« PreviousContinue »
two lengths. The finish was a very ragged one with the bulk of the horses... The Stewards' Cup had five-and-thirty runners, at all manner of odds, from 5 to 2 against Billy Bar, to poundings against the scabies. How the early portion of this mortal scurry was enacted no man knoweth, nor ever did know. How it concluded was-Kilenny won by a couple of lengths, the judge placing four-Evadne second. A chicken Sweepstakes, for all ages, Phlegra carried off ; a ditto for all ages save two-year-olds Cotton Lady won. Harbinger walked over for the Sweepstakes of 100 sovs. each, for three-year-olds, one mile and so we arrived at finis. In this embarras de riches one is too bewil. dered to desport with small deer—the holyday befitted its deeds of chivalrous import-more may not be imputed in its favour.
Thursday-here, as at so many other Olympian festivals, le jour de jours—will long be remembered as among the most brilliant, if not as the most brilliant, of Goodwood Cup days. The company was courtly beyond almost all former precedent; the weather was exquisitely delicious, and the sport, as this hurried epitome will show, of a character suitable to those for whose reception it had been prepared. It opened with the Sussex Stakes, for two-year-olds, run a match between Defiance and Sir Robert Pigot's filly by Bay Middleton out of Belle Sauvage--7 to 2 on the former, an estimate rather under the mark, the favourite cantering in a winner. The First Year of the Second Bentinck Memorial Stakes, for two-year-olds, brought to the post halfa-dozen, the Ring selecting Pharos as first, with only a point of odds against him. Again the talents were right, for Pharos, having bided the time till they reached the stand, came, and won by half a length. Sittingbourne, by whom the latter portion of the play was made, was şecond. The Racing Stakes, a three-year-old issue, had four runners -5 to 4 on Stockwell... The first of the distance Father Thames led -on sufferance-the favourite going to the front a quarter of a mile from home, and winning in a canter. A Sweepstakes of 200 sovereigns each, for two-year-old fillies, being divided by Exhibition and Incense, The Molecomb, another two-year-old stake, summoned a trio to their devoir. They laid 9 to 2 on Elmsthorpe! and with the issue at his discretion from end to end, he won in a canter.... With this prelude the all-important feature of the day was put on the scene. It boots not here to retrace all that “ prophecy " has said and sung anent it: at the final quotation the odds were 7 to 4 against Stilton, 5 to 1 Little Harry, 6 to 1 Kingston, the same about Hobbie Noble, 10 to 1 Teddington, 12 to 1 Newminster, and 20 to 1 against any other.... There is something beyond picturesque in the start for the Goodwood Cup-it has all the air of an equestrian pageant. The clustering of the champions in front of the lists, populous with “fair women and brave men;" the dazzling pomp and circumstances of their array; the hushed and ominous silence of the circumambient throngs-all this is a spectacle at which the heart quickens, and the breath comes fast. To the encounter! ... The phalanx parades eleven ; the flag has fallen ; the most famous coursers of the world, in their day, are launched for the struggle—and the vietory. With Hobbie Noble for a pioneer, they swept down the straight ground and round the first turn ; there Buckthorne took up the speed, and carried it over the hill ; the French mare, second up to this point, being third, and the whole group on good terms--the pace was not good. Anon, Little Harry became third, and thus they approached the bend for home, when Hobbie Noble was once more leading. At the distance Little Harry, with Teddington and Kingston, rushed to the front, ran a rattler past the Stand, and fought every inch thence to the chairKingston finishing first by half a length-Little Harry second, three parts of a length before Teddington. The judge placed Hobbie Noble fourth, but the first trio were alone at the wind up.... The winner had many friends for the Derby-was it the distance that served him here, or the 15 lbs. less there was to carry ? The Second Year of the First Bentinck Memorial Stakes of 10 sovereigns each, for three-year olds, came off a trio-betting even on Harbinger, and 5 to 4 against Longbow. The favourite, with the issue at discretion, made his own running, and won as it suited his convenience—by a length. Longbow ran out at the start, and was left behind. The Duke of Richmond's Plate of a Hundred Sovereigns, free trial for all ages and everybody, out of a field of some eighteen, saw a trio placed. The betting took a most ample range, the best regarded being Alfred the Great, Catalpa, Radulphus, and Plumstead, 6 to 1 being the odds against any one of them— Vivandière, not named in the market, won by a head, after a scurry “ past the telling of all words "! For the Sweepstakes of 50 sovereigns each, for three-year-olds, mile and a-half, Mr. Morris was permitted to walk over with the winner of the Cup; and then there was running and riding among the amateurs for their especial display. For the Anglesey Plate of £50, Gentlemen riders, Craven Course, the muster was fiveat 5 to 2 against Agis, and 2 to 1 against Roller. Of course this was a bonne bouche, and after a spirited spurt it fell to the bonne fortune of Agis, ridden by the owner. For the Sweepstakes of 100 sovereigns each, for three-year-olds, one mile, 3 subscribers, the Duke of Richmond's Harbinger walked over ; and his Grace's princely pageant, the anniversary of Goodwood's especial passage of present chivalry, concluded. FLOREAT.
