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MONDAY, 24.-Mr. Trelawny's Hounds. North Molton Village. Drew two or three covers, and found in Long Wood: ran round it, and went away over the moor; back to the North Molton covers, and lost. Found again, below the village, and ran to the Whitechapel covers, where there were so many foxes on foot that no business was done on the 'change.
TUESDAY, 25.-North Devon Hounds; at Kensford Water. Found a fox near Simon's Bath, in the open: went away at a killing pace for some time, but they settled down to steady hunting at last, and killed him in North Barton Wood: time, two hours and ten minutes; distance, about sixteen miles. The scent this day was a lasting one; but it could not be said to be " as high as a man's head." WEDNESDAY, 26.-The Tiverton Hounds. Head Gate. A very stormy day. Found: but could do nothing.
THURSDAY, 27.-North Devon Hounds; at Bish Mill. Found in Hiltown Gorse: ran a long way nearly back to the gorse, and then broke away for Knowstone, where we changed foxes; got away with the fresh one, and after a great deal of hard work and good hunting, put him to ground in a rabbit burrow near Bish Mill: time, three hours and five minutes; a fine run.
FRIDAY, 28.-The Tiverton Hounds; at Launacre Bridge. Found a fox, and ran him well for some time, when he went to ground; bolted, and killed him.
Throughout this season the Tiverton Hounds have had extraordinary long runs and good sport: out of twenty-two heats, they have killed (nearly a month ago) nineteen foxes; and, as we have already stated, from the wild character of the animal, few packs can render a better account.
Dec. 10, 1845.
THE HIGH-METTLED RACER.
PLATE I.THE FOAL.
ENGRAVED BY E. HACKER, FROM A PAINTING BY J. F. HERRING, SENR.
Have we a single reader, a new year's subscriber, or an old friend who has not lingered again and again over Hogarth's "Rake's Progress," one of the most old-fashioned, but still most popular works that ever adorned a room or pointed a moral? Can we not recognise it alike in the back-room of the road-side inn, and the great hall of the country squire? and do we not "once more commence tracing the story with an interest and earnestness that only increases as we turn on from scene to scene in this "sad eventful history?" The high ex
cellence of art, and the true knowledge of character bestowed on the composition of each individual picture, are far though from the sole, if indeed the chief reasons for the lasting fame this series has gained for itself and its author; the very word "series" rather directs us to the grand secret of its immortality and its ever new attractions. It is the series that gives us the union of the poet's with the painter's skill to a degree of success that few unassociated subjects, however good, could hope of obtaining; the series in which the spectator is left to mark the gradual change from the naturally sullen boy, to the careless dissolute scamp; and thence on, step by step, to the confirmed, convicted villain. Still, however, we readily confess art and knowledge of life to be not merely powerful, but indispensable assistants here; by their aid are the same features, disposition, and character preserved under, and adapted to their many different phases; and by their fidelity in carrying out the story, as we at once in every fresh place identify and acknowledge this hero, is that universal feeling of pleasure and admiration established.
On strictly this principle do we beg leave to introduce our first plate in the series of the high-mettled racer. The union of the poet and the painter we felt might in this particular instance be accomplished, although we knew that it never yet had been; the same feature and character we thought might be preserved, although we never saw a series hitherto (save at Astley's) but in which the high-mettled racer not only changed his occupation in almost each change of scene, but also every outward and visible sign about him, excepting perhaps the actual colour of his coat, and we are not prepared to be altogether answerable even for that. The whole point and beauty of the story was consequently thrown away; while the looker-on's own conceptions, and the song's effect, rather suffered than otherwise from the attempt so made to realize them in another no less inviting light. To treat such a subject successfully requires, in fact, far more than ordinary experience in the habits of, and natural predilection for, the thorough-bred horse; and in looking round for some one who could thus add the true spirit of the sportsman to the proper ability of the artist, we quickly determined on applying to Mr. Herring. The fame of this gentleman as an animal painter generally, but of the race-horse more particularly, is too great and widely known for further comment here; the only objection indeed we ever heard the most severe critics make against him is, that "paint what horse he will, it is sure to have more or less a touch of the Newmarket nag about it;" a peculiarity, which for our present purpose, would come rather as a recommendation than otherwise. On the score of truth, however, we know many pictures by the same hand, on totally different studies, that would afford the best and most convincing contradiction to the charge; and we only mention it as an opinion which, as regards every succeeding plate of the high-mettled racer, we think the public, for once, will allow to be correct. Herring, then, do we introduce as well worthy to illustrate Dibdin's verse; while the scarcely less important part of transferring the joint result of painter and poet's efforts to the world at large will be entrusted to Hacker, one of the first engravers of sporting or animal pictures now at work.
In one point, our history of a race-horse has an advantage over the celebrated progress to which we had perhaps the presumption to compare it. The poor thorough-bred, born and bred, a gentleman commands a sympathy for him through all his declining fortunes, that the repulsive, underbred appearance of "the idle apprentice" can never for a moment excite. The playful, petted foal, the promising colt, and the "pampered and prancing" high conditioned, well guarded first favourite, to sink down from "the hack of the road," to "being sold for the hounds," and all for no other crime or fault than having ever done his best, really does sound and look a little too bad. It is a opaμa T8 ẞis, with an immense deal of domestic affecting interest about it; and the long stagers about town only need be reminded of the sensation the old piebald (a piebald race-horse!) used to create at the aforesaid Astley's, when "one horse in his time played many parts." How ladies were wont to pity, children to wonder, and even some of the most initiated of us to open our eyes a little, at the old fellow, as he went on making his hits, and doing the pathetic in a style that Miss Faucit might envy, and Mrs. Yates take a wrinkle from. We never indeed heard or read of but one man who either prose or verse has struck at the high-mettled racer when down, and this attack was evidently worked out more for the forced moral than anything else. We allude here to Gay, who, in one of his fables, treats the broken-down gentleman pack-horse with very little commiseration, although the opening speech of the degraded one (with which we conclude this notice) describes his ills and claims with considerable energy and effect.
"Good Gods! (says he), how hard's my lot!
Is then my high descent forgot?
Reduced to drudgery and disgrace,
(A life unworthy of my race).
Must I too bear the vile attacks
Of ragged scrubs and vulgar hacks?
See scurvy Roan, that brute ill bred,
Dares from the manger thrust my head!
On offals of these creatures dine?
*This is quite correct. Some half century since, for instance, the winner of the Chester cup, with the jockey on his back, holding the cup filled with wine, always paraded the town like a returned candidate, preceded by a band of music.