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Matuschevitz, beating Catherina (2), Languish (3), and Trim (4).--4 to 1 on Touchstone. At the same place he walked over for a Gold Cup, given by Mr. King. At Holywell Hunt he ran second to Usury for the Mostyn Stakes; Languish and Birdlime also started, but were not placed. At the same place he walked over for the Pengwern Stakes of 30 sovs. each, and a Post Stakes of 100 sovs. each.
In 1836, at Ascot, Touchstone, ridden by J. Day, won the Gold Cup, beating Rockingham (2), Lucifer (3), and Aurelius (4).-6 to 5 agst. Touchstone. At Doncaster, ridden by W. Scott, he won the Gold Cup, beating Carew (2), Venison (3), Bee's-wing (4), General Chassé (5), and Flying Billy (6)-7 to 4 on Touchstone. At Heaton Park he walked over for a Gold Cup, given by Mr. King.
In 1837, Touchstone, ridden by W. Scott, again won the Ascot Cup, beating Slane, Royal George, and Alumnus-2 to 1 on Touch
The following is the total of Touchstone's winnings for each year, the Cups and Plates being given by their value in specie:
In 1838, Touchstone stood at Moor Park, where he served 40 mares by subscription, at 30gs. each. In 1839, '40, and '41, he covered an unlimited number of mares at the same place and price. In 1842, he was removed to Eaton, where, in 1843, his price was raised to 40gs. each; his subscription for the ensuing season of forty mares at 40gs., has been full for some time.
The following are some of the principal winners which have already appeared by Touchstone:--Auckland, Ameer, Audrey, Blue Bonnet (winner of the St. Leger), Cotherstone (winner of the Derby), Celia, Dil-bar, Fanny Eden, Gaiety, Jack, Lady Adela, Orlando, Phryne, and Rosalind.
His stock first came out in 1841 as two-year-olds, when they won amongst them in public money, £300; in 1842, £9,530; and in 1843, £20,454.
It must be a source of satisfaction for all sportsmen to know that Touchstone has not left, neither is he likely to leave, his native land; although, as we may see from the following anecdote, this is from no indifferent feeling on the part of the foreign market.
Some Americans having looked over the Eaton stud, the one who acted as spokesman requested an audience with the noble owner; which being granted, the visitor began by saying that he and his friends had seen the horses, and that they fancied Touchstone very much-very much indeed.
Lord Westminster was, of course, highly pleased to hear him say so.
Brother Jonathan, in continuation, informed his lordship that they had made up their minds to have him.
What's his price?"
It is needless to add that, though Touchstone was not, the "independent" gentleman was "most tarnationally" sold.
"Yes, my lord, that's our determination.
"The American Dominions!"
In these degenerate days, when men turn out at mid-day to meet hounds, or slaughter the birds of the air from the tops of wooden stands or the backs of quiet ponies, the term "Feather-bed Sportsman" is one which we hear too frequently applied, particularly by such as lay no claim to the name of sportsmen of any description. We readily admit that the fashion of practising most of our field-sports differs vastly from what it did in days of yore, although we think in almost every instance the change has been for the better. Sporting is now, as it ever should be, an invigorating and exciting amusement, while a century back it was something very like hard labour; still we fear that the march of improvement may have come too much hand in hand with luxury and effeminacy, and that indolence and apathy may have arisen from a refinement carried to too great a degree. As the seasons have varied but little since the days of our forefathers, the greatest changes have been in the style and time for pursuing the diversions handed down from them to us; it is no longer deemed necessary to rise at day-break either for hunting or shooting, by which we should say, as the two are now generally practised, and indeed there are but few sports which might with confidence be engaged in by any man with a moderate share of stamina and nerve. This we give with " a saving clause," and amongst the number of exceptions we do not for a moment hesitate in placing our present subject in the front rank, for it is one which requires extraordinary energy of mind and body, and above all must be accompanied with a zealous ardour for it to be attempted with any hopes of success. In the list of necessaries we may enumerate a perfect indifference for cold or hunger, an extra stock
of that rare virtue-patience, a determined resolution to remain for hours in the same position, and fortitude sufficient to carry the experimentalist home without a murmur, though he carry not a feather with him.
Our own experience in "Wild Fowl Shooting by Moonlight" has been confined to the midland counties, where we were wont to meet "the foreigners," as the locals designate them," by moonlight alone," on their paying their accustomed visits to some fish-ponds in the vicinity of the old house at home;" this, however, is but tame work to wild fowl shooting on the coast, to which we confess our inability to do justice, and must, therefore, call in the assistance of a veteran in the sport, who thus graphically describes it:
"Sea fowl usually feed by night, when, in all their multitudes, they come down to graze on the savannahs of the shore. As the sonorous cloud advances (for their noise in the air resembles a pack of hounds in full cry), the attentive fowler listens which way they bend their course; perhaps he has the mortification to hear them alight at too great a distance for his gun (though of the longest barrel) to reach them, and if he cannot edge his boat round some winding creek, which it is not always in his power to do, he despairs of success that night; perhaps, however, he is more fortunate, and has the satisfaction to hear the airy noise approach nearer, till at length the host settles on some plain upon the edge of which his boat is moored; he now as silently as possible primes both his pieces anew (for he is generally doubly armed), and listens with all his attention. It is so dark that he can take no aim, for if he could discern the birds they would also see him, and, being extremely timorous, would seek some other pasture. Though they march with noise, they feed in silence; some indistinct noises, however, if the night be still, issue from so vast a concourse; he directs his piece, therefore, towards the sound, fires at a venture, and instantly catching up his other gun, discharges it where he supposes the flock to rise on the wing. His gains for the night are now decided, and he has only to gather his harvest; he immediately puts on his mud pattens (flat square pieces of board, which the fowler ties to his feet that he may not sink in the ooze), ignorant yet of his success, and goes groping about in the dark in quest of his booty, picking up sometimes many, and perhaps not one."
We are ever anxious that our embellishments should be scenes of the season, though to accomplish this is frequently a matter of great difficulty; this month, however, we cannot help flattering ourselves that we have succeeded to the utmost. The most critical period for the breeder of the thorough-bred horse is now coming on, and do we not give him the portrait of perhaps the favourite stud-horse of the day? Again, if we are to have any hard weather this winter, we may expect it about this time. With it comes the wild-fowl, the well charged swivel gun, the equally well primed pocket pistol, the long boots, and the moonlight night. Alas, poor ducks, you may find in the words of Byron
"There is a dangerous silence in that hour."