, Russell caught the hound by 
the hind foot, straightened the leg, and per- 

17 



258 MEMOIR OF 



formed the operation with the most artistic skill 
in something less than one minute. The 
scoring was perfect, and he went through the 
whole of it without a particle of help from Will 
or myself. 

" A day or two afterwards," continues the 
same informant, " we were jogging together to 
a meet at Yard Down Gate, the pack following 
leisurely along, some almost under the stirrup, 
and a few at the tail of Russell's horse. He 
was chatting merrily, as usual, but, at the 
same time, his eye never ceased travelling from 
one hound to another, as if he were studying 
the condition and fitness of every hound in the 
pack for the day's work before them. Sud- 
denly he stopped his horse, dismounted, and 
handing the rein to me, said, ' Lavender's not 
quite right ; hold my horse an instant while I 
look her over.' 

"He then examined her eyes, and before I 
could understand what he was about to do, 
pulled a lancet from his pocket and bled her on 
the spot, A man we met soon afterwards was 
then sent back with her to Tordown. 

" Again, the meet being on this occasion at 
the Mervin's Arms, Russell, on looking over 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 259 

a young black-and-white hound called Waver- 
ley, recently sent to him from a distance, dis- 
covered him to be unbranded. 

" ' This won't do,' he said ; ' we shall pro- 
bably run to-day from Whityfield to the deep 
covers of Henstridge, above Berry- N arbor, and 
if we lose that hound we shall never see him 
again.' He then jumped off his horse, took the 
hound between his knees, and drawing a small 
scissors from his pocket-book, he instantly 
and most cleverly cut out a great R in the 
hair of Waverley's ribs. ' There,' he said, 
' no matter where he turns up now, he'll 
be sent back to my kennel for fifty miles 
round. 5 

" True enough, we found in Whityfield, 
Leveller, Gameboy, and Falstaff breaking 
almost on his back, as the fox, a white-tagged 
old Hector, put his head straight for Hen- 
stridge, where, after a sharp burst, he saved his 
brush by going to ground. Found No. 2 at 
Arlington ; ran to Youlston, Cocksley, Pigslake 
Wood, crossed the river, and killed him by 
moonlight in a cottage above Goodleigh. The 
whole village, with the parson at their head 
one of that good old sort yclept Harding, of 



260 MEMOIR OF 



Upcot turning out to greet Russell and wel- 
come his field." 

But Russell, too, as well as his hounds, must 
have been in fine form at that time, or the 
hardihood even of his frame could never have 
stood the strain imposed on it by the four 
following days' work, which, by an old letter of 
his, is thus recorded : " I left this house (Tor- 
down) on one eventful morning, rode to Iddes- 
leigh (twenty miles), whither I had sent the 
hounds the evening before, found a fox and 
killed him during one of the most awful storms 
of thunder, lightning, and rain I ever saw. 
Scent breast high from first to last. I then 
rode to Ash, Mr. Mallet's place, dined there, 
and danced afterwards till one o'clock ; went to 
bed and rose again at three ; pulled on my top- 
boots and rode down to Bodmin, just fifty 
miles, and met Tom Hext's hounds about five 
miles from that town. Found a good fox and 
killed him ; dined with my old friend Pomeroy 
Gilbert, and again did not get to bed much 
against my rule till the little hours. Rested 
the next day, if walking several miles to a 
country fair could be called resting ; then off 
next morning at three ; rode back to Iddes- 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 261 

leigh, took out the hounds, found a fox in Dow- 
land, and killed him close to the Schoolmaster 
Inn in Chawleigh parish, twelve miles as the 
crow flies. I then turned my horse's head for 
Tordown, and was sitting down to dinner at 
my own table, and all the hounds home, at 
six o'clock, the distance being fully twenty 
miles from the said Schoolmaster Inn to this 
house." 

Owing to a succession of bad harvests 
throughout the land, Irish oatmeal, the staple 
food of hounds, had risen about this time to a 
price unheard of since the war with France ; and 
it was with no little alarm that many an M.F.H. 
found himself compelled to give 16, or even 
i& per ton, for what he could have purchased 
aforetime at the lower sum of 12. Not a few, 
accordingly, with an eye to economy, turned 
their attention to Indian meal, hoping to find in 
it, though a cheaper article, still a satisfactory 
substitute for the more expensive food. But 
experience soon proved that, much as it was at 
first vaunted, it lacked that rare muscle-giving 
aliment, that stand-by quality, so bountifully 
possessed by sound oatmeal. 

Russell never would try it during the 



262 MEMOIR OF 



season ; but, knowing that a friend of his had 
done so, and hearing that his hounds rarely 
ended with a kill, he exclaimed, " No wonder ; 
it's that Indian meal that does it. The hounds 
are as good as they ever were ; but fed on that 
wishy-washy ' trade/ I'll defy them, or any 
hounds on earth, to kill a good fox." 

Russell's independence in the field with 
respect to the services of a regular whip having 
been already alluded to, it may be mentioned 
that enthusiastic, amateur aspirants would now 
and again volunteer to act in that capacity, 
and take upon themselves the full duties of a 
hired servant. One especially, Mr, Houlditch, 
a Somersetshire gentleman, hearing almost 
fabulous tales of the sport shown by the 
N.D.H., migrated from his own into Russell's 
country, and at once offered his services, pro- 
posing to act as field-adjutant, and undertake, 
as far as his ability would permit, the ordinary 
work of a regular whip. 

The offer at the time happened to be most 
opportune, and was gratefully accepted on 
Russell's part ; but, alas ! on the very first day 
that Mr. Houlditch appeared in his official 
capacity, Russell discovered, by the most un- 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 263 

mistakable signs, that his knowledge of the 
" noble science " was simply that of the veriest 
tyro, and that in reality he knew just as much 
as Billy Button, or a Tooley Street tailor, might 
be supposed to know about such matters. 
Still Mr. Houlditch, in spite of all difficulties, 
persevered, paying the closest attention to the 
lessons nay, it may be said, the lectures 
which his chief so frequently bestowed on him, 
not in the field, but on returning from their 
day's work. Many a time was it said to 
Russell, " Do what you will, you'll never make 
a sportsman of Houlditch ; he hasn't it in him, 
and is too old to learn." 

But so long as the pupil was anxious to 
improve, so long did his master do his utmost 
to instruct and encourage him in the sylvan 
duties he had undertaken to perform, till at 
length, after a season or two of continuous 
drill, the perseverance of both was crowned 
witk complete success ; and it must have been 
as gratifying for Russell to say as for the other 
to hear, that " Houlditch understood his work 
as well as most men, and had become a most 
useful and obliging whip." He served in that 
capacity for six consecutive years, and when he 



264 MEMOIR OF 



left, created a blank which Russell was never 
able in like fashion to fill again. 

Much has been said of the active service 
which Russell expected from his curates in the 
hunting-field, when parochial duties did not 
absolutely require their attendance at home ; 
but, of course, some of the stories told in that 
respect were utterly untrue. One, for instance, 
describes him as testing the voices of two rival 
applicants aspiring to become his curate, by 
making them give " view-holloas," and then 
accepting the one whose voice sounded the 
most penetrating and most sonorous a capital 
story, no doubt, for those who cultivate charity 
by believing and circulating such tales ; but, as 
a matter of fact, it is one which rests on as 
baseless a fabric as the fleecy clouds that float 
through the sky. 

That he never objected to the company and 
help of his curate in the hunting-field is quite 
true, provided always that the parochial duty, 
for which he was responsible, was first attended 
to and duly fulfilled ; nay, if his curate had a taste 
for hunting, Russell would even encourage 
him to enjoy the pastime, maintaining, with 
Dr. Watts, that Satan would find him some- 



THE RE V. JOHN RUSSELL. 265 

thing- worse to do, if he remained idle at 
home. 

The following anecdote, however, is, beyond 
all doubt, a true one, and shall be given in the 
very words of an ear-witness, the late Rev. 
William Hocker, vicar of Buckerell, who related 
it to the writer of this memoir soon after the 
incident occurred. Mr. Hocker was standing 
at a shop-door in Barnstaple on a market-day, 
when Will Chappie, the parish clerk of Swym- 
bridge, entered the shop, and while his business 
was being attended to, the grocer thus interro- 
gated him : 

" Well, Mr. Chappie, and have 'ee got a 
coorate yet for Swymbridge ? " 

" Not yet, sir master's nation partic'ler ; 
'tisn't this man nor 'tisn't that as'll suit un ; but 
here's his advertisement " (pulling out a copy 
of the North Devon Journal], '' so I reckon 
he'll soon get one now. 

" * Wanted, a curate for Swymbridge ; must 
be a gentleman of moderate and orthodox 



views.' 



" Orthodox ! Mr. Chappie ; what doth he 
mean by that ? " inquired the grocer. 

" Well," said the clerk, in some perplexity, 



266 MEMOIR OF 



knowing the double nature of the curate's 
work, secular as well as sacred, " I can't exactly 
say ; but I reckon 'tis a man as can ride pretty 
well." 

An old curate of his gives the following 
grateful but very brief record of the kindness 
and hospitality he received both from Mr. and 
Mrs. Russell during his residence at Swym- 
bridge : " My first reception by Russell I shall 
never forget. I had ridden a long distance, 
the latter part of it by devious lanes and count- 
less cross-roads, which, as they were all strange 
to me, perplexed and jaded me far more than 
even the- length of the ride, when at nightfall I 
reached the modest lodgings taken for me in 
the village at Swyfnbridge. My landlady, Mrs. 
Burgess, a most respectable woman, besides 
two sets of apartments let to myself and an- 
other gentleman, dear old Walter Radcliffe, 
kept also in the same house a general shop, 
where any article of food, from a double 
Glo'ster to a flitch of bacon, or a penny loaf to 
a packet of tea, might be had at a moment's 
notice ; so that for the cravings of nature the 
wherewithal was at hand to satisfy my utmost 
wants. I had just quitted a happy home, 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL . 267 

broken up by my family migrating to Dresden 
for education ; consequently, notwithstanding 
the kindly manner of my hostess, and her 
anxiety to make me comfortable, a sense of 
loneliness crept over me such as I had not felt 
for many a year, and I turned away from the 
savoury broiled rasher set before me as if I 
had been a Hebrew of the Hebrews, and hated 
the sight of the unhallowed food. At that 
moment a man's voice at the door aroused my 
attention he was inquiring for me and be- 
fore I could rise from my seat Russell stalked 
in, grasped my hand without ceremony, and 
bid me welcome to his parish in so cheery a 
tone that in an instant my depressed spirits, 
rising like a mist in the morning, took wing 
and passed away. 

" ' Holloa,' he said, looking at the table, 
1 this won't do ; you must come up and dine 
with us. Come as you are, plain fare and no 
formality.' 

" I pleaded the necessity of unpacking my 
portmanteau, and devoting a few minutes to 
the Graces ; but he wouldn't hear of it. 

" * No,' he said, ' come along ; you're 
quite smart enough. Mrs. Russell won't 



268 MEMOIR OF 



look at your coat, if you'll only eat a good 
dinner.' 

" The invitation, I felt, was tantamount to 
a command, and accordingly, without further 
objection, I rose and obeyed. 

" The dinner, an ample one, was yet sim- 
plicity itself a cod's head and shoulders, the 
produce of Barnstaple Bay, a haunch of Ex- 
moor mutton, hung to an hour ; then an apple 
pudding, flavoured with lemon peel, and boiled 
to perfection. ' " Carpe diem" which, freely 
translated, means " keep cutting," ' said Russell, 
calling for a hot plate, and inviting me to take 
another slice of the delicious moor mutton. He 
then asked how I had reached Swymbridge, 
and by what route I had come. 

" ' Across country,' I replied ; ' by way of 
Cobbaton and Umberleigh Bridge.' 

" ' An awkward line for a stranger,' he re- 
marked, ' But you rode, of course ; and pray 
what's become of your horse ? ' 

"'Gone to the village inn,' I said, 'where 
I saw him fed and bedded up for the night. 
He's my sole stand-by ; does the double work 
of hack and hunter, so I hope will be well 
cared for, as I value him greatly.' 



THE RE V. JOHN RUSSELL. 269 

" ' Then he musn't stay there another 
minute, or, in all probability, he'll be kicked by 
some farmer's horse before the night's over ; ' 
said Russell, rising to ring the bell, and giving 
orders that the horse should be fetched and 
brought to his stable at once. ' To-morrow,' 
he continued, ' you'll have no difficulty in find- 
ing a quiet little box in the village, and you 
must go to Barnstaple next market-day and 
buy your hay and corn, for at Swymbridge 
you'll get none.' 

" The next morning, as I was about to sit 
down to breakfast, to my great surprise a cart, 
heavily laden with hay and corn, stood at the 
door of my lodgings, and before I could make 
any inquiry as to its ownership, the man in 
charge, seeing me at an open window, thus 
addressed me : ' If yeu plaise, sir, this here hay 
and woats be for yeu, wi' maister's compli- 
ments.' 

" Had I possessed the cap of Fortunatus, I 
could scarcely have wished for a more welcome 
gift, as the business of buying good upland hay 
and old oats in Devonshire, at that season of 
the year, was, as I knew from experience, a 
most difficult job. Now, however, through 



270 MEMOIR OF 



Russell's kindness and liberality, I had ample 
time before me to look around and suit myself 
in that respect. But I will not recount the 
similar acts of kind consideration in various 
ways, especially in those of hospitality, which 
I received from him and Mrs. Russell during 
that happy and unclouded period of my early 
life passed at Swymbridge. 

" Once, and once only," continues the same 
curate, " did a slight skirmish take place be- 
tween us, and that was on the wild open moor 
near Lanacre Bridge. It was a cold biting day 
in February. We had found in Twitchen 
Town Wood, and the hounds, with a grand 
scent, having brought their fox up to the bridge, 
had' there come to a check. A hound called 
Castor, however, hitting the fox under the 
archway of the bridge, through which the flood 
had carried him, dashed into the angry river, 
and by some means became unable either to 
pass under the arch or land on the opposite 
bank. ' The hound will be drowned ; jump in 
and save him/ shouted Russell to me, in a state 
of the wildest panic ; jump in, I say.' 

" But, in truth, I saw no danger for the 
hound ; whereas a plunge into the roaring Barle, 



THE RE V. JOHN RUSSELL. 27 1 

forbiddingly keen as the wind blew, was likely 
to be one for me. I hesitated for an instant, 
and as I did so Castor struggled out, and, like 
a brave hound, threw his tongue manfully on 
the opposite side of the river. Directly after- 
wards, on my rating a hound for some fault 
he had committed, Russell turned sharply 
round, and said, " That's a puppy, let him 
alone ; don't rate him, or you'll ruin him.' 

" ' Don't speak to me in that way/ I said, 
fairly roused this time by his peremptory man- 
ner, 'or I'll never turn a hound for you again.' 

"It remains to be added that we killed our 
fox soon afterwards ; and no two men could 
have jogged home together on better terms 
than Russell and I did after that event. My 
act of rebellion, however, was not forgotten by 
him ; for to this day, when the hounds pass 
near Lanacre Bridge, he is wont to tell the tale 
with infinite zest and humour, pointing out the 
very spot to those around him, ' Where Davies 
mutinied ; threatening, if I dared to rate him, 
that he'd never turn a hound for me again.' ' 



272 MEMOIR OF 



CHAPTER XI. 

The South Motion Club Stopping out the Foxes " Beatrice 
and Barbara" Russell and Raddiffes 'Stories The " Little 
Specklety Hen" Russell 'j Ducking in the Barle Mallard 
and Cat snapped up by Foxes in Chase. 

" Glorious West country ! . . . you must not despise their 
accent, for it is the remains of a purer and nobler dialect tha 
our own ; and you will be surprised to hear me, when I am 
merry, burst out into pure unintelligible Devonshire : when I 
am very childish, my own country's language comes to me like 
a dream of old days ! . . ."CHARLES KINGSLEY. 

IN 1845-46 a project for starting a new fox- 
hunting club in the north of Devon, the rules 
and arrangements of which should be identical 
with those of the old Chumleigh meetings, being 
warmly approved by Russell, it was resolved to 
establish it forthwith at South Molton, that 
town being a convenient centre for the accom- 
modation of all parties. Accordingly, by Rus- 
sell's invitation, the packs of Sir Walter Carew 
and Mr. Trelawny were appointed, together 
with his own, to hunt the country for a whole 
fortnight in spring and autumn ; while the 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 273 

George Inn was fixed upon as head-quarters 
for the mess and the numerous hunting men 
who, it was expected, would flock to the little 
town from all parts of Devon and Cornwall. 

Nor was this expectation a delusive one. 
Throughout the county, north and south, the 
new club was looked upon as a kind of phcenix, 
rising, with renewed vigour in its wings, from 
the smouldering ashes of the Chumleigh Club ; 
the triumvirate alone, to whom its revival was 
due, namely, Mr. Russell, Sir Walter Carew, 
and Mr. Trelawny, of Coldrenick, being an 
ample guarantee that success would certainly 
follow upon such a combination. 

Accordingly, on the occasion of the meet- 
ings, not only were the country-houses in the 
neighbourhood thrown open to friends from a 
distance, but every available bed and stall in 
South Molton was secured for weeks before- 
hand by gentlemen who, preferring the freedom 
of a hostelry to private hospitality, deemed it a 
matter of loyalty to the club to live at head- 
quarters and support the mess. 

Foxes, as Russell well knew, were just suffi- 
ciently plentiful, though not one too many to 
warrant the strain on his country necessitated 

18 



274 MEMOIR OF 



by two exotic packs, which, besides his own, 
were about to hunt it for twelve days, twice in 
the year. But, that it was so stocked appeared 
a marvel to all ; for, occupying in the very heart 
of it an extensive area, comprising many square 
miles of cultivated farms, moors, and deep wood- 
lands, in which game was strictly preserved, 
dwelt a magnate of the land, and one whose 
hostility, on political grounds, Russell had been 
unfortunate enough to provoke. 

Tenants and keepers, accordingly, had re- 
ceived peremptory orders not only to forbid 
Russell from drawing the covers, but to wage 
an exterminating war against foxes, old and 
young, by trapping and digging them out at all 
seasons of the year ; still, notwithstanding that 
edict, Russell found means to keep up a fair 
stock on every side of that wide domain indeed, 
now and again, the very tenants themselves 
hesitated not, on discovering a litter laid up on 
the grounds, to take measures for securing its 
safety, either by smoking the earth, or warning 
some friend to fox-hunting that the sooner the 
cubs were disturbed the better it would be for 
their lives. 

About a month before the first meeting of 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 275 

the club at South Molton, in November, 1845, 
a farmer living near Exford, a parish in Somer- 
setshire beyond the left bank of the Barle, fore- 
boding ill to a litter he had long guarded as the 
apple of his eye, wrote a letter to Russell, 
beseeching him, in short but pithy terms, to 
bring his hounds over and scatter the cubs. It 
ran thus : 

" HONOR'D SIR, 

" Do ee plaise bring up the dogs first 
chance ; us a got a fine litter, sure enough, up 
to Hollacomb brake. They'm up full-growed 
a month agone ; and last night was a week, 
what must em do but kill Mistiss' old gander & 
seven more wi' un her's most gone mazed 
owing to't so do ee plaise come up Sir and gi 
'em a rattle they'm rale beauties, they be, as 
ever you clapped your eyes on." 

