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soon fell into a profound sleep. The race for the cup, the splendid banquet in St. George's Hall, 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 altereation, 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 arid 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 had one.
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 one. 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. Shakspeare 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 t’ 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,
Now, I call that vary bonnie, and there's no villainy in it. Oh, Shakspeare, what a man thou wort! Now an' you want to see one of Shakspeare's villains, I'll show you one. Look at Iago in Othello, an' there's an out-and-outer for you. After he has well nigh cut off poor Mr. Roderigo's legs, off he goes into ť house, then comes out again, wi' a candle and a sword, shouting out What! villanous robbers ! kill men i' the dark,' an' all time he's sticking poor silly Roderigo, who is lying up't floor beyint him. That's what I call a villain."
Many and various are the anecdotes related of Edward Blenkhorn, so many that a quire of foolscap would not contain them. Once upon a time he was sent to fetch a brood mare and foal home. On his return he became deficient of money. But let Edward himself tell the story in his own words :
“ It wor a vary hot and dusty day, and I'd nobot a penny left in all God's earth; an' I wor so vary dry; so on we travelled vary slow. T' little foal had never been up thigh road afore; and it jumped about at everything it come anent: well, at last we come to a public house, and there were two carters just drove up wi' two loads of hay, and one said to t’other, 'Sam, is that thee ? and Sam said, 'Aye, all that's left of me. What, we may ha' a drink together? Sure!' says Dick, we mun. Now thom words sounded vary bonnie in my ears, for I wor vary dry, an' I had nobot a penny illt all't world. So I gave a little lad t oud meare to hold, and into t' public house I goes. There wor a quart o’ale just filled wi' sitch a cauliflower-head a'top. Oh, it looked bonnie, and I wor so vary dry. Sam wor just lifting it to his mouth, when a thought struck me, and I said, 'Stop a bit, young man.' What am I to stop for ? says
he. "Well,' says I, 'I want to bet a wager wi' you. You see,' says I, as that's a quart o' ale full up t'top; now, I'll wager you this penny that at one draught I drink exactly half o' that, and no more nor no less. You will, says he; well, done wi' ye!' So I lifted the quart up to my mouth, for I wor vary dry; and so I takes a long breath, and then a long pull. Ob, how it did go down ! for I wor vary dry. A little drop were left it bottom. So Sam looked into ť quart, and then at me. You've lost!' says he. “You're right!' says I. I've lost, and there's my penny; and a vary capital penn'orth it wor for a thirsty man; so I took t'ould meare and foal, and on we trudged together."
I have already alluded to Edward's absence of mind; and the following anecdote, related as briefly as possible, will illustrate, or rather give some faint idea, of his mental abstraction. On the first establishment of the races at Liverpool, over the new course, to which place I was leisurely wending my way, I perceived Edward slowly approaching me on horseback, evidently in a profound study. He was astride the pigskin; the reins were carelessly dangling on the neck of his quiet old hack; his nether lip had fallen nearly to his chin; his chin rested upon his breast-bone, and his eyes were fixed steadily on the pummel of his saddle. Stepping into the middle of the road, I stood before his prad, and, although he knew me perfectly well, I had thrice to exclaim to him—“Edward !” before he became conscious of my presence; but, as soon as he did, he raised his head
from its previously inclined position to a perpendicular one, his under lip joined fellowship with its upper partner, and they appeared to harmonize together. But his response was rich in the extreme, if I were capable of conveying to the minds of my readers his tones, accent, and gesture-that is impossible. Thus he spoke:
“God bless me! is it you? How d’yeado ?”
I eagerly inquired whether the two-year-old race was over. The answer was in the affirmative.
“You have got beat, I fear,” said I.
“Well!” I rejoined, “I should have thought the slow pace would have favoured your young'un, as I understand she was scarcely up to the mark."
“Umph! as fast again as all the lot. We lost the race for want o' pace. God bless me! I'm making poetry without knowing it."
Thereupon we exchanged acknowledgments by a cordial shake of the hand; after which, on we toddled, muttering “T'pace! t'pace! t'pace! Oh, these slous are bad things for racers."
