N.Y.) National Temperance Society (New York.

Baily's Magazine of sports and pastimes, Volume 9 online

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the fences feir jumps. At the same time the ground required the horses
to be quick, well-trained hunters, and the riders to have hand and

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1865.] THE GRAND NATIONAL HUNT STEEPLE-CHASES. 343

eyes. Many a stanch fox-hunter, who objected to steeple-chasing,
on this occasion felt it his duty to subscribe towards this meeting.
Many a man who had persuaded himself he would not care to see
another steeple-chase, talked of Beecher on Vivian, the boy Jem
Mason on The Poet ; Mr. Heycock on Flazirow 5 * The Marquis '
on Yellow Dwarf, &c., answered to the crack of the whip, was
refreshed with youthful feelings, and was almost inclined to ride him-
self. The Master of the Bramham Moor hounds, who lectures
furiously against steeple-chasing, and professes a horror of what
he calls * long-tailed, long-legged brutes, sent out to kick a hound
^ and qualify,' was seen m the frost looking over the ground, and
helping Mr. Angell, who took great pains about the getting-up of
the races, and was to arrange a grand stand ; and the entrance for
carriages and the gateway to be made pleasant for him to screw his
team through, without taking the bark oiF.

Wetherby, strangers to Bradshaw should know, is situated
on the river Wharf, half-way between Boroughbridge and Ferry-
bridge, the line of the famous Old North Road. It is a small
town, now only busy once a week — market-day. In days of
yore, at this season of the year it was not so dull. Families were
going up for the meeting of Parliament and the London Season.
A group of idlers stood under the arch of the old inn — two or three
post-boys, in top-boots and white cords, on the look-out. Suddenly
they hear ^ Smack smack ! click clack !' and up comes a chariot and
four — horses steaming, wheelers and carriage spattered with mud.
Landlord bows at thie door : * Please to alight, sir ?' — * No, thankee,

* I'm in a hurry/ ' First turn-out, boys ! Fours out to Ferrybridge !*
roars the oitler. Down jumps from the dickey a hard-looking ser-
vant, hat in oilskin case, strong top-coat and overalls ; a man who
can grease a wheel, mend a trace, or fight a highwayman. How dif-
erent from the gentleman's gentleman of this day, who is more indo-
lent, better dressed, and often a weaker man than his master ! * Useful

* man ' pays the boys, by order, ten shillings each, and the bill for
horses just putting to. * Much going on on the road ?' says the
traveller. — * Yes, sir ; pretty busy. The Marquis of Q. went up

* yesterday : we expect the Duke from Raby to-morrow.* * All

* right, boys ! Osses and gates all paid : make the best ofyour way !*
croaks out the ostler ; and away flies the chariot to Ferrybridge.

* That's a real gen'lman !' say the two muddy post-boys ; and, with
the husky ostler, they waddle down the yard to * the Tap.* Then
came the * Down ' mail, tearing along ; old Jack Compston's face
beaming with good-nature, gin, and ale. He was a cheery old boy ;
thought all barmaids beautiful, and all men who ^ rode outside,' paid
him well, and gave him cigars, first-rate fellows. TiD very lately,
the last old post-boy, with very short legs and verjr short arms,
stood under the arch at the old inn. He, 1 think, quietly crumbled
away. The other day I thought I saw, under a shed at the bottom
of the yard, where the body of an old * yellow bounder' is used for a
hen-roost, one of his old legs. I may have been wron?^!:^I may

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344 ^^ BELLS. [^^7)

have recalled to those who were on the move twenty or thirty years
ago, pleasing recollections.

Wetherby is now known to few persons. It is to be found in
Bradshaw, half-way between Church r enton and Harrogate. Instead
of the Glasgow mail-coach guard's lively ^ Twang twang twang
* tiddy,' you may hear the railway-guard blow a whistle, as if he
wished to attract the attention of a blunder-headed pointer. Times
change : Wetherby is alive again. The G. N. H. Steeple-chases
are to be run over the old course — the scene of Jack Broadley's
victories on Jacob Faithful, Israelite, Autocrat, and other horses
that belonged to the late Alexander Brown, known at Oxford as
^Little Brown of Brazenose.' Mr. Crossley, the innkeeper, and
editor of the Wetherby newspaper, was most anxious to provide for
all comers ; is full of go ; and, though a shy man, would have
undertaken to ride in ^ the Race * for anybody. It was his inten-
tion to offer himself as a candidate for Knaresborou^h at the next
election : he is a fast-going, high-stepping Conservative — one who
would have jumped on the coach with ^ Malt Tax.' His return
would have caused great fun and satisfaction.



