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liberal wages, should be so led away as to become the dupes of a discontented faction
“ First slave to words, then vassal to a name,
Then dupe to party-child and man the same." It only proves how susceptible the human mind is to impressions made hy specious and designing characters.
Being in the neighbourhood of Swansea during the races, as a matter of course I attended them. Free from the disputes which have this season been unfortunately so prevalent at most of the great Meetings, here all present appeared desirous to contribute to the amusements of the day, unconnected with those avaricious speculations which arise from the introduction of heavy Stakes, and consequently heavy bettings, the greatest enemy to the prosperity of the British Turf. The little prizes were contested for with as much spirit, and certainly more good humor, than they would have been if the amount had been ten times greater. The Glamorganshire Stakes afforded a pretty race between Alzdorf and Bay Hampton, the former taking the lead, and keeping it all the way. Bay Hampton was purchased last Spring by Mr. Gough, with the expectation that he was good enough to beat most of the horses that were likely to compete with him in Wales. Hitherto he has been greatly disappointed; and in the Handicaps he has been much over-rated, an event of not unfrequent occurrence with horses sent from the South of England into the Principality. In the first place, the horses which are bred in the neighbourhood are not so despicable as many racing men imagine them to be ; and in the second place, it requires a little time for horses sent from a distance to become accustomed to the climate, and consequently to appear at the post in their best possible condition. The indifferent hay and corn too which they meet with, to a horse accustomed to the best, is a great drawback, especially at first.
Most of the races were Handicaps, perhaps too great a proportion of them; but they all produced contests, with the exception of the Hurdle-race, which was a most absurd burlesque. In order to comply with the conditions, that three horses must start to obtain the public money, Lucretia, a cocktail, without the slightest pretensions to a hurdle-racer, was started, also a horse called Barrister, both from the same stable; and a hunter whose rider contrived to tumble off in a very early part of the race, composed the trio. Lucretia, having got over two flights of hurdles, galloped off to her stable; consequently, after the parade of the three starting, the race terminated in a sort of a walk over, and the Barrister became entitled to the Stakes without much legal contention. This ought to be a convincing proof to those concerned in the management of these races of the absurdity of requiring three horses to start ; because, as in this case, it is frequently the cause of some trickery, and is also a means of preventing those who live at a distance, and who are not disposed to connive at such arrangements, from sending their horses. The Handicaps gave more than usual satisfaction to all, with the exception of Harris, from Bristol. When all are satisfied, or, on the other hand, all are dissatisfied with a Handicap when it first comes out, it is the best proof of its being a
fair one, and the fact of its being a good one must be decided by the event of the race. Loud and indecorously as the aforesaid Harris protested against the weight which the mare Lauretta, trained by him, was doomed to carry, she won; but the conduct which he thought proper to evince on the declaration of the weights is sure not to be forgotten the next time his horses are to be handicapped.
Aberystwith has never boasted of a more fashionable coterie than during the present season, most of whom honored the races by their presence on the first day. It was one of the finest that we have enjoyed since the weather has been under the influence of the Watery Saint. Here, as at so many other places, the clause requiring three horses to start, or the public money to be withheld, was expressed in the general conditions, and the consequence was, that some altercation arose as to the ownership of two horses which were entered for the Member's Plate. Without going into the question as to whether the two horses were or were not the property of one individual, it is a great pity that an opportunity should be afforded for any dispute. In future, the good folks of Aberystwith intend to give the whole sum advertised, even if walked over for an example which many other Provincial Meetings would do well to follow. But here, and at such places as are dependent upon horses being sent from a distance, and not being within reach of any other Meeting, such an arrangement is indispensable.
The most interesting race was for a Hunters' Stake, the oldfashioned distance of four miles, between Captain Bowen Davies's mare Merryląss, 5 yrs, and Mr. Vevers's Charity, aged, well known as a steeple-chaser, 12st. each-won by the mare. Charity, beautifully ridden by Oliver, made very strong running from end to end, a task which calls forth a jockey's knowledge of pace; and I must do him the justice to assert, that I never saw the work cut out in a four-mile race with greater steadiness, truth, and caution ; but the mare was too good, and won by superior speed and stoutness.
