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turning his back on horse and hound, for the more profitable "portrait of a gentleman." All these have had their vagrant fancies; while in almost everything that Davis attempted, at any-rate of his own freewill, you recognised at once the spirit and experience of "the hounds
It was the English fox-hound, the highly bred, and perhaps rather finely drawn, that he delighted to depict. From the one selected, "the best hound in the pack," to a whole kennel of them on the flags, or "over the open,' was he equally at home. It was for the hound only, it would almost seem, that he deigned to study either horse or man, as with the hound was it that he was sure to group them. The portrait of a gentleman became in his hands the portrait of a master of hounds-fox, harrier, or beagle, and he was sure to have them round you. His horses, again, were especially hunters, well worked, many-seasoned servants' horses. As when Herring first began on his rural scenes, the team at timber-drawing were unmistakeably the broken-down thorough-bred in cart harness; so Davis's nags always led you to look for the horn at the saddle.
Brought up, as it were, under the eye of the Court, no animal painter ever began life with a better introduction. During, indeed, his whole career, his favourite themes were still from the Royal Hunt. We should be afraid to say how often he painted his brother's famous grey horse "The Hermit," or how many couple of the buck-hounds might, season after season, have found their muzzles in his studio. Eclipsed as he was by Grant's picture of "The Meet at Ascot,' many of R. B. Davis's recollections of his brother and "Her Majesty's" will still be turned to with pleasure and satisfaction. Wanting something of the artist's whole power, he had in good stead of it the innate feeling of the sportsman. His least successful efforts were generally those where he lost the aid of his first and chief ally. His race-horses and turf-scenes, for instance, were rarely but inferior; and it is only right to add that he knew his own strength sufficiently well to seldom attempt them.
Few would care to deny us this word in remembrance of one so long connected with The Sporting Magazine. Of all the subjects we have from time to time had transferred from his easel to the plate of the engraver, there are not many that have been more thoroughly characteristic of his style than the one now before us. is THE HOUND as the chief care of his subject-the fox-hound in real working condition, shown to best advantage, as he goes at best pace over the grass; the field beat almost out of sight, and so introduced, appropriately enough, as merely subsidiary to the proper attraction of the picture.
What is it that another of our old friends gone from us says-poor Nimrod, in his Quarterly article? "There is not much music now, and happy the man who can catch a note or two from the sweet voices of Junket and Jewel."
October! Hail to thee, mellow, jovial month! the beginning of the sportsman's year; the true spring-tide of him who loves the chase, as April with its balmy breezes and its budding leaves-above all, with its heart-breaking violets-is the very autumn of his hopes and pleasures, the melancholy conclusion of all he holds most dear. I appeal to any hunting man who has ever ridden home on a fine sunny spring evening, tamed by the reaction consequent on a stirring gallop, and peradventure a little lowered in spirits by the quantity of cigars which the warm weather has tempted him to consume too profusely, whether, on such occasions, he has not felt dejectedly conscious that he is a year older— that another mile-stone has been passed in the inevitable journey, with its changing scenes, its different fellow-passengers, its various adventures, and its turnpikes to pay; that the longest road has little more than three-score-and-ten of such reminders, and that still the pace seems to get faster and faster as we near the end. But such saddening reflections, wholesome though they be, have but little to do with the glorious month we are now discussing. In October, everybody seems fresh and merry; the mornings, as they turn a trifle colder, brace and invigorate the system; the noon-day sun glows with the splendour, though without the fierceness of June; and the early evenings, and welcome return to candle-light dinners, reassemble family parties, and rivet closer than ever old friendships interrupted by the London season, with its false gaieties and hollow pantomime, dignified by the name of Society. How the citizens rejoice in October. Many of them have pined through August, and longed away the golden hours of September, chained to the desk and prisoned in the dreary warehouse; but this month brings them liberty at last, and right gladly do they take wing like so many aquatic birds, nor rest in their flight, till they reach "the glad waters of the dark-blue sea."
