A Peek in the Nursery

Three of the Driver-Sage puppies earlier this month. Photo by Dave Traxler.

IT’S been a while since the houndbloggers have checked in on the various puppies we know, so we thought we’d catch you up on how they’re doing: they’re doing great! With puppies, of course, the news is less important than what they look like, right? So we’ll cut to the chase, because we know what everyone really wants is the cute factor. And there is plenty of that to go around these days.

The newest Iroquois puppies are the SA litter born in August to young Driver–once a pupposauraus himself and now a pack member–and the great hunting lady Sage. Last time you saw them, they were mere beans compared to what they are now. Here they are then:

Some of the SA puppies back in August. Gene Baker photo.

Now they’re just full of beans, as you can see:

A pair of the SA puppies at play on September 15. Dave Traxler photo.

The six SA puppies are doing well, kennel manager Michael Edwards tells us, and we’re still impressed by all the color they have on them.

Hello, baby! Dave Traxler photo.

For more on foxhound puppies, we turn to one of the houndbloggers’ favorite authors, D. W. E. Brock, and his book, The A B C of Fox-Hunting, although we disagree with his assertion that foxhound puppies, when newborn “are ugly, blind little things, with huge heads and wise, wrinkled faces.”

Easy there, Brock! He continues in a kinder vein. “But, after that, they become vastly more interesting little fellows,” he writes. “They grow quickly, but their heads always seem about two sizes too big for their bodies, and, unlike most other puppies, they seldom lose their solemn looks. …

“A foxhound puppy is one of the most amusing and lovable companions it is possible to imagine, and the games which a couple will play together are almost human in their ingenuity. But at the same time it is one of the most mischievous and destructive companions, and unless you, your family and your servants, both indoor and out, are genuinely fond of animals, and are long-suffering, you should not walk a puppy.”

Ah, yes. The houndbloggers and their house hounds nod knowingly at that advice, remembering the arrival of some of the HA puppies earlier this year. Harry, in particular, found the episode Rather Trying, he recalls (see lower left of photo):

"They're still here," Harry said 24 hours later.

The houndbloggers (who have no servants, indoors or outdoors) well remember their first day with us (of a very brief stay). I had had to attend a horse sale, and so Mr. Houndblogger bravely agreed to stay home and babysit the three HA puppies we’d taken in. I’ll never forget the scene when I returned: Mr. Houndblogger was slumped wearily in a chair in the kitchen, where he’d barricaded himself and the HA puppies to prevent further damage to the furniture and carpets. He was wearing wellies, a concession to the inevitable when you have a marauding trio of unhousetrained puppies on the loose. He was stippled from knees to collar with muddy pawprints, and one sweater cuff was slightly unraveled. It had been, I gathered, a Long Day.

The puppies, of course, bounded over to me merrily, eager for more games.

So what of the HA puppies today, nearing their first birthday? Take a look at them now.

Three of the HAs at the kennel on September 15. Dave Traxler photo.

They’ve started their walks out with huntsman Lilla Mason, and, my, how they’ve grown!

Hanbury (left) and Hardboot on a Sept. 10 walk. Dave Traxler photo.

Whyte-Melville might have been looking at them when he wrote

On the straightest of legs and the roundest of feet,

With ribs like a frigate his timbers to meet,

With a fashion and fling and a form so complete,

that to see him dance over the flags is a treat.”

We haven’t yet seen these young hounds over the flags, but, more importantly, they float over the grass, Lilla reports.

Hawksbridge--light on his feet, like all the HAs! Photo by Dave Traxler.

Hamlet and Cice Bowers in July. Dave Traxler photo.

Halo and Leslie Penn on a Sept. 10 walk. Dave Traxler photo.

As grown-up as they look, though, the HAs are still puppies at heart!

Havoc (left) and Hardboot with a prize earlier this month. Dave Traxler photo.

Harboot on a roll. Dave Traxler photo.

A few days ago, re-reading Beckford’s Thoughts on Hunting, we came across a curious footnote.

“I have seen fox-hounds that were bred out of a Newfoundland bitch and a fox-hound dog,” Beckford wrote. “They are monstrously ugly, are said to give their tongues sparingly, and to tire soon. The experiment has not succeeded: the cross most likely to be of service to a fox-hound is the beagle. I am well convinced that a handsome, bony, tender-nosed, stout beagle would, occasionally, be no improper cross for a high-bred pack of fox-hounds.”

