Perth To Dunkeld
( Originally Published 1912 )
"A teering nag was Sharpe's Canteen,
The late Lord Lynedoch—Net Fishing at the Lynn of Campsie —Mr. Speedie's Ice House—Salmon Prices—The Scone Steading—Mr. Paton's Gun Shop—The Caledonian Hunt Club at Perth-The Club Rules—Its different Places of Meeting—Forty-five Years of Racing.
DIVERS rambles down the wooden banks of the Almond, with our old friend " Hawthorne," beguiled the next two days. Of course we visited the graves of Bessie Bell and Mary Gray, who live and move again as Clydesdale pairs in many a Scottish show-yard, and the ruined cottage of the late Lord Lynedoch. The veteran died at 93, but to the last he hated to be thought old, and would go aside with his servant, that no one might see him helped on horseback. When he shot grouse at a very advanced age on Glenesk, he could not be persuaded to sleep in the lodge, but
"Lay, like a warrior taking his rest,"
on his own iron bedstead and bear rug, in a portable tent outside, and caught such a violent cold that he had to return home. He loved hunting, and went a great deal with the Duke of Grafton's during his residence at Cosgrove Priory, in their Stony Stratford country. The cottage at Lynedoch, where he spent three months of the year, has never been restored since his death. It stands on a knoll commanding one of the finest views of the river, and is a mass of beautiful decay in summer time, with the birds carol-ling on its yellow-green thatch, and the creepers clinging to its ruined trellises. A black retriever paced solemnly up and down the old passages, and in and out of the sashless drawing-room windows, as if it were the genius loci, and the flower-garden and vinery formed a rich prairie for rabbits and young pheasants.
There was not much to be seen on the Inches of Perth. " Good things " may have been " landed " there by racing men, but scarcely a salmon came to the net that morning. The Lynn of Campsie, five or six miles higher up the Tay near Stanley, had very different sport to show. It is close by Catholes, which is a very famous place for the rod. We had to be ferried across from islet to islet, among strange granite ridges and mountain ashes, and furze, before we reached Mr. Speedie's head-quarters at the Lynn. The men were taking a quiet smoke after a shot, with ten or twelve salmon at their side, when one came with a dart and a curl out of the water, 200 yards below, at a fly, and in an instant they were in their boats, and nailed ,him or a kinsman. " Slacken the net," said Mr. Speedie, as the sullen splash told that a big fish was in its toils ; but the order was just a moment too late, as he had gone through the meshes like the 20-pounder which he was, and up stream, without any more thoughts of flies. The nets were soon righted, and the misfortune as well, as the very next shot produced another fish and rather the bigger of the twain, Three shots in an hour where the stream runs rapidly, as it does near the falls, is very fair work, and the number of fathoms of net which they work is less or more in proportion to the rapidity or sluggishness of the stream. A southerly-west wind, a cloudy sky, and dark water are the three great essentials of a favour-able shot. The men work night and day, in detachments of six or seven, twelve hours each, and on the Tay their season lasts 178 days, from February 1st to August 26th. Why their open time is longer than the other rivers Parliament alone can tell. From 6 p.m. on Saturday till 6 a.m. on Monday the river has rest from nets, as well as for the other 187 days in the year, during which the men watch and weave nets. Their fishing pay is 3S. a day, inclusive of boot money, and they get the old nets and fish occasionally as their perquisites. Eighteen pounds is about the salmon average grilses range from 6lbs. to 12lbs ; and the smoults increase in their progress towards salmon estate at from 6lbs. to 'albs. a year.
