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is, “ Where shall we hunt ?" London—which is peopled with the majority of those whose circumstances, in every sense of the expression, place them in a condition now and then to snatch a day from Mammon, to fund a little annuity of health and boon enjoyment-hears the query whispered by hundreds of anxious soliloquists, as often as an open day dawns between Michaelmas and Easter. These are no cruel Cockneys--no mere Gilpins serenaded into existence by the chimes of Bow, but, haply, sons of such destiny and taste as once induced the occupant of a third-floor-back to make it his kennel, with permission to stable his hunters in the coal-cellar. For these, and such as these, a manual of the cream of our hunting countries would be at once the "guide, philosopher, and friend" This work, in keeping with the spirit of the time, will deal with woodcraft as a sporta pastime. Mr. Beckford treated of hunting as an art ; Mr. Delmè Radcliffe and some of his contemporaries call it a science ; one of them, a gentleman of great practical knowledge of all its details, says :—" I have classed it among the sciences ; I hope the critic will excuse my enthusiasm, as Mr. Locke, in his celebrated essay, in speaking of the operations of the mind, compares its searching after truth to hunting and hawking, the pursuit of which, he says, constitutes the chief pleasure.' No one can blame enthusiasm in the abstract ; but in the hunting-field, in the garb of pedantry, it is out of season as well as out of place. The same writer observes—" It is no less extraordinary than true that, although the votaries of the chaste Diana are much increased in numbers, as each hunting season returns with the cloudy sky of November, still hunting is most truly considered to be on the decline. The noble science is not cultivated as in the days of a Meynell, a Corbet, or a Warde ; and although some wealthy and staunch supporters of the good old cause are still left, the rising representatives of our great aristocracy have, I fear, far different allurements to the field than the cultivation of that noblest of amusements. It has been very often and very justly remarked, that a man cannot hunt from a bad motive ; and with this opinion I firmly agree. And whether it be the desire to enjoy the most exhilirating of exercises, the innate fondness of coffee-housing, the harmless recreation of exhibiting oneself in a new scarlet coat and leather breeches, or the real amor venandi in the true sense of the word, which brings so large a congregation of neighbours together, as may be witnessed by the side of a fox-cover on a hunting morning, it matters but little, so long as it tends to the increase of good and cordial feelings in a neighbourhood, and offers so strong an inducement to gentlemen of fortune to reside on their property in the country. One of the greatest advantages held out in advertisements for letting a house is, its vicinity to any appointed hunt, or its being situated in the centre of various packs of hounds ; without which many houses in a retired part of the country would never find tenants.
Thus not only shall a hand book of this description aid the sportsman in his selection of a casual resort ; but we shall see George Robins ascend his pulpit with it in one hand, and his hammer in the other. Then, when he has exhausted prose and poetry in praise of the paradiso he is giving away, he will open its leaves, and quote on its authority that Tally-ho Håll is the only spot of our planet's surface on which it is becoming for a fox-hunter to be found. By and bye some new excellence will attach to it, its field of operation will be extended, and that
which at first was only “ information in amusement” shall turn out to be “ knowledge in earnest.
Stag-hunting, on any scale of account in England, is almost wholly confined to the vicinity of the metropolis-so to speak of a radius of fifty miles around our capital, by the grace of railroads and steam-carriages. The two principal establishments of the kind are the Royal and Baron Rothschild's Hounds. These are now so generally known as to call for no observations. They are to the chase in its legitimate character a sort of half-way house between racing and fox-hunting. A day with them should not consist of more than forty minutes. It commences about noon, and ought to see the field at home, at luncheon with its wives or sweethearts by two, P.M. This is just the thing for your very fast men, associated for the purposes of a quick life and a merry one-Limmers' League, that take as much out of their circulation in twenty-four hours as ordinary people do in six months, and would be well satisfied to contract for going to earth at eight-and-twenty. But there is a middle setm" medio tutissimus ibis"'disposed to spin out existence even into the proscribed limits : men “ troubled with the slows,” that have faint anticipations of pretty helpmates and pretty considerable small families daughters to bring out, and sons to bring up, " in the way they should go"—these love hunting, as the pastime of a gentleman and a sportsman. Peradventure they would even select some especial spot for their patronage, some country “ well done,” towards the expenses of which they would be their fifty or their hundred. Unless they catch their pack, how are they to patronize it ? Believe me, ye exclusive masters of hounds, putting your candle under a bushel is the way to burn your fingers. The spirit of the chase cannot be other than boon. Fox-hunting, more than any of our national sports, is formed to be the bond of good fellowship and brotherly love. There must be no stateliness in the field : gentlemen as stiff as stones” are the abhorrence of the virgin goddess. To make the sport cosmopolite is the way to weed it of such excrescences. “ Hail fellow well met,” should be its countersign. To rub it with the world is the receipt for making all smooth. Courtesy, urbanity, politeness-these are not enough to keep a hunting country together, as it must be kept together now, or one by one its elements will fly off, and leave nothing but a capet mortuum behind. You must cheer it as you would its crack pack with their fox in view. You must leaven it with hearty hospitality-none of your fine dinners and fine manners--but hospitality, imperial in its physique if you will, but democratic in its morale.
