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insane as to imagine that all races are made for their specific interest and pleasure ; they do not in any way contribute one farthing to the stakes, or any expense connected therewith, and consequently their sentiments are altogether void of influence. Admitting that the riding of some gentlemen is far superior to that of others, the same disparity exists among jockeys, especially in handicaps, where mere infants of four stone are put up to contend against such superior men as Robinson and Flatman. On the other hand, the taste for racing which is engendered by these engagements is a valid reason why they should be encouraged. Race-riding gives a gentleman an insight to the practical part of racing, which he never can acquire by any other means.
Newmarket certainly does not, at the present period, preserve its ascendency over other meetings, with the unqualified bearing of former years, notwithstanding it possesses recommendations and inducements above any other place, so far as the interest of owners of horses may be considered. There are plenty of experienced trainers to take charge of any number of horses upon terms not more expensive than at other training establishments. There is also ample accommodation for others who may attend with horses from distant parts, free from the drawbacks to profit which are too conspicuous at many provincial meetings, in the character of subscriptions to future stakes, exorbitant demands for stabling, and other necessary accommodations. A trifling subscription for each horse going to exercise, which is appropriated to keeping the exercise-ground in good order, and a very moderate per-centage to the stakeholder for all sums paid by him to the winner, covers the exactments-unless it be the subscription to the plates, which is only required from those who run their horses for them. There are stakes to be run for of the most diversified kind, for all ages, for almost any amount, at all distances recognized by racing practices, and over a great variety of courses. Another great recommendation may be noticed : the exercise ground is good and varied, close to the stables; and horses trained there are on the spot to run for their engagements, without the risk or expense of travelling. The most superior talent is to be obtained in the very requisite service of the jockey ; and yet, with all these recommendations, Newmarket does not hold its comparative position with many other meetings.
Enough may be gleaned from these facts to prove that it is only by the strenuous efforts of committees, and those who take an interest in the prosperity of meetings in their own immediate locality, that they are enabled to do so with success, by offering large sums to be contended for. At one time the renown of Doncaster was tottering; York had descended almost to insignificance; and Cheltenham has been withdrawn from the pages of the Racing Calendar, but not without some reflections on the supine laxity of the inhabitants, acted npon in a great measure by the exhortations of a certain worthy divine, who, in the zealous discharge of his duties, thinks fit to denounce, in the most unqualified language, every amusement calculated to relieve the people from the irksome drudgery of their daily avocations. He most certainly means well, and using less influence to restrain the amusements of the country would confer an essential
benefit on the community. The vast source of employment created by racing is a consideration which ought not to be forgotten. Breeding studs alone afford employment for a great number of hands. In some racing stables a boy is very frequently engaged to each horse; but in large establishments, where it is desirable to economize labour, two boys will be employed for three horses. As there are upwards of one thousand horses brought out to run for stakes, and certainly three or four hundred more, including yearlings and others, which are not brought to the post, at least a thousand boys may be estimated as thus being employed, exclusively of trainers, jockeys, and others connected with the stable department.
The old-fashioned custom of attending the race ordinaries held at country meetings is much out of date; there is, or rather was, a feeling of cordiality and unanimity established on those occasions, adding vastly to the continuance of friendly intercourse. Why those festivities should be neglected it is difficult to explain. Does it arise from a degree of refinement, not easily to be reconciled with good sense? or is it that persons, who would otherwise attend them, are apprehensive lest they may be called upon to contribute to stakes and funds at a moment when their hearts are open to the dictates of liberality ? Wine opens the heart, and consequently the purse-strings are under a similar influence.
The royal buck-hounds, which have formed part of the establishment of the sovereign during a succession of many reigns, must be estimated in the highest favour as an encouragement to a national amusement, The circulation of money connected with the Ascot kennel is a source of great advantage to all persons concerned in agriculture in that locality, as also to the innkeepers; not merely by the annual expenditure of some £3000 or £4000 appropriated to the maintenance of the hounds, horses, and men forming the establishment, but by the great number of sportsmen with their horses and servants residing around, and continually moving to the scene of action.
