« 上一頁繼續 »
dwarf fox-hounds, now so much in vogue in many parts. I always feel a pleasure beyond description even with harriers in the early runs; because, having been debarred for so long a time from such soul-stirring exercise, the pleasure is proportionably great. November is an inspiring period for the lovers of the chase, should the weather be according to our wishes, being at all times the best scenting month. The early part is generally applied to cub-hunting; though I frankly declare I see no such pleasure in pursuing the varmint in his babyhood, as he, like all well-conducted offspring, fears to leave the precincts of his parent's abode. Not knowing the country, if driven from his haunt, he is obliged, as mathematicians would say, to "work the circle." This sport may be had in far greater perfection in pursuing the little hare, who, if she be an inhabitant of Moorland, will gallop six or seven miles straight an end without a turn, which the youngster neither can nor will do. Again, after we have heard the death-whoop to a cub which has died gallantly, I always think of what he might have been had he lived to the age of maturity. The end of this month ushered in a tremendous frost, sent hither no doubt by the gallant Captain at the Pole, after having conquered it there-in revenge, I conclude, for our having insinuated a doubt as to his ever having the power of so doing. Of course, therefore,
blank was the word for the remainder of this throat-cutting month.
December then, the month of mince-pies and merry faces, for awhile set us all in good humour; and at it we went in right earnest. Many excellent runs were had in
several parts of our happy Isle, and we were all on the tip-toe of expectation, when the cloud of disappointment again over-shadowed us in the shape of a fall of snow. This may be very beautiful to the eye of a lover of nature, but tout au contraire to the hunter.
Christmas then passed heavily for the hunting department; and all we could do was, to drown our cares in the enjoyment of the "feast of reason and the flow of soul."
"By the gaily sparkling glass,
January, we expected, would have come in like a lamb to our assistance, but vain were our expectations. Even as soon as the green-sward again gladdened our sight, dark became the regions above, the winds howled, and the almost constant companion of the Frigid Zone was amongst us, if possible, in still greater force. Repose necessarily was the order of the day— not indeed that sweet and refreshing quiet which closes each wellspent day in the field, but the restless faineante of the ennuyé. I had hoped, that after such severe disappointments the elements would have had some compassion on the poor sportsman; but, alas! I was fated to experience that happiness is not for mortals here below, which was verified by the pitiless rain falling in torrents, flooding the streamlets and inundating the valleys. Surely, Mr. Editor, some pitying angel will blot out with a sorrowing tear the hearty curse that comes wafted on its wings from the lips of a sportsman on such a trying occasion! Surely there is
mercy in Heaven for those who may be even impious enough to breathe out a blast! If not, I, and many others I fear, must fall, like Lucifer, "never to rise again." February was dreadfully severe at the commencement, but afterwards smiled on us in an unusual degree. Some excellent sport was had occasionally.
March arrived, when, spurning wind and weather, we were all again sailing many knots an hour," and fighting tough battles with the varmints, who appeared to have gained additional strength and second wind (as we say in the Ring), for never did fox go faster or keep up longer. One would imagine they had been taking lessons of Captain B. Still there was a drawback; for, as you justly remarked in last publication, never was a more distressing month for the gallant steed. Many of my friends, wearers of the pink and doe-skin, had to regret the loss of fine nags, occasioned by the heaviness of the quagmire country. The Poet's picture was here too often verified
"And there lay the steed, with his nos trils all wide,
But through it there roll'd not the breath of his pride; And the foam of his gasping lay white on the turf,
And cold as the spray on the rock-beating surf."
The sufferers, however, derived some advantage from the badness of the weather; for some of the particulars of Messrs. Burghart and Stultz were sadly maltreated, and afforded great amusement to those whose garments (from a longer campaign) were softened down to a more quiet hue.
My Lord Petre, the Hon, Mr. Moreton, Mr. Yeatman, Mr. Mure, and though last, not least, Mr. Farquharson, cum multis aliis,
all of whom you have particularised before, and which it is not my intention to repeat, enjoyed many delightful days' diversion. The first-named, I cannot pass by without adding my meed of praise, as well as that of sorrow, for his retirement from the field, of which he was one of its firmest friends and patrons. To say that his conduct is appreciated as it deserves, would be superfluous, after the public testimony that has been evinced of the feelings of the people. Such a man must live for ever in the hearts of those he has benefited. He has the love and respect of all classes; and what can be more delightful to a generous mind! Farewell, Noble Lord, and be assured, if you no longer shine in the field, you shine far, far brighter, in the page of humanity!!
