« AnteriorContinua »
the whole mile for it, and there is little fear of his ever forgetting his lesson. A dog that will perform such a feat is styled by the uninitiated "a sagacious animal"-" as sensible as an old man;" but has he displayed more sagacity than the starling that will appropriately repeat its little sentences-"Six o'clock, put on the kettle""Ah! you rogue, you kissed the lassies". "Richard will favour the company with a song- Scots wha hae,' &c.?" I believe there is just as much parrot work in the one case as in the other, and the dog-breaker" would do well to observe, that " Richard" has been taught his lesson independent of either whip or line. Instinct does, no doubt, frequently bear a remarkable similarity to reason, but so does certain instances of vegetable life to the lower class of animal existence. The resemblance may be striking, but the laws of creation are not the less marked and defined; and not greater, perhaps, is the difference between the animal and vegetable kingdom, than is brute instinct from human intelligence.
The time when puppies should be confined (I allude more particularly to pointers or setters) depends very much upon the dogs, whether they are forward for their age or the reverse, also if there is much game, particularly four-footed game, near where they are kept. If they are contracting habits of self-hunting after four-footed game, I think they are better to be confined about six months old, or even sooner; otherwise, the longer they are out of the kennel, and poking about after winged game, it is the better for the dogs.
No dog, particularly a puppy, should be allowed to lie on causey. It is generally supposed that, if you give them plenty of straw, it matters little whether they lie on a stone or a wood floor. But there is no greater mistake. The colder the weather is, the more will the dog scrape the straw from below him; and though he may appear snug enough when thus ensconced in it, yet raise him up, and you will find that in fact he is lying on the bare floor. Puppies, especially, are often injured in this way, though it may not be very perceptible at the time, by being put into an empty stall in a stable where there are no horses, before they are put into the kennel; indeed, I would not advise any gentleman to have even the court of his kennel paved with stone, so convinced am I of the injury that is done to dogs from it. I knew one gentleman who had a particularly fine airy kennel, and his dogs always in the best order; but being advised by his keeper probably to save some trouble in cleaning the kennel-to pave the court with stones, he never had his dogs in the same order till he removed the pavement and gravelled the court as before. The reason is, no doubt, this-that the dogs would lie out during the day on the cold stones, and thus got not only what gamekeepers call stiffened in the joints, but also contracted other diseases, particularly of the skin, to which dogs are so liable.*
A Scotchman must be always made aware of the why and the wherefore. Tell a Scotch keeper that gravel is better for the dogs than stone, and he will set it down as a crochet of the laird's, and thwart you if he can; but explain to him that stone, being a more compact body than gravel, extracts so much more heat from an animal, just as a large vessel takes more to fill it than a small one; and if this appeal to Sawney's reason is not sufficient, I should fear he is an incorrigible case."
I am as much opposed as any one can be to coddling animals of any sort. Much injury, I am persuaded, is done to horses from the manner in which they are wrapped up and kept in hot stables; but as their coats look better for it, and it saves, of course, the groom some trouble in strapping them, you will always find them advocates of this system.*
I have no objections then, whatever-on the contrary, I think it an advantage-for puppies to have a cool airy place to lie in, provided they have a deal board and plenty of dry straw to lie upon.
I have already insisted on the advantages of early instruction, at least so far as making the puppy habitually biddable, and teaching it to "down" by means of the line and peg, as described in my former article on training dogs. I would direct particular attention to this. Early habits are always those which will be found most rooted. The puppy, not being urged on by its keenness for game, will more readily obey you. By rewarding it when it does so, you associate obedience with what is pleasant; and although when you take it to the field more care will, of course, be necessary, still you will find much less, if any, occasion for the whip and other instruments of torment; which, though they may keep a dog under subjection and have it perfectly handy, will never have it half so free in its hunt. But you must deal out rewards with discretion, and be very chary in caressing, or they will not answer the end you have in view. Depend upon it, however, that, as in the more important matter of human education-"Just as the twig is bent, the tree's inclined"-care must be taken though, in bending, not to "break" the twig. It is only when bad habits are contracted when young, that there is much difficulty in training a dog, which is, in fact, but controlling the natural instinct. Now the eagerness of a dog in pursuit of game is naturally strong, but you must be cautious not to presume too much on this natural instinct, or you may find, when it is too late, that you have sacrificed to obedience what is of as much or more importance-the essential requisites and qualifications for finding game. It is true that some of the best broken retrievers are broken on the coast by starvation and severity; and all the dogs of showmen are taught their tricks by similar means. But you must ever bear in mind that a dog who is to find you game, though he should be under thorough subjection, still he should be as keen and as free in his hunt as if he was under no constraint whatever; and in this just consists the difficulty (or, I should rather say, the art) of what is commonly called dog-breaking.
