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tongue still, or it might be worse for him. A shrill whistle was then heard, which rang through the wood.
“Wheugh! the peep o’day boys, or I'm a hathen. Och ! Larry O'Hale would like to be after drawing the fore-teeth o'ye, entirely, ye varmint.'
- Hush !' said his companion, 'follow in my track, and all will be right.'
* Larry, however, either could not, or would not, obey the order ; but walked near the brushwood, and was quite silent for some time. In fact, he began to be terrified. Suddenly, however, he fell down with great force, as though he had received a heavy blow from an unknown hand.
“Och, by holy St. Patrick,' screamed Larry, 'I'm kilt, my darling, entirely.'
«« What's the matter ?' asked Tom.
“ Ashton, groping about in the dark, found the Irishman lying prostrate and unable to rise, with his left leg caught, as he thought, by some unseen hand.
“«Why, man, you're caught in a snare,' said Ashton, pulling up the peg by which it had been fastened in one of the runs.'
" • Och ! bad luck to it,' said Larry ; ' and sure enough did not his reverence at Ballingcole tell me that the world was full o'snares, besides thorns and briars, anyhow? And,' rubbing his ankle, which was severely injured, didn't I disregard his reverence's benediction, barring the briars to be caught in this way? I should like to know who did this, entirely.
“By this time, they had approached a spot in the centre of the wood where the ground was much broken by shattered and riven rocks and ab rupt hollows, and where the roots of the larger timber trees had writhed themselves into countless fantastic shapes and distortions—the home of the badger ; a spot which, even in the daytime, rendered more gloomy by a host of old yews, seemed admirably appropriated for a scene of solemn incantation. It was intensely dark, and scarcely a star glistened through the intervening branches above. The den of the badger, however, was well known to the veteran Ashton ; and feeling pretty confident that the occupier had left his home in pursuit of this prey, pros ceeded to adjust his apparatus for the purpose of securing his prize. He thrust the bottom of the sack into the entrance of the den' or
earth, and fixed the hoop at the mouth of the sack, in order to keep it open, and to admit the badger. He then adjusted the cords behind the hoop, for the purpose of being drawn like the strings of a purse, and thus securing his object. These cords are of considerable length; and Ashton, who would not suffer his companion to descend to the spot where the sack had been fixed, took the cords in his hand and ascended, with some difficulty, to the position where Larry had been left standing.
" All right, Larry,' said he : 'now mount this tree halfway up'; a task to which neither Larry nor his companion was a stranger. ;
" Larry did so, and Ashton followed : both perched themselves on high ; the latter ready to pull the cords, and the former also ready to afford his assistance; because Ashton never used dogs to force the badger home. And there they sat, not exactly like patience on a
monument, smiling at grief,' but the one attentive to the least sound indicative of the return of the badger, and especially to the feeblest vibration of the cords from the mouth of the sack, and the other absorbed in anxiety mingled with fear. All was mute around, not the least sound floated on the air, all nature seemed hushed in repose, and the intense darkness was, if possible, increased by the yews and the numerous trees which had crowded together in that very spot. At length, a sharp bark was heard in the distance : it was answered more immediately at hand.
“Be dhe husth, Misther Ashton,' said Larry, “and what's that?' 66 • Foxes,' whispered Ashton.
". Och, the varmint,' said Larry : ‘I wish they'd a hot pather in their throats—the blackguards at this time o' night.'
66.Hush, hush !' said his companion.
“ • Pin my soul, Misther Ashton, this is mighty fun and divarsion anyhow. But be dhe husth-hould your tongue say ye? and that's what I will entirely.'
“Not a word was then spoken ; and the two worthies not only sat perfectly mute, but perfectly motionless. And the solemn stillness was only broken occasionally by the loud barking of the watch-dogs of the villages afar off-sounds which can be heard to a considerable distance during the silence of night. Ashton was a practised and export hand ; but Larry was almost fearful of taking his breath. A flutter overhead then attracted their attention, with the sound · Whoo-h00-0.0 !--Och, hold your blarney,' whispered Larry. And the intruder instantly departed on his noiseless wing. Another long pause ensued. At length, the attentive and correct ear of Ashton marked the rustling approach of what he conceived to be the badger. He touched Larry with his foot, and Larry touched him in return, as much as to say I know it, my darling!' The expected moment had arrived. Ashton felt the cords vibrate in his hands; and he instantly pulled them tight.
“ We have him,' said the old hand, as safe as a spit !'
"« Arrah, ye varmint,' vociferated Larry, 'we'll taech ye to go raking and rollocking at this blessed time o' nighth, anyhow- laving yer orphan childer at home to take care o' themselves in their widowhood.'
