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The History of the Linlithgow and Stirlingshire Hunt 1775-1910
Chapter IX.
Major William John Wauchope of Niddrie, Mr James Russel of Dundas Castle, Mr John Graham Menzies


1877-1887.

MR HOPE'S resignation having been formally accepted, it was suggested that Captain afterwards Major Wauchope of Niddrie, should undertake the mastership. This eventually he agreed to do, but it would seem that he came forward not so much from his own inclination as through desire to oblige others, and in order to insure continuance of the establishment. Of all per- Sons he was probably the one who had the best right to the position, because, during the six preceding seasons he had not only hunted regularly, but had been recognised as master in the field in Mr Hope's absence.

Captain Wauchope was the elder son of Mr Andrew Wauchope of Niddrie, or Niddrie Manschal, in Mid-Lothian, and was at this time in his thirty-sixth year. At the age of eighteen he had entered the army as a cornet in the 16th Lancers, but eight years later, after having risen to the rank of captain, was transferred to the Inniskilling Dragoons, with which regiment he served until he retired in 1870. Within a few months of his retirement he married Miss Eleanor Grimston, now Mrs Goldfrap, the youngest daughter of the Rev, the Hon. Edward Gnimston, a brother of the second Earl of Verulam, while on the death of his father, in 1874, he succeeded to the estate of Niddrie. Niddrie House, which lies about three miles to the south-east of Edinburgh, had occupied a fairly central position in the area hitherto hunted, but now that a considerable portion of that area was relinquished it did so no longer, inasmuch as the greater part of the country retained lay to the west of and beyond the kennels. These, although still at Golfhall, were nearly nine miles away, and therefore most of the master's horses as well as those of his wife—who hunted when the fixtures were convenient, and who rode extremely well to hounds —were stabled at the kennels, the journey thither being made out on wheels or by hacking.

Captain Wauchope agreed to hunt what, previously to the union with East Lothian, had formed the Linlithgow and Stirlingshire country, two days a-week, with a subscription of 1300, promising to do his best to show sport and please every one. in his endeavours to do so he was ably backed by his fellow-members of the Hunt committee— Colonel Gillon, Colonel Shairp, Colonel M'Barnet, Mr James Hope, and Lord liopetoun, who, oil his acceptance of office in 1880, was at once appointed chairman ; while the energy and business capacity of Mr Horne, the honorary secretary and treasurer, were then, as they had been during the existence of the Lothians Hunt, always most helpful.

In consequence of the curtailment of' the country it was no longer necessary to maintain the establishment on so large a scale as before, and accordingly the pack was reduced from about fifty to about thirty - five couples of working hounds, although in the year 1880 it was again raised to its former strength, mainly through the purchase, at Rugby, of three and a half couples of Lord Coventry's—Croome—hounds, and of' eleven and a half of' Mr Askew's—Northumberland and Berwickshire—hounds, and through the putting forward of a fair number of young hounds bred at home. At this period very few hounds were bred at Golfhall, perhaps owing to a difficulty in getting satisfactory quarters for them, and it may have been for this reason that Captain Wauchope was not unknown to walk puppies himself. In the first season of his mastership one of these happened to stray from Niddrie to Edmonstone, where, through a mistake, it came to an unfortunate and untimely end. For the estate joiner there, an old man named Alexander Glasgow, who had permission to carry a gun, and was very useful in frightening poachers and scaring away stray dogs, espied the puppy and, firing, wounded it so badly that it had to be destroyed. And the story goes that on being asked how it came about., Glasgow explained that he had no idea it was a fox-hound; that he thought it was "just a goose or some gigantic bird."