A race for horses that had been regularly hunted with the Goggerddan hounds was confined to those belonging to the inhabitants of Aberystwith and the immediate neighbourhood; consequently it produced an unusual sensation with the worthy natives. It was a Handicap, and was won easily by a clever little mare, the property of Mr. J. Davis. The articles required that gentlemen riders only were to exhibit ; in opposition to which, Moon, the jockey, made his appearance at the post. A protest was entered against him; therefore, if his horse had come in first, as a matter of course a dispute would have arisen. Some of your Correspondents have alluded to this innovation, and I coincide in opinion with them, that it is imperative that the point should be settled as to who are entitled to ride as Gentlemen jockeys: till this is determined, disputes will continue to disturb the peace of Meetings where that condition is imposed.
It is highly amusing to hear some of the frequenters of these little Principality races descant upon the abilities of the jockeys, the estimation in which they are held depending solely upon the success which crowns their exertions. One person expressed his astonishment at the celebrity which Oliver has acquired, seeing him first of all in the
unenviable situation of steersman to a half-broken untrained hack, which, as a matter of course, was beaten; and which, not being whipped, spurred, and tortured for mere wantonness, did not exhibit the powers of this first-rate horseman in the light that would have called forth their admiration. It is a most thankless, unprofitable, and unsatisfactory office to ride such brutes. They are generally the property of some pretender to Sporting fame, who ridiculously believes that his nag possesses all the speed, stoutness, and condition which his imagination can conceive, and which must be superior to that of his competitors. This, heightened by divers libations of brandy-and-water imbibed each succeeding evening during the last fortnight previous to the race, and embracing the important period of training-a lapse of time in his estimation sufficient to effect the purpose he goes to bed to dream of success, and determines to illuminate the Turf by his own brilliancy and the astonishing performances of his mountain galloway. His excitement, however, effervesces like the bottle of soda water which he calls in aid to relieve a sick head-ache; the race terminates in a similar manner; the jockey is censured, and a declaration being made that he could have ridden the race better himself, leaves our hero determined on a future occasion to do honor to the pigskin in propria persona.
The Stewards, the Hon. W. Vaughan and the Hon. G. Edwardes, presided over the various departments in which the services of Stewards at watering places are so diversified with great assiduity. Racing alone does not exonerate them from the duties of patronising theatres, balls, and ordinaries, each of which was visited in their respective turns by the beauty and fashion of the neighbourhood.
There must be something very urgent, or there must be a barrier in the form of an injunction from the owner not to allow a stranger to view the establishment, that would induce me to pass by a kennel of hounds without endeavoring to pay them a visit, more especially if they have acquired any degree of fame. The well-known hospitality of the proprietor of the Goggerddan estates was as usual exemplified by the doors of his mansion being thrown open for the reception of all who patronised the races; and the renown which Mr. Pryse has attained as a Sportsman, both in the field and on the Turf, and the character which he so justly merits for his kindness and affability, were sufficient assurance that I should not be denied my request to pay my respects to his hounds.
The wild and rough nature of the country, the difficulty which appears, I may say the impossibility which exists, of procuring in this remote situation many necessaries essential to a Sportsman, impress the mind with an idea that a pack of fox-hounds found in it would be of a second-rate order. I know not why such feelings should prevail, except that they are produced by an association of ideas. With these notions I certainly entered Mr. Pryse's kennel, but when I left it they were completely changed. I must pay his hounds the compliment, by asserting, so far as I could judge of them in kennel, that a more even business-like lot need not be seen. Warrior and Welcome, brother and sister, particularly attracted my attention, and also a light-colored hound, whose name I have forgotten, from Mr. T. Assheton Smithi
There is a sufficient number to form two packs, and everything is conducted with as much regularity and order as can be desired in a more fashionable country.
Such, however, is the mortification which man is doomed to suffer, that with all Mr. Pryse's perseverance, care, and liberality, something comes to mar his happiness. Here it is too easily distinguished in that determined enemy to hounds, kennel lameness. With every attention to its prevention it rages with determined inveteracy. The bricks forming the pavement are laid in cement with a great fall, the whole of the department is dry, and clean as possible. With a view of remedying the evil, all the buildings are intended to be arched underneath, but I doubt the efficacy of it. Mr. Boycott's kennel at Rudge in Staffordshire was so formed without any advantage whatever arising from the expense, and he was compelled to remove his hounds to another situation.
