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“ Katty," said he, as the farmer's wife descended the stairs, i where's Mr. Esterling? we've tracked him to this door, and you must know what's become of him. Is he safe? is he alive? tell me the worst at once, and, as you hope for mercy, conceal nothing from me."
“Indeed, Sir Nicholas, Mr. Esterling is alive and well; but my poor husband has been murdered shamefully.”
- Murdered !-how? when? by whom? If there's law in the land we'll hang the villains, and gibbet them afterwards !"
“ Llewellyn is not dead, Sir Nicholas; but he has been inhumanly butchered: they have cut his tongue out from the roots, and if he survives the deed it will be a miracle. Mr. Esterling left three hours ago, in search of the parish constable ; and he vowed he'd neither eat nor drink till he had secured the perpetrators of this bloody act.”
" A noble lad!--goue to do his duty; and he'll never flinch till it is done,” said Sir Nicholas, looking in the direction of Edmund, and intending the remark especially for his ears. “But tell me, Katty, have you any notion who the villains are, and why they committed this butchery?”
“ Yes, we know them too well; they are our neighbours, Evan William and his two sons." And she then proceeded to relate the circunstances which had given rise to the severe retaliation under which her husband now suffered. Llewellyn, she said, had repeatedly warned Evan William not to allow his sheep to trespass on their seed-grass; and at length a large flock of ewes and lambs had broken in and consumed a whole field of young clover in one night. Llewellyn, on coming to the field, in a fit of rage caught the sheep, and, one by one, cut out their tongues, as a punishment to their owner, and as a means of scaring them for the future from a like depredation. Evan William and his sons had consequently sworn vengeance, and terribly had they executed it. They waylaid Llewellyn as he was returning from market over the lonesome moor, which has already been described, and there, after a tremendous struggle, they overpowered, threw him to the ground, and bound him hand and foot. Seeing the knife glisten in the grasp of the elder son, and the preparations which were made for further mischief, Llewellyn deemed that his last moments were now come, and he shouted aloud with agony and despair; but retaliation to the letter was their object; and with the aid of a huge pair of iron pincers, the younger son managed to force open his jaws, and to seize the point of the tongue within its grip, while the elder severed it from the very throat. They then deeamped, leaving the poor wretched victim either to crawl home as he best could, or to perish in the bogs.
Luckily for Llewellyn, who lived for many years after that tragic event, young Esterling came to his aid in the nick of time, as though Providence had especially directed him; and with the rest of the circumstances the reader is already acquainted. Suffice it for the present to say, that in spite of the most active and energetic measures adopted by Sir Nicholas and young Esterling, the perpetrators of the bloody deed managed to elude the ends of justice, and to escape into a foreign country.
(To be continued.)
THE SPORTSMAN'S PROGRESS.
Next to the love of gain, which I believe to be in this commercial country the leading incentive to the acts of its inhabitants, vanity holds its despotic sway. This latter feeling begins in childhood ; the former takes its firm root with manhood, and spreads its baneful growth till second childhood palsies every active feeling of the human mind.
I verily hope and believe that where the ardent love of field sports actuates the pursuits of man, the thirst for gain finds a less genial soil than it does in the breasts of those who have no such enthusiasm 10 divert their attention from the common idol so worshipped by the million. But the weakness of vanity is more or less inherent in man, thougla manifested in different ways. The sportsman has his.
When the young scion of a sporting stock is first placed on the back of the pony, with the supporting arm of an attendant for the safety of the mimic horseman, the novelty of the motion and situation is the only circumstance that excites pleasurable sensations in the youngster's feelings. The novelty worn off, pride or vanity begins to assume its sway, and he feels himself superior to those who have never made such essay. The fear of want of firmness of seat, and of the pony's action and will, having been got over, then comes the love of subjugation---so rife in the human mind. And to be trusted unheld, and the pony ruled, is the next step that vanity suggests. This gained, and all apprehension subsided, the love of petty tyranny takes the place of the first feelings of pleasure and gratification: and the vanity of showing he dare correct, or rather, tyrannize, creates a greater pleasure in the boy's mind than any pleasure he has yet enjoyed. The feeling borders on the diabolic, we must allow; but it is, candour compels us to admit, common in man, and all but universal in boys. This indulged in, the boy begins to despise the docile animal that has perhaps for three or four years contributed to the young tyrant's pleasure, and patiently borne his injustice. A galloway is asked for; and joining the hounds is the next step that a wish for display and excitement suggests; and unless a fear of danger to the boy overcomes the desire to indulge, the galloway is got, and the younker, in semi-hunting costume, makes his appearance in the field. Should he be the son of some influential man, he is noticed by all, and praised by most: hence the first feelings of self-importance are generated ; and it will depend on whether after-sense may keep them within bounds, or a weak mind suffer them to strengthen with his strength, that he becomes respected, or detested and despised.
