Quote of the Day
Silently like an ethereal spirit Charlie, pale orange in pelt with white tipped ears and a white tag, raced along the hedgerow by Flurry's side. He was a beautiful fox, strong and dashing, and would be a wonderful sire for next year's cubs. Unnerved by her vision she gasped, "Now what do I do?" The outline of a lone horseman on a black horse stood on the hill above her. Spectre? Or tribal centaur? Sean's voice, quiet, steady seemed to instruct her. "Take the time and keep quiet." Flurry had learnt enough to know that it isn't sporting to holloa too quickly and raise hounds' heads, thus allowing a fast pack to course a fox, hunting by sight, and bust him. Charlie must be allowed his chance to provide a good run, being hunted fairly by scent, and be given best, which by looking at the strength of the pilot, seemed likely. She knew sufficiently to understand that no hunting means no foxes, because they would be gassed, dug or trapped into extinction, and she had learned that a huntsman with hounds hunts selectively, so that old or weak foxes, who are more likely to kill chickens and lambs, are accounted for, leaving the best stock. Too many foxes bring the terror of mange. She was content.
She scrambled on to the hedge. "Yoi!" The high-pitched cry from over the hill echoed round the valley. Within seconds, an excited pack came to the holloa and poured down the slope, the leading hounds giving individual tongue, as yet uncertain of the line. Hounds quickened and swung right-handed along the hedge, then opening with a great burst of joy they pushed their fox down the valley towards the open fields.
Meantime, the huntsman and whippers-in had to make a U-turn and gallop to a gate at the far end of the field, to turn back and come cantering down the grass verge of the road. Raising his hat, the Master called out, "Well done Flurry!" She had never been so excited. A flood of madness. Expiation. This was what it was all about. "Two minutes, Master. You're two minutes behind."
Holloway, Estelle. Foxes Pass Daintily By, 1999.