“Go thy way:” said I, “Edward ? thou deservest to be immortal for the happiness which thou possessest in thyself, and the pleasure thou impartest to others."
And now, should any one out of the sporting circles inquire why all this space has been allotted to Edward Blenkhorn--for to those within that circle he is as well known as the sound of Bow-bell is to the residents of Cheapside-the answer is, because he is so universally known, and so universally respected, by the members of the turf: and it is for this reason, and this reason only, I consider him deserving to be placed in the first niche of our gallery of BRITISH TURF WORTHIES.
THE TURF IN 'FORTY-SIX.
" Though past, the recollection of the thought
The past year was infinitely the most brilliant in the annals of the British turf and as racing of a high class is almost wholly confined to this kingdom, 'forty-six may be set down as the millennium of that sport, so far as it has yet been enjoyed. Brother Jonathan perhaps will cry “not content" to this conclusion ; but till the staple of his meetings is something more legitimate than four-mile heats, America must give place-though "proximus, sed intervallo"-to the old country. Until a nation shall be discovered with a course like that of Newmarket, and where the details of racing are similarly carried out, the "Tight Little Island” will continue to be the Elis of modern times. The slaughter committed among the black sheep of the turf during the two or three preceding seasons left the flock which fattens on it a tolerably fair average-for such cattle. The accessions of new blood are considerable. Several new naraes of condition appeared to the nominations published in the “Spring Calendar," which came forth as lusty and boon as an alderman ; and, in short, the whole thing was put on the scene couleur de rose. And then, what a winter there had been for the stables! Horses, they assured you, were as fit to run at Christmas, as they ordinarily are at Easter; while their name was " legion." Thus it fared with the promise of our Olympics, when, that the saying might be fulfilled—“it never rains' but it pours," people read the announcement of a new meeting at Epsom, with a handicap called “ The Metropolitan Stakes,” to which thé licensed victuallers of London gave a bonus of £300, or three times the amount of a royal plate! Moreover, that there might be nothing lost for the wont of éclat, all these good things were duly proclaimed in the sporting papers, with a flourish of trumpets, of which those only can form an idea who have heard the Herr Kænig execute the “ Post Horn Galope" on a seven-feet tin tube. Whether it did indeed keep the promise to the hope, as aforesaid, will be gathered from the sequel. Many men have many minds on the philosophy of horseracing, as well as on graver matters. That the turf is less remarkable for graceful passages in equestrianism than it was wont, I fear must be admitted. The prevailing taste for handicap races is inimical to the production of first-rate jockeys. It takes time, as well as many another requisite, to perfect such artists as Robinson, Chifney, and Scott. Your handicap don't mount 8st. 7lbs. a dozen times in a season, in any stable in Great Britain. How many handicaps has Robinson ever ridden in his life? Neither do the lads put forward for the light weights in these contests, often achieve anything beyond mediocrity in their profession. These races are mere“ devil-takethe-hindmost affairs. Indeed, the crowd common to them would render of little avail fine points of horsemanship. Riding “with” or “to” your adversaries is out of the question, when the vital issue is to find a break in the phalanx to enable you to make any running for yourself. The handicap is essentially of the coarse school, as regards turf knowledge: more gladiatorial than scientific or subtle
.“ Plus Marti quam Mercurio".... The racing year commences properly with the Coventry meeting. This year they had indeed a stake over the course at Liverpool, as early as the 4th of March, which a three-year-old hight, the Premier won; but though a Derby nag, his popularity in the ring was but very ephemeral. The doings at the old city of Godiva were of no account; but Warwick Spring afforded fair sport—"considering" .... On the estimate of Burlesque's performances, they got Sweetmeat up for the Chester Cup, to establish-0! that men would take counsel of experience !--the folly, in limine, of making pets for handicaps. At Northampton, immediately after, by way of comment, Discord, backed for the Trial Stakes at 5 to 1 on him, succumbed to weightas what will not from gros de Naples to granite? The favourite too,