« PreviousContinue »
Margaretta's credit, were we to do so, as she met, in her career, with many of our best dogs, beating, for instance, amongst others, Lord Eglinton's famous bitch, Bessy Bell, who afterwards ran up to Mr. Miller's Magic, for the Great Druid Cup, value 320 sovs., at the Amesbury Champion Meeting Margaretta's own performances were chiefly confined to the north ; but this running alone will show the class of “company" she had to contend against.
Margaretta is a particularly lengthy bitch, standing on short legs, and has immense bone and muscular power. Her courage, too, is very great ; for, although now nine years old, she runs as honest and with as much determination as ever. In fact, her constitution and appearance are those of a greyhound yet in her prime. Still, it is not only in the slips that Margaretta has done good service, many of her puppies having already been very successful in public ; amongst others, Mr. Curror's Hector and Shylock, by his Colonel-both superior dogs; as well as a litter by Foremost, which were first tried during the spring of the year. One of the lot, Wanota, when scarcely over the distemper, and altogether out of condition, ran up to Dove for the All-aged Stakes, at Mountainstown—a performance so favourable as to bring at once an offer of fifty guineas for him, but which was as promptly refused by the owner, Mr. M.Keon, of Dundalk. The reporter of the meeting very justly estimates him as "no contemptible opponent." Another of this litter, Flying Dutchman, also the property of Mr. M.Keon, has run very well in Ireland this season.
Margaretta's last litter, nine in number, and pupped on the 10th of April, are to Figaro, a very promising cross. Several, indeed, have already been bespoken by public coursers at long prices; and we hear there is every expectation of their doing full justice to the distingnished family from which they spring.
THE MIST AND THE MOOR.
CHAP. II. Sir Nicholas and his party traversed the hill-side with the speed of men accustomed to the country. They had crossed the river Cynon, ere the stars had ceased to twinkle in the skies, and were now breast. ing the opposite hill in the direction of the Llanwonno Moors, where they hoped to find some traces of young Esterling. Sir Nicholas alone, of all the party, gave constant vent to his anxious and somewhat indignant feelings: “He could not,” he said, “understand the circumstances which induced Edmund to desert his cousin at such a pinch;" and expressed a strong opinion that had he been the missing one, Esterling would have strained every nerve, and undergone any privation, sooner than abandon him in such a Caucasus. Perhaps Edmund's desire to justify himself, and his repeated assurance that the charge of the horses prevented his taking active steps to follow his cousin, rather tended to chafe than to soften the baronet's irrita
bility, for the more he excused himself the deeper he floundered into the slough.
“Where there's a will there's a way, Edmund; and if you had picked your path over the rushes--as I have often told you—there would have been little danger of the bogs, either to yourself or the horses.'
« The bogs never alarmed me, Sir Nicholas, in the saddle or on foot. Being bred on the moor, Old Featherbed is far too good a judge to get into such places: she winds them afar off, and no persuasion could force her upon unsound ground; and, as for myself, if I get into a bog I can get out of it again without much trouble.”
" Which is only another reason against your conduct with regard to your cousin. Had you been unaccustomed to the country, or unacquainted with the actual extent of the danger, there might be some excuse for the heartless manner in which you have behaved; for the bravest and most undaunted of us may on occasions feel unnerved, especially when the danger is unanticipated and unprepared for ; but such cold-blooded indifference, in a case which may have cost him his life, and you so little, is quite too much for my comprehension, and more than I shall easily forget!" and completely overcome by indignation and anxiety, the honest and staunch-hearted baronet could scarcely master his emotion.
“Cheer up, Sir Nicholas !” said John Griffith, an ancient and faithful follower of the family; "Providence will never forsake any, one who risks Iris life for that of another—far less so brave and good a gentleman as young Mr. Esterling. Yes, indeed, he wasn't born for nothing, I do know; and to be lost and choked in a bog, of such a gloomy night as this has been, would be a sorrowful end for the old race to come to."
