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Saturday, April 11th.-Io! Paan! Io! Triomphe -this has been a "day of days !" Verily I will mark it with a "white stone" in the tablet of my memory! The disappointments of the week have been amply compensated. "A change came o'er the spirit of my dream," as "mine host announced at my door the glad tidings that it rained! and I heard "the shower singing in the wind!"-The meet to-day, with the "Fife," was at Paris House, twelve miles south of the "Fair City," in their own country; and it is scarcely necessary to add that we were not "last in the throng "-in fact, so anxious were we to be "doing," that we arrived before the hounds. To us this day was allotted a brown nag, named " Jumping Jack," and a prime bit of stuff he was. Major Hall and Mr. Cobb, son of Sir E. Cobb, were equally well mounted from the same stable. The Major is a trump, and can go well across country. Mr. Cobb generally contrives to lose himself most days, and is a great favorite with Mrs. Ritchie, as (she said) he always takes her horses home as fresh as when they start in the morning. Among the host assembled were, Lords Rothes and Paget; the Honorables William Drummond, Rollo, and Murray; the two Masters of the packs; Sir John Mackenzie; Captains Teasdale, Cheape, and Maitland; Mr. Athol Murray Macgregor; Mr. Paterson the younger, of Carpo; Mr. Halket, from Fife; Mr. Chalmers, from Perth, mounted on a splendid bay from Sir William Drummond Stewart's stable, &c. We had eighteen couple out to-day, and Walker was all cock-a-hoop for a find. Now, Muster BRUSHWOOD," said he, "if we do but get a raal varmint up, you shall see what my beauties can do: the weather is rather stormy; but no matter: let us find, that's all!"
The word "Forward!" was now given, and off we trotted to a small gorse, but finding it all cut up, our Chief did not think it worth drawing. We then bent our way to the Edinburgh and Perth road, and on for some belts of planting on the south-east side of the road, then over the hill to a glen, in which the hounds had not been above a minute, when a challenge was heard, and in a moment reynard was up the opposite side of the bank, making over the hill for Glen Farg, the lads in black and white following at a merry pace in his rear. Most of the Field got down the hill above the Inn at Glen Farg; and just as the hounds were crossing the road for the west side of the Farg, we came in close at their tail; and though there was not a burning scent, the pace was rather severe. Reynard kept the west side of the glen, along the top of the bank, the greater part of the Field taking down the road, by which means they headed the fox twice. Here, thinking he was off for the east, Mr. Grant charged a high wall, and we followed, together with Mr. A. M. Macgregor. We got with some difficulty down the bank and into the Edinburgh road, but the fox having been headed, the hounds doubled back, and we were thrown out for the remainder of this short burst (for before we could gain the high ground the varmint was run to ground), and this was the case with at least a dozen others. A council of war was now held, and spades were sent for to dig him out, but Mr. Grant begged his life, and he was left in his retreat for another scurry, although Walker's mouth watered to have a taste.
VOL. XXI.-Second Series.-No. 121.
The mist had now settled down upon the mountains, and, being a stranger to this part of the country, we kept our eye steadily on the huntsman, who jogged on towards the south-east, and drew a finelooking gorse blank. Away to some other belts of plantings, and no better success. At length the mist partially cleared off, and from the side of the hill we got a sight of Abernethy, situated near the confluence of the Earn with the Tay, about seven miles from Perth. This place is connected with the early history of Scotland: its name is derived from "Obair Neachtain," (the "work of Nathan,") a Pictish King, A. C. 456, and who constituted this town the capital of his dominions. It would seem formerly to have been a convivial sort of place, as we may judge from the following popular rhythm :
"Grace and peace cam by Collace
And by the doors o Dron,
But the caup and stoup o' Abernethy
The hounds had been drawing a very thick gorse for five or six minutes at the bottom of the hill, and not a challenge. We were about to give it up as a blank, when Walker, not being satisfied, and well knowing that hounds will sometimes skirt very strong gorse, dismounted, and encouraged them in. They soon began to feather, and presently old Pilot struck a true note, and had a welcome cheer from his master. Most of the Field had gone round for the east part of the gorse, but we luckily remained with Walker, who was speedily in the saddle, and in a few minutes the fox broke away from the west end. “Hold hard!” said Walker to the few around him, “and we shall have a good thing." Cheering his hounds, they were soon out of the gorse, and went off at an awful pace, reynard putting his head up the glen, and through a young fir planting; then turned to the left, and faced the hill in an easterly direction. On gaining the summit, we found a fine open country, and had as splendid a burst of twelve miles as "mortal man e'er saw." A short check luckily ensued: we say "luckily," for bellows to mend was the "order of the run." We must admit that the pace had been so severe up to this check that we had been obliged to drop back to the middle of the foray; the only consolation being that there were twice as many more behind as before us.
