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the death, was subdued by kindness, and from that day Benvolio became, perhaps, the most brilliant hunter in England. Of his jumping powers we need only say that Sir Charles was seen on one occasion to ride him over a locked six-barred gate, on to a canal-bridge, and over the corresponding gate which was not locked, into the field beyond. It was also on this horse, if we mistake not, that he cleared the surprising distance of thirty-one feet, over a fence and brook, just below Brixworth Hill, at a spot which has ever since gone by the name of “ Knightley's leap.” We ourselves know the place well, and, even on a second Benvolio, honestly confess no power on earth would induce us to ride at it.
As a master of hounds Sir Charles is so well known to the sporting-world, that it is needless to enter into any particulars as to his system, his establishment, or the excellent sport he showed. Amongst bis contemporaries, he was thought to breed his hounds a little too fine; but Sir Charles loved pace, and his knowledge of animal nature led him to pay a just and unvarying tribute to blood. No man has perhaps been so successful in breeding first class animals of every description; and his late sale of short-horns, at Fawsley, realizing the sum of £6,163 10s., proves that his method was a successful one, and that in every particular he went the right way to work.
As time stole on, and 'middle age, though it left the eye as light, the form as lithe and vigorous as ever, damped somewhat the redundant spirits, and subdued as it matured the tastes of manhood, Sir Charles bià adieu to the hunting-field, deeply to the regret of his brother-sportsmen, and devoted his time and attention more assiduously to agricultural pursuits, a taste to which he has ever since been most constant. Popular as he is, and beloved by high and low, perhaps amongst the farmers of Northamptonshire more than any other class, Sir
Charles enjoys the reputation of being a perfect oracle. He has done more for agriculture in that district than any man now living, and is respected and admired accordingly. Engrossing, howe ever, as is the pursuit of farming, it never seduced this thorough English gentleman to waver for an instant from the duties of his high position, and even in the shades of wooded Fawsley, and the peaceful joys of a happy domestic hearth and an extended circle of friends, his attention was not to be distracted from the stirring events of the great political world. During the Reform agitation of 1831, when the coming Bill so disorganised the whole fabric of English society, it was resolved by the late Lord Spencer, and the present Lord Fitzwilliam, to oust the late Mr. Cartwright from the representation of the whole county of Northampton. Sir Charles came boldly to the rescue, stood by the side of his old friend, and kept the poll open for thirteen days, but without success. In 1834, he was returned without opposition for the Southern Division of Northamptonshire, for which he sat till 1852, when he retired in favour of his son, Mr. Rainald Knightley-a gentleman who, in addition to a cultivated intellect and literary taste, inherits his father's popularity, and his happy knack of stealing over a country in a quick thing. Notwithstanding the stirring and busy life led by Sir Charles Knightley, Time has indeed dealt very lightly with him, both in person and spirits. As the poet says, he has just brushed him with his wing,
and so passed by. To this day his habits are as active, his mind as keen, and his energy as untiring as in the morning prime of youth. Even now the personal advantages for which, as a young man, he was so remarkable, are but chastened by the lapse of years. He is still one of the finest horsemen that ever got into a saddle-hand, seat, and nerve are all admirable ; and although he has for many seasons discontinued the practice of following hounds, he is still to be seen, on some fine winter's morning, eagerly watching the merry pack as they wind their fox through the famous holding covert of Badby Wood, his own property, and, as may easily be conceived with such an owner, a certain find. There are but few left of the comrades of his youth ; and the once-famous Pytchley Club, of which he was so long an ornament, in the days of the late Lord Spencer, Mr. Bouverie, and Mr. Cooke, is now completely broken up. The two latter gentlemen are still alive and flourishing ; nor has the memory of Mr. Cooke's famous horse Lancet, bought by him of Mr. Nethercote (a brother member), for the handsome figure of seven hundred guineas, yet entirely died out in the memory of the sportsmen of Northamptonshire; but, with the exception of the gentlemen we have named, and one or two old Peninsular veterans, it would be difficult to muster half-a-dozen of that famous association, which was once second only to Melton for the charms of society and the enjoyment of the chase. All that's bright must fade: “the black
eye will grow dim, the straight back will stoop, the full leg will fall, but the heart is always young”; and if there be an elixir vitæ to keep that organ ever fresh and healthy, it must surely be a career spent in a wholesome alternation of the duties of charity and good-will, with the simple pleasures of the country and the field. As Sir Charles Knightley rides out of his own gates at Fawsley, the peasant looks after him from his work, and smiles a blessing on his benefactor ; the sturdy yeoman doffs his hat when he meets him in the lane, and is gratified at a passing word of kindness from the liberal landlord and judicious friend ; whilst the gentry and aristocracy of the country are proud of their order, while they can number in its ranks such sterling men as the widely and deservedly-respected lord of Fawsley. Long may he continue in the position in which Providence has placed him, and which he so nobly fills ; long may he be spared as a bright example to the country gentlemen of England—the kind master, the tender parent, the considerate landlord, the staunch friend, and the perfect gentleman, in the highest, the noblest, and the widest acceptation of the term.
