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in his buggy! I confess I was mortally frightened, and, as soon as my breath returned, enquired how the fair traveller felt after her alarm? She bore it as, perhaps, no other woman could--smiled, said she had had a good deal of experience in such a style of coachmanship, but subsequently admitted that a specimen of so outrageous a performance she had never before seen.
It was in the course of that evening that some member of the family circle put a pencil into my hand, with an injunction that it be forthwith used to commemorate the event of the morning. The result was the production of some doggrel lines, of which the point was, that “as one just person would have averted the doom of the cities of the plain, the lady of Halston might never fear to encounter danger, because by the act she would ensure the presence of a seraph to avert all hazard.” The first stanza was in this wise :-
Away, away-like a meteor's ray,
Like the gleam of a shooting star,
And the flight of that fiery car!" Time rolled on : Mytton fell into difficulties ; his wife was taken from him, and a suit in Chancery commenced, upon which I was summoned as a witness. Among the items adduced in proof of his cruelty towards that lady was the drive which I have described, and Lord Brougham was favoured with a copy of the aforesaid doggrel. Passing rapidly down Spring Gardens one bitter day in December, 1833, I heard some one running, and my name loudly shouted. I turned, and Mytton approached. What a sight of woe was there ! His face was wan and haggard-his dress utterly neglected-his hair hung wildly around his forehead-alas! there was a noble mind o'erthrown !” He held my hand for some minutes in silence, gazing fixedly upon me : at length he found a voice,—“Poor Caroline !” he said (his wife's name)—"You remember the drive, don't you ? and the ode? the fine Olympic ? – Away, away, like a meteor's ray,'" he repeated, in a low solemn tone, reciting the poem through without failing in a word. “ You see,” he continued, "I have my lesson well. I'll whisper the reason in your ear,-I repeat those lines every hour of every day, and when I am silent I am speaking them to my heart.” As he spoke, bis voice gradually failed—the spirit that still struggled within him could not wrestle with nature-he burst into an agony of tears. “I shall be better presently,” he observed, as I led him away; quite well as soon as I get a glass of brandy, with a tablespoonful of cayenne in it."
In three months more, accident informed me that he was lying on his death-bed. I went to that last sad abode of earthly suffering-a prison, and there I found him ;-" to such complexion he had come at last." Need I say how truly I rejoiced when the hour arrived that set him free for ever? He had erred, and surely he had paid the penalty ; and as I turned from the sad scene and all its melancholy accompaniments, I mourned for my unhappy friend, but not as one having no hope.
What an odd work would be “ An Analysis of the Betting Ring,” constructed out of the materials to be had at Hyde Park Corner ! Divided into parts, it would consist of two parties, who meet together for the purpose of laying wagers upon certain events, to which end the one party alone possesses the means ; ensuring to the other a profit to each, varying from a few hundreds to several thousands a year, according to the extent of his business (technically, engagements). As the latter party has a considerable item to provide for in the shape of travelling expenses, five hundred a year will be a very low estimate at which to put the cost of every Leg employed by the former for its particular use and benefit. I assure the reader I am perfectly serious -never was more in earnest in my life. It is notorious that not one man connected with the ring professionally began life possessed of a groat; and how many of them live under a thousand a year. There is no use in quoting cases, it is so in all. Should you like to see the first step,—the premier pas of a Leg,—his chrysalis, to speak it scientifically? Behold a tableau vivant.
