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Here the scene changes. One more move, and the blindfold chess player abandoned, for a time, his game. North Force ceased to exist. The 4th Cavalry Division was ordered to Sarona, near Jaffa. There the pack began that season which will live in the memory of every one who went out with them, when a bath-chair in Cheltenham is his only ride.

German cultivators-self-exiled on religious grounds-built Sarona. War came, and they had to be moved elsewhere, for the front-trench line, before Allenby's "push," ran not far ahead. Their village sheltered, in turn, British and Italian soldiers ; was abandoned when the great forward move came, and had fallen into a most unpicturesque decay.


Enter the Division wives, for the adventurous pioneers of the officers' womenkind had already made their way out to join their husbands. An intrepid handful, indeed, had ventured into Syria, making "homes of sorts "in tents beside the Orontes, and queer little walled-in houses hired from village notables. Prospects of real cottages in the European style, in a village set among orange-gardens and almond-groves, drew many more to the Palestine plains.

Unspeakable dirt was shovelled-not merely scrubbed, but shovelled-away. Broken win

dows were filled (for glass was not) with translucent blue-print paper coaxed from Signal offi


Luxuries such as settees, armchairs, wardrobes, were imported, manufactured,

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won." Subalterns were seen in droves riding down the transformed village street, dropping cards at what looked like English holiday cottages, set in gardens something like what one has at home.

Clattering troops of "sirdars" rode into stable-yards and straightened each other's Sam Brownes and neckties punctiliously before calling, with gifts of silk handkerchiefs and fruit, to welcome a newlyarrived memsahib in warm Hindustani (which, being sometimes a war bride, she did not always understand).

Side-saddles from home-or raised mysteriously in the countryside; did the German fräuleins ride ?-were seen. Never mind the make! A bit shabby? The regimental saddler will see to that. Not enough to go round? Then there are plenty here who can ride astride.

Amazed Arabs found their villages invaded not only by English horsemen and their dogs (that was a madness the wonder of which had ceased), but by women on horseback; not walking behind, mark you, with a cauldron balanced on the head, while the lord and master rode ahead, but riding

and talking, rosy-faced and earth cracks have sides black unveiled, with the men-and well ahead at times, when the mount was good and et ta'aleb was running fast.

For the country, picture mile after mile of close springy turf such as you may find on the Sussex Downs, but lit with flowers lovelier than even Sussex can provide. Solomon sang The Rose of Sharon," ,"1 which we should call a narcissus; but there is still food for many poets' songs in the stretches of purple iris, the blue lupin, the scarlet and pink anemones, the montbretia and and ranunculus, which set whole hillsides ablaze, acres at a time, with colours no garden at home can rival. Isaiah was not far out when he spoke of the "excellency of Sharon."

Spring here is not heralded by" them stinkin' violets," but by a scent of almond and orange blossom so heavy that the stranger, coming when it is at its full, almost faints for a breath of unsweetened air. For obstacles, a cactus hedge here and there-but be wary of it; its inch-long spikes are a terror to horses, and may be death to hounds-and the yawning wady which suddenly, when the pace is hot, gapes before a startled field. Seldom actually running with water, except when the sudden fierce rains turn them, for a week at a time, into raging torrents, these

1 Solomon's Song, ii. 1.

and precipitous, their depths, perhaps sixty feet below, a morass of grey-green, and deep enough to engulf horse and rider.

No few spills were оссаsioned, too, by the war-time trenches and shelter-pits, now overgrown with green and practically invisible (but still festooned with hidden barbed wire), which dotted the hillsides over which the old battleline ran.

