III. SURREY SHOOTING: MR. JORROCKS IN TROUBLE
Our readers are now becoming pretty familiar with our principal hero, Mr. Jorrocks, and we hope he improves on acquaintance. Our fox-hunting friends, we are sure, will allow him to be an enthusiastic member of the brotherhood, and though we do not profess to put him in competition with Musters, Osbaldeston, or any of those sort of men, we yet mean to say that had his lot been cast in the country instead of behind a counter, his keenness would have rendered him as conspicuous—if not as scientific—as the best of them.
For a cockney sportsman, however, he is a very excellent fellow—frank, hearty, open, generous, and hospitable, and with the exception of riding up Fleet Street one Saturday afternoon, with a cock-pheasant’s tail sticking out of his red coat pocket, no one ever saw him do a cock tail action in his life.
The circumstances attending that exhibition are rather curious.—He had gone out as usual on a Saturday to have a day with the Surrey, but on mounting his hunter at Croydon, he felt the nag rather queer under him, and thinking he might have been pricked in the shoeing, he pulled up at the smith’s at Addington to have his feet examined. This lost him five minutes, and unfortunately when he got to the meet, he found that a “travelling fox” had been tallied at the precise moment of throwing off, with which the hounds had gone away in their usual brilliant style, to the tune of “Blue bonnets are over the border.” As may be supposed, he was in a deuce of a rage; and his first impulse prompted him to withdraw his subscription and be done with the hunt altogether, and he trotted forward “on the line,” in the hopes of catching them up to tell them so. In this he was foiled, for after riding some distance, he overtook a string of Smithfield horses journeying “foreign for Evans,” whose imprints he had been taking for the hoof-marks of the hunters. About noon he found himself dull, melancholy, and disconsolate, before the sign of the “Pig and Whistle,” on the Westerham road, where, after wetting his own whistle with a pint of half-and-half, he again journeyed onward, ruminating on the uncertainty and mutability of all earthly affairs, the comparative merits of stag-, fox-, and hare-hunting, and the necessity of getting rid of the day somehow or other in the country.
[Footnote 13: He might well be called a “travelling fox,” for it was said he had just travelled down from Herring’s, in the New Road, by the Bromley stage.]