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of the Western family is, that I intend, on my return, to submit for editorial consideration some most interesting papers, recently discovered at a manor house in the fair county of Devon, which are entitled
The Adventures of Timothy Gambado,
MY LIFE AND ADVENTURES.
BY HARRY HIEOVER.
I have often thought that a Biographical Society would be a most useful institution, if well organised and conducted; and a Society of Truth-tellers would be another. The latter would have particularly one leading feature in it that in these days always commands immediate attention—it would be most decidedly quite novel : such a society of persons never has existed, at least so I believe, and most certainly does not exist now. The Truth-tellers I would have composed of a given number of men, bound, in virtue of their office, to speak the truth ; I would in no way wish to confine the members to any given number, indeed this would be quite unnecessary: the only difficulty likely to arise in this particular would be to find men in sufficient number to form a society, the leading feature of which would be a peculiarity so contrary to the usual practice of general society. These gentlemen should be like chamber counsel; that is, individuals to whom we could apply for information, but with this additional novel advantage that we should be certain of a direct and conscientious reply to our questions.
The great and indeed vital importance and advantage that the Truthtellers would be to society will become at once apparent if we consider how very rarely a man really knows his own characteristics—how rarely he is a judge of the propriety, impropriety, justice, or injustice of his proceedings; and more rare still is it for a man to know how he stands in the estimation of the world or society in general. It is true, if a man is poor and helpless, he may very fairly calculate on being told of all his faults and failings; but then he will never be made conscious of any virtues he may possess, for no one will think it worth their while to inform him of them; and in fact, being poor, the quantum of virtue the world will give him credit for will not certainly be "hid un:ler a bushel:" why should it, when a reversed tea-cup would be ample to hide all that it will be conceived possible such a poor - could possess?
Now the powerful and opulent man is in the same predicament as the poor one, so far as regards getting at his true character ; every one of the average good qualities he may possess in common with his fellowman will be lauded as god-like attributes; and though the world may be
clear-sighted enough to see his faults who will tell him of them ? most certainly no one but one of my Truth-tellers. There are many men high in rank, who know no more how their character, as regards heart and disposition, stands in the estimation of the world they live in, than they do of how it may stand in the opinion of the man in the moon. I have one in my mind's eye now, who I should suppose is in that state of blissful ignorance--at least it is to be hoped that he is so, or his bliss would be but little, unless it consists in being detested. Is it to be supposed, it may be asked, that constant salutations will attend one so disliked ? aye, would they, if he was a devil, provided at the same time he was a duke. Now with my confidential and truth-telling counsel, such a man would be candidly told why he was in such bad odour with his fellow-man, and no one else would tell him.
A man shunned by society may not know why he is so-how is he to remedy faults and causes that he “wots not of”
? A young lady wishes much, and very naturally wishes, to know why no chance of the desired question has been put to her by any eligible one among her acquaintance. Imagine her consternation on the chamber counsel, in a quiet business way, and with imperturbable gravity and quietude, informing her“When men address a lady as lovers, they are always actuated by some motive commendable or foolish, as it may be. They seek high family connexion, fortune, beauty, mind, and high attainments in education and accomplishments, or great amiability of disposition : you, unfortunately, possess none of these, but a great deal of affectation and undue self-appreciation, and have not been fortunate enough to find a man who hold the two latter attributes as compensatory for all the rest.”. If this is not enough for a guinea, which I propose as the ordinary fee, I really know not what would be.
Return we now to the Biographers. One of these, who would write the life of a man while living, so far as it went, would do more good to the public, and to the individual, be it who it may, than a dozen posthumous criticisms or laudatory works. If we are to act on the principle de mortuis nil nisi bonum, we should never learn the true character of any one; and it really is a work of supererogation to tell of a man's faults when, not being able to hear, he can no more mend them ; and on the other hand, if he merits the love, respect, and applause of the world, it is unfair to deprive him of the well-earned satisfaction of knowing while living that he is thus estimated. It is no use telling us whom we should court or whom avoid after the object is beyond our reach: let us judge of this while it is of use to us. Biographers of the living would be like the press to authors: it would keep them in order--it would encourage those who strove to deserve encouragement, and very properly punish those who were careless, obstinate, or radically bad : and like that press, I would vote the members of my Biographic and Truth-telling Societies to be privileged persons, against whose opinion and decision it would be as improper as futile to rebel or take offence.
