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respect, as well as in many besides, the man of all others to manage a Leicestershire field, the “ spring captains' as they are called, especially. And this was not effected, as Dryden says, by
rage and storm, and blasphemously loud,
As Stentor bellowing to a Grecian crowd ; but, as I have already said, by the natural influence which a man acquires, when he has attained excellence in his calling-be the calling what it may.
I know not how or where Sir Bellingham Graham procured the first pack of hounds he became master of, but this much I know-namely, that on his giving up Northamptonshire, he divided his kennel with Mr. Musters, who succeeded him, each master drawing alternate couples. On taking to the Quorn country, he purchased all but twenty-five couples of Mr. Osbaldeston's pack, together with eighteen of his horses. On the other hand, when Mr. Osbaldeston returned to Quorn, on Sir Bellingham leaving it, he (Sir B.) reserved the same number of hounds-viz., twenty-five couples, for which Mr. Osbaldeston gave him eleven hundred pounds! This fact alone would establish Sir Bellingham Graham as a first-rate judge of hounds; but, in addition, it may be mentioned, that from a draft of about twenty couples from Mr. Osbaldeston's kennel, and a pack he purchased at the same time, 1818, (for, after the sale of the twenty-five couples to Mr. Osbaldeston, he was left houndless, if such a word may be used,) of Mr. Newnham, who had just resigned Worcestershire, containing a good deal of Lord Lonsdale's blood, did he lay the foundation of that beautiful and efficient pack with which he hunted Shropshire, the country in which he cried his last who-whoop-with his own hounds, at least in Shropshire.
But let us look at Sir Bellingham Graham in Shropshire, where I passed six weeks under his roof. Here the same liberal hand that had directed all his operations in Leicestershire, was as actively employed both in his kennel and stables. In fact his hunting establishment was not reduced beyond the extent of about fifteen couples of hounds, and half a score of horses from that which he considered necessary for Leicestershire-his kennel containing nearly seventy couples of working hounds, and his stable, thirty-five very effective horses !
The only instance I know of Sir Bellingham Graham “ blowing up” an individual in the field, was, by a pre-concerted plan between himself and the Hon. Capt. Berkeley, of the Thunderer. There was an immense field on that day, and so sur. rounded was the cover, that there appeared little chance of the fox being able to get away. “Go and place yourself at that point, the most likely for the fox to break;' said Sir Bellingham to the Captain of the Thunderer, and I will give you a thurdering good blowing up;" wbicb he did; and the captain stood it as coolly as r doubt he did the balls wbich flew about his ship on the Syrian coast. No. XVI. VOL, II.- NEW SERIES.
Sir Bellingham Graham, like Mr. Musters, has been famous for having educated, if I may so express myself, some of the best hunting servants of the age. When in Shropshire he was admirably whippedin to by Will Staples, now hunting one of the Shropshire packs with great eclât-son of old Tom Staples, many years huntsman to the late Lord Middleton, and Jack Wrigglesworth, who had previously whipped-in to the late Sir Mark Sykes, and now hunting another of the Shropshire packs. And as a judge of the animal horse, for all purposes, Sir Bellingham is excelled by no man, which is saying a great deal. None has a better eye to a coach-horse, and when he hunted Leicestershire, he was said to have had more good big horses in the Quorn stables, than they ever before contained —even in Lord Sefton's days.
There may have been, and there now may be, better huntsmen than Sir Bellingham Graham. Comparisons are odious, and unnecessary here as well; neither is it necessary, or to be expected, that perfection is to be attained by any man, in any station; but no sportsman who has seen him in the field, can reasonably detract from the merits of the gentleman of whom I am speaking. His fine horsemanship gave him great advantages; and in proof of his success in one of the most trying countries in Great Britain,-all circumstances considered-may the fact be stated, of his having killed every fox he found in the country alluded to-the far-famed Quorn-for six consecutive weeks, with his old pack, which hunted twice a week! It can also be stated, on equally good authority, that during the period of his hunting Leicestershire, he was never known to be away from his hounds when wanted, although at that time riding plum sixteen stone.