There used to stand, during the oyster season, at the corner of the Piccadilly Flags in Manchester, a little bare-footed urchin whose stock in trade consisted of a couple of dozens of that fish, of a doubtful character, a soda-water bottle without a neck, containing vinegar, and a brown paper bag filled with a dark-looking powder supposed to be pepper. Not long after he thus commenced business, the gentlemen who drive the cars, and whose rank is upon that pavement, observed that he was realizing rapidly, one of them having actually seen him give a customer, who had spent fourpence with him, the balance out of a shilling. Thus was the great mercantile crisis achieved—the first shilling had been put together. This was about the date of my first acquaintance with him. He had somewhat enlarged the sphere of his action,—had become more eccentric,—might be found at the different race-meetings in the north, where he would hold your horse, or put his hand to any thing (or into any thing indeed, as the rumour ran, but I don't like to be severe). I think it was at York he made his first hit. By some means he had scented out the true reason that a horse was at 20 to 1 against him. Accordingly, having scraped together a sovereign, he took the odds to that sum, posted his blunt, the tit won, and our young fishmonger became the master of a treasure that nearly turned his brain. The richest sight that it ever was my fortune to fall in with was the exhibition made by the oyster dealer, dressed (or scolloped, as old B-called it) the day following his first slice of luck. When I encountered him he was seated on a bench in the Stand, his body in an attitude of elegant negligence, and in the full bloom of the slop-shop. He wore a blue coat, three-quarters bred, with the sleeves a good deal over his knuckles ; his vest was “shawl pattern,” amber and scarlet. I forget the never nameables, or most probably I did not notice them at all, being dazzled with that which evidently occupied all his own attention—the fitting-up of his shoes, which consisted of a pair of bows, each about the size of a first-class dairy Cheshire cheese. No doubt it was the first time he was shod. Nothing in broad farce ever came near the style in which he handled his hoofs. First one was gently protruded, then the other paraded ;what had whispered the maxim of Horace to him you knew not, but
there he was industriously examining whether his pair of trotters were a spectacle which
“ Si proprius stes “Te capiat majus : majus si longius abstes.” Since the aurelia was thus perfected he has served his seven years at the trade, and now you see him “ as good as any thing at Tattersall’s.” He has long migrated from Lancashire,-has his chambers in town,-rides his blood horse,-goes with a cigar in his cheek, his hands in his pea-jacket pockets, – gives checks on his West-end bankers, and while he holds his tongue might be mistaken for a deluded gentleman's son. But with him, so it is with the brotherhood : they cannot (with very few exceptions) rid their voice and vocabulary of a scarlet vulgarity and rudeness closely bordering on ruffianism. If it be strange that the characters of these minds do not deter gentlemen from being seen in places which they frequent, how their manners and habits do not disgust every one accustomed to good society, passes my understanding. The effect of custom is proverbial, and there is little doubt but that its influence has alone wrought the anomalism exhibited at Hyde Park Corner. More than half a century ago some chance of fashion
gave it the stamp current of a sporting rendezvous. While the whole economy of business and pleasure has since been revolutionized, --while the conveniencies and pleasures of life have advanced with every year, there they appear to have come to a “dead lock," as Byron calls it. And what has been the consequence ? That which always results in the social scheme—that where there is po progress there is a retrogression. Fifty years ago, the mennow seen at Tattersall's would not have been tolerated among gentlemen, though the habits of society were infinitely more loose than they are now. Fifty years ago, there were but few places of resort, beyond fainily circles, protected by any rules against indiscriminate company; provided all comers were decently habited, they mixed with the beaux and wits of the day in the taverns or coffee-houses, then the only places of resort for social purposes. Now all is changed, and certainly for the better. If in civilized life it is necessary that society be divided into various classes, surely nothing can be more convenient than that each should have some common point of assembly, not with reference to business merely, but also to relaxation and conviviality. Such is now the case in all the social divisions, save in that great and important one which relates to the first of our National Sports. The military man has his case provided for with a scrupulous care that has prepared a separate palace for the senior and junior class of his service. The scientific, the travelled, the literary man, the politician, the gambler of ton (so that the speculation hepursues cannot tend in any way to serve the public cause), these are all protected from having their peculiar pursuits intruded upon by the exceptionable. They have incorporated themselves, founded institutions appropriate to their particular tendencies, and defended them from all chance of impeachable intrusion, by such regulations of admission as make such an accident next to impossible. The only perfect Metropolitan Saturnalia is to be found at Tattersall's,
where (“not to speak it profanely") none is before or after another, none greater or less than another.
As to the good or evil which attaches to betting (now and always so component a part of racing), with that I have nothing to do. It was so from the first, is so now, and so will be to the end of the chapter. The object I had in view in offering these Tableaux for public exhibition was, that, having a knowledge of their subjects, I could place them in such lights as would best enable the designs to be understood. Thus, in bringing so prominently forward the dark back-ground of Tattersall's, it was because I felt the service that might result from bringing out the ominous s shadows" that, in their generation, “ have wrought more terror than could the substance of ten thousand soldiers.” But here the notice of the picture does not close. There are other points that deserve attention, let us proceed to observe them.
