« 上一页继续 »
perpetrate a twice-told tale-enough to set down its moral. If there
faith due to promises, then did the season of '46 close with more goodly hopes for the turf than ever set upon its twilight, full of “a glorious morrow." But a day or two ago I received the first volume of the “ Racing Calendar,” with the intimation that a second would make its appearance early in the present year. Added to this there is Ruff's business-like litile book, and Dorling's “Racing Almanack,” and many another literary bantling of the turf. What a contrast with “the good old times !” when the leading journal of this kingdom scouted as infra dignitate the publication of Tattersall's betting in its columns. What palmy days racing will have marked when Tattersall's List shall be itself a journal !
THE ANNUALS.-HEATH's Book OF BEAUTY. 1847. With Beautifully-finished Engravings, from Drawings by the first artists. Edited by the Countess of Blessington. London: Longman and Co.—The embellishments of this volume consist of fancy sketches of the heroines of Byron's poetry. They have been—that is, the graven images-most unmercifully handled by the majority of those who have publicly reviewed them. Such fate, too, waited on more than one of the originals. Gulnare was by no means a generally prepossessing personage, and Laura was undeniably fie, fie! It is fit to say, the painters' presentments are in excellent keeping with their models. The first of this pair, as pourtrayed by Mr. Corbould, is just the style of lady we should not desire to be left alone with; and the latter precisely the one we should. It's no wonder Mr. Beppo suffered in the way he did : his lady, as handed down to us by Mr. Hayter, is nothing less than an allegory of Doctors' Commons. ... The character of these imaginations is not to our taste. Haidee, by Corbould, is anything but what Byron drew; and Zuleika !—if ever there was anything of the feminine gender in its teens that we could not have stomached, it would have been such a Zuleika as Mr. Wright has given to the Book of Beauty. Still, there are some gems. Medora is one. So is Kaled, the beautiful exceedingly" of Lara. As a literary composition, it is not necessary to deal with this work, whose purpose is purely pictorial.
THE KEEPSAKE. 1847. With Beautifully-finished Engravings, from Drawings by the First Artists, engraved under the Superintendence of Mr. Charles Heath. Edited by the Countess of Blessington. London: Longman and Co.--This is in every way an unexceptionable volume. It is exquisitely got up: it is replete with matter void of offence, and furnished with some articles of considerable taste and talent. The frontispiece is remarkably delicious, and so is the last engraving—“Florence," after Wright. These annuals come recommended to us, moreover, by a melancholy interest: they are bright children of a fast-departing family. What if the cause of its ruin was unthrift! it ran a glorious career while it lasted, and has left behind many memorials of hot-pressing and typographical elaborateness, an honour to the mechanical literature of the day-Do small thing when letters had nothing else to boast of. We hope these brilliant twins may have a long life, and a profitable for their godfathers and godmothers. GUIDE TO THE TURP; or POCKET RACING COMPANION FOR
By W. Ruff. London: Ackermann, Regent-street. This most useful manual has appeared for several years at the close of the racing season, replete with matter essential for all who are concerned with the turf, either professionally or for amusement. It is now announced for publication twice a year-namely, in the winter and spring quarters ; in the latter to contain the January and March nominations, and other seasonable additions. The racing public are much indebted to Mr. Ruff for this admirable little work. It is a most portable and pretty pocket conspanion; it is cheap, and it is complete : what more would they have?
The ANALYSIS OF THE HUNTING-FIELD. R: Ackermann, Regentstreet.-Every writer is distinguished, more or less, by a certain peculiarity of " style,” and scarcely any one in a greater degree than the author of this very capital work. To him, we believe, we must award the credit of having relieved sporting literature from a “sober sadness" and dry monotony of detail that, however good in proper time and place, had begun to tell, on the sæpè, if not semper cadendo principle. We have, to be sure, in the annuals, almanacs, and so forth, many a time and oft, had gentlemen ready and willing to be facetious at the expense of field sports; but then, unfortunately, a want of knowledge but too generally accompanied a want of wit, and so the laugh went at instead of with them. In both these items the author of the "Analysis”-and we see no reason for attempting to conceal the name or hide the light of Mr. Surtees—in both these respects, we say, he has a very long and strong pull. In the first instance, without ever making the least fuss about it, he has enjoyed an experience as a practical sportsman that few men could surpass; and in the next, he possesses naturally a quickness of observation and easiness of expression which carry forth with the most complete success the scenes and characters he would depict. Occasionally, perhaps, his humonr becomes a little caustic; but whenever this is the case, he is sure to show good cause for it; and the man or the measure that Mr. Surtees singles out for a quizzing, we may rest tolerably satisfied, only gets what he deserves. Let the reader just take that glorious creation, “ Captain Shabby Hounde," or old “ Bullwaist the blacksmith," from the work before us, and then say whether he ever recollected harder bitting or finer sketching.
