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Being at Doncaster, early on the morrow after the race, ere he had left his couch, he received a note requesting he would oblige the writer with the amount in order that he might have it in readiness to settle as soon as that important business commenced. Not imagining any thing wrong he gave him the money, reserving fifty pounds which he should have to receive back for a bet on the Cup, forfeit having been paid for the horse against which he laid. Many years elapsed before he discovered the facts connected with this transaction. In the first place the agent laid the half a point more than the current odds because the gentleman with whom he made the bet laid him greater odds against another horse ; and, to complete the affair, never handed over the money which was given to him, having made the bet in his own name without ever mentioning that it was a commission. Another specimen of roguery occurred more recently. “I was,” continued my friend, “requested by a gentleman, whose engagements prevented his attending Ascot, to convey some money and a letter to a certain individual; the letter contained instructions to lay bets on particular races, with a request that the respective amounts should be declared to me. One of the horses named was Faugh-a-Ballagh ; but a discretionary power was given to the agent and myself to back him or not, as we might judge most advisable. As the price was not tempting, it was agreed that it was most prudent to leave that commission unexecuted; but the moment the race was over, the individual came up to me and stated that he had, just at the breaking up of the ring, backed him for a pony, These little anecdotes are quite sufficient to justify the opinion which I have already expressed, that this is not the only age when fraudulent tricks have been perpetrated in betting transactions.
The execution of Daniel Dawson for poisoning horses at Newmarket was an event calculated to strike terror in the minds of others similarly influenced by bland persuasions and lucrative temptations. Precautionary measures subsequently adopted, and the custom which at that time prevailed of giving water to horses in training during the time they were out at exercise having been dispensed with, similar opportunities are not in these days afforded for repetitions of such diaboTical acts. Yet, if it were deemed necessary to continue the custom, it is impossible to conceive the opportunities that would be given to those who might be persuaded to make horses safe with some deleterious drug. That many attempts are made to do so there can be no doubt, especially where horses have been great favourites with the public during a considerable length of time. In fact, to have a first favourite for an important event is a charge which I think few men are ambitious of encountering. They may employ policemen, prizefighters, bulldogs, blunderbusses, rifles, swords, pistols, and all the weapons in the tower, without success, if the nobblers can only win to their cause some indi. vidual connected with the stable. Men are not found desperate enough to encounter the danger of entering a stable by force or by stealth ; if they can do so, unsuspectedly, by stratagem it may be another affair.
Some of the customs which now prevail ia racing may be traced to a very early date. Selling stakes were occasionally introduced more than a century back ; in a few instances with a proviso that the owner of the second horse only should be entitled to make the claim, and, in the event of the owner not wishing to part with his horse, that he should
relinquish the prize to the claimant ; another, that if more than one person expressed a desire to claim, that the preference should be decided by raffle. In the year 1738 a boy named Matchem Tims, then only eleven years and a-half old, and riding five stone, is recorded as having won a match at Hambleton. It must of course have been a very extraordinary event at that time when the prevailing weights were ten, eleven, and twelve stone, and these were frequently the extraordinary distinctions between five, six years old, and aged horses, with which they usually had to travel four-mile heats. The first plate or sweepstakes of which there is any record for three years old was run at Bedale in 1731, and was won by Mr. Proctor's bay filly, beating eight others, carrying eight stone, three miles ; but it was a long time after that before races for three years old became prevalent. Thus, from time to time, have we been progressing upon precedents of early date ; and, by great attention to breeding and the treatment of young stock, races for two and three years old colts and fillies have become the most valuable prizes ; and I think it is quite reasonable to conclude, from the improvements that have taken place upon the previous management and subsequent training, that our three-year-olds are quite as equal to run the accustomed distance-one mile and a half or three-quarters, carrying eight stone seven pounds--as the five-year-olds were, a century ago, to run four-mile heats, with ten stone. An untutored animal, suffered to run at liberty in pasture fields till four years old, to obtain an unlimited quantity of grass during the summer, as too frequently happens with half-bred stock in the hands of the farmer, is not so capable of performing work at five as a four years old that has been reared upon the improved system of hay and corn. Every day's experience proves this ; and I am more than ever convinced of the ill effects of giving any horses, except those used for slow and heavy work, grass in the summer, unless it be in very small quantities, and accompanied with hay and corn.
