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reaching the course we found the scene far different from that of the previous Wednesday; there was an absence of life, and there were fewer persons by some thousands. The grand stand, however, was well filled, and the race, although not so exciting as the Derby, was, to the mass of spectators, replete with exceeding interest. As I had an engagement to an early dinner, and the French play in London, I lost no time in cantering to the Ditton station ; the Southampton rail bringing one to a more civilized part of the town—Vauxhall, instead of London Bridge: and there is certainly one thing to be said in favour of the rail, which is, that you get over your ground quickly. I left Epsom at half-past three, reached the station at half-past four ; and, after having been whirled for half an hour through asparagus beds, cabbage gardens, gooseberry plantations, and the numerous patches of esculent vegetables that surround London on all sides, found myself safely landed at Vauxhall at about five o'clock. Certainly there are few sights that strike a foreigner more than Epsom Races : Ascot and Goodwood are more aristocratic, and it is a goodly sight to see at the former the Court honoring the people with the exhibition of its gala equipages ; to witness the Queen, surrounded by elegant and lovely women, radiant in beauty ; but all this falls short of the Derby, which has the power of wresting the Englishman of every degree from his lethargic gravity, and which makes him look upon this event as one that, in a national point of view, must be kept out. You may as well attempt to deprive him of his “ rosbif" and plum-pudding on a Sunday, as to debar him from this annual fête.
Ascot races were now approaching ; and, unfortunately for me, some legal business of importance compelled me to decline a most kind and pressing invitation to pass a week at a friend's house near Sunning Hill. I was, however, in some degree compensated for my disappointment by receiving a command to dine with your gracious Queen at Windsor Castle upon the Cup day. I made my arrangements accordingly; and ordering four of Newman's best to my travelling chariot, and four to be in readiness at Hounslow to take me to the course and bring me back at night, I posted at an early hour on the Thursday, so as to be in time to see the whole humourers of the Cup day; and certainly my expectations were more than realized ; for the day was brilliant, the company numerous, and the racing excellent. After partaking of a most sumptuous lunch in Her Majesty's stand, I proceeded to Windsor, where, after some difficulty, I engaged a room to dress in. At the hour named on the card, I found myself in the Castle ; and, having occupied myself during the usually tedious half hour before dinner, as also during the evening, in looking over this splendid regal residence, I must give you a few rough notes of the impression it made upon my mind.
St. George's Hall is upwards of two hundred feet in length, and is about thirty-five in width. The ceiling is divided throughout its whole length into compartments, whereon are emblazoned the armorial bearings of all the Knights of the Garter, from the institution of the order. The knights on the corbels, in complete suits of mail, are Edward the Third, and his son, the Black Prince ; and there are portraits from the first James to the last George. Along the sides of the Hall, on shields, are emblazoned the arms of the various knights; and in other
spaces are large brass shields, bearing the cross of St. George, and encircled by the garter and its well-known motto, “ Honi soit qui mal y pense.” A chamber more likely to revive associations of by-gone days, and bring to the mind's eye a review of the stirring times and warlike deeds of the proud aristocracy, of which your country may so truly boast, does not exist. It brought to my remembrance some bitter reflections connected with my own native land. But to the apartment now arranged as a banqueting hall. At each end were beaufets, seventeen feet in height and forty in breadth, covered with crimson cloth, and encompassed with carved gothic framework, upon which the massive gold plate was tastefully arranged. Immediately opposite the scat appropriated to her Majesty, and within a recess, was a pyramid of plate, comprising the tiger's head captured at Seringa patam ; over it the Iluma, formed of precious stones, presented by the late Marquis of Wellesly to George the Third. Above the Iluma was a cup, formed of a shell
, mounted in gold and silver, surmounted by the figure of Jupiter resting on an eagle, the base supported by Hippocampi, several vases rich in precious stones and ivory; and the national cup, with figures of St. George, St. Andrew, and St. Patrick, the patron saints of England, Scotland, and Ireland, the national emblems being formed of rare jewels. The table extended the whole length of the room, and covers were laid for one hundred. Gold epergnes, vases, cups, and candelabras, the latter containing a profusion of wax lights, were ranged down the centre of the table. The celebrated St. George's candelabra was placed opposite the Queen's seat : it is perhaps the most beautiful specimen of plate in the world. The upper division contains the combat of England's patron saint with the dragon ; the lower has four figures in full relief, supporting shields bearing the arms of England, Scotland, Ireland, and the plume of the Prince of Wales. In speaking of the plate, I must not omit to mention the shield of Achilles, and the massive gold salt-cellar made to represent the white tower of Windsor's proud castle. The wine-coolers are copies of the Warwick and other well-known classical vases. The hall was splendidly illuminated ; for, in addition to the numerous lights displayed upon the tables and sideboards, there were lamps in sets of four, placed on each shield throughout the apartment. On duty at the entrance were the yeoman of the guard, now called “beef-eaters,” derived from the word "bouffetiers ;” and the bands of two regiments, cavalry and infantry, quartered at Windsor, were stationed in one of the galleries. The company assembled in the drawing rooms by half-past seven ; and, from a pre-arranged and official list, made out by the lord in waiting, each person knew whom he was to take in to dinner ; my lot fell to a distinguished foreign minister's wife. Precisely at a quarter before eight, her Majesty entered the drawing room ; and after graciously recognising her guests, took the arm of the Duke of Cambridge, and followed by Prince Albert and the Duchess of Kent, led the way to the banqueting hall ; the remainder of the guests following according to their respective ranks. During dinner the band played some popular marches, overtures, waltzes, and quadrilles, from the works of Mendlessohn, Beethoven, Labitzky, Mozart, Ries, and Musard. The repast was splendid, and served on an entire service of gold plate. The attendance was complete, and there was less bustle and confusion in this party of one
SPORTING REMINISCENCES IN ENGLAND AND FRANCE.