It is not very long since a match for a moderate sum was made between two individuals of sporting celebrity, the horses engaged being of high racing repute. Though the match, as I have said, was for a small sum, the betting, as it frequently happens, was very heavy. On the morning of the race one of the parties sent for the jockey that was to ride for him, and addressed him to this effect:“ I have merely made the match for to-day as a trial for my horse, to see what he can do : you will therefore run with your adversary, so as to enable you to form a judgment of his speed, and let me know your opinion. I don't want you to win, as that would probably prevent my matching my horse again.” He had, however, reckoned without his host. The jockey selected was neither the knave nor the fool for his purpose. “If," was the spirited answer, “ your wants me to make a losing race of it, you may ride your horse yourself; I am not the man for your turn." I had this anecdole from the jockey, and I know him too well to think it likely he imposed upon me. He declined giving me the name, but the date, and description of the horses, were clue enough.
Suppose this to have been attempted by a member of a club! Or, to put it better, imagine a member of White's suggesting to one of the servants to supply him with a pack of cut cards for a match at ecarté, or hinting that it would oblige him if a silver spoon were pilfered for his particular benefit! * Such a thing would be known an hour after it was proposed." Granted—and why? Because the concentration of a club brings facts bearing upon it necessarily into a small compass; they are of interest to a focus which is attracting constantly, and as constantly casting up again. will throw another shade upon our sketch, and look at it in that light. At the late Doncaster Meeting, an individual, well known at the Corner, lost heavily and levanted. Even the public papers, generally impressed with a sense of what is due to society, have cautiously avoided mentioning the name of this fellow, “because bis father is a man of respectability and a clergyman." What is likely to become of it? That he will effect some swindling compromise with his victions, and be sent to sin again. I have called it by the mild name of swindling, but it is a much more heinous offence. your dis
The man who calls to you to “ stand" runs the hazard of charging a pistol into his heart; but he who bets with you, knowing himself without the means of paying should he lose, assures himself of your cash in one event, and of being unharmed in the other. How would this have been, had the perpetrator belonged to a club, or any such society of gentlemen? Either there would have existed, probably, some knowledge of bis circumstances that would have acted as a caution to those about speculating with him, or when his delinquency became manifest, care would have been taken that he should not "undo more men."
Would I make the turf the Sport of the higher orders-do I desire to see it become ultra-refined and exclusive? This is the way in which I inight be catechised by those who will not understand my position ; [reply, as most convenient, by paraphrase. The design with which our racing originated, and that brought it under the patronage of the Government, was, that it might be a medium for uniting popular profit and pleasure. Its legitimate pursuit fulfilled both those objects. Race Courses became places of highly popular resort, and racing produced a rivalry that was of the most essential service in improving our breed of horses. After a time it occurred to some of those who were employed in its details that it might be made a source of direct gain also. "Of all that ever attempted it, under that impression, none did so with such prospect of success as the celebrated jockey Samuel Chifney. As a business he had been born and bred to riding, - was the most renowned (and justly) in the world of his calling, and his brother William was the first trainer, in respect to "appliances andmeans to boot,” at Newmarket. Surely there was as fair a start as heart could desire. At the period of his entering upon the career of a master of race-horses, Chifney was known to be a man of substance and on the high road to fortune. I am not here going into a detail of that career: as far as such a thing can be, I believe it was attended with very distinguished success. By Priam alone he could not have netted less than ten thousand pounds. And what is he now? a ruined man-an uncertificated bankrupt! A man of property while a trainer for others, William Chifney went upon the Turf on his own account, and is now undone. It may be said, racing did not do this, but extravagance : it leaves my argument as I could desire even so, though I by no means subscribe to the necessity of any such assistant agent. It took them out of their natural position, placed them in a faise one, and then destruction followed.
The experiment so fatal to the Chifneys is now being tried upon. an extended scale by another of the well-known jockeys of this outof-joint era—John Day. His success, so far, has been without parallel. Vulgar report assigns him a confederate of such wealth and station that, if it be the case, we shall never arrive at the result of the actual enterprise. If he has taken the field with such support as public opinion attributes to him, he certainly is to be congratulated, which is more than can be said of his implied noble partner, who, though he may stand in his present league "sans peur," he unquestionably does not " sans reproache." Nov. 1837.