In addition to the usual members of the field, many of the officers of the regiments quartered at Piershill and Edinburgh Castle, of the Royal Artillery, and of H.M.S. Lord Warden, hunted fairly regularly with the pack, and it is perhaps somewhat singular that it should have been in the first year of Captain Wauchope's term of office that his old regiment, the Inniskilling Dragoons, in which there were then still many of his former comrades, was sent to Edinburgh. That it so happened must have been pleasure to him, and through the proximity of the barracks at Piershill to Niddiie he was probably enabled to see a good deal of them there as well as in the hunting field. Atkinson still carried the horn, and allowing for the fact that the country had suffered somewhat through the working of the minerals in several estates, and through intersection in one way or another, sport was quite up to the average. On the 11th of December 1877, after meeting at Houstoun House, hounds ran well from Livingstone wood by Cousland to Seafield and thence, swinging left-handed handed across the Almond, by Belisquarry and Williamston to Calder wood, where they rolled their fox over at the end of an hour and fifteen minutes without a check.' The fixture at Belstane on the 11th of March 1880, resulted in a long hunting run in which the distance covered must have been about twenty miles, although the farthest points touched are not more thaii seven miles apart. Breaking eastwards from Selms moor, hounds ran through Ormiston policies, bent right-handed by Belstane, crossed the Lanark road and water of Leith and eventually marked to ground in the rocks on Dalmahoy hill. To get the fox out took some time, but this having been accomplished he was turned down near Boll o' Bear, and after crossing and recrossing the Lanark road, was pursued by Ormistomi, the railway junction near Oakbank, and Seims moor to the banks of the Linhouse water. From these, after a turn towards Morton, bounds went on by Burnbrae, Broadshaw, Limefield House, and the Wilderness covert to Belisquarry wood where, as the red of the sunset had turned to grey," and as hounds were tired and horses dead beat, the chase was abandoned.

But Captain Wauchope's mastership was marked by two events distinct from the sport shown—a prolonged snow-storm and frost, happily as seasons go unusual, and the presence of royalty in the field. It was in the end of November 1878, that a spell of hard weather, which lasted for thirteen weeks, set in, and until it broke up in the following month of March, the hounds were hardly out of kennel. Mrs Goldfrap remembers when, during this period, sport was impossible, going out with her husband and tracking a fox in the snow and riding home in the great cold with icicles on the horse's heads. The other event, the presence of royalty, occurred in the month of October 1880, when the Princess Mary of Cambridge and the Duke of Teck were the guests of the Countess of Hopetoun. The opening day, which seems to have been purposely accelerated, was fixed to take place at Hopetoun House on Tuesday the 19th of the month; and the master and his wife stayed there and met the Duke and Duchess. The Duke, who was mounted by Lord Hopetoun, was cautioned not to touch the horse lent to him behind the saddle, but forgetting the warning, did so, and was kicked off at the meet Notwithstanding this mishap he rode with the hounds all day and, after a fair run, was present when they killed their fox on the rocks near Port Edgar, while the Princess Mary and Lady Hopetoun drove about in a Victoria phaeton, and appear to have stayed to the finish. " On Tuesday, their Royal Highnesses were present at the first meet for the season of the Linlithgow and Stirlingshire Fox-hounds which took place at Hopetoun House. Captain Wauchope of Niddrie, the master of the fox-hounds was present, and there was a large and distinguished gathering. In the run which followed the Princess Mary and the Countess of Hopetoun took part, and after a long and exciting chase, were in at the death."'

Like other foxes bred in the policies surrounding a large mansion, those at Hopetoun are not as a rule easily fbrced away, and have the reputation of being "ringy." Nevertheless many good hunts with fair points have begun in the coverts there, of' which the run of the 9th of March of this year (1880) may be given as an instance. Hounds had not been long in Hopetoun big wood before a welcome "Gone away" rang out from the west end of the covert, and Atkinson quickly had his hounds on the line. Crossing the railway and canal at Craigton, they turned sharp to the right and traversed the fields lying to the north of the Edinburgh and Linlithgow road as far as Gateside. Then they ran the banks of the Haugh burn for a short distance, but wheeling left-handed breasted the steep incline to Long'rnuir at a tremendous pace, and turning from the north-west corner of the old covert, went on by Broomieknowes to B'ormie, through that, round Cockleroi, and back to B'orrnie where they could no longer own the line. At the finish,—hounds had then effected a point of nearly six miles—Lord Hopetoun was heard to remark, "Who says Hopetoun foxes can't travel."

When, in the month of January 1881, Major Wauchope made known his intention of retiring at the end of the season, it seemed possible that Lord Hopetoun might accept the mastership, but on the matter coming to be formally considered his lordship stated that he was unwilling to take the hounds at that time, although he would do so rather than that they should be discontinued. As it turned out, it was not necessary to fall back upon this most sportsmanlike offer, for when approached on the subject Mr Russel of Dundas Castle expressed his willingness to undertake the management.