We soon got to work again, the hounds going at railroad speed, and a few miles further on we passed Sir John Mackenzie (who up to this period had held a prominent place in the front rank), completely done up. Another check ensued at Haddon Hill farm, and a fortunate occurrence it was for the Field, most of the horses of those up being all but "who-whoop." Walker, however, determined not to be beaten, made a most admirable cast back to a long drain on the farm, and his gallant pack challenged in a moment. The run to this time had occupied exactly one hour and three minutes; and so distressed were the horses, that, on quitting our saddles, there was no fear of their making their escape, unless the stable-door had stood invitingly open. Mr. Grant now came up, and expressed his gratification to have had thus far so brilliant a run to close the season: it was decidedly
the best he had hitherto experienced. The owner of the farm now made his appearance, and some of his men set to work to dig Mr. Reynard out; and as Walker had expressed his determination to blood his hounds, and eat him "then and there," most of the Perth Gentlemen turned towards home, being upwards of three miles from Newburgh. We, however, resolved to pay due respect to the obsequies of this gallant fox, doomed, we thought rather unfairly, to so ignominious an end after his gallant bearing.
After an hour spent in opening different parts of the drain, we at last got a sight of the varmint, and Jack Jones, first Whip, descended with the intention of seizing him by his brush, and throwing him to the hounds. This, however, was easier imagined than executed; for the stanch fellow shewed his ivories to Jack, and made a sudden bolt into the middle of the hounds, foot-men, horses, and horsemen, most miraculously escaping being chopped. Off he was over the next field, the pack within a yard of his brush, and so assured was Walker that he could not escape their fangs, that he followed on foot, but was soon glad to mount his horse. Our nag by this delay had got second wind, as they say in the "Ring," and we rejoiced at the prospect of another scurry. After crossing the first field in full view, reynard turned sharp to the left, and passed through a hollow so suddenly that the hounds dashed forward for a short distance, but, though pressed hard by the Field, they turned sharp round, and hit off the scent in a most admirable manner: "Oh! 'twas a beautiful sight for to see.' Reynard, who lost no time in taking advantage of the lucky moment, went off over much the same line of country he had come, facing the open and hill as if newly found. We followed for a couple of miles to the top of the hill, when our nag again cried "Enough!" and we were fairly at a stand still. We dismounted, and could only look and long for a second horse. We scanned the country round, and had a pleasant view of the merry pack scudding in full sail after their game fully a mile before us. On topping the hill in the distance, however, we perceived the hounds come to a sudden check, and in an instant after, whilst Walker was casting a portion of them forward over the brow, eight couple and a half doubled round, running back almost in a straight line towards our "place of rest." They, however, came to a check in a ploughed field, where some men were at work; and, doubting not that the hounds who had thus run heel were right in their "judgment," we cast our eyes in all directions in the hope of espying the varmint. Presently we discovered him crossing a piece of wheat below us, and there being a jump still in our bit of brown, we were soon in the saddle, and crossing the wall, got within hearing of the hounds, which had made two or three beautiful casts by themselves over the plough, but unsuccessfully; and just as they were about to turn back to seek their master, we gave the "Death Halloo!" which brought the beauties around us. Although we never had any pretensions to "command" in the field, yet we knew enough of the "noble science" to officiate as an humble imitator of the master-spirits, and having got them into the wheat, they hit off the scent, and away we went at a pretty good pace after our quarry, who was making his way back as well as he could to the drain whence he so recently bolted.
The hounds, however, were rather too quick, and ran in to him within three yards of his anticipated sanctuary. We popped off his brush and head as trophies of our success, and his body was speedily embowelled by his stanch pursuers, who so well deserved it. In ten minutes after, Joe, second Whip, came up, and we bent our way towards Coupar, where we found the Master, the huntsman, and the very select few who lived through the run. We threw the head of this game animal among the other nine and a half couple, that they might have a smell of the last fox for the season.
Thus closed the " doings" of the Fife hounds for 1839-40-a season which will long be remembered by many for general good sport, particularly this glorious finale. They killed 28 brace of foxes, besides running a great many to ground.
