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Related article: may know in which direction they are working. F. Gresham. Character and Characters in the Hunting Field. We fancy that hunting had not long emerged from the mists of obscurity until some antediluvian philosopher compared life and its complexities to a run with hounds. At any rate, there is no doubt that the simile is good, and is one which has been used ever since " to point a moral or adorn a tale." Perhaps in no other sphere of life can character be so clearly and pleasantly studied as in the vol. lxxi. — no. 468. hunting field. Men's characters there appear more in undress uniform, so to speak. The spice of danger, with its consequent excitement, and the mixture of coolness and daring required, all tend to make a man appear in his true colours. In the hunting field some of those primeval instincts, often so necessary for success in the sterner duties of life, are of more value no BAILY S MAGAZINE. [February than the refined attributes which have been evolved and developed by civilisation. When a man essays to ride across country, there is a kind of search- light thrown on his toughness of cha- racter and readiness of resource, with the result of sometimes agreeably surprising his friends, or, on the other hand, of disagree- ably surprising himself. In what singularly different ways different men enjoy themselves when out hunting, and what contrasts they present when riding to hounds. One man will adopt the obvious, the direct method — the method which we all adopt when we are on our feet — but many men try the indirect method, trusting largely to luck ; while others again take no thought at all, trusting entirely to the accidental method to bring them once more in touch with the hounds. In the field of sport, as in the field of battle, there will appear many unexpected characteristics, born of the instantaneous require- ments of both fields, sprung to life in those " tight places " where audacious daring wins, and half- hearted efforts only court disaster or falls. In the mirrored warfare of the hunting field many useful lessons are taught us, lessons no less useful in the quieter walks of life than in the stirring scenes of war. For only in a different degree is hunting the image of life than it is the image of war ; and when we regard it as illustrating life we think we find an even truer reflection than that thrown on warfare. In war there can be little of the amusing episodes which go to make up so much of life in the hunting -field. But in hunting, as in war, we feel sure that most of the finer, and even the more lovable sides of cha- racter are strongly brought out : those phases of character which are found in the finer moments of life. The participation in a manly and healthy sport forms a bond of union between men which few other objects effect: therefore it is no wonder that hunting friend- ships are often of the warmest and most appreciative kind. The pursuit of this exciting sport and the presence of danger bring out, as we have said before, the real and more likeable part of a man's nature. Friendship between hunting men has been so strong, so based on mutual liking, that it often survives that most crucial of tests between friends : the sale of a horse ! As we get older the stern and pressing exigencies of life tend to drive out the smaller friendships, while those of the hunting- field, with their frequent opportunities for renewal, live on. It is not unlikely, too, that true character appears more during the hours of sport, and particularly in the sport we are considering, than in the sometimes distasteful routine of daily life. And, at any rate. we think that the fine optimism taught us in the hunting-field is a good antidote to the work-a-day pessimism which, now and then, affects both mind and body. When we turn to the hunting- field and survey its mankind, from the aristocratic "shires" to the remotest Harrier pack in the remotest hamlet of the kingdom, we find, of course, that love of sport is the great motive power animating the hunting population. But some of the men who appear day after da^ at the covert side have few of the attributes of the sportsman. What a diversity of motives it is which leads — we had almost said drives — men to hunt. There are many men who hunt who cannot be said to ride. They never really attempt to go across lS 99>] CHARACTER AND CHARACTERS IN THE HUNTING FIELD. Ill country, while the attempts of others always seem to end in failure: something ever prevents their surviving the first few minutes of a run. They are crushed out by the hardness of life, and, strange to say, this continual crushing does not seem to affect their spirits or alter their opinion of that illusive success which they ever pursue. But they are no small gifts which enable a man to be invariably successful in riding to hounds. In a field of from two to three hundred it is not an easy matter to seize the right moment to push off from one's moorings, and this is often a trying process, even to the nerve-hardened and skilful horseman. It is well Buy Urso known that some men hunt for their livers, and for the good of their general health, believing that a generous draught of fresh air and sport does more for their ills than all the drugs of the Pharmacopoeia. Some of these men emerge from their livership bondage and become keen sportsmen, often rising from the "ruck" to the first flight. Under any circumstances the liverish sportsman should not be despised, indeed he should be carefully cultivated, for he is often a wealthy gentleman who, although his purse is in inverse ratio to his knowledge of sport, may become a generous sub- scriber to the hunt funds, so that he should always be treated with respect.