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business. Now and then the ensemble of yachts formed a picturesque group ; and there was some choice river-working displayed. But ten mortal hours of such sailing, and twelve of a steamer, notwithstanding both its bands, make a heavy day's amusement—that's the fact. The next match of the season will come off on the 8th inst., for the Challenge Cup and other prizes. Let us hope for more favouring skies.
There is not a more agreeable feature in yachting than the tendency it has to promote social intercourse and good fellowship. Every club has its especial head-quarters where the members meet, always with some boon purpose or other. The new club-house of the Victoria Club, at Ryde, has just been opened—a most characteristic building. The Southern Yacht Club have a splendid house at Southampton ; the Western are lodged magnificently; so are all the sailing Clubs of the first class, except that of the Thames. The Metropolitan Club puts up at the Crown Piazza Hotel, in Covent Garden. But there the members have their monthly dinners and their daily meetings; and, however inappropriate the site, there is no objection to the cheer. The number of yacht clubs at present existing in this our island kingdom is fourteen ; their strength an unknown amount of hearts of oak.” It is the fashion to cultivate comfort in this age, and roomy craft are necessary to the possibility of such an end for those who go afloat. Thus the class of vessels and the character of the crews are of a nature greatly to benefit the naval resources of the country. And this is a more important result than we give ourselves the time or trouble to deal with. The political economy of our navy has not marched with the times ; neither is the condition of our merchant-marine on a footing with the vast importance of its office. The taste for amateur navigation has done more for both than their natural promoters and protectors. The best effects must come of the widely extending popularity of yachting, by which is implied the construction of pleasure vessels, or the art of sailing them, and the application of mechanical science to the general purposes of navigation. How these are working to that consummation, and where more especially, shall be discussed at no distant day.
THE STALKER'S HOME.
One of the keenest observers and “ best of critics" on all matters touching on field sports has more than once expressed his surprise at
the concluding sentence or two in Nimrod's crack run over Leicestershire, as given in the Quarterly. Men with homes and lands in other shires transport themselves to Melton solely for the hunting ; enjoy on this particular occasion the most perfect made-to-order morning's amusement, get comfortably home for dinner at seven, and then astound the honoured Mr. Snob by never saying another word of the pursuit they have been so lately engaged in. If Mr. Bigwig, the barrister, who has been jawing, and jeering, and bothering “my lud” and “my learned friends” from ten till six at Westminster, prefers a little music, a cosy chat, or quiet rubber after his dinner, to a hot argument on the Poor Law or the Corn Law, we should say he was only naturally selecting a happy
release and relief. Semper eadem with the City broker, who sinks all that sort of thing by the time he gets back to his willa at Fulham or Clapham. It is only fair that such should be the arrangement ; but then, fancy a sportsman—ardent, staunch, keen, as they call himtreating his business in the same business-like manner. Over-refinement is but another word for affectation, and affectation must have surely characterized the select party at Melton who refused the countryman another word on that congenial theme and pastime which had led to his introduction amongst them.
We have been rather perplexing ourselves to discover whether the same polite system is pursued in other sports where the ruling passion is supposed to be proportionately strong in other words, whether the son and heir or honourable member who had set his heart for the Highlands, dropped all reference to the heather with his rifle and jacket? If the chase was “ vulgar" with a man's party at Melton, surely stalking might sound equally bad at a duke's castle in Scotland. We had found an authority for the one, and now we had to search and read up for as high and may be a more indisputable decision on the other. At the end of a chapter after (in its way) just such a glorious day's sport, Mr. Scrope has been kind enough to oblige us with it—to let us know whether the charm of “the Stalker's Home" be confined to the foresters and their hounds, or allowed still to claim a share in the thoughts and words of their masters. Mark the difference--yea and nay—between the close of the evening north versus south-the never ceasing enthusiasm of the stalker versus the toned down indifference of the hunter :“ Thus ended a deer hunt fit for the recreation of King Jamie ; and although stags were not slain by hundreds, as Lesley has chronicled, or by scores, as the water-poet has recounted, yet the sport probably was quite as ample in proportion to the numbers engaged in it, and the small space of time that was occupied in bringing down the deer. The Glen, too, as in times of yore, was graced by the presence of many a fair and noble dame, who had been waiting the termination of the drive in the mountain lodges ; indeed, it is recorded that ladies of high station have not only felt a great inclination towards this noble sport, but have actually engaged in it. And thus the party proceeded to the hospitable halls of Blair, where we will leave them, amidst cultivated society and high-born beauty
• To fight their battles o'er again,
And thrice to slay the slain.'' Our “ Stalker's Home,” then, may not be altogether so humble and forgotten as at the first glance at Mr. Hancock's beautiful painting one might be inclined to conclude. That group of “ brave foemen side by side” shall not be honoured only by Donald and his brother hill men. The laird may take one last look at the noble stag his art and aim have thus laid low, while Lady Helen sketches old Wallace and Dandie as they doze before the fire. In all times and places the stalker's sport is strongly attractive in matter for the pencil—in few more tastefully treated than in the plate before us, where the otium cum dignitate after honourable exertion is so skilfully grouped and faithfully pourtrayed. The original of our engraving occupies a well-deserved place in the present exhibition of the Royal Academy, and we think all who are lucky enough not to pass it over will agree with us in ranking it amongst the gems of the Academy,
Reluctant as I should be to appear ungrateful, I wish, esteemed Editor, that I could plead vis inertiæ (bad as such a plea may be) for having suffered nearly two years to elapse without profiting by your kind invitation to become one of your correspondents.
