This was too much to be borne, and Frank rode up red with passion; and a lot of others, including the whipper, soon followed.
“He has killed the dog!” said he. “Did you ever see such a clumsy, ignorant fool? Mr Lynch, if you’d do me the honour to stay away another day, and amuse yourself in any other way, I should be much obliged.”
“It wasn’t my fault then,” said Barry.
“Do you mean to give me the lie, sir?” replied Frank.
“The dog got under the horse’s feet. How was I to help it?”
There was a universal titter at this, which made Barry wish himself at home again, with his brandy-bottle.
“Ah! sir,” said Frank; “you’re as fit to ride a hunt as you are to do anything else which gentlemen usually do. May I trouble you to make yourself scarce? Your horse, I see, can’t carry you much farther, and if you’ll take my advice, you’ll go home, before you’re ridden over yourself. Well, Martin, is the bone broken?”
Martin had got off his horse, and was kneeling down beside the poor hurt brute. “Indeed it is, my lord, in two places. You’d better let Tony kill him; he has an awful sprain in the back, as well; he’ll niver put a foot to the ground again.”
“By heavens, that’s too bad! isn’t it Bingham? He was, out and out, the finest puppy we entered last year.”
“What can you expect,” said Bingham, “when such fellows as that come into a field? He’s as much business here as a cow in a drawing-room.”
“But what can we do?—one can’t turn him off the land; if he chooses to come, he must.”
“Why, yes,” said Bingham, “if he will come he must. But then, if he insists on doing so, he may be horsewhipped; he may be ridden over; he may be kicked; and he may be told that he’s a low, vulgar, paltry scoundrel; and, if he repeats his visits, that’s the treatment he’ll probably receive.”
Barry was close to both the speakers, and of course heard, and was intended to hear, every word that was said. He contented himself, however, with muttering certain inaudible defiances, and was seen and heard of no more that day.
The hunt was continued, and the fox was killed; but Frank and those with him saw but little more of it. However, as soon as directions were given for the death of poor Goneaway, they went on, and received a very satisfactory account of the proceedings from those who had seen the finish. As usual, the Parson was among the number, and he gave them a most detailed history, not only of the fox’s proceedings during the day, but also of all the reasons which actuated the animal, in every different turn he took.
“I declare, Armstrong,” said Peter Dillon, “I think you were a fox yourself, once! Do you remember anything about it?”
“What a run he would give!” said Jerry; “the best pack that was ever kennelled wouldn’t have a chance with him.”
“Who was that old chap,” said Nicholas Dillon, showing off his classical learning, “who said that dead animals always became something else?—maybe it’s only in the course of nature for a dead fox to become a live parson.”