Bible names come thick in our hunting diary. Each village of Sharon's plain, set high on its ancient mound, has its place in the ancient chronicles. Ibn Ibrak, whose gardens gave respite to so many a hardpressed jack, is Bene-Berach.2 Like Yazour, near by, and Beit Dedjan (Beth-Dagon; not the one in the Bible, but nevertheless a place sacred to the Philistine god), it is named as a city conquered by Sennacherib. Kefr Ana is Ono ("the valley of craftsmen "-Neh. vii. 37; xi. 35), through which Joseph was led when he journeyed from Egypt into the Holy Land; probable resting-place, too, of the Holy Family in the flight into Egypt. Yehudiyeh is Jud or Jehud, a city of Dan.2


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And now to hunting again. These are jottings, from the Master's diary, of runs with the Armageddon Hunt after it had settled in what we called 66 Sarona Vale":

Met at the Queen's Bays at 7.15 A.M. A very large field, numbering about 150, met hounds. . . . Moving off due east, hounds were put on to a halloa-a fox. There wasn't an ounce of scent, and hounds could only very occasionally get the line. However, after ten minutes of very slow hunting, during which time old Hardwick did some excellent work, scent gradually improved as the sun got stronger and hounds started to bustle with some rare music.

We evidently changed on to a jackal amongst the hills, and scent got better until we were running at a good pace. Taking us into Turk Farm, hounds never dwelt a second but pushed him through and away at the east and so across to Mulebbis Wood, entering the cover with their jackal some two hundred yards ahead. Running down the side, our good old jack took us clean through the cover and went away near "Lone Tree," and hounds rolled him over in the open (square 021b). This was a rare good hunt of 40 minutes, the last part being exceedingly fast.

A four-mile point. Not more than two-thirds of the field were up at the kill and nobody was with hounds when they actually rolled him over. All hounds up-i.e., eight and a half couple.

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our jack over in the open.
Sexton and Sanitor were fairly racing
for blood and were within a few
yards of him when he crossed a wady
and gained a good hundred yards on
hounds. On they went again, gain-
ing inch by inch on him, and the
leading hound was within five yards
of his brush when he entered the
gardens of Beit Dedjan.

Here scent was not so good, and after ten minutes hounds were stopped, five fresh jack being viewed away from one small orange-grove. This hunt was a five-mile point as the crow flies.

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Met at the 38th Central India We drew the Horse at 1.30 P.M. open country and were soon on a jackal. We then had an hour and forty minutes, covering a large bit of country with two four-mile points. However, altho' it was a fine gallop, hounds undoubtedly changed many times and we had great trouble in keeping tail hounds up as the pace was very hot.

Finally old Sexton and Vanquish pulled down their jack together while the rest of the pack were hunting another. However, there were eight couple of hounds up in the end, and they ate him, skin and bones and all.

Old Nelson was lost and has not been seen since.

Micky was also left out, but was found four days later.

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There were five falls. Dhis back, and used foul language while a lady follower was passing. One Indian officer lost his horse, which ultimately drowned itself in the Auja.

Met at 2 P.M. at the Kennels and found at once in an orange-grove a hundred yards distant. Then followed a real good woodland hunt, with short bursts across the open, and after an hour hounds killed in the corner of an orange-grove.

the main wady. However, luck favoured us, for some shepherds headed the fox here. He swung back and pointed his mask for Red House Wood, which we saw hounds enter about a mile ahead of us, the pace being so killing. On arrival at the wood hounds were called off, as the place swarmed with fresh jack.

So ended a damn good day, and as I write this in an office at Kantara, I pray that this hunt will not prove to be my last with this wonderful little pack.

[It was not. The Master, exiled for a while at the Base on a Staff job, came back to

All hounds up, also Micky and everybody's delight, his own Bint, who were both bitten.

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Putting hounds into a small orangegrove near the big cover, Esoon opening his throttle, and a rare pretty bit of hunting it was, as hounds quickly picked up the line and streamed off down a bit of a wady. At first it looked as if our pilot was making for the hills, but swinging left-handed he took us right across the flats to Ibn Ibrak village. Every hound going like the devil-Sexton and Vanquish racing for the lead, with old Sanitor and Winsome in close attendance. Never has there been a better sight than seeing these hounds stream across a beautiful stretch of grass country.

