Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Brigadier-General William F. Bartlett to Colonel Francis W. Palfrey, Friday, November 18, 1865

London, November 18, 1865.

Only time for a word this ship. Last Saturday, went down to George's hunting-box, and if you will believe it, rode one of his thoroughbreds in tops and cords on an English hunting-saddle after the hounds, and was in at the death. It was great sport. I did not do anything foolish in the way of big jumps, of course, but I never wanted two legs so much in my life. I would have shown the field some clean heels, I fancy, for my chestnut was a “goer,” stands to win a steeple-chase, etc. I rode upwards of twenty miles, and then, as the second fox had been lost, and my leg began to chafe, I turned home. It was a beautiful sight, Frank, — what I have always wanted to see, but never supposed that I should take part in it. Lord Maiden is master of the hounds, and was much interested in my riding. I believe I am to have the “brush.” I wish you could see the horse that my groom rode. He is a wicked one; but if you should “put him at” a barn he would rise to it (and if it wasn't too absurd, I was going to say, could take it). He is called “Greek Fire,” and is one of the “strongest” goers in England. He had a hard hunt the day before, and so was very quiet that day. Aren’t you glad I was able to see so much of a hunt? I got along in an English saddle much better than I expected. But you know in riding here you put your foot way into the iron up to your instep, so that was just the thing for my wooden foot. I shall have to leave a good deal of this to tell you.

Yesterday we came in from Walton on Thames, Sturgis's place, where we had been to dine and pass the night, — splendid house, everything very swell and comfortable. I enjoy the life here very much, especially the country life. I like their style in this thing. I wish I had time to write you a long letter, but have patience. I go to Aldershott next week, and Woolwich, with Colonel Conolly. He has written to General Sir James Scarlett, commanding, that he is coming to bring me, and so, if he is going to have anything worth seeing, to put it off till the day we are there. He served twenty years with Sir James, on his staff and otherwise, and I could n't have a better man to go there with. I am going to see guard-mounting in St. James's Park, too, next week, with him, and will tell you of that. It is not the lime of year to see troops here, as they have no fielddays and reviews now; but nous verrons.

We dine with Weatherall next week. He is one of the swells here in the army line. I saw him at the Horse-guards yesterday. Also dine at the Army and Navy Club one day with Conolly.


SOURCE: Francis Winthrop Palfrey, Memoir of William Francis Bartlett, p. 162-3

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