Reynard the Fox
What are the English games? The man's game is Association football; the woman's game, perhaps, hockey or lacrosse. Golf I regard more as a symptom of a happy marriage than a game. Cricket, which was once widely popular among both sexes has lost its hold, except among the young. The worst of all these games is that few can play them at a time. But in the English country, during the autumn, winter and early spring of each year, the main sport is fox hunting, which is not like cricket or football, a game for a few and a spectacle for many, but something in which all who come may take a part, whether rich or poor, mounted or on foot. It is a sport loved and followed by both sexes, all ages and all classes. At a fox hunt, and nowhere else in England, except perhaps at a funeral, can you see the whole of the land's society brought together, focussed for the observer, as the Canterbury pilgrims were for Chaucer. This fact made the subject attractive. The fox hunt gave an opportunity for a picture or pictures of the members of an English community. Then to all Englishmen who have lived in a hunting country, hunting is in the blood, and the mind is full of it. It is the most beautiful and the most stirring sight to be seen in England. In the ports, as at Falmouth, there are ships under sail, under way, coming or going, beautiful unspeakably. In the country, especially on the great fields on the lower slopes of the Downland, the teams of the ploughmen may be seen bowing forward on a sky-line, and this sight can never fail to move one by its majesty of beauty. But in neither of these sights of beauty is there the bright colour and swift excitement of the hunt, nor the thrill of the horn, and the cry of the hounds ringing into the elements of the soul. Something in the hunt wakens memories hidden in the marrow, racial memories, of when one hunted for the tribe, animal memories, perhaps, of when one hunted with the pack, or was hunted
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