After recruiting ourself at a small public, and giving our nag quantum suff. of gruel, with a quart of the very best Sir John Barleycorn intermixed, we jogged on leisurely, and got to Perth by 8 P. M. Here we found Sir John Mackenzie's nag in a very sober state, where he will doubtless remain some days to recruit his exhausted powers. Sir John himself was obliged to trudge on foot a distance of fifteen miles. An excellent appetite gave a zest to a good tuck-out, and after an extra tumbler of stiff toddy, we bundled into the mail, and found ourself on Sunday, at 3-30 A. M., at our domicile on the Banks of the Pow. This spell was been harder work than the run, and you must wait for the conclusion with the Perthshire till next month.
April 15th, 1840.
Engraved by J. H. ENGLEHEART from a Painting by F. C. Turner.
THE Magpie is a most notorious thief, and a far greater poacher than the fox, the latter being much belied as to his marauding propensities. It is true he will occasionally bear off the "speckled hen and her tender brood," but this is generally when he is driven by hunger to the barn-door or poultry-house, as it is well known the wild rabbit is his favorite food. Mag, however, not only carries off the duckling, gosling, chick, partridge, and pheasant, but he pilfers every nest he can find, not being very nice whether the egg be new-laid or whether it contain an embryo starting into life. In the plate, two of these poachers are represented on the point of entering into fierce combat for the contents of a partridge-nest, which one had discovered, when he was interrupted in his enjoyment by a second arriving to participate in the luxury. Their loud chattering brought a third to the arena, who slyly looks on, awaiting the result of the battle. The group seem to stand in the position of two boys quarrelling for an oyster, and calling on a third to decide to whom it of right belongs, when the umpire deliberately opens and swallows the fish, giving to each of the disputants a shell! So Mag the Third appears ready to pounce on the prize as soon as the belligerents get to loggerheads. Unfortunately for the trio, "a gunner chanced to pass that way," and they all fell
victims to his unerring aim and their gormandising appetites, the excitement of the contention depriving them of their customary foresight. Our Artist was present when the "deed was done," and, deeming it an unuusual occurrence, transferred the preliminary scene to canvas, which the Engraver has as naturally conveyed to steel.
CHAPTERS ON THE HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH TURF,
FROM ITS EARLIEST COMMENCEMENT TO THE PRESENT TIME.
Childers superior to every Horse in the World barring Eclipse-his description, color generally erroneously stated-always on the Turf-his Pedigree, strictly Oriental, very closely bredthe Darley Arabian-Stubbs's Print of Childers-his public performances few-those against time compared with other later horses-utmost speed for a mile of any horse on the English Turf-Increase in pace during a certain period-Speed of the American Eclipse-Childers as a Stallion-his descendants few in number-Bartlett's Childers.
It is our intention to devote the present Chapter entirely to the history of that extraordinary animal the Flying (or Devonshire) Childers, commonly supposed to have been the speediest and best racer that ever went on four pasterns." This is a proposition that we cannot absolutely verify, but we may fairly assert it to be one which is very nearly demonstrable, for, with the single exception of Eclipse, we can shew that he was faster and better than any horse that ever started in Great Britain; and as the English race-horse has always beaten in every climate with the greatest possible ease horses of every other breed, it follows that one of the first places in the first class of horses must be assigned to him. With respect to the priority of place between Childers and Eclipse in point of speed, we think it impossible to decide between their respective claims for this the Championship of the Turf; and for this opinion we shall give our reasons hereafter.
We are informed in the old Turf Registers that Childers was a chesnut horse, something exceeding fifteen hands high, with "a part white on his nose, and four white legs." To one portion of this description we must beg leave to object, as he was certainly a bay, not a chesnut horse: our evidence for this assertion is, we think, indisputable, being his original portrait at Chatsworth, taken from the life, and we may add as large as life. From this picture it appears that Childers was a bay not much above fifteen hands, with four white feet and fetlocks, with a portion of the leg of the same, to fastidious eyes, objectionable color. He had also a large white "snip," as such marks are usually termed, on his nose; not a 66 blaze," nor a 66 ratch," which signify, the one a broad, the other a narrow streak along the front of horses; not a star, which is a single roundish spot on the centre; but, in fact, a not very dissimilar spot to the latter, only situated upon the point of the nose.
We are informed that he was bred by Mr. Childers, of Carr House, very nearly adjoining the splendid race-course of Doncaster, and sold