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and extent of those excrescences better than the late member for Westminster-Captain Rous. Then let him take the knife in hand to clear away these unhealthy tumours, and, like a skilful operator, “cut beyond the wound to make the cure complete.” For this he will receive, and deservedly so too, the thanks of all the right-minded, as well as of all true lovers of our national sport of horse-racing: and thus will he earn for himself a title far more lasting than that of handicapper--the proud and distinguished appellation of the TURF REGENERATOR.
BY AN OLD CONTRIBUTOR.
In such a country as ours-in such an essentially horse-breeding, horse-breaking, horse-racing, horse-liking social condition as that of England-every public appearance of faster or funnier nags than common, is looked on and discussed with more or less of the interest that attaches to a great treat or a popular type of our national taste. To be fond of horses is indeed John Bull's idiosyncracy. No apology, then, is necessary for referring to a particular part of a general subject, in such universal favour amongst us. Nor need I bespeak indulgence for recurrence to times past, as a revival of old fashions is the rage of the day. This tendency of the times to go back to the antique is mani. fest in our modes, and in our decorations of all kinds ; in our furniture, in our printing and bookbinding, in our clothes, in our fabrics, and, to some extent, even in our phraseology-to say nothing of revived hirsuteness in the form of Brobdignagian beards, monster whiskers, padding “ like the leopard's," and facial imperials, altogether exhibiting living pictures of the hairy man of olden times. Knowing, then, that we Englishmen are seldom tired with talking about horses, and fortified also by the prevalent fashion for what is antique, I shall indulge in a chat, * first about ancient Horse Exhibitions, and then just say a word or two about the way of training animals that was adopted about 400 years afterwards, by old Philip Astley.
We are told that in the thirteenth century a horse was exhibited by the joculators, which danced upon a rope ; and oxen, even, were rendered so docile as to ride upon horses, holding trumpets to their mouths, as though they were sounding them. Accordingly, we find the representation of several surprising tricks performed by horses far exceeding those displayed in the present day! But from a MS. in the Royal Library, we learn that the brutal practice of baiting horses with dogs was practised. Another MS., more ancient by at least half a century, in the same collection, represents a horse more pleasingly occupied
* For the staple of this short conversation, renaissance, reproduction, or what. ever else the page or two that follow may be called, the reader is but little indebted to the compiler-who fairly owns that he found his fox by having drawn Strutt first, and, then for the finish,” cantered through a rare old covert-so rare as to be but little known at the present day!
dancing to the pipe and tabor. We are treated also with a mock combat between a horse and a man ; and nearly 500 years ago, according to the same authority, horses were trained to stand either on their hind or their fore feet at command, and beat with either feet a kind of tabor or drum, held by their master : and in the year 1612, the riding-master of Louis the Thirteenth, with three other persons, accompanied by six esquires bearing their devices, executed a grand ballette-danse on trained horses—an achievement inferior to that just now mentioned, because in that the horses stood on two feet only, and not on four. In the Harleian Library, mention is made of a horse that would fetch and carry like a spaniel-dog, leap through a hoop, and perform an infinity of other tricks ; and about fifty years ago, there was a sort of Lilliputian pony that did the same tricks. This pony was so small that he and his keeper frequently went about in a hackney-coach.
As to the origin of horse exhibitions at Astley's, such as riding upon two or three horses at once, with leaping, dancing, and performing various other feats of agility upon their backs, while they are in full speed, it seems that a person named Price was the first to introduce this sort of horsemanship. Price was succeeded by Samson ; and after him Astley's star was in the ascendant. Astley established a ridingschool near Westminster Bridge. The performances originally took place in the open air, and the spectators were exposed to the weather, which, frequently proving unfavourable, interrupted the show, and sometimes prevented it altogether. To remedy this inconvenience, Astley erected a kind of amphitheatre, completely covered, with a ride in the middle, for the display of horsemanship; and a stage in front, with scenes and other theatrical decorations. To his former divertisements he then added tumbling, dancing, farcical operas, and pantomimes. The success he met with occasioned a rival professor of horsemanship, named Hughes, who built another theatre for similar performances, not far distant, to which he gave the title of the Royal Circus. Hughes was unfortunate.