What a time for the lodging-house-keeper "that dwells by the wave!" A golden harvest doth she reap from the complaining cockneys; and her attics commanding a view of the channel let for a rent equal to that of a comfortable hunting-box in a provincial country. The butcher, the baker, the dealer in shrimps, tacks on twenty per cent. to his usual prices; and those mer-men and mer-maidens who superintend the bathing machines are in danger of being sunk by the quantity of shillings and sixpences transferred to their pockets from an amphibious public. Above all, the riding-master, that equestrian chaperone, drives a business combining pleasure with profit in an extraordinary degree. He is a peculiar variety of his species, and merits a description, as being necessarily an individual of no common enterprize and self-command. Generally of fresh complexion, as suffering from suppressed blushes, a plump figure, and extremely tight-fitting attire; he may be seen early every morning riding his rounds for orders. Like a medical man, he always goes very fast, and probably for the same reason-that his practice may
appear the greater. He is usually mounted on the victim that has to be sobered for the timidest amongst his pupils; and the animal is commonly encumbered with several inventions of a restrictive tendency, such as nose-bands, martingales, &c., and further stimulated by a large pair of plated spurs, which give (so their owner flatters himself) a military finish to his whole appearance; he makes a good deal of false action and a disagreeable quantity of dust. Later in the day, he is to be seen, however, in his full glory, attending on three or four, nay, sometimes even five young ladies: the riding-master has eyes for each, and expressions of command, entreaty, encouragement, comfort, and expostulation for all. A brigade of our noble cavalry require a steady hand to take hold of them; irregular horse are not to be led, save by an officer of known determination and character. But how shall we sufficiently praise him who can restore order amongst a squadron of Amazons, attacked by panic-and this we believe is of at least daily occurrence without hurting the feelings or destroying the confidence of one single fair member of his troop? The month of October must indeed elicit from the watering-place riding-master much elaborate strategy, combined with a brilliant succession of the most skilful manœuvres. But with sea-side resorts, thank the Fates, we have little to do. Let us recapitulate the many enjoyments of the sportsman during a fine October. Perhaps he is one of the "top-sawyers" of the craft a man that has his mountain in Scotland, just as he has his dozen hunters, and his yacht at Cowes. Perhaps he has got a little tired of his grouse-shooting, wellpreserved and plentiful as it is, and having visited some neighbour's deerforest, has been drawing invidious comparisons, and voting his own amusement tame and slow. Indeed, after the first week, grouse-shooting is a little apt to pall on a man who requires strong excitement, particularly if he is a very good shot. A "muff" is always pleased, and has indeed many advantages in all sporting which sufficiently counterbalance his ill-success. A gunner who misses two shots out of three, is so delighted when he does kill, that he is always kept in a state of excitement; and should game be scarce, and his expenditure of powder smaller than usual in consequence, he returns home well-pleased to have at least fewer failures to palliate and account for. But the workman is apt, after a few days, to get tired of having everything his own way; he becomes weary of Don and Carlo's unimpeachable good behaviour and integrity— of the eternal "To-ho!-Steady!-Mark!" Bang, bang! and "Seek dead" for another brace, every time he pulls both triggers; and wishing the birds were wilder, or that there were fewer of them, or the sport was more exciting, he casts about in his mind for some excuse to run home for a day or two, and see his horses conditioning, or to go to London via Edinburgh on business, or, in short, anything for a change of scenery and occupation. In the mean-time comes the welcome invitation to the deer-forest; and when he returns, to go out once more on his own hill, it is early in October, and he murmurs no more at birds sitting too close, and the over-facility of making a heavy bag; perhaps he has some ptarmigan "up yonder," and on a fine bracing frosty morning he starts for their haunts, "walking up" the game on the low grounds in his way, and taking with him no dog but broken-down steady-pottering old "Prince," to find dead birds. What fun his shooting is now! up they get, all over the moor, never nearer than sixty yards, and when at
that distance just turning on the wing as they leave the heather, and skimming away close to the surface till far out of shot-he must "pitch his gun" and shoot instantaneously, so as to "mow them down" the very moment they shew themselves, or he will never see a feather of them again; and our unerring marksman finds that he too can miss as well as his neighbours, and is as pleased when he kills as he used to be when a boy at home from Eton. By degrees he gets higher and higher on the hill, till leaving the region of purple heather and grouse (every bird of which, by the way, at this season is as big as a Dorking and as black as his hat), he arrives at moss-covered heights and granite masses, and mountain hares now white as snow, but cunning enough, in their robes of innocence, to keep well out of shot; fruitlessly he wastes a charge or two on these mongrel inhabitants of the rock, and striding gallantly on, gains a height from which the view alone is worth a twelve hours' walk-crag and chasm and roaring waterfall and sounding gully in the foreground; mountain, moor, and towering peak, and level loch in the distance; and, above all, the deep, clear, blue October sky, the glorious infinite of heaven. Something flaps slowly off yonder mass of granite, scarcely distinguishable in colour from the rock itself; and ere the smoke has curled away down the corrie beneath him, a snowy ptarmigan falls headlong over the precipice in front, and sagacious Prince drops and cowers, and looks up well-pleased in his master's face. They are foolish birds; and if one of a covey be slain, the rest will hover round to look for their comrade, till they too fall a prey to the fowler ; so our sportsman soon gets his four or five brace, and walks back to the lodge in the early twilight, delighted with his day's work and his day's amusement, and fully convinced that it is not the abundance of game which constitutes the chief pleasure of shooting, and that a day in October is often better fun than the Twelfth of August itself.