Since it was understood that with this change in the mastership there would probably be a change in the Hunt staff also, Atkinson intimated his resignation. No sooner had he done so than a subscription list was opened for the purpose of making him a gift worthy of his long period of service in the Lothians, and in the following month of July (1881) he was presented with a cheque for 400, and a memento for his wife in respect of her kindness to the members of the Hunt on many occasions. Colonel G-illon, who had the pleasure of making the presentation, remarked in the course of a most happy speech, that with Atkinson as his huntsman he would not be afraid to take his hounds into any country in Great Britain. In replying, Atkinson, with some feeling, expressed his sense of gratitude at the kindness shown to him and indicated the regret which he experienced in parting with his many hunting friends. But it would almost seem that without the help of "Auld Hunty," as Atkinson was termed by many of the country folk, the establishment could not be carried on, and, after a season had passed, he was again settled in his old quarters at Golfhall.

It will be remembered that at the end of Mr James Hope's first season the hounds had become the private property of a few members of the Hunt. Now, however, they were purchased by Mr Russel, who came under obligation to keep them up and, if required, to hand them over to the country at the end of his mastership on terms to be then arranged. Mr Russel undertook to hunt the country not less than five days a-fortnight, and through the large number of hounds he had in kennel usually brought the dog-hounds and the bitches into the field separately, instead of hunting a mixed pack, as has since almost invariably been the custom. Render and Rapid, Ferryman and Fairy, were ail good workers, and so was the Milton Sepoy, who single-handed killed a fox after a run from Wallhouse to Williamscraig in the spring of 1884; while the Marquis of Waterford's Rutland, purchased in 1882 along with his brother Regent and an unentered dog-hound named Forrester at the price of a hundred and fifty guineas, gained honourable mention for his performance in the field and was used as a stud-hound.

Charles Atkinson, who came from the Kildare country, at that time hunted by Mr Forbes of Callendar, succeeded his uncle in the huntsman's place, and although he seems to have shown fair sport, his sojourn with the pack was but a short one. In the middle of the season Mr Russel came to the committee with the proposal that in the succeeding one (1882) he should be permitted to hunt the hounds himself, and offered, if this were agreed to, to waive his right to the subscription, provided that were kept up and expended for the good of the Hunt.5 At the present day the hounds belong to the country, and it is mainly due to this generous offer on Mr Russel's part and to the acceptance of it by the committee that such is the case. For in the years which followed, the subscription considerably exceeded in amount the sums annually expended in making and fencing coverts, paying surface and poultry damages, &c., with the result that a reserve fund was formed which, when the proper time arrived, was devoted pro tanto to the purchase of the pack.

The first good clay which fell to Charles Atkinson's lot after the end of the cub-hunting season was the 31st of December,2 and it must have been a matter of satisfaction to him that he was able to show sport on that date, since it chanced that his former master, Mr Forbes, was present. Three days later a large field, including the master and Miss itussel, Lady Estella and Lady Dorothea Hope, Miss Mackenzie, Sir Arthur Halkett, Mr Blackwood, Mr Drybrough, Colonel M'Barnet, Mr Usher, and Captain Wilkie, met hounds at Clermiston, and had the good fortune to take part in a fast run from Dalmeny to Hopetoun, over a line now nearly impossible. Finding in the laurels close to Dalmeny House, hounds soon reached the west lodge-gates, but, turning right- handed, ran down to and along the sea-shore almost to the quay at Queensferry. From that they swung south, and crossing the Edinburgh road close to the Halls or Hawes inn, went on over the farm of Wester Dalmeny to Craigbrae, and thence, at a great pace, by Dunclas and Swineburn to Woodend at Hopetoun, where the fox made good his escape.' In the following week, on the 10th of January, after meeting at Bradshaw in very windy weather, there was a good run with only one short check, from Bellsquarry by Bankton, Calder glen, Midcalder, Calderhall, Ormiston, Boll o' Bear, and Dalmahoy hill, and across the railway below Raveirig to Dalmahoy wood, where scent failed. The point is stated as being about nine miles—seven would seem to be more accurate—and the time about an hour and a quarter. Hopetoun House was the fixture on the 11th of February, and after a good gallop of an hour over the grass between it and the Binns with blood at the finish, hounds ran fast for fifty minutes from Longmuir by Broomieknowes, B'ormie and the Witch Craig back to Longmuir. Amongst those who were there to see were Lady Estella Hope and Miss Russel, both of whom, it is stated, "went remarkably well," Colonel Anstruther Thomson, at that time master of the Fife Hounds, and Mr Randolph Wemyss, then master of the Burton.