Russell lost no time in obeying the sum- 
mons ; he went off alone, slept, and kennelled 
the hounds for the night at Hawkridge Rectory, 
the hospitable residence of the Rev. Joseph 
Jekyll, a gentleman pronounced by Russell to 
be one of the finest and hardest riders in that 
or any other country ; a direct descendant, too, 



276 MEMOIR OF 



of the eminent anti-Jacobite judge, and nephew 
to the witty lawyer of that historic name. The 
digression may not be an unwelcome one, if an 
example be quoted of the rare readiness with 
which the latter could toss off impromptu verses 
at the spur of the moment ; for, Russell is pro- 
bably the only man who could remember the 
humorous lines here given, and which, so far 
as he was aware, were never published. 

Towards the end of last century, Carry 
Ourry, a great Cornish beauty, and an ances- 
tress of the Trebys, of Goodamoor, had walked 
into the Assize Court at Bodmin, when Jekyll, 
catching sight of her, wrote the following lines 
and handed them up to the judge : 

" My lord, and gemmen of the jury, 
I come to prosecute before ye 
A noted felon, I'll assure ye, 
Known by the name of Carry Ourry ; 
Known by a guilty pair of eyes, 
Known by a thousand felonies, 
Known to push her crime still further, 
Guilty of killing, stabbing, murder ; 
But to be brief and cut it shorter, 
I'll but indict her for manslaughter." 

The next morning, crossing the Bade at 
Tarrsteps, and the wild heathery waste lying 
between it and Exford, Russell threw his hounds 
into the cover indicated by the farmer : in one 



THE RE V. JOHN RUSSELL. 277 

minute a lot of cubs were on their legs ; then 
followed a crash, till, on every side, the whole 
cover seemed to be on fire. A brace of cubs 
soon succumbed, and their brushes being handed 
to the farmer, he carried them home in triumph 
to his wife, declaring that now she would have 
no further grievance to complain of, " leastways, 
from they two foxes." 

But Russell had not finished with them yet; 
after a short pause, casting his hounds round 
the outside of the cover, they dropped their 
sterns and away they went, pelting like a storm 
of hail after the old dog, twelve miles straight 
on end, over the wildest part of Exmoor. On 
reaching the Bray covers they were hard on his 
back ; but Russell, fearing a change, deemed it 
advisable to stop the pack ; and so the gallant 
fellow lived to fight again another day : that 
day, however, was not long deferred. 

In the following November the new club 
met for their fortnight's sport at South Molton; 
and Yard Down being the first fixture, Mr. 
Trelawny's hounds proceede4 to draw Sherra- 
combe Brake, hard by, Russell, from a spot 
of open ground on the opposite side of the 
combe, stood watching the action of the hounds 



278 MEMOIR OP 



intently, as, without a vestige of drag, Limpetty, 
the huntsman, was doing his utmost to encourage 
them to face the strong gorse that opposed their 
entrance at every point. At length he passed 
on to draw another cover ; but Russell stopped 
him, shouting at the top of his voice 

"You've left that fox behind you, Lim- 
petty ! " 

" No, I ha'nt," responded he, in the habitual 
blunt, outspoken style that characterized the man. 

" Yes, you have," repeated Russell ; " not a 
hound has touched the comb of that hedge, and 
he may be there." 

At that moment a hound spoke, and almost 
before Limpetty could look round, a screeching 
" tally-ho " from one of the field announced a 
view. The fox was on foot, a flyer too, beyond 
all doubt, for the next instant he was out on the 
open moor, a good lanyard clear of the brake. 

" That's the same grey fox I know it is," 
said Russell to Mr. Houlditch, who was stand- 
ing near him at the time ; " the very fox I 
brought away from Exford, twelve miles off, a 
month ago." 

Houlditch shook his head. 

" I own, Russell," said he, "you know a 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 279 

good many things ; but as to knowing that to 
be the same fox you brought from Exford, you 
must pardon me if I venture to doubt it." 

It would have taken Russell more time than 
was then convenient to explain his reasons for 
expressing that opinion : he knew, too, it would 
have been a mere waste of words on his part, 
and that Houlditch would only have exemplified 
the old saying 

" He that complies against his will 
Is of his own opinion still." 

So, turning to Mrs. Russell, who was mounted 
on her favourite horse, called "The Tickler," 
he said 

" Come along, Penelope, he's going for 
Whitefield Down, and catch them we must, 
or we shall never see them again." 

Away they went up wind and over the hill 
to Sittaborough, when, the pace being tremen- 
dous, the fox turned and sank the wind down 
for Simonsbath, then on to the Warren, Badge- 
worthy, and up to Gallon House, where he broke 
out over the moor wall, a boundary fence big 
enough to stop the course of a native red deer. 

And now it was that Mrs. Russell, a wee bit 
anxious, perhaps, to rival the renown so justly 



280 MEMOIR OF 



earned by Mrs. Horndon as a forward and 
intrepid rider, not only "set" that lady, but 
every man in the field : for, putting Tickler 
without a moment's hesitation at the formidable 
barrier, and landing safely over the deep trench 
on the off side, away she went with the leading 
hounds for a considerable distance, literally 
alone in her glory. They were then within 
less than a mile of the very cover, near Exford, 
from which Russell had brought the dog-fox in 
the previous month ; and he was now pointing 
directly for it, when a terrific shower of hail 
and rain fell like a waterspout around them* 
washing away every particle of scent, and com- 
pelling the baffled hounds to put down their 
noses in vain. 

So, this Hector of the moor, having once 
beaten Russell's hounds, and again, by the 
intervention of Jupiter himself, triumphed over 
the crack pack of the South, was toasted that 
night, during the symposium at the George Inn, 
with mighty enthusiasm ; the identity of the 
gallant animal being no longer questioned even 
by the doubting Houlditch. 

During these meetings at South Molton, 
which continued to flourish under Russell's im- 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 281 

mediate auspices for many successive years, it 
was admitted on all sides by the Nestors of the 
field, that the sport shown was fully equal to 
that of the most brilliant period of the Chum- 
leigh Hunt; and that it was due, in no small 
measure, to a plan adopted by him with respect 
to the main earths in the neighbourhood of the 
moor, there can be no doubt. About a week 
before each meeting, Will Rawle, his trusty 
kennel-man, was regularly sent with a couple 
of terriers, to rattle and turmoil every strong- 
hold visited by the foxes, far and near. That 
being thoroughly done, a few drops of a certain 
strong-scenting liquid were sprinkled over the 
entrance of each earth, which was then stopped. 
The name of the liquid neither Russell nor 
Will Rawle would ever divulge ; but its object 
was to prevent the foxes from digging them- 
selves in again, before the meeting had come to 
a close. Directly afterwards, however, the earths 
were unstopped, and allowed to assume, as they 
soon did, their pristine and natural appearance. 
The success of the plan exceeded even 
Russell's expectations ; for, however stormy the 
nights might have been, the foxes were not 
only to be found above ground, but were un 



282 MEMOIR OF 



doubtedly much bothered by the blockade so 
ubiquitously maintained against them. They 
proved this unmistakably, by the strange line 
of country they were so often driven to take 
a great advantage to the hounds which, day 
after day, whether Russell's, Trelawny's, or Sir 
Walter Carew's, rarely returned to their kennels 
without showing a fine wild run, and crowning 
it with a kill. 

One day, a brace of foxes were found by 
Sir Walter Carew's hounds, the first in Twitchen 
Town Wood, the second near Lanacre Bridge, 
and both were killed, the latter in forty, the 
former in thirty-six minutes, without the shadow 
of a check in either case from first to last, every 
inch of the run being over the wild rough 
heather of Exmoor; some idea may thus be 
formed of the style of sport that, as a- rule, 
marked the South Molton meetings at that 
period. 

Speaking of that day in particular, Sir 
Walter Carew, a well-known man with the 
Quorn about that time, and a rare judge of 
hounds' pace, was wont to declare that he had 
never seen two such brilliant runs in one day, 
even in Leicestershire, or any other country. 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. 283 

Russell would have almost given the eyes 
out of his head for a couple of bitches called 
Beatrice and Barbara, which, figuring in front 
and always abreast with the leading hounds, 
distinguished themselves greatly in both runs. 
Scarcely above twenty-one inches in height, 
they were yet models of strength, length, and 
symmetry ; dark tan, or, rather, hare-pied, in 
colour, and never idle, they were, as Russell 
had already discovered, equally good all round, 
in chase, line-hunting, and road work. 

A story went the rounds, but how it came 
to be known will ever remain a mystery, that 
he was heard to whisper the names of Beatrice 
and Barbara in his dreams that night. It was 
therefore shrewdly suspected that his object 
was not altogether a disinterested one, when, 
jogging alongside John Beale a few days after- 
wards, he was reported to have said, " What a 
pity 'tis, John, those hounds are not an inch or 
two higher ; Sir Walter, I know, likes a level 
lot, and the pack, I think, would look all the 
better if he were to draft them." 

" What ! draft they tew beauties, Mr. Ris- 
sell ? " replied the veteran ; " nit he, if I 
know'th it. Why, they'm the flower of the 



284 MEMOIR OF 



flock, they be, and will do more work in a day 
than some hounds in a wick." 

Sir Walter, too, prized Beatrice and Bar- 
bara as the pearls of his pack ; but not more, 
perhaps, for their intrinsic merits than for the 
blood they carried in their veins. He had bred 
them himself at Haccombe, and being from his 
Bashful by Mr. BulteeFs Justice, a son of the 
famous Beaufort hound of that name, they had 
come from a sort stout as steel on both sides, 
and real hard drivers, even on a half scent. 
Consequently, the Furrier blood could scarcely 
have been more valued by Osbaldeston, nor 
that of the Warwickshire Trojan by Mr. Cor- 
bet, than the strain of those hounds by Sir 
Walter Carew. 

The South Molton Club acquired in a short 
time immense popularity throughout the county, 
and the names of the members and visitors who 
supported its merry meetings are for the most 
part included in the following list: Sir Walter P. 
Carew, Sir Arthur Chichester, Sir John Duntze, 
Messrs. Charles Trelawny, J. Russell, Frederick 
and Charles Knight, William Horndon, James 
and Henry Deacon, John King, of Fowels- 
combe, William and Henry Rayer, T. Carew, of 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 285 



Collipriest, W. B. Fortescue, William Erving S. 
Clark, Walter C. Radcliffe, R. S. Bryan, Joseph 
Jekyll, Colwell Roe, Stucley Lucas, H. Tyrrel, 
G. Woodleigh, Rev. George Owen, Chichester 
and Chichester Nagle, Houlditch, Sleeman, 
E. W. L. Davies, William Hole, Courtenay 
Bulteel, Kingson, Willesford, Edwin Scoble, 
Bassett, Pinkett, Sherard Clay, J, Bawden, 
Reginald James and his brother, Karslake, 
Dene, two Riccards, and Bury Russell. 

To this imperfect list might be added a host 
of hard-riding farmers, with George Toms at 
their head, whose devotion to fox-hunting and 
the master of the hunt it would be difficult to 
match in any other country. 

After a fine day's sport over those heathery, 
scent-holding moors, when the whole party, 
" amid brightening bumpers " elated, with 
Trelawny, John King, or Russell for their 
chairman, were discussing the incidents of the 
run, and killing their fox over and over again, 
then it was that the " fun of the fair" began. 
The ring of a shilling popped into a wine glass 
gave notice that, with or without the knowledge 
of the owner, the sale by auction of his horse 
was about to take place, he himself being only 



286 MEMOIR OF 



allowed one bid ; so that, if satisfied with the 
price offered, and he said nothing, his horse 
then became the property of the last bidder ; 
but if, on the contrary, he had no wish to part 
with the animal, he took care to protect himself 
by naming a sum that at once put an end to 
further competition, 

A chestnut pony by Pandarus, called 
" Stunning Joe," scarcely fourteen hands high, 
had so distinguished himself over the moor 
during these meetings, that on two or three 
occasions he was persistently put up, and large 
sums were bid for him with the hope of obtaining 
so rare an animal. But Reginald James, his 
owner, knew the value of the little horse too 
well to part with him ; for, when the bidding 
had risen to its top figure an exceptionally 
high one he invariably took a jump which at 
once extinguished the aspirations of the most 
spirited competitors. 

A young squire, however, from the southern 
division of the county, who had indulged rather 
in " the flow of soul," than " the feast of 
reason," took, on one festive night, so active a 
part in the matter of bidding for his neighbours' 
property that, on awaking the next morning, he 



THE RE V. JOHN RUSSELL. 287 

found himself in possession of a " string" of 
nags which, as his groom was heard to say, 
"he no more wanted than a cat wanted two 
tails." 

Another gentleman, the Rev. Thomas Carew, 
father to the present Squire of Collipriest, at 
the end of one meeting lamented to Russell 
that he had not a horse left to ride home on : 
" I came here," he said, " with six useful horses ; 
and now I'm left with a pocketful of money, but 
without a single horse : I should like to buy 
them all back again." 

Russell, as before stated, preferring early 
rest and an unclouded brain for the full enjoy- 
ment of the morrow, rarely remained in the 
guest-chamber to a late hour ; nor could the 
most pressing request prevail on him to take a 
hand at whist at these meetings, or indeed on 
any other occasion. " I've no money to lose 
myself," he would say, " and should be very 
sorry to risk injuring my neighbour by winning 
his." But if there was one festive attraction 
which he could not resist, and which fairly 
glued him to his seat, it was that of a hunting 
song and if trolled forth by that most hearty 
and genial of men, Walter Radcliffe, of War- 



288 MEMOIR OF 



leigh, Russell would remain a willing and 
delighted listener to the very last note. 

There was one song especially, written by 
Radcliffe himself, which, from the clear and 
stirring style in which he sang it, never failed 
to elicit rounds of applause, not only from 
Russell, but from every member of that jovial 
board. It was called " The Ivybridge Hunt- 
Song," and described a run with the Lyneham 
then Mr. Bulteel's so graphically that, if 
published, it would be found little, if at all, 
inferior to the best hunting songs, either of 
Mr. Egerton-Warburton or Mr. Whyte-Melville. 
To not a few of our readers, too, it would bring 
back to memory the bright scenes of a bygone 
day ay, and the form of many a kind familiar 
face ; of many an old friend long passed away, 
but still, to the mind's eye, blessed with the 
same unclouded brow, the same happy features 
which then, in the morning of life, 

" Joy used to wear." 

At one meeting of the club, which can 
never be forgotten by those who were present, 
a lively passage of arms took place between 
Russell and Radcliffe, not exactly in singing 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. 289 

songs, but in telling Devonshire stories, which 
they told alternately. 

Radcliffe's stories chiefly turned on a 
Cornish Squireen, whose eccentricities of 
character and speech were imitated to the life. 
This gentleman dearly loved fox-hunting, and 
possessing a clever " whit-faced horse," which 
carried him brilliantly over Roughtor and 
Brown willy, he valued him more than gold. 
Being attacked by serious illness, which brought 
him face to face with an enemy he could no 
longer escape, and having lived a free-and-easy 
kind of life, with more thought for the present 
than for a future world, the clergyman of his 
parish deemed it his duty to visit him, and im- 
press him with a serious view of his coming end. 

" You are going on a long journey, sir," said 
the good parson, " and surely you should make 
some preparation for it, before it be too late." 

" I've no wish to travel," replied the sick 
man ; "this place suits me well enough." 

" But, sir, 'tis to a better country I would 
direct your thoughts, where " 

" A better country, did you say?" inter- 
rupted the other, impatiently. " Give me only 
a thousand a year and my old whit-faced horse, 

19 



290 MEMOIR OF 



and I'd never wish to see a better country than 
our Cornish moors." 

Finding him impracticable, the parson took 
his leave, with manifest but unavailing "signs 
of sorrow." 

In a very short time afterwards, being 
dressed in his top boots and scarlet hunting- 
coat, he was carried down to a settle near the 
kitchen fire, where, as volumes of smoke curled 
up from his lighted pipe, the spirit of this hardy 
Cornishman passed away, and, let us hope, in 
spite of himself, took its flight to a better land. 

To give even a sketch of the many amusing 
stories that were fired off in rapid succession 
by the one or the other, in that continuous fusil- 
lade, would be to fill a small volume ; nor, at 
this distance of time, would it be a light task 
to gather together the fragments of that memor- 
able encounter. One or two of Russell's, 
however, bearing on Devonshire parish-clerks 
in his early days, when George III. was king, 
can scarcely have escaped the memory of any 
one who was fortunate enough to hear them 
then told as they were by him with infinite 
humour and in the purest vernacular of that 
favoured county. 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. 29 1 

John Boyce, the rector of Sherwell, wishing 
to have a day's hunting with the staghounds 
on the Porlock side of the moor, told his clerk 
to give notice in the morning that there would 
be no service in the afternoon at their church, 
as he was going off to hunt with Sir Thomas 
Acland over the moor on the following day. 
The mandate was obeyed to the letter, the 
clerk making the announcement in the follow- 
ing terms : 

" This is vor to give notiss there be no 
sarvice to this church this arternewn ; cans' 
maester is a-going over the moor a stag-hunt- 
ing wi' Sir Thomas." 

Again, at Stockleigh-Pomeroy parish, the 
rector, Roope Ilbert, a well-known name in 
Devonshire, desired his clerk to give notice 
that there would be one service a day only at 
that church for a month, as he was going to take 
duty at Stockleigh-English alternately with his 
own. The clerk did so in the following words : 

" This is vor to give notiss there'll be no 
sarvice to thes church but wance a wick, caus* 
maester's a-going to sarve t'other Stockleigh 
and thes church to all-etarnity." 

It seems to have been a very common 



292 MEMOIR OF 



fashion in Devonshire, in Russell's early days, 
for gentlemen of standing in the county to 
adopt the native dialect, especially when con- 
versing with the country-folk a habit arising 
either from carelessness, or perhaps because 
their speech in that provincial form was best 
understood and most natural to the generality 
of their neighbours. Russell relates, for in- 
stance, that he was present when a colonel of 
the North Devon Militia was reviewing his 
regiment, and seeing a hare jump up in the 
midst of the men, he shouted out wildly, " There 
he go'th, boys, a lashing great shaver." Then, 
forgetting the exact point at which he had 
ceased to give the word of command, he turned 
round and said, " Where wor I, drummer-boy ? " 

" Present arms, sir," responded the youth ; 
and the inspection went on. 

Again, a yeomanry regiment were enacting 
a sham fight amongst themselves, when a Cap- 
tain Prettyjohn was ordered to retreat before a 
charge of the enemy. " Retrait ! what doth that 
mane?" inquired the captain. "Retrait mean'th 
rinning away, I zim ; then, it shall never be 
told up to Dodbrook Market that Cap'n 
Prid'gen and his brave troop rinned away." 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 293 

Accordingly, as the enemy came on, bearing 
down upon him at a rapid trot, he shouted to 
his troop, " Charge, my brave boys, charge ; us 
bain't voxes, and they bain't hounds ; us'll face 
'em like men." 

