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frame of an animal is ascertained, which, when it has attained perfection by feeding, must produce a greater return to his proprietor than another, who is not equally favoured by nature with_those_points which are now so generally known to all agriculturists. But in the case of a foxhound it is in a great degree a matter of opinion: one person considers depth in the chest, another fancies the loin, &c., to be most material for, as Beckford quotes, so many men, so many minds;' but there is one point in which all agree, namely, that substance and bone are indispensable." The baronet then alludes to the request of the dying huntsman to his son-"Whatever you do, my lad, breed them with bone enough."
The following humane suggestion of the Colonel's has oftentimes presented itself to me:
"As there is a fund raised by the members of the Benson Driving Club, to relieve superannuated or disabled road-coachmen, why should there not be one for huntsmen and whippers-in, similarly circumstanced?"
We have now calculations made by the author of expences attendant on foxhounds, which, for hunting twice a week, are said to amount to £1170; for three times, £1625; and for four, £1935: these do not include the charge of a huntsman, which, including his horses, he states at £300 on an average. It is generally believed that the Colonel is here below the mark, allowing for the high prices of the time in which his calculations were made; and on this subject a celebrated master of hounds thus commented, in a letter he wrote to me.
"Colonel Cook is under the mark on the food of hounds; for instance, I purchased the other day," he says, "sixty-six quarters of meal, and the charge, with the miller's expences, is £150; now this quantity will only last my hounds nine or ten weeks at the outside; consequently, the meal alone, at this rate, would amount to £900 per annum, independently of flesh, which, for my sixty couples of hounds, we may reckon at £200 more, at the cheapest times.'
These charges appear unreasonably high, and I am inclined to believe that there must have been a considerable variation in the markets, between the several periods alluded to; still no four-times-aweek country was ever hunted, at the period he alludes to, as it should be hunted, for the sum the Colonel has set down. I should say £2,500, at least, to be the sum required, even with the best of management; but no general rule can be laid down, by reason of the difference of expences in some countries with others, in earth-stopping, rent of covers, &c.
On the dates or origin of our hunting establishments, the Colonel affords some very satisfactory information. He is inclined to call either Lord Yarborough's or Lord Fitzwilliam's the "father pack:" the latter has been established seventy-five years up to the present period, and were purchased of Messrs. Carew and Foley, who hunted Warwickshire and Oxfordshire; and the former" have been kept," he says, " in a straight line since the year 1700," so that they must now be of nearly 150 years standing; and what is extraordinary, the present Smith, his father, and grandfather, have hunted them in succession "from generation to generation," to use our author's words.
The Hertfordshire come next in their claim to antiquity, having been established in 1727.
The following passage is well worthy of being remembered by all masters of hounds, and also by their huntsmen:
"In answer to your observation that the pack of hounds that kill the greatest number of foxes are considered the best, I acknowledge they are, if you make a fair calculation of the number of days they have hunted, and the stock of foxes they have; but no fox should be counted before the first of November or after the tenth of March. remember one season being very successful in cub-hunting; this was reported to Mr. who was a little jealous; his answer was, 'I never kill them when they suck.'”
The volume concludes with the lists of thirty-three packs of hounds, which the author believed might be useful to breeders, after the manner of the racing stud-book; and with the following remarkable instance of the steadiness of the late Mr. Meynell's hounds.
"When drawing a very small patch of gorse, in the middle of a large enclosure, in the Harborough country, the hounds feathered as they went in, and found instantly. The fox will be chopped,' said Mr. Meynell to John Raven,' bring the hounds away directly;' at one of his usual rates' every hound stopped, and the pack were taken to the hedge-side, when Mr. Meynell called out three steady hounds and threw them into the cover. The fox was so loath to break, that the three hounds kept hunting him for ten minutes in the hearing of all the pack, who lay quietly at Raven's horse's feet till the fox went away over the finest part of the country; and the moment Mr. Meynell gave one of his energetic thrilling hollas,' every hound flew to cry, the burst was a brilliant one, and after an hour and ten minutes they killed their fox."
