Imagens das páginas

there can be no difficulty. They are the publishers of the Racing Calendar, and are bound to insert therein a notice of any forfeit " which shall remain unpaid three ealendar months from the time at which it has been first put upon the list.” The existence of this list being taken for granted, it follows that upon the 18th of last month, not a farthing of forfeit was due at the office of the Messrs. Weatherby, as no allusion to any such default appears in the Racing Calendar of that date. At the last Catterick Bridge Meeting, as appears from a correspondence subsequently published in the sporting papers, Wallace, the property of a Mr. Hudson, was prevented starting for the Easby Triennial Stakes, and the Italian walked over, and received them upon the grounds that there was an arrear of stakes and forfeits due by a former owner of the horse-Capt. Potts. Upon this step, a long comment, accompanied by a complicated account, was put forth by that gentleman, in which, among a world of debtor and creditor items, it is stated—“ it appears that an arrear of £40 was actually standing unpaid in the books of the Messrs. Weatherby, which was paid by Mr. Hudson." That arrear was due by Capt. Potts, who observes in his reference to it, that his connexion with the turf terminated with Catterick Bridge races, of 1849. Was a notice of this arrear, incurred previous to April, 1849, and“ actually standunpaid on the books of the Messrs. Weatherby," advertised at any time antecedent to April, 1850, in the Sheet Racing Calendar ? and if not, why not? Are any notices of arrears of stakes or forfeits ever advertisəd in that paper, in conformity with Rule 29, of « Rules and Orders of the Jockey Club”?

After a steady progress, and the methodical organization of a quarter of a century, the turf has resolved itself into what it now is a great national sport, converted into the machinery of a system of national gambling, unexampled in the annals of popular delusions. Every step of that movement may be traced with a fatal facility. The stable prestige insured a favourite in the north for the St. Leger, and in the south for the Derby-wholly without reference to the properties or performances of the animals. This was done by “ money, as the professional phrase went. How the money was applied, however, was a secret of the craft. As business increased there arose a want of agents--the supply was soon at hand. The leg became a recognised part and parcel of the turf. The Ring announced that without its patronage henceforth the course would cease to have a local habitation and a name. Then followed manufactories of race-horses. What was the use of a stud unless it was backed? The only hope for public patronage was to place the raw material in a public stable. This done, there were commissioners who took the odds about the respective “ lots"-or who are presumed to do so. The prices of those lots” are as regularly quoted in the newspapers as the value of consols and the rate of exchange. Through the doors of great training establishments horses get into the market, to be followed by their masters when the fulness of time has come. This brings us to the era of small professional studs. It was a golden privilege that right of entrée, and cheaply secured by placing a horse here and another there ; and by giving directions that they should never be fit to run anywhere, there was an opportunity of hedging expenses on "the X.X.X.," as it was facetiously called. Now

"Cry havoc ! and let s'ip the dogs of war."

Turn to the romance of the turf from-where shall we take it up ? From Frederick's year? Would you read character, study “Running Rein "and" Leander," their histories ; “Bloodstone of the foul stain ; and “Old England"-alas! my country. Read, mark, and learn, if haply the lore may serve you, of Bloomsbury-a certain action yclept « Thornton v. Portman and Beales," and passages in the correspondence between Lord George Bentinck and Mr. Gurney ; leave, in short, no page of British Olympus unturned, from the ancient fable of Tregonwell Frampton to the modern“ myth” of the Newmarket Bolingbroke. "Leave not upread the Book Calendar, wherein you will find much food for reflection. Should you wish to peruse it with notes and comments, the saying of one of the most celebrated trainers that Newmarket has produced may serve you as a key......“ Whenever you want to deceive a racing man tell him the truth.But as relates to the Book Calendar, examine its logic or conclusions. The conditions of the Goodwood Cup will furnish some striking matter, for instance. The data upon which they are founded belong to the school that deals with the degeneracy of the modern racer as a fact not disputed. Let us test this conclusion by three results of the St. Leger, the first separated from the last by eightand-twenty years. The length of the course, next the rails, is one mile three-quarters and one-hundred yards. Reveller won it in 1818, carrying 8st. 2lbs., in 3 minutes 17 seconds ; Don John won in 1838, carrying 8st. 6)bs., in precisely the same time ; and Sir Tatton Sykes won in 1846, carrying 8st. 7lbs., in 3 minutes 16 seconds. This subject of weight and comparative property between the old and new race-horse we will return to anon. Our present affair is with the theory of the modern turf......