The collision was awful men, horses, and 
accoutrements strewing the ground on every 
side ; several troopers being more or less in- 
jured, while one positively refused to mount 
again, saying, " I've a brok'd my breeches 
already, Cap'n, and I won't mount no more." 

The last time Russell heard Lord 

speak, was at a Chumleigh meeting ; when, 
being called upon to give a toast, he did so in 
the following words : " Gen'lemen, I wish to 
propose a toast ; and that there is this here, 
' Fox-hunting.' ' 

But these Devonshire stories should be 
heard to be fully appreciated ; for, seasoned and 
served up as they were by Russell and Rad- 
cliffe, with all the trimmings and peculiarities 
of the purest native accent, their piquancy is 
absolutely lost lacking such condiments. 

No schoolboy ever enjoyed his hours of 
play more than Russell did these South Molton 
meetings, the lively and pleasant sociality of 



294 MEMOIR OF 



which, independently of the day's sport, was in 
no small measure due to the sparkling gaiety 
and telling effect of his own conversational 
power a power not only of saying things 
humorously, but of communicating the humour 
to all around him. The hearty dinner which 
he rarely failed to make after the severest run, 
seemed rather to stimulate his social energies 
than suffer them to subside into that somno- 
lescent mood which, with ordinary mortals, is 
so apt to follow a full meal after a hard day's 
work. Nor, till his head was on his pillow, did 
he ever indulge in a wink of sleep ; but then, 
once there, ordinarily he slept like a top. 
" Tria sunt necessaria ad humanam vitam ; 
cibus, somnus et jocus," was the favourite say- 
ing of a sensible Archbishop in former days ; 
and certainly, if any one ever did full justice 
to each and all of those three requirements, 
Russell was that man. 

The business of the day being over, and the 
Homeric feast duly disposed of, then com- 
menced the 

" Sport that wrinkled care derides, 
And laughter holding both his sides ; " 

then flashes of humour and good-fellowship 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. 295 

enjoyed their full swing, and literally reigned 
supreme. So Dr. Doran was quite right when 
he said, " A good dinner sharpens wit ; while a 
hungry man is as slow at a joke as he is at a 
favour." 

" On one occasion, and one only," writes an 
old member of the club, " do I remember a 
breach of the peace taking place at those merry 
meetings. Somebody, utterly ignoring that 
precept of St. Peter, which warns us not to 
' speak evil of dignities,' was abusing the 
Bishop of Exeter (Phillpotts) in round terms, 
when a young squire (Tom Carew, of Colli- 
priest), a staunch friend and admirer of that 
stout-hearted prelate, seized a pound of butter 
and threw it with all his force at the speaker's 
head. ' There ! take that,' he said ; ' and 
don't attack in his absence a better man than 
yourself; I'll not hear him abused by you or 
any other man with impunity ! ' 

To most men whose years have been chiefly 
spent amid the stirring scenes of a sportsman's 
life, some adventures have occurred which, 
being so exceptional in their character, can 
scarcely be written or related without causing 
the shadow of doubt to darken their credibility. 



296 MEMOIR OF 



Many such have happened to Russell ; but 
there is one he is wont to tell, which, at any 
risk, claims a passing notice in this memoir. 
It is the story of a wild fox taking his prey 
while hotly pursued by hounds a circumstance 
not likely to be forgotten by the Rev. J. Bryan, 
the rector of Cliddesden, near Basingstoke, as 
he was present on that occasion. 

Russell had found a fox one fine-scenting 
morning on the outskirts of the moor, and was 
bringing him at a trimming pace over the wide 
heathery waste of Hawkridge Common, and 
thence into the hanging woods that crown the 
Barle with such majestic scenery, when Russell's 
ear was attracted by the wild screams of a 
woman, apparently in the greatest distress. 
The hounds at that moment were running 
exactly in the direction of the hubbub ; and as 
Russell rode up to the spot, he beheld a 
woman rushing frantically after them, and 
catching sight of him, she exclaimed in a 
voice of agony, "Oh! Mr. Rissell ! that there 
fox hath a tookt away our little specklety hen ; 
I seed un snap un up, and away to go, I 
did!"- 

"Then," said Russell, "I'll kill him and 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. 297 

give you another hen;" and on he went with 
the hounds. 

The woman was the wife of a poor charcoal- 
burner, living in a turf cabin, and passing a 
lonely existence in the solitude of those wild 
woods. On that one hen and her lively cackle, 
announcing the good news of a fresh-laid egg, 
depended, perhaps for days together, her sole 
supply of animal food : it had been as a pet 
lamb to her ; had shared the crumbs of her 
scanty meal, and had been her companion in 
many a lonesome hour, when no other living 
creature was near. 

But the avengers were on his track; and, 
with no refuge at hand, die he must for his 
heartless theft. And die he did directly after- 
wards, for, within two gunshots of the spot, just 
over the Barle, the hounds ran into him ; while 
the dishevelled carcase of the "poor little 
specklety hen," still warm with life, was picked 
up by the disconsolate owner, bringing the deed 
home, without a shadow of doubt, to the rapa- 
city of that hunted fox. 

Here, however, Russell's sport was well- 
nigh brought to a serious and untimely end. 
horse Rattler," he writes, "in crossing 



298 MEMOIR OF 



the Barle, which was much swollen, missed 
his footing among the rocks, and, being carried 
off his legs, rolled headlong into the river, 
leaving me to get out as best I could a 
labour of no little difficulty ; but, with the assis- 
tance of Houlditch, a couple of masons, and a 
long pole, I escaped with only a good ducking. 
The old horse, however, would not leave the 
river till he had drunk his fill at least three 
pails of water. We found in Twitchen Town 
Wood, ran him to South Molton, six miles ; 
back through the same wood again and then 
straight over the Holland and Anstey com- 
mons, to the Barle, under Jekyll's house : time, 
one hour and forty minutes, without a check, 
and no harm happened to Rattler, notwith- 
standing his copious libation." 

It will be anticipated that Russell did not for- 
get to return to the hut, and console the woman, 
not only with an immediate half-crown, but with 
the promise of another hen at an early date. 

" Dining at the late Sir Robert Sheffield's, 
at Normanby, some years ago," writes an old 
friend of Russell's, " I met Lord Henry Ben- 
tinck ; and the subject of conversation turning 
on the habits of wild foxes, I related a story 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. 299 

told me by Mr. John King, of Fowelscombe, 
the circumstances of which he witnessed when 
Master of the Hambledon hounds. He had 
been running a fox merrily for upwards of forty 
minutes ; and coming up to a farmyard, by 
which he was making a short cut, he saw the 
fox dash into a flock of ducks, seize a mallard 
just below the green of his neck, and carry him 
off across a large field ; when, the hounds run- 
ning into him, Mr. King picked up the mallard, 
then quivering in its last gasp, and restored it 
to its owner. 

" ' Mr. King must be a bold man to tell 
such a story,' remarked Lord Henry, dryly, as 
if he utterly disbelieved it. 

" ' I had the pleasure of knowing Mr. King 
intimately,' replied I ; ' and he was a man quite 
as unlikely to tell an untruth as your lordship ; ' 
a rejoinder that brought the conversation to an 
abrupt close. 

" Years afterwards I repeated to Russell 
what Lord Henry had said ; on which he re- 
plied, * I only wish I had been there ; I could 
have told his lordship that a very similar cir- 
cumstance happened to myself (that of the char- 
coal-burner's little specklety hen), and I think 



300 MEMOIR OF 



he would have been the bold man, had he 
doubted that fact.' ' 

Russell's thoughts must have carried him 
back, at that instant, to the time when he 
blacked Bulteel's eye at Plympton School ; or, 
later on, perhaps, to those days of muscular 
Christianity at Oxford, when, if any one had 
been rash enough to doubt his word, or that of 
his friend Denne, either of them would have 
knocked him down like a ninepin on a skittle- 
alley. Still, it must be owned that antics like 
these by foxes, when hunted, are most, excep- 
tional ; two or three only having been witnessed 
once, during each of their lives, by men of such 
long and varied experience as Mr. King and 
the subject of this memoir. 

Another incident is equally remarkable : 
" During a Chumleigh meeting," said Russell, 
" I was enjoying a day's sport with Sir Walter 
Carew's hounds. They found I forget exactly 
where and were running him sharply near 
Romansleigh village, when I saw the fox catch 
up a large yellow cat in his mouth and carry 
him on as far as I could view him. The fox 
was killed, but what became of the poor cat 
I am unable to say." 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. 30 1 



CHAPTER XII. 

The South Motion Meetings Limpetty, Mr. Trelaivny's Hunts- 
man^ rides over a Flood-Hatch on "Jack Sheppard" Russell 
ceases to be a Master of Hounds His Long Devotion to the 
" Antient Sport of Kings '' A Brief Sketch of the Staghounds 
A Barrister and his gallant Grey brought to grief in an 
Exmoor Bog Anecdote of Hind and Calf. 

" Magnificent creature ! so stately and bright ! 
In the pride of thy spirit pursuing thy flight ! 
For what hath the child of the desert to dread, 
Wafting up his own mountains the far-beaming head ; 
Or borne like a whirlwind down on the vale ! 
Hail ! king of the wild and the beautiful hail ! 
* : '.**# 

In the wide raging torrent that lends thee its roar 
In the cliff that once trod must be trodden no more 
Thy trust, 'mid the dangers that threaten thy reign : 
But what if the stag on the mountain be slain ? 
On the brink of the rock Ib ! he standeth at bay, 
Like a victor that falls at the close of the day." 

JOHN WILSON. 

UNDER the immediate auspices of Russell him- 
self, backed up by Mr. Trelawny and Sir 
Walter Carew, the meetings at South Molton 
continued to flourish, season after season, with 



302 MEMOIR OF 



unqualified success ; the stout foxes, the unde- 
niable hounds, and the rough heathery wastes, 
over which the chase from day to day swept 
like a hurricane, giving a wild character to the 
sport, and establishing its popularity throughout 
the western counties. Consequently, from all 
quarters between the Quantock Hills and the 
Bodmin Moors, between the South Hams and 
Hartland Point, every man who possessed a 
horse and loved hunting found himself, sooner 
or later, partaking as a guest, if not as a 
member, of the attractive and varied menu 
provided by that club. 

Of course, a considerable amount of rivalry 
was exhibited, ever and anon, among sundry of 
the partisans attached to the three hunts, not 
only as to the merits of the respective packs 
and the style in which their work was done, but 
with reference to the staying powers of the 
horses and feats of audacious horsemanship 
performed by their riders. One gentleman, for 
instance, a member of Russell's hunt, was so 
determined not to be beaten or outdone by any 
competitor, native or stranger, that he rode in 
the most reckless manner, charging without a 
scruple of fear the most impracticable fences, 



THE RE V. JOHN RUSSELL. 303 

and shouting to his horse as he did so, " L'un 
oil, rautre;" meaning that his own neck, or 
that of his steed, must be risked at such a time. 
It was his watchword, like that of a Knight 
Templar entering the lists ; and so fiercely did 
he use the portentous motto, when the fence 
was an ugly one, that long after his own name 
had been forgotten by the members of Mr. 
Trelawny's hunt he was always spoken of and 
readily remembered as that daring rider " Uun 
ou rautre" 

From the southern side of the county by 
none, perhaps, was this rivalry in riding carried 
to a higher pitch than, much against his wish, 
by Mr. Trelawny's servants. Limpetty, the 
huntsman, on a wonderful little animal called 
Jack Sheppard, was utterly uncontrollable on 
such occasions ; go he would, if hounds were 
running hard, at a castle wall or over the mouth 
of a coal-pit ; while poor Jack Gumming, the 
whip, who afterwards broke his neck with the 
Grafton hounds, if not under the immediate eye 
of his master, was equally fearless and equally 
headstrong. 

On one occasion, Russell had intimated to 
Mr. Trelawny that, if he met at Cuzzicombe 



304 MEMOIR OF 



Post and drew an acre of gorse hard by, he 
would probably find a flyer. Accordingly, 
meeting there, a trimming run after Trelawny's 
own heart one of forty minutes proved to 
be the happy result. The fox was in view, the 
hounds running into him and Limpetty " home 
to their sterns," when a barrier interposed, 
which no man with a heart less intrepid than 
his own would have dared to encounter. It 
was a flood-hatch, broad, deep, and dangerous ; 
and a thrilling sight it was to see him on Jack 
Sheppard flying over it, like a dragon on 
wings, looking back as he did so over his 
shoulder, and singing out to Jack Cumming, 
" Where be they Knights to, now, I should like 
to knaw ?" alluding to Mr. Frederick and Lewis 
Knight, of Simonsbath ; two well-known bril- 
liant performers over any country, but especially 
hard to catch over Exmoor. 

Paradoxical though it may appear, never 
were the prospects of fox-hunting brighter in 
the north of Devon than when those happy and 
successful meetings at South Molton were at 
length brought to a close. For the flame that 
had first kindled them, and the fuel on which 
they had fed, had neither burned out nor 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 305 

smouldered away ; but, on the contrary, had 
spread with a vitality that laid hold of the heart 
of the country, and continued to gain fresh 
vigour in every succeeding year. 

After the expiration of that club it is not a 
little remarkable that, within a circuit of thirty 
miles, taking Russell's country as a centre, two 
or three packs, whose fame had hitherto been 
little known beyond the limits of the western 
counties, should have rapidly acquired a pro- 
minence which, in point of blood, looks, and 
efficiency, would have borne a comparison with 
the most renowned packs of the present age. 

In the Chumleigh country, for example, the 
hounds of the present Earl of Portsmouth, soon 
after his accession to the title, speedily assumed 
a very different aspect from that of former 
days ; insomuch that the pack has since been 
pronounced, by no mean judge, to be " infinitely 
superior to anything that has ever been seen in 
the West of England ; their hunting attributes 
being on a par with their other merits." 

Living within twenty miles of Eggesford, 
and hunting with that pack on every available 
occasion, Russell must have known the history 
and character of every individual hound in it 

20 



306 MEMOIR OF 



almost as well as the huntsman himself ; more- 
over, being on the most friendly terms with 
Lord Portsmouth, even from his earliest youth, 
who so competent, who so ready as Russell, if 
consulted by him, to aid the young master with 
all the judgment and experience of his riper 
years ? 

That his lordship did so consult him in the 
first days of his hunting career is quite certain ; 
although from his early association with a 
kennel, his hereditary love of hounds, and the 
power of close observation he has since shown 
with respect to the breeding and selection of 
puppies, Lord Portsmouth's judgment must 
very soon have developed into maturity, and 
needed little help from any man, even from 
Russell himself. And as to his knowledge of 
hunting, it is not very long since that, at a large 
breakfast-party given by Mr. Trelawny, Russell 
was asked by a gentleman present which of the 
two he considered the better sportsman, the 
Duke of Beaufort or Lord Portsmouth ? His 
reply was, " They are the two best in England 
you cannot give a wrinkle to either ; and if 
I place the Duke of Beaufort first, it is only in 
deference to his rank." 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. 307 

Again, in West Devon, the Honourable 
Mark Rolle, on the retirement of Mr. John 
Moore Stevens in 1858, took possession of 
the Torrington country ; and, with the help of 
some valuable hounds from the Cleveland and 
Rufford kennels, established by degrees the 
noble pack which has since attained so much 
celebrity. 

Then, about the same time, there arose a 
third pack, which, started by Lord Poltimore, 
with Russell as his chief counsellor, acquired so 
wide-spread a fame during the short time they 
hunted the country that, when they were sold, 
the price they fetched astonished even " Tom 
Pain" himself. His lordship, in reference to 
the subject of this memoir, thus writes of him : 
"When I first began keeping hounds, in 1857, 
he taught me much, and was of the greatest 
possible assistance to me ; but, on removing 
into Dorsetshire and taking my hounds with 
me, I then saw less of him, except when he 
came on his annual visits, than in former days. 
His intuitive knowledge of the run of a fox, 
even in a country strange to Russell, was mar- 
vellous. I remember well that, on one occasion 
in Dorset, after a fast and straight run from 



308 MEMOIR OF 



Thresher's Gorse, in the Buckland Vale, over 
the Monument country, the fox was headed 
and the hounds brought to a slight check. At 
that moment a fresh fox was halloed ahead, 
while some of the field who viewed him did 
their best to get the hounds on to his line. 
Russell never moved ; and some one remarking 
that he was taking matters very coolly (being 
so well placed in so good a run up to that 
point), he quietly answered, ' The hunted fox is 
behind ; that is a fresh fox.' My huntsman 
was of the same opinion; and while .he was 
making his cast, I viewed the hunted fox, 
which had laid ,down ; we g ot on him again, 
and, in a sharp burst of ten minutes more, 
rolled him over in the open. Many of the field 
a large one had galloped off to the halloa 
of the fresh fox, and, being on those downs 
where hounds can race, were thrown out, nor 
did they make their appearance till many 
minutes after the fox was killed. One man on 
coming up remarked to my huntsman, * Where 
have you been ? Why didn't you come to my 
halloa ? ' ' Eating my fox,' was the answer ; 
Russell, who was close by, adding to the man, 
' I told you, sir, it was a fresh fox you halloed ; 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 309 

the hunted fox was headed, and had laid down 
behind us.' ' 

That the extra impetus thus given to fox- 
hunting in the north of Devon may be attri- 
buted in no small degree to Russell's example, 
energy, and never-failing advocacy in its favour, 
no one conversant with its past and present 
history can for a moment doubt. Among all 
classes now, from the peer to the peasant in 
that country, the one feeling is to respect a fox ; 
whereas, in the early days of Russell's career, 
as already shown, the very church bells were 
used not only to announce public worship, or 
the passing away of a Christian's soul, but the 
death-knell of a fox. 

It is on record, that Mr. Mervyn Marshall, 
while attending divine service at Welcome 
Church, near Clovelly, a fall of snow having 
occurred during the night, was not a little 
startled by a man putting his head twice inside 
the church door, and shouting aloud each time, 
" I've a-got un" ; on which almost every man 
of the congregation, knowing a fox had been 
traced to ground, seized his hat and quitted the 
church. 

No such barbarisms exist in the north of 



310 MEMOIR OF 



Devon at present ; bells do no more than the 
legitimate work for which their pious donors 
intended them no more than that most de- 
voted campanologist, the Rev. H. T. Ella- 
combe, could wish ; and as for foxes, they have 
fair play shown them, and if they can only 
beat hounds, they live in no danger of worse 
enemies. 

Fox-hunting, therefore, being now estab- 
lished on a sound and satisfactory footing 
throughout the north of Devon, Russell, in 
1871, parted with his last pack, as the reader 
is already aware, to that distinguished sports- 
man, Mr. H. Villebois, of Marham Hall, Nor- 
folk ; and thenceforth he ceased to be a Master 
of Hounds. It was a wrench, however, which 
told upon him painfully at the time, and it 
could hardly have been otherwise ; he had kept 
hounds, lived with them, and hunted them him- 
self for half a century, nor did the old love 
cease, for many a day afterwards, to assert its 
long and strong hold on Russell's heart. 

