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merely for “proof," how he can use his donble 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 fuil 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 himself. 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.”
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-bazard—equal main and chance. Who comes first, by the rule of accident, is Sir Charles Knightly, of Pawsley--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 fight. '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 bave 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
would be a better word) I am not prepared to say; but however effected, it must have been the result of much time and trouble. ... It's a pity it was not impossible. . . . Mr. Gurney, the great banker of Norwich, was a great man in those days with the Pytchley. He rode nineteen stone-one would have thought he might as well have ridden nineteen tons, for the matter of fox hunting. But then he had money at discretion-gold, which makes the mare go, as well as all else physical, moral, and immoral, at the rate of a Great Western Railway Express. This celebrated friend of the chase was one of the most agreeable frequenters of the cover side, as well as one of the most tremendous riders that ever thundered after a pack of hounds. “Take him for all in all ” perhaps he was the most extraordinary man ever seen in the hunting field. Apropos of the big ones, a word anent Mr. Capel Rose, who about this period rode in Northamptonshire the tallest horse ever seen with hounds in England. This Brobdignag nag came, of course, from the metropolis, where all the miracles go, and where they are scattered over the rural districts. He was a bright chesnut, of very commendable symmetry, thoroughbred, or thereabouts, and stood seventeen hands high-high and no mistake! The Rev. Mr. Isham was one of their ultra fast ones : when the church takes to the chase, it makes un. common running, and that's the fact. There were not long since, in the Cheshire bunt, three brothers, of whom the following posy was current:
“ If my life should depend on the wager,
I know not which brother I'd back;
The purple, the pink, or the black.” But the clergyman was the member of the triumvirate that I should have chosen to stand upon, or to have “taken against the field.” Mr. Elwes, before alluded to, rode blood horses, and rode them well: what gentleman should ever mount himself on a cocktail, the very emphatic for a quadruped snob? Mr. Nethercoat has already been seen among the first flight of that day; and there was one of his neighbours, Mr. Hanbury, of Maidwell, another of the very right sort. Mr. Otway Cave was then full of the spirit of fox-hunting, and the gathering at Northampton, of course, was made up of sportsmen, or what business had they there ? Among the cream of these was a Mr. Mowbray, who always had a stable-full of first-rate horses, and was an out-and-out disciple of Diana. He hunted every day in the week, and went like a professor of the craft. Mr. Gully, so renowned in sporting circles of several sorts, made Northampton his head quarters about this period, with a very level stud of huntersnags set at long prices, should anybody fall in love with them. Mr. Gully was not a crack rider, but he was quite in earnest in the field, you may be sure. Colonel Alix, of the Guards, was a bruiser, always on great slashing horses, the ideal of a pioneer across country. Colonel Pack, also in the Guards, was a very finished specimen of a fox-hunter. Then there was Mr. Davy, one of the most accomplished horsemen that ever took a mouth in hand. All his disposed to go.
hunters were “refined” performers, very perfect, gentle steeds. Mr. Bouverie was one of their Nestors; but the sage of Delapre, though no longer in his larking days, was well horsed and well
Of the Northampton lot, too, there was a Mr. Doddington, who rode magnificent thorough-breds, and went well. He was distinguished by wearing always in the field a light grey frock coat. I'm not sure that these items of relief to a mob of gentlemen in pink are in evil taste or bad keeping.
Such, or something like it, was the Pytchley of the golden age of the chase. Aye, the golden age of hunting, believe me, though we still have, and shall continue to possess during our run, the sport of racing after deer and foxes. The hour and the man (time is now discovered to be money, and man its alchymist) have swept before them many of the pastimes of merry England, in her fond but foolish days. Where is May, with its Morris-dancers!-Autumn, with its harvest home revels? Peradventure we are more wise if less merry; but not for that reason should we be unmindful of those, who in fitting season furnished the appliances and means of woodcraft, while yet it was a popular pleasure.