There are a variety of causes which have ministered to the great increase of racing which is apparent during the last quarter of a century, and for the interest which has spread so universally among the people most conspicuous within the last ten years. To the latter, the facilities for betting, and, as I have already remarked, the propensity for gambling being concentrated in horse-racing, we must ascribe the prevailing reason. Railways have assisted very materially, not only by affording opportunities of moving horses from one part of the kingdom to another, but also of conveying the public to an immense number of race meetings at a trifling expense, and, what is of more consequence to the million, in a very brief space of time. It is but natural to conclude that every man who has money dependent upon the issue of a race is desirous to see the contest if he can conveniently accomplish that object ; thus thousands are induced to attend the principal meetings who were unable to do so when the road only presented a conveyance. Seeing that the public feeling had taken an interest, it was but natural that all persons connected with places where races are held should use thair utmost endeavours to render the meetings popular and inviting The exertions of several very clever, enterprising, indefatigable persons, acting as clerks of the races, have likewise
assisted greatly in the promotion of racing throughout the kingdom. The ex
traordinary attractions at Chester must be mainly attributed to the persevering efforts and experience of Mr. Topham. "It is to be admitted the Chester Cup was a very popular race, compared with other cotemporaries, long before he held the appointment; therefore he had a nucleus to commence with, around which he has formed a gigantic globe. There is scarcely an event of any kind, connected with this terrestial sphere, that is not subject to a reaction-scarcely anything which proceeds on its onward progress without some occurrence to retard the career of perfection. A check is given for salutary purposes-perchance to stimulate mankind to renewed exertions-and racing is doubtless equally subservient to such vicissitudes as other undertakings. At the present crisis there is evidently a little stagnation, or perhaps it may be termed retrograde motion, in turf affairs. Both the Epsom and Ascot meetings were particularly unfortunate in respect to the weather. The day, of all others in the year set apart as a holiday by the denizens of Cockaigne, was unquestionably one of the wettest imaginable. The memorable year when Bloomsbury won the Derby during a snow-storm was scarcely more unpropitious. Those who mustered philosophy enough to postpone their pleasures till Ascot were by no means repaid for their resolution. On the Tuesday and Thursday the rain fell on the royal course in most vexatious profusion. Such unavoidable circumstances cannot fail to affect the success of a meeting ; but that is only a question of temporary consequence. With an unprejudiced view of the present condition of turf affairs, it is impossible not to be convinced that racing is annually becoming more confirmed in its character as a business. Persons of affluence, who formerly resorted to the course as a fashionable rendezvous, are evidently withdrawing themselves, and especially the fair portion of the creation. This is not a very unaccountable proceeding ; however the social order of the day may represent the advantages which take place from the participation of all classes in one general amusement, it is ridiculous to disguise the fact that refinement cannot associate with vulgarity. From this cause many families of distinction decline attending, unless it be the male branches, who have horses engaged. The enormous multitudes, among whom are many of most uncourteous bearing, swarming on every popular course, are undoubtedly quite calculated to prevent the attendance of such as seek pleasure in convenience and elegance. Extremes certainly heighten effect ; and if that be necessary to exhibit agreeable manners in the most attractive position, it may undoubtedly be accomplished by comparing the courtesy of a gentleman with the extreme coarseness of some of the unpolished mortals with whom you come in contact.
There might no doubt be measures adopted which would have a tendency to promote a better order of these annoying subjects--not by any means that they should be excluded from the course, or in any way deprived of their participation in the amusements or business of racing. This might be accomplished in a manner productive of additional funds at the populous meetings of Epson, Ascot, Goodwood, Doncaster, and such like places. The great convenience experienced by having sloping terraces connected with the grand stands is invariably acknowledged. If similar arrangements were to be made on each side of a course, and the portion of ground fenced in, as an accommodation for the wellbehaved population, who should be admitted on payment of a small sum,
the immense numbers who would gladly avail themselves of the situation, from whence they could more commodiously witness the racing, would produce, at only sixpence each, an amount of money worthy of consideration. The roughs' would by this measure be kept at a greater distance, and consequently their presence less objectionable.
LETTERS FROM MY UNCLE SCRIBBLE.
MY DEAR NEPHEW,
If this letter prove shorter or less entertaining and instructive than usual, lay it to the heat and the elections. To try the temper of an inoffensive old gentleman, I know nothing equal to the latter. Nothing but a prejudice in favour of a fine old English pastime could ever induce a gentleman to trust himself in such a scene of drunkenness, pocketpicking, swearing, perjury, and corruption. It is almost as bad as a horserace at a country town; and the possession of a plater by my own brother would make me regard his word with distrust. Here I sit, intending to send you a few lines, to be of service to you in your Oxbridge career (and even later), perspiring from the effects of perjury, corruption, and bedevilment, quite past my years, as well as my comprehension. You must come home, and represent the honour of the Scribble family in your own person. Young hearts are softer and more pliant, and young heads harder than old ones.