Still, there were not a few among his old 
friends who refused to believe that life, apart 
from the company of his hounds, could be 
longer enjoyed by him ; and who consequently 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. 3 1 1 

urged him, though in the seventy-sixth year of 
his age, to take to them again. But this time, 
much as he missed them under the old tree at 
Tordown, he remained firm. 

As a scientific master of woodcraft, his great 
points may be thus summarized : A thorough 
knowledge of the wild animal and his habits ; 
his mode of drawing covers and finding his fox, 
working him in big woodlands incessantly, so 
that he was a beaten fox before he went away ; 
letting his hounds alone at a check, and when 
they failed, making a grand cast on the line far 
ahead, his intuition as to the run of a fox guid- 
ing him aright in almost every case. His com- 
mand over hounds two or three of which he 
always had near him so that with a tricky fox 
in a deep woodland, the moment he caught a 
view he could clap them on instantly. By this 
method he often drove a fox away from his old 
haunts and country, and so forced a run on a 
strange line a grand point in favour of hounds. 
Then, his feeding he knew the constitution of 
every hound in his kennel. 

So far, then, as to Russell's life with his 
own hounds ; but there is another and a no less 
remarkable phase of it his long devotion to 



312 MEMOIR OF 



the " Antient Sport of Kings " a phase which, 
before we part with him, claims to be seen and 
described, however imperfectly, through the 
medium of this memoir. 

With the exception of that memorable day, 
the 3Oth of September, 1814, when, with Lord 
Fortescue's hounds, Russell saw his first red 
deer found at Pad wells ; and then, after a thrill- 
ing chase, helped to collar the noble beast in 
the depths of the roaring Bade, no allusion has 
been as yet made to his love of stag-hunting, 
a sport he followed through a long life with 
an ardour worthy of a boy always fresh but 
never sated, and with an untiring consistency 
positively unparalleled. Mr. Charles Palk 
Collyns, of Dulverton, long looked upon as the 
Nestor of the moor, hunted, he tells us, " with 
the staghounds for forty-six years " ; while the 
experience of Mr. Boyse, of Withypoole, his 
predecessor as a chronicler of that sport, does 
not appear to have extended beyond forty 
years, that is, from 1776 to 1816, when Mr. 
Collyns took up the running, and " regularly 
noted the chases " down to 1 860. 

Russell, then, dating his entry from 1814, 
with constant attendance, season after season, 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. 3 1 3 

from that day to 1882, a period of sixty- 
eight years, had a far longer experience with 
that noble and unique sport than either of 
those gentlemen. 

Accordingly, down to that year, Russell, 
it appears, followed the chase of the wild red 
deer under at least a dozen different dynasties ; 
the following being a recorded list of the 
masters, and the dates of their succession, 
during that period : 

In 1812 the late Lord Fortescue became 
Master of the Staghounds for the second time ; 
but resigned them again in 1818, during which 
period of six years, as before stated, they killed 
ninety deer forty-two stags and forty-eight 
hinds. 

Mr. Stucley Lucas, of Baron's Down, next 
took the command ; his tenure of office being 
also brought to a close at the end of six years, 
when, in 1825, to Russell's great regret, the 
old-fashioned staghounds a grand pack, that 
stood nearly twenty-seven inches high, and for 
more than a century had been bred expressly 
for that sport were sold at Tattersall's, and 
for ever lost to the country. " They went to 
Germany," writes Russell ; " but I kept three 



314 MEMOIR OF 



bitches for twelve months, hoping some one 
would begin again ; then, having only ^80 a 
year to live upon, I gave them to ' Smash 
Lewis ' for a Welsh friend of his, a Mr. John 
Dillwyn Llewelyn, of Penllergare, near Swansea; 
and thirty years afterwards I picked out their 
descendants in his kennel." 

With all Russell's love for the dash of a fox- 
hound, he regarded those magnificent hounds 
with the most unbounded admiration ; declaring 
them to have been, as they certainly were, 
peculiarly adapted for the chase of the wild red 
deer ; so perfect were they in water, so driving 
on scent, and so sonorous in tongue the latter, 
indeed, reminding him of a tenor bell, 

" Over some wide-water'd shore, 
Swinging slow with sullen roar." 

Mr. Colly ns, too, was in despair at their loss, 
and speaks of it with almost tearful regret : " A 
nobler pack of hounds," he says, " no man ever 
saw alas ! that they should now be consigned 
to the kennel of a German baron ! For 
courage, strength, speed and tongue, they were 
unrivalled. Like the game they pursued, they 
never appeared to be putting forth all their 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. 3 1 5 

powers of speed, and yet few horses could live 
with them on the open. Their rarest quality, 
perhaps, was their sagacity in hunting in the 
water every pebble, every overhanging bush 
or twig which the deer might have touched, was 
quested as they passed up or down the stream, 
and the crash with which the scent, if detected, 
was acknowledged and announced, made the 
whole country echo again. 

" Nor must I forget to notice the staunch- 
ness with which they pursued their game, even 
when the scent had been stained by the deer 
passing through a herd of his own species, 
or through fallow-deer in a park. Wonder- 
ful, indeed, was the unerring instinct they 
displayed in carrying on the scent, disregard- 
ing the lines, which, spreading right and left 
around the track of the hunted deer, would, 
it might well be supposed, have been fatal to 
their power of keeping on the foot of their 
quarry." 

Again, " The importance of the two qualifi- 
cations of staghounds above mentioned, viz., 
sagacity in hunting in the water, and staunch- 
ness in pursuing a hunted deer through the 
herd and upon stained ground, is well known to 



316 MEMOIR OF 



every man accustomed to the sport. They are 
important, nay, indispensable, in consequence 
of the habits of the deer ; for a stag is seldom, 
I might almost say never, roused without 
' taking soil * in the course of the run ; and he 
rarely neglects the opportunity of seeking for 
safety by joining the herd, if he has the good 
fortune to be able to do so.' 3 

After two years of mourning, the spirit of 
the country again revived, when, in 1827, the 
late Sir Arthur Chichester, of Youlstone, 
brought a pack of hounds into the field, and 
once more restored the " antient sport," no less 
to Russell's delight than to that of the whole 
country. 

On Sir Arthur's resignation in 1833, the 
" sport of kings " again fell into abeyance, and 
but for the exertion of Mr. Colly ns would 
probably then have disappeared for ever. He, 
however, established a committee, of which 
Russell, who lived fifty miles from Dulverton, 
was not a member, although doing all in his 
power to promote the object it had in view ; 
and under its management the country was 
hunted from 1837 to 1842. 

The Hon. Newton Fellowes then came 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. 3 1 7 

forward and gave most efficient aid " in the 
hour of need ;" the hounds being under his able 
management till 1847, when the present Sir 
Arthur Chichester became the master for one 
season only. 

In 1849 Mr. Theobald, and after him Mr. 
George Luxton, of Winkleigh, took the helm 
for a season each ; when Captain West suc- 
ceeded to that honourable post, and was followed 
by Mr, Tom Carew, of Collipriest, with John 
Beale for his huntsman ; he, however, resigned 
the command in 1853, to the general regret 
of all classes. Captain West then came for- 
ward a second time, but only to stop a gap, 
which, happily, was destined soon to be long 
and most efficiently filled by Mr. Fenwick- 
Bisset, who, taking the command in 1855, 
held it to the entire satisfaction of the whole 
country to the year 1881, when he was 
succeeded by Lord Ebrington the present 
Master. 

Nor will the work done by Mr. S. H. 
Warren, who for so many years and with 
so much tact acted as honorary secretary to 
the Devon and Somerset Hunt, be readily 
forgotten ; for long, able, and gratuitous were 



318 MEMOIR OF 



the services of that gentleman in behalf of the 
noble sport peculiar to that country. 

Russell could not speak too highly in praise 
either of the management or of the sport Mr. 
Bisset had shown ; the latter he considered 
equal to anything he remembered in the palmy 
days of old, when " the halls of Castle Hill rang 
merrily with the wassail of the hunters''; and 
as to the former, he would say that no man ever 
handled the farmers with more consummate 
tact, nor did more to establish the noble sport 
on a sure and permanent footing, than he 
had done. 

Mr. Collyns, to whose able and graphic 
work on " The Chase of the Wild Red Deer " 
the writer is beholden for so much information 
on that subject, thus alludes to Mr. Bisset : 
" The sport has now the countenance and 
support of the landlords and the enthusiastic 
good wishes of the farmers. Mr. Bisset knows 
how to take the command of a pack and of a 
country ; and hunting as he does on the most 
improved principles, observing the rules from 
which in days of yore no sportsman ever 
deviated, having his deer carefully harboured, 
drawing with tufters and not with the pack, and 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. 3 1 9 

so avoiding the danger of destroying deer out 
of season or unwarrantable, I have no doubt he 
will find the owners of coverts continue to rally 
round him as they have done ; and that, if it 
should be our good fortune to keep him amongst 
us, he will again re-establish the sport and place 
it on such a footing as to make it vie with that 
which our forefathers witnessed, and the history 
of which they recounted and handed down to 
their sons and sons' sons with pride. Woe 
betide the stag which the present pack pursue ! 
Well may he tremble when he hears the twang 
of John Babbage's horn, and catches the sound 
of his able coadjutor's, Arthur Heal's, shrill 
1 hark together,' as he cheers the eager hounds 
on their quarry. Not all his wiles, his fleetness, 
or his cunning, can save him from his well- 
trained foes." 

It is to Russell, no doubt, and probably 
to Mr. Jekyll, the rector of Hawkridge, that 
Mr. Collyns alludes, when, observing that the 
recreation of the chase is deemed incompatible 
with the duties of clerical life, he thus adds : 
" For myself, I will say that, without wishing 
to see the dignitaries of the Church again 
maintaining their kennels of hounds, I should 



320 MEMOIR OF 



feel regret if I were to miss from the field the 
familiar faces of some of those members of the 
clergy who now join in the sport of our country; 
and whose presence is always welcomed at the 
covert side." 

Without records of any kind to refer to, 
beyond those dependent on memory and oral 
tradition alone, the attempt to give anything 
like a detailed account of Russell's sport and 
doings with the staghounds would be at once 
a difficult and most thankless task. Local 
descriptions, however wild and grand the 
scenery may be, don't suit the general reader, 
and are too often followed with difficulty, even 
by those to whom the landmarks of the country 
are well known. 

The " sport of kings,'' however, has formed 
so considerable a portion of Russell's hunting 
life, that to make no reference to it in this 
memoir would be an omission which not only 
modern Actaeons, but many a fair follower of 
the buskinecl queen, would look upon as unpar- 
donable. For has not he, from time beyond 
their ken, been one of the prominent features, 
and to many the guiding star, of that gay and 
brilliant meeting which, year after year, inau- 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 321 

gurates the opening-day on Cloutsham Ball ? 
Nay, with his knowledge of the forest, extend- 
ing as it does to every bridle-path and sheep- 
track ; to every ford, clam, and safe crossing- 
place during the stormiest state of the moorland 
floods ; to the readiest inlets and outlets of 
every woodland combe from the Quantock 
Hills to Mole's Chamber has he not scores 
of times picked up the waifs and strays of the 
hunting-field ; and then, as "guide, philosopher, 
and friend," led them in their sorest need into 
safer and happier grounds ? 

Yes ! countless are the heroes and fair 
women, too, who have been thrown out in that 
wild chase, and who, but for his pilotage, know- 
ledge of the moor, and, above all, the experience 
he has had in the running and wiles of the 
hunted deer, would never have seen a hound 
again. It is not very long since that a gentle- 
man, better versed in the intricate ways of the 
law than in those of Exmoor, came down for a 
month's hunting to Porlock. The first meet 
was at Brendon Barton ; and the harbourer 
having reported a " warrantable deer " in Par- 
sonage Wood, the tufters were trotted off to 
that point, and no sooner laid on than up 

21 



322 MEMOIR OF 



jumped the grand beast, breaking away in view 
by Fairleigh, and putting his head straight for 
the distant Chains of Exmoor. 

The rouse was magnificent, and the hounds 
being clapped on at once, away they went at best 
pace for the wild waste on Exehead ; crossing 
the brook above Cornham, they raced thence up 
to Acland's Allotment and Fivebarrows, through 
the deep ground, of which none but the stoutest 
horses and most experienced men could now 
hold their own and live with the hounds. 
Among these, however, was our friend the 
barrister, well mounted and well forward on a 
thoroughbred grey, but riding a little wide of 
the pack and following a well-known member 
of the hunt, on whom he had been told to keep 
his eye. Never was a field in greater discom- 
fiture : some scattered for miles over the dusky 
moor, some floundering in the bog like flies in 
treacle ; others brought to a dead standstill, as 
the chase swept on to Yard Down, Bray, Challa- 
combe, Showlesborough Castle, and thence to 
Woodbarrow, where the gallant grey and his 
rider, having left their pilot miles behind, 
came to grief, and bid fair, in the absence of 
all human aid, to pass the night amid the 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 323 

swamps and jack-o'-lanterns of that solitary 
waste. 

The man had, of course, quitted his saddle ; 
and, with bridle in hand, was doing his utmost 
to help the horse forward, as he now struggled 
hock-deep through the spongy soil. With a 
few more plunges in the same direction, the 
brave beast must have come to its girths in 
another half-minute ; when a ringing shout, 
such as no one but Russell could have given, 
reached the rider's ears : " Back, for your life, 
man ; back, I tell you ! " 

Instantly obeying the mandate, he managed 
with a mighty effort to get the grey's head 
fairly round ; then with a few frantic plunges, 
the gallant animal stood once more on sound 
ground. 

"Now then," said Russell, who had lingered 
near him to see if he needed further help, 
" the deer's going to Woolhanger ; and if you 
stick to me, we shall probably catch them 
again." 

He did stick to him, like his shadow, and 
caught the pack in the covers below ; when the 
deer, hard pressed, broke away and took to 
sea ; but being blanched by a boat, soon landed 



324 MEMOIR OF 



again, and after a short chevy was finally run 
into amid the surf and shingle of that loud- 
sounding shore. 

The habits of a deer by night and at early 
dawn were perhaps never better understood by 
any man than by Jem Blackmore, harbourer to 
the staghounds for so many years ; but it may 
well be doubted, if by day even he knew half as 
much as Russell did about the shifts and run- 
ning of a deer when once roused and away. 
The former, indeed, had details to study, the 
perfect knowledge of which could only be 
acquired by long experience and the keenest 
and nicest observation. With the perceptive 
faculty of a prairie-hunter, he had to note care- 
fully every trace, slot, or sign of the wary game, 
whose haunts and ambush it was his object to 
discover. How difficult the lesson, but how 
well it may be learned, may be gathered from 
the picture of a harbourer so artistically painted 
by Mr. Whyte-Melville in " Katerfelto." "The 
ground," he writes, " must indeed be hard, and 
the 'slot,' or print of the animal's feet, many 
hours old to baffle Red Rube, who, stooping to 
the line like a bloodhound, reads off, as from a 
book, the size, sex, weight, and age of the pass- 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 325 

ing deer, the pace at which it was travelling, 
its distance ahead, and the probability of its 
affording a run." 

Russell's pursuit, however, of the noble 
animal commenced only with the uncoupling of 
the tufters the point at which the other has 
brought his labours to a close. But from that 
moment, although simply a looker-on like the 
rest of the field, yet owing to his intimate 
knowledge of the dodges which, before break- 
ing cover, an old deer will adopt to save his 
haunches, many a needless sacrifice has been 
averted and many a glorious run obtained. 
An old stag, for instance, rarely if ever goes to 
lair, without having a brocket, or young stag, 
within reach of him, which, when he is pressed 
by hounds, he turns out and instantly lies down 
in his bed a sight once witnessed by Russell 
himself. The substitute then, till the trick is 
discovered, is compelled to do penance for his 
noble friend, the monarch of the glen. Thus 
the changes, which are constantly occurring 
before the right animal can be driven to face 
the open and exhibit his beam and branches 
to the gaze of a crowd, are so frequent 
and so puzzling that, in the absence of a 



326 MEMOIR OF 



view, it often requires judgment of the most 
acute order to discriminate whether the tufters 
are flinging their tongues so merrily on the 
right or the wrong game ; on a hind, a brocket, 
or a warrantable deer. 

Not once, nor twice, but a hundred times 
and more, has Russell done good service in 
that way. To him again, beyond all doubt, 
does Mr. Collyns allude when he describes the 
tufters at work, and the " hark back," to which 
so frequently they are compelled to submit. 
" Shiner/' he says, " is close upon them (two 
hinds and a calf), and the rest of the tufters 
following him. A little rating and a few cracks 
of the whip, and their heads are up : they 
know that they are not on the ' real animal ;' 
and as soon as Sam's horn summons them, 
back they go, and resume their labour. Again 
they open, and again we are on the alert. The 
cry increases ; they run merrily, and we are 
high in hope. 'Ware fox!' says a M.F.H., 
the best sportsman in the west, as he views 
Charley slinking along towards the gap on the 
hedgerow. Then, with his stentorian voice, he 
calls out to Sam, ' Your hounds are on a fox, 
Sam.' Sam does not hear, but rides up within 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 327 

a hundred yards of us. * What, sir ? ' ' Your 
hounds are on a fox, Sam,' repeats the M.F.H. 
1 Think not, sir,' says Sam ; * my hounds won't 
hunt fox ! ' 'I tell you that they are on a fox, 
Sam ; call them off,' says the foxhunter. Sam 
looks vicious, but he obeys, saying, in a voice 
which could be heard by the Master of Fox- 
hounds, but certainly not by the tufters, ' Get 
away, hounds, get away ; ain't you ashamed of 
hunting of a stinking little warmint, not half 
the size of yourselves ? Get away ! ' Sam 
still maintains his creed that his tufters were 
not on the fox, and two minutes afterwards a 
yell announced that a different sort of animal 
was afoot. Another tally ; Tom Webber's 
voice ; a guarantee that it is the right thing, 
for the good yeoman is the best and truest 
stag-hunter that ever cheered a hound. Every 
one is on the alert ; we ride forward, and pre- 
sently, in the distance, view, not a stag, alas ! 
but a hind breaking towards the moor. ' How 
is this, Tom ? You were wrong for once.' 
' No, sir; not I. I'll swear it was a stag, and 
a good one, but you see he has pushed up the 
hind and gone down, and we must have him 
up again.' So the tufters are stopped again, 



328 MEMOIR OF 



and sent back on heel ; and by-and-by that 
unmistakable 'yell' which announces a view 
is heard, and this time the antlered monarch 
reveals himself to the whole of the assembled 
multitude." 

Then again, on the water, \\hich almost 
invariably is the last refuge of a deer in dis- 
tress, the countless wiles he will adopt to elude 
his pursuers have been so often witnessed by 
Russell, that it is no figure of speech to say he 
was familiar with them all. More than sixty 
years of experience, the keenest observation, 
and a thorough acquaintance with the habits 
of the animal, at least in chase, gave him 
a power which, when appealed to, generally 
proved more than a match for the craftiest 
stratagem practised by a deer. 