There were nearly seven hundred salmon and grilse, the produce of all his stations, in Mr. Speedie's fish-house, but he has had as many as a thousand odd. They are as bright as silver when they are fresh run from the sea after a spate, but as the season advances they get more chameleon-like, and take the colour of the stones or gravel where they lie. Before the railroad days, they used to go by the steamers from Dundee ; but now the fish train leaves Perth each day at two o'clock, and reaches London at four in the morning. The consignors of course pay the carriage to London, and are charged 5 per cent. commission on sales. Mr. Groves is one of the largest London buyers of Tay fish, and Edinburgh and Glasgow do a great business as well. Middlemen also purchase them in London, to repack and send on to France. They leave Perth in 200lb. boxes, with 60 or 70lb. weight of ice upon the top of them ; and Mr. Speedie, who has sent off forty-four boxes a day at times, uses no less than 700 tons of rough ice in the season. Without ice they will keep pretty well for two days, and then they begin to go rapidly at the gall ; but covered up in an ice-house they will be as good as ever at the end of a fortnight. In spring the heavy salmon of 20lbs. and upwards sell best, and fetch 6d. a pound more, as the west-end parties are larger, and better cuts are required; and by the end of June the middlesized get the run. Prices are seldom the same for two successive seasons. In 1853 and '54 (the cholera year) they began at 3s. a pound, and went down, from perfectly opposite causes, as low as 2 1/2d., whereas in 1864 they were never below 9d.
A stroll of a couple of mile over the bridge, and up ,the opposite side of the river, brought us to the beautiful new steading of Scone. The Star, the Crescent, and the Thistle are on its gable ends, and above one of them stands a small image of St Andrew, with his cross on his breast, and his " haughty motto " encircling him. The system of half-open yards is not pushed to nearly the same extent that it is at Lord Southesk's ; and the details of the whole steading, differ very widely from its Perthshire rival at Keir. The open yards are in the centre, and communicate by a portcullis gate ; and the pigsties, stables, byres, and bullock house, all form part and parcel of the sides. The harness is never seen about the stable, but is hung on stands in the harness-room, and the corn is kept in iron chests. All the houses have large skylights, and are ventilated by an open ridge ventilator running along the whole length of the roofs, which is further assisted by the introduction of cold air from pipes laid underneath the floors, and communicating with the outside of the buildings. The water service in the cowhouse is furnished with a cock and waste-pipe for each double stall ; and each stall in the calf-house, which is quite on a miniature scale, is so managed that the calf cannot turn round, and soil it at both ends. A detached building, lighted at one end by an iron oriel window, is fitted up with iron railed boxes 13 feet by 12, for forty bullocks. There is a raised alley between the rows, but the bullocks were still afield, and we had not the luxury of an "over-sight;" no small gain in showing off any beast, as buyers of bull calves have found to their cost, when the ring-ground has been well chosen.
The dairy stands a few yards off, among some fine old trees, and adjoins the poultry-yard, which has long been famous for its breed of white Dorkings. A larch bole does duty as table in the dairy parlour, and in its polished surface we read its own infallible ring register of some fifty years' growth. The little fox in fire-clay on the chimney-piece has no breathing type about Scone ; pheasants scurry in troops across the path as we wend our way through the grounds ; and hares get up all round us at Waterloo slip distance, as we cross the hundred-acre field in front of the Palace, and find West Highlanders and crosses, nearly ten-score strong, edging away to the water and the woodlands, to be out of the noon-tide heat.
There is very little breeding in Strathmore, and Falkirk September and October trysts and the York-shire calf-men are generally looked to for stores. The Earl's flock of Leicesters numbers about six score ewes, principally of Border blood ; and the wedder and ewe hoggs are all fed off the first spring. A thousand blackfaced three-year-old wedders from Cullow are also fed off on turnips, and consigned by the end of May to the Edinburgh market, when they kill up to 20lbs. a quarter. In the October of '63 they cost 36s. 6d., and left from 14s. to 18s. behind them. This is very much the system of management in the Strath, and those who do not depend upon the Cullow wedders buy half-bred and cross-bred lambs at Melrose, and send them fat to the Glasgow and Edinburgh butchers as soon as they have been clipped.
