Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

M. Sue says,

informed by Mr. Coke, of Longford, a descendant of the donor, " that in the year 1736 his ancestor made a present of his whole stud to Lord Godolphin"-the stud in qnestion containing the Arabian and Hobgoblin, besides Läth, then four, and Cade two years old; others there doubtless were unknown to us. Though I have no doubt this is the true statement of the facts, yet Mr. Roger Williams might have been an agent of Mr. Coke in the purchase of the Arabian-might even have sold him to that Gentleman ; but he could, I think, never have had the Godolphin Arabian given to him by Mr. Coke. Mr. Coke of Longford's personal recollection must have extended to within thirty years of the time, and it is very improbable that he was misinformed about the matter.

“ that from his shape and substance it was evident that the Arab could perform a lengthened course without difficulty, and that his speed was prodigious ; add to which his uncommon beauty.” His picture shews that he was very ugly ; and from it one would be apt to suppose that he was not likely to have been useful as a hackney or charger, much less as a racer ; for, though evidently in certain parts of his person exhibiting great strength and power, he appears to have stood over his knees to the degree of deformity, and his neck was preposterously large: his back, too, fallen with age, certainly presents as ugly a representation of horseflesh as ever bothered an artist. It is therefore probable, that, though an unsightly horse, he was of a very superior breed, and that having been stolen young, and therefore being accompanied by no attestation of his blood, he was little prized until his value was by chance discovered.

M. Eugene Sue ignorantly supposes him to have gone direct to Lord Godolphin, and describes his neglected state at Gogmagog when both he and his rival Hobgoblin were still in Mr. Coke's possession. M. Sue also describes the progeny of the latter horse as being at that time the crack of Newmarket. The fact is, that Hobgoblin ran in 1729, being then only five years old : he covered in 1730 and 1731, and was racing again successfully in 1732* ; and therefore here again M. Eugene Sue's information is at a discount. Further, we are told that Hobgoblin being in such repute, Lord Godolphin purchased Roxana, by Childers out of onica, in order to secure the best colts in the world to his own stud. Here again, however, he is unhappy, for Roxana was not by Childers out of Monica, but by The Bald Galloway, who was an English-bred horse, entirely of foreign blood, and her dam was own Sister to Chauntert, a famous horse, who was likewise purely and entirely of Oriental pedigree. She bore a colt called Roundhead to Childers in 17:33, and then, as by this time Lath was a yearling probably shewing great promise, she was again put to the Godolphin Arabian. In 1734 she produced her most celebrated son, Cade, and died when he was only ten days old ; hence his name. This was, however, two years before Mr. Coke presented his valuable stud to Lord Godolphin.

* Pick, in giving an account of his race with Frarnonght in this year, which he lost, describes him as Mr. Coko's. He won twice afterwards in that year.

† Chaunter was by the Acaster Turk, dam by the Leeds Arabian,

It
may

be as well to observe here, that Lord Godolphin was in partnership with Lord Chedworth in his racing engagements, as the latter Nobleman was also at another period with the Hon. Mr. Dutton. These partnerships were conducted with great spirit, and in particular I may mention that they purchased some capital mares and colts from a Mr. Robinson, of Easby, in Yorkshire. One of these mares, the noted “Grey Robinson,” was the dam of Regulus, bred by Lord Chedworth, and which horse is generally esteemed to have been the best of all the sons of the Godolphin Arabian, having never been beaten, or even put to any difficulty in winning any of his races.

The truly French most ridiculous story of the duel between Hohgoblin and the Arabian, as well as the fanciful picture of Newmarket in 1738, when the father-steed was brought out, bedizened in a most unlikely fashion, to see his three sons, all

the property of Lord Godolphin, win three great races on the same day—a sight the glory of which, had it really happened, he would not have particularly well understood—these tales are pure and unadulterated fiction. M. Eugene Sue here blunders at every step: Lath, he says, was then five, Cade four, and Regulus three years old: unluckily, however, Lath was then six years old, Cade never started until 1740; Regulus must have been indeed a very precocious colt, for he was not foaled until 1739; added to this, he never was in Lord Godolphin's stud at all, since, on the death of his breeder, Lord Chedworth (about 1744), he was sold, having then never started, to a Mr. Martindale, in whose possession he ever after remained.

