Sidor som bilder

must yield to the evidence of positive facts ; and since the suppression of slavery in the English colonies was effected precipitately and almost without adequate precautions, and that even under such unfavourable circumstances, it has turned to the ultimate benefit of all parties concerned ; a systematic opposition on the part of others, who have so bright an example of true liberality to follow, would not only be unjustifiable, but would be acting in opposition to their own interests. Let it be once proved, as it will be unquestionably, that the expenses of supporting the aged, the infirm, and infants who do no work, in a state of slavery, more than counterbalance the sums paid to free and willing labourers, pntting aside all other considerations, there cannot be a doubt that the stain of slavery will soon cease to disgrace the enlightened age in which we live, and that a new era will arise, in which universal freedom will enable all men to make the most of those abilities with which Nature may have endowed them.

[ocr errors]

The Find.-Some persons like to see themselves in print ; so did I once upon a time, but I have long ago left this line. I am, in fact, quite satiated with it now ; and so would perhaps any person, if, like me, he had been in almost the daily habit, for nearly thirty years, of seeing his own pen's almost daily productions in print almost every day. Whether a pastrycook is particularly fond of dining off his own pastry I cannot say; but I know that I have never any wish to sit down to the very best things in my literary larder, after the manuscript has been once put away into print. Nor am I at all singular in this ostrich-like indifference to my own brain-begot offspring—and so far Mediocrity and Genius are not dissimilar in tastes—for Hazlitt (the Hazlitt who has left us a son worthy of such a father), and a host of other men of genius, it is well known, lost all affection for their compositions the very moment the penned offsprings of their pregnant minds were carried to the printing-office. In short, it has been my uniform practice through an extended series of years, whenever I sent anything to be printed, always afterwards to have done with it ; indeed, if I ever accidentally met with it, I invariably cut it dead, as coolly as a prosperous snob cuts an old friend whose capital has found its way into certain successful and ingenious gentlemen's pockets. This way of mine is a kind of psychological characteristic that accounts for my never having seen in print the trifle or brain-born brat of mine, termed “ Screws,” never since the day of its birth, upwards of fifteen years ago now. I sent the thing to Colburn's--to the celebrated Theodore Hook, the sacrificed man of genius, who then so admirably steered the “ New Monthly Magazine."

[ocr errors]

I never thougat any more about it until the other day, when one of my boys, whogaudet" - I mean, who is too fond by half of horses and dogsaccidently stumbled upon it (upon “Screws''), which, as I entered the room, he was reading aloud for the edification of his elder brother, who had unluckily bought a " screw" only the day before. I thought I recognized an old acquaintance in the article ; indeed, I soon saw it was mine.

The find took place exactly in the way I mention, the covert being Colburn's. I dare say now, not a single soul amongst the regular “subscribers” and “constant readers” of this sporting chronicle has ever seen it before, or even so much as ever indeed heard of it until now, although it appeared, as I have already said, in Colburn's “ New Monthly Magazine" in August, 1841. The “find” may, or may not, be worth mentioning; but as the wise world always makes a point of never rating a person's productions higher than he rates them himself, I shall preserve a prudential silence for once in my life. Personne ne vaut que ce qu'il vaut valoir, holds a generous public. Still, however, I will avow that the writer of “ Screws” does not profess to have thrown any new light upon the subject ; he has merely fairly gathered together a very few scattered fragments of his own experience. But in this revival there is an illustration of an old friend with a new face, for in sending forth “ Screws” again into the world I have corrected an inconceivable number of errata; I have, indeed, set right in it more misprints than I ever met with before even in fifty times the same number of pages. But these mistakes are all owing to the slap-dash rapidity with which the thing was knocked off; and, for aught I know to the contrary, the trifle may afford another instance of the truth, that your easy writing is d-d hard reading. The writer, however, ventures to think --with a partiality perliaps pardonable, because it is paternal and quite natural—the paper is not at all a bad thing, in its way, “ to teach the young idea.” He has revised it, and now reproduces it-for the perusal, he must add, of those exclusively who are commencing their studies as judges of horses. To them, exclusively the novices or very young, “green” members of the great horse-buying body, the bint's given about “Screws” is duly presented and cordially dedicated, for a few minutes' reading, by their obedient servant its Author,



Quid sit turpe, quid utile."

