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SPORTING REMINISCENCES IN ENGLAND AND FRANCE.
hundred than I have often seen in a small circle of eight or ten. The wine of every description, from “humble port to imperial tokay,” was handed round during dinner ; while that first-rate artist Francatelli, who then presided over the culinary department, walked round the table to see justice done to his respective plats. At a quarter before nine grace was said, the cloth removed, and the dessert, consisting of every luxury in and out of season, was placed on the table. No sooner did the wine “sparkle on the board” than the official toast-master, the lord steward, gave “ The Queen.” All stood up except her Majesty, who gracefully bowed her acknowledgments. “God save the Queen,” was then played. Again the lord steward rose, and gave, “ His Royal Highness Prince Albert ;' the toast was drunk standing, the band playing the “ Coburg March.” The effect was most imposing ; the martial strains of the music, a hall replete with every attribute of regal munificence, and a well-dressed company of one hundred persons, sparkling in diamonds and other precious jewels, encircling a table one hundred and thirty feet long, produced an effect more like a fairy dream than a substantial pageant. At half-past nine her Majesty rose from table, the ladies of the company grouping round her, and proceeded to the drawing-room. The Prince Consort now again took his seat: the wine was passed briskly round, and in five-and-twenty minutes the Prince and the guests joined her Majesty. The Waterloo Chamber was thrown open for music and refreshments. Its pictorial treasures were historically connected with the deeds of your countrymen during the last fifty years. The galleries are of oak; and the furniture, of the same material is covered with crimson plush. The ball-room is rather more than ninety feet long, and thirty-five in breadth. It is hung with gobelin tapestry, and has a magnificent gothic window occupying the northern end. The furniture, of crimson and gold, has a very
rich appearance. The north corridor is arranged with much taste; it has a fine collection of arms, consisting of Oriental matchlocks, helmets, shields, spears, and swords. Among the latter are those worn by the Chevalier St. George in 1715, and by the Pretender in the fatal 1746. In the Guard Chamber are whole length figures, clothed in armour. The coats of mail include those worn by Charles, Prince of Wales, in 1620 ; Lord Howard, in 1588 ; Duke of Brunswick, in 1530; Lord Essex, in 1596 ; and Prince Rupert, in 1635. At the south end, on part of the mast of the Victory stands Chantrey's bust of Nelson. There are also busts of Marlborough and Wellington, with the banners from Blenheim and Strathfieldsaye ; one of which they are bound annually to place in Windsor Castle. In failing so to do on the anniversaries of their two great victories, their estates would be forfeited. Over the mantel-piece is the exquisite silver shield inlaid with gold, executed by Cellini, and presented by our monarch Francis the First to Henry the Eighth of England, on the far-famed field of the “ Cloth of Gold." The concert of instrumental music was all that could be desired, and consisted of the chef-dæuvres of Mozart, Beethoven, Lindpainter, Mendlessohn, and Marschner. At a little after eleven o'clock, her Majesty, bending gracefully to the assembled guests, retired, leaning on the arm of the Prince Consort ; and shortly afterwards the rest of the company dispersed.
I now entered my carriage, and, throwing myself into the corner,
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 flitted before my eyes, and sounded in my ears, when I was suddenly awaked by an altercation, 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
“ 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 and 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
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
Edward Blenkhorn possesses a truly honest, trustworthy, faithful, and feeling heart. He is, in fact, the most naive 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 SHAKSPILARE. 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
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 tother, 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 t high 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 ill’t 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; "weli, 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. Oh, 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 tould 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 acknowledgnients by a cordial shake of the hand; after which, on we toddled, muttering “T'pace! t'pace ! t'pace! Oh, these slows are bad things for racers.
“Go thy way:” said I, “ Edward! thou deservest to be immortal for the happiness which thon 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