We are then informed that it was in consequence of Lath's beating all the English-bred horses--confirming, as this superiority did, the excellence of the Arabian blood, as evinced by the produce of Mr. Darley's horse--that the Arabian cross came into fashion at Newmarket. The truth is, that from the reign of Charles the Second, none but horses bred from Oriental blood had any chance of winning in England : at the same time, the crosses effected in this country were gradually producing a larger, a speedier, and probably a better animal than the Eastern horse. For example, the degraded Hobgoblin, whom M. Eugene Sue makes the Hector to his four-footed Achilles, the ideal Scham of his narrative, was by Aleppo, son of the Darley Arabian, out of a mare by Hautboy. Hautboy was by one of the Darcy Turks out of a Royal Barbary mare.

The above dam of Aleppo was the property of Sir M. Pierson, and thorough-bred. Hobgoblin's dam also was purely of foreign blood, though for two or three generations in England. If it were worth while, I would undertake to prove that the English race-horse is in fact a new breed, formed by crossing various Oriental breeds together; and if there was any aboriginally English blood in the breed, it can no more be traced than three drops of Sherry in a glass of water. This, however, would be a new field, and would carry us off the scent of M. Eugene Sue; and I am anxious to finish my story, which is growing more lengthy than I at first intended.

The next matter which I have to notice is the affectionate and faithful attachment of the Godolphin's Arabian's cat to that celebrated father of the English Turf. Even this is garbled in a most unneces

care

sary manner; the truth being that the cat was comparatively a late acquaintance, and instead of preceding him to the tomb, as M. Sue has it, we are assured on much better authority, that after his death poor Puss never left his corpse, but sat upon it all the time it was in the act of being drawn to its grave under the archway at the Gogmagog stables, and, after having seen it covered up, went sorrowfully away, and was never again seen alive. She was found some few days afterwards dead in the hay-loft—thus affording a practical illustration of Mercutio's observation that 66 will kill a cat."

But there was one matter connected with the funeral with which it is much to be lamented that M. Sue was unacquainted, for there are few incidents in his fictitious narrative half so well suited to the talent for embellishment, such as it is, of which he appears to be possessed! How unfortunate is it, that his meagre gleanings of English racing lore did not impart to him the very important fact, that at the funeral cake and ale were given to all the good people who attended ! I do not perceive that there is any mention of this circumstance, which in his hands could scarcely have failed to have produced a valuable episode on the ceremonial observed at the obsequies of English racehorses.

I trust that what I have stated will bring my readers to the conclusion I have myself arrived at-that this is a new attempt in that

most disreputable walk of literature,” the editing of forged or fictitious memoirs, in which so many petits litérateurs have been employed since the peace, and by which so many French publishers have gulled the public. His predecessors having exhausted everything from a Prince Cardinal to a lacquey or chambermaid, M. Eugene Sue has dashed into a new line.—But the authentic history of the Godolphin Arabian is not altogether a matter without interest to English Sportsmen, and the readers of The SPORTING MAGAZINE have now before thern perhaps a more accurate account of his adventures than they have ever before had an opportunity of perusing.

CENTAUR. York, March 25, 1839.

JOURNAL OF THE SPORTS IN THE WEST.

March 31, 1839.

I will begin with the Eton extempore verse on the word brevitas—.

Si placeat brevitas hoc breve carmen habe.” My prose as to the life and sporting adventures of the month of March shall be brief. March was ushered into this world by the nurse Boreas and by Doctor Jack Frost. His first appearance was savage like unto a lion: he found himself in a cold berth, for Doctor Frost cruelly stirred him up with a long pole.

Monday, 4th.-Met Mr. Phillipps's hounds at Horse Bridge; cold East wind, with some frost.--Earthed a fox without sport--not a farthing's-worth of scent.

Thursday, 7th.--Mr. Phillipps at Chapman Well; the East wind was let out of the bag, and rules the weather with hard frost and some

snow. Found in Mr. Leache's plantation at Blagdon; could not hunt it at all: we must submit to the elements.

Friday, 8th.Home we go, midst frost and snow.

Tuesday, 12th.-Mr. Bulteel's hounds; Plym Bridge; East wind, with a little rain.-Unkennelled in Fancy Wood, and, after a long bit of the regularly wooden, killed. Found second fox near Saltram, but no scent.

Friday, 15th. - Mr. Bulteel at Ivybrige; Old Black-cap, that spirit of darkness and deceit, was brooding and lounging 'pon top of the moor hills, so moor-ward we did not go.—Got upon a moved fox near Lyneham, and ran him merrily and sometimes rapidly in circles for some time, and earthed him in Lyneham orchard.