Paton's gun shop is to Perth what Hugh Snowie's is to Inverness—quite an arsenal and lounge for shooters; and evening after evening he sends off nearly 3,000 cartridges to the moors all round. Few men in the provinces make more guns and rifles ; and out of his seventy last season, only one was a muzzle-loader, and that was for pigeon shooting. Since Sir A. G. Cumming, of Altyre, brought down five stags out of one herd at six shots, the muzzle-loader has not been able to hold its ground at all. Mr. Paton alters them into breech-loaders, without subjecting them to the injurious process of bringing the barrels to a white heat, and thereby injuring their temper. His plan also does away with the use of the common lever over the guard ; and Earl Mansfield, one of the most experienced shots in the North, has been the first to adopt it. Stags' heads are not so much of a Perthshire specialty ; but capercailzies, cock and hen on a mossy perch, and a white grouse and starling are Mr. Paton's type of one kind of bird life, and a brown golden eagle and a speckled fishing eagle from the wilds of Athole, of the other. Landing-nets represent the interests of the Tay and its tributaries, and so do fishing-reels, which go round a " desk," instead of a handle, and therefore never get hampered. There is also a drawing of Lord Henry Bentinck, who is probably crawling at that moment on his hands and knees up Glen Fishie, to get within death distance of a hart. The huntsman's horn is silent, and likely to be, as the Perthshire Hunt is a bygone ; and in the "vermin" column of the game-book we read of the fox and otter in the distinguished company of not only blue hares and rabbits, but of ravens, hawks, and magpies, jaypies, and huddy crows."
Prices are going up fast as the shooting leases fall in. Strathconnan Forest, with the grouse shootings on the estate, has risen from £1,400 to £2,000 in ten years, and two other deer forests, pure and simple, nearly as much. A grouse moor, which was let at £300 two seasons since, has all but doubled itself in price ; and 'another, which twenty years ago could hardly tempt a tenant at a tenner, now brings in its £200. In fact, the letting of moors has become such an important item in a landlord's calculation, that on the recent sale of a Highland estate, after duly taking into consideration the contingencies of non-letting in a bad grouse year, the value of a shooting was capitalized at twenty years' purchase. For some seasons past, the best Perthshire price for dogs has been £28 a brace, and the fashion still runs upon pointers in preference to setters, as they are found to be hardier, and to do much better without water.
When we returned to Perth the next month, there was very little need of placards, bidding us to " Be-ware of giddy joys which cheat and wound the heart," as none were to be found on the Inch during the celebration of the Caledonian Hunt. The horoscope of the races was very quickly told. " There are about a dozen horses here just the regular lot; and they've arranged all the races;" and there seemed but too much truth in it. Lord Glasgow, Lord Strathmore, and Mr. Stirling Crawfurd are all members of the Club ; but they scarcely ever run horses in Scotland ; and as Mr. Sharpe had then retired from the Turf, there was no one to knock over the arrangements of " The Confederates," or, at all events, to make them race for their money.
Where was Mr. Tom Parr ? Was he too busy among the grouse of Kildonan, or the pheasants of Challow ? Why was Mr. Merry a saunterer among the English flesh-pots, far away from the sward which he used to frequent in his hot youth with Beardershin and Florentia ? Not one Dawson, Tom, Mat, Joe, or John, was to be seen. Fobert did not journey to the old spot from Middleham ; and John Osborne was, pen in hand, in that Iittle Ashgill parlour, deep in the stars and Weatherby's sheet calendar, and calculating the spoils of another Nursery Stakes.
I'Anson was alone found faithful among the trainers. Nothing can wean him off Scotland ; and there he was, snatching every spare minute of dry weather at Perth to have a round at golf—a game at which he is remarkably clever. He was armed with his favourite snuff-box, a silver oyster-shell, presented to him by a backer of Caller Ou, and his friends fed their noses copiously. The " land of the mountain and the flood" is the inexhaustible store-house for him on his christening days, and Caller Ou, Blink Bonny, Bonny Bell, Breadalbane, Balrownie, Blair Athole, Broomielaw, Blink Hoolie; and Blooming Heather are the results of the inspiration which he gathers north of the Tweed.