In early days, when Russell kept his otter- 
hounds at South Molton, and earned the grati- 
tude of all fly-fishermen in that country by 
ridding the rivers of five-and-thirty otters in a 
couple of seasons, he must have learned many 
a useful lesson in studying the watery ways of 
those mysterious animals. The subtlety of their 
habits, when closely pressed by hounds, must 
have shown him how marvellous is the power 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 329 

of instinct to elude pursuit, if life be at stake, 
and water at hand that almost natural element 
to which, for refuge, they are wont to fly. 

It was a rare apprenticeship for him, that 
time with the otter-hounds ; every kill develop- 
ing fresh dodges, and qualifying him in after 
years to solve those most puzzling of all prob- 
lems in the Art of Venerie the wiles of a deer 
when he comes to "soil." It is a fact known 
to all followers of that noble sport, that, short 
of diving, a deer will take as much advantage 
of water as an otter does ; wading and swim- 
ming for a mile or two, sinking himself to his 
nostrils, with the topmost tine of his antlers 
effectually submerged, and often quitting the 
stream at one point to return to it at another. 
' : It not unfrequently happens/ 1 says Mr. Col- 
lyns, " that the cunning animal has merely 
' soiled ! when he entered the stream and then 
backed it on his foil, and laid fast in the covert." 

Mr. Why te- Melville, too, in " Katerfelto," 
describes the famous harbourer, Red Rube, as 
being utterly perplexed by what a deer may do 
when forced to its last move at the end of a 
chase : " Who shall say that all this calculation, 
this strategy, this reflection, is so far below 



330 MEMOIR OF 



reason to be called instinct ? Even Red Rube, 
many a mile behind on his pony, taxing his 
resources of intellect and cunning, backed by 
the observation of fifty years, that he may 
arrive somehow at the finish in time to hear the 
1 bay,' confesses he is but a fool when his wits 
are pitted against those of a deer driven to its 
last shifts." 

But however marvellous may be the shifts 
of a deer to save its own life, the animal is 
equally adroit in saving that of its young. " I 
have heard Russell relate," says an old friend, 
" that on one occasion he witnessed a curious 
manoeuvre on the part of a hind, which, with 
true maternal care, successfully managed to 
conceal and protect her calf, when pursued 
by hounds. But let him tell his own tale. 
' We had been driving,' said he, ' for some 
time in cover what all supposed to be a bar- 
ren hind ; when, just in front of me, at the 
head of the combe, out came a hind and her 
little calf breaking away together over the open 
moor. After travelling for some distance side 
by side, I observed their pace slacken, as the 
young one appeared to be flagging and unable 
to hold on with her dam. The hounds were 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 331 

now gaining rapidly on them, when I said to 
Stucley Lucas, " They'll kill that poor calf to 
a certainty." " No, they won't," he replied ; 
''she'll kick it down." In another instant, on 
passing over some furzy ground, I distinctly 
saw the hind give the calf a sharp kick with her 
heel, and down went the little one as if she 
were shot with a gun. It was the signal for 
her to keep close a signal no sooner given 
than at once instinctively obeyed. There she 
lay, crouched up like a hare in her form ; while 
the hounds, pressing on and keeping the hind 
in view, swept over the spot without indicating 
the slightest suspicion of the trick they had 
been so artfully played. We ran that hind 
over the moor for twenty miles, by North Mol- 
ton to Nadrid Ford, where Tout, the huntsman, 
and myself being the only two men up, he 
turned and said, " Mr. Russell, what had we 
better do ; we are close to Brembridge Wood ; 
hadn't we better stop them ? " " Certainly," I 
replied, " stop them at once ; for if you get 
them in there, every hound will have his deer, 
and you'll never get them out again. Go back on 
the same line, and you'll pick up the stragglers." 
" ' This happened on a Tuesday, very early 



332 MEMOIR OF 



in the season, and before the regular hunting 
had commenced. Two days afterwards, on the 
way to Porlock, I was hailed by a turf-cutter, 
who said, " The hind you hunted on Tuesday 
last has only just gone back ; not an hour ago." 
" How do you know it is the same hind ? " I 
inquired, doubtingly. " Because, sir, she was 
a light-coloured one, and had a very big udder." 
The next day (Friday), the hounds were no 
sooner thiown into cover than, to our utter sur- 
prise, out came the same hind and calf again. 
The latter quickly disappeared, but the former 
took precisely the same line over the moor 
which she had taken on the previous Tuesday, 
gave us a glorious run, and at length fairly beat 
us by gaining Brembridge Wood and joining 
the herd ; and I doubt not,' Russell added, 
' that in a day or two afterwards the loving pair 
were together again/ " 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 333 



CHAPTER XIII. 

Russell and His Friend ^ the Rev. A. F. Luttrell, of Quant ocks- 
head The Danger of Handling a Stag at Bay Man and 
Hound Injured, and both Saved by Russell Ladies to the 
Front over Exmooi Mrs. Cholmondeley's Perilous Fall. 

" He knows the best line for each cover, 
He knows where to stand for a start, 
And long may he live to ride over 
The country he loves in his heart." 

EGERTON-WAR BURTON. 

VALUING the companionship of Russell not less 
than his long and untiring devotion to the sport, 
Mr. Fenwick-Bisset, the well-known Master of 
the Devon and Somerset Staghounds, sent him, 
in April, 1877, a couple of stags' heads, with the 
following letter : 

" I have sent you two heads to-day, one 
taken in Sheardown Water on the 6th of 
October last, the other that of a deer which, 
you may remember, stole away from Hawk- 
combe, and we hunted up to, and fresh found in 
Badgeworthy Wood, ran him back and killed 



334 MEMOIR OF 



him in Avon Pool, below Bossington. They 
are not very big heads, but not the less memor- 
able on that account. 

" I was greatly struck by your exuberant 
spirits in the hunting-field ; much more like a 
schoolboy than a man of eighty. May you live 
to see many more such runs as these afforded ; 
and when you can no longer see them, may you 
talk them over, like your rare old friend, Alic 
Luttrell." 

The following communication from a lady, a 
near relative of Mr. Luttrell's, is so interesting 
that, with her kind permission, it may well find 
a place in this memoir : 

"On the 28th December, 1876, Mr. Russell 
was on a visit to his old college friend, the Rev. 
A. F. Luttrell, of East Quantockshead, then in 
his eighty-third year ; and on the following day 
(after going on the Quantock Hills on foot, to 
look for the hounds of Mr. Luttrell, of Dunster, 
who was hunting near) he (Russell) went on to 
St. Audries, the seat of Sir Alexander Acland 
Hood, to dine and sleep, and to be present at 
the tenants' ball on that evening, 29th. Dur- 
ing dinner he mentioned as a curious coinci- 
dence that, on looking over some family papers, 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 335 

he found that in the Christmas week of 1776, 
his father had made a journey on horseback 
from Meath, near Hatherleigh, to Dunster, to 
pass a few days at the Castle, with his old 
friend and schoolfellow Mr. Luttrell, the then 
' Squire ' of Dunster ; and now, in the Christ- 
mas week of 1876, their two sons were pass- 
ing some days together, both over fourscore 
years, and the next generation only, though a 
hundred years had passed since that visit of their 
fathers. Mr. Russell was then sitting at table 
with several of the grandchildren and great- 
grandchildren of his father's host and friend ; 
among them, the present possessor of the 
Castle, a grandson, and his eldest son, who had 
attained his majority six months before, when 
Mr. Russell had been one of the many old 
friends assembled at Dunster on that joyous 
occasion. 

"At the tenants' ball the same night, Mr. 
Russell was among the most active dancers, 
joining in quadrilles, lancers, and country dances 
with the prettiest girls in the room (all delighted 
to have him for a partner), and greeting all his 
old friends in his hearty manner. He retired 
to bed at three a.m., regretting the necessity of 



336 MEMOIR OF 



leaving the festive scene before Sir Roger de 
Coverley began ; but he had to start at eight 
a.m., on a journey of over forty miles, as, he 
said, ' Lord Portsmouth's hounds were to meet 
near his place in Devonshire, and he had 
promised his lordship to be back soon after 
twelve o'clock to show him his second fox' 
which he did. The previous Monday had been 
his eighty-first birthday." 

Mr. Stucley Lucas, the present owner of 
Baron's Down, whose father succeeded the late 
Earl Fortescue, in 1818, as Master of the Dul- 
verton Staghounds, and from whose house, it 
will be remembered, Russell saw his first stag 
killed in 1814, has kindly favoured the writer 
with the following letter : 

"So long ago as I can remember and that 
is not far from half a century down to the 
present year, Russell has always stuck to the 
staghounds with a consistency unequalled by 
any living man ; no matter where they met, 
how long they ran, nor where they finished at 
the end of the day. Our entrance-hall, as you 
know, is pretty well decorated with stags' heads, 
trophies of the chase in my father's time, when 
the woods and combes of Exmoor resounded 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 337 

with the music of those grand old-fashioned 
hounds, which he kept for six years. 

" Well, it would charm your heart to hear 
the fine old fellow when he drops in upon us, 
as he now and then does, still throwing his 
tongue with all the vigour and animation of 

o , o 

youth, and pointing out, as if it had happened 
yesterday, how this deer or that had fought his 
last fight to the bitter end ; how, with brow- 
antler, piercing like a bayonet, another had 
killed the bravest young hound in all the pack, 
knocked over the huntsman, or old Joe the 
whip, or perhaps Russell himself, and held his 
own against all odds, till the death-stroke fell, 
and his life-blood crimsoned the ground. 

" Then he would tell of one, whose royal 
crown of beam and branches proclaimed him 
king of the forest a deer so savage that, when 
he was brought to bay in a farmyard, no one 
for some time dared to approach him. At 
length, as he shifted his quarters closer to the 
house, Russell was let out of a window, and with 
the aid of a rope was able to secure the noble 
beast and avert the danger that threatened the 
hounds. 

" I see in my father's stag-hunting note- 



22 



338 MEMOIR OF 



book," continues Mr. Lucas, "an instance re- 
corded of Russell's indomitable pluck : the stag 
had crossed the Taw, when, coming to the bank 
of that turbulent stream, Russell without hesita- 
tion dashed into it and swam to the opposite 
shore ; while, of all the field, one man only was 
bold enough to face the stream and follow the 
hounds. 

" Again, I myself witnessed an act of cour- 
age on Russell's part which I can never forget. 
We had driven our stag, after a long run, to the 
foot of the Quantock Hills ; and there, with five 
or six couple of hounds only, had brought him to 
bay in a small stream, just deep enough to com- 
pel them to swim, while he stood firm on his 
legs. What was to be done, for there was no 
one up but Russell and myself? The situa- 
tion was a most critical one ; as, with lowered 
beam and defiant air, the deer's charge appeared 
to be imminent ; and then, some of the best 
hounds would either have been killed on the 
spot, or have had their hides seamed from 
shoulder to stern. Russell jumped off his pony 
(Fox by name, a wonderful little animal, which, 
by-the-by, immediately ran away and gave me 
no end of trouble to catch him), rushed in upon 



THE RE V. JOHN RUSSELL. 339 

the deer, caught him by the horns and held him 
till a third man came to his aid ; who, so far as 
I can recollect, was poor old Tom Webber, 
long since dead. Luckily for Russell, the deer 
(a four-year old) was not a very savage one ; 
so, while I held the horses, the two, after a 
sharp tussle, managed to secure him. Several 
of the field then made their appearance a little 
too late, however, to witness the last act of the 
play, the crowning scene of the day's sport. 

" Russell and I started home soon after- 
wards ; and, long as the distance was, reached 
Baron's Down before nightfall. I need not tell 
you that Russell has been out with the stag- 
hounds, to the best of my belief, every day 
during the past season (1877) ; that is to say, 
when a stag was to be hunted ; for hinds he 
doesn't care so much about. Let me add, that 
he generally sees as much of the run as any one 
out ; stays to the finish, and rides incredible 
distances back to his home no trifling feat for 
a man in the vigour of youth ; but for one of 
his age a truly wonderful performance." 

Even to one well accustomed to the sport 
the business of collaring an old deer, when he 
is " set up " by hounds, is a task that, to do it 



340 MEMOIR OF 



safely, requires at times all the skill and adroit- 
ness of a matador ; but to the inexperienced 
hunter, no matter how quick, active, and strong 
he may be, the stag, with those long, pointed 
brow-antlers of his, which he is wont to use 
with such terrible effect, is an awkward customer 
to approach, when driven to his last resource 
and confronting his foes on some vantage- 
ground. 

Many a narrow escape has Russell had, first 
and last, at such times ; but fortune, aided by 
his physical power and thorough acquaintance 
with every mode of handling the animal in that 
the final ceremony, carried him scathless through 
numerous close and fierce encounters. 

One day, during the mastership of Mr. 
Stucley Lucas, who, it will be remembered, was 
the last man to use the fine old-fashioned stag- 
hounds of that country, he was more than once 
exposed to imminent peril in saving a peasant, 
partly intoxicated, from certain death. They 
had found in Brembridge Wood, near Castle 
Hill, a noble deer, strong and swift as the winds 
of the moor, and bearing a grand head with 
" three upon top " on each horn. After a sharp 
burst of two and a half hours, they brought him 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. 34 r 

to bay in a small brook near Bratton Mill ; and 
there, for a considerable time, he defended him- 
self against all odds with so much vigour and 
effect, that several of the most adventurous 
hounds were more or less severely maimed in 
the repeated and desperate charges he made 
upon them. 

And now the struggle had all but taken a 
more serious turn : an old man, muddled with 
cider, in spite of all warning, went up, and 
attempted to caress the infuriated animal, ad- 
dressing it thus : " Sober, now, sober ; don't 'ee 
be scared, my pretty dear." On which the 
deer, mistrusting his motive, made a fierce 
lunge at him ; but missing a vital spot, drove 
his brow-antler right through the old fellow's 
hand ; and, then and there, would have cer- 
tainly killed him but for Russell's immediate 
help. He rushed in ; collared the deer by the 
root of his near-side antler, dragged the man's 
hand off the reeking tine, and then rolled over 
and over with the deer into the bed of the 
brook ; the animal forcing him under a foot- 
bridge and kneeling upon him in the water. 

At length the deer shifted his position, 
releasing Russell and bringing his back to bear 



342 MEMOIR OF 



against the wall of a thatched house, where, 
like a Turk intrenched, he again stood his 
ground with a lowered beam and defiant air. 
But " the race is not to the swift, nor the battle 
to the strong ; " for anon a farmer, called 
Skinner, mounting the roof in his rear, with 
rope in hand, gave token that the curtain was 
about to fall and bring the last act to its tragic 
end. 

And here most touching was the spectacle 
which the poor beast presented ; as, winding 
the man on the roof behind him, he turned 
round, stood on his hind legs against the side 
of the house, and looked his enemy in the face ; 
as if he would have said, in the extremity of 
despair, " Ah ! that's foul play a cowardly trick 
to win your game." 

The noose then fell ; but his noble head 
which may still be seen adorning the hall of 
Baron's Down yet exists to tell the tale and 
remind Mr. Lucas and his friends of the 
perilous incidents which occasionally attend the 
chase of the wild red deer. 

Mr. Collyns, although he gives neither date 
nor minute particulars, probably alludes to the 
same event at Bratton Mill, where, he says, " I 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 343 

remember seeing a deer, when ' set up ' by 
hounds, thrust his brow -antler through the 
hand of a man who attempted to secure him ; " 
and then he adds : " On one occasion when I 
was out, the late Sir Arthur Chichester, then 
the Master of the Hounds, had a very narrow 
escape from serious injury. We had brought 
to bay an old stag, after a severe chase. The 
deer posted himself on a high bank, from which 
exalted position he set the hounds at defiance, 
No rope was at hand, and whilst some of the 
party were absent in quest of one, the master 
rode up, and tried to dislodge the deer from his 
vantage-ground with his whip. I saw the 
animal gather himself for a charge, and had 
just time to successfully warn Sir Arthur against 
the danger he was in. He turned aside, and 
in a moment the deer leapt from the bank, just 
missed the horse's head, as it was being turned 
away, and with tremendous force plunged his 
antlers deep into the ground." 

Short of death, one of the most frightful 
injuries ever witnessed by Russell was inflicted 
on a hound bred by Lord Portsmouth, and 
called Falconer, in taking an old stag at Waters 
Meet. Standing at bay above his knees, in the 



344 MEMOIR OF 



East Lynn river, he drove his long brow-antler 
up to its hilt in the hound's side; and then, in 
withdrawing it, brought out that portion of the 
interior known as " the apron " clinging to the 
rough inequalities of the blood-stained horn. 
Almost sickened by the sight, Russell put his 
whip round the hound's neck, led him aside, 
and having drawn out the apron as far as it 
would come, he cut it off with a pair of scissors. 
He then inquired if any gentleman or lady 
present happened to have a needle and thread 
about them ; on which, a gentleman immediately 
came forward and produced a huswife well fur- 
nished with the said articles. 

" Any surgeon present," again inquired 
Russell, " who will sew up the wound ? " 

" I am one," responded another readily, 
" and will do my best for the poor hound." 

The operation having been quickly and well 
performed, Falconer was then conveyed to 
Simonsbath by a passing cart ; and, wonderful 
to relate, at the end of a fortnight from that 
day, was taken out again as a tufter by the 
huntsman, John Babbage, who pleaded that he 
absolutely needed his services, at the same time 
pronouncing him to be " fit as a- fiddle " for that 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. 345 

or any other work. Nor did the hound ever 
afterwards appear a pin the worse for the cruel 
treatment he had so bravely survived. 

The open and often stormy Severn-sea being 
the last refuge of a deer when driven by hounds 
to the rock-bound coast of his native wilds, it 
has been Russell's lot, first and last, to witness 
many a remarkable instance of buoyancy and 
strength exhibited both by the stag and hind 
in battling with the waves and struggling to 
reach the opposite shore. On the 22nd of 
October, 1876, Russell wrote: 

" Letters just come in one from Mrs. 
Kinglake, who, with her husband, son, and 
daughters has been staying at Porlock for stag- 
hunting since August to say that a stag we 
ran to sea above Porlock Weir, a fortnight ago, 
was drowned ; that the body was washed across 
the Channel and picked up on the Welsh 
coast. He didn't run three miles before he 
went to sea, and I saw him battling with the 
waves, now riding on their topmost crest, and 
now lost in foam ; there was a very heavy sea 
on, not half a minute before he went down. 
William Deane was by my side, and said, ' He 
has sunk.' My reply was, * If he has, 'tis a 



346 MEMOIR OF 



very unusual circumstance ; for I have known 
a deer out in the sea for four hours, after he 
has stood two hours before the hounds ; and 
have seen him come in again apparently quite 
fresh.' He was drowned, however, if he did 
not sink ; and so ends my tale." 

The buoyancy of a deer in water, even 
when dead, is not a little remarkable. His 
body, though the lungs are no longer inflated 
with air, will still float on the surface ; while 
that of an otter, an animal commonly but falsely 
supposed to be amphibious, will sink to the 
bottom like a lump of lead. Mr. Collyns re- 
lates that a stag " getting on Slippery Rock 
fell over the cliffs and killed himself; fortu- 
nately no hound followed him. The tide 
was up, and he was carried out to sea for a 
considerable distance ; and the boat sent out 
to secure him arrived just in time to save 
him from the hands of those on board a smack 
going up Channel, who had all but reached 
him." 