hundred than I have often seen in a small circle of eight or ten. The wine of every description, from “humble port to imperial tokay,” was handed round during dinner ; while that first-rate artist Francatelli, who then presided over the culinary department, walked round the table to see justice done to his respective plats. At a quarter before nine grace was said, the cloth removed, and the dessert, consisting of every luxury in and out of season, was placed on the table. No sooner did the wine “sparkle on the board” than the official toast-master, the lord steward, gave “ The Queen.” All stood up except her Majesty, who gracefully bowed her acknowledgments. “God save the Queen,” was then played. Again the lord steward rose, and gave, “ His Royal Highness Prince Albert ;” the toast was drunk standing, the band playing the “Coburg March.” The effect was most imposing ; the martial strains of the music, a hall replete with every attribute of regal munificence, and a well-dressed company of one hundred persons, sparkling in diamonds and other precious jewels, encircling a table one hundred and thirty feet long, produced an effect more like a fairy dream than a substantial pageant. At half-past nine her Majesty rose from table, the ladies of the company grouping round her, and proceeded to the drawing-room. The Prince Consort now again took his seat: the wine was passed briskly round, and in five-and-twenty minutes the Prince and the guests joined her Majesty. The Waterloo Chamber was thrown open for music and refreshments. Its pictorial treasures were historically connected with the deeds of your countrymen during the last fifty years. The galleries are of oak; and the furniture, of the same material is covered with crimson plush. The ball-room is rather more than ninety feet long, and thirty-five in breadth. It is hung with gobelin tapestry, and has a magnificent gothic window occupying the northern end. The furniture, of crimson and gold, has a very rich appearance. The north corridor is arranged with much taste; it has a fine collection of arms, consisting of Oriental matchlocks, helmets, shields, spears, and swords. Among the latter are those worn by the Chevalier St. George in 1715, and by the Pretender in the fatal 1746. In the Guard Chamber are whole length figures, clothed in armour. The coats of mail include those worn by Charles, Prince of Wales, in 1620 ; Lord Howard, in 1588 ; Duke of Brunswick, in 1530 ; Lord Essex, in 1596 ; and Prince Rupert, in 1635. At the south end, on part of the mast of the Victory stands Chantrey's bust of Nelson. There are also busts of Marlborough and Wellington, with the banners from Blenheim and Strathfieldsaye ; one of which they are bound annually to place in Windsor Castle. In failing so to do on the anniversaries of their two great victories, their estates would be forfeited. Over the mantel-piece is the exquisite silver shield inlaid with gold, executed by Cellini, and presented by our monarch Francis the First to Henry the Eighth of England, on the far-famed field of the “ Cloth of Gold.” The concert of instrumental music was all that could be desired, and consisted of the chef-dæuvres of Mozart, Beethoven, Lindpainter, Mendlessohn, and Marschner. At a little after eleven o'clock, her Majesty, bending gracefully to the assembled guests, retired, leaning on the arm of the Prince Consort ; and shortly afterwards the rest of the company dispersed,
I now entered my carriage, and, throwing myself into the corner,
soon fell into a profound sleep. The race for the cup, the splendid banquet in St. George's IIall, the dignified affability of your Queen, “ the love of millions," the strains of Mozart, all fitted before my eyes, and sounded in my ears, when I was suddenly awaked by an altercation, carried on in a most angry tone ; putting down the window, I found myself at the door of the celebrated George Inn at Hounslow.