I am often surprised to see gentlemen, who should know better, allowing their grooms to exercise their horses with the cloths on them. Wet or dry it is all alike to the groom, and the cloths are just allowed to dry on the horses' back in the stable.
FLYING JEMMY; OR, MY FIRST GALLOP.
BY JOHN PAGE.
I sat musing in the chimney corner one evening after tea, trying to devise some new mischief for the following day, but bed-time came, and found me still undecided about any particular exploit, so I "turned in" and left the morrow to provide for itself, and it certainly did provide for itself an adventure which at the time did not exactly suit my taste, but I have laughed heartily at it since. It was this:-Near my parental roof there lived a family whose occupation was to collect fruit from the Surrey orchards for the Borough Mar ket, in London. These people generally kept three horses, and it was usual for them to be taken to a pond in the centre of the village to water. As the man had but two sons there was always a horse for some one else to take, and there were always plenty of candidates for the honour. On this particular morning I happened to be the successful one, and it fell to my lot to ride one which the fruiterer had purchased on his last journey to London-the day before. Nothing daunted, I mounted, but owing to a little obstruction I met with, the other two were returning before I reached the pond. We "pulled up" on meeting, and after the lads had lavished a heap of praises on their father's new purchase (which, by the way, was as much like a mane comb as anything I ever saw) they informed me that the name of the animal I then had the honour to be across was "Flying Jemmy," but I little thought then that " Jemmy" was so soon going to show me his "flying" powers.
Having reached the pond, " Jemmy's" nose had scarcely touched the water, when I heard a horse come trotting down the road, and "Jemmy" heard it too, for he threw up his head and listened. I turned round and saw that it was a Mr. P-, a brewer and great fox-hunter in that neighbourhood, who was then on his way to the "meet" of the Surrey Union hounds. Mr. P wore a scarlet coat-" Jemmy" saw it-threw his head higher-gave a snortrushed out of the pond, and the same instant found me by the sportsman's side. Now Mr. P must have known my horse, or have guessed what he was, and I could plainly see that he meant to have a bit of fun with me.
"Good morning, young gentleman-you appear to be going to the meet; a rare bit of blood you've got there."
"You may be right," thought I, "by saying blood, but if you had said flesh you'd have been preciously out of it."
We had now got within about fifty yards of where I should have turned up the lane to "Jemmy's" stables, when Mr. P sang out, "Come, my man, if we don't make haste we shall find 'em gone away," and off he set in a canter, with “ Jemmy" at his heels. I
was on "Jemmy's" bare back (I would as soon have ridden a hurdle), and had only a halter to hold him by (I might as well have pulled at St. Paul's); the speed was fast increasing. I tried to call out" stop," but when I opened my mouth, the jolting prevented me saying anything plain enough to be heard.
Away went one of my father's shoes over the hedge (I had slipped them on whilst my own were being cleaned).
"O lord, sir, stop!" cried I.
"Yoix forward!" cried Mr. P
"Murder!" cried I.
"Tally-ho!" said he, and off went my other shoe over the opposite hedge. At every stride of my horse, I flew up about half a yard from his back, expecting every time I left it never to return.