Of all experience, that which is bought is universally allowed to be the best. On the present occasion the reader may rely on being supplied with “ the very best article,” for it is the result of the writer's dearly-bought experience, as well as that of several of his country cousins who have paid the same price for it. Modestly premising only, then, that the article now in progress of presentation to the public professes to treat of screws equestrian-leaving the human genus to their

“* screw.

own proper pleasures or purgatory, as the case may be—I will proceed at once to state what is meant here* by a

It is neither necessary to cite authorities nor to have recourse to the learning of lexicographers. A “ screw is an unsound horse that looks like a sound one-a valuable animal in appearance : in reality, a worthless brute. Our regular “screw" is a sort of equestrian cheat, a will-o'-the-wisp-leading men astray; a gay-going deceiver; an actor, a stage player; a living lie, a thing for the nonce, all mimicry and moonshine ; nothing but outside-bright, but unreal ; “ of outward show elaborate, of inward less exact.' The only thing sound about the " screw is his iron shoe; and beneath that shoe how often does there lie bid some secret of the pedal prison-house! The bled toe tells no tale when thus coffined! But I will resist the temptation to be pathetical, and trot on.

Such, then, is the outshining show of a “screw,” such the admirable perfection of his paces, the goodness of his gallop, the truth and rapidity of his trot, as well as the capital way in which he does his canter and his walk-or if a mare, in her five or six off (“ screws” of either sex, aided by a certain episcopal translation called “ bishoping,” seldom exceed six off), she has so much fashion, possesses such marvellous power, there is to your charmed senses even a poetry in her motion, and her might and majesty accordingly are thought almost miraculous--that in short, you are taken by “the tit," and in regular sequence its owner takes you in. How could it be otherwise ? There was a magic in that mare (as there is in most “ screws ”) to which Byron's boasted “magic of the mind ” is but bird-lime. Such is the fascination of the "screw's ” shape and make, that 100 guineas are readily given for him, and he is thought dirt-cheap at the price, though the animal eventually turns out not worth a bunch of dog's-meat.

I cannot say I myself have been screwed a great many times ; but I believe I have saved more persons from screwish peril, both to purse and person, than would have entitled me to all the medals ever issued by the Royal Humane Society, if that body extended, as I really think it ought to extend, its rewards to those praiseworthy persons who have saved not only life and limb, but pocket also from destruction. Could a really humane society better employ a portion of its funds than in the way here suggested ?

It was intimated just now that I had been screwed in my greener days, the salad season of life, and the “ do ” fell out as follows :-I saw an advertisement either in the Post or the Times (I forget which now, but the latter is by far in the highest favour with the “copers ” or screw-sellers), which set forth in the most tempting terms the breeding, beauty, and so forth of two hunters, a bay and a grey, the property of “ a gentleman giving up hunting,” “warranted up to the fleetest hounds in England ” (so ran the record), can top the highest fence," “perfect sname-bridle horses," "sound,” “masters of their business, “fit to go." All this, and a great deal more of the like laudation, was

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

The definition given is expressly narrowed. To many readers that passage in “Sheet Anchor's " autobiography will be recalled which describes his having broken down and been fired as the reason why be was considered “a screw." John Mills makes his equine hero say—“In the careless, but expressive, langunge of grooms and stable-boys, I was a screw;' and none knew it better than myself now.”


adroitly arrayed to cheat me and the large family of affluent young and old fools on whom these chaunting gentlemen live, and from whom they have their most abundant being. To be safe (for, though young, I had heard of screws, and was not exuberantly confident), I took with me, to see these clippers, a livery-stable keeper-an honest fellow, and a really good judge besides. But fallible are the best judges ; for having no Alexander-like luck, we went, we saw, and were conquered. We were, in truth, sadly screwed, although we examined the nags with the eye of a lynx; and the fussy pomposity even of a St. Pancras collegian of some seventeen years' standing could not have been more particular. To make short work of a lengthened dealing discussion, I bought the bay hunter, giving a good sort of grey mare (for which I had paid the Dysons 160 guineas only a few days before), and 35 guineas to boot, for him. I had a trial round Leicester-square, rattled him over the stones, finding no fault in him whatever, excepting that he was remarkably fresh and rather too full of courage. He was warranted “fit to go ;” nor did his short bright coat, hard crest, and proper form contradict the assertion. As a preliminary, however, to hunting him, being then in my town quarters, I had a burst down Rotten-row and all round Hyde-park (it was, I assure you, “ a quick thing”), but there was visible no more heavir.g and blowing than if he had been a Yankee-congress orator—the President himself-or a long winded lawyer, who could go on for ever and a day without being a bit out of breath. I, therefore, naturally enough concluded that Brilliant (that was the beauty's name) was fit to go ; and go I resolved he should with the Surrey. His pulling was a transitory trifle only: to that I attached no importance at all, "deeming it the result only of freshness; and determining to change his bit, I accordingly sent him down to Pratt's-bottom, on the Tunbridge-road, overnight, for the meet on the following morning.