Russell corroborated the fact : " Collyns' 
version is quite a correct one. A deer will 
float not ' swim ' for a long time after he is 
dead, both in the sea and in a river. I have 



THE RE V. JOHN RUSSELL. 347 

witnessed it often, and so have many other 
Devonshire sportsmen ; but I have never seen 
an otter float after he was dead." 

Russell, in alluding to a deer that went to 
sea for four hours and returned all the better 
for his cruise, refers to a gallant old stag found 
by Sir Arthur Chichester's hounds and driven 
through Badgeworthy, over the moor to Lyn- 
mouth. Six or eight couple of hounds were 
pressing him sorely, when he managed by a 
few mighty bounds to reach the pinnacle of 
an isolated rock, from which, with a firm 
footing for himself, he bid defiance to all his 
foes. 

A man, however, with a well-aimed pebble, 
dislodged him at length from his perilous 
perch ; and, as the deer bounded off like an 
eagle into space, Russell shut his eyes, that he 
might not see him, as he fully expected, dashed 
to atoms. On looking again, however, to his 
great delight he saw the animal striding away 
towards the sea, where he remained for four 
hours, standing boldly out for the opposite 
coast. But he was taken and brought back 
long before he reached it. 

Another stag, less fortunate in his jump, 



34B MEMOIR OF 



was so beset by men and hounds, near the 
same romantic spot, that he bounded over a 
road-wall, and fell hundreds of feet, down into 
the rocky Lynn, every bone in his body being 
smashed by the fall. 

Again, Russell speaks of a deer which, after 
a grand run from Badge worthy, went to sea 
near Countisbury Church ; when a sloop bound 
for Swansea fell in with him, the men of which 
threw a rope over his antlers and carried him 
captive into that port. Alas! a week after- 
wards, the noble animal is said to have suffered 
the ignominy of being " uncarted " and turned 
out before a Welsh pack of hounds. 

Nor was this act of piracy an exceptional 
case. Russell, on another occasion, saw a hind 
picked up by a fishing-smack in the face of all 
the hunters, who, posted on the cliff above,' 
shouted and signalled in vain to the daring 
thieves. The animal was carried to Pill, sold 
there, and turned into venison. 

In the rough and imperfect sketch of Rus- 
sell set forth in this memoir, his devotion to 
the chase and its attendant mysteries has thus 
far purposely formed its chief foreground ; but 
there is another feature of his character which, 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 349 

though not yet touched upon, is entitled to 
equal prominence in the picture ; and that is, 
his devotion to women and children. In a 
spirited article, entitled, "A Day with the 
Devon and Somerset Staghounds," contributed 
to Bailys Magazine of September, 1874, the 
writer (" E. K.") alludes very pleasantly to one 
of the numerous instances in which Russell 
has taken children under his especial tutelage, 
and literally guided their first steps in the 
hunting-field. It runs thus : 

" Then comes the parson of the hunt what 
west countryman does not know, without my 
naming him, the best and keenest of sports- 
men ? Up he comes, with a smile and a joke 
for all. As he answers the numerous greetings 
he receives, I catch his cheery acknowledg- 
ments : * Very well, thank ye.' ' How's the 
missis ? Long ride for an old fellow like me, 
eh ? rode all the way from home this morning 
a good thirty mile, and more.' ' Going to 
ride all the way back too ? ' * Yes ; the old 
horse looks well, don't he ? Doesn't change 
much more than his master last my time, any- 
how. Hullo ! that's your little girl ? Your 
first day, my dear ? Then we must blood you ; 



350 MEMOIR OF 



follow me, and you shall see the kill. Oh ! I'll 
take care of her, never fear ! ' So I see the 
plucky little girl made utterly happy she is to 

be piloted over the moor by the Rev. , and 

her joy is complete." 

And as to women, it boots not where, how, 
or when ; but his gallantry to them, in the field 
or out of it, at home or abroad, has been 
through life that of a Launcelot, anxious ever 
to serve, succour, and defend them to the best 
of his manly power. "God bless them all!" 
he might say with Sterne ; " there is not a 
man upon earth who loves them better than 
I do." 

Nor has the sentiment been ill-requited on 
their part ; for no matter in what class of life 
the maid or matron may be, if haply she have 
seen much of his company, her eye will kindle 
evermore with a look of sympathy and pleasant 
memories at the bare mention of Russell's 
name. 

His readiness and ability to help ladies in 
the stag-hunting field have been already alluded 
to ; and from the eulogistic terms in which he 
never failed to speak of a few as " elegant and 
accomplished horsewomen," who, whatever the 



THE RE V. JOHN RUSSELL. 35 1 

pace, were wont to take a brilliant lead and 
look to no one for help, so long as their horses 
could gallop and they could help themselves, 
the writer is sanguine enough to hope that the 
liberty will be condoned, if he venture to bracket 
a very imperfect list of their names in company 
with that of their devoted and staunchest 
admirer. First and foremost, then, comes Miss 
Kinglake, now the Hon. Mrs. T. Fitzwilliam ; 
"one of the best," as Russell writes, " I ever 
saw, from find to finish, on Exmoor." Then, 
her promising young sister, Miss Beata King- 
lake, Lady Lovelace, Mrs. Henry Dene, Mrs. 
Pulsford Browne, of Kirk Bramwith, near 
Doncaster "a lady who lived for many years 
at East Anstey, near Dulverton, and hunted 
with Lord Portsmouth's and the Staghounds 
a very fine rider and one who went as straight 
over a country as a bird on wing. She always 
called me ' Uncle John ;' and once or twice in 
a moor fog did me the honour to accept my 
pilotage." 

Then there was Miss Clara Jekyll, Miss 
Hole, now Mrs. Wynch, Mrs. John Luttrell, 
Miss Leslie, the three Miss Taylors, of Dul- 
verton, Miss Julia Carwithen, now Mrs. Pyne- 



352 MEMOIR OF 



Coffin, Miss Luttrell, Miss Widborne, Mrs. 
Louis and Mrs. Russell Riccard, Mrs. James 
Turner, Miss Vibart, Lady Lindsay, Mrs. 
Proctor- Baker, Miss Constance Baxendale, and 
Mrs. Lock- Roe, an elegant horsewoman, and 
one of Russell's dearest friends. Then, last in 
the list, but rarely so in the chase, come Mrs. 
Granville Somerset and her sister Mrs. Chol- 
mondeley, two ladies whom Russell describes 
" as worthy of niches in the grandest temple 
ever dedicated to the Forest Queen. " 

Of a fall that befell Mrs. Cholmondeley, 
where the two streams meet above Badge- 
worthy once, as Mr. Blackmore tells us, the 
stronghold of the Doones Russell always 
spoke with a shudder. The hounds had found 
in Hawkcombe ; and, in spite of a hurricane of 
wind that was blowing at the time, had brought 
their stag at a trimming pace over the moor 
down to that old point, where so many have 
" soiled," or sought refuge in the surrounding 
combes. 

Mrs. Cholmondeley, with Lord Cork near 
her, was well in front, when Russell, at a short 
distance behind them, beheld the lady riding 
directly for the stream, and-, to his dismay, 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 353 

attempting to cross it at a dangerous and im- 
practicable spot. A high and almost perpen- 
dicular boulder stood erect on the opposite 
bank, bidding defiance to any steed short of 
Pegasus, and presenting a barrier only to be 
mounted by a scaling-ladder. Russell shouted 
till he was hoarse, but in vain his warning was 
drowned in the storm ; for, Mrs. Cholmondeley 
putting her horse resolutely at it, the gallant 
animal did his utmost ; but, failing to reach the 
summit of the rock, fell heavily back into the 
boiling Lynn, and so saved his own bones ; 
while the lady was hurled to the ground with 
an appalling thud. 

Russell's blood curdled at the sight, but he 
leapt from his saddle and stood by her side 
in another instant. Anxiously awaiting the 
recovery of her breath, and being fully persuaded 
that some fracture of the limbs must have taken 
place, Russell said, " Move your right arm ; now 
the other : your right foot ; the other. Bravo ! 
not a bone broken there. Now stand up." 

The lady did so ; and, though much bruised, 
in a short time was little the worse for her 
perilous adventure. Lord Cork a hard man 
in his day, and who must have seen more bad 

23 



354 MEMOIR OF 



falls than most men, if not during his Master- 
ship of the Queen's Buckhounds, at least with 
the Christchurch drag was so shocked by 
the sight that, on finding the lady was well 
attended to, he turned his horse's head and rode 
home. 

In the fifth room of the Borghese Palace, 
at Rome, hangs an exquisite picture by 
Domenichino ; the finest, perhaps, he ever 
painted on a mythical subject ; it is entitled 
"The Chase of Diana." The figure of the 
goddess, who stands prominently forward, is 
the very personification of beauty. She is 
attended by a bevy of nymphs ; and to one, 
whose superior skill as a huntress has just been 
tested, the goddess is awarding the appropriate 
prize of a bow and quiver. 

But if, as of old in the valleys of Ida, the 
Forest Queen were at present to hold High 
Court in one of the ferny combes of Exmoor, 
attended, of course, by the fair votaries men- 
tioned above, her Majesty would be sorely 
puzzled, so Russell thought, to decide on which 
of them to bestow the first prize 

" For, all so good, 'twere hard indeed to tell 
Who figured first, or who should bear the bell." 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 355 



CHAPTER XIV. 

Visits Marham Hall and Sandringham Dances the Old Year 
out and the New Year in with the Ptincess of Wales 
Manly Traits in the Young Princes Sorrow at Home 
His Clerical Life Tiverton Old Boys' 1 Meetings. 

"Think you the chase unfits him for the Church ? 
Attend him there, and you will find his tones 
Such as become the place ; nay, you may search 
Through many counties from cathedral thrones, 
And lofty stalls where solemn prebends perch, 

To parish aisles which are not cells of drones, 
But echo the sweet sound of psalm and prayer, 
And you will hear no voice more earnest there." 

H. S. STOKES. 

IN the early autumn of 1877, Frank Goodall, 
the Queen's huntsman, accompanied by Mrs. 
Goodall, paid him a visit at Tordown ; and 
on Tuesday, the I4th of August, Russell, 
who was to meet his guests at Cloutsham 
Ball that being the first grand fixture 
for the season, the opening day of the 
Devon and Somerset Staghounds varied 



356 MEMOIR OF 



his usual mode of going to cover by taking 
a servant with him and driving thither in a 
gig a conveyance and attendant expressly 
meant for Mrs. Goodall's return to Tordown ; 
while, at the same time, he led a spare horse to 
carry Goodall during the chase. Although now 
in the eighty-second year of his age, so unusual 
a sight as Russell upon wheels attracted, of 
course, universal attention among the large 
field assembled at the meet ; some of whom 
jumped at once to the conclusion, not an un 
natural one too, that the long distance to cover 
on horseback, just twenty-five miles, had at 
length become too much even for him ; others, 
with more humour, but with little ground for 
their advice, prescribed a list-shoe, giving him 
a broad hint that, if port wine were his liquor, 
the sooner he put on a muzzle the better. 

An old stag-hunting farmer, however, whose 
feelings were really touched by the spectacle, 
created no little amusement, as he said, pathe- 
tically, " Zee ! there he go'th ; Passen Rissell 
in a chaise ; never seed un afore off a horse's 
back, never. But there, us must all come to't ; 
yeu can't have tew forenoons to one day." 

Grand and striking, indeed, must have been 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 357 

the contrast to Frank Goodall's eye between 
the deep, romantic combes of that country and 
the gentle verdant slopes of Sunning Hill ; 
between the wild, tumbling torrent of the Lynn 
and the " silver-winding way'* of Father 
Thames ; as, among water-lilies, weeping- 
willows, and 

" Meadows trim with daisies pied," 

he glides gently and pensively seawards, lin- 
gering still on his downward course, as if loth 
to leave the peaceful and happy scene. Fair 
and graceful, however, as the landscape is in 
the region of Windsor, Frank Goodall must 
have been more than a philosopher if a twinge 
of envy did not seize him as he viewed the 
sparkling brooks, the ferny combes, and the 
open, heathery wastes of Exmoor, so attractively 
romantic, and, above all, so suitable to the chase 
of the wild red deer ; and on comparing, as 
he must have done, these rough and almost 
trackless hunting-grounds in the west with the 
fair and cultivated enclosures enriching the 
valley of the Thames, how ardently he must 
have longed, on behalf of the latter, for a touch 
of old Nature as he saw her then, in her russet 



358 MEMOIR OF 



and untrimmed garb, in the solitude of the 
glens, and the grand, sweeping moorlands, 
" immeasurably spread " around him ! 

But it was far from Russell's object that 
his guest should moralize in such fashion ; he 
brought him there to enjoy a good day's 
hunting; but that, unfortunately, Mr. Bisset 
and his hounds were, for a wonder, unable to 
show him. So many deer were on foot in 
Horner Wood, that, when at five p.m., 

" The antlered monarch of the waste " 

did at length vouchsafe to exhibit his royal 
head to the public, he soon managed to beat 
the pack by a change in the depths of Badge- 
worthy. Consequently, the sport, on the whole, 
proving indifferent, Goodall and he turned 
homeward, but did not get back to Tordown 
before the late hour of eleven at night. 

On the following Friday, August i;th, 
Russell again met the staghounds in Hawk- 
combe Head ; and if, on the last occasion, he 
had enjoyed but scant opportunity of satisfying 
the " field," he must now have convinced them, 
beyond all doubt, that his power of endurance 
in the saddle was yet vigorous as ever ; and 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 359 

that, notwithstanding the weight of years he 
carried so bravely, to challenge him in a long 
day's work on horseback, would still be " more 
than the stoutest dare." 

He had ridden nearly thirty miles to cover 
over highways and byways such as MacAdam 
would have blushed to own, remained with the 
hounds all day, and then, from a yet farther dis- 
tance, had returned to his own homestead ; 
where, at half-past ten, he sat down to dinner 
without a symptom of exhaustion, and then fed 
heartily, as a man might be expected to feed 
through the enclosure of whose lips no food 
had passed since seven o'clock that morning. 

Having folio wed him thus far in his fox-and- 
stag-hunting career as closely as the scent would 
serve and materials permit, it will be necessary 
now to revert to a period somewhat previous 
to that with which the writer has latterly been 
dealing ; and although Russell himself might 
have said that a for'rad cast is, as it ought to 
be, one of the golden rules of a foxhunter, still, 
exceptional cases do occur even in that go-ahead 
school, when its non-observance becomes not 
only admissible, but at times imperative. 

Russell had found a fox on a certain occa- 



360 MEMOIR OF 



sion somewhere in the neighbourhood of High 
Bray, when, just before the hounds had killed 
him, he was joined by one John Zeal, a man 
who acted as factotum to Mr. T. Palmer 
Acland, on whose business he was then going 
to Bideford, Now John, as Russell well knew, 
was an enthusiastic foxhunter, and chuckled 
cheerily over his good luck in having fallen in 
even with the tail-end of so pleasant an episode 
during his solitary ride. 

Seeing him so elated, Russell said, " You'd 
better stop, John, and see me find another 
fox." 

The man hesitated a moment, as if weigh- 
ing the urgency of his mission against the 
prospect of sport duty in one scale and plea- 
sure in the other. 

" But, will you kill him, sir, if I stop ? " 
inquired John, gradually yielding to the 
stronger impulse. 

" Oh, yes ! I'll kill him ; so, come along." 

" But, will you promise to kill him ?" repeated 
the man, still wavering ; " only say the word 
and I know you'll do it." 

"Then," said Russell, " I'll promise to kill 
him." 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 361 

That was enough ; up went the scale of 
duty to the beam ; John instantly turned his 
horse's head and followed the hounds. Russell 
kept his word, had a fine run and killed his 
fox ; but, alas ! John Zeal found himself, when 
they finished, not only twenty long miles away 
from Bideford, but on a horse utterly used up 
and scarcely able to craw r l back to his own 
stable. 

The cause of his servant's detention became, 
of course, known to Mr. Palmer Acland ; nor is 
it at all unlikely that Russell's chance of pro- 
motion to a better living was more or less un- 
favourably affected by that circumstance. The 
rectory of High Bray had fallen vacant, and 
being in the gift of that gentleman, he was 
asked by a mutual friend to give it to Russell. 

" No ! " he said, somewhat curtly ; " not to 
Russell ; I shall be hunted to death if I give 
it to him." 

Although living in times when cock-fighting 
was regarded as no crime, but, on the contrary, 
was upheld as a popular pastime, in which the 
squirearchy of Devon played a conspicuous 
part ; when friends of his own, gentlemen of 
such standing in the county as the Hon. New- 



362 MEMOIR OF 



ton Fellowes, Willoughby Stawell, Stucley 
Lucas, and Dr. Troyte, of Huntsham, held 
annual bouts for that purpose at their respec- 
tive homes ; and when cocks of the choicest 
blood, reared expressly for the pit, were put 
out to walk, as hounds are at the present day, 
Russell held aloof from the meetings, maintain- 
ing that he saw no sport in the fierce and 
savage exhibitions. 

And with respect to the turf, perhaps no 
man ever loved to see an honest struggle be- 
tween two good horses better than Russell ; 
but, on horse-racing in general, coupled as it is 
inseparably with betting and other dark doings, 
he has ever looked with a wary eye. In allud- 
ing to it he would say, " Have a care, my old 
friend ; that is a game in which the best horse 
is not always the winner very different from 
hunting, with twenty couple of hounds racing 
over the moor ; there's no * pulling' nor ' roping ' 
then ; every man does his best to get at them. 
That's the racing to my mind nothing so 
honest under the sun." 

It would be travelling beyond the compass 
and object of this memoir to tell of the various 
agricultural meetings and hound-shows at which 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. 363 

Russell took a prominent part, as judge, during 
the last twenty years. Suffice it to say, with 
respect to the latter, that in Yorkshire he 
acted twice in that capacity ; twice at Ply- 
mouth ; once at the Crystal Palace, and lastly 
in Dorsetshire, where he was invited in March, 
1878, to judge the puppies of the Blackmoor 
Vale Hunt. At that meeting what reminis- 
cences of fifty years ago must have rolled back 
on his memory ! what thoughts of his two 
gifted friends, the Rev. Harry Farr Yeatman, 
of Stock, and George Templer, of Stover the 
latter his beau-ideal of a gentleman-huntsman, 
and the former the well-beloved master and 
founder of that hunt each a consummate judge 
of all that pertained to hounds. He must have 
wondered, too, if one drop of the old Stover 
blood that of Guardsman or Pantaloon 
could still be traced in the veins or looks of 
those young beauties, over which he now lin- 
gered with a fixed and loving eye. Nor could 
that memorable ride to Bath on the Warmins- 
ter poster have been forgotten at such a time ; 
nay, every incident of the journey must have 
recurred to him as freshly as on the dark night 
when he first crossed that garran's back. 



364 MEMOIR OF 



At an agricultural meeting held at Exeter 
some years ago, Russell, while busily engaged 
in inspecting the blood-stock of a neighbouring 
squire, was told by an old friend that he had 
brought a young cousin to the show-yard, who 
was very anxious to be introduced to him. 
" And let me tell you," said the friend, by way 
of commendation, the young man being close 
at his elbow, " that he is an ardent sportsman, 
and has already broken his leg by a fall in 
hunting." 

