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you gotten up upon a hard-trotting horse ? Is it in imitation of Fanny Butler? I strongly suspect it is. But, nevertheless, I pity you, sincerely ; for, when your horse attempts to throw you, (and I perceive in him the incipient symptoms of such an attempt) your companion will be useless. Let us turn to note the grace of the last couple — for it is invariably the very worst riders that take the lead in an equestrian excursion. The gentleman sits firm and erect, and not stiffly ; from the knee, his leg hangs perpendicularly ; his feet are parallel with each other, and near the horse's sides. His steed seems to form a part of himself, so attentive is he to every motion of the rider — obeying the voice, the bit, the knee, and the heel. And the lady ; with what grace she sits ! with what confidence she inspires you ! — seeming to place an equal reliance upon her own resources. You feel that she will readily and successfully meet any emergency, and instantly reduce her horse to obedience, if he should rebel against restraint. It is pleasant to see such riders, and it is equally delightful to possess such skill.
A great outcry was raised against Fanny Kemble, because she accused our horses of being ill-broken. In that, she spoke the truth — confining her meaning to hack horses. But, is this wonderful ? In a country where there are such swarms of bad riders, how can a horse be expected to retain a perfect gait? If a horse comes into the hands of a livery-stable keeper a good trotter, it will not be long before some one who hires him will make him gallop ; or, if he canter naturally, some dyspeptic gentleman, who likes rough riding, will reduce him to a trot. The horses owned by private American gentlemen, are quite as correct in their paces as those of England.
But,' says Mr. Vigne, author of "Six Months in America, there are no good riders in the United States. I never saw a horse take a leap but once there, and then there was no one on his back.' Did Mr. Vigne ever attend the spring or October meeting, on the Union Course, Long-Island ? Did he ever hunt with the Jockey Club ? Not only are the races ridden with surprising dexterity, but the gentlemen, who attend the races, are frequently as well mounted, and ride as well, as the frequenters of Newmarket cr Ascot.
Without venturing a word upon the influence of the thing, I will here observe that, to a casual spectator, there is nothing so exhilirating as the scene presented by a race-course. The avenues to the ground are thronged with carriages, omnibuses, horsemen, and pedestrians. The stands are soon occupied, and all in a state of breathless excitement. The horses prepare for the start ; a few parting instructions are given, and the jockeys look to their racing-trim, and glance to each other ere the signal is heard. The drum sounds, and off they go ! Suppose it a fair
start, and all off together. As they sweep around, stretching to the turf like grey-hounds, some are broken by the killing pace. One cautious jockey (dressed in white) lingers in the rear, and holds his horse together with a tight hand, while he glances to the two steeds before him, and waits patiently till they are worn out with striving to rival each other : now, now is the time! The white boy lets out his horse, gives him rein and whip and spur, and encourages him with a peculiar chirrup. The noble animal, proud of the confidence reposed in him, and fired with emulation, with a few tremendous leaps, passes his competitors, takes and keeps the lead. The lad in white, by superior jockeyship, has won the purse.
But, the perfection of horsemanship is displayed in hunting riding to hounds requiring, according to Nimrod, coolness, courage, judgement, and nerve. Ours is no country to ride in, although our foxes are occasionally hunted on horseback. I was once present at a fox-hunt, on Long-Island, (I think the huntsmen were an association of the Jockey Club) against my will. I was returning from a ride, mounted on a high-spirited grey mare, belonging to a friend, when my ears were suddenly saluted by the baying of hounds — and, an instant after, the fox swept by, followed by the eager pack, and a crowd of horsemen. The sight of so many breathless steeds was too much for the philosophy of my little grey, and, paying no attention to the gentle hints I administered by means of the curb, she joined the hot pursuit, leaping every fence that crossed her path. The first leap almost sent me from my saddle, but I soon became used to it, and, before the fox was killed, relished the excitement of the chase.
I can conceive of the enthusiasm with which the English aristocracy follow their favorite sport, in defiance of all perils ; and, while experience has shown me the invigorating effects of equestrian exercise, I cannot wonder that so many of my compatriots have taken the field :
Contusion hazarding of neck and spine,
I cannot conclude this paper without relating an anecdote, connected with my subject, and derived from an authentic source. The Corsicans are or were as famous for their horsemanship as for indomitable courage, love of country, hardihood, and a fierce, vindictive spirit. At different periods, different nations may have claimed allegiance obtained by conquest; but, the hardy Corsicans, united by a spirit of clanship, and confiding in the strong-holds of their island, have set at defiance laws promulgated by an usurping power.
The occurrence, which I am about to relate, happened in the early part of the sixteenth century. Tonino, a humble member of the family of Guitera, the head of which was his feudal lord, was betrothed to a young shepherdess, named Maria, whom he treated with more kindness than the Corsicans generally bestowed upon their females, who, having often suffered from the effects of the ferocious jealousy of the males, regarded them with terror, and always approached them with misgivings. One day, Tonino, as he climbed the precipitous sides of the mountains, in search of his beloved, suddenly encountered his kinsman, the lord of Guitera. The humble retainer, as he sprang forward to greet the seigneur, was struck with the sinister expression of his countenance, in which a malicious smile seemed to be contending with a look of confusion. He hastily inquired for his betrothed.