“Both immediately descended from the tree with great care, particularly Ashton ; and both, notwithstanding the many intervening obstacles, were soon at the mouth of the earth. The sack was made perfectly secure, and, with its contents, was pulled out of the position in which it had been placed. It was not, however, without some difficulty that the load was taken over the broken and rocky ground into the open riding, to the great delight of Larry, who, indeed, could not restrain bis mirthful feelings. He shouted, and bellowed, and yelled, and capered about as though he had been at an Irish wake, and swore by all the saints in the calendar that niver a lad in all Tipperary could equal Misther Ashton.' , “In the exuberance of his joyous spirits, he voluntered to carry the prize himself. With the assistance of his companion, the sack, with its load, was thrown over Larry's shoulder ; and thus he trudged along with the “swag,' following the footsteps of Ashton towards the outside of the immense cover, but occasionally hitching his load from side to side. When they had reached the margin, Larry made a full stop, and
roared at the very top of his voice, which rang through the wood and alarmed its very echoes
Och, blood and hounds! Och, murther, murthur! Och, Misther Ashton, murther, murther. Och, murther!'
««• What's the matter, Larry ?
“Och! Whea-yah-ha-yah! The varmint has hould of me behint, Yah-ha-yeah!
6 • Leave hold of the sack,' said Ashton.
“But he won't lave hould o’me. Yah-ha-yah! Och, murther agin!'
“A severe blow from the stick of Ashton made the badger loosen his teeth. But poor Larry, thus liberated from his torturer, writhed about like a wounded eel, vowing vengeance against the whole of the badger family in the kingdom. He was, indeed, severely bitten ; and although his companion was sorry that the adventure had thus turned out to the injury and mortification of his Irish friend, he could not forbear laughing at the unfortunate dilemma in which he had placed himself by the impulse of his own eagerness to carry the object of the night's adventure. But all the persuasions in the world could not induce Larry O'Hale to venture again on badger-catching."
THE HAMPTON COURT AND DUDDING HILL STUDS.
While foreign states have devoted much money and attention to the improvement of their horses, by establishing extensive breeding studs, this kingdom has acquired unequalled fame without such an auxiliary. The enthusiastic zeal with which Englishmen entered into the amusement of horse-racing, induced them to select the choicest they could procure to perpetuate their kind ; and the great attention that has been bestowed during a number of years to breeding, and the management of those adapted for racing, has contributed to bring the English horse to his present high state of excellence. It is a most gratifying circumstance that a public amusement should have been the parent of such an important result. The success that has attended the spirit, enterprise, and talent of all who have, and all those who continue to devote their capital and energies to so good a cause, entitles them to the highest encomiums and universal support.
Encouraged by regal approbation, racing, when in its infancy, received a gracious impetus by the presentation of the Royal Plates, which, at the period when they were first offered, were regarded as prizes of sufficient value to induce the noblemen and gentlemen of the day to breed and train horses in the hope of gaining them; to which emulation was also a powerful stimulus. So great are the changes which have taken place, and so large and numerous are the stakes open for public competition, that Queen's Plates are no longer considered objects worthy of notice. Although no breeding studs have been founded by our Government, some of our Sovereigns have promoted the object by instituting
establishments of their own, and the payments, consequently the profit or loss, have been placed to the account of the privy purse. Breeding horses, horse-racing, and farming are, I believe, the only speculative pursuits in which our Royal Family have ever embarked.
To investigate the origin, arrangements, and condition of the Royal stud from an early period, would entail a labour of considerable research, greater than the interest would compensate ; it will therefore be suffi. cient to commence with the establishment at Hampton Court, where the brood mares belonging to Her Majesty are now kept.
The paddocks were formed by command of His Royal Highness the Prince Regent, in 1812, under the direction of the late Mr. Goodwin, whose son was subsequently thirty-seven years inspector and veterinary surgeon to the Royal stud, but ill-health has lately compelled him to retire. The paddocks are divided by brick walls, and a spacious hovel is allotted to each. It was the intention of the Prince Regent to breed thorough-bred grey horses, sufficiently powerful to carry himself, and for that purpose twelve grey mares were purchased, and also Sir Harry Dimsdale, a grey stallion ; but His Royal Highness's expectations were not very extensively realized. Gustavus, a grey horse, the winner of the Derby in 1821, was bred here ; and to exemplify the uncertainties connected with racing, that horse's history is worthy of notice. He was 80 small that he was sold to Mr. Hunter for twenty-five guineas; and after that gentleman had him in his possession, he was so dissatisfied with him, that he offered to re-sell him for fifteen guineas; at that low price, he was unable to meet with a customer, and was therefore obliged to keep him. He led off by winning the July Stakes, at Newmarket, the odds being 20 to 1 against him. The following year he won the Newmarket Stakes, the Derby, and two matches. In 1822, he won the Claret Stakes, and 200gs. at Newmarket; after which he was put to the stud. This, it will be allowed, was a fortunate investment of so small a sum, and is one of the numerous proofs which might be adduced that a race-horse, if sound, should never be discarded till he has been fairly tried.
