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trifle of that dignity which has hitherto attended him, the thoroughbred one, as far as living and lodging are concerned, is nearly as well off as ever; while as regards his return for it, he may very reasonably be argued to be better. Look at the race-horse, with all the calls made on him for exertion, the too often over-taxed powers, and the loss of heart or strength, one or the other, that so continually come of the mere tutoring. Look at him the next time he saunters by you, and ask if that, after all, be a “life of wantonness and ease."" Then the steeple-chaser, up to strange ways, jumping like a buck, and seeking a bubble reputation e'en at a break-neck place. Mark him again, with all the steam pumped out, and the art of an Oliver vainly employed to get him well home, and say if the next state of that horse be much better than the first. And then the hunter, with his bursts severe, or runs of awful length, full of strong thorns and modern instances--of pace, slaving like a nigger as a “servant's horse," or knocked to nine-pins by a first-flight man. We can shift them again if you like-one, iwo, three, as the thimble-riggers had it-flat racing, flag-racing, or hunting have all their concomitant hardships, and perhaps “the higherer you go, the hotterer it is ;” while the road-the road as it used to be-gives at once the happy medium of all, and the Elysium on earth of a horse's life. Only consider the lot of any one in such a team as our plate embodies. Never over-paced, never over-worked, never under-fed, and seldom or ever savaged or illused, we can offer no just cause why the thorough-bred one should not settle down to his trot at once. The very term “ trot” itself suggests a kind of pleasing eight-mile exercise, with a light hand on him, a level “pike” under him, and patent axles behind him. Indeed, if Mr. Herring does not very quickly show some more decisive sign that “we really are travelling downwards," as Archer says in the play, we shall begin to fancy he has found another tack, and will wind off his hero as an out-pensioner at Hampton-court, or as hack in ordinary to the royal patron of this identical magazine. The road may be number four, or it may be number eight, or it may, perhaps, in the common course of things, be taken as evident symptoms of a decline; but still, in the face of this, the coach-horse, as far as comfort went, stood armed at all points. The well-conditioned tits, as they strolled up the street, were each in himself an advertisement to the office they started from; the merry-going, even-stepping team shone equally as a credit to the artist who pulled them together; and the whole life, in fact, on or off duty, was the epitome of regularity, carefulness, and fair play.
It is appearance however, and public opinion, that, after all, we are generally fighting for; and on this item the High-mettled Racer in his present calling might certainly meet with some very dramatic and affecting situations. Conceive the noble lord that hurried over his hundred miles and early dinner to see the Hero go a mile stript, confronting him again in a well-mounted suit of black and yellow, with a staid bearing, a shortened dock, and a well-rounded quarter. Imagine the man who had approached him with respect, and examined his every point with attention, easing his friend « Handsome Jack” for just one stage or so, springing the free-hearted, game-bottomed bunch of 'em every time he had the ghost of a chance, and then proving, merely for “proof," how he can use his double thong, on the old brown horse we have got here at wheel :
“Now neck, then shoulders, ribs and back,
In short, on almost every place
We read of in the almanack." That case is bad enough, and probable enough too; but in these times the bitter pang might even go beyond it. “Dog mustn't rob dog" we are told, but that's no reason why horse should not draw horse-very far from it; for really, now-a-days, horse patronage is almost the only thing the post-masters have to look to. So, "horses on," do you hear! and never mind whether it is a Smithfield ox, a Derby crack, or a member of parliament, but out with them as soon as you can. And by the time they are out we have ascertained it is the Derby crack, Lord Hit-'em-hard's Have-a-care, on his way to Sussex, to take a quiet spin with old Hyllas, and a bird of promise they have got in tow there. On they put them, the full complement, four good posters and two good boys; and now if you'll only just come into the bar for one minute, I can show you, by the book, that the leader Dirty Dick was on, and Lord Hit-'em-hard's first favourite, were out of the same mare !
“Quæque ipse miserrima vidi ;
Et quorum pars magna fui,”mentally ejaculates the High-mettled, as he feels the force of Dirty Dick's armed heel, and tightens his collar for “ the younger brother.
In strictly legitimate phrase, though, “the road” cannot descend to posting, and so we must confine ourselves more immediately to that branch the Hero here figures in—near wheeler in the next team the Telegraph takes on her way down. Look out, for she'll be due in three seconds; and here she comes too, amidst the general admiration of that hamlet, the line of road, like the course of a river, was so rapidly converting into a town. Here she is, timed to an atom, and full in and out all through.
“We change here, gentlemen ; and “half-minute time allowed for any refreshment you may require."
Sam Darling, on the box, has a wink ready made for the joke ; Becher, also, behind him, orders up one of his good-natured smiles at the shortest notice; while a second whipper-in on his way to York “thirds” the wit of his brother-whip by sitting still where he is.
And under such auspices the Hero, or the “old H'emperor," as they call him now, is brought out for another start. Aye, what matter if they have known him in better days, so long as he is doing his duty and paying his way? Put him to, horse-keeper, and let every action speak for itself, and every actor for bimself. St! st! sit tight, and let them go there!” The staring, queer-tempered leader makes a bolt for her side, but it's no matter, for old' H'emperor acts right up to his orders. St ! st! and away we go again, as even as a bowling-green and as quiet as Quakers.
“Ah,” says the horse-keeper to himself, with a half sigh, as he gathers the quarter-cloths over his arm, “ah, that 'old H'emperor' is a good example to many on us; for stop when he will, he'll never die in debt,"
THE HANDBOOK OF THE CHASE.
BY THE EDITOR.
The past worthies of the Pytchley were a notable company. They ought to be given as knights of the round table; but that being impossible in type, except by the contrivance of the round Robin, we declare to take our personges at hap-hazard-equal main and chance. Who comes first, by the rule of accident, is Sir Charles Knightly, of Fawsley-a baronet who had the knack of getting over a country certainly without that which makes the éclât of modern field workmanship. He was always in the first plight, but never in the first flight. His style was that known among moderns as "screwing," that is to say, creeping. His horses, all clippers and thorough blood, were taught by some necromancy to riggle through their bull-finches, and into and out of their ditches, wet and dry; and then, by the sheer virtue of pace, to put themselves on equal terms with nags that jumped out of one parish into another. He would charge a gate or a style when he couldn't help it, likeother people; but it was never from choice, but always from compulsion. They said it was done on system, to give his horses time to get their wind; they also said it was because he was short-sighted, but probably the real cause was with his nervous “system.” It's my belief the greatest crammers have been told of your whisperers, creepers, and such-like professors of equestrian legerdemain—that have attached to any class of charlatans, Our old friend, speaking of this Sir Charles, gives note of having been handsomely stuffed to swallow all that he took, and retails as gospel, of his feats. : . . I once saw a splendid fast thing from Blackdown Gorse, over the glorious Daventry grass country to Shuckburgh, an outside covert of (then) Sir Bellingham Graham's hounds, on the border of Warwickshire, which leads me again to notice Jem Wood, the first whip. It was a very cold spring day; but puggy, making for his point, went off, and stayed with rather more than a side wind. There was a very fair number, considering the country and the pace with the hounds all through; but I should say decidedly that Wood, who happened to be very well mounted, and Sir Charles Knightly were leading all through, and not a pin to choose between them. Now Wood went at every thing, on the percussion principle; while the veriest old musket, that did not actually hang fire, could not take it more leisurely, so as to be effective, than did the baronet. Notwithstanding, Wood was never ten lengths first into one of the large grass fields ere_Sir Charley was alongside him, apparently without any effort. How he brought his hunters to this perfection (petrefaction