It made one quite sad to look at the meagre card. Where were Lord Wemyss and Philip, with Simmy Templeman in the blue and black cap ? Sir James Boswell, General Chasse, and old Sunbeam? Meiklam, with Modesty or Inheritress ? General Sharpe, with Canteen, and his brother with old Leda, the foundress of a race of heroes ? Ramsay of Barnton, with Lanercost, Inheritor, Despot, or The Doctor, those doughty champions of the yellow and green sleeves ? Lord Eglinton, with St. Bennett, St. Mar-tin, or the never-failing Potentate ? Fairlie with Zohrab, of the stout heart and the ready kick ; or the grey Pyramid, who finished his days in the mail ? All gone, and only Joey Jones, Unfashionable Beauty, and Dick Swiveller, beloved of Tom Ruddick, remain.
Two o'clock came, but only a few umbrellas were going down the street. It had been long known that there would be no race for the Guineas, and that Caller Ou was to manage her thirteenth journey on " the Queen's service " in peace. Things ad been arranged to save the old mare the trouble of making an example of the hacks ; and even the owner of Unfashionable Beauty wanted to share the spoil. The owners couldn't come to terms, and so the chestnut was saddled and went to the post ; but after starting and galloping a short distance, she pulled up, and returned calmly to the enclosure, and the St. Leger mare was vigorously cheered in her canter. The Whip, too, was unchallenged for. The grand stand was but half filled, and only three carriages came. What a change from the time when James Moray, of Abercairney, the first man who established fox-hounds in Perthshire, drove his four-in-hand on the Inch, when he kept the ordinary in a roar by discoursing like an old woman in the soundest Scotch, with a table-napkin round his head, and when he never flagged with heel or jest till the morning sun had peeped into many a ball-room.
There were no drinking-booths, and merely a gymnastic exhibition tent and a wax-work caravan at the very edge of the course. The whole thing wore quite the primitive Newmarket air, before telegraphs were invented, and before a patent betting-ring supplanted the pump on which Pedley was wont to "clear his fine voice, and give a warning thump." Still, if the day had only been fine, the whole scene would have had quite a brown-bread relish, after the formalities of our five great meetings, conducted as they are with as much precision as a Glynn or a Westminster Bank parlour. Two small stands, with striped curtains, sufficed for the Perth and Caledonian Hunt members ; but the " bits of pink " were hid by the overcoats and the scarlet cap of a gentleman-rider ready dressed for Bonnington was the only bit of colour visible.
There were the Earl of Mansfield, Lord Stormont, Mr. Whyte Melville, Mr. John Grant, Captain Thom-son of The Fife, Mr. Willie Sharpe (hugging his plaid as of yore), and others whom we did not know by sight, all evidently striving to make the best of things. Mr. Nightingale, the great ex-coursing judge, stood on his platform, facing the members' stand (which is not on the same side as the Grand) ; and the weighing and dressing were conducted in two little canvas tents. Mr. Elliot, that "Manning of the North," was the clerk of the scales and starter, and the members of the Perth Hunt had a comprehensive view of the weighing from their stand above. The telegraph was certainly a weak point; and it was amusing to hear Tom Ruddick rush after Mr. Nightingale into the dressing-tent, and ask what had won, as " there is a lad outside with some bets on ; and so the chief justice duly referred to his pencil entries thereof. The betting was quite a farce. A few speculators walked about, and did a little on the Hunters' Stakes ; but there was no one to devour, and they had no chance of preying on each other. Mr. Barber was among them, looking resigned and incredulous ; and when the horses did come in, Young Perth rushed wildly up the course with a zest and a yell which did them honour. A race was a race to them, and "blue jacket and black cap" won in a canter. What did they know about arrangements, and all such subtle mysteries ? When a race wasn't going on, they could " Try your weight gentle-men," or gather round one of the ballad-singers, to whom Fred Turpin was listening with rapt attention as if for the first whimper in a Fifeshire gorse. We should have seen far better fun at Ayr the next year, or at Kelso the year before, but '63 and the Inch were our lot.; and the best omen for the Club that day was " a vision of fair women" inside and outside a county drag, all bound for the ball at night.
