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Hare and Hounds - Harper's


have never taken part in "Hare and Hounds," but I feel as if I had, because in the first place, I have read Tom Brown, and in the second place, I have a brother who is devoted to athletics, and who has just returned from a "run" with his club. It is just like a real hunt, only all the animals are human beings; two boys are hares, and carry bags full of scraps of paper, which they scatter as they go; any number of boys are the hounds, and follow this paper scent; two boys are the whippers-in, who call the "pack" together with great tin horns; one boy is master of the hunt, and does nothing in particular, though he is supposed to arrange everything.

My brother got up at an unearthly hour on the morning of his hunt, in order to meet his fellow-dogs and their prey at the Grand Central Depôt at nine o'clock. I am sure that he was over an hour before time, though he will not own to more than a quarter of it; I know that he had a jolly time, anyway. But I will give his report in his own words.

"Such fun! We ran twelve miles—twelve miles! Just think of it! Why, we got way up round Spuyten Duyvel—from High Bridge, you know; but first, you know, we all met at the depôt; then when we got to High Bridge we went to the hotel and changed our things. We started from there. We only intended to run twelve miles, but the hares took us twenty; they meant to take us up to Yonkers, they said. Never mind; they got the worst of it—they had to run the fastest, you know. Didn't we tear through the country!—up hill and down dale, over stone walls and brambles and down swamps; one fellow got up to his knees in water. We lost the scent once, near a railroad track, and it took us about five minutes to find it.

"The hares had colored papers, pink, blue, white, and yellow, and they looked quite pretty scattered all over the ground.

"The people about the country seemed to take a great deal of interest in us; one or two told us which way the hares had gone; a policeman too, near High Bridge, told us. They seemed to understand all about it. I thought they'd think we were crazy—a whole lot of fellows in white caps tearing through the country in that way.

"Oh, that reminds me: two little boys asked one of our fellows what we were going after. 'Two men.' 'What have they done?' 'Stolen our watches;' and they stood staring after us with their eyes and mouths as wide open as—as—oh, anything.

"Oh, I must tell you: one time just as we were going along the road we heard a tremendous noise on the other side of the fence; we thought it was one of the whippers-in blowing the horn—it sounded exactly like it—and we turned round, and there we saw a little donkey coming hee-hawing over the hill after us—a pretty little gray donkey; then one of the whippers-in blew the horn, and the donkey was just delighted—tickled to death; he hee-hawed and capered about, and ran alongside of the fence, wanted to join us—had a fellow-feeling, I suppose. Just then a little girl came running out of a house, calling him; she was afraid we were going to hurt him, or something, I suppose; and when we looked back again he was standing still, just as quiet as could be, and the little girl had her arms around his neck. It made me think of Titania, in Shakspeare, you know.

"We did have a run, I can tell you. One of our fellows got hungry, and stopped at a farm-house, and got some bread and goose. I wish I'd thought of it too. Some of the country we went through was beautiful—up by the Hudson. We could see the river winding along, and catch glimpses of the Palisades—perfectly beautiful. We couldn't have had a better day, just cold enough, and not too cold.

"We were awfully tired, though, and hungry—you'd better believe it! Why, it was two o'clock when we got back to the hotel, and we had started at ten, you know—four hours. Didn't we go for that dinner just as soon as we'd changed our things!—they'd kept it waiting for us since twelve. Didn't we eat! Turkey, cranberry sauce, potatoes, cider, coffee, pumpkin pie, and I don't know what besides. We were almost too hungry to enjoy it at first, but we did eat. I had two plates of turkey and four cups of coffee; the coffee was pretty weak, but we made up for it by taking enough. I think we must have scared those hotel people. The man and his wife and daughter waited on us, and we did carry on so—firing things at each other, you know; and then after dinner we went up in the parlor and played and sung college songs, 'Upidee' and 'Cocachalunk,' and all those things. Such a row as we made!

"But coming home in the Elevated was the worst. How those fellows did carry on! Just imagine—about twenty of us—my gracious! what a noise we did make! We kept the car in a roar. One fellow would go 'Ee-oh,' and then another fellow would go 'Oh-ah,' and then they'd all go together. One of the fellows put his head out of the window, and another fellow immediately dragged him in and began patting his hair down as if it was a wig, you know. We made puns on each other's names, and whistled and sang, and oh! carried on like sixty. One man with a black beard laughed at us ready to kill himself, and a brakeman on the back platform was grinning from ear to ear.

"Well, we did have a day of it, I can tell you—but won't we all be as stiff as bricks to-morrow!"

I will only add that I do wish I had been one of those boys; but—I am glad that I wasn't that hotel-keeper.