The newspaper essayist, by which we mean the man who fills his columns with matter chiefly independent of momentary interest, has more often than not a very up-hill game of it. People look to their paper for what is doing, or what is to be done, and, allowing “ the leader” to be swallowed entire, ought to be about the extent of hard reading expected. This we believe to be more especially the case with your hard riders. After drawing them gently through the betting at Tattersall's, horses for sale, meets of the week, runs on record, grand steeple-chases, and deciding courses, we are inclined to rate it as something very superior that will induce them to enter on an article without a known name, a date, or a decision, to be found from one end of it to the other. In fact, of all the niany schemes of the kind put on trial, and by good men 100, we know but of a couple on sporting themes that ever came to a really successful issue. The first of these was “ The Gentlemen Jocks” of “Shamrock;” the second, “The Analysis of the Huntingfield,” both published piecemeal in the columns of Bell's Life in London, both written in the same workmanlike and amusing spirit, and both, we are happy to add, emanating from gentlemen who, either “fore or aft,” had lent a hand to the Sporting Magazines.
“ The Analysis of Hunting" is in every respect Mr. Surtees' best work, from the very simple reason that it is a subject, or rather a series of them, best suited to his style. Despite Mr. Lockhart's prophecy in the Quarterly, we begin to fancy, after all, and especially after reading this, that novel-writing is not “ Jorrock’s” forte. He appears constantly to despise the art and elongation necessary, as the slang says, “to sustain an interest.” A dashing, faithful sketch, if you like; a hint or so of how he'll make a story of it; and then, just as you think he is going right into it, his humour runs riot with the preliminaries, and he whips off with some most singular and effective finish. One of the best and one of the most tantalizing of these we must give from the well-considered paper on lady fox-hunters, merely premising that Sir Resper Smashgate is supposed to be slightly smitten, and that Henrietta herself is quite agreeable:"
“ Henrietta Cottonwool, of course, being of the same way of thinking as · Mamma'-indeed, ' Mamma's' opinions must have been chiefly derived from the daughter-has determined not to let the season close without a final effort for our hero. Accordingly, she has enlisted one of those convenient articles called a cousin, that women know so well how to use either as suitors or cat’s paws, to attend her to the meet. Well she looks, as she sits on her horse ; and if the animal was only as well turned out as she is, she would do uncommonly well. There is not one woman in a hundred with the slightest idea about either a horse or a carriage. Thin legs and long tails are all they look for in a saddle-horse. Small legs, however, would not exactly do for Henrietta; for she is a good load, though her well-formed back and waist are admirably developed by the close-fitting evenness of her well-made London habit. The hat, 100, becomes her. It rather fines than fulls her plump, healthy cheeks; and the maid has given some extra labour in the brightening and arrangement of her flat-dressed hair. Most young women look well in hats and habits. But here comes Sir Rasper bearing down the road like a man-of-war in full sail. He comes at the pace of the regular five or six days a week man, who knows to a minute how long it will take him to do' each meet. You can tell at a glance that he is a workman; everything bespeaks it, from the hat on his head to the spur on his heel. What an age of anxiety-what a world of time is often comprised in a brief, unpremeditated moment like the present! A glance, a look, a word, and the thing is done! Sir Rasper greets our fair friend with the hearty cordiality of a halfway-met, agreeably-surprised fox-hunter. He is pleased with the attention of so fine a girl. A tinge of pink pervades Henrietta's bright, healthy complexion, as she recognizes the pressure of his somewhat hard hand. When hers is released, she dives into the saddle-pocket for the fine lace-fringed handkerchief. Cousin Spooney looks amazed.