I have not seen her,' replied the noble ; “but I forget not that she is to be thy bride. Hold! I do not offer this purse and this diamond bauble as a dowry, but as a remembrance. No thanks! I wish you a good day's sport, and joy of your conquest.' As he sprang down the rocks, he cast back a look of such dark malignity at Tonino, that the latter, almost instinctively, unslung the big gun that hung at his back. He hastened, however, with the gifts of the noble, to the presence of his mistress. She was reclining in her favorite seat; but, her staff had fallen from her hand, and her little dog was stretched dead at her feet. Her dress was in wild disorder; and, as her lover sought to embrace her, she fled from his arms, with a loud shriek. He laid the purse and the diamond cross on the ground before her. You have seen him,' she cried. "I have,' replied the bewildered Tonino; and these gifts ' - "Are the price of my dishonor !' she cried, in a voice of horror. As she uttered these words, standing on the edge of a precipice, she touched the gold with her foot, and it rolled into the deep chasm. It is an emblem of my fate — I follow it!' cried the unhappy girl, and she flung herself from the rocky parapet, while Tonino stood, rooted to the spot, as inmoveable as if he had been hewn from the rock itself. An instant afterwards, he regained his senses ; he rushed forward to the edge of the gulf, and wildly waved his arms, as if preparing to follow Maria, when the glittering cross attracted his eye, and he stooped to pick it up. Raising it high in the air, he breathed a vow of vengeance. *
The next day was the annual festival, at which half-wild horses were caught by the lasso, tamed and ridden by the adventurous Corsicans. The scene of the sports was a green plateau, among the mountains, in the centre of which stood the rustic pavilion of the lord of Guitera, surmounted by a standard emblazoned with his arms. It was the custom of the seigneur to reward the victor in the games, by presenting him with a richly-ornamented gun. While all eyes were fixed upon the horses, dashing round the arena in wild freedom, snorting, throwing the foam from their mouths, and tossing their ragged manes in the air, Tonino, pale, haggard, and scowling, suddenly appeared. He held in his hand the formidable lasso — a rope, furnished with a noose — and, suddenly dashing into the centre of the plateau, he threw it around the legs of a strong horse, and pulled him to the ground. Ere the animal could recover himself, the victor had bitted and saddled him ; and when he arose furiously to his legs, he was forced to obedience by the sharpness of the curb. Dashing around the circle, at full speed, Tonino was hailed with acclamations, as the winner of the prize ; but, his dusky lips betrayed no smile of triumph, as he approached the pavilion to receive the gun.
Reining in his steed, with a suddenness that almost threw him upon his haunches, the fierce Corsican awaited the approach of his enemy, who slowly descended from the platform, on which his pavilion stood, and, having gained the level ground, without daring to look the victor in the face, extended the prize gun, a beautiful piece of workmanship, inlaid with silver. Tonino seized the weapon by the muzzle, and cast it from him. The lord of Guitera laid his hand upon his poignard, and bent a furtive glance upon his guards, as if anxious, yet afraid, to bid them advance. But now, the eyes of Tonino almost emitted gleams of fire - and, rising in his stirrups, he threw his right arm aloft, and whirled his fatal lasso thrice around his head. At the third revolution of the rope, it descended over the body of the feudal chieftain — and, an instant after, he was writhing in the strict embrace of the noose. The attack was so sudden, that the guards were paralyzed ; and the avenger, taking advantage of their panic, plunged his rowels, to the heels, in the flanks of his wild steed, and the tortured animal launched forth, in fleet career, dragging the body of the noble at his heels. The wild horse rushed to the verge of the plateau, where the hue of the vegetation brightened into a more vivid tint, marking the boundary of the dangerous morasses. Here, as if instinctively aware of peril, the horse recoiled; but a heavy plunge of the spur, sent him into the treacherous waste. Here he foundered for a moment, and the Corsicans beheld their lord, rising, in an agony of fear, and clinging to the stirrup of
Tonino. The latter spurned him from his side, and, urging his horse forward, uttered one fierce shout of exultation, ere he sank with his victim — and the treacherous morass closed over them forever.
UNITED STATES SENATE.
The biography of Joseph Kent, one of the Senators from the State of Maryland, presents an encouraging and worthy example to those who are entering on the theatre of life — teaching them in what manner they may be elevated to high trusts, by the virtues of honor and diligence, without the aid of those dazzling qualities, which are sometimes regarded as indispensable to success, if not to the power of being useful.
The subject of this brief memoir was born in Calvert county, in the State he now represents, on the fourteenth of January, 1779. His parents, Daniel and Anne Kent, were highly respectable, possessing an estate which afforded the means of indulging a disposition for hospitality and kindness to their neighbors, in a degree which was remarkable, even where these qualities may be said to characterize a sincere and unsophisticated people. His education, we have been told, was limited, like that which is usually acquired at country grammar-schools. From one of these, in his immediate neighborhood, he passed, at the age of fifteen, to the study of medicine, and qualified himself to commence the practice at the age of twenty. In May, 1799, he became professionally associated with Dr. Parran, of Lower Marlboro', and continued with him until December, 1901, when—a misunderstanding taking place between them in consequence of the zealous and efficient part taken by Mr. Kent in favor of the republican party in the great civil revolution of that period - the partnership was dissolved. So determined was the younger partner to defend the principles of the Constitution and the rights of the citizens against what he regarded as unwarrantable encroachments upon them, by the alien and sedition laws as well as by other proceedings of that day, that, young as he was, he took a decided stand against his elder associate and another highly-respected friend, who had offered as electors of the State Senate, in September, 1801, and who were supposed to be friendly to the reelection of the then Federal Senate. So indefatigable were his exertions, and so dauntless the spirit with which he sustained the cause he had espoused, that young Kent was admitted to have been mainly instrumental in revolutionizing public sentiment in his native county, and thereby essentially contributing to the ascendancy gained in the electoral college by the republican party.
During his residence in Calvert county, Mr. Kent continued to take an active part in the political contests of the day, characterized as they were by more of manly earnestness and candor and perhaps more of principle than at subsequent periods; yet VOL. IX.