“I never push myself an inch forward, but I damned well see that I am never pushed an inch back.”
He said, at a time when the sentiment was finding heroic expression in the stand of the 93rd Highlanders at Balaclava.
Robert Smith Surtees was born at Hamsterley Hall, County Durham. It was the locus from which all his novels proceeded, and from which he ranged in his pursuit of foxhunting.
In 1822 he was dispatched to London to be articled to a solicitor. Bored with the life there he switched to writing sporting journalism on the subject dearest to his heart – hunting. He soon founded his own periodical – The New Sporting Magazine – and for the rest of his life he wrote and hunted.
How did Surtees consider his position? A contemporary captured it very neatly, refusing Lord Palmerston’s peerage with the words:
‘..with no disrespect to the House of Lords, I consider there is no position higher than that of an English country gentleman’.