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326 THE CIRCLE.
more particularly in some of the closing scenes of many of the spectacles at a theatre, if an observer only watches closely he will perceive that they are all eating; and it must much enhance the gratification of any feeling mind in witnessing the docility of these animals when we can banish from the mind the very erroneous idea that our gratification is purchased at the cost of suffering and cruelty to the animal. There is not perhaps one man in five thousand that has not often been in some stable, but I think I may say there is not one in that number who has been in a stable of amphitheatrical horses, or seen them in their daily morning rehearsals, consequently very few persons indeed know any thing at all about how they are treated: they see them do things quite unnatural to the horse, consequently conclude some unnatural means are employed to subject them. To show how little an audience, speaking collectively of them, know what it is difficult to teach these horses and what it is not, I may venture to say that when seeing a horse galloping round the ring, they consider such a horse as of very little value to his proprietor when put in comparison with the one that takes a tea-kettle off a fire, and such a supposition is quite a natural one; they will be surprised to hear that where ten horses may be got that may be made perfect as trick horses, not one among them would perhaps be worth a farthing as a ring-horse. The reader must carry in mind that if the trick horse fails or makes a blunder in his performance, the only consequence is a momentary mortification to his teacher, and the next moment he does it perfectly; but if the ring-horse makes a serious blunder in his
SUCH IS POPULAR APPLAUSE.
duty, the life or limbs of his rider are endangered. A good ring-horse, though he must have speed, wind, endurance, and courage, must be a perfect automaton of a horse so far as regards any thing done that would alarm or annoy any other. It would far exceed my limits to state the many things that would make a horse useless in the ring : some are too hasty, some too sluggish; some never can be taught to go an even pace, be that fast or slow; some will not keep close to the outside of the ring, others swerve a little from the orchestra ; others will not bear the flags about their head; others will accelerate or retard their pace when the rider leaps; some will not go
under the board or cloth steadily; others, if hit, fly too much from the whip; some will hit their legs in going round; in short, I could mention twenty failings that a horse might have that would prevent his ever being a horse that could be depended upon in the ring. When he is, he is beyond price to his owner. The horse that jumps through a hoop covered with paper gets great applause, the horse that simply goes round the ring none; whereas his doing this is what very few will do well, and there is not one in twenty that will not do the other in a very few days.
I have not attempted to tell the public the modes by which all these horses are taught their tricks : different masters have different modes: I have told, however, how horses may be taught certain things; and, mutatis mutandis, all tricks are taught on the same principle. My only motive in doing this has been a wish to do justice to those who own and instruct such horses, by showing that patience, gentleness, and encouragement is the leading prin
328 LET PRAISE BE GIVEN WHERE PRAISE IS DUE.
ciple acted upon, and the only one that can be attended with success. Highly trained as these horses are, and much as we must admire their docility and gracefulness of action, it is but justice to the riders to observe that the best sportsman or jockey that ever crossed a country or rode over Newmarket Heath could no more work one of these horses properly than he could put together or arrange the works of a chronometer: he could no more make the animal keep time than he could the watch : the hands of sportsmen, good as they may be, are not fine enough to handle these living pieces of machinery: the slightest touch of the finger or heel would put these horses in confusion, and nothing but years of practice in this peculiar mode of horsemanship can procure that fineness of touch indispensable with a highly-trained horse. We see the animal obey, without detecting what produces the numerous changes in his performance. This must at once convince us of the precision, correctness, and delicacy of the hand and heel that direct his every motion. If the public wish to see what fine hands will do with a horse, there is a lady who rides nightly in the circle at Astley's, or rather at Batty's, who will show it them. The perfectly quiet and ladylike manner in which she handles her horse, and the perfect training and graceful action of the animal, afford a treat to the admirers of horsewomanship : that it may be long before they may see again. Many of my fair countrywomen have, I dare say, longed for this horse: I dare say many more will if they go and see him ; but as most probably he would not be parted with, they may take this as a consolation, he would not be
ADVICE, WITH THE AUTHOR'S BEST RESPECTS. 329 with them what he is at Batty's, unless they could also buy the hands that are on him : but as these also are not to be had, I will give one piece of advice to nineteen ladies out of twenty who do ride, which is, to go and see what hands can do, and then take lessons on this most important part of horsemanship.
LA CHASSE ETRANGERE.
LA CHAsse — when to this we annex the true English construction, THE CHASE, how does the heart of a fox-hunter quicken in its pulsations at the magical sound of those two brief words ! The valetudinarian (if he has the true spirit in him) shakes off his aches and pains, and at the sound of the horn, like the veteran soldier at that of the trumpet, “dares again the field.” The victim of hypochondriacism rouses from his apathy, and feels himself again giving the rattling “tally-ho!” Even the pale and heart-stricken son of adversity forgets the freezing or supercilious looks of the favourites of prosperity, and in his mind's eye again welcomes the honest beaming countenance of the true fox-hunter, that never allows the cloud of misfortune that may lower o'er a brother sportsman to shut out that jovial and warming smile from the afflicted heart. Hail to thy name, O Chase!—hail! doubly hail to thy glorious reality!—and ten-fold hail to my country, honest England, land of the chase, thou only Elysium of the lovers of true sport | Let other nations slay their thousands by the gun, where neither exertion or courage are the requisite attributes of the sportsman, as children of a younger growth immolate the defenceless fly who vainly struggles for escape against the glazed divisions of the window. Perish such ignominious sport | The scions of an honest stock of fine old English gentlemen