In his second season, that of 1882, Mr Russel frequently visited the East Lothian country, which had become vacant in the previous year, and when he did so, the hounds were generally trained from Edinburgh, the journey between the kennels and the Waverley station being made by road. Thus in the morning and again in the evening of the days on which the east country was hunted, the pack passed along Princes street, an incident sufficiently remarkable, although of course the traffic was not then nearly so great as it is now. Owing to an attack of typhoid fever, followed by blood poisoning, Mr Russel was not able to hunt the hounds himself so regularly as he had intended, and John Atkinson, who had been engaged as kennel-huntsman on the departure of his nephew, frequently carried the horn. Notwithstanding the fact that the hounds were in the field sometimes four days a-week, the sport shown was inferior to that of the following season, when the hunting days were reduced to two, with a third at the master's discretion. The first day of regular hunting was the 23rd of October (1882) at Dundas Castle, "where the master had a breakfast ready and all other usual 'incentives.' It was a brilliant morning and a large meet—three drags and four (92nd, 3rd D. G., and Mr Brown's), also a dozen of carriages, and 70 to 80 horsemen. . . . The master and his hounds acquitted themselves admirably, and every one was pleased."' But Major Waudhope's death on the 25th of November caused a short break in the season,' and when hunting was resumed there was no sport worthy of mention until the 18th of January, on which date a good hill run resulted from a fixture at Garvald in East Lothian —hounds pulling down their fox in the open near Crichness at the end of a fast fifty-five minutes without a check.' It was on a Saturday about this time that the pack, carrying a fair head, brought a fox from the Threemile-town coverts by Humbie to Dundas, where they threw up on the gravel in front of the castle, and although Mr Russel held them all round, they were unable to hit off the line. On the following Monday morning, however, the housemaid who went to open the windows of a bedroom on the ground floor, not only discovered the fox, but found everything in a terrible state of disorder. Curtains had been torn down, furniture overturned, and ornaments broken; and it appeared that the fox, after failing in an attempt to escape by the chimney, had made use of the bed and all the most comfortable chairs. On being liberated he crossed the lawn, apparently none the worse of his Saturday to Monday visit in the bedroom at Dundas, which ever afterwards went by the name of "the fox room."

