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lost its charm ; the fox may enjoy his covert in security, as long as hunting made dangerous is to be obtained or witnessed in the foam of a steeple-chase, a comparatively modern innovation on the sports of the field. I confess I do not much admire steeple-chasing ; to me the gladsome cry of the hounds is half the battle ; still less do I admire the clever “ dodgeries ” of those who are the getters up and chief actors in the equestrian spectacles, who not content with sticking at nothing in the field, carry out the same principles in the betting-ring, rendering the ancient caution of " Man-traps set here” highly necessary : how much longer such flagrant doings will be countenanced it is impossible for me to say ; but this I will affirm, black as have been the misdeeds of legitimate and illegitimate turfites, the steeple-chasers have beaten them hollow in the art and mystery of “legging :” follow the sport if you like it, and will it so; but let us have it a little on the square, for at present the steeple-chase course and the path of life bear a strong similarity, for both “ are full of crosses and disappointments.'
Apart from badinage, this hybrid sport and its followers require the strong voice of public opinion to call them to order, for both last season and this (already even) they have been “ doing such deeds before high heaven” as to make all honest sporting men blush for and disown them.
“A CASE OF REAL DISTRESS.”
ENGRAVED BY J. SCOTT, FROM A PAINTING BY R. B. DAVIES.
Our case of real distress may bear elucidation in two different ways, either, we have no doubt, showing cause amply sufficient for that humane gentleman who is going to put down hunting by act of parliament. To facilitate so praiseworthy an attempt, we will jot down the different heads for his Brief, leaving to him the choice of whether of the two he may think most likely to tell with a jury.
In the one instance the Clipper, the Chieftain, or the Dinton Deer, having had as fair allowance of law as his best friends could wish him, finds, after a few miles' scurry, that he is having all the fun to himself. Thanks to the wind, the country, or himself, they have not been able to “make it out” as cleverly as usual; and so, after a few moments' close attention, the emancipated begins to commune with himself in this wise :-If I go on at this pace much longer, I shall beat them clean off, and that admitted, what then?-If I beat them clean off, I shall most probably have the street-door key for the night, andwhat then?' With some little experience in the way of the world, “the antlered monarch" (by courtesy if you please) pictures to himself the crowd of boys and clod-poles who will hang on to him as long as there be a ray of light left, and then fill up this agreeable sketch with a vision of the Radical farmer waiting behind the bean-rick to have a crack at his dun side. The alternative is not inviting, and having gradually broken into a long trot, his majesty at length comes to a dead halt under the next well-sheltered spot, to more calmly deliberate on the matter. Repose does not do much to hasten his decision; and, in fact, he is in fancy straying back to his dearly beloved and well remembered retreat at Stow-when hark ! by the powers ! there is his old enemy, Hannibal, in full swing on the line ! Crafty and Dominic backing him like the Bank, and all three over the fence before the Laird is in his stride again. It's a race now if you like; but the "old-un’s waited a little too long," as the legs say, and so the odds is “all agen him ;” and with no choice left, he'll go home again in his own carriage, and sleep again in his own bed, far more comfortably and cosily than those who know nothing about him might be led to imagine.
In the other case, he is what the old song calls “fairly run down," or if not actually so, struggles on, with the hounds too much beaten to pull him down, as he himself to get again away from them. This is “a case of real distress,” for which water is generally the first and most effectual remedy. That great and ancient authority on staghunting, the renowned Mr. Taplin, puts this point in the run so strongly that we make no “bones” for borrowing his version of it:“ This final burst of a chase is most dreadfully severe, particularly if the last mile or two is run in view; when which is the case, the deer exerts all his utmost and remaining power to take soil, if water is within his reach : this he sometimes does with the hounds so close to his haunches that it is impossible to prevent their plunging with him into the stream. In such a predicament, if it is found impracticable to draw off the body of the hounds, to insure his safety the yeoman prickers and others are frequently seen above their middle in water (uncertain of its depth) to preserve the life of the deer at the hazard of their own. This may be considered by the recluse and callous cynic a degree of valour beyond discretion; but the debt of humanity, like the Hibernian Major's word in the comedy, is a debt of honour, and must be paid !"
Barring only the Yeomen Prickers, we have no fresh reading to offer ; only, if after this “the Humanity Monger" should press on to trial, we will take " the Knife Grinder" against him.
