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Cotherstone, certainly the best and best of the spring's three-year-olds, won the Derby. Nutwith, one of the best of the past year's twoyear-olds in the north, the Leger. I say nothing of the Oaks, because the result of that event is false nine times out of ten; indeed it is almost never correct. The handicaps have been in the main profitable to the profession; but they are sad wet blankets to legitimate sport. On the day that I am writing this, the Duke of Richmond has a steed hight Lothario, engaged in the Newmarket St. Leger. At Doncaster he ran, and was beaten by a moderate field at 6st.; at Newmarket, should he go, he would meet Napier, Gaper, and suchlike, with two stone and a half more on his back! Thus handicapssoothing innovations for the legs-are hard lines for the lots; "making our fields of such alarming brevity."

THE OLD ANGLER'S RETURN.

BY HALIFUS.

An old man stood by his native stream,
And palsied was his hand,

And grey his brow-for years of toil
He had passed in a foreign land.

Say why that tear from the old man's eye
That trickles down his cheek;

Say why his breast convulsive throbs,
As if his heart would break.

When last he stood on that dear-loved bank,

A merry YOUTH was he,

And a faithful friend, but youthful too,

Was in his company.

And on his arm a fair girl hung,

Whose looks spoke heart's affection,

And tears as parting only brings
Proclaimed her deep dejection.

And oft in after years had he
Indulged the pleasing dream
Of meeting those he loved so well,
Unchang'd beside the stream.

And now its banks again he treads

The dear old scene to view;

And finds that faithful friend had died—

That girl had proved untrue.

Axminster, Sept. 9th, 1843.

SPORTING WRITERS.

BY NIMROD.

On the interesting subject of breeding hounds, Mr. Radcliffe commences with insisting on the necessity of good walks, and shows the evils arising from bad ones, especially to legs and feet, when liberty to the animal is denied him. "By bearing perpetually on the foot," he says, alluding to puppies tied up, "it becomes elongated; legs which would have been faultless, grow crooked; and the whole symmetry of a fine young hound is destroyed, by contraction of the scope which he requires for the development of his daily increasing faculties." After some judicious remarks on the necessity of selecting bitches to breed from, not merely from their performance in the field, but also with regard to their shape, namely, such as are the strongest and best proportioned, with large ribs and flanks; and an especial caution against breeding from a faulty dog-hound, be his performance ever so good; our author indulges in a few hypotheses on this subject, which I confess I hold cheaply. For example, he tells us that it is affirmed by many who profess to have experience in generative economy, that in any number of litters bred from one bitch, there will be at least one puppy bearing some resemblance to the sire of her first. Whilst Mr. Radcliffe does not exactly sanction this idea, he nevertheless produces an instance in some measure in support of it. A mare was put to a zebra, and the first produce was, as might have been expected, a striped kind of mule. When this mare was afterwards put to different horses, the produce was more or less affected by the stripes of the zebra.

Again, Mr. Radcliffe tells us that the first litter of puppies which a bitch brings, are supposed to be inferior to her second or third; and I am inclined to believe there is truth in this hypothesis. The produce of mares has certainly been found to improve with the age of the dam, and that of stallions has in some instances improved with their years. That of Highflyer is well known to have done so, as likewise that of the late Lord Grosvenor's Alexander.

Speaking of the choice of whelps, Mr. R. says there is a general opinion in favour of the lightest, that they will grow up the best-a notion to me rather paradoxical. I should rather look for perfection in those for which nature appeared to have done most.

On the subject of distemper we have nothing new; but vaccination is mentioned as having been successful in one particular year in Sir John Cope's kennel. I should rather imagine the disease to have been of a mild character during that season. Mr. Radcliffe, however, states the melancholy and disheartening fact, that in one spring out of thirty-five couples of puppies sent to walk, thirteen only re

turned to the kennel.