During the reigns of George IV. and William IV., the establishment at Hampton Court was kept up with great attention, and I have indisputable authority for stating that the latter sovereign made a good profit by it. His Majesty had fifty brood mares, forming a seraglio for Actreon, Rubini, and The Colonel. The most celebrated mares were Fleurde-lis, Nanine, Wings, Maria, Young Mouse, Locket, Miss Craven, Belvoirina, Black Daphne, Galatea, Ada, La Danseuse, Miss Clifton, Elizabeth, Posthuma, Codicil, Variella, Miss O'Neil, Lady Sarah, Rachel, Lady Emmeline, Peri, Delphine, Spermaceti, Sultana, Marpessa, Young Espagnole, Palatine, Icaria, Jewess, mare by Oscar out of Camarine's dam, and several others of less value, including a few of Arabian blood. At the annual sale of yearlings which took place during the spring of 1837—the last during the reign of William IV.-eleven colts and thirteen fillies realized 5,389gs. And here I must observe, that two colts, one by Rubini out of an Arabian mare, the other by an Arabian horse out of an Arabian mare, were sold for only twenty-seven and thirty-three guineas respectively; hence a caution not to breed from such animals; they are utterly worthless for improving thoroughbred stock,
On the decease of King William, the royal stud was sold, although every effort was made by the most influential of the noblemen and gentlemen, members of the Jockey Club, to impress upon Her Majesty's Ministers the advantages which would accrue if the Queen were advised to retain the establishment. The sale took place under the auspices of Messrs. Tattersall, in October, 1837 ; when forty-three brood mares, thirteen colt foals, eighteen fillies, and the stallions, including Actæon, The Colonel, &c., produced 16,578gs. From that period, till within a very few years, the Hampton Court Paddocks have been untenanted by royal property. A small stud of mares has been again formed ; let us hope it may be the nucleus of an establishment worthy of Royalty. At present there are only about twenty mares, which have evidently been selected with judgment, although the sale of their produce last summer exhibited a sad falling off from those previously mentioned : five colts and eight fillies did not average 112gs., whereas the last sale of King William's averaged double that sum. They are fortunate in the proportion of colt foals this year ; there are nine of that gender, and seven fillies. They are by Orlando, Irish Birdcatcher, Bay Middleton, Alarm, The Libel, und Collingwood. Besides Her Majesty's mares, there are about twenty-five belonging to Mr. Greville, Mr. Payne, and Count Waldstein. The stallions Alarm and Orlando are the property of Mr. Greville. Alarm has had a most severe attack of inflammation in his feet, from which it is not probable he will ever recover ; but every precaution is adopted to alleviate his pain, by spreading tan and straw over the yard and hovels which he occupies. Poor fellow ! it is a great misfortune ; for it is truly painful to see a gallant, high-couraged horse, which undoubtedly he was, suffering from pain which cannot be relieved ; and in his present vocation he is just entering into his prime. Orlando is a remarkably neat horse, and of a speedy family. The services of the two stallions, I believe, are to be confined to the mares at Hampton Court.
The care of the stud is deputed to John Ransom, who was many years in the service of Lord Jersey, and after the death of Edwards, his Lordship's trainer, took charge of the race-horses. He is a most trustworthy and respectable servant ; but his present duties are confined solely to looking over the stud. The inspectorship-a most ostensible office-is, if I mistake not, vested in Mr. Lewis, the clerk of the stables. Mr. W. Goodwin has been consulted on the purchase of the mares ; but beyond that, he has nothing whatever to do with the present establishment. Ill-health is a serious obstacle to the performance of a duty with which so much anxiety and responsibility is invested.
There is a wide field for the display of judgment in the general arrangements connected with the Hampton Court Paddocks. The herbage, which in former days was celebrated for its goodness, has now become extremely rank and sour, which cannot fail to produce a baneful influence on the mares and the young stock, not only by engendering worms, but being of a nature unsuitable to the constitution of the horse, will doubtless lead to disappointment, unless the evil be corrected. All the hay and corn that can be offered, however good it may be, will not counteract the bad effects of rank grass ; for horses, like human beings, are too apt to indulge their appetites with unwholesome food when it is within their reach. The size of the paddocks, of which