“ Quod Deus avertat-may God avert the calamity! But push on, my boys !” said Sir Nicholas, with a groan; “push on! every minute appears an age of terror."
Edmund, who felt very uneasy, and not a little ashamed of the part he had played, strode moodily and silently on; his feelings and position were far from enviable; and as the keen and strong morning wind swept fitfully past them, he had much to do in maintaining his ground along the rocky and precipitous footway, and still more in maintaining his temper. The loss of the latter, however, would not probably have been a source of much regret to anyone, since it was not of the best, and present circumstances were scarcely calculated to improve it. His uncle's last reprimand was unusually severe, and couched in language which induced him to believe that his conduct was not only disapproved of, buc suspected; he determined, therefore, to act at once with all the energy and courage of one who has much at stake, and thus endeavour to obliterate his fault from his uncle's memory, or at least compel him to forgive it; for he well knew that if his hot-tempered and high-principled relative thought ill of a man he took no pains to conceal it, but on the contrary never lost an opportunity of showing him up.
“ Uncle !” said he, placing his hand on Sir Nicholas's shoulder, so as to arrest his progress, " if you will give me leave, I will now lead you by a more direct path than the one you are pursuing ;
so follow ine over this sheep-track, and we shall soon arrive at the spot where George struck into the bogs.”
Sir Nicholas paused, looked suspiciously at his nephew, and glanced at John Griffith, as much as to say, “ You and I, John, ought to know this moor better than any two men living." John, however, approved of the line, and the baronet's doubts were at once dispelled. The look did not escape Edmund's observation, and after a short interval he said,
" It is hard, Sir, that I am to be considered responsible for a man of my cousin's age, who is quite capable of taking care of himself, and of judging for himself as well.”
“ You had better remain silent altogether, Sir, than attempt to justify conduct such as yours has been. No one requires that you should be held responsible for your cousin's actions; but every reasonable being will consider you answerable for your own; and on this occasion you have, as I have before said, but little to be proud of.”
As he ended they were beginning to near the scene where the catastrophe had occurred. The ground was gradually becoming soft and marshy, and a wide expanse of dreary-looking country lay stretched before them.
“ Indeed to goodness! Sir Nicholas--that place yonder, where you see the post sticking up, is the worst place on all the moor!" said John Griffith, pointing with his staff to where a black-looking object rose against the sky.
" That's within two hundred yards of the spot where I last saw George Esterling," said Edmund, eagerly.
“Well then, indeed, there's no use deceiving you,” said John again ; " but if Mr. Esterling got in there, he's gone right through the earth, and, mayhap, come out on the other side by this time.”
Sir Nicholas smiled, in spite of his anxiety, at the extent of John's imagination, and knew not whether to be more alarmed at the announcement that Esterling was probably engulphed, or amused at the old man's notion of his nephew's specific gravity in going through the earth at the rate of a thousand miles an hour. A sudden change in the manner of the pointers now attracted the attention of all the party : the dogs pricked their ears, and dropped their sterns, as if they winded something unusual and strange; and with heads high in the air, they trotted deliberately up to the very spot, which, by unmistakeable signs, they discovered to be the recent scene of a fearful struggle and bloodshed. From this point it was no difficult matter to trace the footsteps of two men in the direction of Llewellyn's farm; and in somewhat less than an hour the whole party reached the door of his hometead, and knocked loudly for admission. The summons was tardily answered, and the impatient Sir Nicholas was about to repeat the knocking, when the face of a woman appeared from an upper window, and recognizing the baronet, she begged him to walk in, and she would come to him immediately,
The haggard and terrified look of the woman, and the tremulous voice in which she spoke, still further alarmed Sir Nicholas. He saw something dreadful had occurred, and he hurriedly entered the house in a state of suspense which was scarcely bearable.
“ Katty,” said he, as the farmer's wife descended the stairs, “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 !-bow? 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 !--gone 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 circumstances 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 decamped, 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 to divert their attention from the common idol so worshipped by the million. But the weakness of vanity is more or less inherent in man, though 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 bounds 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.”