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favourite horse, a man must either run him for handicaps which he has no chance of winning, or enter him in Selling Stakes, which, in order to be entitled to the allowance of weight, and thereby have a chance of winning, he must offer the horse for sale at a paltry price, insufficient, with the stake, to defray the expenses of training. This is a subject for the consideration of race committees, and they will do wisely if they will bear in mind the probable results before they publish the conditions of their stakes.
A FEW LINES FROM THE CRAVEN COUNTRY.
I little thought, when I sent you an account of the proceedings of the Craven hounds, in April last, that it would so soon bc my painful lot to chronicle the death of the late worthy and much-to-be-lamented owner of that excellent pack-Mr. Frederick Villebois. I well knew, as I then stated, that he was suffering from very severe illness; but I did not think that Death was hovering so close around his bed. It was only at the end of last season that he stated his intention of resigning the Craven country, on account of his bad health ; but, by the persuasion of the members of the hunt, he was prevailed upon to hold it for another season. Alas! his kind intentions were not allowed to be carried into effect, for on the 10th of June he was seized with a sudden and very severe attack of his old complaint, and died on the 12th. A sorrowful day, indeed, was this for all at Benham and its neighbourhood, where he was endeared to many by acts of kindness and generosity; and the many who had partaken of his bounty and hospitality were struck to the heart with feelings that can be felt but not described, when they heard the bell booming in the distance, and slowly tolling forth his knell :
“ Hark! from yon tower the death-bell's sudden note,
Strange and mysterious, bursts upon the ear!
Herald of grief and barbinger of fear.” Mr. Villebois had been master of the Craven hounds for eighteen years ; by his thorough knowledge of breeding hounds he has left a very superior pack, which he has by will given to the Craven country, together with the horses of the establishment ; at the same time appointing Mr. Wroughton of Woolley Park, Mr. Bacon of Elcot, and Mr. Sherwood of Chaddleworth, as a committec to manage the affairs of the hunt, should no gentleman come forward to take the country. The hounds will this next season be kept at Benham, as Mrs. Villebois has kindly given the use of the kennels and stables to the hunt. Nor has the late good squire forgotten his favourite huntsman, Ben Foote; he has left him a handsome annuity for his life. Foote hos therefore declined to continue the office of huntsman any longer, affirming that he shonld not like to hunt the hounds under another master, having served his late one for so long a period—sixteen years.
There is a picture at Benham Park of the late Squire, with Beu Foote and some favourite hounds. I sincerely hope the country will (with the permission of Mrs. Villebois) have it placed in the hands of some eminent engraver, as I feel certain that the many admirers of the late Mr. Villebois, and all connected with the noble science in these parts, would like to have a copy of this portrait, especially after the handsome present he has made to the country. It would also serve to call to mind the pleasures one has partaken of, when he cheered on his favourites, when perchance on some future day we may have returned from a fine day's sport with those very hounds of which he was so proud. I really hope this will be taken in hand at once, for I think it will be some time “ ere we look upon his like again ;' ere we see a man contending against all the difficulties of a very cold, cheerless scenting country, and other trying circumstances incidental to a master of foxhounds--ere one can be found who will go through all this, and retain that position for the long period of eighteen years !
In thinking of this fine old English gentleman and squire, and on looking at his picture at Benham, which I have mentioned above, the beautiful lines of Warburton rush into the mind
" Should the time-honoured race of our fox-hunters end,
The poor no protector, the farmer no friend,
REQUIESCAT IN PACE.
STAG HUNTING IN DEVON AND SOMERSET.
We have received a letter addressed by the Treasurer of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds, whose exertions on behalf of the noble sport of stag-hunting deserves our best commendation. It was entirely owing to Mr. Collyns' exertions that this sport was revived some years after the late Sir Thomas Acland gave up the bounds; and greatly owing to his perseverance, aided by a few other gentlemen, that it has been continued for the last fourteen or fifteen years ; and it behoves all those who have ever joined in the chasc to lend their aid in supporting the hunt, and especially in that essential particular relating to the remuneration of the small farmers for injury done by the deer to their crops, without which, Mr. Collyns rightly assures us, the deer cannot be preserved, or, in fact, retained in the country, owing parily to the deficiency in our game laws, and greatly to the wandering propensity of the deer in their wild stnte. Twenty miles is nothing for them to travel to and fro, to feed on a favourite turuip field during the night; and if the small farmers are not reimbursed, and a lex watchers kept near the favourite kennels of the deer, all the expensive preservation of Lord Carnarvon, Mr. Knight,
Sir Thomas Acland, and others in their listricts, will not avail 10 save them from the bullet of a dissatisfied fariner or is min.
