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The racecourse being very wet, owing to recent heavy rains, two parallel tracks of 15 feet apart, and 3 to 4 feet broad, and concavely about one foot in the centre, were made. On either side of the course a sprinkling of the fair sex with their gallants, and under a clump of live-oaks some two or three hundred persons collected, their nags fastened to the branches of trees, making their bets. Cash being scarce, a cow and calf against the same, horse against horse, negro against negro, land, &c., as valuable considerations. In the rear was placed a large table with refreshments, and by the side of it a barrel of whiskey. I had prepared myself to witness commotion and difficulties, pistols and bowie knives : nothing of the sort ; all was order and decorum. Diddler was the favourite, but some of the knowing ones seemed to “ guess" that Moll-row would shave” Diddler. The horses were brought from their stables, walked up and down the course in their blankets, until the appointed time for starting. Diddler being stripped looked pretty well, but rather short and skittish. He was then saddled, and his rider prepared himself for the contest by first tying a handkerchief round his head, then stripping his coat, shoes, and stockings off. This is somewhat different to the elegant and “ crispy” turn-out of a Newmarket or Epsom jockey. Moll-row's rider stripped also, and was to ride without saddle. The jockeys mounted, but it was some time ere Diddler appeared to relish running in the track. It was thought by some that his prancing and kicking about was allied to jockeyism. During all this time an old swarthy-looking man, wrapt up in a Mexican mantle, might be observed riding up and down on one side of the course, absorbed in thought, and just before the race was run rode up quietly to his jockey, whispering something in his ear: this was the owner of Moll-row. Galloping about—now stopping short and pulling up-now starting off again—then giving instructions to his jockey-this was the owner of Diddler. The horses start! and in twenty seconds the race is over ; the favourite losing. Huzza for Moll-row! Moll-row's master and jockey went smilingly off the course ; but Diddler's owner " guessed" that the course was too wet! “ Squire,” said a voice, “ I'll send Jim for the cow and calf to-morrow." Squire (gruffly): “ All right. Co a-bead! This is the last time-" General M.: “ Sheriff! you may send the nigger over when convenient." Sheriff : “Ay, ay, General. By the - darn the race !” Captain : “Why, Colonel! I hope you'll have better luck next race. I'll send for the Paint mare tomorrow.” Colonel : “ I hate these short races-jump and away. The race is over, and poor Paint' gone." And in this way they settled their bets until the course was cleared. Some of course, the losers, said there had been jockeying; for when Diddler had got to half course, he passed Moll-row and shot a-head, but the judges of the course were unanimous as to Moll-row's superior speed and decided victory.
(To be continued.)
ADVENTURES OF A HARE ; WITH ANECDOTES OF
HIS MANY FRIENDS.
EDITED BY SARON.
The Winding-up of the Etonian's Adventure-Easter Monday with the Queen's Hounds-Ruffianly Attack upon our Hero-His Death-The East-end Tailor.
The last chapter terminated with my fortunate escape from the young Eton boy, and the accident that befel him and his thorough-bred steed. The youth, thanks to a sound constitution, was soon brought to a state of comparative convalescence, and in less than an hour was mounted on the pony of a neighbouring farmer, on his way back to his dame's. Poor Cannon-ball, once the pride of Epsom, was left lifeless on the spot where he had fallen, that his owner might see and be enabled to return a verdict of accidental death. As Fred Marston was crossing the bridge that divides the towns and counties of Windsor, Eton, Berks, and Bucks, he was met by Joe Sharpness, the ostler, who at one glance saw that some untoward accident had occurred; the flushed and excited state of the rider, the right arm supported by a stirrup-leather, the boot cut open to the ancle, and, above all, the sudden transformation of the highmettled racer into a short, strong, rough-coated cob, gave the man-ofoats what he professionally called “the staggers." “Why, what has happened, Mr. Marston ?" exclaimed the trusty Joe. “ Nothing more than I expected,” responded the rider. “I knew Cannonball could not top a flight of rails, and, although I gave him an extra charge of powder, the brute took the upper bar with his knee, fell over, floored me, and killed himself.” “Oh !" groaned Mr. Sharpness, giving what Puff, in the Critic, calls a regular round 0. "What will master say? he refused eighty guineas for him yesterday. But here he comes, sir, so I'll leave you to explain matters.” The adventure as it had occurred was then repeated to George Burnley (we deal in fictitious names), the proprietor of the Eclipse public-house, and job-master to the rising generation. “Only think," said he, “ that I should have been offered a hundred guineas for him yesterday ; but as you had engaged him for the day, and as I could not bear to disappoint so good a customcr, I refused that sum. I shall never be able to replace him." " Well, what can't be cured must be endured,” replied the light-hearted youth. “You seem quite to forget the peril I was in : the breath shook out of my body, my collar-bone broken, my ancle sprained, right rib fluttering, and all along with that broken-down beast, who fell at a place any common sort of a hunter ought to have cleared.” We must digress to make a remark upon an extraordinary notion that exists. If a horse falls with a gentleman the animal is denounced as a “ horrid brute," "an unsafe Rosinante," and other opprobrious terms ; whereas if a groom happens to meet with a siinilar accident the tables are turned, and the man is abused for having “ thrown the horse down," a proceeding not very easy to carry out.
