Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

tended to work, and actively he uses the muscles of the tongue in resistance to it. This may be proved by using a straight mouth-piece, or one arched upward or downward, but without a porte. From under these a horse will never withdraw bis tongue; and he will go with a dead bearing on the hand, though equal, that is not more on one side of the mouth than the other. Even a very narrow porte, not a quarter of the width of the tongue, will suffice, when pressure is used, to defeat this defence, and completely to engage the tongue within the porte. But being then much compressed, it will sustain a great part of the leverage, and the horse will endeavour still more to make his tongue the fulcrum of the bit, and to relieve his bars from that office, by protruding the tongue, and thus forcing the thick part of it within the porte. It is a common error to make the porte narrow, high, and the upper part uneven; and by closing the horse's mouth with a nose-band, to make it act on the roof of the mouth. This is a useless and barbarous absurdity, and, like jerking a horse's mouth, much more likely to excite him to action, than to induce him to cease from it.”

With a Chiffney bit, placed in a manner described by the Cavalry Officer, he says,

“I have seen the taper tips of the most beautiful fingers in the world constrain the highest-metiled and hottest thorough-bred horses, and 'rule them when they're wildest.' It is an implement, which will give to the weakest hand the power of the strongest ; which most of the strongest hands cannot be trusted to wield, and which, if ladies' hands are light, equal, and smooth, will give them the power of riding horses such as few men might venture to mount."

The great thing in a rider, says our author, “is to get your horse to be of your party ; not only to obey, but to obey willingly." Certain observations and illustrative cases may here be strung together, their wisdom, merciful nature, and ennobling tendency as affecting man, being not more obvious, than their neglect and violation are notorious :

Everything should be resorted to, to avoid alarm on the colt's, and force on the man's side, and gradually to induce familiarity and cheerful obedience—to reconcile him to the melancholy change from gregarious liberty, to a solitary stall, and a state of slavery. I should say, he is the best colt-breaker who soonest inspires him with the animus eundi ; who soonest gets him to go freely straightforward; who soonest, and with the least force, gets the colt without company five miles along the road from home, with the least unwillingness. Violence never did that yet; —but violence increases his reluctance, and makes it last ten times longer. Indeed it causes the colt to stiffen and defend himself; and this never is got rid of. It is true that by force you may make him your sullen slave, but that is not the object; the object is to make him your willing subject, and long, gentle usage will alone do this. Above all things, do not be perpetually playing the wolf to him. Deal in rewards where it is possible, and in punishment only where it cannot be avoided. It is no doubt our duty to create the happiness, and to prevent the misery, of every living thing. But with our horse this is also a matter of policy. Xenophon has a most charming remark, that we should endeavour to make ourselves to our horse the organ of pleasure, and that he should associate with our presence the idea of the absence of pain. I should like to quote one more golden rule from this most christian-like heathen, namely, that nothing should be done to the horse in anger. The colt should be caressed, rubbed, and spoken to kindly. He should be fed from the hard, with anything he may fancy, such as an apple or carrot, or sugar, and be made to come for it when whistled to, or called by name. A good way to familiarise them is, when their heads are fastened to the cross, or saddle, so that they cannot reach to help themselves, to gather boughs or grass, and give it them on calling their name or whistling. In this way they will soon go with you loose like a dog. When their heads are loose, by throwing pieces of apple or carrot on the ground, they will learn to watch your hand like a dog, and will soon pick up your glove, or handkerchief, or whip, and bring it in exchange for the reward ; or, when mounted, put their heads back to place it in your hand.

“ These may be foolish things to all the wise ;' but nothing is use. less which familiarises the horse ; which increases the confidence and intimacy between him and his rider; or which teaches him to look to man for the indications of his will, and to obey them, whether from fear, interest or attachment."