I cannot doubt the truth of this statement, but, judging of it from my general experience of hounds, it savours a little of the marvellous. I have dwelt longer than I intended on this work, and longer than I shall dwell upon others, and for these reasons: first, from its having been published by subscription, and no cheaper edition afterwards published, it is fair to conclude that it had not a very wide circulation in the sporting world (in foreign parts especially), and may be but little known to the younger portion of it; and secondly, and chiefly, because it contains the observations of a practical man. " In Colonel Cook," said a brother master, 66 we lost one of our best practical performers as a master of hounds; he was an able and scientific sportsman, and an entertaining, agreeable, and convivial companion. Requiescat in pace."
(To be continued.)
EPSOM AND ASCOT HEATH MEETINGS.
How shall the journalist, who remembereth what Shakspeare hath said about "as tedious as a twice told tale," venture to narrate in type an event upon which whole oceans of ink have been already expended? Epsom races, Derby, Oaks! have not thy details long since sped and spread "where'er winds blow, or waters roll?" Had Cotherstone "weighed," as the vernacular has it, or Poison come to scale," ere whole dove-cotes shot their winged messengers forth, with the glad or evil tidings of their victories, as the case might be? The day when monthly periodicals might avail as channels for news hath set, even on extremest Australasia; the islands of the remote South Seas have their daily papers; the Copper Indian is growing impatient of his weekly intelligencer. With this conviction before me, it is not without misgiving I address a few brief observations to the great Southern races, disposed of a month since on the downs of Surrey.
The excitement attaching to the Derby and Oaks, by the means of numberless lotteries depending on their issues, and the growing popularity of racing as a sport, increases rapidly every season; in the present it exceeded all before known. The former of these events indeed appeared something very like a foregone conclusion, from the decided superiority of the first favourite. Cotherstone had won all the great three-year-old stakes at Newmarket, and he came to Mickleham, where Scott's lot took up their quarters, with sufficient prestige to induce our gracious Queen to honour him with a visit. It was well he reached Surrey as soon as he did, for had he remained another day at Newmarket, the odds are he had been "made safe;" preparations to that effect being in a very forward state at the hour of his departure. Until the present condition of betting on the turf is reformed, until a premium for robbery ceases to be offered by the ring, as now constituted, these things will be of regular occurrence; such men as the Dawsons and Richardsons will always be found when a reward is offered for their services. Talking of rewards for people, in the existing rage for levanting, if some one would advertise for such a specific as Tim O'Mara, of past times, there would be an end of it as an epidemic. The doubtful cases connected with this year's Derby-there are always some suspicions about that affair-are those of A British Yeoman and Aristides. My opinion is, that they both made the best appearances they were able; neither, however, a tithe as good as the betting anticipated.
The Oaks was an odd race, the winner never having been thought of, apparently, by the industrious; nevertheless she ran a dead heat for second place in the Hopeful with the Bizarre filly, and close to the winner, Pickpocket. The Oaks, however, was thrown away, in
my opinion, by more than one jock engaged in it--but I will not individualize. Fanny Callaghan, "the Irish mare," who ran in it, was accused of under-rating her age, as ladies often do ; but the accusation was proved to be false.
Of the consequences of these two races I cannot speak, because neither are they known to me or to any body else. The settlement for the Derby was worse and more undignified than on any modern occasion: large defaults were made, and the promises to pay are likely to do more injury than the bold villanies of those who declared they neither intended to pay then nor at any other time. Those who took Epsom races to purge their melancholy, had their reward; those who had recourse to its betting for any purpose, will not have benefited by the dose.
ASCOT HEATH MEETING.
