Chap. XX.] Various Topics. 277
The "Hunt Sermon."
Most of my readers know what a " Hunt Ball " is : The name and the thing are quite acclimatised amongst us. But have they ever heard of the " Hunt Sermon " as an established institution ? It was such in Essex three-quarters of a century ago. It was delivered on the last Sunday of the Hunting Season. The father of a
lady who used to live in East-Bourne, Mrs. -----, was in
the " Thirties " a beneficed Clergyman in Essex—a " hunting parson " of the old sort. He once preached the customary sermon in the Parish Church of Brentwood, and took as his text Psalm cxxxii., 6 : " Lo, we heard of the same at Ephrata : and found it in the wood." The sermon, I was told, gave great satisfaction to the congregation. It was de rigueur for all the members of the Hunt to appear in pink at these Annual Festivals. Not, I may add, " Festivals of the Church " as the phrase now familiar to us runs.—(Ex relatione Miss
Mr. Gladstone and Newspapers.
It was a matter of common conversation during Mr. Gladstone's later years in office that he knew nothing of the criticisms directed against his policy, because he was never allowed to read newspapers. Staying in February 1886, at Moyles Court, Ringwood, with the late Mr. Frederick Fane, he told me that a recent very favourable opportunity had been within his reach for ascertaining the truth of this statement. He had been one of a shooting party at Somerley Park, the residence of his neighbour, the Earl of Normanton. One of the
guns was Mr. --------, one of Gladstone's private
secretaries, so he said to him in a seemingly casual manner, " I suppose your chief is glad to get a holiday
from Parliament and newspapers," to which Mr.--------
replied " Yes, but he is never bothered with newspapers." Mr. Fane then said, " What! a Prime Minister who does
not read newspapers!" "No, no," quoth Mr. --------,
4t What happens is this. My colleague and I go early to Downing Street; glance at the morning papers, cut out