History repeats itself. One comes — one goes — one gets up — another gets down — one rises — another falls — one reigns and another is deposed — one dynasty is dethroned and another rises in its place. And thus the world goes on with seeming change; but it amounts to the same in the end. Maybe a variation, but, like the seasons that come and go, repeating the saint’ thing in the revolution of time. Radicals (with just cause) in the past have complained of the tyranny of the Tories, but when the former get into power and pay, they imperceptibly fall exactly into the same dominating evils of intolerance and oppression if they are in the least criticised and not explicitly obeyed. Poor men often have the goodwill to think if they were only richer, how they would help the needy, but when they get the needful they seem to forget, and when over their fellows are often much worse than their masters. Others have said, “ Get money honestly,” but most men get it when and where they can, no matter how, and as long as this seems the main thing in creation to command power it will continue to over-ride the law, virtue, ability, and everything else, and it will always be so seemingly. The church or the chapel ask no questions. They are always ready to give absolution and the collection boxes so long as they can be filled.
There are many noble and true exceptions, or life would not be worth living, more especially for the poor and deserving. “Consider mine enemies, for they are many, and they hate me with cruel hatred.” These have at times the comfort of breaking into a song of joy: “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want, for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me, and my cup runneth over.”
The kind readers of the Slaithwaite Guardian will say, What does this all mean, and what has it to do with the headline “Nothing New”? The only answ T er is that it is a little discoursive prelude to some of the great features of business life, in which are important lessons to be learnt, things to improve upon, some to ignore, and others to profit by, so that humanity may make progress in the higher walks of life, and to higher ideals of existence.
In the latter sense, on Saturday last, a recluse wandered to Blackmoorfoot, to find in the hunting field “nothing new,” only change of names. The robust hills, the healthy rompings over the mountains, and the charming descent into the lovely dells, are all the same now as fifty years ago. At the latter period, “Hole in the Wall” was a public-house kept by “Belus” — still living — then a strong young man, who used to keep rabbit dogs to chase with those of “Beth Bray,” “Ned o’th Tailors,” and others from Slaithwaite. Many were the courses run at this then popular pub on a Saturday afternoon, but now, though the place be dead, not half a mile away are the young bloods of this age racing their favourite dogs at rabbits for the stakes.
In place of old Tom Kaye, of Holmfirth, or the best of all hunters, the Sykes’s, of Lindley, we had the Colne Valley Hunt, so generously organised by the Lockwoods, with Master Henry at the head and young Sam not far away — the latter with one of the best horses seen on this ground and many have been there before — the Farrars, of Honley, the best in Huddersfield, and all that money could buy for old Sam Norcliffe and his hunt by his then noble patrons from Lindley.
Perhaps in those days they missed few fences. On Saturday they did miss many. Young Mr. Ingham’s horse would not negotiate, but then Mr. Schofield jumped what he faced with his fine black horse.
The men, too, are little changed (only in name), though on Saturday one did not see the old sparks of the chase. Alas! “Aleck Walker” and others are dead. There was not the hale pioneer from Marsden, Mr. Daniel Hall, or Richard Garner, old Mr. Denton, etc., etc., but a fair following embraced the opportunities of one of the finest October afternoons ever seen or enjoyed. The Traveller’s Inn was the same old centre — the only change being genial Tom Haigh, the landlord, smiling to serve all and sundry who might call. There was the same fine moor and grass land of South Crosland, with its sandy soil, just given its generous crop of corn, all gathered in. The healthy turnips and potatoes yet to be harvested, now sheltering many fine hares, some of which were unearthed into a fine chase on Saturday, with only one death, to finish with a splendid run from Orange Wood. From here the hunters could sit and admire the expanse of moorland, with its blooming heather and the golden tints of an ideal autumn day, that will be fondly remembered for many years to come.
Slaithwaite Notes: Past and Present (1905) by John Sugden