Time and the press—the despots !—forbid further allusion here to the gallant four days of Sussex racing ; little question, however, the final movement of that brilliant quartet will be found worthy of its spirited and artistic antecedents......
THE UNSUCCESSFUL MAN;
OR, PASSAGES IN THE LIFE OF TILBURY NOGO, ESQ.
“ Dined, o'er our claret we talk o'er the merit
Of every choice spirit that rode in the run;
“Do you pity him ? no: he deserves no pity.
Wilt thou love such a woman? What! to make thee an
As You LIKE IT.
Time-half-past eight o'clock at night ; scene-a snug dining room, a blazing fire, and a horse-shoe table, on the polished surface of which the massive cut glass decanters, sparkling with old port, that glows like liquid rubies in the firelight, are making their rapid and welcome rounds. The dinner has been excellent, the company agreeable, Mrs. Montague and the ladies have just retired, and we stretch our legs under Jack Topthorne's mahogany with that delightful sense of repose and comfort which those alone experience whose exercise in the open air has been pushed up to the point at which fatigue commences, but has stopped short of actual “ distress.” How loose and easy are the thin sable " continuations” to limbs that have been encased since morning in the uncompromising buckskins of the fox-hunter! how grateful the soft well-cushioned chair, to a frame that has been pounding for some eight or nine hours on the unyielding pigskin, percbance with low cantle and flaps devoid of stuffing or support. How, as the mind looks back through a halo of enthusiasm on the events of the day, do the difficulties and mischances of the chase wane in proportion to the waning decanters, whilst its exploits and its triumplis stand out in bold and glorious relief ! "Breathes there the man ” that cannot at least go “over the mahogany"-whose nerves are not braced (for the time) to that pitch at which ox-fences are a privilege and a delight, whilst wood and water, in the shape of stiles and brooks, as negotiated in countless succession by his "little bay horse,” furnish themes for the pleader's eloquence and the poet's fire ?
The after-dinner autobiography of an equestrian is usually a surprising display of self-deception and infatuation : then how general is the epidemic, attacking equally the old and the young, the bold and the timid, the "customer” who has all day “ had the best of it," and who
may to-morrow attempt perhaps a third of what he vows to-night, and the sceptical veteran, whom nothing but a continuous line of gates, and an unusually lucky turn, has enabled to scramble up in time to see the finish of to-day. “How well your grey horse carried you, Mr. Nogo!” says my next neighbour, whom I had remarked in the morning as the stoutest man I ever saw riding a cob; “ you went like a bird, Sir; I was close to you the whole time!" "What a beautiful turn the hounds made in the bottom, Topthorne, just before we came to the brook,” says another, anxious to draw the attention of the company to the solitary exploit which he has persuaded himself he accomplished ; “ by-the-bye, how did you get over? I thought it was a wide place, so I took old Golumpus hard by the head, and he did it beautifully in a fly.” I remember no brook, but I suppose there must have been something of the kind, as I was in company with the last speaker from the moment we found, and I do not see why my grey horse should not obtain as much credit from his master, as falls to the share of the unsuspecting “ Golumpus.” So, taking courage from the chorus around me, I too begin to talk of the events of the day, and half unconsciously, half led on by the force of example, I fear I yarn most unmercifully as to the feats, past, present, and future, of which I boast myself capable.
