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Nothing affords more conclusive testimony of the prosperity which reigns over any pursuit, whether it be of pleasure or profit, than the value attached to the respective objects immediately connected therewith. It is a circumstance particularly gratifying to be enabled to introduce this reasoning with reference to the chase. Seldom, if ever, has the demand for hounds been greater than it has been during the past spring. His Majesty the King of Naples has sent over for a large draft, and through the agency of Cox, the Vine huntsman, a very working-like pack has been sent out. I had an opportunity of looking them over a few days before they left IIampshire, and I must do Cox the justice to obscrve they do him great credit. A re-action is evidently taking place in the taste for sporting affairs on the continent, which appears likely to increase. It is an unmistakeable token of peaceful associations, for we never find such vocations encouraged when grim-visaged war presides. As a proof of the demand existing for hounds, a certain pack that shall be nameless was sent lately to Tattersall's : a price was put upon them to a friend of mine on the Saturday, which he refused to give, and they were sold under the hammer on the Monday following for more than double the sum. It was a pack that had only been got together and worked two seasons. They were not level as to size, one or two couples being very large, with about the same number very small : thus, when seen together, they looked uneven ; but, by drafting the large and small, the body would have appeared more suity.
The competition for Mr. Drake's hounds, which took place at the Buckland kennels on the 28th of May, under the persuasive influence of Mr. Tattersall’s hammer, was, as might be anticipated, very great. They realized upwards of £1,800. Lord Henry Bentinck was the principal opponent to many others who were desirous of obtaining this valuable blood. Sir W. W. Wynne also made a selection, and Mr. T. Drake, jun., likewise obtained one lot, to remain in their own country. Something akin to regret must be expressed that such a very superior pack should have been separated.
To supply their place, Mr. T. Drake has purchased the New Forest hounds from Captain Shedden. They have been hunting in a very different country to the one into which they are removed ; and, without in the slightest degree invidiously reflecting on their merits in the coun. try which they were accustomed to, I fear it will take a season or more ere they signalize themselves in their new one. Sportsmen will readily make allowance ; but, unfortunately for masters of hounds, they are not all sportsmen who attend at the covert side, and too many are prone to criticize more from vanity than judgment.
The Exhibition-containing the inventions, the suggestions, the perfections, the attentions, the combinations, the manipulations, the anticipations, of all nations--has in its due time been opened to the British public and the enterprising world, with what amount of satisfaction or disappointment to individuals or the million, it is needless to expatiate
upon. In these pages it is only convenient to notice such specimens of handicraft as appertain to sporting or equestrian purposes. Contemplating the vast structure, and the magnitude of the collection which it contains, it was but a natural conclusion that much would be found worthy of the sportsman's notice. In that particular branch, however, it is singularly deficient, scarcely affording a new idea or improvement in any apparatus which the devotees of Diana require. The chaos which presides over the disposition of the numerous articles presented to public view is perfectly unaccountable, and in an undertaking of this kind, to which John Bull and his visitors are daily subscribing such immense sources of wealth, for the ostensible purpose of examining its contents, their convenience and facility of inspection ought to bave been more punctiliously studied. Entering the building with the official catalogue in hand, a stranger naturally expects to find that which in the voluminous pages of the aforesaid book appears Class I., No. 1, “ Fossil Fishes,” the first object to attract his notice, and furthermore that the consecutivo numbers in the catalogue will guide him in his search for any particular article he may wish to inspect; but how great his disappointment when he discovers à most heterogeneous confusion of numbers, which completely baffles his intentions ! A systematic inspection, with the aid of the catalogue, is totally impracticable. Persons who visit the Glass Palace merely to gaze upon the astounding collection, care not whether any specific subjects are readily found or not ; but those who attend for the purposes of research and information have a tax imposed upon their perseverence which never could have been contemplated. A convenient order or classification of articles would have afforded some assistance ; but even that has not been studied beyond the classification of kingdoms or states, and appertaining to Great Britain the division of products, manufactured articles, machinery, and so forth ; which being so voluminous, a person has but little chance of finding any particular specimen without considerable search. But, upon the principle that “variety is charming," you may find pianos, teeth, air-pumps, house-clocks, rifleguns, instruments for accoucheurs, weights, fleeces of wool, electromagnets, levelling instruments, with hosts of incongruities, jumbled together without the slightest regard to order. From these causes, it is very probable I may have overlooked several articles which I would otherwise have mentioned. Fowling-pieces and rifles attract the affections of the lovers of the trigger. A profusion of fishing tackle and apparatus engrosses the attention of Izaak Walton's disciples ; but not being one of that number, I cannot attempt to offer opinions on their merits. Appertaining to the chase may be found a deer and deerhound, the former represented as just killed. The hound has more the appearance of a black pointer; but as he is understood to be of German origin, it is to be presumed the variety is such as are used in that country. A handsome specimen of the foxhound is well preserved by Beevor, of Newark : the attitude is spirited and good ; it is the skin of Forester, a hound from the Rufford pack, and he is represented in the act of flinging to recover a lost scent.