Mr. Radcliffe next treats of cub-hunting, destroying Mr. Smith's

X

claim in his diary to his having been the first to pursue it in the evening rather than in the morning, by telling us that "it has been successfully practised from time immemorial in the establishments at Wakefield and Brockelsby, by the present Lord Yarborough, for the number of years he has been master of hounds; by his father, and grandfather before him; by the Dukes of Grafton, and others innumerable." For my own part I am unable to give an opinion on the choice of these periods for cub-hunting; although it occurs to me, that as September is the principal month in which this necessary business is performed-with few exceptions, at least-very little advantage can be had in dry weather, from the dew, which only appears a short time before the sun sets, which it now does soon after seven. Then there can be no drag to a fox so late in the day as five or six o'clock, when we must suppose the work begins, and the only advantage that occurs to me is that pointed out by Mr. Radcliffe-namely, that if a fox should be found about that time of the evening, every half-hour becomes more favourable for scent, instead of the reverse, which is generally the case in the morning. Again, it may be asked, is there time between the hours of five and seven to try the stoutness of young hounds, or to give those who are inclined to be riotous a good belly-full of work? It is, however, proper to remark, that Lord Yarborough approves of evening cub-hunting, on the experience of fifteen years trial of it. In my opinion, the sort of country in which hounds are placed has a great deal to do with it; in some it would be impracticable.

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On entering young hounds to fox, our author has made some good observations, particularly on the danger of rating them before it is clear that they are on a wrong scent; nor even then, on the first or second time of their being among riot. "Never mind them, let them find it out," were the words of one of the best sportsmen of the day; "they will soon learn that they are wrong. He also attracts our notice to a curious instance of a bitch in Mr. Sebright's pack, which refused to enter for the whole of one season and part of the next, and afterwards became one of the best of her year. This long trial was given her in compliment to her blood; and who knows but that one biting lash," on being first thrown into a covert, might not have been the cause of her shyness? In the late Mr. Chute's pack, there was a capital bitch which never attempted to draw, but was a sore enemy to a fox when once he was on foot.

The following remarks are excellent, and worthy the notice of young masters:"A young hound that cannot run up with the pack at first, will not improve in pace, unless you have reason to suppose that his condition can be amended; let him go to those who do not mind being troubled with the slows. (Query-Will not condition mend his speed? at all events, if desirable in other respects, such as blood, form, &c., it might be tried). Determined skirters, and those over-free with their tongues, are irreclaimable." Again-"If you are fearful of diminishing your numbers, remember that drafting is only weeding your garden; it does not impair your strength, but adds to your efficiency." Although one principal object in cub-hunting is the teaching young hounds to draw, and face strong lying, where

foxes are most likely to be found, still our author considers a burst, now and then, over the open is necessary, to enable a huntsman to judge of the pace of the young ones, and how they run together; as also to practise them in getting quick away to horn or holla. He is averse to cub-hunting where the ground is very hard, by which hounds are lamed and shaken all over; and instances one season, during his own mastership, when no hunting of any sort could commence in Herts or Beds till nearly the middle of November.

On the subject of prodigality in killing foxes, for the sake of a display of their noses on the kennel door, Mr. Radcliffe thus writes, quite in accordance with my notions on that important point :

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"It is too common in most countries, for the sake of the noses, to make wanton waste of cubs, where circumstances are favourable to getting hold of them. There is afterwards a scarcity of foxes. If you kill one in a litter, it suffices to disturb the rest; they want no further notice to quit; but, when first disturbed, they ring the changes so frequently, that by the time it is who-whoop with the first of the family, the rest are half beaten, and it is very easy to take advantage of them. Very frequently, a detachment of the pack is at the same moment disposing of another in a similar manner. Your country must be very full of foxes to afford such prodigality. The best plan is to visit every part of the country (excepting some particular pet places) before November; you may then be able to render an account of every litter."