The Club was instituted at Hamilton in 1777. Her Majesty is the patron ; and the eldest living member is the Marquis of Tweeddale, who was admitted in 1809. The uniform is scarlet with green collar, and in old days the slightest variation in the shade of the green would have been spied out in an instant, and two buttons instead of three at the wrist would have formed the subject of a special demurrer. Earls Glasgow, Wemyss, and Moray rank next in seniority, and date from August, 1822 ; the Duke of Buccleuch is five, and Mr. Little Gilmour six years their junior. It is limited to seventy members " connected with Scotland by birth or property ;" and the rule is so rigid, that at present there are forty-one candidates, including a duke, a marquis, three earls, eight lords, an honourable, and six baronets biding their turn. Mr. Sharpe is the only honorary member, in consideration of his services as secretary for more than thirty years to the Club. Mr. Gillespie succeeded him in '62, Mr. Campbell of Blythswood is the present preses, and Col. Mure the treasurer.
The two latter officers' and three counsellers (who seem to have no defined duties) are chosen every year, and four form the wine committee, who have to report in writing on the state of the cellar to the December meeting. The entrance-fee is forty guineas, and the annual fee ten ; and the ordinary club meetings are held once a month for six months in the year over the mahogany at the Douglas Hotel in Edinburgh, where a saddle of mutton (blackface, of course) is the standard dish. In short, it is one of those grand old-fashioned institutions which struck its tap-root deep in the last century, and, except in its racing, knows no decay.
The Hunt had once the choice of eight places ; but Aberdeen, Stirling, Cupar, and Dumfries have gradually disappeared from the roll. There was no regular rotation preserved ; but if a neighbourhood wished to have it, the country leaders put on a strong whip at the December meeting of the Club in Edinburgh ; and on one occasion the fair canvassers were so active, that forty-five members: were mustered to vote.
Once only, in 1823, did the Club go as far as Aberdeen to join the Northern Meeting, when Lords Panmure, Kennedy and Huntly, Sir David Moncreiff, and Sir Alexander Ramsay had studs ; but there was a good deal of row, and the Secretary narrowly escaped tossing in a blanket on account of the badness of the wine. The Welter Stakes, 13st. each, for "regular hunters of the preceding season," was the Northern St. Leger ; and that year Lord Huntly's Hospitality beat Lord Panmure's renowned Harlequin. The Meeting seemed to die out in 1829 and it was revived in 1843-44, when Zoroaster and The Dog Billy (so called out of compliment to Captain Barclay's gladiator) had a pretty good time of it ; but there was no life in it after that.
Cupar Fife was very celebrated for the balls in its Oval County Room and among those who are dead and gone, it ranked Lord Leven, Sir David Moncrieff, Sir Ralph Anstruther, and Mr. John Dalziel of Lingo, as its greatest supporters. The course was four miles out of the town, and the horses stood at a little country inn called " The Bow of Fife."
Both at Ayr and Perth the ladies come to the race ordinaries ; and at Dumfries they were wont to join the public breakfasts. The Perth Hunt, although obsolete in the field sense of the word, has always kept Perth up to its turn ; and the late Duke of Athole threw a great deal of life into the balls, with his piper and national dances. Both here and at Dumfries the dancing was much more lively, and there was much less stiffness in every way. The Southern meeting amalgamated most joyously at the latter town, while the Marquis of Queensberry, Sir William and Sir John Heron Maxwell, General Sharpe, and Mr, Alexander of Ballochmyle lived and once eightand-thirty horses came, of which Muley Moloch and other cracks walked on from Carlisle. Stirling had a great meeting one year, when the ball was held in the Corn Exchange ; but Mr. Ramsay and Mr. Forbes of Callender died soon after, and the thing was given up. Although his Grace cares but little for the sport, the Duke of Roxburghe has manfully supported the meeting at Kelso, where the balls and the sport have been equally good. At Edinburgh the ordinaries failed, and there has never been a year to compare with 1828, when the Duke of Buccleuch was preses, and the town was full to the- garrets. Ayr has always had a good county attendance, more especially when the late Lord Eglington, Sir David Blair, and his brother, Col. Blair, kept horses ; and the list was got up in great style, with three £100 Plates in it.