I can scarcely tell you the pleasure with which I received your kind invitation to come to Oxbridge; many a glorious reminiscence of the days when I was young,” broke upon me. Leather breeches, devilled kidneys, galloping hacks, Bicester windmill, three croppers in twenty-five minutes, and a kill in the open, mixed themselves suddenly up with a trencher cap, a Newnham party, a tandem whip, a bottle of soda-water, mulled sherry, velvet sleeves, and an analysis of the sermon at St. Mary's, "mais on a changé tout cela.” I am older and you are younger-the rising generation has improved upon the past in some things ; not in all. We will begin from the beginning.
When I was an under graduate, some years ago, (I believe that to be the approved style in the Comedy of the middle ages), we travelled on a coach-eleven of us occupied the roof of the coach, more or less ; one of whom for the slight consideration of a sovereign, again more or less, occupied the place of the legitimate coachman. I was not unfrequently • Évoćkatoç the identical. The seats were hard, the weather changeable, the journey protracted, but there were the four horses,
“Heads in the front with no bearing reins on,
Let the steam pot hiss till it's hot, &c.' This made up for all ; and whether the wind blew, or the rain fell, or the dust choked, or the sun melted, coaching was coaching, and that's more than we can say of steam. However, justice is a great virtue, and a very rare one ; so that I must afford a few words for the boiler. I never went to Oxbridge until this year by train : I remember my deter
mination formerly to wake up High Street some day with a dark green chariot and posters ; when I envied some portly Don his importance and preferment—but I never calculated upon the equality to which steam would reduce us. What are posters and preferment now? I sat opposite an old badger-pied dignitary in black trousers and a white choker, and though certainly fatter, he was not a bit more comfortable than myself -whilst in another corner sat a regular unmistakeable Oxbridge man of 1850 or '51, who made himself more comfortable than either ; for his legs, coats, umbrella, and terrier, occupied the rest of the carriage. Majesty is said to be a jest without its externals—50 is a professor, (that is the great word now). Our old professor looked quite mortal ; simply because we were so, and were with him. I begin to understand, now, for the first time, why certain elderly gentlemen, who lived near the regency, who are pulled in and puffed out, and who have lived on an eyeglass, a brown wig, and a thousand a year, in Baker street, will imagine that they belong to the aristocracy. By the time I got to Oxbridge, I felt a Don-circumstances had done it. If I was not raised to his level by juxta position, I had certainly reduced him to mine. Then as I neared the sacred spot in memory's waste” I called up visions brooks, fences, five-barred gates, (now always opened with a crop instead of a cropper), and a beautiful effect in railroad travelling, thought them smaller than formerly. A pleasant sensation is looking at an old face, through diminishing glasses.
The dinner you gave me at Muddlehead College was, I am bound to say, admirable ; the room was fine, the company hungry, and the grace very long, and in Latin ; certainly the gentlemen who said it, made as short work of it as they well could. The Saturnalia I perceive are also triennially repeated, and I think should never be taken away. Courting popularity by unfair means, or unjustifiable truckling, is one thing, but doing what men are obliged to consider their duty, in an ingentlemanly manner, is another. I know that it is a fault found by the older members of Oxbridge, that the present race of authorities is not sufficiently courteous, but savouring of the school-master ; and a good public demonstration of dislike before " die Dame die Ich liebe," or the fear of it, may prove a salutary check. Now
my dear Boy, we must talk a little about sporting, or you will begin to think your old uncle in his dotage, Economy is the order of the day every where. Indeed the chanceller of the exchequer himself will not spend more money on anything than is necessary in these hard times, unless one excepts the matter of bread perhaps--but economy being the order of the day, I shall commend the purchase of your stud, for an eleven stone man, at something like £60 or 70 a piece. Some men say, that by this practice of economy, you throw away the advantage your weight gives you—I think not, for almost all horses require a strength to hold them proportionate to the weight they are able to carry. You must therefore have a light man, very strong upwards for his weight; or a powerful horse able to go very much within himself, and after the fashion of a pony: two things difficult to find. Ability to carry one stone more than they are ordinarily called upon to do is sufficient for most horses ; and price will always be regulated by this capability, rather than by any other. If I could in so short a visit advise you to look for what I think you require, in any particular stable, I should say, Charles Symonds, Seckham, and Tollit. "I believe Oxbridge to be fine ground