The chapter concludes with some broad hints as to the responsibility of a master of hounds, and what is expected from him in his country, together with the significant though perhaps startling remark, that, whatever may be a man's own qualifications for the office of a master of hounds, to that level will he bring his establishment. Experience, certainly, for the most part confirms the truth of this assertion; although there have been instances where the skill and judgment of servants have rendered the sporting qualifications and science of masters almost a negative consideration.

Chapter XI. treats of the phenomenon, scent, which the writer calls one of our "glorious uncertainties"- -"constant only in inconstancy." The most decisive prognostications of the absence of it, he says, are the following:

"When hounds roll on the grass; when, in drawing covert, they whip their sterns, so that each appears crimson-pointed; when the dew hangs upon the thorn; when gossamer is floating on the surface of the ground; when there are harsh, drying winds, or frequent

storms.

He, however, admits that these prognostics are not infallible, and that in gossamer, and in storms, under a burning sun, or amidst flakes of snow, scent is found lying breast-high. In fact, he says, philosophy is at fault in any attempt to define the causes of scent or

no scent.

Signs of scent he takes to be these :—

"When hounds go soberly to covert, with their mouths closed, instead of staring around them and showing disposition to frolic; when, in the place of boisterous winds and lowering storms, we have

high clouds, with cool and gentle zephyrs; when no white frost has rendered the surface of the earth treacherous and adhesive: above all, when the quicksilver in the barometer is on the ascendant, we may fairly hope for scent."

Mr. Radcliffe next comments on Mr. Smith's hypothesis (stated in his Diary) that scent is derived, not from the body or breath of a fox, but from the pad alone. He (Mr. R.) will not entertain this notion for a moment, neither do I. Neither will he admit another fanciful notion of that highly-gifted sportsman-namely, that a hunted fox is equal to distinguish a good from a bad scent, "as he lives by hunting." When hunting for his own food, which no doubt he does by the foot, I admit that he must be aware of the difference between a cold and a warm drag; but the only difference he can perceive in scent, when flying for his life, is in the pace at which he is pursued by the pack. He likewise more than doubts Mr. Smith's proposition, that foxes are more than usually given to lie under-ground on good scenting days. His (Mr. R.'s own experience leads him to a different conclusion, saying that he never made so sure of a finding as upon a day most propitious for scent; giving as a reason, that if the weather is favourable for the nocturnal rambles of a fox, he is very likely to avail himself of the chance, and to find himself stopped-out on his return-that is to say, if the earth-stopper has done his duty.

Although I may comment more at length on some of the hypotheses of Mr. Smith when I give a review of his book, I cannot here pass over one reason given by him for believing that the scent of a fox comes only from the touch-i. e., from the pad. He says that when a fox is lying quiet in his kennel, the scent does not exude from him. To this Mr. Radcliffe replies in the case of the polecat, which when in a state of quiescence, emits no scent, but excite him for a moment, and his smell may be designated by a harsher term; and such, he says, is precisely the same with a fox reposing in unconfined space. I can myself speak to both these facts. I saw Mr. Osbaldeston's hounds draw over a vixen fox, asleep, in the Curate Gorse, Leicestershire; and I stood close to a polecat asleep, in a wood in France, without being aware of his emitting his peculiar smell. A terrier of mine having, however, subsequently killed one in my stable-yard, after a sharp fight (the dog having once let him go, from a severe bite, when he had to be hunted out of a faggot-pile), and my gardener having imprudently brought the carcase into the room in which we were at breakfast, we were obliged to quit it, owing to the disgusting smell left behind by it, nor was the room sweet for some hours afterwards.

But I will not now dwell on this subject, to which I may hereafter revert, further than to state a fact which, in my opinion, sets at rest the point as to the scent of a hunted animal emanating solely from the touch, and which fact I have already put into print. After having seen a most severe burst with the Lewes harriers, some years back-so severe, indeed, that only Mr. De Burgh, on a thoroughbred one, lived with the pack throughout-I declined riding after the second hare, by reason of being mounted on a friend's horse which had an engagement over his head. Placing myself then upon an eminence,

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