« ZurückWeiter »
He looked not back, the dark-grey man, pace was still the same.
He flinched not, and he faltered not,
The good grey horse was game.
Like a bird he swept along.
And he jumped the fence close by;
'Twas a day in dark December,
They steal on towards the sea.
Ere yon white one, as he shakes himself,
The dark-grey man, a pull he took,
As though 'twere in a race;
He glanced to where the hounds had crossed, And muttered, "That's the place;"
Then held him hard, and at it went
As fast as he could ride,
And the grey horse charged it gallantly,
There was grief and woe behind him,
Their horses beat and sobbing,.
And the grief that "raged" behind him
But now our fox was beaten,
As they pressed him more and more;
How they growled and maddened round him!
How they worried and they tore !
While the who-hoop of the dark-grey man
Rang out so shrill and clear,
The lengthening tail of stragglers
The first he was at starting,
And the first throughout the run,
And quietly his homeward way
He took when all was done.
To the Bishop of his diocese
And however good the pace,
There is a jolly jovial sound about October that is not only suggestive about good old home-brewed ale, but which is most grateful to the sportsman's ear-October, which sees the end of some of our sports, witnesses the beginning of others. The turfite has closed his book for the season; he can no longer shiver on the bleak course on which the Liverpool national steeple-chase is contested for; he can only take a retrospective glance of glorious Epsom, where, "on the Downs the fleet were met;" of royal Ascot; of crowded Hampton; of aristocratic, princely Goodwood; of invigorating Brighton; of business-like Newmarket; of quaint, ancient Chester, and of sporting Doncaster; the cricketer has laid aside his bat and leather armour, and is no longer to be found at Lord's, the Oval, or other grounds devoted to the pursuit of this truly national game; the yachtsman's "craft," which for months has "walked the waters like a thing of life," is now embedded in the mud, or dismasted, in some creek or river; the follower of aquatic pursuits may talk over the past boating season, but he can no longer "handle his oar, and show how matches were won;" the pigeon shooter finds "his occupation gone," and can no longer hear the loud voices of the betting fraternity, as they shout "Two to one on the gun," the beautiful grounds at Hurlingham, and the green sward at Shepherd's Bush are closed for the season. So much for the past; while, n perspective, there is cub-hunting and coursing, and pheasant-shooting s at its prime for those who can devote themselves to rural sports.
"Happy the man, whose wish and care
A few paternal acres bound,
Content to breathe his native air
On his own ground."
So wrote Pope at the age of twelve years. Thomson, too, talks of the happiness of the man who
"Drinks the pure pleasure of the rural life;"
and in the same strain have very many others written, both in poetry and prose, to prove the advantages of a country over a town life.
Nothing, then, can be more delightful than a visit to the country, whether to enjoy a fortnight in the Highlands, ten days at Melton, a week at Cowes, or a fortnight at a well-appointed "stately home of England." I will not stop to particularise any one of these numerous mansions, where good old hospitality prevails-where the sports of the field, too, are carried on with unabated ardour, for the system is generally the same everywhere. And, here, I would remark, that we possess a considerable advantage over our ancestors of enjoying the society of the fairer portion of the creation, without whom life would be wearisome; and who in our time have not their feelings outraged by the noisy mirth of the boisterous squire, and three-bottled man of olden days, making the welkin ring with clamorous toasts, tally-ho's, and songs; and, who, fuming with wine, reeled into the drawing-room, either to drop asleep or to render themselves disgusting by their coarse merriment? Let us, now, in our mind's eye, picture to ourselves the delights of a country-house: it is the month of October, breakfast is over, you have equipped yourself for sporting. The conveyances are at the door, consisting of the van, waggonette, dog-cart, and some half-dozen ponies. The arms and ammunition have been sent forward with the keepers; and, entering the avenue of elms and horse chesnuts, which form a vista from the house to the lodge, you pass through the extensive park, richly clustered with the most picturesque oak and stately beech trees, and reach the keeper's house. There may be seen that stalwart hero, the terror of the neighbouring poachers, surrounded by his merry men in Lincoln green, and a host of rustics to act as beaters; they have already been "told off"-I use a military phrase-and each keeper, loader, and beater has a number in his hat. The list of the sportsmen is read over. Number one is, say, the host, and as his name and number are pronounced, the men-a keeper, loader, boy with ammunition, and three beaters, marked number one, fall out and join him; and so on to every "gunner." When all have passed muster, you are placed in line by the head-keeper, the men having received strict injunctions to keep with their numbered master all day. You enter the preserve, a whirring noise is heard-bang, bang go a dozen guns-the brilliant pheasants are falling in every direction. For the next six hoars there is an "open fire" kept up against the "flying" enemy; no wonder at the conclusion of the day's sport there is a return of 3,000 pheasants killed.