In addition, there are some twelve or fourteen other packs of stag, hounds kept in various parts of the kingdom, all of which spread their influential advantages in their respective districts, affording a vast source of amusement and employment to a considerable number of hands.
Foxhunting, however, is the essence of all other field-sports; and with the unqualified repute which it bears over them, the advantages derived from it are in the same ratio.
The railroads, which have been formed in various parts of England, have been the cause of great alarm to sportsmen, fearful that they would be the means of annihilating fox-hunting. That they are a serious inconvenience and source of annoyance there can be no doubt; but still they are not productive of so much mischief as was in the first instance apprehended. The expectation that foxes would occasionally run along them, and the hounds carrying the scent on the rail at the moment of the approach of a train, in which case many of them would inevitably be destroyed, was a contemplation that every master of hounds and huntsman must view with horror. If such an event were to happen, it is quite clear no power on earth could save them; but happily such an occurrence has never taken place-it is to be hoped it never will. Foxes do not appear to be particularly partial to railway travelling, for when they approach them they frequently turn again, or cross them immediately, in either of which case no very serious mischief ensues in fact, nothing beyond the unpleasantness of coming to a check, and having to make a cast; or in the event of crossing at a place impracticable for horses, they must proceed to a bridge or viaduct to gain the opposite side.
On behalf of railways, it must be observed they certainly offer facilities for travelling which, in some measure, compensate for the annoyance produced in the interruption of the chase. To those who desire to pass their time principally in London, they are a very great convenience, inasmuch as a man may leave by an early train to meet hounds at a distance of forty or fifty miles, with less fatigue, and almost in as short a space of time as it requires to ride eighteen or twenty miles to cover. Such a course of life may not be perhaps quite in accordance with the true character of a sportsman, nevertheless it suits the tastes of some. To enable a man to enjoy hunting perfectly, he must be in strong health, or rather in condition, which none can be who live in London. The atmosphere, the habits, and the luxurious enjoyments of the metropolis, are diametrically opposed to the perfection of health. There is something uncommonly slow and unsportsmanlike in a man going out of or entering London in hunting costume. Red coats, leathers, and boots, seem out of place; their dignity appears to be insulted. And yet there is no alternative: they must be put on previously to starting in the morning; and it is very probable there may not be time for changing them previously to returning in the evening.
I, for one, could never reconcile myself to hunting from London ; and I fancy it will be well that such a taste should not be encouraged, otherwise it may tend to alieniate those who may adopt it from the ardour for field-sports, and the love of a country life.
“ Rura nichi et rigui placeant in vallibus amnes,
Flumina amem sylvasque inglorius." Virgil was quite the man for my taste, although I must take exception to the word inglorious : so long as a pleasure is derived from rural sports, glory cannot have quite deserted the human breast. Of course they did not ride to hounds in those days, as we do now; and the word is meant in allusion to glory gained in a very different manner. Ambition and rivalry would be more applicable to express the feelings which excite sportsmen of the present day to vie with each other; and in what other field, it may be inquired, can rivalry and ambition find a more extensive scope for their exploits than in the chase? From the first meeting at the covert side to the conclusion of the day's sport, those feelings are produced, but yet blended on such inoffensive terms as to create, not to be the cause of dissolving, friendship. It is fed most sumptuously in the desire that the hunter may be the most perfect in his symmetry and condition, and that the whole turn out may be appropriate in its kind-the happy distinction, however, is not to be attained by many: Many men, who dress in a most unequivocal style of taste on other occa
sions, can never accomplish it in the field. Too much appearance of study is incompatible, and yet much is required.
Nothing is more out of character on horseback than a narrowtailed dress-coat, such as would be calculated for the ball-room. The fit of a hunting-coat is what many of the first tailors in London can never accomplish: to be appropriate, it should be easy without being loose and slovenly in its appearance. A good, strong, waterproof cloth, that will both resist the power of thorns and the fury of the elements, is the article to be sought for; this, with a collar capable of being turned up, single breasted, cut off moderately at the skirts, long in the waist to prevent the rain beating in behind, is the correct style of the present day. I have never yet seen any such made to equal those which Gray, of Bruton Street, London, turns out; they are durable, well made, and capable of resisting a day's rain.