BOW BELLS.

There are many qualities required to constitute a thorough sportsman ;
and of the numbers who follow hounds there are very few indeed
who deserve the name. To observe, much more to appreciate, the
beauties of the chase, the sportsman must have been brought up
amid rural scenes, and have studied in nature's school. He can
only have acquired a real knowledge of the craft by having passed
an apprenticeship in his boyhood ; by having hunted the badger with
terriers, the rabbit with spaniels, and the hare with beagles. To
such a one the run of a fox, the incidents of the chase, and every-
thing connected with hunting, are as matters of instinct.*

It lis strange, but nevertheless it is not the less true, that a
Londoner is almost invariably fond of sport. From the millionaire
of Lombard Street, with his hunters, his game preserves, and his
deer-forest, down to the Spitalfields weaver with his bull-terrier and
his carrier pigeons, — ^the same spirit pervades them all. But, from
his having taken to the sport somewhat later in life than his country
cousin, and consequently from the want of that early training, the
Londoner can never be quite 'up to pattern' as a sportsman.
Many a Cockney, though, is a thorough good fellow ; and you may
rely upon it that any person who is so illiberal as to sneer at him is
not a real sportsman himself. Our friend Walter Barbican is a fair
sample of the class. At an early age he was taken from a public
school and placed in his uncle's counting-house in the City. The
change, from the fresh air of the crickec-ground and the foot-ball
field, to the murl^ atmosphere of Cockaigne, was tiying ; and the
hours — from nine m the morning \o five in the evening, with holidays



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1865.1 BOW BELLS. 345

but few and far between — at first were irksome. But Walter was
resolved to do his duty and stick to his work ; and his is not a
character that is easily turned from its purpose. However, he took
every opportunity — and that was generally before cockcrow — ^to pay
a visit to Paddy Jackson's hunting-grounds. There he learned to
put his horse well at a fence, to throw his heart over before him,
and to sit well back upon landing. He was possessed of the fresh
unshaken nerves of youth j and even ' the Black Ditch * — that
favourite spot for the spectators in a steeple-chase — had no terrors
for him. Paddy Jackson was the instructor of many a good horse-
man — but, perhaps, of not all those he took the credit of.

On one occasion some wags took Tom Oliver to the hunting-
grounds, and, as he was a stranger to Jackson, they requested the
latter to give Tom a lesson in riding. Paddy was so pleased with
the rapid progress of his pupil, that he told Oliver that ^ after a few
' more lessons he should not be afraid to take him out with the

* harriers.'

Walter's next step upon the sporting ladder was in getting an
occasional day upon one of Tilbuty's hack-hunters, when the Kin?' s
staghounds met at Hayes or at Uxbridge Common. Mr. Charles
Davis was then in his prime ; and his elegant seat and fine hands, as
he went slipping along upon The Hermit or Columbine, were a
study for the young sportsman. A gentleman asked Mr. Davis one
day, what he thought of the Iron Duke bit ' Pray what is it ?'
said Mr. Davis. ^ Oh, a bit for hard-mouthed, pulling horses.' ^ I

* don't ride such animals,' was the ready reply. There would be
still fewer such animals if there were more light hands such as those
of Mr. Charles Davis. The horse-dealer can sell his customer a
horse, but he cannot sell him hands to ride him.

In those days, with the Royal hounds also might be seen Bill
Bean, crowding all sail, and squeezing his horse through places that
appeared almost impracticable. He did not require to have them
cut and clean; Altogether it was not a bad school for a beginner :
one in which Colonel Standen, Colonel Vyse, and a host of other
good men graduated. Barbican has now become master of his own
time and his own actions. Unlike so many of the present day, who
are blase and surfeited of all enjoyment almost before they have
arrived at manhood, he retains the buoyant spirits of his younger days,
and is as keen as mustard. Thrice a week throughout the season
does he dress and breakfast by candle-light, and go down sixty miles
by train to hunt ; and he is as eager for sport at four o'clock in the
afternoon as he was at eleven in the morning. But although our
worthy citizen has learned to ride straight to hounds, and, moreover,
not to do much mischief, he has never become a hound-man.
Whisper it gentlv, for nothing would vex our excellent friend so
much as to have it proclaimed aloud ; but from the force of circum-
stances it could scarcely be otherwise ; and the fact is that he is not
a hound-man. The only one that he knows, in the pack that he
chiefly hunts with, is Piper, an old badger-pied hound tlmt no one