(FROM A CORRESPONDENT.]
If ever sportsman deserved a niche in the Temple of Fame, the original of the clever portrait of this month's Sporting Magazine does With
every claim to distinction as a man of high family, extensive influence, and many excellencies, Sir Charles Knightley demands a notice in these pages above them all, as one of the best sportsmen and very finest horsemen that this or any country has ever produced. In his earlier days, as the master of but a small stud, his judgment in the selection of his horses was singularly happy ; and we may even doubt whether his innate knowledge of the latent powers of a “Newmarket young one” was not equal, or nearly so, to his wonderful talent of riding them. Every man acquainted with the Pytchley country has heard of Sir Marinel and Benvolio ; those names are as “ familiar in our mouths as household words ;” and when we mention them we call up, from days lang syne, the tall, handsome, aristocratic figure that so well bestrode them. There sat Sir Charles Knightley, the impersonation of everything high-bred and sportsman-like in the country gentleman-" Heu ! mutata fides !" to have exchanged such a seat for one in St. Stephen's.
In a brief notice like this, to repeat the innumerable anecdotes of Sir Charles's (then Mr. Knightley's) performances on these two celebrated horses would be simply impossible. His peculiarity of riding was then marked by the most rigid determination. A quick eye, with great knowledge of pace, and an unbending course when he had once marked his place, good, bad, or indifferent, distinguished him above his fellows : all fences, moreover, were alike to his vicelike seat and delicate hands. This peculiarity of seat is equally remarkable to this dayapparent ease with wonderful power. In the centre of his horse, sitting well down upon him, he seems screwed to his saddle ; whilst the rest of his body has a grace, even now, not surpassed by the finest horseman of our day. To see him cantering on a thorough-bred one (for he hates anything else in all relations of life) into Daventry on market-day, in his faultless leathers and highly polished boots, may excite the admiration, perchance the envy, of younger men. Amongst the numerous anecdotes related of this deservedly popular once master of the Pytchley hounds, we give the following: we believe it to be substantially correct; though time, that “edax rerum” not having been able to swallow it altogether, may have rusted or damaged it to a considerable extent.
A fox was found, probably at an earlier hour than modern sportsmen would think consonant with comfort, and Sir Charles Knightley, on a newly purchased and half-broken young one, was stopped by a flight of rails : timber it was at all events. The hounds ran away from him : the field followed them-some by the straight course, others by Shuffler's Bottom, until the worthy master was left to his own devices. The probability is that we should have looked for a gap, after some reasonable allowance of time for appearances : we know one or two, at least, who would have taken advantage of any trifling damage that might have occurred to the fence lower down; and one or two more who would have thought five minutes or so long enough to fight with a selfwilled thorough-bred stallion. But not so the subject of this notice. With that indomitable pluck which is as plainly visible in that compressed lip as if it were written there, at the end of a moderately good ring of some half-hour there sat the master still : at the same rail, on the same saddle, and with the same determination, there was Sir Charles and Sir Marinel. Did Sir Charles beat him? Of course he did. Sir Charles Knightley is not the sort of man now to be beat, when he has once made up his mind ; and we take it in those days he was to be beaten at that game by neither man nor - horse. When the price of horse-flesh varied in those counties from fifty to one hundred and fifty pounds, six or five hundred was a long price even for such horses, so ridden, as these ; yet such we believe to have been the price not unfrequently offered to the Northamptonshire baronet ; and stranger still, in those days, even refused. We have had Sir Charles Knightley's opinion on the stiffest part of the Pytchley country—the neighbourhood of Flecknoe : he does not know whether horses can get across it now, but he knows there were some that could and did, his own among the number.
