Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/165

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123
RURAL SPORTS

The unharbouring, or actual hunting of the hart, began with the "assembly," a sort of picnic, where hunters and guests met for an open air meal at some point not far from the place where the hart had been harboured, yet so far away that no sound of the assembly revels could reach his ears. When all was ready the entire hunt set out for the cover, accompanied by the hounds. The technical term for the pack of hounds was the cry, the kind and number of the hounds being chosen so that they "cried" a chord of music. "If you would have your kennel for sweetness of cry," says Markham, "you must compound it of some large dogs that have deep solemn mouths, and are swift in spending, which must, as it were, bear the base of the consort; then a double number of roaring and loud ringing mouths which must bear the counter tenor; then some hollow, plain, sweet mouths, which must bear the mean or middle part; and so with these three parts of music you shall make your cry perfect; and herein you shall observe that these hounds thus mixed do run just and even together, and not hang off loose from one another, which is the vilest sight that may be; and you shall understand that this composition is best to be made of the swiftest and largest deep-mouthed dog, the slowest middle-sized dog, and the shortest legged slender dog;