" Then," said Russell, " he ought to be bred 
from," giving him, as he did so, a hearty shake 
by the hand. 

When the Royal Agricultural Society of 
England held its meeting at Plymouth in 1865, 
Russell, by command of the Prince of Wales, 
was invited by Admiral Sir Henry Keppel to 
meet his Royal Highness at dinner, the Admi- 
ralty House at Devonport being the rendezvous 
for the distinguished party assembled on that 
occasion. The banquet appears to have been 
an unusually pleasant one ; nor is it at all extra- 
ordinary that it should have been so, for, in 
addition to the Prince's wonted affability and 
love of hunting, the Admiral and his Flag- 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. 365 

Lieut, Lord Charles Beresford, besides being 
the best of company, were both men after 
Russell's own heart enthusiastic sportsmen, and 
regular attendants on Mr. Trelawny's hounds. 

In strolling through the show-yard on the 
following day, Russell whispered to a friend 
that, " The ship commanded by two such 
officers must be a jolly-boat indeed, for they 
were the jolliest set of fellows he had met for 
many a day." 

Sailors, when they take to hunting, pro- 
verbially do it con amore, and certainly it may 
be inferred that those gentlemen were no excep- 
tions to that rule ; for when they left Plymouth 
for other quarters, Mr. Trelawny could ill dis- 
guise the regret he felt at losing two members 
of his "field," whom he valued so much for 
their companionable qualities, not only with 
hounds, but at " table-board." 

Russell, then, had fallen fairly on his legs 
by dropping into so genial a groove ; and it is 
quite certain that, if form and ceremony had 
been the order of the day, instead of good- 
fellowship, seasoned, it may be, here and there, 
with a spice of horse-and-hound talk, he would 
never have enjoyed himself as he did, nor so 



366 MEMOIR OF 

cordially appreciated the honour done him by 
that gracious invitation. 

Not long afterwards, however, he was des- 
tined to see something more of His Royal 
Highness's society than, from his position in 
life that of a rural, west country parson, only 
known to fame within the limits of the hunting 
world his homespun habits could have led 
him to expect. 

In the winter of 1873, by the kindness of 
his friend, Mr. Harry Villebois, he was invited 
to spend a week at Marham Hall, the ancient 
seat of that gentleman's family, " to meet," as 
the invitation expressed it, " the Prince of 
Wales and a party of friends." It is doubtful, 
however, if even so fair a promise of hospi- 
tality, combined with the prospect of meeting 
such goodly company, would alone have tempted 
him to turn his back for six hunting days on 
Lord Portsmouth's hounds, or Mr. Froude 
Bellew's, or the " Stars of the West," and that, 
too, in mid-season ; but, when Mr. Villebois 
added, " and have a day or two with the West 
Norfolk pack," he added a bait that was irresis- 
tible, and Russell jumped at it as a trout would 
at a May-fly. 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 367 

It boots not here to tell how rapidly that 
pleasant visit was brought to a close ; the hap- 
piest moments have always the fleetest wings, 
and are apt to take flight ere we can well 
enjoy, or even realize, their presence. The 
day before the party broke up, however, a most 
agreeable surprise awaited Russell, ere his 
steps were actually turned on his long journey 
homewards. The Prince, coming up to him, 
said, " How long are you going to stay here, 
Mr. Russell ? " 

" I must be at home on Saturday, sir, with- 
out fail." 

" Then," said the Prince, turning to Mr. 
Villebois, " you had better bring him over to 
our ball on Friday." 

Accordingly, instead of returning on that 
day to Devonshire, as he meant to have done, 
Russell hunted with Mr. Villebois' hounds, 
dined at Marham, and at night, accompanied 
by his host, whisked off to the ball at Sandring- 
ham. It was a late and lively affair, the 
dancing being kept up with unflagging gaiety, 
and Russell taking an active part in it, till four 
in the morning, when " God Save the Queen " 
sounded the signal to halt, and reminded the 



368 MEMOIR 



guests of that salutary hint so well given in 
Hudibras, that, 

" Night is the Sabbath of mankind 
To rest the body and the mind ; " 

a hint which all, with the exception of Russell, 
seemed quite ready to adopt forthwith ; but he, 
at that chilly hour of morn, buttoning on his 
top-coat the wool of which had been grown at 
Eggesford, and, when manufactured into good 
broadcloth, had been presented to him by Lady 
Portsmouth started for Lynn ; and taking the 
first train thence for London, he reached home 
at a late hour that same night, " All the better," 
as he told his friends the next day, " for change 
of air and a pleasant outing." 

That the Prince and Princess were not un- 
favourably impressed with their west-country 
guest, during his first flying visit, may be in- 
ferred from the circumstance that, shortly before 
his departure, the Prince sent Colonel Ellis to 
invite him again to Sandringham for the ap- 
proaching Christmas week : " And, as we hope 
to hear him preach," said the Prince, " tell him 
to put a sermon in his pocket before he leaves 
home." 

A story went the rounds of the London 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 369 

clubs, that Russell, on accepting the Prince's 
invitation, inquired of Colonel Ellis how he was 
to get to Sandringham from the Wolferton 
station ? 

" The Prince will send his carriage for 
you," replied the gallant equerry. 

" Be good enough to write that down in my 
pocket-book," said Russell, " that there may be 
no mistake." 

Colonel Ellis did so. 

" Now," said Russell, " please to add your 
initials." 

The tale travelled into Devonshire, and 
when it first reached Russell's ears he laughed 
aloud, saying, " A very good story against me ; 
if only it were true." 

The annual tenants' ball being about to take 
place on the last night of the year, a flutter of 
excitement pervaded the neighbourhood for 
many a mile round Sandringham, and expecta- 
tion rose, not on tiptoe only, but to fever-heat, 
in anticipation of that joyous event. It was 
looked upon as the fete of the season, when the 
Prince and Princess were wont to mingle merrily 
in the dance, and delight their country guests 

not less by the welcome they received than by 

24 



370 MEMOIR OF 



the simplicity, and almost homeliness of their 
own manners. No wonder, too, if Russell felt 
somewhat stirred by the coming event ; nor if, 
remembering the seventy-eight winters of his 
life, he might have wished for the magic caul- 
dron of Medea to restore him again to the 
vigour of youth, and bring back, at least for one 
night, that " freshness of morning " which, with 
" her clouds and her tears," the poet tells us is 

" Worth evening's best light." 

That would certainly have been his first 
wish, had he foreseen the honour that awaited 
him at the forthcoming ball. On that night, a 
little before the clock struck twelve, and a few 
minutes before the old year had passed away 
for ever, Russell received an intimation that the 
Princess was about to favour him with her hand, 
and welcome the incoming year by taking him 
for her partner. 

It would be trespassing beyond the due 
limits of this memoir to take more than a 
passing glance at the mysteries of that festive 
scene, the success of which, had the Muses 
been present, Terpsichore herself would have 
been charmed to witness. Russell, inspirited 



THE RE V. JOHN R USSELL. 37 1 

by his happy lot, and forgetting all time, except 
that of the music, stepped out like a four-year- 
old ; and if, in the course of that brief enjoy- 
ment, he had not been the object of many long- 
ing, not to say envious, eyes, there must have 
been Anchorites in that assembly with whom 
he certainly would have had no sympathy. 

It was whispered about by that little bird, 
to which, from our earliest years, we have all 
been indebted for so much authentic informa- 
tion, that Russell, on hearing the tower clock 
announce the birth of the new year, turned to 
his fair partner and said, " Now I can say what 
no man else can ever say again." 

" And what may that be ? " inquired the 
Princess, with an interested look. 

"That I've had the honour of dancing out 
the old year and dancing in the new (1874) 
with your Royal Highness." 

" Quite true," replied the Princess ; " no one 
else can say that but yourself." 

But Fame, that worst of all gossips, relates 
of him on that occasion though he himself 
stoutly repudiated the impeachment that, in 
setting the Princess right as to some remark 
she had made, he forgot for the moment whom 



372 MEMOIR OF 



he was addressing, and said, " No, no, my dear ; 
'tisn't so." But if, in truth, his tongue did so 
slip, the pure Devonshire strain, in which he 
was wont to use that familiar expression in 
speaking to ladies, if it did not astonish, must 
have amused her Royal Highness amazingly. 

At dinner, on the first day of that week's 
visit, Russell's country manners cropped out 
somewhat conspicuously. He had been helped 
to fish, and, wishing for more, had sent his 
plate off for a second " helping," when the 
Prince, observing the vacancy before him, asked 
if he didn't like fish. 

"Yes, sir," replied Russell, " I'm very fond 
of fish. I've been helped once, and I've sent 
my plate up a second time ; and now I remem- 
ber, that's the very thing my wife charged me, 
on leaving home, not to do," 

The Prince laughed, but took care that every 
day afterwards Russell should be helped a 
second time to his favourite dish. 

Under the conviction, in which he was not 
far wrong, that his guest, like every orthodox 
parson of the old type, would prefer a glass of 
good " red port wine " to Bordeaux of the finest 
vintage, or to Falernian, though " kept with a 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. 373 

hundred keys," the Prince called his attention 
to a bottle of '20 port, of which, on being 
invited to say how he liked it, he at once 
expressed his unqualified approval. The next 
day, however, a different and a somewhat 
thinner port was put before him, and again the 
Prince asked his opinion of that wine. 

" Very good, sir," replied Russell ; "but not 
quite so stout a wine as the port you gave me 
yesterday." 

The Prince at once, inferring that his guest 
preferred the more generous wine, ordered the 
bottle to be changed, and thenceforth Russell 
enjoyed his glass of '20 port daily at the royal 
table. He was, however, no gourmet, plain 
food and sound home-grown cider having been 
the chief diet on which he depended through 
life ; and these, sweetened by mountain air and 
strong exercise, appeared to agree with him 
admirably. 

After dinner, on the first day of his arrival 
at Sandringham, a large party being present, 
Russell became the subject of a harmless, but 
very amusing, practical joke, which, as he said 
himself, " for the life of him he could not 
at first understand." Mr. Anthony Hamond's 



374 MEMOIR OF 



foxhounds were appointed to meet in the neigh- 
bourhood on the following day, and that gentle- 
man being then present, a telegram was brought 
in, which the Prince, amid the breathless silence 
of his guests, opened and read aloud. It ran 
thus : 

" Bill George, Canine Castle, Kensal Green, 
to Anthony Hamond, Esq., at Sandringham, 
Wolferton. The Rev. John Russell having 
disappointed me in not calling for a bagman as 
he passed through London this afternoon, shall 
send him down to-morrow by first train to 
Wolferton. Hope he'll arrive fresh." 

Such a telegram, as might be expected, 
called forth a peal of merriment at Russell's 
expense, but by whom it was concocted remains 
a mystery to the present day. 

At 'table, the carte-de-menu, exquisitely de- 
signed, and very superior to anything Russell 
had ever yet seen, attracted his especial admira- 
tion. On the top appeared Sandringham House 
and the date, with a border on one side filled in 
with game, and all beautifully painted. " Isn't 
that very pretty ? " said the Prince, observing 
his guest's eye fascinated by the design. 
" It was done by a bedridden girl, and you 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. 37 5 



must take that home to Mrs. Russell from 



me." 



On the Sunday, as requested to do so by 
their Royal Highnesses, he preached at Sand- 
ringham Church, the Rev. W. Lake Onslow, 
the rector, placing his pulpit at his service, and 
afterwards thanking him cordially for his able 
and interesting discourse. And that the Prince 
and Princess must have been equally impressed 
by the clear enunciation and earnest manner of 
the preacher there can be little doubt ; though, 
on that point, if anything were said, history is 
silent. 

Perhaps no portion of his time was more 
pleasantly spent than the quiet half-hour he 
passed one morning with the Princess, who, 
followed by her two eldest boys, then respec- 
tively nine and eight years of age, invited him 
to accompany them to the stables and inspect 
the stud. " It was a delightful sight/' said 
Russell, relating the circumstance to an old 
friend, shortly afterwards, " to witness the utter 
freedom of the youngsters as they tumbled and 
plunged amongst the straw, and ever and anon 
begged for a bit of chopped carrot, which the 
Princess carried in a basket, in order to feed 



376 MEMOIR OF 



some gentle favourite on which they had set 
their hearts. A more natural sight I never 
saw in my life ; and, mark my words, those two 
boys will be as fond of horses as ever Castor 
and Pollux were." 

The agreeable party at Sandringham, on 
that occasion, was brought to a close by the 
departure of the Prince, who, taking Russell 
with him as far as London, started off for St. 
Petersburg, to attend the wedding of his 
brother, H.R.H. the Duke of Edinburgh, an 
event that took place on the 23rd January, 
1874. 

Miss L. T , a lady who had read a 

letter of Russell's describing the pleasure of 
his visit to Sandringham, wrote thus in allusion 
to it : 

" What a list of things he got through in 
those ten days, and what a delightful picture 
he gives of the family circle at S. ! I don't 
wonder the P. and P. made much of their 
guest, for all England may be proud of such a 
man as Mr. Russell. I only wish there were 
hundreds like him. ' Fox-hunting for ever ! ' 
say I, if it helps to make such men." 

In the autumn of that year, 1874, a heavy 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 377 

sorrow awaited him the heaviest he had 
known through life by the serious illness and 
subsequent death of Mrs. Russell ; with whom, 
had she lived but one year longer, he might 
have celebrated his golden wedding-day. On 
the 22nd of October, he thus wrote: "The 
dear old missis is, I grieve to say, very ill ; 
and I can't leave her for many hours together. 
Still, she is cheerful when any one comes in, 
and will, as usual, 'stir her stumps' to make 
them comfortable. But that sort of exertion 
does her no good ; and sometimes I am led to 
believe she can't live through the day." 

On the ist of January in the following year 
the long-dreaded blow fell at last ; mercifully 
releasing the patient sufferer, but overwhelming 
Russell with unutterable grief. 

Writing subsequently at intervals to an old 
friend, sometime his curate, he alludes thus 
painfully to his bereavement : " I am at home 
again, though it no longer seems like home to 
me, for there is a vacant chair in every room, 
never again to be filled by her, the dear old 
soul, to whom I was united forty- nine years 
ago, come Sunday." Again : " If the sym- 
pathy of friendship could soothe my grief, I 



378 MEMOIR OF 



possess it to a very great extent ; for I have 
received upwards of a hundred letters of com- 
fort and condolence from friends, far and near. 
Among them, one from the Prince of Wales, 
most kindly and feelingly expressed." 

On hearing from the friend, already so often 
referred to, that he would like to see what the 
Prince had said, Russell wrote as follows : 

" MY DEAR OLD FRJEND, 

" I have sent a copy of the Prince's 
letter to Lady Westbury (nde Luttrell), who 
will give it to you ; but, please remember, not 
for publication, either before or after I 'sleep 
the sleep that knows not breaking.' Love to 
you all." 

During a portion of that eventful year 
(1875) ms ti me an d thoughts were much occu- 
pied in preaching for charitable institutions, in 
behalf of which he not only took an active 
interest, but proved himself, as before men- 
tioned, a most successful advocate. So truly, 
indeed, were his services appreciated, that, at 
the proposal of Earl Fortescue, he was consti- 
tuted an honorary governor of the North Devon 
Hospital. " I am worked to death," he wrote, 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. 379 

"at this season of the year (November) ; going 
about from church to church on working days 
as well as Sundays, preaching and begging for 
the N. D. Infirmary and similar institutions, 
and finding, when I come home, heaps of 
letters to answer, but no one there to cheer me 
in my labour alone ! alone ! " 

In the same year, as if well aware that 
occupation is one of the main secrets of life's 
happiness, he accepted the office of chaplain to 
the High Sheriff of Cornwall, Mr. George Wil- 
liams, of Scorrier, who, in most complimentary 
terms, offered him the appointment. Of course, 
he rode to Bodmin, whence, in his epigram- 
matic style, he thus described the duty he had 
just performed : " Here I am, doing chaplain 
to the High Sheriff of Cornwall, George Wil- 
liams, M.F.H. ; and am just returned from 
preaching before the Judges, Lush and Piggot, 
both of whom thanked me for my ' discoose.' 
I do like Cornwall and Cornish folk ; but must 
be back in my old earth by the end of the 
week. A day with the Duke will be a real 
treat to me, when I come up to see you." 

He alludes to the Duke of Beaufort, who, 
when Russell paid the promised visit to his old 



380 MEMOIR OF 



friend Davies, residing at Bath, very kindly 
wrote to say he would send a horse for him 
every morning to the cover side ; but, alas ! 
six days of hard-hearted weather forbad it ; 
frost and snow covered the ground ; and Rus- 
sell, though rising each morn at seven to look 
at a vane and hope for a thaw, went back 
growling to bed. So, on that occasion, he 
never once saw the Duke's hounds. 

In all his letters, terse and brief as they 
usually are, he displays to a remarkable degree 
the power of making all who read them feel 
and comprehend thoroughly what he himself 
feels and what he would describe a power 
said to have been possessed by Nelson beyond 
any living man of his day. In writing to a 
young lady, Miss B. F. D., on the 6th of 
March, 1877, he says: "Alas! my head and 
neck are now garnished with all the colours of 
the rainbow. The good old horse I have so 
long ridden, while galloping over a grass field, 
fell on his head, and pitched me I don't know 
where but certainly on my head for my hat 
was ' britted in,' and I saw more stars in the 
farmament than ever was a-put there. Ask 
your old daddy to explain that to you." 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 381 

Again, in the same year, he writes thus to 
a brother sportsman, and claims his sympathy : 
" Last Thursday Lord Portsmouth's hounds 
met at Castle Hill ; and, while they were run- 
ning, I suffered such agony in my teeth, that I 
requested a medical gentleman present to rid 
me of the chief offender. ' In lieu of a better 
instrument, a bit of whipcord/ he said, ' would 
serve the purpose ' ; and, verily, with that 
hempen appliance out he lugged the supposed 
culprit ; but, alas ! it proved to be a valuable 
friend a tooth as sound as the day it was 
'dropped.' You'll pity me, I know, when I 
say this is not the first time I have suffered a 
similar loss." 

His habitual conversation, too, lacked no- 
thing of the epigrammatic style so conspicuous 
in his letters ; in it he went straight to the 
mark ; and, if called upon to make a speech, 
he invariably did so in a few words, always 
pointed and often humorous. "If you have 
anything to say, get up and say it, and then sit 
down/' was the advice of the great Iron Duke ; 
and that was precisely Russell's plan. 

While dining with his old curate at Bath, 
not long ago, with a party of gentlemen, most 



382 MEMOIR OF 



of them west-country friends, one, a most agree- 
able Cornishman, who was always on the move, 
wandering about from place to place, and never 
at home, complained to him that he did not feel 
at all well, and that he thought he should go 
away for change of air. 

" Then," said Russell, " go home." 

Had he. studied the rules of "Lacon" all 
his life the pithiness of his advice could scarcely 
have been more complete. 

