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Full text of "Memoirs Of Joseph Grimaldi"

MEMOIES OF JOSEPH GKBLLLDI.                        113

wards of sixty pigeons, all of the very first order and beauty,
and many of them highly valuable : in proof of which, he notes
down with great pride a bet, concerning one pigeon of peculiar
talents, made with Mr. Lambert, himself a pigeon-fancier.

This Mr. Lambert being, as Gximaldi says, " like myself, a
pigeon-fancier, bnt, unlike myself, a confirmed boaster," took it
into his head to declare and pronounce his birds superior in all
respects to those in any other collection. This comprehensive
declaration immediately brought all the neighbouring pigeon-
breeders up in arms ; and Grirnaldi, taking up the gauntlet on
behalf of the inmates of the " dorm'er," accepted a bet offered by
Lambert, that there was no pigeon in his flight capable of ac-
complishing twenty miles in twenty minutes. The sum at stake
was twenty pounds. The money was posted, the bird exhibited,
the day on which the match should come off named, and the
road over which the bird was to fly agreed upon—the course
being from the twentieth mile-stone on the Great North Eoad
to Grimaldi's house. At six o'clock in the •morning, the bird
was consigned to the care of a friend, with instructions to throw
it up precisely as the clock struck twelve, at the appointed mile-
stone, near St. Albans; and the friend and the pigeon, accom-
panied by a gentleman on behalf of the opposite party, started
off, all parties concerned first setting their watches by Clerken-
well church. It was a very dismal day, the snow being very
deep on the ground, and a heavy sleet falling, very much in-
creasing the odds against the bird, the weather, of course, having
great effect, and the snow frequently blinding it. There was
no stipulation made, however, for fine weather; so at twelve
o'clock the two parties, accompanied by several friends, took up
their station in the dormer. In exactly nineteen minutes after-
wards, the pigeon alighted on the roof of the house. An offer of
twenty pounds was immediately made for the bird, but it was
declined.

The pigeons, however, did not always keep such good hours,
Iband, on August 27, in her seventy-fourth