In the annals of the Pytchley, foremost as a sportsman will be read, as it is written, the name of George Osbaldeston, that “Squire " par excellence, who shall descend to posterity as the sporting Crichton. He hunted Northamptonshire when the noble science had touched the point of perfection, and just paused before the turn. There may have been more professed kennel artists, more scientific field huntsmen, more gentle and aristocratic masters ; but take him for all in all, I doubt whether we shall ever look upon his like again, in the general character of M. F. H. They will tell you he was too fond of “ blowing up." We don't anywhere hear that the family of Osbaldeston is derived in a direct line from Job, and as the Squire never professed to be a philosopher in the circumstances that continually surrounded him, what wonder that now and then he did “blaspheme and make wry faces.” Of all the soultempting situations to which human nature, with a natural dash of the devil in it, can be exposed, is that of master of foxhounds burning to show sport, on which a brigade of mischief-mongers is showering cold water. Few can conceive the skill, labour, and expense, lavished to bring a crack pack to the cover side ; none, but those who have endured it, can imagine the agony of heart, the desperation of spirit with which its discomfiture is contemplated with which the master-mind that brought it there sees it ridden over, trampled upon, bedevilled, and driven into mutiny. Oh! the unspeakable trial to witness, "all your pretty ones at one fell swoop” driven from their propriety, and a couple of parishes beyond the scent, by a charge of cruel Cockney cavalry. And what's the adjective Cockney, I should be glad to know, if over riding and over driving hounds be not the superlative of it? It's all very well for my Lord Mayor, or the parish beadle –
* To view this business with a sense as cold
As is a dead man's nose ;
but if Stoicism had been born of British chivalry, bred up in the horror of a blank day, and trained veteris Bacchi pinguisque ferinæ, Zeno
would have granted dispensation to his disciples-carte blanche to give expression to any amount of illustrated language towards those who spoiled their sport in that most villanous of all fashions
“Cutting short their hopes of having any."......
The abstract meaning of the word sporting is not to be found in Johnson's, or the dictionaries of any land or language. As applicable to the chase it is confined to this country ; but its spirit has a far more catholic dominion. During the Revolutionary war in France, when it was found expedient to obtain the assistance of the Tyrolese sharpshooters, the most celebrated marksmen in the world, it was only to be obtained by promising them as their reward the privilege of the chasse with impunity. The value of this boon is only to be estimated by those who know the passion of the Tyrolese for the chase ; a passion which Kotzebue describes as more violent than that of the gamester : neither threats nor punishment can deter them from the practice of it. Gain is clearly not their object, for the flesh and skin of a chamois do not produce above twelve forins; and yet a mountaineer, who had been many times caught in the fact of stalking this quarry of the wilderness, declared that if he knew the next tree would be his gallows, he would nevertheless hunt! M. de Sausure records a striking anecdote of a chamois hunter whom he knew : he was a tall well-made man, and had just married a very beautiful woman. My grandfather,” he said, “ lost his life in the chase, so did my father ; and I am so well assured that one day or other I shall so lose my own, that this bag, which I always carry with me when I hunt, I call my winding-sheet, for I certainly shall never have any other ; nevertheless, Monsieur, if you were to offer me a fortune on the condition that I should relinquish the chase, I would not accept it.” De Sausure says that he made several excursions among the Alps with this man-his strength and agility were astonishing, but his courage, or rather his temerity, was still greater. A year or two after the period refered to, bis foot slipped on the edge of a precipice, and he met the fate he had so calmly anticipated.
This instinct, however, strong as it is, yields to the pressure of civilization ; I don't mean to say it is the peculiar taste of savages, but it becomes a constantly depreciating quality among citizens, partly owing to their position, and partly on account of other occupation-perhaps
We have, indeed, our Metropolitan hunting countries—coursing in Kew Gardens, and pheasant shooting everywhere ; but the true flavour of sport must be sought farther a field. Christopher North went up to the Highlands in search of it, and found it on Braemar. There is a fine and beautiful alliance, he says, between all pastimes pursued on flood, field, and fell : the principles in human nature, on which they depend, are in all the same; but these principles are subject to infinite modification and varieties, according to the difference of individual and national character. All such pastimes, if followed merely as pastimes, or as professions, or as the immediate means of sustaining life, require sense, sagacity, and knowledge of nature and nature's laws ; nor less patience, perseverance, courage even, and bodily strength or activity ; while the spirit which animates and supports them is a spirit of anxiety, doubt, fear, hope, joy, exultation, and triumph-in the heart of the