Again,"Tis well to have the giant's strength, but tyrannous to use it like a giant.” As Lord Pembroke remarks in his admirable treatise, his hand is the best who gets his horse to do what he wishes with the least force; whose indications are so clear that his horse cannot mistake them, and whose gentleness and fearlessness alike induce obedience to them. The noblest animal will obey such a rider, as surely as he will disregard the poltroon, or rebel against the savage. I say the noblest, because it is ever the noblest among them which rebel ihe most. For the dominion of man over the horse is usurped dominion

And in riding a colt, or a restive horse, we should never forget that he has the right to resist, and that, at least as far as he can judge, we have not the right to insist. When the stag is taken in the toils, the hunter feels neither anger nor surprise at his struggles and alarm; and, indeed, would he not be very unreasonable were be to chastise the poor animal on account of them ? But there is no more reason in nature why a horse should submit, without resistance, to be ridden, than the stag to be slain ; why the horse should give up his liberty to us, than the stag his life. In both these cases our • wish is father to the deed ;' and if our arrogance insinuates that a bountiful nature created these animals for our service, assuredly bountiful nature left them in ignorance of the fact. And it is to the sportsman and the colt-breaker that we must apply, if we wish to know whose victims

are the most willing; not to the cockney casuist, whose knowledge of the stag is confined to his venison, and who never trusts himself on the horse, till it has been long trained in shackles to procession pace.' If he did, he would find that the unfettered four-year-old shows the sime alarm and resistance to the halter as the stag to the toils. And, in breaking horses, the thing to be aimed at, next to the power of indicating our wishes, is the power of winning obedience to those wishes. These, and these only, are the two things to be aimed at, from the putting the first halter on the colt, to his performance of the pirouette renversée au galop,—which is perhaps the most perfect trial and triumph of the most exquisitely finished horsemanship, and in which the horse must exert every faculty of his mind to discover, and every muscle of his body to execute, the wishes of his rider."

We now quote the last paragraph of a volume, that, while it communicates many

lessons for the instruction of those who would be good riders, has, we think, a higher tendency :

I cannot finish without one word to deprecate a piece of inhumanity, practised as much, perhaps more, by ladies than gentlemen-the riding the horse fast on hard ground. I pray them to consider that horses do not die of old age, but are killed because they become crippled ; and that he who cripples them is the cause of their death, not he who pulls the trigger. The practice is as unhorsemanlike as it is inhuman. It is true that money will replace the poor slaves as you use them up, and if the occasion requires it, they must, alas ! be used up; but in my opinion, nothing but a case of life and death can justify the deed. If the ground be hard and even, a collected canter may be allowed, but if hard and uneven, a moderate trot at most. One hour's gallop on such ground would do the soundest horse irremediable mischief. Those who boast of having gone such a distance, in such a time, on the ground supposed, show ignorance or in humanity. Such feats require cruelty only, not courage. Nay they are performed most commonly by the very persons who are too cowardly or tov unskilful to dare to trust their horse with his foot on the elastic turf, or to stand with him the chances of the hunting field; and such is the inconsistency of human nature, that they are performed by persons who would shudder at the sight of the bleeding flank of the race-horse ! or who would lay down with disgust and some expression of maudlin, morbid humanity, the truly interesting Narrative of that most intrepid and enduring of all gallopers, Sir Francis Head. But compare the cases. In the case of the race. horse, he has his skin wounded to urge him to a two, or at most a five minutes' exertion from which in ten minutes he is perfectly recovered, and ready, nay eager, to start again. In the case of the wild horse of the Pampas, he is urged for two, three, or perhaps five hours to the utmost distress for wind, as well as muscular fatigue; he is enlarged, -and in three or four days he is precisely the same as if he had never been ridden. But in the case of the English road-rider, though no spur is used, unfair advantage is taken of the iinpetous freedom of nature ; his sinews are strained; his joints permanently stiffened; he is deprived

at once and for ever of his elasticity and action, and brought, prematurely a cripple, to the grave."