In 1 876 he again paid a visit to Sandringham; 
but this time there was no " dancing the old 
year out and the new year in." " The Prince's 
time is so occupied," he wrote, " by a house full 
of foreign grandees and other magnates, that I 
wonder he can find time to pay, as he does, the 
most minute attention to all." Among these 
Russell found himself little at home, and of 
course saw less of his royal hosts than on the 
former happy occasion. He left, however, in 
high spirits ; the Prince promising to come 
down and enjoy a day or two with the Devon 
and Somerset staghounds, and see the red deer 
hunted in his native wilds. 

But when the season for that sport had at 
length arrived, and Nature was now clothing 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. 383 



the deep-wooded glens of the moor in varied 
and glorious apparel, burnishing the golden 
furze, the ruddy heather, and even the fern-clad 
rocks of Watersmeet with the loveliest of 
autumn hues ; and now, when the " stag of ten," 
rudely wakened by the tufters from his long 
and idle summer dream, is roused from his 
leafy haunts and forced into view, displaying, to 
the hunter's delight, his big haunches, stately 
form, and magnificent head ; the bad news 
reached Dunster Castle, where quarters had 
been prepared for him, that the Prince was un- 
able to leave home, owing to the serious illness 
of one of his boys. So the project then fell 
through, to the great disappointment of Russell 
and every other stag-hunter, man and woman 
from the fair maids of Taunton to the hardy 
yeomen of the Western moors. 

To enter minutely into the abstract question 
of Russell's clerical life would scarcely be con- 
sonant with the general tenor of this memoir ; 
still, as all his life he represented a phase of 
English character which, by the moderation of 
his opinions, and the unconventional manliness 
of his conduct, was a daily protest against the 
forms of one party and the cant of another 



384 MEMOIR OF 



against Stiggins on one side and " dear Mr. 
Oriel " on the other a brief allusion to it can- 
not be avoided. 

To hold the line and maintain a steady 
middle course amid the host of skirters, now 
dividing and confounding their flocks, not less 
by the motley variety of their views than by 
the contempt they exhibit for the law of the 
land, is unquestionably a feature of the highest 
value in a clergyman's character at the present 
time ; for never was the sectarian spirit more 
rampant in the Church of England than it now 
is within her pale ; and, unless a larger element 
of secular ways and principles be infused into 
the clerical mind, woe awaits her at no very 
distant date. 

The very union of Church and State de- 
pends mainly on men who, like Russell, are 
holding fast to English habits of thought and 
the text of the Reformation, guarding against 
divergence towards either extreme that of the 
4 'self-willed'' formalist on one side, and that of the 
shallow fanatic on the other. The narrow and ex- 
clusive grooves in which the latter move, Russell 
would have denounced as not only opposed to 
St. Paul's view of being " all things to all men," 



THE RE V. JOHN RUSSELL. 385 

and hence anti-Catholic, but absolutely incon- 
sistent with the simple and comprehensive 
religion of the New Testament. 

" Our grand old Church," as a gentleman 
writing to Russell remarks, " like other old 
houses, will last a good many years yet, if it be 
left in the hands of its original architects ; but 
it will not bear an incursion of amateur builders. 
... If, then," he adds, " it has been the busi- 
ness of your life to maintain and exhibit sound 
and not ephemeral principles, and you have 
helped to sustain the reputation and power of 
the English character by simply cultivating the 
gifts (which we in our blindness call tastes) that 
God has given you, are you not ' a representa- 
tive man ' ? But you will, I know, still sing 
* Non nobis Domine,' and in your modesty con- 
fess yourself to be an ' unprofitable servant.' ' 

" Notwithstanding the iron arm and Dra- 
conic rule of Dr, Richards, happy still are 
Russell's recollections of his school days at 
Tiverton ; and thither he went periodically to 
promote the celebration of the "Old Boys' 
Day ; " when he and all good Blundellians tes- 
tified with gratitude to the beneficence of the 
founder, and to the high scholastic advantages 

25 



386 MEMOIR OF 



conferred by that excellent institution. On one 
occasion he told the once- dreaded Doctor 
then, however, no longer in authority, but a 
visitor like himself that "he was the only 
man he was ever afraid of." 

" Nonsense," said Richards, good-naturedly ; 
" and was I so terrible ? " 

"Yes," replied Russell, "you were. I've 
set to with some of the hardest men in England, 
and never found one who could hit like you." 

At a meeting of the " Old Boys " at Tiver- 
ton, Russell was once invited to preach the ser- 
mon, which he accordingly did ; a local paper 
observing that " the discourse was a very able 
one." In addressing some remarks to the pre- 
sent boys, he especially alluded to the brilliant 
example of Dr. Temple, once a Tiverton 
scholar, and now the bishop of the diocese a 
beacon, he told them, they should never lose 
sight of. 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 387 



CHAPTER XV. 

CONCLUSION. 

IN July, 1879, the valuable living of Black 
Torrington was kindly offered to him by Lord 
Poltimore, and with much perplexity was 
at length accepted for reasons which the 
following letter, written to Mr. Davies, will 
best explain : 

" Tell me, my dear old friend, what shall 
I do about Black Torrington ? I cannot live 
on ,220 a year, which is all I shall have after 
I have paid a certain annuity for another three 
or four years. Black Torrington is a clear 
^500 a year, and there is a good house ; but 
then it is neither Tordown nor Exmoor, and 
by the time I have settled in there, I shall 
perhaps be called upon to leave it again for 
Swymbridge Churchyard ! What shall I do ? 
How can I leave my own people, with whom I 
have lived in peace and happiness for half a 



388 MEMOIR OF 



century ? It will be a bitter pill to swal- 
low, if it must be taken ; but it will be my 
poverty, and not my will, that will consent 
to it." 

Again, in October of the same year, he writes 
from Tordown : 

" The day of my departure from this my 
happy home draweth nigh, and I am fretting 
myself to death about leaving it. Old John 
Squire of Accot told me on Friday that if I 
went away from Swymbridge, it wouldn't be 
long before I should be brought back again. 
Cheering, very eh ? but possibly too true to 
be pleasant." 

The leave-taking was a sad business be- 
tween him and his parishioners ; while their 
sympathy and that of his friends farther afield, 
including H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, was 
manifested by a handsome testimonial, which, 
amounting in value to nearly ^800, was pre- 
sented to him by Earl Fortescue, on behalf of 
all the subscribers. The ceremony took place 
at the Duke of Bedford's mansion in Eaton 
Square, kindly lent by His Grace on that 
interesting occasion. 

Lord Fortescue said, " He had much plea- 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 389 

sure in performing the pleasing duty of making 
the presentation ; but the occasion was to him 
a sad one, owing to the removal of his old 
friend from Swymbridge to another parish 
fortunately, still in the county of Devon. They 
would not therefore be losing him altogether. 
The presentation was a mark of their hearty 
regard, friendship, and respect for Mr. Russell, 
as a man, a sportsman, and a clergyman." 
His lordship then paid a high tribute to the 
reverend gentleman " for his kindly work as a 
clergyman in his late parish, and for his charity 
and Christian love." 

Russell, after papering and painting the old 
rectory at Black Torrington, to which he had 
now removed, commenced building a set of new 
stables, at a heavy cost, and had just finished 
the work, when a fire broke out in them, and 
treated him to such a " house-warming " as he 
had never before encountered. " I had only 
just completed them," he wrote, " and at my 
own expense, when in less than an hour and a 
half they became a heap of ruins. There were 
two horses, Simon and a valuable Irish mare, 
in them, besides two terriers. Alas ! they are 
all dead." 



390 MEMOIR OF 



On Friday, the 22nd of August, 1879, he 
was invited by Mr. Luttrell to meet the Prince 
of Wales at Dunster Castle ; and on that day a 
noble stag, roused in the depths of Hawkcombe 
Head, led them a glorious chase over the 
wildest region of Exmoor, the Prince, who was 
well up at the finish, being greatly delighted 
with his day's sport. 

Then, in the same year, on Monday, the 
3rd of November, that being the opening day 
of the Quorn Hounds, we find him at Kirby 
Gate, mounted by his friend, Mr. Pennell- 
Elmhirst, to whom he was paying a long- 
promised visit. 

On Tuesday, the 4th, he hunted with the 
Cottesmore at Tilton Gate, and that evening 
Lord Carington, the Master, and Mr. George 
Grey, the famous Northumberland sportsman 
and rider, now Master of the Glendale, were 
invited by Mr. Pennell-Elmhirst to meet him 
at dinner. 

Talking of foxhounds, Mr. Grey asked 
Russell if he thought the foxhound was " a 
distinct species of dog from the first." 

" Did he, in fact, come out of the ark?" 
explained Lord Carington. 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. 39 1 

"How could he?" returned Russell; " did 
not a brace of foxes come out alive ? " 

On Wednesday, the 5th, he joined the 
Belvoir hounds at Croxton Park, hunting that 
day upon wheels. 

Thursday he devoted to travelling westward, 
and reaching Bath that evening, he managed 
to see the Duke of Beaufort's hounds find a 
fox next morning near Cross Hands ; after 
which meet he started for home, intending to 
wind up the week by hunting with Lord Ports- 
mouth's hounds the next day. 

In 1 88 1, a month or so before the Ascot 
week, Colonel J. Anstruther Thomson conceived 
the happy idea of bringing together under his 
own roof two kindred spirits, both old friends 
of his own, but living widely apart and hitherto 
personally unacquainted with each other. They 
were the Rev. John Russell and Mr. John 
Whyte-Melville, Master of the Fife Hounds in 
the early part of this century, and father of the 
late distinguished Author, whom the Patriarch 
lived to mourn as his only son and 

" Last scion of an antient Scottish line." 

Mr. Whyte-Melville was 84, Russell in his 



392 MEMOIR OF 



86th year, and so they numbered between them 
1 70 years. Having regard to this fact Thomson, 
whose drag was to convey them to and fro 
from Slough to Ascot, deemed it advisable to 
consult his two venerable guests as to the days 
on which they would like to attend the races ; 
thinking it just probable that going every day 
might be a turn too much for them. But not a 
bit of it ; Why te- Melville, who was first con- 
sulted, asked how many days the races lasted. 

" Four," replied Thomson. 

" Then," said he, " I should like to go every 
day." 

The question being put to Russell, he said, 
" I too should like to go every day ; but I have 
an engagement to meet a curate on the 
Thursday, and keep it I must." 

The curate, however, did not turn up ; and 
Russell knew it in time to take the box-seat 
beside Thomson, and go down to Ascot on that 
as on every other day. 

Col. Anstruther Thomson declares that his 
two veterans were the life and soul of the 
party ; and doubts if a coach-load so cheery and 
so congenial as his own could have been found 
on Ascot Heath. 



THE RE V. JOHN R US SELL. 393 



Again, in the autumn of that year (1881), 
he hunted as usual with the Devon and Somerset 
Staghounds. The meet on one occasion being 
at Culbone Stables, they soon found in Pitcombe, 
one of Lord Lovelace's covers ; but the hounds 
dividing, the " field " followed the body of the 
pack, while Russell with one other man stuck 
to a couple of hounds, and with them brought 
the stag to bay near Badgery Water. " I can 
well remember seeing him," writes Mr. Nicholas 
Snow, the able Master of the Stars of the 
West, " as he crossed the moors from Culbone 
with the leading hounds, and shall never forget 
his ringing cheer as they broke from the river 
to Badgery, and on to Brendon Common. 
Several people passed the remark, * Look at 
Russell leading across Badgery!'' In a little 
more than three months from that date he 
celebrated his 86th birthday, being still in fine 
health and robust form. 

In the following February (1882) Russell 
again paid a visit to Sandringham, and was as 
before charmed with the consideration and 
kindness he met with from the Prince and 
Princess of Wales. On parting they presented 
him with a horse-shoe diamond scarf-pin, which 



394 MEMOIR OF 



the Prince put into the scarf himself, saying, as 
he did it, " There now, it looks quite clerical." 

" But," said Russell, bowing to the royal pair, 
"may I ask if it is given conjointly ?" 

" Yes, of course, conjointly," replied the 
Princess with a charming smile. 

Again, in 1882, the staghounds saw him 
booted and spurred at the cover-side, still 
cheery and enjoying the sport ; but, as his 
friends observed, much broken, and showing 
manifest tokens of failing strength. With the 
fall of the leaf, however, on the 1 5th of October, 
he wrote as follows to his old friend at Bath : 
" I am going to London on Tuesday morning 
to marry Mr. Curzon, the Duchess of Beaufort's 
nephew, to Miss Basset- Williams, of Pilton 
House ; the ceremony is to take place in Curzon 
Chapel, May Fair. When it is over I shall 
turn my head homewards, and should like, if 
you and the missus will have me, to break the 
journey at 26, Circus, for one night only. But 
I am more fit for bed than a railway carriage." 

The wedding took place two days after, 
but the knot was tied by other hands. On that 
day, the I7th, a letter from his faithful house- 
keeper, Mary Cocking, reached Bath instead of 



THE REV. JOHN RUSSELL. 395 

Russell ; it ran thus : " I am grieved to say 
my dear master is very unwell, and in bed since 
Sunday. Three doctors are attending him, 
and I fear they think him very, very ill." 

The attack was a critical and a dangerous 
one the beginning of the end, as his friends 
rightly conjectured but such had been his 
temperate habits and fine constitution that, aided 
as he was by the assiduous and scientific atten- 
tion of Dr. Linnington Ash, his medical man, 
he was able in January, 1883, to leave home 
and go for change of air to East Anstey ; hoping 
to draw fresh life and vigour from those wild 
moors he had known and loved so long. 

But the change did him no good ; for on 
the 4th of February he thus wrote : " I fear we 
shall never meet again ; I don't gain strength 
here, as I fancy I ought ; and, overwhelmed as 
I am by letters, it is pain and grief to me to 
write at all." 

Then, on the 25th of March, having re- 
turned to Black Torrington, he wrote his last 
letter to the Author of this Memoir, " Ten 
thousand thanks to you, my very dear old 
friend, for your hearty invitation to the Circus ; 
but if I were to set out to-morrow in my little 



396 MEMOIR OF 



carriage, with George to drive, and Mary to 
keep me in my place, I shouldn't get to Bath in 
a fortnight, I am so very weak a little trip of 
three miles to Buckland Filleigh House, and 
back again, quite knocked me up." 

Soon afterwards he went to Bude ; but, 
writes Dr. Ash, " it did him more harm than 
good, and I had to hasten his return home on 
Saturday none too soon. He is weaker and 
worse than I have ever seen him, but happily 
is suffering no pain." 

On the 24th of April the good doctor again 
writes to say : " Mr. Russell is much the same 
to-day. There is certainly no improvement in 
his condition, nor can there be, for he takes in 
literally nothing. He is, however, rather more 
conscious, I think, and has fully appreciated the 
kind message from the Prince received to- 
day." 

Night and day he was tenderly watched by 
those around him, and all that human skill and 
devotion could do was done by Dr. Ash. But 
surely and rapidly the tide of life was now 
ebbing ; the pulse fluttered, the keen eye be- 
came clouded with a film, and gradually, peace- 
fully, and without pain, the spirit of that once 



THE RE V. JOHN RUSSELL. 397 



manly frame stole from its tenement, took wing, 
" and returned unto God who gave it." 

He died on the 28th of April, 1883, in his 
88th year, and was buried at Swymbridge, 
where at least a thousand people attended the 
funeral. Royal and costly wreaths covered the 
coffin ; but the most touching of all tributes were 
those of the poor cottagers, who, weeping as 
they went, brought their baskets and aprons 
full of wild flowers, and literally showered them 
into his grave. 

" No further seek his merits to disclose, 

Or draw his frailties from their dread abode 
There they alike in trembling hope repose 
The bosom of his Father and his God." 



THE END. 



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A REMAJRKABLB RUN WITH LORD GALW AY'S HOUNDS. 
These hounds had one of the most remarkable runs yes- 
terday within the memory of living sportsmen. Being 
Christmas time the houses of the county gentry are full 
of company, and a large field, including many strangers, 
turned up at the meet, which was at Gringley-on-the- 
Hill. With Viscount and Viscountess Galway, M. P., 
from Serlby Hall, were her ladyship's sister and Mr 
Gosling : from Osberton, Mr F. J. 3. Foljambe, Mi P., 
and Mr Godfrey Foljambe : from Sheffield, Mr Wilson 
Mappin, Mr Firth, and Mr Vickers, Mr H. Beevor, Barnbv 
Moor ; Mr Stratfield, of Rossington ; Miss Ellison, Mr 
C. Thorold, Mr S. and Mr J. White, of Leverton ; M[r E. 
and Mr W. Smith, Gringley ; Mr C. Wright, Auston ; ted on 
Dr Dawson, Mr F. Raynes, Bawtry : " Mr Orlando po und 
Bridgeman Simpson, Mr C." Marshall, and Mr A. White, (" for 
Retford ; Mr G. Bingley, Mr and Mrs Otter, Eaton j 
Hall; and many others. A first move was made JHAKK, 
to Gringley Gorse, -where Morgan at once halloed a fox j 
away, which did not stay to be found and a rare same ' 
one he proved to be. With the large field streaming after 
him he pointed for Walkerinerham, but after going over : w -,, 

thrpp fipld* HP t.iirrwH f-n fho ri<*ht loowino. Poo- Tiw lT,'li ' VV ^ lln 

s and 



three fields he turned to the right leaving Pear Tree Hill 
just on the left, and over the Gainsborough Road, skirting 
Clayworth Wood, and nearly up to Wheatiey Grange. 
The pace and the heavy country had already besrun to tell 
upon some of the field," when he turned to the left and 
irsuers on to. Bole Fields and over the Gains- 
borough Road to theTlflPof Wheatiey village, and away at 
a good hunting pace over West Burton Farm to Sturton- 
en-le-3teeple, turning to the left and over the Manchester, 
A New EC Sheffield, and Lincolnshire Railway to the village, which 
Fifty Illust he threaded, and away on the west side nearly to North 
especially : Leverton ; but here he turned over the Leverton Road and 
cloth, 6s. pn to Fenton Bank, straight away to the eorse, through 
it, and on to Littleborousrh, threading the small osier 
bed, and running parallel with the Trent up to 
Cottam Osiers, down to the railway bridge over 
the Trent at Torksey, and away still at a 
racing pace to the earths at Rampton, which he 
found stopped against him, and rattled on with- 
out angering to Fleet Plantation, and skirting it away to 
Colonel Eyre's osiers on the Trent Bank, but turned short 
to the left, went back with those of the numerous field 
who had managed to survive by Torksey Bridge, re- 
crossing the railway, and runniner nearly the same line 



In Sixty-f 
by CRUIK 



By the F 
Legends. ' 
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irds of 
TRIER, 
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i 



back to Littleborough, the houndsliterally racing with their 
tox. a hundred yards in front up to Fenton Gorse, and 
nearly up to Sturton, where he. turned sharp round into 
Fenton Bank, and here they ran up to him, but he still 
tried hard to beat them, and the brook gave him a short 
reispite. But they were not to be denied, and pulled him 
down in Mr Cobb's garden, after a grand hunting run of 
2 hours and 25 minutes, which will not be forgotten by 
those who were up at the finish. 



atLns 



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i one 



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