" The Caledonian Hunt " is first mentioned by that title in a race-list, at Dumfries, in 1788, when His Majesty's Plate was granted ; but it is enough for our purpose to track it back for five-and-forty years. In 1820 there were nine meetings in Scotland, and among them the Fife Hunt at Cupar, one at Irvine as well as Ayr, and one at Stranraer, which never recovered the prowess of Anastasius and Archibald, and expired in '22. At Dumfries, Charles Lord Queensberry almost cleared the board with Fair Helen, Miss Syntax, and Gonsalvi ; and what there was left, Lord Kelburne picked up with Chance, and Sir William Maxwell with Clootie and Monreith. At Ayr, next year, Miss Syntax and Fair Helen had matters pretty well to themselves, but in the Springkell colours. At Edinburgh, " t'ould grey mare" met, and beat jock the Laird's brother, and Monreith, both of them winners. Then came the only Aberdeen meeting, which began on the Saturday, and went on all the next week. Sir David Moncreiff won eight races, and fairly held the belt with Negotiator ; and two out of " the three Yorkshire Tommies "-Lye and Shepherd --- were uncommonly busy upon winners. At Kelso, in 1824, Sir David had the best of it again in another seven days' bout ; but Fair Helen's day was over, and she and Negotiator (now Lord Kennedy's) were both beaten by the lucky baronet's Catton. There was nothing remarkable at "Ayr, or Air" ; but in 1826 they were racing till dark over the North Inch at Perth, and ran two heats and a match next day. A couple of Ardrossan horses, Sir A. Ramsay's Gift and Mr. Baird's Sir Malachi Malagrowther, had the cream of the thing between them, and contrived to keep clear of each other.
The six-year-old Springkell was then great over Dumfries, where Lye won the St. Leger on his own horse, The Corsair, and Mr. Gilmour a " 12 st. each " match on his Minstrel against Sir James Boswell's Boreas. Lord Kelburne's Acton and Harry Edwards were all the talk at Musselburgh in 1828, when they had won the Gold Cup, and also beaten Queen Elizabeth, Malek, and Springkell. Sir William Maxwell's three-year-old grey Spadassin won the Caledonian Cup for Scotch horses this year, as well as at Perth the next, where the stylish, showy Gondolier was in as great force for Lord Elcho as Leda and Conjuror had been at Musselburgh, and as Brunswick was in '30 at Ayr. This meeting was peculiarly memorable for the five twomile heats for the Western Meeting Plate. Five out of the eight didn't go for the first heat, which was won by Leda. Three didn't go, two were drawn, and Agitator won the next then three more were drawn, and Charley, Leda, and Agitator ran a dead heat, and finished in that order for the fourth heat. By this time Agitator had had enough of it, and Charley won the decider. The three were in a four-mile race next day, when Leda and " Sim " reversed matters with Charley, and Agitator was only fifth.