All things considered, I must pronounce the Past Season as having been a bad one. The cause has been the weather alone, which no mortal has ever yet found out the art of controlling. I don't know when there has been so little hunting. Foxes and hares have been abundant, 'tis true. The feathered tribe I have already touched on. However, we must live in hopes that "le bon temps reviendra!" and with this wish, my brethren, I take my leave: so,
"Good night to the Season!-another Will come, with its trifles and toys, And hurry away, like its brother,
In sunshine, and odour, and noise. Will it come with a rose or a briar?
Will it come with a blessing or curse? Will its bonnets be lower or higher ?
Will its morals be better or worse? Will it find me grown thinner or fatter, Or fonder of wrong, or of right, Or married, or buried ?-no matter, Good night to the Season! GooD NIGHT!"
April 16, 1831.
BETTINGS AT TATTERSALL'S.
no means an interesting day, and business rather slack, the betting chiefly resting upon outsiders and between horses. Riddlesworth still continues upon the mend, 11 to 8 and 6 to 4 being offered with some timidity, a Mr. A-d taking 300 to 200, and would have gone on: he is exceedingly well. Colwick had no friends, and with difficulty retains his position; in fact, it was strongly reported, if certain rules and regulations of the Jockey Club are not strictly attended to, that he will be disqualified: he has arrived safe and well, but nothing less than 9 to 1 would have been taken. Blunder keeps his ground, the leading speculators not appearing very anxious to lay against him; and from the unusual stillness observed in the affair, he may shortly be two or three points higher. A new favorite, Black Daphne, came strong into the market, a Mr.G-e taking 6 to 4 he beat Blunder, and at the early part of the day some heavy bets were accepted. Towards the close his friends lacked spirit, and he retrograded several points. Brasde-Fer was gradually giving way, a Mr. Je freely offering 20 to 1; he subsequently backed Vestris for 500 against him, and at the close he was quite friendless. Hæmus, although highly spoken of, was faintly supported, and at 20 to 1 had no backers. Pigmy was in great request, and being in the Chifney stable the leading speculators backed him. to a considerable amount.
or three of the most influential betting men freely laid the odds against Sarpedon, and from what
April 26, 1831.
transpired it is very doubtful whether he will run for it; a Mr. A. offered to bet an even 100 that he did not start.
There was little or nothing doing upon the OAKS, the very elevated situation of Circassian acting materially upon the other favorites, and they were in little demand. Oxygen, notwithstanding her defeat, is fast regaining her lost ground, and at 8 to 1 had numerous friends—many still clinging to the opinion that she will be very near it. Lioness is not so good a favorite since her running for the 1000gs. Stakes.
A few bets were made on the ST. LEGER, a Mr. G-x offering to back Lord Jersey's stable, and at 7 to 1 would have gone on to. any amount. Circassian was a shade better, 13 to 1 finding ready takers. Colwick, Zany, and Marcus are stationary, and no further alteration will occur until after the running at York and Epsom.-Z. B.
6 to 4 agst Riddlesworth (freely taken). 8 to 1 agst Colwick (takers shy). 9 to 1 agst Blunder (taken). 15 to 1 agst Black Daphne (taken). 20 to 1 agst Vestris (taken). 20 to 1 agst Bras-de-Fer (offered). 20 to 1 agst Hamus (offered) 25 to 1 agst Pigmy
50 to 1 agst Duke of Richmond's lot. 50 to 1 agst The King's lot.
6 to 4 agst Circassian (taken). 7 to 1 agst Oxygen (taken). to 1 agst Delight. 11 to 1 agst Lioness.
5 to 1 agst Lord Jersey's nomination. 7 to 1 agst Riddlesworth. 12 to 1 agst Circassian. 14 to 1 agst Marcus. 14 to 1 agst Zany. 15 to 1 agst Colwick. 20 to 1 agst Frederica. 25 to 1 agst Chorister 25 to 1 agst Bras-de-Fer.
BY-GONE SCENES, OR DAYS OF HOG-HUNTING.-No. III.