I have given a hint of what might be: whether it ever will be, is another affair ; but this I know-if it ever should be, it would put a good many on the qui vite.
In writing my own adventures, and being my own biographer, I will endeavour to show by my candour that I have the germ in me that would qualify me to be chosen a member of the societies I have
alluded to, had nature made me a man instead of a quadruped, in fact-a horse.
If a man descended from ancestors of as undoubted aristocratic origin as mine was writing his own memoirs he would fill half. a-dozen pages with records of the deeds of his progenitors would refer us to where the trophied urn or chiselled marble, in silent, but ostentatious display, blazoned their deeds or virtues ; and we should be inflicted with a lengthened and perplexing detail
, not only of the root and fruit of the stem, but of every collateral branch and minor twig of the genealogical tree. I shall put my reader under no such penance, but briefly, and in terms suited to the subject, inform him that I was considered as well bred “ on both sides of my bridle," for a race-horse, as horse could be. The classic ground of Newmarket had been the arena of the many victories of ny proud ancestry; and in the absence of the vociferous shouts of the thousands of yokels and nondescripts who frequent race-courses of minor and provincial note, the business-like buz of astonishment and admiration often hailed the scions of my blood and the colours of their possessors as passing the winningchair triumphant.
My sire had not only performed the good office for his owner of winning the two greatest races of the year, but sundry others. He had thus become the terror of the turf ; and “ Winged Meteor was held in all events in point of speed invincible. He was the lauded of the lauded, the admired of the admired ; and the heir to a principality would have risked his inheritance on any event in which my flying sire was destined to contend. Uncertain are, however, all human events, and more than uncertain are those of the turf. In a subsequent event, my hitherto un. conquered sire was destined to yield his laurels to a competitor he had beaten in one of his great achievements. As in human affairs on the slightest reverse of fortune or success, this defeat at once set the vituperative tongue of detraction going. This was fulminated in different ways and on different objects : trainer, jockey, and my revered sire, cach had his detractors. The first had not properly trained him ; the latter had improperly ridden him: others went so far as to call it a sell, a do, and God knows what beside ; in fact, all who had lost their money
had some blame to throw on all but the right party, namely, the man who risks his all, or what, if he loses it, will produce inconvenience to him on any uncertain event. Doubts began to arise as to whether my
renowned parent was, take him all in all, as he had been supposed to be—" the eighth wonder of the world.” Of his speed there could be no doubt; but whether his being a really thoroughly game and stout competitor for turf honours was merely surmise—his speed, except in the one case, having caused his other victories to have been achieved without any severe contest-opinions varied. With some he was still the all-in-all of perfection; and with such the defeat was accounted for in every way but such as could lessen the pretensions of the idol of public favour. In fact, furor would not be an inappropriate word to apply to the current public opinion. Others, and many deeply initiated in turf affairs, and the pretensions of race-horses, boldly asserted as their opinion, that though Winged Meteor justly merited his significant name, he had a white feather in his blood on one side which was true enough-and inferred the probability of its having descended to him : others, bolder still in
technical terms, expressed their convictions that " if he was really collared he would cur it.” This diversity of opinion it was determined by the respective owners of my sire and his late victorious competitor should be settled by a match, which was made for a heavy stake ; and the racing world and half the other world were on the alert : in truth, public excitement was at fever height: so nearly was balance of turf opinion poised, that as the eventful period approached, bets were so even that where a moderate sum was at issue the bonus of a dozen of champagne would have made many allow the giver his choice of either horse.
The owner of my sire had declared that, win or lose, it should be Winged Meteor's last race. A man who, like that owner, wants to borrow a light from no man's candle to show him his way in racing affairs, would not have come to this decision without good reason ; whether he had suspicion that further proof would tarnish the proud fame of the wonder or not, it is hard to judge. As it was, however, determined to put him to the stud, the declaration was dictated by good policy ; for should he be victorious in the mateh he would be a fortune as a sire; and a defeat would reduce his value from thousands, to be reckoned by ten-pound notes. To decline the match would have nearly the same effect. So, though it was no forced handicap, it was virtually a forced match. The renown and consequent value of my sire were * set upon a cast," and there was nothing for it but “to stand the hazard of the die."