Next year Charley and Leda tried their strength once more at Kelso in two twomile heats, in which the mare was worsted. The horse was never in greater form, and so Ballochmyle found in the Caledonian Plate, and The Earl in The Guineas. Lord Elcho won a match on Brunswick against Sir David Baird's Queen Elizabeth, while Nicholson won for his lordship on Gondolier, and "Sim on Leda once more. Three four-mile heats against Philip, Terror, and Round Robin killed Ballochmyle at Edinburgh, or rather at Gullane, in '32, where the races had been removed on account of the cholera ; and at Edinburgh, the next year, Lord Eglinton had the best of it, both in a match against Mr. Gilmour and the Caledonian Coplow ; and " Sim," in the Duke of Buccleuch's colours, twice finished in front. General Chasse, with his two wins and his two walks over, was quite the Platoff of the Dumfries meeting ; and Inheritor, whom he beat for the St. Leger, made short work of Muley Moloch and Philip at four miles for the Guineas. The black and the chestnut's places were reversed at Ayr, next year, in the Gold Cup ; and in the Caledonian Cup, the defeat of Sir James's horse by Myrrha was quite " a surprise." This was a year of promise to Mr. Ramsay ; and at Perth, in '36, Mr. Merry made a somewhat unpromising opening with Florentia, to whom the evergreen Philip (who had just won all before him at Lamberton Moor, a sort of rival to Gretna in its day) showed no mercy. Inheritor was out of form at Musselburgh in '37, and the star of Mr. Meiklam and Modesty began to rise, and Mr. Wilkins's breeding to tell both with her and Abraham Newland. The Merry yellow jacket, which was destined for greater triumphs than them all, made a better appearance at Ayr in '38, where Inheritor was himself once more, and Lanercost convinced St. Martin twice over that he was "no use to him."
This Cumberland brown, which Mr. Ramsay bought from Mr. Ramshay for 1,500 gs., had now the championship of the Scottish Turf, and held it against Bellona, Malvolio, and all comers, at Cupar Fife. Then came that memorable Kelso struggle, in which, with The Doctor to help, and under very high weights, he beat Beeswing for the Gold Cup, cleverly and with nothing to force the running, and 2lbs. the worst of the weights, which had been reduced about a stone, finished level with her in a two-mile plate that same afternoon:
At Stirling it was the turn of Mr. Meiklam and the dark blue and white stripes with Broadwath and Wee Willie ; and Charles XII. and Job Marson were at Pertly the following year, to look after The Whip for Mr. Andrew Johnstone. At Ayr, in '43, it was nothing but dancing after a shadow" but that mare had to yield in her turn when Alice Hawthorn met her at Dumfries next year. In '45, Pilot led the way at Kelso ; and Mr. Merry's prowess at Perth, Lord Eglinton's with Eryx and Plaudit at Ayr, Inheritress's and Chanticleer's at Edinburgh, and Elthiron's at Stirling, bring matters up to '49. Elthiron ran the wrong side of a post next year at Perth, where Haricot had quite a blaze of triumph. Old Clothworker tried his hand at Ayr in the Exhibition year ; but although his owner was on him three times, at 8st. 10lbs. and upwards, the chestnut was beaten five times in all. Miss Ann was the bay queen of the revels at Edinburgh in '52; and then Kelso had one of its crack meetings, in which Battownie, Goorkah, and Defiance divided the honours. Stirling, in '54, was quite a Wild Huntsman carnival
and Lord Eglinton's colours caught Mr. Nightingale's eye for the last time in the handicap with Bianca. Braxy, Braxy and Heir of Linne, and Sprig of Shillelah had the lion's share in 1855-57 at Perth, Ayr, and Edinburgh.
Ignoramus was the crack at Kelso; and Underhand, after having everything his own way at Perth in '59, was beaten twice by Caller Ou at Ayr in '60, and was last to Caller Ou at Edinburgh in '61. Fobert had, however, an avenger of his "little bay horse " in Oldminster, who beat the St. Leger mare at 51bs. in a canter, and at evens by a head, with Peggy Taft to look on each time. And so " the ball was kept rolling " at Kelso in '62, when Haddington was all potent ; at Perth, of which we have told before ; and finally at Ayr, where St. Alexis, a cheap Doncaster purchase, did just what he chose with his fields, and Joe Graham, the little Dumfriesshire hunts-man, achieved the great coup of his life by winning with his £50 horse Blood Royal that Caledonian Cup for which the highest families in Scotland have often longed in vain.