There is a neatness and an appropriateness in leathers which far surpass all other materials for unmentionables, and when properly cleaned they always look well; they are infinitely superior to cotton cords, which are now nearly exploded, although there is a woollen cord much worn, especially in wet weather. Leathers are certainly not agreeable when saturated with rain, unless flannel drawers are worn under them, in which case there can be no objection to them.
Boots are by no means an inconsiderable article in the costume of the sportsman; and however black ones may be convenient in some respects, they are by no means equal in appearance to a well-made top-boot.
(To be continued.)
COCK-SHOOTING IN WALES.
About the middle of November in the year 18— I found myself outside the Hereford and Brecon Mail, sitting behind as pleasant a team as ever were coupled together, and keeping, with comfort to themselves, their ten miles an hour. My baggage had preceded me, that is to say, two brace of spaniels and my marksman, “Will Whoop.” I was booked for the mountains ; and though there was no stage, station, or hotel to indicate the precise limit of my coach-journey, still the coachman seemed to know the nearest point to Craig-y-Duffryn, my headquarters, and promised to pull up accordingly. Though we travelled at a rattling pace through this magnificent country, we had still ample time for catching some charming views and enjoying the wild scenery around,
The coachman was an admirable Cicerone, and gave us the benefit of his local knowledge, interlarding his remarks with many amusing anecdotes incidental to the road and neighbourhood through which we passed. “Yonder, sir,” said he, " as far as your eye can reach, stood the ancient Monastery of Lanthoni, adjoining the Black Mountains ; and near it was Capel-y-Ffin, or the chapel upon the boundary,' near which the Counties of IIereford, Brecknock, and Monmouth form a point of union.”
The gentleman who sat next to him on the bench, then pointed to a bridge, and simply asked its name. “Ah! sir, that bridge has been a chapter of accidents from the day it was built to the present time. Tradition records it as the first stone bridge in the principality ; it was washed down twice by the angry waters of the Usk; and, the third time it was raised, the architect declared if it fell again, he would fall with its ruins. His words were literally fulfilled ; for, soon after its third construction, the rain descended as though the flood-gates of heaven had burst, the river rose, and the ill-fated bridge, with the architect upon it, was swept away by the torrent. The present bridge was then built, as the country people declare, in the night, by the devil ; and 'twas not long ngo that a young gentleman (I know him well; he often handles my ribbons) was driving the father of a large family, in his phaeton, over that bridge ; the horses took fright, the carriage was capsized, and the elder gentleman had his brains dashed out against the buttress of the bridge ; the other, who had been lame all his life, was thrown into the pool below, and, though he never could swim a stroke, managed to scramble out uninjured." The coachman had scarcely finished, when, turning round abruptly, he hailed the guard with, “What luggage has the gentleman ?" and in a few minutes more a deliverance of myself and chattels ensued on the way-side-inter viburna.
I was now loath to part with my agreeable companions, and should certainly have gone on to the next town had I not been expected and provided for by mine host of “ The Mountain Ash.” I was not left on the road in suspense long, for I soon espied my trusty friend,
" Will Whoop,” astride a rough, wild-looking pony, and leading another, its counterpart, for me :
Shaggy and feet, and stout of limb,
All Tartar-like he carried him." They were real mountaineers ; and never have I seen anything like them, save in the picture of Jack-o'-lantern, where the animal bestridden by this Prince of Vapours has a long knotted manc, and a spiry, draggling tail, which, by an occasional flink, casts additional dirt and gloom into the eyes of the forlorn stranger that would follow the “faithless
Arrived at the inn, mine host had made everything comfortable, and gave a good account of the cocks in the neighbouring covers, which he said had been undisturbed since the first flights. This was pleasant news ; so, retiring to my kennel betimes, I enjoyed my night's rest, and at 8 o'clock, A.M.--an ungentlemanly hour of course-I buckled on my armour, and sallied forth like a giant refreshed, determined to fng and shoot as long as day-light would permit, and my dogs stand their work. The first cover we drew held about four couple of cocks, out of which I managed to bag two and a half, without having recourse to Will's