But although Mr Russel was able to hunt hounds himself occasionally, he was far from well, and so unfit for his duties did he feel in the end of the year (1882) that he considered it best to send in his resignation. Sir Arthur Halkett and Captain "Jack" Middleton were were in turn asked to fill the vacancy,' but the negotiations fell through and the situation was relieved by Mr Russel who, in a very sportsmanlike way, volunteered to continue as master for another season, hoping that his health might soon be restored. When cub- hunting began, however, he was still indisposed, and Lord Hopetoun kindly undertook the charge for him, and continued to act as master until about the middle of November. By that time Mr Russel, if not quite in his usual vigour, was at least sufficiently recovered to be in the field in some of the worst of weather, and even to carry the horn every now and again. Probably the two best runs of the many which occurred this season—during which hounds were out sixty-two days and killed thirty - seven brace of foxes - were those which took place on the 22nd of January and the 19th of February (1884) from fixtures at Hillwood, Ratho, and Riccarton House respectively. It was a wet and stormy morning when hounds met at Hiliwood, and several coverts were drawn blank before they found in the Barracks covert at Livingstone. From that they ran at first in a westerly direction over Caputhall, but turning to the right, crossed the Edinburgh and Bathgate road and went on by Drurncross, the Byres, Bangour-strips, Cairnpapple, the Witch craig, B'ormie, and Lochcote to Bowden-hill. There they changed from the the line of the hunted fox to that of a fresh one, but went away at once and running by B'ormie, Cairnpapple, and Tartraven, eventually marked to ground at Baldietap. The run lasted an hour and forty-five minutes, with only one short check near Tartraven—there was none at Bowden-and although the country rode deep and hounds had therefore an advantage over their followers, the master (Mr Russel), Miss Mackenzie, Major Crofton, A.D.C., Mr Hugh Martin, Huliwood, Mr Macknight, Mr, now Colonel, C. T. Menzies, Mr J. C. Munro, —subsequently master of various packs, including the Atherstone,and Mr Usher were with them at the finish.' But the fixture at Riccarton was productive of a better run with a longer point. It was the bitches' turn, and the covert at Buteland, then celebrated for its strong foxes, rang with their music before they broke from it to the west. Turning right- handed they crossed the water of Leith below Leithhead mill and ran on by Belstane covert and Leyden, with Seim's moor on their right, up Carston hill, down the Rhims, across the Linhouse water at the viaduct, and by Wellhead, Muirieston House, and Wester Muirieston, to Herniand, where they were brought to their noses. But they were soon busy on the line again, and touching West Calder—they all but entered the church at the east end of the village—continued by Slateheugh and Birniehill over a country intersected by some difficult fences, to the coverts at Hartwood. There a short check occurred, but with Atkinson's help they recovered the line, and after running on by West Mains towards Baads mill turned right- handed and pulled their fox down at Addiewell, after having covered a distance of fully sixteen miles with a point of eight. At the finish there were present, besides Atkinson, only four of the field—Mr William Allan, who still has both the brush and mask of this game fox, Mr Hugh Martin, Mr C. T. Menzies, and Mr Hugh Mosman, now of Auchtyfardle.

On Mr Russel's resignation at the end of this season, Mr J. Graham Menzies, third son of Mr Graham Menzies of Hallyburton, accepted the management, purchased the pack, and with Atkinson in charge at Golfhall, hunted the country two and frequently three days a-week, receiving the subscription collected. During the years in which he was in office matters ran smoothly, although at the outset the Hunt sustained a serious loss through the death, on the 26th of June 1884, of Mr T. E. O. Home, who had acted as honorary secretary and treasurer for the space of fifteen years. During that period, as the Minute-book shows, his duty to the Hunt had been discharged with an unusual care and thoroughness, and although other sports were dear to him, he gave freely of his time towards the furtherance of that which he loved the best. Before another season came round, however, his place was filled, Mr Falconar -Stewart of Binny agreeing to undertake the secretarial work, and the late Mr W. Horn Henderson, Linlithgow, the collection of the subscription.