MR. FORES' « HUNTING DIARY” AND “ GUIDE TO THE HOUNDS OF ENGLAND.” By Gêlert.
At no period of the world has the inventive genius of man been more conspicuous than during the present century; discoveries in every department of science proclaim it verily to be an age of progression. The strides of civilization are seven-leagued, and our social advancements such as to afford abundant room for congratulation, and but little for desire.
The hunting community is not left behind in the race. Mr. Fores
has come out of the crowd, and given us on two or three occasions the benefit of his fertile ability. The “ Hunting Diary” cannot but be an acceptable, as it is a most useful, addition to the sportsman's library ; it gives him the opportunity of recording the particulars of every day's work, and the power of re-producing in after years subjects of pleasure that might otherwise have wholly escaped his memory. “ Hæc olim meminisse juvabit” might be the motto of the publication, for many and divers are the incidents by flood and field which the sportsman will thus be enabled at any moment to recall for his own diversion or that of his friends. The good steed that has carried him through many a brilliant run ; the stout pack that distinguished itself on some memorable day ; the gallant fox that beat both hounds and horses, or died after a glorious struggle ; these, and any other particulars which it may be desirable to perpetuate, will each find a place in Mr. Fores' Diary with that ease and perspicuity which a good arrangement never fails to secure. The fact of a second edition of the work being so soon called for sufficiently attests its appreciation by the hunting world, and fully justifies the opinion which, on its first appearance, we pronounced in its favour.
Mr. Fores, too, has enlisted our old friend Gêlert in his ranks; and it is with unfeigned pleasure, on behalf of all sportsmen, that we again see his “ Guide to the Hounds of England” taking the field, clad in a new pink, and invigorated with fresh blood for the ensuing season.
“The Fox-HUNTER'S GUIDE.” By CECIL. Pitman, Warwicksquare, and Ackerman, Regent-street.
No work, perhaps, was ever more really required than the one now under our notice ; in these times especially, when the rail brings so many different countries and packs to "the stranger's” choice, it becomes doubly useful. We can fancy a man who never ventures beyond the limits of his own hunt pottering on minus such a friend at his side ; while we are sure few who have already dared to explore unknown territories will continue long without such a Mentor in their portmanteau. Think of the miseries and uncertainties attendant on disinterested information from ostlers and landlords ; the accommodating distance that lengthens to leagues or shortens to furlongs, as may suit the case of your intelligent adviser ; and the toss-up chance that sends your horses quite as soon to the worst as to the best house in the town.
To the readers of our magazine, Cecil is already well-known as “ practical man;" as one who has seen much and profited by what he has seen. We feel convinced, indeed, that his own lot when on the march the disappointments and crosses he must have so often himself encountered—first gave him the notion of preparing such a work. No better reason either could be assigned for its appearance, as this kind of experience alone could enable him to provide what was really wantedwhat ills to guard against and what comforts to ensure.
"The Fox-Hunter's Guide" contains the places of meeting of seventy of the principal hunts in England and Wales, describing their localities, distance from nearest towns, railway stations available for each hunt, and a list of inns where proper accommodation may be depended on for hunters or race-horses. This information obtained from masters of hounds and other as high authorities for the sportsman or the traveller's guidance.
At the first fling it would be almost too much to expect to find a work of this kind quite correct ; from an examination, however, to which we have subjected it, in re two or three countries with which we are well acquainted, we should ourselves be inclined to pronounce it so.
We would, though, call the attention of Masters and others to what the compiler says on this point :—"If there be any inaccuracies or change in any hunt that may come more immediately under their notice, and they will kindly take the trouble to inform him of them, he will be most happy to make fitting acknowledgment, as it is his intention to revise and re-publish the work year by year, so as to make it as perfect and compendious as possible, and serviceable for the season in which it is issued."
To our friends we add, with all sincerity and liability for that we are saying, let them make the Fox-hunter's Guide as much a work of reference as they do Bradshaw's. A few minutes spent over it in consultation on the quarter they are going to may save them endless annoyance, trouble, and expense, and tend to make their tour what it was really intended for—a journey of pleasure, and not of vexation. The volume is brought out in a very serviceable form, and barring a Tally-ho Sauce sort of ornament on the cover, looks for that it is so well fitted—the hand of a sportsman.