Tuesday, 19th.-Mr. Bulteel's hounds; Lyneham.-Bright Phoebus had doffed his Macintosh, and was driving his bright bays at a blazing gallop. All right-go along, my Quicksilver; no doubt you are arter a fox-hunt. Unkennelled in Wixenford brake, and after a bit of a scurry, fox not having a big heart, he got into a drain in Saltram lawn: howbeit the canine police soon set him a-wagging from them there back-slums, and he made his lucky; but being a hole-and-corner sort of prig, he soon got into concealment again ; but the canines were down upon him, and he was soon up and going for sweet life. It would not do ; he was not vermin, and he was again at hide and seek in another back-slums: then the canine lawyers thought themselves cocksure of the swag : “ there is many a slip 'twixt cup and lip,” and Master Fox again gave them leg-bail, and after another desperate scurry, he got into Sawney Bean's crib—a cavern under Wixenford lime quarry, where the horse-lawyers, top-sawyers, and canine police held a torch-light meeting. Odds, Dickens ! what a groupe of characters at that meeting! We saw Mr. Pickwick, as amiable and benevolent as ever, and greatly improved in horsemanship : there was old Wardle smoking a cigar, and not liking the job at all ; with the fat boy grown into manhood and wide awake: the artful dodger was there, but he had exchanged his long coat for a shooting-jacket, and had his eye to business; whilst Charley Bates was laughing almost to splitting at a very beautiful specimen of the Claypole family, all ugliness. There were some of the Nickleby aristocraticals of the party. Sam Weller was not there, or he would have brought the affair to a better finish : as it was, it ended in smoke, and the felon escaped.

Friday, 22nd.-Met at Tolchmoor Gate; dry weather, but moist under foot; a steady scent.-Unkennelled near Peter Grey's house, and after a goodish run as to sport, earthed the fox in Torycomb tor, whence he was gained, a dog fox.

Tuesday, 26th.—Met at Yealmpton ; fine weather, but not a good scent. Turned out poor Mr. Bags of Friday last, and soon made rags of him.- Unkennelled in Worthill

, and after a long run earthed at Woodlands. Some of the hounds ran another fox to ground near Coyton.

Saturday, 30th.-Met at Ivybridge; the weather looked very dirty to the eastward, though there was rain enough to wash a coalheaver as clean as a daisy. The Gentlemen Sportsmen would not face the moors, so went in country. I believe we found a brace of foxes, and I know

the hounds could not hunt either one of them : some said it was riot, and that one gentleman, in the words of our poet of the West,

" In ecstasy screaming, was sunk in despair,

Having rather incautiously halloo'd a bare.” March goes out like a lamb, and a very draggle-tailed lamb too.

Mr. Phillipps, I am most sorry to say, has given up his hounds. Many a day have I gone alongside of him, enjoying my life in the full ecstasy of the chase. Although he did sometimes pitch it into his fieldsmen when they richly deserved it, yet his departure from the Hunt is most truly and sincerely regretted by all, and by none more than by me.

A BRUNECHEVAL. P.S.--Mr. Archer means to hunt Mr. Phillipps's country, and has procured Mr. P.'s hounds and his capital kennels.

ON THE HABITS OF THE SALMON.

BY THE ORGANIST.

There are some subjects in Natural History which from time immemorial have puzzled the philosophers-some problems propounded by Nature, which all her mathematicians have not yet been able to solve. Such are, the formation of amber—the hybernation of the swallows (poor dear White, of Selborne, worked at this question for nearly half a century, and could make nothing of it after all)—the production of eels -and the habits of the infant salmon, from the time it bursts the ovum in the spawning bed to the time when it returns a glorious griťse to the eddies of its native pool. As we have nothing to do with either amber or swallows, save that the mouthpiece of our favorite meerschaum is fabricated of the former, and that we in the first blush of our boyhood have occasionally let fly at the latter while wheeling round our heads on a summer evening (of which atrocity we devoutly trust we have long since repented); and as we abhor eels with a hatred which we have not words to express, turning from them in every shape, whether twistingloathsome serpents as they are l-round the line of the hook, buried far beyond the barb in the depth of their gluttonous maws, or whether, scarce less slimy than in life, dished and bedevilled, they float in a dab of their own detested grease~eschewing these things, we say, it is now our purpose to offer a few remarks on the natural history and habits of that most dainty fish, the Salmon, prince of all the finny tribes that haunt the British rivers, sovereign of the streams, and undisputed primate of the pool.

We have no pretensions to the name of philosophers, sçavant, or other appellation under which the modern beetle-stickers and butterflyhunters shelter their harmless absurdities. We frequent scientific meetings rarely, and when we do it is with an eye more intent upon the turtle and venison subsequent to the learned lectures than upon the sections of rocks and fossil bones then and there exhibited. If our

« ПредишнаНапред »