The American Senator HTML version
10. Goarly's Revenge
The Senator and Morton followed close on the steps of Lord Rufford and Captain
Glomax and were thus able to make their way into the centre of the crowd.
There, on a clean sward of grass, laid out as carefully as though he were a royal
child prepared for burial, was--a dead fox. "It's pi'son, my lord; it's pi'son to a
moral," said Bean, who as keeper of the wood was bound to vindicate himself,
and his master, and the wood. "Feel of him, how stiff he is." A good many did
feel, but Lord Rufford stood still and looked at the poor victim in silence. "It's easy
knowing how he come by it," said Bean.
The men around gazed into each other's faces with a sad tragic air, as though
the occasion were one which at the first blush was too melancholy for many
words. There was whispering here and there and one young farmer's son gave a
deep sigh, like a steam-engine beginning to work, and rubbed his eyes with the
back of his hand. "There ain't nothin' too bad,--nothin," said another,--leaving his
audience to imagine whether he were alluding to the wretchedness of the world
in general or to the punishment which was due to the perpetrator of this nefarious
act. The dreadful word "vulpecide" was heard from various lips with an oath or
two before it. "It makes me sick of my own land, to think it should be done so
near," said Larry Twentyman, who had just come up. Mr. Runciman declared that
they must set their wits to work not only to find the criminal but to prove the crime
against him, and offered to subscribe a couple of sovereigns on the spot to a
common fund to be raised for the purpose. "I don't know what is to be done with
a country like this," said Captain Glomax, who, as an itinerant, was not averse to
cast a slur upon the land of his present sojourn.
"I don't remember anything like it on my property before," said the lord, standing
up for his own estate and the county at large.
"Nor in the hunt," said young Hampton. "Of course such a thing may happen
anywhere. They had foxes poisoned in the Pytchley last year."
"It shows a d-- bad feeling somewhere," said the Master.
"We know very well where the feeling is," said Bean who had by this time taken
up the fox, determined not to allow it to pass into any hands less careful than his
"It's that scoundrel, Goarly," said one of the Botseys. Then there was an
indignant murmur heard, first of all from two or three and then running among the
whole crowd. Everybody knew as well as though he had seen it that Goarly had
baited meat with strychnine and put it down in the wood. "Might have pi'soned
half the pack!" said Tony Tuppett, who had come up on foot from the barn where
the hounds were still imprisoned, and had caught hold in an affectionate manner
of a fore pad of the fox which Bean had clutched by the two hind legs. Poor Tony
Tuppett almost shed tears as he looked at the dead animal, and thought what
might have been the fate of the pack. "It's him, my lord," he said, "as we run
through Littleton gorse Monday after Christmas last, and up to Impington Park