The courtly tryst of the summer sojourners at Windsor this year dawned" the winter of our discontent." The first two days of Ascot Races were cheerless beyond all precedent, while the sun of British hearts rose not upon any of the four. The Queen was absent from the meeting of 1843-henceforth to be marked in racing annals with a black stone. The sport (upon the principle of compensation) was first-rate-better by many degrees than it ever was before. The Cup day having so long been the cynosure of the royal course, induced the experiment of a Vase day for the Tuesday, which prize we owe to the gracious patronage of Her Majesty. This year there was a third golden magnet, in shape of the Royal Hunt Cup, run for on Wednesday by the best field ever brought to the post at Ascot. The running offered this singular commentary on the experience furnished by the season-namely, that the favourites were in every instance beaten, save two. The Vase was won by Gorhambury-the second for the Derby; Charles XII. being a very bad fifth-beaten also by Siricol, Fake-away, and Hyllus. This I notice because they have made him first favourite for the Goodwood Cup. Now, the present weights for that event put 10st. on Charles and 7st. 7lbs. on Gorhambury; when the former was beaten by the latter several lengths for the Ascot Vase, he was better in by a pound than he will be at Goodwood. Ralph's running for the Cup proved him either the best horse in England, or that St. Francis is but a third or fourth rater, and Robert de Gorham good for nothing-which latter position, indeed, I am not much disposed to question. Wee Pet's winning the Windsor Forest Stakes will, I hope, give a fillip to Lord Exeter's spirits, and show him the benefit his racing account will receive by the introduction of new blood into his stables. Napier came out on Thursday like a racer, and nothing else. Those who once called him "a cow," begin to say that if any thing should happen to Cotherstone, he looks well for the Leger: I think he does without any qualification. Taken as touchstones of the condition and prospects of the British turf, the meetings at Epsom and Ascot in the present year prove that, both in popularity and materiel, it stands higher than it has ever yet done. May it go on and prosper
for a thousand centuries!
IN THIS YEAR'S EXHIBITION OF THE ROYAL ACADEMY.
There is certainly at present anything but a scarcity of illustrated works, and though perhaps there has been nothing of a very superior description lately exhibited in the higher branches of the art, what may have been lacking in quality has been very industriously made up for in quantity. The rage for copies and prints was never so great, and in addition to the annuals, monthlies, and other publications of the kind, which afford no little employment for the engraver, there are at present nearly a dozen pictorial newspapers, which supply with wonderful celerity portraits of remarkable characters, and views of places, both at home and abroad, famous or infamous for something or other. The best of it is, that many of these scenes, professedly taken from nature, can never possibly, from the time at which they appear, have been visited by the artist; and many of the portraits owe much more of their identity to the types than they do to the pencil. Gentlemen of all kinds and characters figure in the portrait gallery, but more particularly such as have given signs of monomania, and who, while labouring under its effects, have stood forth and made very distressing speeches, or committed very horrible crimes. No sooner does a man signalize himself in this manner, than we are favoured with his "human face divine" in the "picture" papers for example, the list includes among others Mr. Cobden, Mr. M'Naughten, Mr. Ferrand, and Mr. Francis, who, though they may never arrive at celebrity, have (thanks to the press) their full share of notoriety.
The exhibition of this season is thought to be considerably under an average one; and though there are a fair number of sporting subjects, we saw no picture of any very striking merit, such as Landseer's Bolton Abbey, or Grant's Meet of the Buck-hounds, among them. The largest sporting subject with portraits is Cooper's Little Wonder, and the Derby nags of his year, which will be noticed in its turn; and we now proceed with them as numbered in the catalogue.
No. 9. Virgil's Bulls.-J. Ward, R.A. Here is a lady in case, and the "soft seducer" is standing at a distance watching a set-to between two very pugnacious gallants, one of whom (the white) shows marks of considerable punishment. This is not exactly a pleasing subject to work upon, but in which Mr. Ward is quite at home. Though styled Virgil's bulls, they are specimens of our Chillingham and Alderney breeds.