The spell of good sport which characterised the last year of Mr Russel's mastership remained unbroken, and if less remarkable in Mr Menzies' first season, it was far from being so during his second and third. The scribes who now occupied the places of Mr Barstow, Mr Blackwood, and Mr Horne,—among whom were Mr Hugh Martin and Mr Brandford ("Horningtoft"), - had therefore ample opportunities; and that they made good use of them is evident from the number of articles descriptive of the doings of the pack which appeared in the columns of The Edinburgh Courant,' 'The Scotsman,' and other newspapers during the seasons of 1884, 1885, and 1886. A long draw without satisfactory result followed the meet at Dreghorn on the 3rd of March 1885, but the coverts at Bavelaw maintained their reputation in holding a fox which led hounds over a wide area by Buteland, Beistane, Ormiston, East Calder, and Calderhall, and across the Almond to Drumshoreland—rather more than six miles straight— before he was put to ground near Amondell. On the 24th of the same month there was another hunt from Bavelaw, this time by Listoushiels to Curriehill, while a good run from Kinneil, another from Bellsquarry, and several from Bangour, helped to make the season a satisfactory one.' In the following winter, after meeting at the Star and Garter, Linlithgow, on the 14th of November (1885), hounds went away on the line of a fox which they did not find, but which Mr Hugh Mosman, who was on foot, had winded over the road a little to the south of B'ormie covert, after that had been drawn. Picking up the scent they ran down by Williamscraig and Belsyde and across the Union canal towards Avontoun. There they turned back, and skirting Belsycie, Cockleroi, and the Witch craig, reached Cairnpapple from which, after a short check, they ran on by the Silver- mines, the Knock, Craigs, and the Byres, across the Edinburgh and Bathgate road, and by the Barracks and Livingstone wood to ground at Howden,—seven or eight miles as the crow flies, over a nice line of country. On the last day of this season, the 24th of April, when Marchbank was the fixture, the field had their work cut out for them, for the burst over Kaimes hill to Meadow- bank after the stout fox which jumped up in front of the pack on Dalmahoy hill was but a prelimmary canter. Leaving Meadowbank behind them and turning from Greenburn by Whitemoss hounds settled to the line and carried it through Newlands to Belstaiie gorse, from which they ran at a great pace by Aimvifle and across the Lanark road to Little Vantage. Then they swept over Auchinoon hill to Harper-rig and, crossing the Dean burn, continued over Mid-hill and by Listoushiels and West Bavelaw to Bavelaw Castle where, in consequence of the fox having doubled, a breathing space was given to horses and riders. But it was a short one, and away went the pack over the shoulder of the Black hill as if for Logan House, wheeling from that in a big half circle and again pointing for Bavelaw. Ewes and lambs, however, intervened, and although hounds were now running for blood they were whipped off the line after having travelled fast for two hours over a great tract of rough country.' But perhaps the best run during Mr Menzies' mastership was that which took place on the 25th of January 1887, when the meet was at Ormiston hill. After a turn round the covert on Selm's moor, hounds broke towards Meadowbank, turned right-handed, and, crossing the Lanark road and the water of Leith near Haugh-head, went on over Buteland hill to Listonshiels. Leaving the farmhouse on their right, they rattled their fox through the West Bavelaw coverts and continued along the ridge of the Black hill,—Loganlee reservoir lying below them,—past Logan cottage, through the covert on Bell's hill, over Capelaw hill, down the glen at Allermuir and by Bonally to Swanston, where they caught him in the open. it is nine miles as the crow flies from Seims to Swanston; as hounds ran it was fifteen, and they performed the journey in two hours although the line lay for the most part down wind and in a gale.

To touch upon any other runs in Mr Menzies' mastership, after having described what seems to have been the best, is perhaps injudicious. Still, that which took place on the 5th of March 1887 is worthy of mention. When the hearty welcome for which Polkemmet was famous had been extended to all who met there that day by Sir William Baillie, hounds were put into the Hare moss, where, although a brace of foxes were on foot, they quickly settled to one, and pressing him across the moss and through the policies to the young wood west of the house, went on as if for Polkemmet moor. Near the Whitburn road, however, the fox was headed, and hounds, swinging right-handed, skirted Couch farmhouse and raced over the grass parks through which the How burn flows, as far as the Harthill and Westcraigs road. The manner in which they were running, coupled with the fact that a grass country with very few coverts in it lay before them, gave promise of a fine run, and when the road and the Shotts railway had been crossed, the pack went on as before, up the rising ground to Forrest- burn mill, and from that, after a short check, over Bridge hill and past Bentfoot farm to the plantation beyond. But the best was still to come, and when the fox was viewed away from this covert, hounds were close to him, and now pursued him into a country consisting entirely of grass intersected by stone wails, and quite unknown to those who rode over it, until at the end of an hour and ten minutes from the find, they ran into him in the open at the foot of Pappert hill in Lanarkshire. Unfortunately many of the field, including Colonel Hare, were thrown out by the Shotts railway, and only five horsemen besides Atkinson, and one lady, Miss Alice Hare,—upon whom both brush and mask were bestowed,—were present at the finish.

Atkinson's favourite horse at this time—probably he never rode a better—was old Kingfisher, who, had he been able to speak, could no doubt have told that there were many long days as well as long runs. It was a quarter to four when hounds found their second fox at the Witch craig on the 3rd of April 1886, and an hour and a quarter later when they ran into him near Callendar I-louse, some twenty-five miles from home. After crossing the Avon to the west of Wallhouse only four riders, including Atkinson, were left, the pack running well together, and in full cry. Soon two of the four, the master (Mr Menzies) and Mr Falconar-Stewart, dropped off, then old Kingfisher gave in, and only one, Mr Usher, was able to last to the finish. With some difficulty hounds and horses were got back to Wallhouse, where, through the kindness of Colonel Gilloii's coachman, his master being from home, fresh mounts were obtained and the kennels reached about twelve P.M.

