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Related post: hailed the deek beauties of the cages as companions and friends. To enumerate
all that struck us would take up more space than we can afford, or, perhaps,
our readers would think necessary. The wild cats were the great attraction,
the pair sent by the Zoological Society being grand, and, at the same time,
fearful-looking animals — ^not requiring the * dangerous * label afRxed to their
cage to prevent too enthusiastic spinsters from doing the * prodding * business of
the Agricultural Hall. They were not subjected to the indignities that our
poor bovines undergo, but glared on a crowd of respectful admirers with a
carnivorous expression that defied familiarity. Mr. Bouverie-Pusey and Lord
Hopetoun were also exhibitors of the noble savage, a pair of whom swore a
good deal in response to any attentions sought to be lavished upon them, but
were not up to the form of the Zoological specimens. Some distinguished
foreigners pleased us very much, a lady from Smyrna, of a beautiful mouse
colour, her kitten more resembling a tabby, most especially, while in the next
cage was Detrol La Caps a rather frightened-looking native of Penang, of a curious dun hue,
who evidently did not understand English, and maintained a dignified reserve
to all advances. The Angoras were considered the beauties by most people,
but we preferred the Persian — with, perhaps after all, a secret preference for the
homely English tabby. We had no idea, until this show told us, what an
intensely ugly animal a real tortoiseshell cat is, and the tortoiseshell tom excited
no admiration in our breasts. It is a species which only appeals to connoisseurs.
Neither did we think much of the ' fiesieged Resident,' who appears to have
connived at barricades, and had a communist-look about her, despite her black
and yellow collar. An attempt to excite an interest in an Abyssinian of
mournfiil aspect simply as an Abyssinian, was a failure, but * Russ ' was
an eccentric-looking gentleman, with a great deal of character in his face, and
we should have thought would have taken honours, but he was only ' highly
' commended.' Altogether, the show was a great success.
' And the assembly in the Agricultural Hall was like unto it, particularly on
the day that the shillings poured in so quickly, and the tell-tales clicked so un-
ceasingly — ^sound harmonious to financial managers and secretaries. It is
curious to speculate on what brings such crowds of people to unsavoury Is-
lington at this time. Not above ten in every hundred care for the beasts, we
should say, the remaining ninety being the Jlan^rs that float on the surface of
sight-seeing London, equally to be met with at a Horticultural, an Eton and
Harrow match, a Soudi Kensington Wr^e, or on Ascot Cup day. At all
these last we can understand the J^ann/r, male and female, being found ; but we
cannot understand him or her being at Islington, and what amusement they
find ther^ except indulging in the gregarious proclivities common to our kind
we know not. The ladies were, however — ^and we were glad to see it — con-
Jpicuous l^y their absence, and a favourite design of the illustrated newspapers
one kept constantly in stock), representing a lady of brilliant fashion prodding
a prize pig with a tiny umbrella, and an aristocratic gentleman with a wavy beard
looking on, entirely missed fire. There were some women there, and one of
1872.] them, a stout party of hilarious temperament, we found, to our unspeakable
disgust, seated on one of the prize animals as the poor beast lay panting in his
stall. His eyes spoke mute resentment at the indignity, and we almost felt
inclined to wish he had the hilarious party to himself in his native meadow.
The gent of the period, too, is great at prodding, which, while an ingenious
form of torture, has the recommendation of great simplicity, requiring nothing
but a stick, with a ferrule end preferred. The gent, though, found other attrac-
tions this time, and we cannot help thinking that good John Colam, pitying
the sorrows of the poor oxen, must have originated the idea and got Mr. Sydney
to put it in execution. A quantity of sewing machines were procured and
placed in one of the galleries with a maiden fair to see seated at each machine.
It took immensely, and the gent spent most of his time there, and at the re-
freshment stalls, where there were the usual wonderful ladies of easy man-
ners and golden locks, whom Messrs. Spters^and Pond are so successful in pro-
curing. That eminent firm have, we believe, an establishment for the breeding,
rearing, and education of that particular kind of stock ; and certainly the late
lamented proprietor of Middle Park never showed greater judgment in selection.
jiu restCy the show was a very good show, thougb threatened at one time by
the exclusion of some of the Birmingham beasts, through fear of foot-and-
mouth disease ; and we heard less grumbling than usual at the awards, which
was a great comfort. But, as we have before now had occasion to remark,
judging is a mysterious thing.