Some one once wrote to Mr. Hanbury, when he hunted the Pucke. ridge country :
“ How can you expect that the foxes will thrive,
If they have no porter to keep them alive?" which may be taken as the broth of a hint in the matter of sylvan liberality. A sister couplet, on the convenience of sinking the martinet in the master of hounds, might run somewhat after this fashion :
“ Must a field full of hunters, with men on their backs,
Be all etiquette – like a ball at Almack's?"
The great metropolitan meeting fell so absolutely at the end of May as to make it impossible for any complete notice of it to appear in a monthly periodical for June. It would be twice a hundred times told tale to allude to it now, beyond such occasion as requires reference to its details in a prospective character. This will occur in dealing with the racing of last month—albeit that may not be classed with such issues of account as the Derby or the Oaks. But enough of interest developed itself, upon the existing principle of the turf, and the condition to which it is fast hastening, to make the present crisis of concern for those who have racing in esteem as one of our great popular sports. He must be a very superficial observer indeed, who has not noted that it is by slow but sure degrees exchanging its gala character for one of business, and that not of the most reputable kind. From being a boon hilarious trysting place, the turf is becoming the resort of money-changers-men who transmute the scrawls of a pencil into coin current of the realm. It is not my purpose or my desire to allude disparagingly to such individuals as the habit of the times has induced to take up betting as a profession—as the means of getting a present livelihood and amassing a future fortune--and pursue their avocation indifferently honest. I see no reason to regret that one of these—a man who, without reproach, struggled against an untoward fate so earnestly, that he won his way into the first society of commoners in the land—I say I see no cause for being sorry that at the last Epsom meeting he carried off the two greatest racing prizes of the season, though there be those who contend that the Derby and Oaks were established with different views. So they were; and so was the turf, if we examine the point at which it has already arrived, to say nothing of the bourne to which it is hastening. Am I justified in assuming that, in the way it is going, it has turned aside from its legitimate destination ? I cannot answer that question better than by quoting an opinion I lately gave elsewhere upon this important
The progress of the popularity of the turf, abstractedly considered, is beyond any doubt. There are ten times as many horses kept, and consequently bred, as there were a score of years back, which may be a national good, but I doubt it ; and fifty per cent. more people are getting their living out of it, which may be a social good, but I doubt it. In its legitimate character it is a sportmin its spurious, a profesBion. Now-a-days, one continually hears owners of studs—especially those parvenus who provide them as picklocks for fine company; licenses for hawking their vulgarity and presumption where gentlemen congregate - uttering complaints about race-horses “not paying. Upon what principle ought they to be sources of profit ?
Does a gentleman set up a pack of foxhounds to make money by his venture ? And when a member of the community who has fallen upon evil day resorts to the scheme, what comes of it but contempt on the one hand and dissatisfaction on the other ? The intention with which national sports were instituted in this country (the view with which popular recreations are made political agents elsewhere) was, that healthful pastime and social intercourse should be provided for the many at the cost of the few, whose duty and whose policy it is to supply them. It may be doubted whether yachting-essentially national as it is, in the relation of a taste and a pursnit--would not have been regarded as somewhat too exclusive in spirit for a place among English national sports " in the days of our fathers of yore.” But I confine myself to an inquiry into the working of the system now in operation on the turf, in its influence on the popular principle of the sport, in its effect on the nature of a raco-course as a place of general resort for the purposes of wholesome and convenient amusement.