As regularly as the season comes round, some heavy blow or great discouragement is dealt our gallant and peculiarly national sport. Fox-hunting, disguise it as we will, is fast bastening to the bourne of things that were. Countries, once regarded as sacred concessions, are now banded about from paroenus to horse-coupers. The turf is on the threshold of a like fate, though from a different cause. Once disgust its legitimate patrons, and those who live upon the favour which they have won for it, will but bring upon its latter struggles the deeper ruin of contempt. Signs and tokens are abroad not to be mistaken. Ominous retirements are announced ; portentous coups have been hazarded. Men, whose characters were to them as goodly inheri. tances, have, to use the most gracious form of speech, perilled them for present gain. “Honour,” that has a home “ among thieves,” is not on visiting terms with legs ; and the Ring says "You can't lodge here."

Will the system bear a regular burst up? If so, the sooner the explosion takes place the better. If reform can save it, 0! for some Olympian Hampden! Lord Eglinton, without the aid of professed stable-cookery, has been enabled to taste some of the best things of the course-three Legers, a Derby, and a surfeit of the richest Cups within some eight seasons. Voltigeur was not educated by a Master of Arts, and Rhedycina was brought up in “ the way she should go" by one William Goodwin, unknown to fame until fortune made him Hobson's choice. It is the flourish of trumpets with which the crack “lots" are recommended to notice that makes rampant the blood of the foolish, Columns of newspapers are occupied by trash (paid for of course) more

fitted for Bedlamites than people with the minutest allowance of brains. If it were possible to deal with such a matter gravely, cause might be shown against the convenience, in a social point of view, of subjecting ignorant men to the temptation of swindling offers through the channel of respectable newspaper advertisements. The Times will not lend its agency to such knavery ; it were well that such an example were more generally followed. The streets of the Metropolis teem with shameless schemes of gambling, placarded in the windows and on the walls of “ betting offices"—the new Pandemonium is a Sweep or Betting Office. Scoundrels of all sorts are obtaining money under the false pretence of furnishing the names of the winners of races-in anticipation of the events; and these cheats are presented for public patronage in association with the ordinary legitimate commercial announcements. The social character of more than one great meeting has already felt the effects of the revolution thus brought about. At Ascot ladies now take refuge from the hordes of vagabonds that abound there, within the Stand and its enclosure the promenade on the course during the intervals of the racing, once its most graceful feature, promising soon to be of the things that were. Shall we be taxed with the advocacy of exclusiveness beeause we lift up our voice against facts like these? Not by those who wish the turf well. And they are not the paltriest of patriots who would uphold our national sports and exercises. A spirit is at work which, if assisted in its usurpation, may bring wail upon merry England. Let us be the hale, hearty, boon islanders we were when we sat to Fielding and his contemporaries. Progress is on its way in seven-league boots. God speed its course! But may it ever form a canon of our popular philosophy, that man in his social relation can better spare a brighter possession than “ the small, sweet courtesies of life.”



“ O the pleasures of the plains,
Happy nymphs and happy swains !


[ocr errors]

The bard's domestic troubles—The conventional language of wives-His mode of

procedure-His walk to the station - The pleasure vans, four-in-hands, Han. b. soms, &c., which be viewed on the road-His observations thereon-The eques

trian victims of chaff—The rush at the station-Analysis of the crowd - The journey - The race-course-The paddock-The struggle-Tbe wind-up.

The first faint streaks of the morning grey
Woke me outright on the Derby day.
At the edge of the bed lay my dark-eyed “rib,”
Busy with hushing " and rocking the crib :
And thus she addressed me in accents riled,
You really go on so you'll wake the child.