Atkinson, who in stature was broad rather than tall, had a kindly face, a merry twinkle in his eye, and a fine rich voice full of timbre. When an official from the Tniand Revenue office, doubting the accuracy of the number of hounds returned for licence, called at Golfhall and asked him how many there were in kennel, the twinkle in his eye was probably brighter than usual as he replied, "Ye can come in and count them for yourself, but mind ye there be some savage beggars among 'em, and they might take a piece out of your breeches." The official departed, wishing him good-day and saying he would take his word for it that the return was correct. The old man had a curious way of talking to himself in the field, and, if excited, of repeating his words a little. On one occasion when he had a twisty fox to hunt, Mr Hugh Mosman well remembers overhearing him mutter, "Dirty brute, dirty brute, won't let hounds eat ye if they kill ye."

Towards the end of the year 1886, Mr Menzies' engagement to Miss S. W. Wilson, the eldest daughter of Mr Arthur Wilson of Tranby Croft, Yorkshire, was announced, and his wedding took place at St Peter's Church, Anlaby, on the 8th of February 1887. Presents suitable to the occasion were sent by the members of the Hunt and by the Hunt servants, and on the wedding- day when, by invitation, the West of Fife Hounds met at Hopetoun House, a congratulatory telegram was dispatched to the bridegroom.

Mr Menzies' resignation at the close of the season was followed by the retirement of Atkinson, who had then completed his twenty-sixth season as huntsman or kennel-huntsman in the Lothians. The information concerning his career prior to his becoming huntsman to Sir David Baird and Sir Alexander Kinloch in 1860 is a little contradictory, but the following particulars may be accepted as being nearly, if not quite, correct. A son of Lord Portman's huntsman, his first place in hunt service was with the Berkeley, which pack he left in or about the year 1853 in order to become whipper-in to Lord Suffield. After turning hounds to his lordship for a season he got the horn and carried it until 1859, when he became huntsman to the Yale of White Horse. Coming to Scotland in 1860, he hunted hounds for Sir David Baird and Sir Alexander Kinloch for nine seasons; was huntsman to the Lothians pack for eight; and subsequently huntsman or kennel -huntsman to the Linlithgow and Stirlingshire for nine. On leaving the Linlithgow and Stirlingshire as he did now (1887), he took a small house at Corstorphine not far from Golfhafl, but later went to live at Portobello, where he died on the 5th of February 1898, aged sixty-eight.

"The grave has this week closed over one of the keenest sportsmen, one of the cleverest huntsmen, one of the best and most reliable of servants who ever blew a horn or holloaed his hounds on to a line. A worthy successor of Will Williamson, Torn Rintoul, and Joe Hogg,' John Atkinson showed sport equal to anything recorded of their palmiest days. Always cheery, except at the close of a blank day, it gave an additional zest to the pleasures of the chase to find him in the field. There was a vein of humour in his temperament which enabled him to face such difficulties as he encountered in the happiest spirit, and always with that twinkle in his eye so familiar to his friends. . . . Atkinson leaves behind him his devoted wife, whose pleasant greeting on return from hunting will ever be remembered by the members of the Lothian Hunt, who, in those good old days, experienced her hospitality. It may be but poor consolation to her in her widowhood, but all of us who knew John so well, admired him so much, respected him so thoroughly, offer her our heartfelt sympathy in her bereavement."

Atkinson's remains lie by the side of those of his friend and brother huntsman, Stracey, in the Grange cemetery, Edinburgh, and it is pleasing to note that the stone which stands to their memory bears a reference to their calling. The inscriptions on the gravestones of Williamson, Knight, and Iintoul make no allusion to their vocation in life, the masters they served or the hounds they hunted, and it is a matter for regret that such is the case. The bare facts, at least, might have been recorded, while the addition of a fitting quotation or verse would not have come amiss, even if less deserving than the lines which graced the tomb at Wooten Wawen of Somerville's huntsman, Hoitt.


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