The north of Devou and Somerset is the only district in Englan! where this noble animal is regularly hunted in its wild state; and, therefore, every one interested in the sport is likewise interested in preserving this right-royal animal.
The following is a copy of Mr. Collyns' leiter to the supporters of the hunt :
“SIR,-You are no doubt aware, that in the year 1849, Mr. Theoboald, at the request of many of the gentlemen of Devon and Somerset, brught his pack of lounds into this country for the purpose of hunting the wild drer, and gave much satisfaction to the members of the Hunt. It was hoped that his success would have induced some influential genileinan in one of the counties to come forward, and, with the assistance of lovers of the sport, establish A PACK OP STAGHOUNDS. That hope, though not abandoned, has not for the present been realized; in the meantime the deer are, in many parts of the country, being shot and otherwise destroyed, under the impression that luuting them is at an endl; and it is felt that, unless they are hunted this season, this cruel sacrifice of the noble animal will be continued, and the ancient and ouce royal sport of stay-hunting (now only to be inet with and enjoyed in its pristine state in the West of England) annihilated.
"I have, at the request of gentlemen interested in the continuance of the sport, applied to Capt. West, the master of the Bath Stag-hounds, who has purchased the best of the hugels with which Mr. Theoboald hunted the country, and has the samne buntsinan, to hunt the country this season from the 12th of August to the 8th of October. In order to defray the expense of the pack, and to raise a fuod for indemnifying the fariners for damage dove (by which means alone we can liope to prevent the deer from b'ing shot), I have been requested to undertake the task of applying for subscriptions and donatious; and I trust that, in aid of a sport belonging peculiarly to the counties of Diron and Somerset, I shall not make an appeal to you for your kiud assistance in vain.
"I have little doubt, knowing that the Bath Stag-houndls had some severe runs during the winter, coupled with the huntsman now knowing our country, thut every prospect of good sport exists, provided funds can be procured. Trusting you will lavour le with an early reply,
“ Believe me to reinain, sir, yours truly, " Dulverton, Somerset, 1st July, 1851." "CHARLES P. COLLYNS.
THE CRICKET Field; OR, The History AND Science of
CRICKET. Longman. “ Cricket,” says Mr. Punch, “is essentially the game of Englishmen.” We are proud, ourselves, to support so high an authority. Our foreign friends may try hard to imitate or vie with us in many of our field sports, but, as with the national game of “box,” they cannot enter into the spirit of cricket. With English horses to run, English jockeys to ride, and English grooms to traiu, monsieur gets bodily into the excitement of the turf ; the more sedate German pursues the same sport in much the same fashion, and in either country you may occasionally hear a challenge from the English fox-hound. There is an at. traction, to however great a disadvantage they themselves may appear, in the practice of these sports ; but none but a born and bred Briton can stand up to face a cricket ball. There is a combination of coolness,
courage, and judgment required peculiarly national ; and we fancy the complaisant count or dignified baron would receive a crack on the shin from a shooter with as little real grace or relish as woolly-pated Jumbo himself.
The game, then, is one all our own ; yet, notwithstanding the excellence it has now attained as a science, we do confess to some surprise at not baving seen it a little more liberally treated of. In the great advance made of late years in nearly all varieties of sporting literature we notice a hiatus here that we still cannot altogether account for. One might picture the rough-and-ready foxhunter a little “bothered" when he tried to plan out a map of his glorious run, for the printer-or understand the cautious turfite dealing at arm's length with the many mysteries of his intricate profession. But cricket with “the Universities against Lord's," " the Gentlemen against the Players,” the annual public school matches-cricket with boys taught to block and field as methodically as to scan and construe-cricket, one would have argued, must find a host of historians to drop the bat for the pen now and then, and rattle off a work in honour of the manly game."