“ Ten ponds for de horses !” exclaimed my valet Hippolite ; “ vy dat is von grand sheet.” “ Cheat, Mounseer !” responded a stout burly ostler ; "we are not to be bamboozled by your foreigneering gents. ;' master always charges ten pounds for horses on the Cup day.” My enraged "help,” as an American would say, was getting " awfully ryled," when I put my head out of the window, and called the ostler to me. “ If the charge is usual," I said, “of course I have no objection to pay it; here's ten pounds.” “ The boys and gates are paid, ” chimed in Hippolite. * Please to remember the ostler," said the now humble master of the horse. I was about to give him something, when the excited valet shouted, “Go on, all right, or no pay.” The latter sentence seemed to act like magic upon the postboys, who started off at a rattling trot of nearly eleven miles an hour, leaving the ostler to anathematise upon “ them 'ere French coves wot don't understand how to do the handsome thing."
In rather more than an hour I found myself at the door of the Clarendon Hotel, not a little fatigued with my day's pleasure, but highly gratified with my visit to Ascot and Windsor.
"Nature at times plays freaks, and then
Makes strange anomalies of men ;
“ Dainty DROLLERIES"-OLD POEM–1678.
Quaint, oblivious, eccentric Edward Blenkhorn! Thou unique piece of humanity! Thou inimitable compound of common clay! Thou most incomprehensible of all mortal incomprehensibilities ! How shall I describe thee? Thou art not a vessel of gold, or silver, or porcelain ; but art thou not a jar of honey--though the honey may not be from Mount Hybla? But descending from the poetic into the prosaic regions, thou art truly, both in thy outer and thy inner man, an ORIGINAL. Edward is located at Holywell with his brother Jolin; and John
is trainer to the Hon. E. L. Mostyn, a kind good master, a stanch supporter of greensward sports, an honour and example to the members of the British Turf; and John is as good a trainer as ever put on a muzzle. Edward is John's helping hand, his Alpha and Omega, his chief dependence, his mainstay and his trust. When the illustrious author of Guy Mannering drew the prodigious character of Dominie Sampson, he must certainly have had in his mind's eye” the very prototype of Edward,
if, in the language of our motto, he ever The renowned Dominie was lanky, long, and learned ; in all these respects Edward in no slight degree resembles him. If the Dominie had a gaunt figure, so has Edward : if the Dominie was erudite, so is Edward. But the parallel goes further. All the good qualities ascribed to the fictitious character are embodied in the real
Edward Blenkhorn possesses a truly honest, trustworthy, faithful, and feeling heart. He is, in fact, the most naïve and unsophisticated creature alive: he is still as simple, natural, and uncorrupted as when he first "paddled in the burn and pu'd the gowans fine;" or, what is more likely, plucked the blackberries from the neighbouring hedges. Yet the society in which he has mixed has not been of the selectest description; it has embraced every variety of species connected with the sporting circles. In verity, he is a singular individual specimen of the genus homo. But when I speak of his being erudite, let it not be understood that he is versed in Greek or Latin, or even a profound adept in Lindley Murray; but he is an enthusiastic admirer of poetry, and the god of his idolatry is WILLIAM SHAKSPLARE. What is yet more extraordinary, he has added another to the host of critics and commentators on the works of the immortal bard; and, to wind up the climax, the shrewdness of his critical observations might put many more dignified pretenders to the blush.
It is difficult to determine whether Edward's natural inclinations lead him to prefer the tragic or the comic muse; but certain it is, he is a votary of both. At one moment he will spout a passage from Hamlet, and in the next sing a humorous ditty. Often have I heard him, upon his bended knee, exclaim—“Oh, my prophetic soul! my uncle !” and then turn round to “O ain't I a beautiful boy ?" Yet Edward has no idea of the burlesque: everything he does he does in right-down earnest; but it is time that he should be allowed to speak for himself. Quote but a sentence from the Bard of Avon, and his countenance becomes radiant with delight and admiration. Shak speare he has at his fingers' ends, and his illustrations of him are generally as correct as they are whimsical. He contends strongly against the opinion that Macbeth was a villain and a tyrant; and thus he
argues :- Call Macbeth a villain and a tyrant !-nowt a't sort. He wor vary ambitious, but he wor neither a bad man nor a tyrant. Look what he had to feight agen. T' witches wor always at him ; so was t' wife; one telling him what a great man he'd be, and t'other edging him on to kill t’ king; so what wi't one and i' other, he is well nigh driven mad, and is in sitch a state that at last he can bide it no longer. Mark what he says then : he cries out
• Come what come may,