There is one trait in the character of Sir Charles Knightley as a sportsman, which appears to us pre-eminently to seek its place in this brief chapter of a fine old English gentleman's life ; it is hisconnection with the late Lord Spencer, then Lord Althorp. The political career, the strong party feelings of Sir Charles are too much matter of notoriety to be ignored by any of our readers. He almost stands alone as the assertor of principles whose days are gone by. With those principles we have nothing to do ; though we cannot but admire the sturdy oak that still remains firmly rooted to its place, when the blasts of popular clamour have uprooted all its fellows, or the strong hand of conviction transplanted them to a more genial soil. With Sir Charles's convictions sportsmen, for whom we write, have nothing to do : but what a bond of union was the love of hunting between two such politicians as Sir Charles Knightley and the late Lord Spencer! How the tastes of the country gentleman and the pursuits of agriculture must have triumphed over the petty feelings and electioneering squabbles of political life: And with all their patriotism and admiration for the great names with which they were associated nearly half a century ago on opposite benches, how they must have felt their hearts kindling towards each other, and burning with a generous rivalry, as masters of the finest hunting country in England. We think it speaks volumes for the qualities of the hearts of both of them ; we leave politicians to decide as to the qualities of their heads.
Any notice in these pages should be essentially a sporting one, more particularly when the subject of it affords so fine a field as the worthy Northamptonshire baronet. But we shall travel a step out of our beaten track to call attention to the influence exercised by Sir Charles Knightley in his own county on the improvement of stock. His fine judgment in all things relating to country pursuits has, of late years, been employed in the breeding of cattle: his annual sale was a treat to the admirers of that most beautiful animal the short-horn. Nothing can at the present day exceed his desire to direct aright the judgment of his tenants and the farmers of the county in the selection of stock and the improvement of cattle, not only by the most useful practical advice, but by his own most excellent example ; and no man need leave the dining-room of the Agricultural Society without as much knowledge of the subject from Sir Charles Knightley as it would take many a man years to attain. Throughout a long and most useful life his tastes have been such as befit the rank and position of one of the first-alas ! that we should say one of the last-of the fine old country gentlemen of England.
Sir Charles Knightley was born in 1781 ; he is descended from one of the oldest and most highly connected families in England, numbering amongst his quarterings those of the daughter of the Protector Somerset, uncle to Edward VI. He succeeded his uncle in the baronetcy in 1812, and is married to a great grand-daughter of the first Earl of Bristol. He represented Northamptonshire in parliament for many years, on the highest possible Tory principles ; and upon his resignation a few years ago was replaced by his son, Rainald Knightley. The fine old family seat, Fawsley Park, is remarkable for its variety of wood and water, its exquisite beauty, and as the most certain find in the Pytchley country. It has been in the Knightley family since Henry VII.; though, we believe, some property in Staffordshire is still held by them under a grant from William the Conquerer. It would be wrong to close this notice of so fine a sportsman, without adding that if Mr. Knightley sits in his father's seat in St. Stephen's, in the field too he like his sire holds his own : no better man crosses that deep and strongly-fenced country. There are some good ones to beat : Mr. Villiers and Mr. Cust can cut out work for strong stomachs; but while Mr. Knightley follows in his father's steps, as a sportsman he can be second to none.
THE OMNIBU S.
“ There be sat, and, as I thought, expounding the law and the prophets, until on drawing a little nearer, I found he was only expatiating on the merits of a brown horse."-BRACEBRIDGE HALL.
After being the most notorious man in Europe for nearly seven months, William Palmer at lasts sleeps amid quick-lime in his prison grave, and the papers which have vied with each other in the wildest inventions and the strangest contradictions, have put their goose-quills
One of them would have it that he heaved a deep sigh as he passed, on his heavily-lettered way from the station to the gaol, that pleasant garden at Ör. Knight's, where, in earlier days, he courted his “ dearest Annie”; while another considers that he was decidedly jocular, and that, when one of the few who crowded to look at him stumbled and fell, he burst out into a boisterous laugh, and said : “ Go it! That's the way to do it! Do it again !” The art of the penny-a-liner was never more exerted than in trying to describe the last scene of all, and sad baldness is the result. One of the two-pennies had it: “ The executioner shook hands with him and departed ; another moment the fatal bolt was drawn, and
PALMER WAS SUSPENDED ! a moment's struggle, and his sonl passed away amid the sunshine of the heavens and the notes of singing birds !” The best account of the execution makes a great deal not of “ singing birds,” but of the pigeons, who wheeled aloft from the jail turrets as the grey 15-stone mass creaked in the breeze. Even the crack morning papers cannot agree as to whether he had a coffin, or was hoisted down naked into his narrow bed. It is difficult to fancy that a corpse,