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346 BOW BEtLS. [Mayo

can help knowing i and he can recognize Rosamond if he sees her
near-side, but on the oflT-side she is marked differently. He takes no
notice whether Furrier or Fancy make a hit, or what bounds do the
work; so long as some of them do it he is quite satisfied. His
account of a run is chiefly a recital of his own deeds, and the hounds
play a very subordinate part in it. Hark to him : — ' We went

* straight over all that magnificent Helmsthorp country. I got a

* rattling good start, and very soon there were only Jem Carpenter,
^ Lord Kobyn, Craddock, and myself anywhere near 'em. Hosier

* says he was, does he ? — he wasn't anywhere near. I don't know

* whether you know it, but under Leavesden there is a thundering

* nasty bottom. Carpenter had it first That was a monstrous nice
^ voung horse that Jem was on, and can jump alarming, but I doubt
^ ois being up to my weight. Well, Lord Robyn plumbs right into

* it, and we saw no more of him until after the thing was over, when

* he came up covered from head to foot with mud. I took old

* Crusader tight by the head and he flew it like ^ bird, with a good

* yard to spare. Well, when we got into the lane that leads to

* Crauford Hall, Carpenter nips out as quick as thought Craddock
^ turned down the lane to the left to a gate — ^the fact was his horse

< was dead coopered. Old Crusader was as fresh as paint ; but,

* like a fool, I followed him, and of course, when we got to the gate,
^ it was done up. Craddock was some time getting it off its hinges,

* and, as bad luck would have it, the hounds kept bearing to the
^ right, and let in a whole lot of fellows before us who had not gone

* a yard. Then there came some beastly sticky ploughs, and I rather
^ blew the old horse trying to catch 'em. I didn't see just the end
^ part, but they never really ran after that, and they killed him some-
^ where near Sweetly village. ^ Oh ! it was a splendid day's sport !
^ I never saw so many dirty coats in my life : the fellows rolled
^ about like ninepins : I saw three loose horses at one time.' So
Barbican returns to town in the train, thoroughly satisfied with
himself, his horse, and the whole world.

How differently the same scenes present themselves to different
minds I The account that was given by the Master of the Hounds
to a friend, of the same run, was as follows : — ^ Yes, we had a
^ capital day's sport yesterday. I wish you had been with us ; you
*' would have liked it I could tell fi-om the way of the hounds that
^ we were going to have a scent ; but we had such a disorderly field

< out — fellows riding like so many madmen — ^that, at first, I was
' afraid they would have spoilt it. One of them rode over poor
' Primrose and lamed her, so that she will not be able to come out

* again this season. Fortunately Leavesden bottom stopped 'em —
' the hard riders wouldn't have it where my hounds got over ; this
' gave 'em a chance ; and when they were once fairly settled, you

* know, I didn't care — there was no over-riding them then. The

* fox went straight up-wind, no doubt meaning the big woods ; but

* when he got to Crauford Hall lane, they were so close at him that
' he was obliged to turn down wind. They didn't overrun it a yard.



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1865.] BOW BELLS. 347

* Just beyond the lane there is a goodish bit of plough, which carried,

* and that brought them to their noses, but nothing like a check.

* Oh, they hunted it beautifully ! I wish you had been there to see

* 'cm — they hunted for all the world just like a pack of beagles. As
^ soon as they got on to the grass again, they set-to to run as hard as

* ever. The hounds had it all to themiselves, and no one to interfere

* with them all the way to Sweetly, where they ran slick into him,

* right in the enemy's country,* The enemy, in this instance, is the
Master's particular friend. Lord Plutus. He and our master stay at
each other's houses, hunt with each other's hounds, assist each other
in the way of breeding hounds, and in every respect are most
neighbourly i but they hunt adjoining countries.