Amongst the vehicles, which comprise various designs for town carriages, and a well-arranged omnibus by Gower, of Stratford, are several highly-finished dog-carts, one of which is constructed to carry six ; it may some day attract the attention of the Society for Cruelty to Animals, A very unique dog-cart, built by Holmes, of Derby, is exhibited. The natural beauty of the wood is not concealed with paint ; a simple coat of varnish, only, protects it from the wet ; the springs and all the iron works are polished. If they were made black the carriage would be practically useful.
In the way of harness there are many sets exhibited, displaying elaborate and superior workmanship, but not presenting much novelty of design, either for appearance or utility. The most worthy of notice in the latter respect are the tugs invented by White, of 185, Regent-street. They are very superior to the old arrangement. The same manufacturer has a plan for tandem harness, with bars instead of the long traces ; but it is not a new invention, having been used by myself and others many years ago. This plan consists of a short bar, which White has made of wood, but which should be of iron, somewhat curved, and only sufficiently long to clear the straps (by which each end is attached to the tug) from the points of the shaft-horse's shoulders. This bar has a hook in the centre, which must be turned down, to prevent the shaft-horse catching the bar of his bit upon it, an accident which once occurred to me before I adopted that precaution. A bar, precisely similar to a four-horse bar, but lighter, is attached to the hook on the small bar already described, and to this the ordinary traces. The apparatus requires to be suspended to the collar by means of a strap, in order to keep it in its place when the leader's traces are slack. The advantages of this plan are obvious ; one is, that the shaft-horso cannot possibly get his leg over the leader's traces ; and should he turn round, he does not take the shaft-horse so abruptly with him as with the long traces, because the bar by which the draft is effected works upon its own centre.
The saddlery exhibitions present numerous inventions for elastic seats, spring cantles, and such like devices, in which I am at a loss to discover any advantages ; there is also a curious mechanical arrangement, or lever, for tightening the girths, which a rider may more readily perform by passing his hand under the flap of the saddle, without the aid of complicated mechanism. As to spring-girths, or such like appendages, they are quite unnecessary; for every horseman, who regards the ease and comfort of the animal he bestrides, will never think of having him girthed up so tight as to bring the elasticity into effect.
In ladies' side-saddles there are many improvements introduced; one of which is the abolition of the crutch or pummel on the offside : it is of no use as regards security of seat, and is much in the way, preventing the lady from getting her hands down to the proper place, one of the greatest defects in female equestrianism. The most important desideratum in the appointments of riding paraphernalia for ladies would be a considerable reduction in the length of the habit-skirt. Why the fair sex should emulate the office of the scavenger, by taking up the mud from the roads with their riding-dresses, or sweeping the pavements with their walking-dresses, is an anomaly not easily to be explained.
The gathering on Epsom Downs, with respect to numbers, certainly exceeded that of any former years. Foreigners from all quarters of the globe helped to increase the melée of usual attendants ; nor could they be disappointed with the display for the Derby, whatever the backers of horses inight have been with the performance of their respective pets. Teddington, the winner, is a nice racing-looking animal, but does not
possess the commanding appearance of Surplice or The Flying Dutchman.
If betting is the criterion by which the condition of racing is estimated, it certainly never before attained its present pre-eminence. The sum of money won by the Teddington party is calculated at £200,000, and this from the ring and the ever-confiding public, very few of whom found the right horse. Prime Minister maintained the premiership in the betting for a considerable time, after the defeat at Newmarket of Mountain Deer, and was backed heavily by the sporting members of the immediate neighbourhood in which he was trained. They all entertain a just and confidential opinion of Wadlow, the worthy trainer of this horse ; but until he removes to a place better suited to working racehorses upon than that he now occupies, I much fear their sanguine hopes of hailing him the winner of a Derby will be a long time ere they are realized.
