Robert Smith Surtees

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Robert Smith Surtees (May 17 1805March 16 1864) was an English journalist, comic novelist and writer on field sports. His best-known creation, the Cockney huntsman Jorrocks, inspired Dickens's Pickwick Papers.


  • Mr. Jorrocks then called upon the company in succession for a toast, a song, or a sentiment. Nimrod gave, "The Royal Staghounds"; Crane gave, "Champagne to our real friends, and real pain to our sham friends."
    • Jorrocks's Jaunts and Jollities (1838) ch. 12
  • More people are flattered into virtue than bullied out of vice.
    • The Analysis of the Hunting Field (1846) ch. 1
  • The only infallible rule we know is, that the man who is always talking about being a gentleman never is one.
    • Ask Mamma (1858) ch. 1
  • There may be said to be three sorts of lawyers, able, unable, and lamentable.
    • Plain or Ringlets? (1860) ch. 40
  • The supply of good fellows is by no means in excess of the demand. A man has only to hoist the flag of hospitality to insure a very considerable amount of custom.
    • Plain or Ringlets? ch. 65
  • Better be killed than frightened to death.
    • Mr. Facey Romford's Hounds (1865) ch. 39
  • Life would be very pleasant if it were not for its enjoyments.
    • Mr. Facey Romford's Hounds ch. 39

Handley Cross (1843)[edit]

  • I am a sportsman all over, and to the back-bone – 'Unting is all that's worth living for – all time is lost wot is not spent in 'unting – it is like the hair we breathe – if we have it not we die – it's the sport of kings, the image of war without its guilt, and only five-and-twenty per cent of its danger.
    • Ch. 7
  • 'Untin' fills my thoughts by day, and many a good run I have in my sleep. Many a dig in the ribs I gives Mrs. J. when I think they're runnin' into the warmint…No man is fit to be called a sportsman wot doesn't kick his wife out of bed on a haverage once in three weeks!
    • Ch. 11
  • It is an inwariable rule with the dealers to praise the bad points and let the good 'uns speak for themselves.
    • Ch. 18

Mr. Sponge's Sporting Tour (1853)[edit]

  • Thus attired, with smiles assumed at the door, the young ladies entered the drawing-room in the full fervour of sisterly animosity.
    • Ch. 16
  • Women never look so well as when one comes in wet and dirty from hunting.
    • Ch. 21
  • He was a gentleman who was generally spoken of as having nothing a-year, paid quarterly.
    • Ch. 24
  • It is best to let the horse go his way, and pretend it is yours. There is no secret so close as that between a rider and his horse.
    • Ch. 30
  • No man rides harder than my Lord Scamperdale – always goes as if he had a spare neck in his pocket.
    • Ch. 36
  • When at length they rose to go to bed, it struck each man as he followed his neighbour upstairs that the one before him walked very crookedly.
    • Ch. 40

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