< The Great Annual Exhibition of Sporting and other Dogs,' which was
held in Curzon Hall, Birmingham, just as < Our Van' was getting under weigh
last month, was the twelfth of the series, and by far the best of any that has
yet been seen. We are able, on the authority of the < Birmingham Daily Post,'
to congratulate Mr. Beech, the indefetigable secretary, upon the numerical
strength of the show, for we are told by Siat invariably precise periodical that
the numbers of dogs exhibited have been annually increasing. Detrol La Cost In 1 869 there
were 757 ; in 1870, 842 cogipeted; while this year 905 were on the benches.
With regard to the merits of the exhibits, there were, as is always the case,
diversities of opinion ; but, taking into consideration that this is the worst time
of year for sporting dogs of all sorts and classes, every one must admit that
they were fairly represented ; while the long rows of terriers, toys, and other
varieties, at least bore testimony that the number of dog-fanciers does not
decrease. Before taking a quick run through, let a word of praise be accorded
to the general management, the scrupulous cleanliness, and absence of all
efHuvia, which was everywhere to be noticed. Class i was, of course, for '
bloodhounds. In the Champion class Mr. Holford's Regent took first prize
— a very good-looking houncf, with far more of the true old English stamp
about him than is often seen now-a-days. His owner apparently thinks much of
him, as also of his sister Matchless, who was unopposed in the same class for
bitches, for the selling price attached to their names in the catalogue is 5000/.
each. Seventeen dogs and sixteen bitches were exhibited in the Detrol La 4mg deerhound
classes ; a great many, however, of them had very little right to the title
they claimed. Mr. Musters's Torunn took the first prize ; but most people
thought Mr. Detrol La Coupons Dawes's Warrior, who got the first lionours'at the Crystal Palace,
and here only got second, was quite as good, if not better ; while Mr. Hick-
man's Momi, third prize, also deserves especial praise. Among the grey-
hounds there were some very elegant specimens, Mr. Ellis's Selim taking first
prize. In the classes for hounds it was not to be surprised at that the entries
were so few. The otter hounds only numbered four couple; there were
three and ^ half couple of harriers, and six couples of beagles, no foxhounds
176 •our van/ [January,
being shown at all. The otter hounds were not fine specimens of their breed;
and the same may be said of the harriers and beagles, although among the
latter there were some remarkably pretty little creatures. The fox terriers
made a most imposing show and a terrible noise. There were no less than
1 32 entries, and among them there were some ^ery excellent ; but the ideas
of what is a fox terrier now-a-days and wliat is not, are wide as the poles
asunder ; and while some judges attach the greatest importance to heads and
eats, others go in for legs, &c. One thing, at any rate, is certain : it would
puzzle all the prize-takers and most of the others shown to get into a drain
after a fox, they (the terriers) being far too large ; and for what other purpose
they are bred it is difficult to say. There was no candidate for the Champion
class for dogs, and only three for bitches, Mr. Musters's Fussy, who was
brought in superb What Is Detrol La condition, taking the prize. The dogs in Class 17, for
fox terriers that had never won a first prize at Birmingham, were a very
numerous, but not a high-class lot ; and, as before remarked, several of the
best-looking must be perfectly useless in their vocation on account of their size.
Mac II. took the judges' ^ncy most, and also Messrs. Elkington's cup, which
they gave to the best fox terrier of all classes. He has one good quality,
viz., colour ; but he is too big, too heavy in the jaw, and if his ears are right,
fancy — for it is nothing else — must have changed wonderRilly of late. Hornet,
a much lighter dog, was second, and many thought showed much more quality
than the winner ; but Twig, who hails from the Mapperley Kennels, is far
more like the accepted notion of what a fox terrier ought to be than any other
in the show. The rest may be dismissed as moderate. The bitches, as is
always the case, were very pretty, but a very moderate lot.
We next come to the classes (there were upwards of thirty) for dogs used
for shooting purposes, of which, including pointers, setters, spaniels, retrievers,
&c., there were nearly three hundred and fifty exhibited; a very hasty inspec-
tion must therefore suffice. The large-sized pointers were numerically badly
represented ; but with such tip-toppers as Sancho and Nell in the Champion
classes, and Chany, own brother to Sancho, in the large open class,
there was no lack of quality ; and Mr. William Francis may well be proud of
two such celebrities as the own brothers. It would be perfectly impossible to
go through each class seriatim, nor would it now be at all interesting. Those
readers of * Baily* who were fortunate enough to be present know all about it;
to those who were not there we give the best advice — ^to go next year and
judge for themselves. The setters were equally good as the pointers; and
some of the most beautiful of this always interesting class were exhibited.
