Great Bri­tish ec­centrics

James ‘Jemmy’ Hirst (1738–1829)

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country Notebook -

THIS an­i­mal-mad York­shire­man once made the brave— or foolish—move of turn­ing down an in­vi­ta­tion from roy­alty. When Ge­orge III re­quested his com­pany, Hirst re­sponded that he was too busy teach­ing his ot­ter to fish—and this was by no means his first trainee. At school, Hirst had a hedgehog that walked to heel and, later in life, he at­tempted to train piglets to work as fox­hounds. His most suc­cess­ful stu­dent of all was a bull named Jupiter, which he rode out hunt­ing. Jupiter cleared the same fences as the rest of the field and also pulled his mas­ter’s car­riage, which con­tained a dou­ble bed and a wine cel­lar. It was a sig­nif­i­cant up­grade from Hirst’s ear­lier car­riage, to which he had at­tached sails and crashed when try­ing to nav­i­gate through town. Sid­ney His­cox

Il­lus­tra­tions by Emma Mccall

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