Our friend Barbican subscribes liberally to the hounds, pays his
subscription punctually, and never interferes in the management. It
is only right and proper that those who share in the sport should
contribute to its support ; and in that respect the Cockneys do their
duty right loyally. Two packs of hounds, within reach of the
metropolis, are supported entirely by the Londoners; whilst the
banking accounts of the masters of six other packs would cut a sorry
figure without the subscriptions of the Cockney sportsmen. It would
be diiEcult to find, in the whole world, a more liberal, openhanded
man than Walter Barbican. When Mrs. Sprii^gfield, of the Wood-
lands Farm, where there was a vixen and {cubs laid up, lost her
chickens, it was Mr. Barbican who presented ^her with that hand-
some silk gown, which has ever since been the envy and admiration
of the whole parish. When Trotter's farm, which he keeps as neat
as a garden, was ridden over upon the breaking up of the frost, and
cut up by a lot of thrusting scoundrels, it was Barbican who sent
him a hamper of wine. When young Cit)sbie, the clergyman's
soHt at home for the Christmas holidays, had lamed his nag. Bar-
bican mounted him upon that beautiful chesnut which he had given
Jem Carpenter two hundred guineas for. It was as good as a play
to watch Carpenter fidget in his saddle as he saw the high-spirited
animal, being driven half mad by Crosbie's heavy hand, go rushing
all sideways at its fences. But Jem knew it was no use saying any-
thing, as Barbican would rather have had the horse's mouth spoiled
for ever so long, than miss the opportunity of doing a good-natured
act In any troublesome business, the master of the hounds knows
that he may always depend upon Barbican's aid ; for our friend does
not admit the word trouble into his vocabulary upon such occasions.
He is always jolly and good-tempered, with a laugh and joke for
everybody ; and all, from the duke down to the lad that rides the
huntsman's second horse, welcome his presence in the hunting-field.
With so many genial qualities to recommend him^ we feel assured
that the readers of ^ Baily ' will put prejudice aside, and will pause, in
future, 'before they look down upon a brother-sportsman, merely
because his lot happens to be cast within the sound of Bow Bells.



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348 PUNCHESTOWN RACES. [May,

PUNCHESTOWN RACES.

Reader, have you been to Ireland ? Yes — ^but were you ever at
Punchestown races ? No ; what ! never assisted at those Olympic
Games which are now of as great interest to the Saxon as to the Celt !
Well, then, jump up at once into my ' cyar,' for lifi? is short, and we
should make the visit pleasant while it lasts. Don't look suspiciously
at the equipaee. Tis true we are already five on the car, besides
the driver, and the distance is seventeen miles (equal to twenty-three
English) i but our Jehu is a son of Nimshi, and he assures me his
horse is a ^ flipphant shteppher and a powerful draught.' True, he
is but 15 hands high ; but he'll trot us down in 2*40, and back again
probably in less, for whatever refreshment he may get on the
course. * Pat,' to-day, ' will not brew his potheen shtxpng of the
whater !' Every horse in Dublin for the next forty-eight hours will be
called into requisition. There will be no funerals to-day or to-morrow,
and all the long-tailed blacks will be drawing a live cargo, suggestive
rather of * eat, drink and be merry,' than of' to-morrow we die.'

The road is not interesting ; but if it were, I would not bore you
by describing it. I have not the pen of Robins, who once urged
that the only objection to the villa he was submitting to the public,
was, ' the litter of the rose-leaves and the noise of the nightingales ;'
neither can I compete with the established Dublin Guide Book,
which, in describing Maritimo, observes, somewhat Herbenice^ that

* Here you will see the magnificent bridge which Lord Clancarty iJi//jf//x
' to build.' Fortunately, if there is little to see, there is no dust to
swallow, for Jupiter Pluvius had had the main turned on for the last
forty-eight hours, and has onlv just put up the hose. It is now as
gaudy a day as any ' Woman in Mauve,' or any Gentleman Jack in his
new silken jacket, can wish to see -, and now we are fairly off, let me
offer you a mild havannah. I no sooner dive into my pocket than Pat
half turns in his seat and inquires, ' Is your honour looking for thim

* three shilling ye owe me sence last year ; and 'tis glad I shall be to
' see them.' ' Why, you rascal,' answer I, pulling out my cigar
case instead of my purse, * I never was in Dublin before in my life.'
' Arrah, now,' replies he, ^ don't make a fool of your hand, but put
^it back for the crown; long life to yer honour! and I knew ye

* wouldn't like to die in my debt.' Then, flicking with his whip at
the tight stocking of ' a boy,' who lies asleep in the footpath, he
shouts, * Git out of the way, ye spalpeen ; git up out of that, and pay

* tuppence for yer bed !' and so we jog merrily on, the incidents of
the road being much the same as those in England on the Derby day,
except that there is far more humour and fun. One thing strikes
me forcibly in our mode of locomotion, which Sir Francis Head
described as * travelling edgeways.' It is, that the Irish jaunting car,
though apparently safe enough, is evidently considered a precarious
conveyance, when ladies are concerned ; at least there always seems
to me to be a brawny arm round every waist, merely, of course, to
steady the Colleen Bawn in any unexpected lurch. No doubt the



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1865.] PUNCHESTOWN RACES. 349

practice has its advantages, and prevents a present fall ; but I think
it may also accelerate a future one I And now we are arrived, let
us look at the varied panorama. Away there, on two different parts
of the course, are two black spots, teeming with life. I inquire
what is the attraction. ' Shure, the one is the wall, and the tother's