The colloquy between Burnley and the unfortunate hero of the day's catastrophe was put an end to by the approach of the head master; the disconsolate owner of Cannon-ball mounted the cob to ride off to the scene of action, while Fred Marston was conveyed in a fly to his dame's house, where, after a surgical inspection, the return was-collar-bone fractured, hip severely bruised. Time and good treatment soon restored the Etonian to his wonted strength and health, and some old rags bearing the impress of the Bank of England, amounting to one-third of the ostler's valuation, completely salved the wound caused by the untimely death of the gallant steed.
I now return to my own narrative. The hunting season had nearly terminated, and I was left to enjoy peacefully all the delights of a fine, early spring. Nothing can exceed the beauty of Virginia Water : the placid lake, the miniature man-of-war floating on its unruffled surface, the picturesque fishing temple, the brightly-tinted woods, the neatlykept walks, the mossy turf, the verdant shrubs, are all happily blended together, and form one of the finest spots in merrie England. Easter Monday bad arrived, and had brought with it its usual train of cockney sportsmen to enjoy a day with her Majesty's staghounds. The meet was Ascot Heath ; and certainly any one that had joined the hunt that day might with truth have exclaimea, in the words of the late Haynes Bayley's popular ballad—“ We met, 'twas in a crowd.” At an early hour the Waterloo and Paddington stations were beset with sportsmen of every grade and rank, from the highest-born patrician down to the lowest. bred plebeian. There might be seen the exquisite from the Westend alighting from his phaeton, giving orders to his stud-groom to take especial care of the two favourite hunters after their day's work, and inquiring whether the cover-hack had been safely deposited in the horse-box. Next might be noticed some half-dozen dealers descending from their dogcarts and buggies, and superintending the “ cooping” of the irrefractory nags in their small wooden tenements. The party in two well-appointed Hansoms consist of four fast young men, with, to adopt their own phraseology, “stunning ” cigars in their mouths, themselves adorned with “lummy castors," " nobby coats," "spicy boots,” and “screeching choakers." A Whitechapel cart “ shoots its rubbish " (as an old dowager's coachman was wont to call his aristocratic load); and two cadgers, a costermonger, and a couple of the “swell mob” are added to the throug. A regular-looking “workman" on the box of a neat plain drag, with a team of thorough-bred ones, worthy of a Landseer's pencil or a Peyton's hand, set down his “in” and • outsides ” at the door of the booking office ; by their soldier-like gait and capillary ornaments, they are evidently of the household brigade. A hack cab, from Houndsditch, containing three old clothesmen of the Jewish persuasion, short, dark, and dirty as a December day, is stopping the way, while the occupiers of it are wrangling for the odd fourpence. A gaudily-painted chariot, with a bright-coloured hammer.cloth, silver mountings, arms and crests elaborately emblazoned on the pannels, coachman and footman in powder, with lace latbands and parrot-looking liveries of green and red, is driven pompously up to the entrance ; and two sporting stockbrokers, tired of the “bulls," “ bears,” and “stags ” of the City, are now intent upon investing their funds in a day's pleasure, and exchanging the gloom of Change Alley
and Capel Court for a run with a living buck over the plains of Ascot. To the above lot may be added a most heterogeneous mass, consisting of " nobs," "snobs," “ blacklegs," "chaunters," livery-stable keepers, courtesans, gamesters, and betting-list proprietors. In the palmy days of coaching, before railways were even in prospective existence, the Easter hunt was always inconveniently crowded ; it is now a complete bear garden or world's fair, and so speedy and numerous are the means of locomotion that sportsmen may breakfast, dine, and sleep in London, and yet enjoy a run of three or four hours with the Queen's hounds. If the ancestors of the present generation could but see the march, or rather the gallop, of improvement, how surprised would they be! Let us compare the travelling a hundred years ago to that of the present day. In the Salisbury Journal of January 20, 1752, appears the following advertisement :-“For the better convenience of gentlemen, travelling and others, the Express fast coach starts every Monday morning from the Saracen's Head, Friday Street, London, dines at Egham, his the same night at Murrell Green ; dines on Tuesday at Sutton, and lies the same evening at the Plume of Feathers, in Salisbury ; on Wednesday dines at Blandford, and lies at the King's Arms in Dorchester, and arrives at Exeter every Friday at one o'clock.” As no mention is made of the Thursday journey, we are at a loss to know what became of the Express during that day; we presume, however, that it dragged on its weary course throughout the best part of the night, and thus occupied four days and nearly four nights in accomplishing that which is now done in as many hours.
