[FOOTNOTE 37: cap-a-pie—from head to foot]
He very soon had an opportunity for effecting his purpose, for the moment that Frank got on his horse, he unintentionally rode close up to him.
“How d’ye do, my lord?—I hope I see your lordship well?” said Barry, with a clumsy attempt at ease and familiarity. “I’m glad to find your lordship in the field before the season’s over.”
“Good morning, Mr Lynch,” said Frank, and was turning away from him, when, remembering that he must have come from Dunmore, he asked, “did you see Martin Kelly anywhere?”
“Can’t say I did, my lord,” said Barry, and he turned away completely silenced, and out of countenance.
Martin had been talking to the huntsman, and criticizing the hounds. He knew every dog’s name, character, and capabilities, and also every horse in Lord Ballindine’s stable, and was consequently held in great respect by Mick Keogh and his crew.
And now the business began. “Mick,” said the lord, “we’ll take them down to the young plantation, and bring them back through the firs and so into the gorse. If the lad’s lying there, we must hit him that way.”
“That’s thrue for yer honer, my lord;” and he started off with his obedient family.
“You’re wrong, Ballindine,” said the Parson; “for you’ll drive him up into the big plantation, and you’ll be all day before you make him break; and ten to one they’ll chop him in the cover.”
“Would you put them into the gorse at once then?”
“Take ’em gently through the firs; maybe he’s lying out—and down into the gorse, and then, if he’s there, he must go away, and into a tip-top country too—miles upon miles of pasture—right away to Ballintubber,”
“That’s thrue, too, my lord: let his Rivirence alone for understandhing a fox,” said Mick, with a wink.
The Parson’s behests were obeyed. The hounds followed Mick into the plantation, and were followed by two or three of the more eager of the party, who did not object to receiving wet boughs in their faces, or who delighted in riding for half an hour with their heads bowed close down over their saddle-bows. The rest remained with the whipper, outside.
“Stay a moment here, Martin,” said Lord Ballindine. “They can’t get away without our seeing them, and I want to speak a few words to you.”
“And I want particularly to spake to your lordship,” said Martin; “and there’s no fear of the fox! I never knew a fox lie in those firs yet.”