Faulkner and Foxhunting
William Faulkner used to travel from Oxford, Mississippi to Germantown, Tennessee to foxhunt with Bart (and Mary) Mueller. Bart was huntsman for Longreen Hunt, which hunted from the Longreen kennels off Stout Road. The Mueller children tell how Faulker came incognito to the hunt, never identified by his real name. He slept on the couch at the Mueller’s house on weekends when he came to foxhunt.
In the book, Longreen: 25 Years of Horse Sports in West Tennessee, there is an entry on William Faulkner, which reads in part (pp. 24-26):
“From the beginning, the thing about him that impressed me most was the extraordinary courtesy and gentleness of his manner of speaking; the softest masculine voice I ever heard, which seemed remarkable coming from the powerful creator of Yoknapatawpha County.
“He was a man of very small stature. Standing before the fire in his faithful hunt jacket, so lovingly patched and repatched at the elbows, he was quite of a size with the teenagers who surrounded him. With them he was completely at home and they accepted him as one of their very own, riding and chatting with him on equal terms. Only once did I ever see him draw back, when, during a protracted check, they proposed to liven things up with a quick gallop over come nearby jumps.
“’I am too old,’ Faulkner said, ‘to take a jump unless there is a fox on the other side.’”
The rest of the entry tells about “one afternoon when a very devious fox suddenly changed tactics and went away up the wide open, clipped right-of-way under the TVA power line, with the pack in full cry from Nonconnah Creek almost to the center of Germantown. Her he took a right, across Stout Road, through all the big white fences of Wildwood, between the tennis courts and out the other side. The pace was terrific and at this point only three riders were still up with the hounds – and one of them was William Faulkner.”
There is also a copy of a typed letter from Faulkner, dated 3 May, 1961 to Mrs. Winslow Chapman, who was hunt secretary at the time. In part, the letter reads:
“Thank you for the chance to subscribe and do my bit to support fox hunting in our country; I would want to subscribe even if I didn’t hunt.
“I leave for Va. Sunday, will be back in July, when I hope you will bring the hounds and mounts down here [Oxford, Miss.]. We can do some night hill-topping with ears and see how the fox will run, and ride the country by day and see where to open it up. I suggested this to Mr. Anderson last month; will communicate with him as soon as I get back from Va.”
The Field Master at the time, “Andy” Anderson is credited with bringing William Faulkner to the Longreen hunt.
When in Charlottesville, Virginia area, Faulkner hunted with both the Farmington and Keswick Hunts.
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