The reverse, however, so far has been the case ; cricket wanted an historian, and we were consequently prepared to welcome the work before us in the heartiest terms. We are glad to add, its merits fully warrant us in so doing. The author is in every way worthy of his theme, either “as a gentleman ” or “ a player;" and we feel we may with justice address him as either—we are equally obliged to him. We scarcely ever read a more amusing or enticing book ; for, setting aside the information and practical knowledge it abounds in, it is studded with a variety of anecdotes, all tending to illustrate and impress the peculiarities of the different eras cricket has lived through. We are so carried on from the days of no pads and low wickets, when the batsman cut away at everything, with the blood breaking through his silk stockings, and his fingers cruelly “ quartered”-down to the reign of simple, gentle Mr. Clarke, with his long-pitched “lob," and his artful, teasing plan of coaxing the player into a mistake. We have a portrait of this modern Tantalus in attitude, as well as some very capital diagrams, comparing his system with the more terrific style of little Wisden. Our author, in fact, very judiciously devotes a great deal of consideration to the science of bowling ; leaning a little as we take it, but never unfairly so, to the Fabian policy. Of its telling effect there can be no question ; and as an “alterative,” we readily admit the high rank claimed for it.
Supposing, however, we had for a season nothing but slow bowling, would wickets fall anything like so quickly before it? We are inclined to think not; men then would become used to it, as well as devote more study to what they now too seldom condescend to think much about till “old Clarke " is upon them. They chance it, and perhaps, naturally enough, despise it after the sharp-shooters they have been facing, and then up comes a long-pitched one at the rate of fourteen miles in fifteen hours, and“ bowled by Clark,” or “ caught by Guy," closes the scene and the score.
The idea of reporting the recollections of the old school of cricketers in their own words is very happily worked out, and stands amongst the most amusing portion of a very amusing work. We thus gather the Kent and Sussex play, with stories of Lord Frederick Beauclerk, Os. baldestone, Mr. Budd, and others of a day past, and, above all, the ingenuous ayowal of one entertaining old sinner as to the crosses he had seen or shared in. We hope, as we believe, that now comparatively little money is booked on a match : and so the temptation to players almost invariably needy men-is not likely to be offered. It is fearful to contemplate the betting-list roughs getting a taste for the game. Jem Bland, it would seem, once did take a turn at it; while Crockford and other magnates of the ring confessed it a pastime above their comprehension. Long may it continue so !
A portrait of Fuller Pilch represents very worthily the batsman at work; while wood-cuts demonstrate every possible plan of hitting away, at leg, or blocking. The fieldsman's duties are considered at equal length, and with proportionate ability and sound reasoning. The book, in short, is the cricketer's book, just as Colonel Hawker is the shooter's, or Izaak Walton the angler's; and in giving it our warmest recommenda. tion we are only doing our duty to " the sporting world.”
PUBLIC AMUSEMENTS OF THE METROPOLIS.
The advent of "a bright particular star” of the magnitude of Alboni, is an event worthy of especial commemoration. To hear once again the delicious tones of that well-remembered voice, to dwell upou notes “sweet as the love that meets return,” to listen to mellifluous strains that enchant the ear and take the senses captive, is a realization perfectly Elysian. No wonder that the reappearance of this favourite at HER MAJESTY'S THEATRE has been distinguished by enthusiasm, which greets those alone whose great talents entitle them to so worthy a reception. Such a welcome she has fairly and honourably won. Her voice, if possible, is heard to greater advantage than last season ; and the perfect knowledge which this gifted singer has of the vocal art is strikingly exhibited in the operas of “ Cenerentola,” “La Gazza Ladra,” and “ Zerlina.” The last is certainly one of Auber's weakest compositions, and is not destined to add to the fame of the composer of “Fra Diavolo.” The management has placed this opera upon the stage in the most satisfactory style ; the scenery is strikingly effective, and the incidental divertissement gives rise to no small excitement- some of the audience leaning towards a novel Chinese dance, whilst others vehemently persevere in proclaiming their objection. Surely it is contra bonos mores to make the Opera House the scene of strife and commotion! With regard to enlisting the powers of the many other stars of the Haymarket hemisphere, Mr. Lumley is determined not to pause in his exertions to furnish his subscribers with all that is possible in the shape of novelty and variety. Accordingly, Thalberg's new opera of “ Florinda' is given, in addition to “Norma,” “ Fidelio,” and “Linda” for Mademoiselle Cruvelli, and “ Nozze" for Sontag, Fiorentini, and Colletti. Then“ Mas. aniello” for Fiorentini, Monti, and Duprez. Besides an entertainment of surpassing richness for the ear, the manager makes attraction doubly sure, by captivating the eye with sylphide forms that fit across the stage