Throughout the counties of Wilts, Hants, Somerset, and Gloucester, the Marlborough Buck engrossed the warmest affections, and those who placed their faith in him were not much mistaken ; he was all-but, though not quite good enough some consolation for the judgment, though none for the pocket. So much for a cocktail-in other words, a horse descended from a mare not quite thorough-bred. We have now had the occurrence repeated twice of half-bred ones running second for the Derbys of the respective years, namely, Hotspur and Marlborough Buck. How much of the leaven of plebeian blood circulates in the veins of either it is difficult to say, and every future generation from the same stock will essentially become more pure. What constitutes the legitimate title of thorough-bred as relates to the horse is a problem which cannot be defined. Conventionally it is one whose genealogy can be traced in the Stud Book, or whose sire or dam is an accredited Arabian or horse of eastern origin, represented as being of the pure blood of the country from whence he was imported: the union of one of these horses or mares, with one of the opposite sex having the distinction of a place in the Stud Book, is denominated thorough-bred. But what guarantee have we that such importations are of pure blood ? With respect to the English thorough-bred horse, on reference to the early pages of the Stud Book some mares will be found without any pedigree at all, and several whose identity is doubtful. All this resolves itself into one context, and it is this, that thorough-bred horses are descended from those which were by consent originally so denominated, and that on some occasions in consequence of their superiority over other horses of their respective days. Twenty years ago the idea of a horse not thorough-bred staying the distance with thorough-bred ones, over the Derby course, would have been entertained as an impossibility; and so it was with the class of horse prevalent at that time; but three or four additional infusions of acknowledged pure blood has brought the cocktail of 1851 to an equality with the most highly bred of his compeers.
The Derby is a contest which is singularly fortunate to the aristocracy, for it has generally been won by a titled member of the turf. This makes the seventy-second stake that has been run for, and forty-two of those have been won by titled personages, although the horses which have started belonging to Esquires and commoners of lower degree have been in far greater proportion,
That it would be expedient to legalize the recovery of money won by betting is an opinion which holds favour with many persons, especially with those who, having won, cannot bring their creditors to a settlement. I doubt much the policy of such an alteration in our code of laws. It would evidently have the effect of still increasing the amount so speculated with, but it would not benefit any one. “You cannot expect blood from a stone” is a very old maxim, and few, if any, would be deterred, any more than they now are, from betting beyond their means of paying; the tradesman is not restrained from speculating in unprofitable ventures, far beyond the limits which prudence assigns to his capital. There are laws enough in conscience connected with commercial engagements, but they do not prevent such disasters. All men who run great risks to gain money do it under the impression that they will be favoured by the blind Goddess ; it is not in the power of legislation to control that hope, or inculcatc in their minds wliat speculations will be most advantageous. A well-matured revision of the rules of racing would be far more beneficial in its effect than any laws which the Senate can propose ; and so it was decided when the question was brought before a committee of the House of Commons a few years since. Upon the existing system of listbetting the public are the best legislators. If a man is silly enough to invest his bonâ fide capital upon the mere faith he reposes in another's word, he deserves the consequences which cxperience will teach him. He who backs a horse at long odds has cqually, if not more, reason to require a guarantee from the layer of the odds whose word is passed for the larger sum, as the latter has of desiring a deposit; and if the precaution is omitted, wherefore does the victim deserve commiseration? In ordinary betting it is a different affair. One man passes his word to another for the payment of a given sum on the result of a certain event ; in list-betting the taker of the odds deposits his hard cash upon the unsatisfactory contingency of the recipient's intentions.
A more melancholy catastrophe than the unhappy suicide of Mr. Bristow has seldom occurred within the circle of the racing community. Ardently attached to the turf, and devotedly fond of breeding, his great object was to run the produce of his own mares, with the not unreasonable hope of winning in his turn; but his hopes were defeated by the change which has progressively taken place during the last fifteen years in the customs of racing, or rather the conditions of stakes. Those who knew him—poor fellow knew that his honourable bearing would not permit him to condescend to the common expedient of starting his horses without an intention of winning, consequently the great handicaps were far beyond his reach. Of late years, therefore, he sold the stock which he had bred; and they, in the hands of others less scrupulous than himself, on many occasions turned out to be lucrative investments. His mortification may be conceived, and sorely is it to be lamented that the career of so worthy a man should have come to such an unhappy end.
The enormous increase of Selling Stakes during the last three years is a subject demanding notice. That such conditions to a modified extent should be admitted into the prospectuses of race-meetings may be all very well ; but what inducement is there for country gentlemen to train race-horses, if all the prizes for which they can engage them are either handicaps or Selling Stakes. Having bred or purchased an useful