Page:Devonshire Characters and Strange Events.djvu/652
"A strapping young fellow, one of the principal farmers in the parish, came up to me and said, ’Who are you, sir, to come here and spoil our sport?' 'You would have spoiled mine,' I replied, 'if you could.' 'We'll shoot them foxes whenever we can that I'll promise you,' he said in an angry tone. At that moment one of the hounds began to howl. I looked round, saw she was in pain, and asked in a threatening manner, 'Who kicked that hound?'
"No one spoke for half a minute, when a little boy said, pointing to another, 'That boy kicked her.' ’Did he?' I exclaimed. 'Then 'tis lucky for him that he is a little boy.' 'Why?' said the farmer with whom I had been previously talking. ’Because,' I replied, 'if a man had kicked her I would have horse-whipped him on the spot.' ’You would find that a difficult job if you tried it,' was his curt answer. I jumped off my horse, threw down my whip, and said, ’Who's the man to prevent me?'
"Not a word was spoken. I stood my ground, and one by one the crowd retired, the young farmer amongst the number; and from that day forward I secured for myself not only the goodwill and co-operation but the friendship of some of the best fox-preservers that the county of Devon has ever seen."
I have thought it as well to let Mr. Russell tell his own story. If the reader considers this a dignified scene for a clergyman to be engaged in I beg to differ from him. In 1832, after he had been six years at Iddesleigh, Mr. Russell moved to Tordown, a lone country house in the parish of Swymbridge, and in 1833, the perpetual curacy of Swymbridge and Landkey becoming vacant, he was appointed to the benefice by the Dean of Exeter, and there he remained almost till his death.
"When I was inducted," wrote he, "to this incumbency there was only one service here every Sunday—