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Sharpshooter was " lunged," —that is to say,
was made, at the end of a long rope, to gyrate
in great circles on the Downs; afterwards he
did this with cloths and blankets flapping all
around him, to accustom him to civilisation
and wearing apparel. The next scene of this
strange history exhibits him with a dumb-
jockey on his backan artless and honest
personage of wood, by whom he is trained to
hold his head up properly, and to submit
himself to control; then he is ridden by a
child of eight or nine, whose every other word
is an oath, and of a countenance, not roguish,
alas! but absolutely felonious; or by a dwarfed
and stunted creature who is the child grown
upthe personification of cunning and
secretiveness. There are exceptions, of course,
even among racing stable-boys: but, if either
phrenologists or physiologists are to be trusted,
there are very few. Come with me into
Sharpshooter's own town and see the knots of
idlers in its streets, the insolent leer, the
bold dishonest eye, the hair cropped closely
about the mere rim of forehead, and you do
not need to hear the filthy talk, nor to mark
the waistcoats reaching to the knees, in order
to recognise these genuine offspring of the
turf. They are originally brought from far
and near on account of their small stature,
and, after having served honestly, some few
of them get places as stud grooms; the
majority, however, when too big to ride, are
turned away to shift for themselveswhich is
hard on them, and a good deal harder on the
world at large.

But, let me return to Sharpshooter, whom I
left on the exercising ground, with a heavy bit
in his mouth and a light rider upon his back,
somewhere about the fifteenth month of his
existence. He is rubbed down in the morning
by two valets, and taken out in his gay raiment
on the Downs from nine to twelve; and
if he takes a sweat or gallop, he is rubbed
down on the ground itself, in a house built
for that especial purpose, lest he should suffer
from catarrh; he is rubbed down when he
goes home, and he is rubbed down when he
retires to his clean and well-spread couch;
and he has a posset if it is supposed to be
desirable. When the Downs themselves
are too hard for his delicate winged feet, a
spacious strawyard is allotted to him. Upon
the whole, I wish, in this Christian country,
that one-half the pains to make him a good
horse were spent in the attempt to make our
fellow countrymen, foaled anywhere and
lunged nowhere, good men. In return, at
two years old, our friend Sharpshooter is
expected to win his race, and from that moment
he is before the public, a dazzling but
precarious investment; he becomes the theme
of half the mess-tables in England and
its colonial dependencies, the boast of Berkshire
yeomen, and the hope of his owner and a
crowd of backers, as the possible winner of
the Derby. From that day, also, he is the
feared and hated of thousands, and the object
of conspiracy among not a few.  Previously to
the great event it is necessary that his speed
and endurance should be tested by some
severe trial. On the ground where we first
became acquainted with him we saw him but
in the company of his equals, or of those who,
though far older than himself, had failed in
acquiring a reputation; behold him now as
he appears at the private trial.

His owner brings down with him from
town some racer, twice the age of our young
friend, accustomed to the shouts of applausive
hundreds on many a successful course, and
with all the contempt that a favourite of the
country always feels for a debutant. At three
or four o'clock in the May morning these
two, with their trainers, owners, and two
trusty jocks, are on the Downs; the boys
who rode the horses thus farlest they should
blab the secretare locked up in the
rubbing-house upon the ground, which has no
windows; the high gorse all about, is carefully
searched for toutspoor wretches who have
passed a prickly night in this pursuit of
knowledge under difficultieswhom, if the
searchers find, they drive away with whips.
Sharpshooter beats the  "old 'un"  in the
commonest of canters, and home the conclave
ride right merrily. Nevertheless, on one of the
high downs, some tout, more cunning than the
rest, lies on his crouching belly, and through
a telescope sees what he wants to see. That
very day, he, or that little bird the lark,
mayhap reveals the secret. The telegraph to
town is worked, and the odds fall from five
to three to one.

To this purpose are our Downs now chiefly
turned; a strange conclusion has their history
led us tofrom the bare Briton to the clothed
horse. I will but add, that if  "the crack"
be said to be " amiss " (her sex forbidding it),
and gets a sprain (just over her left shoulder),
and does not run at Epsom after all, our
Downs are not to blame, whoever is.

THE MASQUE OF LIFE.

      The poor are growing poorer,
            And the rich are growing richer;
      The cannibal clothier fattens upon
            The lean and hungry stitcher:

      The mountains of gold which some have roll'd
            From above, around, and under,
       Burn gloomy-briglit as a comet at night,
            And should make men weep and wonder.

       Ghastly is the Dance of Death,
           Ghastlier the Dance of Being
       A Masque fantastical and strange
           To the hearing and the seeing.

       One man lies on pulpy down,
           Another lacks a bed;
       One man eats and drinks his fill,
           Another hath not bread.

      The pale women in the factories,
          The children dwarf 'd and ugly,
      Dives (within his counting-house
          Secure) surveyeth smugly.

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