The important day arrived. Londoners and provincials flocked to the trysting-place to see the match between the cracks of the day. My sire's possessor was too good a judge not to have him brought to the post in the best possible form careful and judicious training could bring him up to. The owner of the other crack was not much versed in the discipline of the racing-stable : his horse, however, looked well: yet the most deeply initiated fancied he was not somehow quite the horse he was on the day of his last victory; but in cases where it is known that so much is at stake on the event of a particular horse winning, unfounded suspicions sometimes arise that the other does not come to the post quite as well as his partisans might wish ; and between two competitors of nearly equal merits, a very little omission, or a little injurious commission, can easily settle the affair all one way. Far be it from me to say anything of the kind took place on this memorable contest. However, the race was run, and my father won, beating a competitor that I have heard the best judges decide is a better animal than my lauded sire ever was or ever will be. Professing, as I have, my firm intention to be guided by truth in all that relates to myself and family, I must in candour admit, that I fear, from what I have heard, that such opinion was the current one. Years have passed since this memorable contest took place. I am now old and grey; but my coltish excitement, on hearing my mother's description of it, is still fresh in my memory : and I have heard that a contest somewhat similar in circumstances and results has taken place not long since.
My good mother, like my sire, had won for her owner one of the large and popular stakes. To show that neither the public, racing men, nor owpers are infallible in their judgment of the pretensions of us animals-any odds could have been got against her prior to the race. ller trainer alono felt confidence in her qualities ; and where trainers
are men of experience, judgment, and integrity, I must think owners would often succeed better than they do, in being guided by the opinion of such persons in preference to their own. A man of education may certainly be able to call to his aid a greater amount of combination of idea and circumstance : he may be an excellent judge of action, style of going, shape, make, and symmetry ; but these all fall to the ground before the plain and practical proof that is come at by the man who has prepared, exercised, and worked the race-horse. To treat such a man's opinion with contumely is tantamount to insure the being thwarted by him. If a trainer has a favourite, it matters little the owner disparaging him, for in such case all pains will be taken to enable the pet to show the trainer was right in his predilection ; but if, on the contrary, an owner will uphold a horse his trainer has reason to know will never do him credit, beat he certainly will be, if he runs only for a saddle and bridle. Human nature is human nature still ; and as the poet has it-" pride directs us still”: and it is a greater trial of integrity' than we should ever put a man to, to place him in a situation that, by acting on its principle, he proves another right and himself wrong; and, of course, such would be the case if a horse won anything worth having, against the given opinion of his trainer. However conversant a man may be as an owner, in all matters relating to racing ; however well he might be able to train a horse himself, if he exert the strictest vigilance on his part, unless the trainer cheerfully cooperates in the cause, he will most certainly deceive himself, and be deceived in his horse. If an owner has a horse that his trainer has reason to think a bad one, he had better sell him at once, or change his trainer : there is no alternative, in fact : it would be cheaper to give away such a horse, than to keep him. I merely mention this as a hint to young beginners on the turf.
Lucky would it have been for the owner of my mother had he been guided by his trainer's opinion, which was--"We shall win, sir, with Antidote?" It is quite true no indifferent man can judge how good may be colts or fillies that have never run in public : nor is it very easy to judge of this if they have ; for while some find it their interest to hide the
qualities of their young ones, the beaten colts or fillies may be flyers, and the winner and other leading ones may not be worth a bunch of the carrots they have eaten. But if a man, by proper trials, has proved his colt or filly to be superior, or about equal, to others that have won the same or similar stakes, and keeps this to himself, an owner should be guided by his advice, and taking long odds early, he must manage badly if he cannot stand to win a good stake at little or no risk. However, not a shilling had my mother's owner on her, when sure enough we did “ win with Antidote !” and win handsomely.
As is always the case with the winner of any great event, my mother now attracted attention, and as Isaac did by the Duenna, people began to think there was something agreeable,” if not in her voice, in her appearance. She was not the mere weaselly thing they had thought her: on minuter inspection it was found that, though neither large nor showing great general strength, she had considerable racing powers, or rather attributes, about her. She was now talked of; and this--as is often the case with race-horseswas the worst thing that could have happened to her or her master : it put her in the position of the cha