The young one is in at a “kill,” is “ bloodied," and the huntsman propitiated with a bit of gold instead of a half-crown; the brush graces the head of the galloway, and the young heir holds himself one of the field.”
The reign of the galloway is of far shorter duration than was that of the pony; for as the snowball accumulates far more visibly in its increased form than it did in its incipient state, so the ideas enlarge in a manifold degree as practice brings them into constant play. The young sportsman has on his well-bred galloway attempted, and in many cases succeeded, in disputing the leading place with men : he now longs to meet them on fair terms, “hot horse to horse," and next season sees him mounted in a way that tempts .him to try to wrest the palm from those who long have shone as leaders of the van. He no longer owes attention to his being the son of aristocracy, but he owns it as a tribute due to "bearding the lion in his den;" and though nothing disgusts more than presumption in youth, cynical must be the feelings of him who does not allow in the boy that “he does greatly who dares greatly." It is not usually one of baser stock who does this, there must be high blood somewhere in him who does it, and shows hiin of a sort of which his country may well be proud.
Various are the changes in the mind and ideas of man as he advances from boyhood to age, and each state of mind no doubt proper for the period of life at which it is felt. We are not to expect in the young hunter the real sportsman. Excitement, show, and fun he likes. About real hunting he cares not a jot. He wishes hounds to go, and his horse to go-this, only that he, as the rider, may go. As to hounds and hunting, whether he followed a pack of high-bred foxhounds-level as a dye to look at, and perfect in their performance -or whether it was a pack of bob-tailed larchers, of all sorts and sizes, running riot all day long, provided they did run and run fast, if they give him the means of showing off, his end is answered; nor let older sportsmen find fault-we all did pretty much the same as youths. The being to be pitied, or sneered at, is not the one to be excited by anything; but the one that not anything can excite—from him we have nothing to hope: the material is wanting-and from nothing comes nothing.
Men after a few seasons ride, but do not talk. The young'un will talk as well as ride. Well, if he do, a good-humoured smile is the only consequence of it, from a moderately good-humoured man : he smiles at the little harmless pretension, and if beat by the young Tyro, he gives him full credit for the victory, and fairly admits there was no pretension in that.
The young one now would no more be heard to use a term not strictly technical, than would the very young coachman use the term reins, as applied to harness: he knows of nothing but “the ribbons.” So our young hunter talks of everything connected with hunting in strict technical phrase. He never rides bis horse at a fence-he "crams" at this, “ rattles” him at that, and " faces” another thing. He never gets a fall, but laughs at a “burster,” or regular“ crowner," and by something bordering on slang, fancies he gets credit for being a “trump,” and “ down as a hammer !”
Half-a-dozen seasons teach him better things. He is now the companion of men, and he finds the demeanour and language that were the admiration and envy of his fellow-youths would only subject him to contempt at an age when inexperience no longer causes his youthful follies to be excused as the puny rage or boisterous excitement of the child. He now becomes to use his own language-what he only before fancied himself—a trump. He is mild and gentlemanly in the field ; takes his place without affectation, and keeps it without apparent presumption ; heads the van sorely against the will of boasting pretenders; beats them, they cannot tell why, nor does he trouble himself to tell them how. He makes himself acquainted with the hounds-not as yet, perhaps, from any of those feelings that actuate the M. F. H., but to learn what hounds he may trust to as a guidance to his own acts in the chase. He knows enough of game, bounds, horses, and country, to shape his course in accordance with his knowledge of each. He is a fine rider, welcoined by all because never subjecting himself to reproof from any.
