NONE BUT THE BRAVE DESERVE THE FAIR.
Too Long; Didn't ReadThough Mr. Robert Kennedy was lying dead at Loughlinter, and though Phineas Finn, a member of Parliament, was in prison, accused of murdering another member of Parliament, still the world went on with its old ways, down in the neighbourhood of Harrington Hall and Spoon Hall as at other places. The hunting with the Brake hounds was now over for the season,—had indeed been brought to an auspicious end three weeks since,—and such gentlemen as Thomas Spooner had time on their hands to look about their other concerns. When a man hunts five days a week, regardless of distances, and devotes a due proportion of his energies to the necessary circumstances of hunting, the preservation of foxes, the maintenance of good humour with the farmers, the proper compensation for poultry really killed by four-legged favourites, the growth and arrangement of coverts, the lying-in of vixens, and the subsequent guardianship of nurseries, the persecution of enemies, and the warm protection of friends,—when he follows the sport, accomplishing all the concomitant duties of a true sportsman, he has not much time left for anything. Such a one as Mr. Spooner of Spoon Hall finds that his off day is occupied from breakfast to dinner with grooms, keepers, old women with turkeys' heads, and gentlemen in velveteens with information about wires and unknown earths. His letters fall naturally to the Sunday afternoon, and are hardly written before sleep overpowers him. Many a large fortune has been made with less of true devotion to the work than is given to hunting by so genuine a sportsman as Mr. Spooner.
Our friend had some inkling of this himself, and felt that many of the less important affairs of his life were neglected because he was so true to the one great object of his existence. He had wisely endeavoured to prevent wrack and ruin among the affairs of Spoon Hall,—and had thoroughly succeeded by joining his cousin Ned with himself in the administration of his estate,—but there were things which Ned with all his zeal and all his cleverness could not do for him. He was conscious that had he been as remiss in the matter of hunting, as that hard-riding but otherwise idle young scamp, Gerard Maule, he might have succeeded much better than he had hitherto done with Adelaide Palliser. "Hanging about and philandering, that's what they want," he said to his cousin Ned.