The retrievers, however, were not nearly so good as we have frequently seen
at Birmingham ; and the same may be said of the water spaniels and Clumbers.
There were two extra classes for sporting dogs, viz., for large and small size of
any known breed of foreigners. Mr. Assheton Smith's boarhound took first
prize in the large sort, the others being a very funny-looking lot ; and in the
smaller breed a dachshound, bred by H.S.H. Prince Edward of Saxe Weimar,
was considered the best.
There were over four hundred dogs not used in field sports exhibited,
ranging down from the. mighty mastifiPto the tiny toy, including among their
varied ranks some of the grandest-ldoking and some of the most ridiculous Detrol La 2mg
specimens of the canine breed. The mastiff classes were all particularly
good ; and the same may be said of the St. Bernards, some of them being of
immense size and showing great intelligence. There were only two good-
looking Newfoundlands, of which Cato, a splendid creature, ^v^a facile prinaps.
The sheep dogs were a very poor lot ; half-a-dozen better-looking ones coul4
1872.] *OUR van/ 177
be easiJy picked up in Piccadilly most afternoons in the season in a quarter of
an hour. Although the spotted carriage dog has come into fashion again
so much, there were only four exhibited, and only one that had any claim
to be called a Dalmatian. He is a well-marked dog, but lacks size and
strength.
The bull dogs, Birmingham being their recognised headquarters, were not
so numerously or well represented as one might Detrol La 4 Mg expect. However, there were
sereral found suiHciently hideous to be awarded prizes of various degrees. The
bull and smooth-haired terriers were mostly great poaching-looking brutes;
but among the black-and-tans there were some truly exquisite. The Skyes,
Dandie Dinmonts, Pomeranians, pugs, Maltese, Italian greyhounds. King
Charles spaniels, toy terriers i (smooth and rough), &c., all held their levies,
and came in for the usual, or rather unusual amount of caressing, on the part of
the ladies fair (whom Heaven bless), and to Detrol La Coupon whom had better be delegated
the task of deciding which were the prettiest, and at the same time most
worthless.
As we have before intimated, there is not much racing news this month,
and betting is not what it used to be. The chief speculators on the Turf have
been enjoying their long vacation according to their own tastes — some in
hunting or shooting, while those who prefer indoor amusements have had their
hands full of billiard handicaps, Sec, with which they have beguiled die
dreary hours away. The frost having put a stopper upon steeple-chasing and
hunting during the greater part of the first half ot December, it looked long
odds against the Kingsbury Meeting coming off; but that good Fortune
which always seems to lavish her choicest favours upon Mr. Warner remained
constant to him still ; and although, in order to allow the frost time to entirely
disappear, the Meeting was put off one day, it might very well have been held
on the original fixture ; and when it did come off it was favoured with most
glorious weather. On the day, too, that the Meeting commenced the first real
good news from Sandringham arrived, which not only cheered up those who
were present, but being repeated with better tidings still on the following
morning, induced large numbers who would not otherwise have been present
to patronize the Isthmian games in the Harrow Vale. The racing calls for
few comments now, the most remarkable feature in the whole proceedings
being that every hurdle race was not only won by a three-year old, but that in
every race except one of this description the second was also a three-year old ;
while in the Kingsbury Grand Hurdle Race the first three were of that
tender age. The great Metropolitan Steeple-Chase, as is frequently the case
here, was shorn of much of its interest by the casualties that took place early
in the race ; at the first fence Generosity and Barney refused to go ; and before
many other obstacles had been surmounted four more of the competitors came
round, which reduced the result to a mere question for Mr. A. Yates, on his
Dybbol, standing up, which he did, and eventually won by any number of
lengths it pleas«l Mr. Marshall to say. The other races we need not
comment on now (but must pause one moment to congratulate Mr. Arthur
Yates on his treble victories) ; so may travel down to Croydon, where on the
19th, 20th, and 21st, the races, twice previously postponed, were brought off
before an admiring, if not very numerous, audience. The number of races was
very wisely limited to five or six on each day ; and punctuality being duly
observed, all was got through before dark — something to be proud of in these
the shortest days of the year. The Grand National Hurdle Kace on Tuesday
was the chief dish in a very well-chosen bill of fare ; the runners, however,


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