May I, merely for a moment only, digress from horse to man, just to mention here the well-known, but extraordinary, fact that, about fifty years back, Ireland, a young Yorkshireman, leaped over nine horses standing side by side, and a man seated on the mid-horse : he jumped over a garter, too, held fourteen feet high ; and at another jump kicked a bladder hanging sixteen feet, at least, from the ground. On another occasion he leaped over a temporary machine representing a broadwheeled waggon with the tilt. These astonishing specimens of strength and agility were performed without any trick or deception, by a fair jump, and not with the somersault which is usually practised on such occasions. After a run of ten or twelve yards, he ascended an inclined plane, constructed with thick boards, and about three feet in height at one end ; from the upper part of this plane he made his spring, and having performed the leap, was received into a carpet held by six or eight men. “I examined,” continues Strutt, “ this apparatus very minutely, and am well persuaded that he received no assistance from any elasticity in the boards, they being too thick to afford him any, and especially at the top, where they were made fast to the frame that supported it ; nor from any other kind of artificial spring. It may readily be supposed that exertions of such an extraordinary nature could not be long continued without some disastrous accident, and accordingly in the first season of his engagement he sprained the tendon of his heel so violently, that he could not perform for nearly two years afterwards."
Music is a main agency in the training of horses for theatrical purposes ; and most of us are familiar with the anecdote, founded on fact or fable, mentioned by Aristotle. The story runs that the people of Sybaris, a city in Calabria, are proverbial on account of their effeminacy; and it is said they taught their horses to dance to the music of the pipe; for which reason their enemies, the Crotonians, at a time when they were at war with them, brought a great number of pipers into the field, and at the commencement of the battle they played upon their pipes ; the Sybarian horses hearing the sound of the music began to dance, and their riders, unable to manage them as they ought to have done, were thrown into confusion, and defeated with prodigious slaughter.
I may, perhaps, in a future number of this magazine show how the scientific Mr. Batty, and his assistants, bring the horses at Astley's to such a state of advanced acquirement. At present I shall only say a word or two about old Philip Astley's system of horse-tuition. The books, it appears, he used were pillars, whips, and spurs for discipline, apples and carrots for encouragement and reward. It is not worth while to describe in detail the various “ airs” that he taught, such as the pesade, the croupade, the balotade, the cabriole, the courbette, &c. I pass at once to the circle. The circle, of course, is the horse's school-room ; and I do not doubt that moderation and rewards in the circle, while exercising round the single pillar, against the wall, and between the two pillars, will effect the wonders we are accustomed to witness “ over the water.” The gear in which the animals receive their lessons in the circle embrace a cavesson and corn ; snaffle-reins intended to adjust the given point or exact position of the horse's head ; the breastplate belonging to the buckle-surcingle, bearing-rein, crupper, &c., and intended to keep the whole secure. The teacher works his pupil round the circle to the left, while his assistant has sometimes a pistol in his hand, sometimes a drum, which he discharges or strikes at a given signal. A small hand-line passed through two small rings, to keep it steady, is occasionally used by the teacher to refresh the horse's mouth, and to render it sensible to the motion of the hand when the professor judges proper to ease him, and reward his labour. Then there is, of course, a driving-whip, and a leather buckle-surcingle communicating with the breastplate, crupper, bridle-reins, bearing-reins, &c. So the way to witch the world with horsemanship, after all, is not exactly miraculous, nor quite Herculean. In fact, the modus operandi is simple enough
Time and patience-the mighty two
That bring our wishes nearer to our view, being almost all that is required to accomplish those brilliant results, and to produce those pleasing scenes in the circle of an equestrian theatre, which are beheld by almost everybody with admiration.
THINGS AS THEY WILL BE.
BY HARRY HIEOVER.
On reading this heading, the question will probably suggest itself to the mind of the reader “ Things as they will be !"—when ? And again the question may arise-What things ? I will endeavour to answer these queries as they are proposed.