Return we to the Heath. At half-past eleven o'clock Charles Davis, the “ Crichton" of stag-hunting, appeared upon one of his favourite horses, with the royal pack at his heels ; the galloping, shouting, hallooing of the equestrians and pedestrians was a trial of temper that few men could have gone through with the equanimity that Davis did. Independent of the numbers that had been brought down by the rail, there was a gathering from every town, hamlet, and rural district in the neighbourhood. Windsor furnished its quota of officers and sporting tradesmen ; Eton poured forth its “boys," boat-keepers, and the usual hangers-on of college life. Brentford contributed a fair proportion of knackers and general dealers. Egham and Staines turned out a few well-mounted inn and livery-stable keepers; while Wingfield Sunning Hill, Bray, Hollyport, and Clewer produced their farmers, butchers, trainers, ploughmen, and labourers, all intent upon one ob. ject, namely, that of realizing the line of the old song " This day a stag must die.” In addition to the above enumerated human and equine forces, the canine race mustered strongly ; cvery one seemed to act upon the principle of “ bringing his own dog in case it could be of any use,' and mastifs, mongrels, turnspits, greyhounds, terriers, sheep-dogs, lurchers, swelled the throng. The shouts and ejaculations that rent the air were of the most varied description. “Ware horse," said a young city clerk, who might have sung in character the popular ballad, “I woré a coat of Moses the first time that we met," and whose steed evidently had a different will from that of his rider. “ Sir, your horse has got my rein under his tail,” exclaimed another. “Halloa, Snip,” remarked a third, “how long have you left your shop-board ?" "Do you want your horse holded, sir ?" inquired a Crockford cad, as a raw-boned
nag showed the folly of a snaffle-bridle, with a mouth hard as adamant. “ Please sir, your spur has caught in my paletot,” muttered another, as one of Nicholl's best Llama paletots appeared anything but rent-free. Davis, who had retired with his pack from the crowd, and round whom a cordon of sportsmen had been formed, to keep them free from the oi polloi, was now anxious to commence operations ; the deer was therefore unearted, and the gallant " Rob Roy," who, like his far-famed namesake, had a horror of the lowland rabble, made the best of his way for that celebrated spot in English history, Runnymede. In less than twenty-minutes the pack were laid on, and then ensued a scene which baffles all description. Huntsman, hounds, horsemen, pedestrians, and dogs made a simultaneous rush in pursuit of their prey. The melodious tone of Davis's voice, as he urged the impetuous sportsmen to “hold hard,” were lost in the shouts, cries, and balloes of the excited Nimrods and the yelping of the currish crew that followed in their track. Happily a stiff fence and a deep ditch gave a temporary check to the mad career of many a rider, whose courage was literally-not figurativelydainped by the application of the cold-water cure. For a few moments the field was small and select ; and the hounds having settled well down upon the scent, gave promise of a fair run; when, unfortunately, the skirters, who had taken to the road, again made their unwelcome appearance. “Pray, gentlemen, don't override the hounds," exclaimed the huntsman, as some half dozen cockneys, with whips in their hands, were urging the well-trained pack forward. Another barrier appeared, in the shape of a double post and rail, and the Macadamites were again to be seen pounding away on the hard road. The real - workmen," who remained with the hounds, were now inspired with hope ; but alas! it was doomed to be disappointed, for, by an untoward accident, the deer was headed back by a sheep-dog, right into the midst of the unsportsmanlike multitude. At the sight of the panting animal, a shout like that of the war-cry of the Ojibeway Indians was raised, and every horseman dashed forward in the pursuit. But the red M.Gregor, felt with the hero from whom he took his name="You have not yet subdued Rob Roy"and away he bounded quick as an arrow from the bow. A regular scurry then took place; hounds, horses, and men on foot mingled in one incongruous melee. The precincts of Virginia Water were neared. The park paling stopped many an ardent rider. A momentary pause, a crash was heard, as a party had stormed and carried the barricade. No sooner was the breach made practicable than hundreds rushed in. The antlered monarch of the woods took to the water, and seemed to set hiş pursuers at defiance. “Look out,” exclaimed a smirking tailor from the neighbourhood of Bow Church, “there's an “are sitting.'" "Soho," cried another. “Let's have a course," said a third. With this, some half-dozen lovers of the chase surrounded my hiding-place, and commenced the most dastardly attack upon the rights of a British subject. My domain was broken open; stones, bricks, sticks, and other missiles were hurled at me, and murder was evidently the object of the bloodthirsty gang. A pack of mongrels were brought to their aid. To fly before such a cowardly race was an indignity that I could not submit to; so I calmly awaited my fate, determined, like a second Brutus, to throw myself into the jaws of death. An opportunity soon presented itself. The hand of a ruffian, armed with a heavy whip, was raised over my