Great Bri­tish ec­centrics

Adol­phus Cooke (1792– 1876)

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country Notebook - Il­lus­tra­tions by Emma Mccall

THE il­le­git­i­mate son of a landowner in Co West­meath, Cooke took over the es­tate when his fa­ther died in 1835, but em­ployed some un­usual an­i­mal-man­age­ment meth­ods. When one of his bulls was drown­ing, rather than in­ter­vene, he had his cat­tle driven to the river to watch, to serve as a warn­ing to them. The for­mer sol­dier chal­lenged an­other bull to a fight— he was armed with a sword, but the an­i­mal had the up­per hand un­til a maid­ser­vant in­ter­vened. Cooke was a de­vout be­liever in rein­car­na­tion and one turkey led a priv­i­leged life af­ter he de­cided it was his late fa­ther. He once put an er­rant dog on trial and sen­tenced it to hang­ing, but the red set­ter was spared when the turkey in­ter­vened. Be­liev­ing that he would be rein­car­nated as a fox, Cooke dis­in­her­ited a cousin who killed one on a hunt. Sidney His­cox

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