“THE ARTISTS' ALMANAC AND HAND-BOOK FOR ARTISTS AND AMATEURS, FOR 1850." Ackerman and Co., Strand. " THE ROYAL
NAVAL AND MILITARY ALMANACK, FOR 1850." Ackerman and Co., Strand.
The former of these annuals is intended for the reference of all who are interested in the fine arts; the latter, beautifully illustrated, addresses itself to the uses of both services. They are a pair of publications peculiar to the present season, and every way worthy the house from they emanate.
PUBLIC AMUSEMENTS OF THE METROPOLIS.
On “the principle of it's good to be off with your old love before you are on with your new,” we will not allow our welcomings of the new year to cast into utter oblivion all recollections of the departed one. Forty-nine closed not his chequered career without exhibiting some signs of animation. The characteristics of the Christmas just commemorated have nowise differed to any which attended bygone anniversaries. The same amount of feastings, rejoicings, mirth, and merriment as greeted similar festive occasions. Entertainment has been amply provided by managers for the especial delectation of holiday folks, who cannot in any semblance of reason complain of quantity, if indeed they can with more propriety of quality. In all directions pantomime is paramount, burlesque reigning in a comparatively small sphere; the spirit that pervaded pantomime appears to have evaporated, for now it is served up entirely destitute of humorous design and whimsical conceit. As for jokes and tricks, the former are now-a-days only to be remembered for their excessive dreariness, whilst the latter can only be mentioned for their entire poverty of invention.
Mr. Anderson has hoisted the standard of the Legitimate Drama at DRURY LANE, and thus far success has crowned his efforts to restore the disbanded troop to its old quarters. Every credit is due to the present manager for the thorough determination he has exhibited of collecting together under his banner as many of those celebrated in their art as it was possible for him to effect engagements with. Indeed, in explaining his object on the opening night, he very becomingly observed that there were many performers of repute that he could have wished to have enrolled amongst his company, but whose engagements elsewhere his sense of honour would not allow him to disturb. As it is, the names of Vandenhoff, Bennett, Cooper, Vining, Emery, and Anderson can be mentioned, together with those of Mesdames Glover, Nisbett, Vandenhoff, Laura Addison, Phillips. The prices of admission are on a scale of economy commensurate with an age abounding in cheap everything, from a guinea-and-a-half book reduced to a shilling, down to the threepenny omnibuses and halfpenny boats; in fact, an age when all is cheap but meat, funerals, and railway travelling. It is certainly marvellous to consider that a man may take his family to Drury Lane and occupy a private box, for which he is only expected in return to disburse a guinea. What would the ghost of Spring say to this? “ Harlequin and Good Queen Bess,” by the author of the most successful pantomime of last season, appears to suit the taste of the lovers of mirth and merriment, judging from the anxious crowds that have poured in from the commencement of the season. The pantomimists, consisting of the Deulin family, Stilt, and Madame Theodore, exert themselves to the utmost; and it must be confessed that on witnessing their feats it becomes a matter of speculation whether their elasticity proceeds from their being spirits of air, or from the fact of their composition consisting chiefly of caoutchouc. Omission must not be made of the eminent characters that figure in the opening—the representatives of Lords Bacon, Burleigh, and Leicester, Amy Robsart, “her lovely babby,” and the “Good Queen Bess,” will one and all please to consider this passing tribute to their gigantic exertions as a special vote of thanks.
Mr. Webster has achieved another success at the HAYMARKET in the production of a piece of bijouterie, entitled “The Ninth Statue ; or The Jewels and The Gem,” from the ever-pointed pens of the Brothers Brough. This seasonable offering is crammed full of jokes, sarcastic hits, and humorous allusions to the follies of the day, the enunciation of which is attended with nightly shouts that loudly attest the keen relish entertained by the auditory. When it is added that the exponents are Miss P. Horton, Miss Fitzwilliam, James Bland, Selby, and Munyard, it can easily be conceived that the sparkling dialogue of the authors loses none of its brilliancy. Alasman, a young dissipated monarch, is acted to the life by Miss Horton, whose style of rendering the parodies that fall to her share is unexceptionable. Miss Fitzwilliam, as Zuleika, makes her first appearance on these boards in “ Perfection,” according to the play-bills, to which authorities who can take exception ? Munyard gives his songs with great glee, and James Bland and Selby sustain their well-earned reputation for burlesque capabilities.