Funnily enough, our fox did not enter the village gardens, but, turning sharp left-handed again, took us away to Sakia. Just before entering the gardens here Charlie was viewed just in front of hounds, but still goig strong. Not checking for a second here, they pushed him right through and headed for Beit Dedjan, going over



Met at the mouth of the river Auja at 2.30 P.M. Took hounds across in a boat. The ford was very deep and many of the field got wet.

Moved off over the sand-dunes, but did not find until entering a patch of lupin. A jack was soon away close in front of hounds, but unfortunately he bent right-handed and so made for Sheikh Muennis orange-groves.

These, of course, swarmed with jack, but after a couple of tries one went away at the east end and took us up over Muennis Hill, through the small orange-grove, and on towards Hadrah bridge.

At this stage hounds were so beat, owing to the heat, that they were stopped, and, after tail hounds were collected, we took them down to the river to get a drink.

Moving off again, hounds soon found in a wheat-field, and a very fast 15 minutes followed, our jack running dead straight up the old trench railway for a good 3 miles. Hounds were then again stopped, as fresh jack were too abundant and tail hounds were already starting to hunt on their own.

On our way home hounds put up a jack in a small patch of barley. They meant having blood from the start, for they never allowed their jack to get far ahead. A very fast ten minutes followed, and we continually viewed our jack.


Finally, when hounds were running very close on a bit of hilly ground, they overran the line and immedi ately threw their heads up. However, altho' nearly all of the field had overridden the spot, old Bengal quickly put things right by dropping into a trench and pushing the jack out at the far end. A sharp sprint and then they rolled him over in the open.

The country was very tricky, as there are a quantity of cracks and hidden trenches.

I saw three loose horses at one time.

Major L had a nasty fall, and went to hospital with concussion.

A doctor cut his mouth about, having come a cropper into a blind trench.

Five and a half couple of hounds out.

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The General viewed him away and F- kept on his right flank as far as Sheikh Muennis, to stop him from entering the orange-groves there.

One could see at once that there was a screaming scent, as hounds, flashing over a ploughed field, settled down and just flew. Breasting Muennis Hill after crossing the El Jelil road they left a small orange-grove on their right, and so made across the low-lying ground east of the village. Crossing the old trench railway we were piloted over the spur that runs down to Hadrah bridge.

From thence our jack kept straight ahead and gallantly set his mask for Mulebbis Wood, yet four miles away.

Going over good galloping ground, hounds went at such a pace that

horses were really put to a test. On arrival at the bank of the Auja our hunted jack was viewed well beat not a hundred yards in front of hounds.

Although hounds gained a view they soon had to get their noses down again as our jack took advantage of every small wady. It is uncertain whether hounds changed here, although, judging by the beat condition of our hunted jack, it appears rather probable. However, without checking a second they carried the line over the river and so made straight across for the woods just close to Mulebbis village. As leading hounds entered the cover our jack was viewed about 150 yards in front. At this stage several fresh customers had been disturbed and tail hounds were not quite up. Thus owing to the abnormal number of jack in the large woods hounds were stopped.

All hounds up bar Bengal. A sixmile point as the crow flies.

The General took the time as 23 minutes, so the pace speaks for itself. Hounds never checked once from start to finish, and although old Sexton and Sanitor were some hundred yards ahead of the pack at the finish every hound just went his hardest.

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So a

1 This was a marvellous proceeding a speciality of the Sarona Vale. Even in March, it was warm hunting, and hounds were terribly done. Bengali driver, mounted on one mule, led another loaded with canvas waterbottles. "Where the dogs go," he was strictly charged, "there you are to go." He did. Never was thruster keener than this obedient Indian soldier.

The sight of him, taking hedge and ditch and everything that came his way, with the canvas water-bottles flying heavenward as the led mule followed, was one that would have gladdened hunting-folk at home.

The row kicked up by the led mule, when restive at covert-side, is another story.

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