On getting there about ten o'clock, my groom said the new nag had not fed very well; nor did he, I thought, luok quite so sparkling as when I sent him down the day before. But I had no sooner backed my“ Brilliant” than all apprehension was dispelled. We soon found in a covert near Cudham.“ Brillianı" did not belie one part of the character brought with him—of being able to lail ihe fleetest hounds: he not only tailed them, he trampled upon them; he rode over them, and trod them under foot. The tiery devil seemed determined on destroying every hound in the pack. Laura, a favourite bitch, lay dead at his feet, while Loftus and Harkaway limped and wbined must piteously. In short, several of the most valuable hounds in the pack looked as if they had been lamed for life by my 100 precipitate Pegasus. How Haigh swore! The whippers-in of course rated till they were hoarse, while the echoing coveris resounded with "

««'Ware hounds!” Tom Hill too, the huntsman, in the tone of a raging Stentor, politely told me to go to a place which shall be nameless, while the subscribers, one and all, liberally enough subscribed to the deviiry of Mr. Hill's most hearty aspiration. Reynard got away, and so did I, after a fashion ; for “ Brilliani,” like “ Bokhara" at the last spring meeting ai Epsom on Wednesday, bolted with the most admirable determination of purpose; and I was thus lucky enough to lead at a racing pace, heading the hunted fox back-much to the satisfaction of the field, of course. A fresh fox, however, being hallooed, such of the hounds as were not amongst the killed and wounded were laid on, and the remnant of the gallant pack soon seitled to the scent. I could not choose but follow, my bit of “Brilliant” blood pulling harder and harder, until at length the animals reckless running was beyond all control. A giant's strength would have been insuficient to stop bim, and my attempt either to arrest or guide the progress of this fiery steed was quite as futile as Mrs. Partington's in another line of the impossible. You might just as well have tried to repress a raging storm, ride the ripple, and whip a wbirlwind.

Sweeping along like a thing demented, “Brilliant" ran against everybody and everything-upset several slow gentlemen, steeds and all-broke through fences, double as well as single-floundered in ditches, and blundered into bogs and brooks. Up hill and down dale be continued uncontrollably-for I no longer tried to restrain him -bis mad career; till at lengih, while going at score down one of the steepest and most stony hills in that stony country, he fell on the hard and sharp flints with which the surface of the field was thickly covered. Luckily, my legs were not brokon ; they were only gashed in twenty places, and bruised black and blue from hip to heel. But they were just severely enough hurt to cause them and their owner 10 be consigned for seven entire weeks to the services of a surgeon.

What was the fault of this most fallible screw ? Simply this—he was a hard-puller-nothing more. Brilliant,” after breaking, in the bunting-field, as many legs as an Irishman* breaks heads at a fair, finally ran to earth in bis own way ; thus, after a peculiar and fatal fashion, paying at length the penalty of his hot and hard offences by a premature death, having at the end of the succeeding season galloped headlong into a saw-pit. “ Brilliant" was a beautiful animal—that can't be denied. He had the speed, too, of ar Eclipse : but despite the de mortuis, &c., if truth guided the graver that produced his epitaph, we should certainly find on his hic jacet the worls, “ He had no mouth." You might as well pull against a tree, or try to stop short an express train, as to pull him up. " Brilliant" seemingly was of the Falstaff faith, detesting to do anything (save running away) by compulsion. Nor were matters much mended when he did, of his own sweet accord, stop and was stabled —for be then, too, had no mouth—he would not eat. Galloping and swallowing were with “ Brilliant” irreconcilable things-operations antagonistic as to time; for when he went out he left his appetite abroad, and total abstinence, with consequent inanition, was the invariable sequence of an hour's work.

The antithesis to this animal was purchased by a friend of minea splendid steed, both as to figure and action, but whose mouth was as tender as a recent wound imperfectly cicatriced, or as the apple of the eyemas tender as a chicken, as a lackadaisical lover's heart, or anything else that a more apt metaphor-maker may manufacture. No hand, however delicate, could accommodate this fine-mouthed

* " He goes into a tent,

And spends half-a-crown ;
Comes out, meets a friend,

And for love knocks him down."


« FöregåendeFortsätt »