Hmmm! No, no, we wouldn’t suggest it seriously, but, for the purposes of the blog at any rate the houndbloggers are very well disposed to include some beagles. And, as it happens, the beagles have been having their own puppies lately. The Clear Creek Beagles, with whom we hunt as often as we can on foot, have some puppies that whipper-in Jean MacLean was kind enough to photograph:

A bouquet of threeagles, as photographed by CCB whipper-in Jean MacLean.

And two moregles, also photographed by Jean MacLean.

There are some older puppies, too, who show a French influence in their names. the C litter features Chauffeur:

Chauffeur. Photo by Jean MacLean.

… and our favorite names, Chien (dog) and Chaton (kitten)!

The aptly named Chien. Jean MacLean photo.

The Clear Creek Beagles started their informal hunt season this morning, and the Iroquois foxhounds will take to the hunt field in early October. And before long the puppies from both packs will be doing this …

The Clear Creek pack in action. Jean MacLean photo.

… and this …

The Iroquois hounds move off from the Foxtrot meet. Dave Traxler photo.

As always, the houndbloggers will do their best to keep up with the hounds and provide reports on their progress!

“Hark to Sthenon!”

The hounds, as captured by photographer Peggy Maness

The hounds, as captured by photographer Peggy Maness

CAME across this advice from Xenophon this afternoon, complete with examples. The advice is good, but the names? Maybe not so much anymore.

“Give the hounds short names, so as to able to call them easily. The following are the right sort: Psyche, Thymus, Porpax, Styrax, Lonche, Lochus, Phrura, Phylax, Taxis, Xiphon, Phonax, Phlegon, Alke, Teuchon, Hyleus, Medas, Porthon, Sperchon, Orge, Bremon, Hybris, Thallon, Rhome, Antheus, Hebe, Getheus, Chara, Leusson, Augo, Polys, Bia, Stichon, Spude, Bryas, Oenas, Sterrus, Krauge, Kaenon, Tyrbas, Sthenon, Aether, Aktis, Aechme, Noes, Gnome, Stibon, Horme.”

That’s from Xenophon’s Cynegetica, written sometime around 400 B.C. You know, on second reading, I kind of like some of those names!

Meanwhile, more recently, in the 16th century Gervase Markham put forward this formula for composing the perfect symphony of hound music:

“If you would have your kennel for sweetness of cry, then you must compound it of some large dogs, that have deep, solemn Mouthes, and are swift in spending, which must as it were bear the base in the consort; then a double number of roaring and loud ringing Mouthes, which must bear the counter tenor; then some hollow plain sweet Mouthes, which must bear the mean or middle part: and so with these three parts of musick you shall make your cry perfect. … Amongst these you may cast in a couple or two small single beagles, which as small trebles may warble amongst them: the cry will be a great deal the more sweet.”

And, finally, George Tuberville (1540-1610) on “sundrie noyses of hounds”:

“As you heare hounds make sundry different noyses, so do we terme them by sunry termes: For hounds do call on, bawle, bable, crie, yearne, lapyse, plodde, baye, and such lyke other noyses. First when hounds are firste cast off and finde of some game or chace we say, ‘They call on.” If they be too busie before they finde the Sent good,  we say ‘They bawle.’ If they be too busie after they finde good Sent, we say ‘They bable.’ If they run it endwayes orderly and make it good, then when they holde in togethers merrily, we say, ‘They are in crie.’ When they are in earnest eyter in the chace or in the earth, we say ‘They yearne.’ When they open in the string (or a Greyhound in his course) we say ‘They lapyse.’ When they hange behinde and beate too much on one Sent or place, we say, ‘They plodde.’ And when they have eyther earthed a vermine, or brought a Deare, Bore, or such lyek, to turne head agaynst them, then we say ‘They baye.'”

Now, lest I bable, I will plodde to a halt and go feed ye dogges, who are telling me their sweet Mouthes are a good deal too hollow. But before I go, I’ve been hearing good things about our friend Paper, so we’ll check in on him again in our next post.

Many thanks to Peggy Maness for the use of the great photo accompanying this post!