I would ask those who remember Epsom and Ascot when George the Fourth was king, whether, when those holiday anniversaries have come round, they are indeed themselves again—the same they were in all the pride, pomp, and circumstance of great metropolitan carnivals ? As pageants they have no doubt been interfered with by the changes of time -trode down and trampled over by the march of locomotives—damaged by the progress of other motives ; but these are no reasons that there should be no more cakes and ale." A dozen years ago, the course at Ascot, on the Cup day, for a good half-mile above and below the Grand Stand, was a promenade of which the world probably could not furnish a parallel, or even an epitome, elsewhere. Was that its character on its recent anniversary ? Had not gentility ensconsed itself within that same Grand Stand, while the exclusives sheltered themselves behind those pallisades and under the roof of the sanctum destined to “ lodge a king" or queen ?
Woc waits the land, to hastening ills a prey,'
Where fashion votes it vulgar--to be gay. Test the doggrel by political economy, and ye shall discover more truth in it “ than is dreamt of in your philosophy.” The first great discouragement–because it had its origin in a great authority-that the gala character of racing sustained was at Goodwood, some few years back, when the band that used to serenade the company at the Grand Stand was muzzled, on the pretence that it interfered with the business of the ring. The big drum is too much for the nerves of the betting fraternity; your leg" "hath no music in his soul.” At Epsom, Ascot, Goodwood, Chester, Liverpool, Doncaster-almost everywhere—the system of centralization in the Grand Stands has been consummated, and those localities are, to all intents and purposes, the places themselves of which abstractedly they are portions. How has this been brought to pass ? It is meet to deal with this inquiry at once, for, should the principle become of too deep root for eradication, I cannot choose but think a countenance and encouragement will be given to excessive gambling, which, not long hence, will work great social inconvenience. It may be urged that the establishments I have spoken of, as centres round which the turf system revolves, contribute liberally to the support of their respective meetings ; but, so long as one royal plate or purse is given to be run for on any of our courses, so long that course is public property, in all that has reference to the
turf as a sport recognized by the government on popular grounds. This is written, as I believe, for the good, and to save the interests, of all to whom it has relation. The tents of the Israelites—those chapmen of roulette and rowley-powley—have been overthrown, and play is tabooed by the veto of the Home Secretary. Peradventure this is "excellent well ;" but not so the Roundhead, ascetic air which is gradually becoming the atmosphere of our race meetings. So far as the change has worked, what are its points ? To make a race-course a vicarious "hell”--the ring the refuge for excessive gambling-then and there only permitted by act of Parliament."
The meeting on the Moor adjacent to Manchester has not yet attained much position in modern Olympus, whatever it may be destined to achieve. It is mainly indebted for cattle to the northern trainers, who muster there in considerable force. This is the more remarkable, because that same Kersall Moor is about the worst piece of turf used as a race-course in Great Britain. Moreover, Manchester races, as at present constituted, derive the means whereby they live from the revenue screwed out of the site on which they take place-a most precarious scheme for prolonging their existence.
Four days' sport, contrived out of such resources, require a rare management of the exchequer. None of the races call for more notice than the returns of the running, which are given elsewhere, except the Hurdle race, which certainly claims a word from humanity. It is astonishing to me that stewards can be found to tolerate, not to say countenance, such exhibitions at a season of the year when the probability is, the ground will be as hard as a hearthstone. At Manchester, one of the unfortunate men that rode in the suicidal contest was killed outright, after many a hairbreadth escape in more legitimate fields. There is something, besides, eminently Billy Button-ish in a leaping race at midsummer. The practice cries aloud for reform. The example set by a noble patron of racing, now running a career of another sort, of calling race-horses by most outlandish names, had its imitators at Manchester, where Kissme-quick and Clear-the-kitchen were among the equestrian company. What would the Selims, Hermiones, Sultans, Orianas, Florizels, Medoras, Orvilles, and Gulnares have thought of such an addition to their society as “ Go-tobed-says-sleepy-head ?"
On Tuesday, the 9th ult., the Royal Meeting on Ascot Heath commenced, and, as usual, continued for the three following days. In consequence of the recent addition of a Princess to the Royal Family, Her Majesty, it was known, would not of course honour the meeting with her presence. An illustrious visitor to this country, for a most illustrious purpose
- a scrutiny of the arts of civilization - however gave it eclat by his attendance, and Ibrahim Pacha gave his earnest approval of the scene as a great popular demonstration, the while he was much scandalized that horses of such a tender age as two years should be required to go through the severe operations of the training and racing stable. We had better take things as they occurred, and for this reason begin with the beginning, the noon of Tuesday. An unprecedented duration of unexampled heat for this climate had done its office by the running-ground, which, but for a tall crop of guano-grown grass, would have been nearly impassable for horses at full stretch. The Course, despite all care, was in bad order ; not so the