* the double, and yc'll find a dochthor at each, in case of a purty
^fall.' I mentally resolved to walk that hospital, and to go down^
later to fraternise with * theim docthors ;' but, in the meantime, let us
look round and inspect the bipeds before we examine the quadrupeds.
As I alight from the car, and walk up tbwards the stand. Lord
Clanricarde canters by and nods to Lord Conyngham and Mr. Cal-
thorpe, who are inspecting the horses .in the saddling paddock.
Here, too, are the Marquises of Downshire and of Drogheda, the
Earls of Howth, Charlemont, and Annesley, also Lords Naas,
Earlsford, Loughborough, and Dunkellin. Corry Conellan is telling
a story un peu dicoUetee^ to Bernal Osborne, who looks bashful and
shocked : while, flitting about from'side to side and from post to post,
is Lord St. Lawrence, to whose indefatigable exertions, as well as to
the fairness of whose handicaps the public is mainly indebted for the
increased and increasing success of the Punchestown Meeting.
This year the money given to be run for amounts to 1760/. Out-
side the rail of the enclosure, on two horses of Magraine's, sit Lord
Combermere and Sir Watkin Wynn, proving their beasts. They
are talking to Allan McDonogh, formerly one of the best riders in
the United Kingdom, but now a trainer on the Curragh of Kildarc.
He is lounging on a black charger, and

* With heel insidiously applied,
Provokes the caper which he seems to chide.'

He is evidently baiting the trap for any stray Life Guardsman,
having (as was said of his brother) a head that would wear out two
pair of legs.

I pass on into the Stand, and find myself saying five hundred times,

* How d*ye do' (not that 1 care how you are, but how are you), till
I am brought up suddenly by the hearty welcome of one, who evi-
dently thinks I shall warmly say the former and not feel the latter.
Having no recollection of my friend, I look at him doubtfully, on
which he explains the mystery of our non-acquaintance by saying,

* Bedad, I thought it was you, but I now see it's yer brother.' Find-
ing the Stand inconveniently full, and that a golden key will act as
an ^ open sesame ' to a reserved stand, I invest another sovereign.
Would it had been two, rather than not have been surrounded by so
many pretty women, as were here assembled in that small space —

* Their eyes like mayteores.
Their parfect phaytures.
Which aisy bate yours.

Venus— that's thrue —
With swate sensashuns
And palpitashunsy
And susperashunsy

Qwitc thrilled me through/



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350 PUNCHESTOWN RACES. [May,

A sanctum sanctorum was railed off for the Lord Lieutenant, her
Excellency, and suite; and already he has gained for himself the good
will of all by bis earnest application to business, as has also Lady
Wodehouse by her urbanity and courtesy : it is a pleasure to cv«y
one to see bow heartily they enter into the excitement of the day.

But the saddling-bell has rung, so let us go into the enclosure to
see the horses parade. It is the Hunt Plate, and the only race of
the day ridden by professionals. As I sund admiring Martha, fault-
less in shape, and perfect in action, I overhear the following inauiry :

' Yeve ridden my horse, Meary ; what sort of a mount is it r

' Well, I'm thinking Pve ridden better : takes six men to hould
' him, and can't carry a boy I Besides, he's the manners of a rhabbit :
' he's allys going to ground.'

This piece of information appears to be received with great appa-
rent relish, as being rather a subject of congratulation than other-
wise. It is the short course, only two miles and a half, so that
they go a cracker throughout! My pet mare Martha falls a * buster'
at the double, and Noonan gets a purty fall, the saddle being entirely
curled up like a music-roll : but there is no harm done, and Mona-
han wins, with Goldfinder's hands down.

The next race is the Champion Stakes, of 400/., added to a
sweepstakes of 5/. each, for which there are twenty-six acceptances.
Mr. Calthorpe's horse. Mount Giffard, is the favourite with the
English party, in consequence of his late performances — having won
the Bellesden Coplow a fortnight ago at Croxton Park, and run
second in the Grand National at Wetherby, where it was generally
said he would have won had he been made more use of in the race.
Lord George and Cooksboro' have many supporters, though their
sadly jaded and over-trained appearance make me at once reject
them as candidates for first honours j Montpelier is also in de-
mand, from his performances on this course last year j and a four-
year old, Garotter, by Ivan, is also looked on as a good dark horse.
A few of those who hunt regularly with the Kildare hounds, and
have been daily cut down by Mr. G. Knox on Hard Times, in-
sinuate he will prove an ugly customer ; but the state of his joints,
combined with the information that he had been bought by hts



Online LibraryN.Y.) National Temperance Society (New YorkBaily's Magazine of sports and pastimes, Volume 9 → online text (page 47 of 51)