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BRITONS' GLORY.

187 dom: here he has hitherto reigned unattempted to be rivalled ; for here, and here only, has fox-hunting appeared in the zenith of its glory. Half a century ago a foreigner had no conception such a description of animal existed. The case is now altering very fast, and the spirit of racing, hunting, and even steeple-racing, is becoming widely diffused among some of our foreign neighbours. Four-in-hand, however, still remains among them a complete stumblingblock; and a foreigner is generally about as good a judge of a well-appointed mail, with its four blood horses, as I should be of a Ceylon elephant with his howdah. He likes la parade of four horses to his carriage as well as we do; but here his gratification ends: that there should be any in driving them does not come within his conception. He would consider it an ungentlemanlike thing to do, and it would be so in his country, where it is not the custom of men of fashion to do it. Here, to be a first-rate four-in-hand whip is in a limited sense held all but an accomplishment. This arises in a great measure from the circumstance that to become so a man must be or have been either a man of fortune or a stage-coachman. His not being or having been the latter, leads to the inference that he is or has been the former. Hunting and the turf are also the pursuits of men of fortune. That most senseless and unsportsmanlike amusement, steeple-racing, is, I am sorry to say, becoming so. No men carry out the axiom, “ that whatever is worth doing at all, is worth doing well,” more than the English do in all sporting pursuits. The four-inhand rage brought out among gentlemen some of the best coachmen in the world. Hunting, particularly in Leicestershire, has produced among our aris

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tocracy many such capital workmen across a country as to enable them to equal some of our professional artists in a steeple-race. Racing would probably produce the same results, but that the light weights necessary to this amusement constantly require deprivation and exertion to attain that few gentlemen are found willing to submit to.

Now all these pursuits undoubtedly render those who participate in them first-rate judges of the qualifications, powers, and merits of the horse for all such purposes as gentlemen apply them to; and the constant and consequent buying and selling of such horses renders them pretty good judges of their relative value as to price. Long may such men enjoy such amusements, and long may they possess fortunes to do so! There are without doubt pursuits of an higher order, pursuits that produce more beneficial results to mankind in general ; but every man of fortune has an undoubted right to spend that fortune in such pursuits as he conceives affords him the most gratification ; and provided that pursuit be a harmless one, no one has a right to interfere with it. The pursuits of the sportsman, while carried on by the gentleman, are generally not only harmless, but beneficial to others. They give employment to many, and occasion a great deal of money to be circulated. This alone must benefit others : how far it may the sportsman himself is quite another affair: should the time ever arrive when from a reverse of fortune he is no longer able to enjoy them, there is perhaps no living being who can apply his knowledge to so little beneficial account to himself as the sportsman, or one who can derive so little advantage from the money he has spent in his pursuits. There have been

evers

GENTLEMEN NO TRADESMEN.

189

some so situated, who, from having been accustomed to drive their own four-in-hand, have derived a good income from becoming stage-coachmen: the Brighton and Bath roads particularly boasted several. I know one, and one only, who for some time hunted a pack of fox-hounds: but these are a few out of hundreds, perhaps thousands, who have found they could not make their knowledge of horses or horse pursuits available in any beneficial pecuniary point of view. It may be supposed that such men, with all their experience and knowledge, might, if they made up. their minds to such a degradation, commence business as horse-dealers, livery-stable keepers, commission-stable keepers, or repository keepers: they might certainly commence; but before they can promise themselves to go on in any one of these undertakings with any chance of success, they must forget or set at naught every sentiment they have from infancy been taught to cherish, and obliterate from their minds all the high-wrought and sensitive feelings of the gentleman. No qualified aberration of them will do: no, it must be an utter annihilation of them.

It will be said that this total dereliction of all former habits and feelings it is impossible for a gentleman to effect. I know it is; and for that reason, if he was to commence trade, he would not succeed in it. I never yet met with or heard of any gentleman who ever did, and I will venture to predict that no one ever will — at all events in any of the trades or occupations I have mentioned; and in all probability a sportsman is still less adapted to trade of any other kind. It is not to be supposed that a liberal education militates against a man learning any business ; quite the reverse; it would probably assist

190

A LITTLE POACHING.

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him in so doing: but to learn that business as a tradesman requires years of such humiliation as no gentleman would or could submit to. Being a firstrate judge of a horse will not enable him to be a horse-dealer. A gentleman may know perfectly the relative value of horses, and may easily ascertain that of any other article of merchandise. So far as buying and selling goes, he may even learn where, and in some measure how, to buy and sell to the best advantage: but this no more qualifies him for a tradesman than learning the newest fashions would make the tradesman a gentleman. I hope I have said enough on this subject to prevent any gentleman fancying that, should he ever find it necessary, he can, as a dernier ressource, turn those pursuits he followed as as amateur to any account as a tradesman. I have heard many say they were certain they could. I only earnestly hope they will never have occasion to try.

I have stated, that no gentleman ever has or ever will succeed as a regular horse-dealer. That there are, however, many who in a private way to a very considerable extent deal in horses is a notorious fact, and a fact as much to be regretted as it is impossible to be denied. It is a subject of still further regret, that among them are found those who in every other transaction are men of unblemished honour and integrity. If these gentlemen conceive that they carry on this underhand kind of private trade without its calling forth very severe animadversions froin those who abstain from it, they very much deceive themselves: and they labour under the influence of a still further error if they suppose they can continue its practice without losing very considerably in point of

as a man

GIVING GOLD AND RECEIVING LEAD. 191 character in the estimation of their friends and acquaintance. Placing them in comparison with the regular horse-dealer, I have no hesitation in saying, that so far as this pursuit is concerned, I consider the latter the most respectable man. He sells you a horse openly as a dealer, as a man who disposes of him avowedly for profit. You probably place no reliance on his word or confidence in his honour. He does not ask you to do so, nor is he offended if you do not. You purchase of him in most cases under a written warranty, or one given before a witness. If the horse does not answer the description given of him, the law is open to you for redress; or if you have just cause of complaint, he generally at once takes the horse back. Now if you buy of the gentleman dealer in horses, you trust to his word and to his honour. If you are deceived, which by-the-by you will find by no means an uncommon case, what is your resource ? You must either keep your bargain, or if you hint that you have been taken in, a quarrel ensues, and you are called out for presuming to doubt the word or honour of a man who in such cases forfeits both perhaps twenty times in the year. Such men are, however, as yet rare among gentlemen, and I trust will long remain so. From the moment a gentleman first harbours the idea of making money of horses by buying and selling them, he has taken the first step towards degradation, and then facile descensus averni. He probably, indeed most probably, at first has no further view than in an honourable way availing himself of his superior judgment and taste. He is unfortunate enough to sell three or four horses to advantage. This gives him encouragement, and probably for the first time in his life he feels the

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