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the fancy-man of the manufacturers; and the accomplished turfite, to the straight-forward politician. On the other tack, the neatest and quickest of changes comes to no change at all; the pleasure of a day's journey turns to the dull business of an hour; coaching and road travelling arrive just at the height of perfection, and then, as the worst of things are sure to mend, the best, it seems, are to come to an end.
It does appear wondrous strange, if we come to consider it, that any men should have been found bold enough to even endeavour to out-run the road at the time they did. Half
a century back, when coaches were great, heavy, lumbering, uncomfortable concerns, and coach-horses under-bred, under-fed, over-worked brutes, when days and nights were broken into for the shortest of transits, and a hundredmile trip became altogether a most perilous adventure-at such a period your science and philosophy "might have looked about for something better than the good entertainment man and horse could furnish them with. When, however, all this was altered and equally improved, when Englishmen began to feel a national pride in their public carriages, and an individual pleasure in travelling in them; when the hitherto deep-rutted, rough, and dangerous path showed a surface as smooth as glass and as firm as pavement; when the poor, soft-hearted pack-horse sort of animal gave way for the full-conditioned, high-couraged, and beautifully-broken machiner ; when art, elegance, and finish in the coachman triumphed over untutored strength and unbearable coarseness; when, in fact, all was as complete and as comfortable as could be-then, and not till then, we rise en masse to say we can't endure this state of things any longer. Still it is the peculiar privilege of our dearly beloved countrymen never to be satisfied, especially when they think you are doing all you can to please them; and, accordingly, so soon as the Eastern Counties has gone one month without a mishap, they'll have a balloon way over the same line; or, maybe, when the Penny Omnibus Company come down to nothing a mile, they will tire them out with an every-manhis-own-cab for the same fare.
Say what the flash-of-lightning gentlemen will of the advantages of increased speed, we shall always, we repeat, define this difference between road and rail—that the one mode of transit was a real pleasure, and that the other is, at best, but a negative bore. Could any man, with a fair pair of eyes and a decent heart under his waistcoat, take his fifty miles ont on “ the Bedford Times” or “the Oxford Age” without feeling gratified and invigorated by the time so spent ? Could he mark the gradual change of scene, catch the occasional far-spreading view of hill and valley, and breathe the fresh air of the open, without inward conviction that this was something more than a mere task-a form that must be endured and sat out before embracing his wife or binding his bargain? Or again, could he pass through the different towns, and by the different seats, without being enlightened as well as amused by all he saw and heard? Could he stand proof against the well-told anecdote of the dragsman, or the happy rejoinder of the young squire we just dropt at his own lodge-gate? Can any one think over such times as these, and have a word fit to throw at a dog for the hell-in-harness system now in vogue? As far as the mere transition goes, it is all very good, no doubt; and a man puts on his travelling-cap just like the gentleman
in the fairy-tale did his wishing one: “Here I am in London, but I wish I was in Bristol;" and it is, “ Now then, take your ticket !" and away you go. “That was Windsor Castle, sir, we passed just this moment, but you can't see it from where you sit. This is Reading, I believe; and here, I declare, we are at Swindon, where they have got a good room, and run the steeple-chases.” Next you have a tolerably correct water-colour sketch of Bath, and then you are landed right home into dull and dirty Bristol. You have come all the way, that's certain; but as to what you have come through, or what you are rather expected to have seen and marked, how is it? The old lady opposite most assuredly did take a good deal of snuff, and talk, when you could hear her, a good deal of nonsense; the aristocrat in the corner evidently wanted to impress you with the idea that next time he'd have a kettle boiled all for himself; the bar-maid that served the soda-water was wonderfully over-pressed, and the pitchdark tunnel suggested to a sensitive mind what a row there would be in case you should have a collision.
For commercial men, or that more horrible term still, for “ men of business” to uphold such an improvement of time as this, is perhaps natural enough ; but for a sportsman to advocate it, and ihat, too, mainly by abusing the rival it has ruined, sounds odd, and, we are happy to add, is really uncommon. We have known, however, one, and a good sportsman into the bargain, employ a very pretty wit against the tapering crop and the well turned-out team, chiefly to the following effect : that one of the pleasantest days he ever had in his life was spent in travelling by a stagecoach, and that as a general rule the book-keeper was always too much of a blackguard and the coachman too much of a gentle
To put his opinion to the proof, let us contrive to muster up courage enough to ask the varmint-looking youth here in the shooting-jacket, when we shall have a chance of witnessing Mr. Herring's very beautiful sketch, if possible, more fully realized. In two minutes you hear “ The Times” will be up, and the next change is coming out now; so look lively, and we may see the whole act, from find to finish. And here she is, you see, drawing it as fine as one of Jem Robinson's races, and as full, in and out, as the legitimate drama used to be on a royal bespeak. A capital four, well-horsed and well-nursed; though certainly the whitelegged chesnut mare-by Patron out of Greenmantle by Sultanthat has been running near-leader, does look a little beat as she wanders down the yard. But never mind, we have four tried good ones ready to replace the relieved guard; and before the swell on the box, who saw the race, can tell you how Sir Tatton did win the Two-Thousand, or the worthy behind him give the latest state of the odds on the New-port or Old-port election, coachee has bowed in his boarding-school miss, badgered the bagman out of his shillings, and set himself fair once again. _“St! st! All right; let 'em alone, and take care of yourselves.” The leaders give a gammoning, showy sort of Aourish to start with; the doubled thong, falls more in flattery than in anger on the old brown at wheel--the parlour-boarder lends us one more glance at parting-St! st! it is all over, and
The Times" has changed !
THE HANDBOOK OF THE CHASE.
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-hazard—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 flight. 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 have 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 be 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 uncommon 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 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 disposed to go.
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 wriiten, 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