At middle age, another change has taken place in the sportsman. He is now scen interesting himself in the hounds; knows them all more or less, and discusses their beauties and merits with master and huntsman: he is as fine a horseman as ever, but a far better sportsman: he somewhat piques himself on his knowledge of hounds and hunting; and enjoys a run where hounds show themselves to advantage---more on that account than for the mere riding. He has become careless of the show, once his great idol : he now piques himself on getting, by his experience in horses, real clippers that can give the go-by to such as have been bought with a view of gratifying the vanity of their purchasers by their imposing appearance. IIe wonld boast of having got a horse for £50; while vounger men boast of having given £250. The matured man is proud of his judgment; the younger one of his purse and his horse's appearance. Each has his vanity, but in a different way. The older sportsman will take a stiff gate with as little hesitation as ever he did, rather than lose his place. The only difference is, he would not take it for a show off : ihe other would-and quite right in both. The d-l in him, that made him wish to find a gate locked at twenty, induces him to take it at fifiy, if absolutely necessary. He has the nerve, the will, and the vigour to do all on horseback the other can do; but he will only do it to please himself: the young one does it to gain celebrity among others.
But age--slow coach, as we hold him-gets over the ground at a pace that overtakes the fastest of tlie fast. Our puer may give him a long chace--and its length varies in accordance with the stamina and determination of whom he pursnes. Crushing falls, old bruises, and sore bones will in time tell their tale; and the love of hunting with many men remains long after the love of riding has ceased. The nerve may not be equal to the wide brook, but the spirit may be excited by the sight or cry of hounds long after infirmity may only enable the old sportsman, by his knowledge of hunting and tlie country, to see the chase be no longer rides up to, as formerly, from find to kill: still he contrives to be in his place ere the whoo-whoop has died away in the distance. His laugh rings as joyously as it did when, as a boy, he wondered age could laugh, and still more wonderci anything but absolute youth could ride. Long may that joyous laugh resound ! it shows a heart at ease--a conscience making no reproach-and a life spent in peace and charity with all men.
Never was the adage that “things must come to the worst before they mend" so completely verified as in the case of Doncaster Races. The illiberality of the Corporation had brought them, in 1841, into the very jaws of death. Then appeared the £1,000 grant; but the effect was so neutralized by the inefficiency of the Clerk of the Course, that, in 1849, the Rev. Mr. Alford's three-year-old prophecy as to their final and speedy destruction seemed on the point of " coming off.” It was then that the Corporate Body, as might have been expected, had another fit of the aguc, which proved most salutary in its effects. A new clerk of the course (as clever, conrteous, and honourable a man as was ever foaled) was appointed, in the person of Mr. R. Johnson, the “Chief-Baron” of the northern turf circuit; the St. Leger was made £25, p.p.; all the drawbacks were handed over to the Race Fund, instead of the Mansion-house coffers ; a triennial stewardship was set on foot; Lord Eglinton gave a £200 plate; and the great Voltigeur and Flying Dutchman year was the result. Since then, the races have “gone on ;' and the last meeting was the greatest ever known. The receipts in the stands were £487 more than they had ever been before; and 118 different horses started.
The town has greater capabilities for racing purposes than any other that we know of. All the fun is concentrated in a small space; while the short distance of the course from the town, the gallops, the betting-rooms, the horse-sales, the theatre larks, the true Yorkshire excitement about“ l’ Leger” and “ t' Mooy," and the beautiful Prichard 'band (the only atoning comfort of the anti-race population), all lend it a unique character which it is vain to look for elsewliere. No wonder, therefore, that Doncaster still holds its ground, and is regarded by the more juvenile portion of its race visitors with affectionate reverence, as the Waterloo on which their sires fought and bled.
Not that the Great Northern has got into full play, and only five hours, or rather four and a quarter, separate Doncaster from London, it is difficult to throw one's mind back to the times when the Great North Road was the “highway of nations” on this occasion, and olten worse than a weary way to many, when their faces were again turned towards the south. Cheery George Clark, who used to stand at the door of his hostelrie at Barnby Moor, to tell the last news of the Leger nags, has gone to his rest since then; and the well-known, handsome form of Lord George is, alas! no longer to be seen driving in his gig, each day, at half-past one, from Welbeck, down the lanes