"On, on we went, away and away"-my hair streaming in the wind-"Jemmy's" back cutting me to the quick; Mazeppa could not have suffered more. Every time I caught sight of Mr. P-'s face, I saw he was almost convulsed with laughter, whilst mine was twisted all manner of ways with pain and fear. Having gone about two miles, Mr. P suddenly pulled in, and I having kept close at his heels my horse was thrown on his haunches, which alone prevented my throwing a somerset over his head. We had no sooner stopped, than I purposely slipped off, intending, if Mr. P— wished to have any more fun, to leave it to him and the horses; but that was not his intention, for he turned deliberately round in his saddle, and asked me "how I liked my ride?" I could not answer him, and seeing my pitiful plight, he tossed me half a sovereign, told me to take my horse home to my groom, and, laughing heartily, went on his way rejoicing," and I doubt not has told the tale at many a hunting dinner since. But I had a good deal of trouble to persuade my nag to return; indeed, I don't think I could have done it, had not a passing waggoner assisted me.
Having led" Jemmy" bome, my troubles were renewed: the fruiterer swore I should never cross another horse of his; nearly all the women vowed vengeance on me for "nearly" running over their children; my father caned me for losing his shoes; my mother boxed my ears for losing my cap; my schoolmaster locked me up for playing truant; and my schoolfellows laughed at me because I was in trouble; but I pocketed all (including the half sovereign) and said nothing about either.
Some time after the affair had blown over, I took the trouble to inquire into the " pedigree and performances" of "Flying Jemmy," and found his "performances" to be well known, but his pedigree was a matter of dispute, but all agreed that he had at one time been a hunter; indeed some went so far as to name a gentleman that rode him with the King's hounds; for myself, I could trace him no farther than that he was bought at Barnet Fair by some dealer, who sold him to Mr. C, the celebrated coach proprietor of London, who thought he would make a good leader in a fast coach-as such, he was immediately put into the Portsmouth mail.
"That's a rum devil you've put into the Kingston stage," said the driver on his next journey to town, after trying him.
"I thought so by his looks," said Mr. C," however, try him again, and work him well."
The driver did" work him well," for on finding him disposed to "bolt" on being taken off at Cobham, he had him put too again, and "worked" him ten miles further, but he was no sooner taken off again, than he set "off," and was not stopped till he reached Cobham. He was tried on another road, with his head tightly side-reined back to the other leader's collar; still he would be first, though it curved his neck like a rainbow; and as they met or dashed past other vehicles on the road, the drivers were heard to mutter, "My stars, vot a puller"-" a nasty varmint that, I'll bet a trifle"-and many similar exclamations." Jemmy's" then present driver considered himself a first-rate whip, and, not liking to give in to him, very laudably set to work to tame him, and if he had succeeded according to his own plan poor" Jemmy" would have been "tame" enough; for upon the guard asking him what course he should adopt, he very coolly replied, "Why kill him, to be sure-work him to death-give him his head up hill, with his share of the whip." But Mr. Jarvey's good intentions towards the animal were frustrated by the guard informing his owner, who, thinking "Jemmy's" carcass would be more valuable with the "flying" spirit in it than out of it, very wisely removed him.
Now it so happened that his owner had just entered a contract with the Government to work a mail cart ten miles across a very rough and hilly country, and as the terms of the contract were that it (the distance) should be done in one hour, including stoppages, "Flying Jemmy" was considered to be the very horse to carry or drag out those terms; accordingly he was ordered to his new duties forthwith.
Having reached his new station, he was put into the stable with good feed till the following Monday. A few minutes before six o'clock on the evening of that day, a bright red "ROYAL MAIL CART" was drawn out by a short and stout old cove, having on a coat of the same colour; next came the ostler with our flying hero, whose character was entirely unknown to either, and as they were placing him in the shafts, he looked round with a cunning leer, and giving a comical grin, seemed to say as plain as a horse can speak, If I don't show this old chap and his red paper traps some fun before I return, my name is not Flying Jemmy," and sure enough he
Having taken up the bags at the village P. O., the driver made use of his whip, by way of showing off. On passing the inn where they had just left, the ostler remarked that" the new mail oss looks gallus well:" the driver, with a nod, seemed to hint, "I des say I looks werry clever" " Jemmy" himself seemed to answer, Yes, old feller, you are just my colour." They broke into a canter-passed the first and second receiving houses without condescending to" receive" a"single letter." Old red coat had now nothing to depend upon but the turnpike-gate, but the gate-keeper having heard him coming, had, upon this particular occasion, thrown it wide open, being told a day or two previously that it was very wrong to stop his Majesty's