There can be no doubt but that any or every one who may throw a glance on this article, has read or heard of Mr. Moore's Almanack, and is consequently aware that with all his astronomical knowledge and experience, our learned author ever in his prognostics made this reservation in their favour, “ the day before or the day after !” His successors, probably keeping in mind Dickey Gossib's song
“My father had a happy knack
of cooking up an almanack," have adhered to the same plan. Now as I know I am no astronomer, and, the public may decide, no conjuror, I reserve to my humble prognostics a far greater latitude, and will allude to 1870, a few years before or after.
Now for the question as to “ what things ?” I might here insert a hieroglyphic. as does friend Moore, leaving its solution till hereafter; when, if I had described a circle, I might say it was intended to represent the regal diadem that encircles the brow of majesty, or the wheel of an omnibus, whichever the changes and chances of this mortal life might enable me to bring forward as proofs incontestable of second sight. This reservation is all very well and very proper, for one whose character as a natural philosopher stands too high to warrant its being perilled by false conceptions ; but as my character as a writer does not stand on such high grounds, a blunder or two (thank Providence) will not materially affect me, for my readers being used to it from me, kindly overlook such things, or I daresay I should have hid my diminished head long ago.
First, then, as some of the “ things as they will be''-will hunting, racing, riding, driving, and general field sports be as generally in vogue twenty years hence, ten years “ before or after,” as they are now ? I do not mean to content myself with a Jesuitical reply, when I say that will depend on circumstances, for I with regret prognosticate that (if things go on as they are going now) they certainly will not.
It will be observed that I use the term generally as to the patronizing and following field sports. I do not mean they will be crushed in toto. · Let us first look at hunting, as first mentioned in my little catalogue. That hunting will year by year become less of a general pursuit than it has been for centuries, I hold to be a necessary, or at all events, a
certain consequence of the change of habits, and facility of locomotion that has taken place during the last twenty years.
“Crescit amor nummi quantum ipse pecuniæ crescit :" This we learned at school ; but it is carried out in other things besides money. As much as the facility of locomotion without exertion, fatigue, or exposure to weather increases, so will increase the desire to avoid either ; and as we cannot enjoy field sports without encountering all these to a certain degree, so much as those living in the present day learn from habit to hold such things as insupportable, so much will the distaste for field sports increase also.
It might be thought that the facility of conveying a man and horse forty miles by a railroad would induce many London men to go to meet hounds, who could not go before such conveyance was offered them ; and that consequently every hunt within a moderate distance from town would be inundated by London men. Not a bit : the only difference is that a few of those who years back would have hunted with the Surrey or Lord Derby, now go with Baron Rothschild : but from the different turn of mind the facility of travelling has given men, fields within twenty miles of London, that used to show a hundred horsemen out, do not now show twenty. The zest for the thing is going off, and each year and day will it diminish more and more. Young men, whose birth-place is the country, whose legitimate pursuits ever were those of the country, and who used to think of a visit to London no more than they did of one to the Hebrides, now rail it up to London, talk of and sport Mr. Nicol's paletots, and having learnt their way to that heaven in their eyes—the saloons, and lobbies of the theatres—vote their governor and his harriers slow coaches, only fit for the year One. What is the being distinguished as one of the crack riders of the county, to being distinguished by fair Ellen, after two days' acquaintance, as “ the only one she ever truly loved !” Blessings on the railroad that brought him to Elysium! The farm to which he is heir is spurned : the member for whom his father votes is solicited to use his interest : some minor situation is got, and young Hopeful fancying himself a perfect London gentleman, becomes a thorough London scamp.
Gradually this facility of conveyance will rob the country of half its inhabitants-that is, those in the middle classes of life. The man of a few hundreds a year kept his two or three horses ; these probably hacked, hunted, and one or each occasionally drew his gig: his family might come to London for a few days once a year (probably less frequently): this was just to see a play or two, or the fashions ; but the sojourn was not long enough to form London connections, or wean them from pursuits that habit had rendered congenial to their tastes ; and after a very few nights of dissipation and late hours, they all longed to return to a home dear to their recollection and affections. The family, though not one of pretensions, were, in their own village and the country around them, known and respected ; were recognized as one of the combining links of that chain which reaches from the peasant to the peer; and as the last-mentioned part of it benefited (or at least onght to have done so) the surrounding country by a proper and liberal distribution of his large means, so in a proportionate degree the family of smaller means were hailed as benefactors by those to whom what