SOME young men, lately arrived from England, happening to pass near our encampment, Hospitius, true to his liberal and princely system, forwarded them an invitation to join our hunting party, which they with pleasure accepted; but being indifferently horsed, and not very good riders, they declined engaging in the hogging*; and, mounting some of the elephants, proceeded to look on upon the enlivening chase. Finding, as they moved along, coveys of black partridges and bevies of quail continually whirring from the isolated patches of silky grass along the banks of the river, they without delay put their Purdeys and Joe Man lons into requisition with admirable dexterity, and to their own great gratification. One of these lads afterwards remarked that this had been the first day's shooting which he could really say had afforded him unmixed delight; for in England (he said) I could only partake of the diversion of shooting either by stealth or by the indulgence of some proprietor, who would maybe grant me a day's shooting as a mighty favour-my range always, of course, circumscribed within certain limits. One of the greatest enjoyments of the sport, therefore, the sportsman in England is usually debarred from: he can spring his birds and get one shot-if very lucky two or three-but they are then out of his reach; perhaps in the very next field, within his sight, the
covey which he has been toiling after drop secure. His dog may even heedlessly point them, but the disappointed master must call him off, and again range within his prescribed circle. Those birds may not unlikely have been the cause of angry and uncharitable feeling betwixt himself and his neighbours: the preservation of them may have drained his purse, may have ruffled his temper, and perhaps have originated the banishment of many of his poorer countrymen, and the ruin of their abandoned families; and yet, by one ungrateful flight, they evade his care, and take shelter with another. They are sometimes shot and bagged in his view, and perhaps grace the table of his mortal enemy! Such must often happen; and the preservation of the dearly beloved game must likewise demand some sacrifice of wealth, of time also. It may disturb rest and even peace of mind; and yet, more frightful, it sometimes conduces to the death of our fellow-creatures. Here, the cultivated fields, the boundless plains, the sheltering copse, are all open to us: we may follow up our game unquestioned and uninterrupted, mark them down, again flush them, observe the narrower and contracting gyrations in which they wheel in each successive flight, till, completely worn down by the perseverance of the sportsman, they at last rise singly and noiselessly at his feet.
The pleasure to those whose
* Hogging, a name sometimes used for the chase of the boar.
VOL. III. SECOND SERIES.-No. 13.
steps have been confined within prescribed bounds is almost indescribable when they find themselves at liberty to roam wherever fancy dictates. The wildest scenery invites their footsteps-deep and solitary dells, which have perhaps never echoed the voice of man: they enter patches of grass, and are startled by the variety of game-a bevy of quail suddenly arise; the gorgeous peacock floats slowly over the rich foliage of the jungle; the beautiful florican and painted partridge, the checoi, and the migrating cullum, flutter around; while the hare, the bounding antelope, the stately sambre, and the hog bound past them: their attention is distracted; they aim first at one, change to another, and then level their gun, if necessary, to defend themselves against a third. Habit soon dispels the agitation which they must unavoidably feel at so novel a sight; their nerves become less susceptible, their eye acquires quickness, and their hand steadiness: with one barrel they bring down the florican, turn round and with the other level the buck. Practice makes perfect; and I believe, therefore, that some of the very best shots are to be found in India.
The conversation about shooting led to a proposal to devote a day to buffalo-hunting. The following morning the whole train of elephants, taking up two lines, entered one of the heaviest jungles in the country. Hospitius, Cambius, and Shawzada, mounting their steadiest horses, posted themselves on the outskirts, prepared to attack those buffaloes which might take to the plains;
but the spear was resigned for the stout double-barrelled gun, charged with tin balls: the remaining sportsmen, placing more dependence on the lofty back of the elephant than on the velocity and activity of the horse in the approaching chase, sate secure in their howdars*, encircled with guns, and, leading the line, entered the almost impervious high grass. At a given signal the Mahouts, or elephant-drivers, urged those sagacious animals through the opposing thickets: erecting their trunks almost perpendicularly, for the purpose, probably, of guarding this most sensitive member from the sudden attack of some concealed ferocious animal-the tiger, or the more formidable rhinoceros-they urged their way with slow resistless footsteps through the strong jungles, every now and then raising a shrill trumpeting, which became louder as difficulties occurred, and in which they strove to outvie each other. Beneath the feet of a hundred elephants the stoutest branches crackled; the snapping sounds reverberated through the hollow woods; and their wild screams arose above the tumultuous din of horns and the deep music of the human voice; while every now and then the animals would playfully strike the high waving tops of the lofty jungle with their pliant trunks, and besprinkle the faces of their riders with the early morning dew, brushed off from the gracefully bent bearded heads of the silky grass. The constant dropping shots which were heard at intervals denoted to the skirting and adventurous horsemen the progress of the party through
* Howdar, a covered wooden tower placed on the elephant's back.