But what were life without the excitement of constant change? What is it indeed even for those who have perpetual variety? In the existence of most of us, is there not a blank page which we are ceaselessly endeavouring to fill? Now we paint on its surface a scene of luxury and splendour-now a sketch of glory and excitement; anon we trace some dim perspective of more than human happiness: a day passes, the design is obliterated, the colours have faded, and the dreary page is more a blank than ever. So our swell sportsman leaves his mountain and his lodge, and hies him back to his English home, taking Newmarket pleasant, bustling, cheerful business-like Newmarket-on his way; here he meets friends by dozens and acquaintances by hundreds; here he enjoys the dry sward and bracing air of the Heath, criticizes the favourite skimming past him like an arrow, and loses his pony with a good grace, on each foregone conclusion" of the week. Perhaps he is tempted into purchasing something of shapely form and aristocratic lineage, with round action and fine mouth unfitting it for its natural duties-in short, too slow for racing altogether-to carry him as a covert hack; and wonderfully well-pleased will he be with his bargain, some frosty morning after Christmas, when the unusual lowness of the ther mometer has tempted him to put off starting till eleven, and the bright sun warns him that he has but a short half-hour to do his long nine miles; then it is that we get at the merits of a thorough-bred one. When the high-actioned powerful cob begins to kick up the mud, shake his
head, whisk his tail, without any progressive result, and otherwise betray that he is on the verge of that culinary condition which is playfully termed "done to a turn;" then does the long-legged weed, by "Spindleshanks, out of Arachne," begin to settle comfortably to his work, and flinging the milestones behind him, at a long-striding canter, deliver us in the nick of time, without a symptom of distress or inconvenience, save an impatient snort of the wide red nostril, and a keener glance than common in the full deer-like eye. From Newmarket, our sportsman probably hies him to his home, pleasantly situated somewhere in the Midland Counties; perhaps, fortunatus nimium, in the very "Shires" themselves. How richly does the October foliage colour the happy smiling landscape! he has had enough of the distant and the sublime, and what a relief to his eye are the fine old trees, standing stately on the level sward of his well-clothed park-the fallow-deer browsing under those giant branches, and lifting their graceful heads in welcome as his carriage rolls up the approach! A prairie of undulating grass, suggestive of many a stirring gallop and striding steed, stretches far as the eye can reach around him; the favourite gorse covert lies darkling on the hill, and the famous brook at which last season he pounded the field with old Narcissus, lights up the verdant distance "like a thread of silver twining through a garb of Lincoln green.
Perhaps, when he enters his home, a note is placed in his hands from his faithful ally, the huntsman of the neighbouring pack of fox-hounds, giving him "the office" for the morrow, when they intend to begin cub-hunting in the open, and meditate "drawing the park spinnies" at nine the following morning. Already he feels the season has begun! he looks at his watch; there is time even now for a visit to the stables before dark (We must premise that we conclude our sportsman is a bachelor, otherwise he has no right to spend quite so much of his time solely in the sports of the field); and to that long range of buildings he hies him, to smoke a cigar and enjoy the contemplation of his magnificent four-footed favourites. From box to box and stall to stall saunters the gratified owner; his well-pleased groom stripping and displaying clipper after clipper for "master's" survey and approbation: one and all they are "fit to go to-morrow-in a week's time they might be got into condition for actual racing; muscles hard and firm as iron, loose skins, smooth and bright as satin; the very quiver of each restless ear shews that the blood is dancing through their veins with the fervour imparted by a high state of animal health and strength of muscular vigour and elasticity. On their shape and appearance it is needless to enlarge; their owner will tell you (happy man!) that of the nine, he would as soon get on one as another to-morrow, to "ride for his life!" and although we do not quite believe him, inasmuch as we never yet knew this to be literally true, yet should we be very glad to possess the worst of them, fully persuaded such would be quite good enough for ourselves.
If the shade of Nimrod (not the Nimrod of Nineveh, but the Nimrod of the New Sporting Magazine) be disporting itself in the Elysian Fields, and we may safely conclude that he is nowhere among "the ploughs if he can help it-he deserves indeed to be well-carried by his phantomsteeds. The whole "genus" of hunters are eternally indebted to him for doing away with the absurd and inhuman practice of "summering