Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper
November 8, 1879

A Paper Chase of Hares and Hounds


A Paper Chase of Hares and Hounds

Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper
November 8, 1879

No more invigorating and health giving pastime has ever been introduced in this country than that of which the Westchester Hare and Hounds Club is now giving weekly examples.

A "paper-chase" of "hares" and "hounds" is an ingenious combination of an outdoor foot-race and the old boys' game of "follow your leader." Two members of the club, selected for their fleetness of foot and their knowledge of the country, are selected as "hares." Their dress consists of a black undershirt and trunks, white tights, and a cricket or jockey-cap. On the breast of each one's shirt is embroidered a hare in red worsted. One of them carries, slung over his shoulder, a bag containing the "scent," which consists of a large quantity of little scraps of paper. In Summer the "scent" is of white paper, and in the Winter it is either blue or black paper, so as to show better on the snowy ground. The rest of the members constitute the pack of "hounds," and are dressed in suitable running costume.

At the beginning of the chase, a start, usually of fifteen minutes, is given to the "hares," who run ahead in any direction they may choose - one of them marking the course while the other scatters the "scent," dropping little pieces of paper here and there, just close enough together to be traced, but not in such quantities as to form a plain line, which would make it altogether too easy for the "hounds."

When the stipulated time has elapsed, the latter start off in pursuit of the "hares," following the paper trail up hill and down dale, across roads and ditches and over fences, twisting and turning as their little tell-tale guides on the ground mark out their course, and frequently losing the trail altogether. Then they deploy irregularly, with their eyes fixed on the ground, and all industriously search for the last connection until some one finds it, when, with a loud cry, they all rush forward again upon the right track.

At last the "View holloa" is sounded, and if the "pussies" can only be kept in sight, it simply becomes a foot-race - the speed of the "hares" being pitted against that of the fastest of the "hounds." But a stern chase is proverbially a long chase, and, moreover, the chances are that the hares will again and again get behind cover, and turn and double on their pursuers, so that to "first catch your hare" is by no means so easy as it might seem. When a "hare" is caught, the one catching him takes his place has "hare" in the next chase, and the original puss goes back to the field among the "hounds".

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