For a long period succeeding my last published letter I was seriously ill; but I must not complain, for, D. 9., I have seldom been on the sick list.
One of the best horses I ever rode (he was not mine: I never buy a horse with a perceptible defect) was named Piper, from a wheezing noise he made in galloping. This is different from the wheezing caused by bronchitis in the human species; and from the day that that severe complaint bestrode me, until it departed, as effectual a stopper to all lively “ thoughts on hunting” was put on my spirits as the Wissendine brook would be after a month's rain to an East End bagsman.
The accomplished Mathews, brother of Lord Byron's bosom friend (himself also thus honoured), in his classical and interesting work “The Diary of an Invalid,” strewed with flowers the path to his own tomb; but his souvenirs were of literature-his adieux were to the Muses. My yearnings were after the covert side--my vale was to foxhunting and when, ideally, I swept my wasted hand over the chords of memory, the wailing tones of a lament issued from the depths of a breast where the cheering notes of that fine old canticle
“A southerly wind and a cloudy sky
Proclaim a hunting morning,” once found a blithesome echo. Had I then written, you would have received but ægri somnia vana.
I am now, however, fresh as a four-year-old ; and if, amongst your readers, there be those who suffer from attacks on the chest of any sort, or who have even colds that are worth noticing, I conjure them to give Godbold's Vegetable Balsam a fair and full trial. After consulting the very best physicians in Dublin and London without receiving any benefit from their prescriptions, I was (under Divine blessing) restored to full health by it; and I am convinced of this, because I have been thanked by at least a dozen persons (one of them the well-known Mr. Batty, the spirited proprietor of the Amphitheatre), whom I advised to try it. I am not aware that it is sold by due authority, save by Butler, Cheapside, London, and Sackvillestreet, Dublin. You may foxbunt whilst using it, nor does it interfere with anything but that which is attacking the tubes, membrane, or substance of the lungs. It is a preventive as well as cure; and when I apprehend I may have taken cold, I resort to a little of it with good effect, and so do some sportsmen whom I know. I recovered too late in the last season to think of hunting. I had
before me the summer to select a small stud, so, faute de mieux faire, I decided on mounting an old hobby, the Bench, and accordingly strung together four as neat iron-greys as ever were disciplined by the thong of a Crowther or a Swaine-a teain not unworthy the finger of a Stanhope or of a Clanricarde. One fine morning I introduced them to each other in Dyer's yard. They were high-fed, highbred, hard-pulling harpies, bent more on mischief than work; but I gave them no time for reflection—no leisure to organize and combine an opposition, having some senatorial experience, and remembering that Doctor Johnson told his Scotch landlady that if the fleas had been unanimous they would have carried him off; so I worked them through the narrow gateway without coming to a division, and to our mutual surprise got cleverly into the street. There I had only to hold them straight; there was no mistake about going.
I have alluded to Lord Clanricarde, and feel much inclined to digress a little--by your leave, then :
Mr. Editor, you preside over a publication which has for fifty-five years contributed to strengthen a very material link of the great chain that binds society together. The term “Sporting World” is not hyperbolical. Amongst the leading votaries of manly sports were and are some of the most distinguished persons that have flourished during the long period I have named.
In looking over your 109 volumes, all in my library, whom do I find amongst your dramatis
Military Heroes Prime Ministers.
Laymen. Privy Councillors.
Farming Men. Members of the Cabinet.
Tradesmen. Members of the Legislature. Soldiers, Sailors, Servants. Millionaire Manufacturers. SOME OF ALL
UNDER THE GENERIC NAME OF SPORTSMEN, AND
NO OTHER APWHATSOEVER ANY LANGUAGE UNDER MEMBERS OF SO MANY CLASSES ARE ENROLLED.
We have sovereigns keeping staghounds, and princes riding to them.
A Premier of great eminence keeping a stud at Newmarket, clever as a bettor, and a capital judge of horses.-C. J. Fox.
There is now before the public a nobleman who took, with credit and honour, a bachelor's degree on the turf; then a master's in the senate, and, wafted by the universal wishes of the empire, will yet hold a high place in the councils of his sovereign. Lord George Bentinck will carry to that exalted station, not merely the confidence and esteem of Great Britain and Ireland, but the cordial regards of all his fellow-subjects.
A second Premier, Lord Althorp, was a master of foxhounds, and devoted for many years to the sport, until an accident prevented him from hunting
A third Premier, F. M. the Duke of Wellington, was M. F. (Master of Foxhounds) in Spain.