The run of the morning, undoubtedly a good one, goes on increasing with every fresh version, till it swells into a performance totally unparalleled in ancient or modern history; and when my health, as a stranger, has been proposed, by the most enthusiastic magnate present, the scarlet in whose visage vies with that of his gorgeous attire, the full dress evening costume of the Pippingdon Hunt, I hesitate not, in my reply, to assure the Squire and his applauding guests, that “I never saw such hounds, I never saw such horses, I never saw such a country, and never, no never, in the whole course of my hunting experience, did I see such a run as that which we have enjoyed together on this eventful day--a run, Sir, unequalled in the annals of the chase, and reflecting immortal honour on the toast I am about to take the liberty of proposing, “Health and prosperity to my friend, if he will allow me to call him so, my friend John Topthorne, and the Pippingdon Hunt! With all the honours, gentlemen !” “Capital ! Bravo !” (“Gammon!” sotto voce, from the Squire) “ Topthorne, your health-no heel-taps—more port-hip, hip, hurrah !" and the enthusiasm of the Pippingdonians finds vent in a burst of shouting which startles the ladies in the drawingroom, and wakes an alarm in the very kennel, a good quarter of a mile from the house.
Are these the shouting Bacchanalians, that glide so stealthily into the adjoining room, where the ladies are assembled over their tea, and needle-work, seasoned by that mysterious conversation which none of the male sex has ever yet been known to overhear? Is there an instance on record of the earliest arrival from the dining-room ever yet finding the graceful bevy otherwise than sunk in profound silence, and apparently each totally absorbed in her own tea, her own embroidery, or her own thoughts? Are such habits of speechless meditation natural to the sex, or at any time usual with that conversational race? I have been informed that the contrary is the case, and that the organs of female speech are seldom if ever still but on occasions such as these. What can we conclude? that there are mysteries into which we must not seek
to pry, that there are subjects on which we must be content to remain in ignorance, and that the freezing stillness which pervades the cheerfullooking apartment in which tea awaits us, is but the reaction consequent upon a burst of simultaneous eloquence, roused by some subject on which the enchanting conclave are solemnly bound to maintain in the presence of the hostile sex an unbroken and Masonic silence.
Nevertheless, emboldened by port and encouraged by smiles, we break the formidable line. The seniors, who are conscious of having exceeded their usual moderation with the bottle, assume an additional air of gravity and decorum, to cover the unwonted joviality within, not always successfully, for a bland smile, with occasionally a stifled chuckle, attests the enlivening effects of Topthorne's cellar even on the most pompous of the veterans ; whilst some of the younger members wax unusually confidential to their fair neighbours, and embark upon long stories in which, to judge by the inquiring looks of the puzzled listener, the point seems continually to elude their mental grasp. Still one and all appear to enjoy themselves.
Tea succeeds coffee, and music follows the departure of tea. There is shilling whist for those who like it, and the click of billiard-balls from the adjoining room announces that well-lighted apartment to have its share of occupants. A snug flirtation is going on at the piano-forte between a bachelor squire, at this period of the evening sufficiently malleable, and a not very juvenile young lady, in a most Parisian toilette, and with her hair very nicely done : the softening squire leans over her music-book, but what he says is completely drowned to other ears by the swelling “ refrain” of the “Marche des Croates," which, as I happen to admire the air, I know she has played at least five times over. Probably like many other of those téles-à-têtes, which the world calls firtations, if we could overhear their conversation, we should find it was quite as uninteresting as that of old Mrs. Shafto and her neighbour, a bland pleasant-looking matron, on the sofa ; who are deep in the merits of the former's youngest grand-child, and the defects, culinary and otherwise, of a certain kitchen-maid, who came to the latter from Castle Bowshot. Every one is occupied, and Mrs. Montague only is alone ; I drop into a vacant chair by her side, and whilst the Croatian March keeps grinding on at the piano-forte, and the old ladies at my elbow ring the changes upon measles, teething, hooping-cough, and board-wages, I spend another evening of delicious enjoyment, that sends me to bed once more asking myself, as I wind up my watch, " How is this to end ? she
certainly is a very nice woman, but what is to come of it ?" * * * of It is proverbially a “long lane that has no turning,” and what with
my own indecision how to act, my disinclination to take any step that might alter the extremely pleasant footing on which I found myself at the Lodge, and the rough Squire's hospitable disposition, gratified beyond measure by a long and unceremonious visit, I might have remained as a sort of tolerated hanger-on and family friend of my entertainers till we had all grown old together, without any question being asked as to my intentions, or any hint hazarded as to my departure. But as the
stream, which swollen to a torrent bears away before it all opposition, a tearing up the very rock from its earth-fast foundation, may yet, when Erippling lazily down its summer bed, be turned from its course by the minutest pebble, so doth the human mind, albeit so invincible if in,