Cox, the huntsman, who has lately entered Mr. Pryse's service, is of opinion that the water affects them, lead ore having been dug out of the well. At the same time that I am quite ready to join him in the belief that such water is injurious, I cannot imagine that it would be productive of kennel lameness. Receptacles for the purpose of collecting rain water are about to be formed, in order that they may imbibe the pure dew of heaven. I shall attend to the results of the two remedies with much curiosity and interest.
The country which these hounds hunt over is the wildest of the wild, and I have reason to believe the foxes are like the country, With comparatively interminable mountains to pass over, it is impossible for horses at all times to live with the hounds. On the most exposed situations, it is natural to conclude that the scent is more than commonly affected by the state of the atmosphere; but they have not an unconquerable difficulty to combat with, that of working through crowds of horsemen, which in more populous counties spoil many a run. They are never suffered to give up their fox so long as there is a particle of scent and a gleam of light to hunt by.
There is doubtless a pleasure in travelling, which gives a tone and fresh vigor to human exertions. To the man of business, it is a recreation ich he requires as a promoter of health ; nay it is almost essential to his existence. To the student, it is a means of refreshing his capacity, as well as a source from which he derives fresh objects for contemplation. To those who profess no occupation, it is essential, inasmuch as it affords them employment, and thereby enables them to dispel that ennui which is the constant attendant of an indolent mind. But why so many Englishmen should fly to the Continent as the only route for a trip of pleasure, I am at a loss to conceive. Those who seek for delightful mountain scenery, beautifully relieved by wood and water, may find it in Wales, and the adjoining counties of Monmouth, Hereford, and Salop. Dyden exclaims
“ Fain would I travel to some foreign shore,
So might I to myself myself restore.” If a man be reconciled to the enjoyments of such pleasures as are within a reasonable scope, he will not have so many causes for dis
appointment as we usually find our friends complain of; nor will he feel dissatisfaction when he cannot obtain every object which his ambition leads him to anticipate.
The direct roads in Wales are excellent, and if there is a more beautiful drive from one place to another, I think it is from Trecastle to Landovery. The distance is about nine miles, in which the diversified scenery and picturesque views are so constantly changing, that the journey does not appear to extend more than that distance. The accommodation at the best inns will be found to be invariably good : they are greatly improved within the last ten years. I cannot pass over this subject without mentioning the comforts and attentions which have been invariably found at the Belle Vue Hotel at Aberystwyth, which has been for several years conducted by Mr. and Mrs. Evans, two of the most worthy characters in their calling that can possibly be found. So well have their attentions been appreciated, that they have realized a sufficient competence to enable them to retire from business. They have disposed of the concern to Mr. Marshal of Cheltenham, who, being well known amongst Sporting men, will no doubt receive their patronage; and if he continues to conduct the Establishment with an equal regard to the comforts of the long-formed connexion which they have hitherto experienced, there can be no doubt of his success.
Having eulogized the direct roads in the Principality as being good, and the country as affording interesting scenery, let me caution all travellers to eschew cross-roads and second-rate inns; above all, if expedition be an object, to avoid such roads as pass over the mountains : go round them as often as you please, but passing over them should never be attempted unless the route be indispensable and the nature of the journey imperative; for you will be prompted to exclaim,
“ These should be hours for necessities,
Not for delights." One of the prevailing subjects with the Sporting men during my visit in the Principality was the sale of the blood stock, bred by Captain Bowen Davies, at Maesycrigic, in Carmarthenshire. Being by far the most extensive establishment of the kind in the county, it had for a long period been looked forward to as an event. Independently of the inducement which an inspection of the stud presented, numbers attended as a lounge, and to partake of the well-known hospitality of the proprietor. His popularity also induced many of the County Gentlemen to attend out of compliment; consequently between buyers and lookers on there was a goodly muster.
Captain Bowen Davies's object has been to breed for sale, the accommodation which he possesses in the way of buildings and the quality of his land affording him every facility; but he has one great evil to contend with ; that is, the remote situation of the place—few racing men believing they are likely to meet with a race-horse, as they erroneously imagine, amongst the mountains. Such, however, is not the character of the estate on which they are bred: more suitable land for the purpose is not to be found in Her Majesty's dominions.
Another circumstance operated against the sale. Having trained some of the stock which he has bred, many persons were led to believe
VoL, XIX.-SECOND SERIES.-No. 114,