The real English gentleman-unsophisticated by foreign fopperies-is sure to be popular with the yeomen and farmers of his neighbourhood, be his pursuits what they may. The master of hounds, thus constituted, cannot fail of being popular, and when Sir Bellingham ceased to be one, his loss was as much lamented by all well-wishers to fox-hunting, as his example was worthy of imitation by all those who have succeeded him, or may be about to follow the same honourable path, which he himself pursued.
THE DUKE OF GRAFTON. I HAVE scarcely hunted enough with the Duke of Grafton's hounds, to enable me to say much of their noble owner as a master,-my experience of them being confined to a few days in a season, when they came within come-at-able distance from Bicester, Whisley wood, or Billesdon Park, for example, and one or two more fixtures on the Brackley side of Northamptonshire. I also saw them in their Forest country, when on a visit to Lord Lynedoch, and was much pleased
with the manner in which they were managed by the celebrated Tom Rose, who then hunted them, although far advanced in years. I likewise paid a visit to the kennel, accompanied by Lord Lynedoch, and was favoured with a two hours' inspection of its contents.
The Duke of Grafton is now amongst the oldest of our masters. 1 know not why it should be the case, but we do not find much of his grace's blood in our first-rate kennels; but if I might hazard a conjecture, it would be, that somewhat of a prejudice exists against the Grafton blood, on the score of wildness in their work, which has ever been more or less the characteristic of the Grafton kennel. Then I always fancied I saw a peculiarity in the form and style of the Duke of Grafton's hounds, not quite to my mind-somewhat of a coarseness attributable in part to their large size, and perhaps in some measure to their generally being higher in condition, than most other packs, which Rose considered necessary for their strong woodlands, and altogether exceedingly severe country. Indeed if it is all like to that in which I was able to reach them from Bicester, or Stoney Middleton, it requires a few extra mouthfuls of something the reverse of soup maigre to keep them well up to their mark, and to return home with their sterns up, after a hard day, or to come again, when wanted, for another.
Lord Lynedoch was so kind as to accompany me to Wakefield, the seat of the noble duke, when his grace did me the honour to show me his stud, and as part of it, a number of colts and fillies, chiefly halfbred ones, intended for the hunting stables, the produce of Vampire and Polygar, own brother to Partisan. I likewise inspected the stud of hunters, amongst which were, as might be looked for in the stables of a conspicuous member of the turf, several of full blood.
Much as I esteemed both the late and present Dukes of Beaufort, and highly as I have honoured them as masters of hounds, my eye never dwelt with satisfaction on the lively-like costume of the Beaufort hunt-namely, blue, faced with white. The dark green of the Grafton uniform, however, is still more out of character, inasmuch as the colour is associated with the forest, the legitimate game of which is the stag; whereas the true and characteristic colour of the fox-hunter, is the same which befits the soldier, his pursuit being the image of war, but happily without its guilt. A field of well mounted men in scarlet, is one of the most enlivening sights which Great Britain can exhibit ; whereas there is somewhat of a sombre caste thrown over them when clad in what puts one in mind of Robin Hood and Little John, or of those doughty knaves who were said to be clad in “ Kendal Green.”
I have reason to believe the Duke of Grafton's hounds have had their general share of sport during the many seasons in which they have hunted, but my regard for the strict observance of all rules essential to the preservation, if not the advancement, of the science of
hunting, obliges me to say, that it is the universal opinion of sportsmen, that more latitude is given to the operations of this pack in the field than the strict rules of the chase may allow. That they have brilliant runs, is a fact too well known, to admit of doubt, and that they can kill their foxes at the finish of them ; but when we hear it said, and said it is, that they kill them “in a manner peculiarly their own," we naturally ask, in what the peculiarity consists ? I have already answered the question. There ever was a wild strain in the Grafton kennel, and such will it continue to be.
Perhaps one of the most extraordinary runs ever heard of, is recorded of this pack, in the year 1828. They found their fox at ten o'clock, and killed him at four in the evening, having run through twenty-eight parishes!