Good riding is not a trivial accomplishment; it is worthy of the study of the most amiable as well as the most lofty and philosophic minds. The rules to be observed are simple and engaging ; the ends to be served numerous and great. The art, says the writer of the present volume, is “ worth acquiring by those whose pleasure or business it is to ride; because it is soon and easily acquired, and when acquired, it becomes habitual, and is as easy, nay much more easy, and infinitely more safe, than bad riding. Good riding also will last through age, sickness, and decrepitude ; but bad riding will last only as long as youth, health, and strength supply courage.” And when we glance again at the incontrovertible fact, that good riding goes hand in hand with good and profitable treatment of the most interesting and serviceable species of animals, that it, in fact, disciplines the mind in an ennobling school, and leads to the most economical as well as beautiful results, who would not think it worthy of his time to reflect upon its rules, their purpose, operation, and uniform tendency, even although their practical illustration should never come within his reach!

In conclusion, we have to express ourselves as being highly pleased with these Hints. They are novel, as well as plain simple and obviously sound. Their two-fold use is a great recommendation. We think, however, that the author might have put into better arrangement than he has done his several ideas, and that also he might have sometimes more clearly expressed himself. Still the work deserves a wide circulation among uncles and fathers, as well as sons and nephews or nieces. It ought to have some weight with the aspiring and the accomplished, that the Greeks appear to have observed the attitudes, and to employed their hands according to the methods recommended in these Hints, as illustrated, it is stated, by the Elgin marbles.

ART. VII.—Six Years' Residence in Algiers. By Mrs. BROUGHTON.

London : Saunders and Otley. 1839. Mrs. Broughton's father, Henry Stanyford Blanckley, was British Agent and Consul General at Algiers, from 1806 to 1812. Her mother, who accompanied him, was in the habit, wherever she happened to be, of journalising the occurrences of the day, when they appeared worthy in any manner of such notice. Algiers, at the period of the family's residence there, was, of course, the scene of very many striking and strange events. Not only was the piratical community and its regency the subjects of many sudden and singular commotions and mutations, but the great war between

England and France was hot, the Mediterranean being the theatre of continual maritime and naval engagements between the hostile nations ; the pirates, without any scruple but what arose from impending danger and the certainty of prompt punishment, preying upon all parties. The Algerine ports, too, being free and neutral, several nations paying tribute, were a common rendezvous for prize-takers, whether English or French, to put into; although Mr. Blanckley during a large portion of his service was so openly favoured, that the nation which he represented had the greatest privileges at the hands of the Dey, our supremacy at sea, no doubt, being the real ground of distinction. It must at the same time be observed that our Consul appears to have most zealously, firmly, and ably maintained the dignity of England, and also to have unweariedly exerted bimself in behalf of all, whatever might be their country or rank, whenever the claims of humanity were made upon him ; many instances being recorded in the volume before us of his unbounded hospitality, his merciful interference, and his strong remonstrances against the wrongs perpetrated by a barbaric people, the scourge of Christendom.

Mrs. Blanckley's diary, from the circumstances now noticed, necessarily comprised a great variety of particulars. Household management, the nursery, the domestics, Moor and captured Christian, climate, the productions of the Consul's farm, native manners, visits, the ladies of Algiers, consular society, Algerine politics and revolutions, sketches of enslaved Europeans, &c. &c., are all set down without any regard to connection, without any effort to be smart or brilliant, without even the suspicion, manifestly, that a single entry was ever to be published. There is a total absence of blue stockingism in the diarist's records, but all the variety and often the baldness of truth and sincerity ; the very reverse of what a literary tourist who contemplates appearing in print would ever think of producing ; and, therefore, to us the more agreable and valuable.

From Mrs. Blanckley's voluminous Journal, Mrs. Broughton has extracted what appeared to her the more interesting portions, and thrown them together in the present volume; adding and interspersing her own reminiscences,--the reminiscences of a child, to be sure, but in some respects on that very account the more full and novel ; for we presume, that no one of Christian birth, except. ing a child, could be allowed free access to the domesticities of Mahommedan life, while there are also many things in themselves characteristic and worthy of notice that none but a very youthful person will mark or remember. Besides, Mrs. Broughton has, from her peculiar situation, had a species of training, as well as having enjoyed special opportunities for impressing and enriching her memory. We give in her own words an account of the circum

« PredošláPokračovať »