“ How long soever a man may be about it, it is clear that there must be a first thought, a first impulse, as to marrying a girl; and Sir Rasper's impulse came on him rather suddenly this morning. Pleased with Henrietta's appearance, flattered by her preference, and perhaps wanting a solace for the fast-wearing-out season, he said to himself, as he changed his hack for his hunter, ‘By Jove ! why shouldn't I marry her ?'
" To Our READERS. “If any of you know any cause or just impediment why these two persons should not be joined together in holy matrimony, you are now to declare it."
According to our notions, the above is not novel-writing, but something a good deal better, and to be rated in price, as it would in page, about as one is to twenty. Independently of its great merit and freshness, the above passage combines very happily Mr. Surtees’ two favourite themes-fox-hunting and fortune-hunting-a brace of somewhat incongruous items that, we must say, we never saw any man better “up” in. With all the ardour so proverbial in the one pursuit he unites a most extraordinary knowledge of the world for the other, and so hits off his M.F.H. and “Ensign Captain" with equal relish, fidelity, and success.
“ The Analysis of the Hunting-field” is just what, from its title, one would suppose it to be-a description of the different characters that compose a field. First of all, by every rule of precedent, comes the master, punctual as masters should be—" And here, again, we can scarcely refrain from borrowing a bit of descriptive, as naturally and as purely put together as anything in “The Spectator.” With all Mr. Alken's well-known ability, we must confess that he has very far from realized it, and that “the picture” is more perfect without the print than when helped out by it. After the master, we have the huntsman, then the whipper-in, and so on to the earth-stopper, the groom, the farmer, the squire, Peter Pigskin, the blacksmith, Lord Evergreen, Captain Shabby Hounde, lady fox-hunters, and Colonel Codshead the whole forming a volume that, in its line—the lighter and more generally amusing branch of sporting literature--we unhesitatingly pronounce the most perfect and attractive ever published. Indeed, we take an especial pride in seeing a man of Mr. Surtees' standing turning his talents to such a channel, and arming his taste with such an argument. As far as the accompaniments are concerned, we need do no more than name Mr. Ackermann as the conductor, and so leave the hastening purchaser to try and imagine the green and gold glory there is awaiting bim. Beautifully printed, splendidly-really splendidly-got up, and crowded with some of Alken's most spirited and best finished productions, it is the drawing-room book of the season, and the first favourite of its year—a prize in itself to every sportsman, and a most agreeable companion for the more general reader.
THE FINE ARTS.
FORES'S COACHING RECOLLECTIONS. THE OLDEN TIME. Engraved by J. Harriss, from a Painting by C. C. Henderson. London: Fores's Sporting Repository, 41, Piccadilly.—"All right!" shouts the guard, smack! sounds the whip, and off fly four steeds of right mettle, to accomplish the pace, in point of time and style, that even Phæbus himself might not object on this occasion to“ tool.” The “insides," having concluded the customary atmospheric remarks, begin to comfort themselves after their own peculiar fashion; the young lady, who is bent on a visit to her far-distant friends and to melancholy, holds before her a letter with as many crossings as the Mall, the contents of the missive being swallowed with greater avidity, if possible, than those quarto sandwiches which are being devoured by the elderly dame opposite, next to whom sits-or reposes—a gentleman in the vale of years, and a most unchristianlike nightcap. The “box seat” begins to work less at his “principe," and to listen more to the jovial yarn of the well-seasoned Jehu, and—but where has the inspirited print before us carried us back in our “Coaching Recollections ? The sportive peruser can fervidly picture in his fiery imagination all the diabolical horrors attendant upon the excruciatingly-wretched ascendancy of that “monster of such horrid mien,” over the whilom arena of many not-to-be-surpassed scenes of stirring incidents—the road-whilst glancing at the vivid and life-like representation of “The Olden Time” which has just been issued by the Messrs. Fores, of Piccadilly. Whatever may have been the deeply-felt regrets of many a Nestor on the decline of the road, they must be greatly increased by gazing on the well-depicted scene of the latest of the “Coaching Recollections.” Mr. Henderson has, by this specimen of his artistic abilities, added to his already far-extended reputation—if
, indeed, such a consummation were within the bounds of possibility. The several bipeds and quadrupeds are alike faithfully drawn: amongst the former may be instanced the driver of the mail, and the waiter who is lounging at the door of the inn. The engraver has successfully contributed his quota in the proper execution of this, which we will not hesitate to pronounce to be the chef-d'oeuvre of the enterprising publishers.