Turn we to another theme. "What's in a name?" is a quotation often made use of, and, although the immortal bard tells us "a rose will smell as sweet by any other name," there can be no doubt that both in canine and equine nomenclature, there is a good deal in a name. It was the fashion of our forefathers to call their pointers and setters Sancho, Nero, Ponto, Basto, Juno, Ino, Mungo, Pero, and other names ending in O, and which sounded so much like toho, as often to mislead the dogs. Can there be a question that Rock, Don, Flirt, Tip, Squaw, Fan, Nell, Jilt, are equally well sounding names, and not open to the objection raised. To us it appears advisable to give as appropriate titles to animals as possible: thus, a steady pointer may be called "Rock," and "Flint," from his firmness; "Don," from the Spanish blood that runs in his veins; while "Squaw," for a setter, would be equally correct. A retriever may be called "Scout,"
"Ranger," "Ariel," "Rover," "Gyp," or "Boatswain." Walter Scott named two terriers "Pepper" and "Mustard," and a deer hound "Fingal" -the former showing the stinging qualities of the animals, the latter recalling to mind one of Caledonia's worthies. For black and tan terriers we should suggest "Nettle," "Pincher," "Sting," &c.; for bull dogs, "Spring," "Taurus," "Fang," "Tiger," &c.; for Scotch terriers, "Thistle," "Glencoe," "Cheviot." "Wallace," "Bolt," &c.; for Newfoundland dogs, "Labrador," "Shark," "Diver," &c.
We now turn to equine nomenclature, which is far different, and far less coarse than it was some seventy years ago—so coarse was it in many cases, that it would be impossible to repeat some of the names, at least to ears polite. In our days we have had some objectionable names, and a large amount of senseless ones: "Here I go with my eye out," "I wish I may get it," "Let us stop awhile says Slow," "I am not aware,' ""All around my hat, ""Nix my Dolly," "The Devil among the tailors," "Mind your pockets," "He has a name." The Scriptures have been searched, for we find the following names: "Uriah," "Saul" by "Bedlamite," "Habakkuk" "Crucifix," "The Chaldean Princess, "Belshazzar," "Barabbas," "Ararat," "Pharaoh," "Nabocklisk," "Ishmael," "Maccabeus." Among the nasty ones may be mentioned "Emetic," "Black dose and Blue Pill." Although it may be difficult to find a thoroughly appropriate name, it requires no very great cleverness to select an original one. The primary object ought to be to give an appellation that is applicable to sire and dam, and if possible to let a colt's name commence with the first letter of the sire, if a filly with that of the dam. We give fictitious names to illustrate our meaning. Names appropriate to sire and dam: "Election" by "Canvas," dam "Scud;""Wail" by "Whale," dam "Tears;" "Harmony "Harmony" by "Rubini, dam "Malibran ;""Catch" by "Cricketer," out of "Glee ;""Gin" by "Birdcatcher," out of "Juniper." Names of colts applicable to their sire and beginning with the same letter: "Rancour" by "Revenge," "Warrior" by "Wellington," Velocity" by
"Velocipede," "Whale" by "Whalebone," "Candidate "Contest," "Rebel" by "Revolution," "Syntax" by "Scholar." Names of fillies applicable to their dams: "Fay," "Fairy;" "Gambol," "Gay Lass;" "Revel," "Revelry;" "Velvet," "Velveteen;" "Bee in a Bonnet," "Bessy Bedlam;" "Serenade," "Seville;" "Fickle," "Fanciful."
Let me now offer a few remarks on the practice of running horses without a name, which is, to say the least of it, very awkward; and no one carried it on more pertinaciously than the late Earl of Glasgow, than whom a more liberal or honourable supporter of the turf never existed. In the betting ring where noise and confusion exists, and where, to prevent mistakes, it is absolutely necessary that the name of the animal backed or betted against should be distinctly heard, it is 8 great error that a horse should be known as the "Melody colt," the "filly by Touchstone out of Rowton's dam," the "colt by Liverpool out of Retamosa,' "brother to Bird on the Wing," or "Sister to Rosalind." Unpronounceable or difficult pronounceahle names are equally objectionable, such as "Scheherazade," "Ynysymaengwyn," "Clem-o'-the-Clough ;" "Chère amie," usually called "Cherry.