The Duke of Grafton is one of the many British noblemen of whom Britain
may feel proud, and a master of fox-hounds worthy of being classed in the foremost rank ; whilst on the turf his name and fame stand in bold relief, -examples to all who aspire to signalise themselves in a highly honourable, as well as useful pursuit, which racing is, when purged of the mean and self-degrading shifts to which too many of its followers have recourse to obtain the golden prize, all nobler considerations giving way.
(To be continued.)
REMARKS ON THE STUDS OF THE PRESENT SEASON.
Concluded from Page 165.
Whoever knows the Wolds of Yorkshire, may there see what perseverance in cultivation will do towards converting a barren into a fertile land. The Wolds, too, can boast of a stud not to be surpassed either in number or quality. The stud to which I allude, is the one belonging to that true old English sportsman, and capital judge of horses, Sir Tatton Sykes. That part of the Wolds around Sledmere, once so barren, has been brought into a well cultivated and beautifully wooded district by Sir Tatton's father; to whom a worthy testimony of regard, and a memorial, commemorating the great benefits he conferred on the land by planting, &c., has been raised near the house, by the present occupant. Many studs are kept, and kept well, without the old proverb being verified,“ the master's eye makes the horse fat," for under experienced grooms, the presence of the master is not so necessary. This however is not the case at Sledmere, and to the old proverb being adhered to, I attribute, in great measure, the superior quality of the nags. Being all thorough-bred, or nearly so, they are not trained, except some of the colts, which are always on sale (of
these were Grey Momus, Grey Milton, Traffic, &c.), and the mares are all used either for breeding, or to mount his huntsman and whips on. For many years Comus was his stud horse, and died about three years ago there, at a great age. What is so remarkable in this stud is the general absence of weedy animals, and the brood mares are all short-jointed, strong animals. There are not less than fifty or sixty mares on an average in foal, and a large number of four and five yearold mares allowed to run at large unbroke. The Cervantes and Comus blood with the Oiseau and Camillus is the chief in this stud; Bay Middleton seems a favourite of Sir Tatton's, as his crack mares, Grey Momus's dam, and Sister to Grey Momus, a Chateau Margaux, and two Comus mares, had been sent to him. The rest are put to his own horses, Stumps and Hampton; the yearlings and two-year-olds by them are good, but the major part of the hunters and five-year-olds, &c., are by Comus and Young Phantom, and are very superior.
Stumps, now nineteen years old, has been a denizen of Sledmere for two years, having before that vegetated in Cheshire. His blood (by Whalebone, out of Scotina by Delpini) and his running are very good. At three years old he won the Gold Cup at Brighton, £80 and £100 at Lewes, £235 at Goodwood, at Newmarket, thrice £50 and £100; in 1826, being then four years old, at 8st. 131b., he ran second to Mortgage for the Ascot Oatlands, beating a large field; and won the Brighton and Goodwood Stakes, and a Gold Cup at Goodwood, £50 at Newmarket July, and the Queen's Plate at the First October Meeting ; besides many others, which have shown him no unworthy sprig of old Whalebone. He is a very handsome animal, now quite white, and though possessing light bone, stands nevertheless on sinewy legs, (legs which will beat all the big ones in the long run). His stock there, are good, and mostly take after him in colour. How very much this is the case in stock ; the Mündigs are nearly invariably chesnuts, the Oppidans roans, the Camels dark browns, and the Stumps greys, with more I could particularise, were it necessary. Hampton, equally well bred as the above, only in a rather different line (by Sultan, out of Rachel, sister to Moses), has also a stain of Whalebone, on the dam's side. Though an indifferent race horse, his blood, and superior shape, make him a likely horse to improve a stud; as yet but one of his, (Traffic), has appeared, and he is winning abroad. Take it all in all there is not an establishment better managed, or one which must repay the breeder better than the Sledmere one.
Never did any horse appear since the days of Eclipse and King Herod, (whose progeny were more numerous and productive than any in turf annals, and not a little, I conceive from the fact, that there were not then so many superior ones to choose from, as in the present day, when one hundred first-rate ones are advertised in the Calendar,)