You know that he's teething; the poor little pet ;

And yet, like a clumsy trout
Hampered at last in a landing-net,

AU night you foundered about.
You kicked off the clothes and did nothing but croak
'Bout that horrible Clincher and Bolingbroke.
I really expected to hear you soon
Mutter, . Now, Mrs. Druid, you'll mount Deicoon ;'
Till that nasty Derby is out of your head
I declare that ru take to a separate bed.
Would that Bell, and the Era, and all such stuff
Were sunk in the Channel along with Ruff.
- Just send for a Vet to examine his mouth,

Mrs. Druid," was all my reply ;
“ And if you please, to get up a breeze,

As it's rather hot-pray try ;"
For I knew that the way Mrs. Druid to floor
Was to “ cheer” her remarks, and request some more.
Hence she said little else, but “ You great rude man,
And “ Sir, get your tea made just as you can."
Well, I laid on my spine in the broad sunshine,

Mused and read for three hours and a quarter,
And I then took a spell at the bed-room bell,

And requested my shaving water :
I rummaged my light things out of the drawers,

And my wife said, “ A nice mess you're making;
After you, we poor wights have to put all to rights,

And have no rest, sleeping or waking.' I kissed the child, and I fled down stairs ;

Tea and sugar I sought on the shelf ;
When the water was hot, “I put on the pot,"

And the chemistry managed myself.
I had rolls, with bacon, warm from the pan,
And eggs, meet food for a henpecked man.
I turned pale, and afraid that I'd gone and mislaid

My seven-and-sixpenny ticket;
So I kissed up the strife, and I said to my wife,

“ Come, tell me, dear, where did you stick it ?"
From my own hiding-place forth the ticket she brings,
With an “ Oh, how you men do mislay your things ?
Then I sped off like winking, and could'nt help thinking,

As I walked up to London Bridge ;
I'd better by far turn a holiday tar,

And join a day “cruise in the Midge ;''.
For what with the bustle and what with the heat,
And the “want of a pull," I soon felt dead beat.
The world and his wife looked brimful of life-

At tin-spending none seemed a flincher-
From mouth to mouth flew the expression Mildew,

While some shouted - Nigger or Clincher;"
And like quicksilver rau through full many a frame
A thrill 'bout “ the horse with the furriner name.”

In holiday vans, the Susans and Anns

Sat joking with Toms and Jacks,
As they jolted their bones o'er the rough paving-stones,

Sitting wedged up as close as wax;
While their musical guard saluted the morn
With hideous gaspings into a horn.
Vast infantine bands, near the four-in-hands,

The phaetons, landaus, and flys,
Transfixed to the pavement, gaped hard with amazement,

At the baskets of fowls and pies,
And appeared right eager to levy black mail
On the dozens of Champagne and Bass's Pale.
Parties munched cheese and tarts in their light spring carts,

And soaked them with milk and beer ;
Such an awful mixture would make me a fixture

In (1)«. Solomon's Porch” for a year ;
Or compel me in Epsom to pray for a halt,
And lay in a peck of their medical salt.
See that tandem leader, like Batty's black Beda,

To dance a pas seul has a mind;
Then changes its ground, and wheels right round,

To hob-nob with its friend behind.
At handling the ribbons, its Jehu's no dullard,
Though I must add, his language is highly coloured.
That's no “ eightpenny shab” in the Hansom cab,

With the hamper tied at his feet;
How he's plying with flam, fresh from Isis or Cam,

That “ neat bit of silk” on the seat ;
Just look, I declare, his sly arm's round her waist,
And at her coy lips he is taking a taste.
Each cabby to-day is as bold as Soult, Ney,

And Wellington, rolled into one ;
Though to you I'll confide, that I don't coincide

In these gentlemen's notions of fun :
He“ takes off wheels flying "--each time growing bolder,
Works a mill at a savage “ blue” over his shoulder.
In cords, stripes, and ducks, the Regent-street bucks,

Picked their dainty way to the rail,
And bore up 'gainst the chaff, and joined in the laugh,

That was showered upon them like hail
By gazers, who next proceeded to gravel the
Glorious squadrons of Cockaigne cavalry.
Seats no way partieular, slant, perpendicular,

From the wits met the same sad fate ;
Come, tell, my game pen, how these injured men

By their silence proved morally great :
Though one swell really felt every ounce of flesh creep,
When informed that he " rode like a brown duck asleep."

« AnteriorContinuar »